The Role of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in Building the Virtuous Community, Book Two: General Rules and Fundamentals

Book ID

In the Name of Allah,

the All-beneficent, the All-merciful

Title: The Role of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in Building the Virtuous Community, Book Two: General Rules and Fundamentals

Author: Āyatullāh Sayyid Muḥammad Bāqir Al-ḥakīm

Project supervisor: Translation Unit, Cultural Affairs Department Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

Translator: Badr Shahin

Editor: Iffat Shah and Carol Ahmadi

Revised by: Ashraf Carl Eastman Ahmadi

Publisher: ABWA Publishing and Printing Center

First Printing: 2011

Printed by: Mojab

Copies: 5000


© Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

All rights reserved.

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قال الله تعالی:

﴿ إِنَّمَا یُرِیدُ اللَّهُ لِیُذْهِبَ عَنْکُمْ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ وَیُطَهِّرَکُمْ تَطْهِیرًا ﴾

Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification. (Sūrat al-Aḥzāb 33:33).

Prophetic traditions mentioned in both in Sunnī and Shī‘ah authoritative reference books of ḥadīth and tafsīr (exegesis of the Qur’an) have confirmed that this holy verse was revealed to exclusively refer to the People of the Cloak [ahl al-kisā’], viz. Muḥammad, ‘Alī, Fāṭimah, al-Ḥasan, and al-Ḥusayn (‘a) as the Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Household).

For instance, refer to the following references:


Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (d. 241 AH), al-Musnad, 1:231; 4:107; 6:292, 304; Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (d. 261 AH), 7:130; Al-Tirmidhī (d. 279 AH), Sunan, 5:361 et al.; Al-Dūlābī (d. 310 AH), Al-Dhuriyyah al-Ṭāhirah al-Nabawiyyah, p. 108; Al-Nasā’ī (d. 303 AH), Al-Sunan al-Kubrā’, 5:108; 113; Al-Ḥakīm al-Nayshābūrī (d. 405 AH), Al-Mustadrak ‘ala’ ṣ-Ṣahīḥāyn, 2:416, 3:133, 146-147; Al-Zarkashī (d. 794 AH), Al-Burhān, p. 197; Ibn Hājar al-Asqalānī (d. 852 AH), Fatḥ al-Barī Sharḥ Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 7:104.


Al-Kulaynī (d. 328 AH), Uṣūl al-Kāfī, 1:287; Ibn Babawayh (d. 329 AH), Al-Imāmah wa’ t-Tabṣīrah, p. 47, ḥadīth 29; Al-Maghribī (d. 363 AH), Da’ā’im al-Islām, pp. 35, 37; Al-Ṣādūq (d. 381 AH), Al-Khiṣāl, pp. 403, 550; Al-Ṭūsī (d. 460 AH), Al-Amalī, ḥadīth 438, 482, 783.

For more details, refer to the exegesis of the holy verse recorded in the following books of tafsīr: Al-Jassās (d. 370 AH), Aḥkām al-Qur’ān; Al-Wāḥidī (d. 468 AH), Asbāb al-Nuzūl; Ibn al-Jawzī (d. 597 AH), Zād al-Masīr; Al-Qurṭubī (d. 671 AH), Al-Jāmi‘ Li-Aḥkām al-Qur’ān; Ibn Kathīr (d. 774 AH), Tafsīr; Al-Tha‘labī (d. 825 AH), Tafsīr; Al-Ṭabarī (d. 875 AH), Tafsīr; Al-Suyūṭī (d. 911 AH), Al-Durr al-Manthūr; Al-Shawkānī (d. 1250 AH), Fatḥ al-Qadīr; Al-‘Ayyāshī (d. 320 AH), Tafsīr; Al-Qummī (d. 329 AH), Tafsīr; Furt al-Kūfī (d. 352 AH), Tafsīr at the margin of the exegesis of Sūrat al-Nisā’ verse 59; Al-Ṭabarsī (d. 560 AH), Majma‘ al-Bayān, as well as many other sources.

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قال رسول الله صلی الله علیه و آله:

"إنی تارک فیکُمُ الثَقلین: کتاب الله، وعترتی أهلَ بیتی، ما إن تمسکتُم بهما لن تضلوا أبداً وأَنَّهُما لَن یَفترِقا حتّی یردا عَلیَّ الحوضَ"

The Messenger of Allah (ṣ) said:

“Verily, I am leaving among you two precious things [thaqalayn]: The Book of Allah and my progeny [‘itratī], the members of my Household [Ahl al-Bayt]. If you hold fast to them, you shall never go astray. These two will never separate from each other until they meet me at the Pond [ḥawḍ] (of Kawthar).”

Some references:

q Al­Ḥākim an­Nayshābūrī, Al­Mustadrak ‘alā’ṣ-Ṣaḥīḥayn (Beirut), vol. 3, pp. 109-110, 148, 533

q Muslim, Aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥ, (English translation), book 31, hadīths 5920-3

q At­Tirmidhī, Aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥ, vol. 5, pp. 621-2, hadīths 3786, 3788; vol. 2, p. 219

q An-Nasā’ī, Khaṣā’iṣ ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, hadīth 79

q Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, Al-Musnad, vol. 3, pp. 14, 17, 26; vol. 3, pp. 26, 59; vol. 4, p. 371; vol. 5, pp. 181-182, 189-190

q Ibn al­‘Athīr, Jāmi‘ al­Uṣūl, vol. 1, p. 277

q Ibn Kathīr, Al­Bidāyah wa’n­Nihāyah, vol. 5, p. 209

q Ibn Kathīr, Tafsīr al-Qur’ān al-‘Aẓīm, vol. 6, p. 199

Naṣīr ad-Dīn al-Albanī, Silsilāt al-Aḥādīth aṣ-Ṣaḥīḥah (Kuwait: Ad-Dār aṣ-Ṣalāfiyyah), vol. 4, pp. 355-358

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Badr Shahin

Cultural Affairs Department Ahl al-Bayt(‘a) World Assembly

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نام کتاب: دور أهل البیت (ع) فی بناء الجماعة الصالحة / ج 2

نویسنده: آیة الله سید محمد باقر الحکیم

تهیه کننده: اداره ترجمه، اداره کل پژوهش مجمع جهانی اهل بیت (ع)

مترجم: بدر شاهین

زبان ترجمه: انگلیسی

Title: The Role of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in Building the Virtuous Community, Book Two: General Rules and Fundamentals

Author: Āyatullāh Sayyid Muḥammad Bāqir Al-ḥakīm

Project supervisor: Translation Unit, Cultural Affairs Department Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

Translator: Badr Shahin

Editor: Iffat Shah and Carol Ahmadi

Revised by: Ashraf Carl Eastman Ahmadi

Publisher: ABWA Publishing and Printing Center

First Printing: 2011

Printed by: Mojab

Copies: 5000


© Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) World Assembly (ABWA)

All rights reserved.

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Book Two:

General Basis And Foundations

Chapter One: Ideology and Faith

Chapter Two: Moral Aspect

Chapter Three:Cultural Aspect

Chapter Four:Mental Aspect

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When the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) started building a virtuous community inside Muslim society, they first set up a group of strong, compact bases and foundations to establish it. These bases and foundations were derived from the message of Islam, the seal of all divine religions, to express an accurate concept of this message and achieve the previously mentioned goals and characteristics.

The characteristics of these bases and foundations are universality, genuineness, accuracy, and confidence. They are thus a mixture of dimensions and aspects possessing adequate cohesiveness to enable the virtuous community to undertake its historical role in maintaining and defending Islam and the Muslim nation on the one hand, and being excellent exemplars for human society throughout history on the other.

These bases and foundations correspond to the doctrinal, moral, cultural, and mental aspects as well as the common facets of policy. Thus, I have divided this book into five chapters. The superstructure and the various systems of managing the affairs of the virtuous community will be discussed in future volumes.

It is worth mentioning that each chapter can serve as an independent, documentary, historical or analytical field of study.

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Chapter One: Ideology And Creed


The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have taken a special interest in ideology and faith, because these two matters represent the basis of any human society. When the ideology and faith of any community is strong, clear, compatible and comprehensive, the community will be powerful and capable of facing the difficulties, problems, and various conditions that stem from the natural progress of history.

The Holy Qur’an has paid the greatest attention to this aspect and has prioritized the issue of creed and thought over all other issues, to implant it firmly in the Muslim community.

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The following features are visible in the Ahl al-Bayt’s procedure of building a virtuous community inside Muslim society through ideology and faith:

The Holy Qur’an and Sunnah; the Sources of faith

The Holy Imams (‘a) strictly abided by the ideas that can easily be inferred from the Holy Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah; therefore, they cited texts from the Holy Qur’an and Prophetic traditions as accurate proofs of the ideas they discussed. In addition, they always presented beliefs that were compatible with human nature. This fact is visible in their verbal demonstration of these beliefs and also in their style of providing arguments and discussing other ideas.(1)

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1- Examples on such discussions can be seen in Shaykh al-Majlisi’s book of Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 10, Shaykh al-Tabrisi’s al-Ihtijaj, and Shaykh al-Kulayni’s Usul al-Kafi, Chapter: Faith and Unbelief (kitab al-iman wal-kufr). Books on the biographies of the Holy Imams (‘a) are also full of reports on their discussions of other beliefs. All such discussions prove that the Holy Imams (‘a) depended upon the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah in their debates. For instance, let us refer to two examples only: 1. Lady Fatimah al-Zahra'’s Sermon: “O Muslims! Is my inheritance usurped?! O son of Abu-Quhafah, is it in the Book of Allah that you inherit your father’s property, yet I do not inherit my father’s? Surely, you have done a strange thing! Have you deliberately deserted the Book of Allah and turned your back on it? Allah said, “And Solomon was David's heir. (27:16)” He also said about Yahya (‘a) (Prophet John) son of Zachariah (‘a): “Oh, give me from Thy presence a successor who shall be my heir and also heir to the house of Jacob. (19:5-6)” He also said, “And those who are akin are nearer one to another in the ordinance of Allah. (8:75)” He also said, “Allah enjoins you concerning your children: The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females. (4:11)” He also said, “Bequest is prescribed for you when death approaches one of you, if he leaves behind wealth for parents and near relatives. (2:180)” You claim that I have no position and no inheritance from my father, and there is no kinship between us. Did Allah distinguish you with a verse, from which He excluded my father? Or, do you say: the people of two religions do not inherit from each other? Are my father and I not of one religion? Or, are you more aware of the Qur’an than my father and my cousin? So, here it is before you! Take it with its noseband and saddle! It shall dispute with you on the Day of Punishment; what a fair judge Allah is, the master is Muhammad (s), and the appointment is the Day of Resurrection. At the time of the Hour, the wrongdoers shall lose, and it shall not benefit you to regret then! For every Message, there is a time limit, and you shall know to whom a punishment that will confound him comes, and upon whom a lasting doom will fall.” (al-Ihtijaj, 102). 2. Argument of Imam `Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a) on fighting the people of al-Basrah: Al-Asbagh ibn Nubatah reported that he was standing by Imam `Ali (‘a) on the day of the Battle of the Camel when a man stood before him and said, “O Amir al-Mu'minin, those people (against whom we will fight) declare the Unity of Allah and so do we, confess that there is no god save Allah and so do we, and perform the prayers and so do we. For what reason will we then fight them?” The Imam (‘a) answered, “We will fight them according to what Almighty Allah has revealed in His Book.” The man asked, “As for me, I do not have full knowledge with all that which Almighty Allah has revealed in His Book; so, please explain it to me.” The Imam (‘a) answered, “We fight them according to what has been revealed in Chapter (Surah) al-Baqarah.” The man asked, “I do not have knowledge with all that which Almighty Allah has revealed in Surah al-Baqarah, so please explain it to me.” The Imam (‘a) answered, “It is exactly the following verse (ayah): ‘We have made some of these messengers excel over others; among them are they to whom Allah spoke, and some of them He exalted by (many degrees of) rank; and We gave clear miracles to Jesus son of Mary, and strengthened him with the holy spirit. And if Allah had pleased, those after them would not have fought one with another after clear arguments had come to them, but they disagreed; so there were some of them who believed and others who denied; and if Allah had pleased they would not have fought one with another, but Allah brings about what He intends. (2:253)’ Verily, it is we who have believed and it is they who have denied.” The man added, “Verily, those people have denied. I swear it by the Lord of the Ka`bah.” He then attacked the enemies and fought them until he was martyred, may Allah have mercy upon him.” (al-Ihtijaj, pp. 169-170).


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The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), realizing that conjecture is not sufficient, paid special attention to reason in understanding faith, in realizing facts and creating conviction and confidence in the doctrinal notions. Nevertheless, they never failed to confirm the point that the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah carried the accurate faith that can be certified by sound human intellect.

Integration between Faith and Sect

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have integrated doctrinal and sectarian fundaments of faith and the nature of the universe, life, the seen and unseen worlds on the one hand and the branches that ramify from these doctrines on the other. In other words, they have considered the necessity of perfect alliance between theory and application, faith and behavior, fundamental and secondary issues. The sect of the Imamiyyah Shi`ah rests upon the belief that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) play a role fundamental to faith with regard to the universal view of

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Islam. Imamate enjoys a divine nature similar to the nature of Messengership and its responsibilities, with the exception of receiving divine revelation. An Imam, just like a Messenger, is chosen by Almighty Allah to complete a mission.

In fact, human behavior depends upon understanding such doctrines. On proving this fact, we will clearly note that there is correlation between the belief in wilayah (divinely commissioned leadership of the Holy Imams) and the integration of faith and deeds.

In this respect, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported Imam al-Baqir and Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) as saying:


إقْرَارٌ وَعَمَلٌ، وَالإسْلاَمُ إقْرَارٌ بِلاَ عَمَلٍ.

Faith is to profess and

act, and Islam is to profess without acts.(1)

Imam al-Riza (‘a) is also reported as saying:

مَنْ أَحَبَّ

لَنَا عَاصِیاً فَهُوَ عَاصٍ؛ وَمَنْ أَحَبَّ لَنَا مُطِیعاً فَهُوَ مُطِیعٌ:

وَمَنْ أَعَانَ ظَالِماً فَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ: وَمَنْ خَذَلَ ظَالِماً فَهُوَ

عَادِلٌ. إنَّهُ لَیْسَ بَیْنَ اللهِ وَبَیْنَ أَحَدٍ قَرَابَةٌ، وَلاَ تُنَالُ

وِلاَیَتُنَا إلاَّ بِالطَّاعَةِ.

Whoever loves a person who

is disobedient to us is himself disobedient to us, whoever loves one that is obedient

to us is actually obedient to us, whoever assists a wrongdoer is actually a

wrongdoer, and whoever hinders a wrongdoer is actually just. Verily, there is

no proximity between Almighty Allah and any person. Loyalty to us cannot be

attained except by means of obedience.(2)

In the book of `Uyun Akhbar al-Riza, it is recorded that Ibrahim ibn Muhammad al-Hamdani reported Imam al-Riza (‘a) as saying:

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1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, Al-Kafi, 2:24, H. 2.
2- - Shaykh al-Jaduq, `Uyun Akhbar al-Riza 1:260.

مَنْ خَذَلَ عَادِلاً فَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ. وَلا یَنَالُ

أَحَدٌ وَلایَةَ اللَّهِ إِلاَّ بِالطَّاعَةِ. وَلَقَدْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ

صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ لِبَنِی عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ: ائْتُونِی

بِأَعْمَالِکُمْ لاَ بِأَنْسَابِکُمْ وَأَحْسَابِکُمْ. قَالَ اللَّهُ تَبَارَکَ

وَتَعَالَی: ﴿فَإِذَا نُفِخَ فِی الصُّورِ فَلاَ أَنسَابَ بَیْنَهُمْ یَوْمَئِذٍ وَلاَ

یَتَسَاءَلُونَ. فَمَنْ ثَقُلَتْ مَوَازِینُهُ فَأُوْلَئِکَ هُمْ الْمُفْلِحُونَ.

وَمَنْ خَفَّتْ مَوَازِینُهُ فَأُوْلَئِکَ الَّذِینَ خَسِرُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ فِی جَهَنَّمَ

خَالِدُونَ. ﴾

Whoever hinders a decent person is actually a

wrongdoer. No one can attain loyalty to Allah except by means of obedience to

Him. The Holy Messenger of Allah—may Allah bless him and his Household—once

said to the sons of ‘Abd al-Mu(1)alib,

“Bring me your deeds, not your ancestries or lineages.” Almighty

Allah says, “When the trumpet is blown, there shall be no ties of

relationship between them on that day, nor shall they ask of each other.

Then, as for him whose good deeds are preponderant, these are the successful,

and as for him whose good deeds are light, these are they who shall have lost

their souls, abiding in hell. (23:101-103)”(2)

The Shi`ah depend upon the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in both the principle and secondary affairs of religion. They believe that they possess:

a) Perfect knowledge among finite human beings; (Almighty Allah alone has perfect knowledge)

b) Infallibility from sinning or misinterpretation; and,

c) Right of leadership to issue instructions (to be followed) and prohibitions (to be avoided).

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said:

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2- - These traditions can be also found in al-Hurr al-`Amili’s Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:446.

إنَّ الْعِلْمَ الَّذِی نَزَلَ مَعَ آدَمَ

لَمْ یُرْفَعْ، وَالْعِلْمُ الَّذِی یُتَوَارَثُ، وَکَانَ عَلِیٌّ عَالِمَ

هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ، وَإنَّهُ لَمْ یَهْلَکْ مِنَّا عَالِمٌ قَطُّ إلاَّ خَلَفَهُ

مِنْ أَهْلِهِ مَنْ عَلِمَ مِثْلَ عِلْمِهِ أوْ مَا شَاءَ اللهُ.

Verily, the knowledge that was brought down to the

earth with Adam has not been taken back. Knowledge is transmitted among

generations through inheritance. ‘Ali

(‘a) was the most knowledgeable of this nation. Whenever a knowledgeable

individual of us (i.e. the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)) passes away, another

knowledgeable one—from his household holding the same knowledge as he, or any

other amount that Allah decides for him—will succeed him.(1)

Durays al-Kannasi is reported to have said that he once visited Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) and found Abu-Basir there. The Imam (‘a) said:

إنَّ دَاوُودَ

وَرِثَ عِلْمَ الأَنْبِیَاءِ وَإنَّ سُلَیْمَانَ وَرِثَ دَاوُودَ وَإنَّ

مُحَمَّداً وَرِثَ سُلَیْمَانَ وَإنَّا وَرِثْنَا مُحَمَّداً وَإنَّ عِنْدَنَا

صُحُفَ إبْرَاهِیمَ وَأَلْوَاحَ مُوسَی.

Verily, (Prophet) David (‘a) inherited the

knowledge of the prophets. (Prophet) Solomon (‘a) then inherited David’s.

Most surely, (Prophet) Muhammad (s) inherited Solomon’s and we inherited

Muhammad’s. We also possess the Scriptures of (Prophet) Abraham (‘a) and

(Prophet) Moses (‘a).

إنَّ دَاوُودَ

وَرِثَ عِلْمَ الأَنْبِیَاءِ وَإنَّ سُلَیْمَانَ وَرِثَ دَاوُودَ وَإنَّ

مُحَمَّداً وَرِثَ سُلَیْمَانَ وَإنَّا وَرِثْنَا مُحَمَّداً وَإنَّ عِنْدَنَا

صُحُفَ إبْرَاهِیمَ وَأَلْوَاحَ مُوسَی.

Verily, (Prophet) David (‘a) inherited the

knowledge of the prophets. (Prophet) Solomon (‘a) then inherited David’s.

Most surely, (Prophet) Muhammad (s) inherited Solomon’s and we inherited

Muhammad’s. We also possess the Scriptures of (Prophet) Abraham (‘a) and

(Prophet) Moses (‘a).

Abu-Basir commented, “This is real knowledge.”

The Imam (‘a) answered:

یَا أَبَا مُحَمَّدٍ! لَیْسَ هَذَا هُوَ الْعِلْمَ؛

إنَّمَا الْعِلْمُ مَا یَحْدُثُ بِاللَّیْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ یَوْماً بِیَوْمٍ

وَسَاعَةً بِسَاعَةٍ.


this is not knowledge. True knowledge is to know what happens during the

night and day, each day and every moment.

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1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:24, H. 3.

Hence, to turn towards the Holy Imams (‘a) in order to obtain knowledge is not similar to turning to narrators or well-versed scholars whose tasks are restricted to transmitting traditions and issuing verdicts (fatwa). People resort to scholars to learn certain religious laws by means of transmission of traditions and issuing of verdicts. Such individuals are not divinely designated leaders of the nation and they cannot enact any religious law in question that is not present in the Islamic code of religious law; rather, they only issue verdicts according to their knowledge of traditions and fundamentals of the set laws of Islam.

Authentic traditions relegate the knowledge of the laws of Islam to well-qualified scholars under certain conditions. Besides, the referential religious authorities (marji`) rely upon intuition and are exposed to mistake and lack of awareness in understanding certain texts, retaining others, or inferring rules from others, unlike the well-guided Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) who hold divinely commissioned leadership over people and enjoy decisive knowledge.

Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Maythami has reported that he heard Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) stating:


اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَدَّبَ رَسُولَهُ حَتَّی قَوَّمَهُ عَلَی مَا أَرَادَ،

ثُمَّ فَوَّضَ إلَیْهِ. فَقَالَ عَزَّ ذِکْرُهُ: ﴿وَمَا آتَاکُمْ الرَّسُولُ

فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاکُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا﴾ فَمَا فَوَّضَ اللهُ

إلَی رَسُولِهِ فَقَدْ فَوَّضَهُ إلَیْنَا.

Allah, the Almighty and Majestic, has verily

disciplined His Messenger (s) so highly that He made him as exact as

He wanted him to be. He then delegated the affairs to him, saying, “Take what

the Messenger assigns to you and deny yourselves that which he withholds from

you.” Whatever has been granted to the Messenger of Allah (s) by Him has been

granted to us.(1)

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1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 1:268, H.9.

For that reason, the individuals of the virtuous community did not suffer from schism or ambivalence between the commands issued by the political rulers of the Muslim community and the verdicts that were issued by specialist scholars of Muslim jurisprudence. In fact, these scholars used to issue verdicts either out of their private understandings of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah or their references to presumptive matters like the rules of analogy (qiyas), equitable preference (istihsan), and acceptable advantages (al-Masalih al-Mursalah). They would adopt unfounded rules whenever they failed to come upon the religious text that revealed the accurate law of an issue. At other times, they issued verdicts that were in violation of religious texts, especially when they depended upon their personal views (ijtihad), because in their conception these religious texts were remote from equitable preference and the achievement of acceptable social advantages that they estimated through personal understanding of social conditions.

It happened sometimes that such jurisprudents (i.e. issuers of verdicts) came under threat of prosecution by the ruling authorities because of such contradictions. For instance, Abu-Hanifah (the founder of the Hanafiyyah school of law) was arrested and imprisoned by al-Mansur, the `Abbasid ruler, because he issued a verdict supporting two sons of `Abdullah al-Mahz. Another example is Ahmad ibn Hanbal (the founder of the Hanbaliyyah school of law) who exposed himself to maltreatment by the ruling authorities because of his attitude towards the issue of the creation of the Qur’an and his disagreement with al-Ma'mun, the `Abbasid ruler, on this issue.

The virtuous community did not experience the schism that took place between theologians and Muslim philosophers—who adopted certain doctrinal hypotheses and views about which they disagreed with each other to a great extent—and the verdicts that were issued by some jurisprudents who did not accede to certain hypotheses. Some Muslim

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communities had to refer to a jurisprudent of a certain sect who adopted certain doctrines and ideologies, such as those adopted by the Ash`ariyyah, the Mu`tazilah, and the Mufawwizah (Indeterminists). When the latter adopted contradictory doctrines and ideologies, they disagreed with the referential religious authority.

Such doctrinal and ideological differences cannot be found among the scholars and referential authorities of the Shi`ah, the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

Comprehensibility of Doctrines

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) covered a large variety of doctrinal issues with elaborate explanations, clarifications and details. They did not leave any aspect uncovered; thereby, blocking any personal opinions, impressions, and inferences to interfere in the issuance of religious laws.

Unlike the behavioral issue, which is secondary, the doctrinal issue is primarily significant. Sensitive and incisive results and consequences stem from this issue and all details of the spiritual, social, political, and futuristic structure of human life reflect upon it. In view of this, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) did not restrict their presentations of doctrinal aspects to the principles of Muslim faith, such as Unity of Almighty Allah (tawhid), Prophethood (nubuwwah), and Final Assemblage (ma`ad); rather, they also discussed various aspects like the following:

1. Divine justice (`adl)

2. Imamate (imamah)

3. Fatalism (jabr) and indeterminism (ikhtiyar)

4. Predestination (qadar)

5. Disbelief (kufr) and belief (iman) and their

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relationship to personal acts and behavior

6. Infallibility or inerrancy (`ismah)

7. Decency

8. Death and life

9. Norms of history

10. Divine test

11. Loyalty (to the divinely designated leaders)

12. Love and hatred

13. Ethics

14. The advent of al-Mahdi in the last period of time

15. Details of the Final Abode, such as:

a) The period between burial and the final judgment (barzakh)

b) The resurrection (ba`th)

c) Raising to life (nushur)

d) The Divine Pond (hawz)

e) The Discriminating Bridge (sirah)

f) Vision (ru’yah)

g) The calling to account (hisab)

h) Intercession (shafa`ah)

i) Paradise and Hellfire

j) Chastisement and comfort

k) Immortality in Hellfire or Paradise

16. Rational good and evil of things

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17. Divine Revelation

18. Reason

Presenting the details of all these issues, the Holy Imams (‘a) demonstrated their intellectual and doctrinal aspects through consummate situations that played a vital role in strengthening the doctrinal and structural foundation of the virtuous community, ensuring the firm integration of its individuals.

This comprehensiveness is obvious when we refer to Shaykh al-Jaduq’s book of al-`Aqa'id (The Beliefs) and Shaykh al-Mufid’s commentaries on this book. The contents of these two books rely in essence upon the traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) with regard to the detailed presentation of these beliefs.

Looking at the history of Imamate, the period of the Holy Imams’ (‘a) presence (i.e. the lifetimes of eleven of the Holy Imams (‘a)) reveals a wide range of disagreements about doctrinal issues among the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). As a result, secondary sects and groups emerged among these followers. However, the Holy Imams (‘a) began to present the doctrinal issues in a comprehensive and all-inclusive manner, reducing these sects and groups to an inconsequential number by the age of the Major Occultation. This was a great achievement considering the conditions of this age were more difficult, due to the impossibility of direct contact with a Holy Imam, than when the Holy Imams (‘a) were present. This doctrinal stability was a big achievement of the Holy Imams (‘a)—an achievement that could guarantee the doctrinal and ideological soundness of the virtuous community. This amply testifies to the significance of establishing this doctrinal foundation among this community.

Furthermore, the history of Islam witnessed wide-ranging

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doctrinal disagreements among the other Muslim groups that have continued to the present day due to their differences with the Shi‘ah in following the referential authority (i.e. the Imams (‘a))—who can provide necessary details—together with the Holy Qur’an. The result is that other Muslim groups do not have a referential religious authority who can resolve their differences.

Despite the fact that all Muslims agree upon the Holy Qur’an, it can be subjected to various interpretations; therefore, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) laid great stress on the necessity of the existence of a referential authority capable of interpreting the Holy Qur’an in the authentic manner. The Holy Prophet (s), in the famous tradition known as hadith al-thaqalayn (the Two Weighty Things) and hadith al-safinah (the Ark of Salvation) emphasized the necessity of referring to the second “weighty thing”, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).(1)

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1- - Hadith al-thaqalayn reads: The Holy Prophet (s) is authentically reported to have said: إِنِّی مُخَلِّفٌ فِیکُمُ الثَّقَلَیْنِ؛ کِتَابَ اللهِ وَعِتْرَتِی، أَهْلَ بَیْتِی، مَا إِنْ تَمَسَّکْتُمْ بِهِمَا لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدِی أَبَداً، وَإِنَّهُمَا لَنْ یَفْتَرِقَا حَتَّی یَرِدَا عَلَیَّ الْحَوْضَ. Verily, I am leaving among you two precious things: the Book of Allah and my progeny, the members of my Household [Ahl al-Bayt]. If you hold fast to them, you shall never go astray. These two will never separate from each other until they meet me at the Pond. Kanz al-`Ummal 1:185, 189. Hadith al-safinah reads: The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said: إِنَّ مَثَلَ أَهْلِ بَیْتی فِیکُمْ کَمَثَلِ سَفِینَةِ نُوحٍ؛ مَنْ رَکِبَهَا فَقَدْ نَجَا وَمَنْ تَخَلَّفَ عَنْهَا فَقَدْ غَرِقَ. The like of my Household in this nation is the Ark of Noah; whosoever embarked upon it was saved, but whoever turned away from it was drowned. Kanz al-`Ummal 1:186.

Freedom of Thought and Sound Logic

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) established the rules of true methodology in dealing with doctrinal and ideological issues by emphasizing freedom of thought and belief. These rules were founded on the following grounds:

a) Sound logic, the use of reason, sentiment and inherent human nature.

b) Reference only to the Holy Qur’an and the Prophetic authentic traditions to obtain sound beliefs. This does away with personal desires and individual political tendencies, personal or qualitative tastes, tempers, trends, and

conjecture, by use of which errors are committed widely, such as when using analogy and equitable preference. These things are called ‘opinion (ra'y)’ in the words of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and the traditions of the Holy Prophet (s), who is reported to have said:

مَنْ فَسَّرَ

الْقُرْآنَ بِرَأْیِهِ فَقَدْ کَفَرَ. إنَّ دِینَ اللهِ لاَ یُدْرَکُ


Whoever interprets the Qur’an according to his own opinion has

definitely become a disbeliever. Verily, the religion of Allah cannot be

comprehended through opinions.(1)

A number of traditions emphasize the absolute referentiality of the Holy Qur’an and authentic Prophetic traditions, such as the following:

Ayyub ibn al-Hurr has reported that he heard Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) saying:

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1- - See the author’s book of Muhazarat fi `Ulum al-Qur’an, Chapter: Exegesis and Interpretation of the Holy Qur’an Chapter: Exegesis in the View of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

All things must be referred to the Book of Allah and to the Sunnah. Any tradition that

is not compatible with the Book of Allah is fake.(1)

کُلُّ شَیْءٍ مَرْدُودٌ إلَی کِتَابِ اللهِ

وَالسُّنَّةِ؛ وَکُلُّ حَدِیثٍ لاَ یُوَافِقُ کِتَابَ اللهِ فَهُوَ زُخْرُفٌ.

Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) is also reported to have said:

مَا أَتَاکُمْ عَنَّا مِنْ حَدِیثٍ لاَ یُصَدِّقُهُ

کِتَابُ اللهِ فَهُوَ بَاطِلٌ.


discourse that is not supported by the Book of Allah must be false.(2)

مَا أَتَاکُمْ عَنَّا مِنْ حَدِیثٍ لاَ یُصَدِّقُهُ

کِتَابُ اللهِ فَهُوَ بَاطِلٌ.


discourse that is not supported by the Book of Allah must be false.(3)

c) Opening the door to ijtihad and inference (of religious laws from their sources) within regulations and valid principles of inference by finding in the Holy Qur’an all phenomena and events encountered by humanity in an objective spirit that is receptive to all probabilities and conditions man may face.

To summarize, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School and the virtuous community distinctively embody:

(1) Freedom of thought

(2) Commitment to regulations and restrictions of inference (of religious laws from their sources) as exactly as they are defined by Islamic law (i.e. the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah)

(3) Receptiveness to emerging issues, reevaluation of their understanding, inference, examination and treatment, compatible with inherent human nature, reason and sentiment

These distinctive features also enabled this community to

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1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 1:69, H. 3; Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:347, H. 127 ; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 2:242, H. 37.
2- - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:347, H. 128; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 2:242, H. 38.
3- - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:347, H. 128; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 2:242, H. 38.

defend the genuine Islamic doctrine and ideology against not only other intellectual and doctrinal personal opinions within Muslim society but also intellectual and doctrinal currencies outside the Islamic frame.

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Chapter Two: Ethical Aspect


In the process of structuring a human community, moral standards represent the second basis on which it stands. These moral standards express the sentimental and cerebral aspects of human behavior and ties linked to justice and injustice, goodness and evil, spiritual/mental perfection and depravity in the progress of humanity. To sum up, philosophers describe moral standards as practical reason and doctrinal and intellectual values as dependent upon hypothetical reason.

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The Role of Ethics in the Formation of Religious Laws

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) presented the features of this aspect through the following two points:

(1) The role played by moral standards in the formation of religious laws and a system for human society.

(2) The responsibility of man regarding moral standards defined through the desire to achieve perfection through them.

These two points became the sharpest points of disagreement in Islamic ideology. A large number of Islamic intellectuals adopted the notion of fatalism (jabr), which argues that man actually has no control over his ethical and behavioral deviations since they are independent of his free will; hence, man is controlled by the Divine will throughout his existence, and his deeds are only made and created by God. This, however, makes no sense. It implies that God’s punishment of man for violations of religious laws is opposed to Divine justice or inappropriate because man lacks any independent ethical perceptions by which he may deem things good or hideous. On the contrary, man is obligated to obey religious laws representing God’s commandment and Will. In this case, humans are under the absolute authority of God in all affairs and, as is declared in the following Qur’anic verse, God cannot be questioned about any of His affairs:

لَا یُسْأَلُ عَمَّا یَفْعَلُ وَهُمْ یُسْأَلُونَ

He cannot be questioned concerning what He does and they shall be questioned. (21:23)

Moreover, religious laws, under such circumstances, become devoid of any ethical or human background because these laws are exclusive expressions of the Divine legislative Will.

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Conversely, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School has laid stress on two conceptions of this notion:

First: Just as man is ethically capable of perceiving the goodness and evilness of things on the whole, so also can he perceive the evilness of punishing people for deeds that they are compelled to do and the evilness of forcing people to perform some acts and avoid others while they lack any willpower to act. It is this ethical perception that can guide man to many divine facts.

Second: Religious law has come to reveal and define the details of the total awareness with which Almighty Allah has created man. Thus, Divine religious law is not only an obligation through which Almighty Allah practices His absolute authority over man but also represents Divine justice, wisdom, and Almighty Allah’s absolute dispensation of man’s acts. In other words, religious law corresponds to benefits and detriments of existence and progress of man towards perfection in this world. Hence, it holds an ethical aspect.

We can now understand the significance of the theological battle that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) fought to define the ethical aspects of religious laws by raising the issue of the goodness and evilness of things understood by the human will and the relationship between human will and Divine will:

لاَ جَبْرٌ وَلاَ تَفْوِیضٌ؛ بَلْ أَمْرٌ بَیْنَ



is neither compulsion (by Almighty Allah to do things), nor is there absolute

delegation of power to man; rather, it is a course in the middle of these two


People’s deeds, which are the objects of religious laws, are the result of a person’s will, thus making the person responsible for them. At the same time, humans are the

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creatures of Almighty Allah Who has created them with a will, and humans—in their existence, survival and power—are subject to Divine will and power and cannot act without Divine provision of existence and power.

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have extracted this role of moral standards from the Holy Qur’an. Confirming freedom of human will, the Holy Qur’an sets forth the following example:

ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا عَبْدًا مَمْلُوکًا لَا یَقْدِرُ عَلَی شَیْءٍ وَمَنْ رَزَقْنَاهُ مِنَّا رِزْقًا حَسَنًا فَهُوَ یُنْفِقُ مِنْهُ سِرًّا وَجَهْرًا هَلْ یَسْتَوُونَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ بَلْ أَکْثَرُهُمْ لَا یَعْلَمُونَ

Allah sets forth a parable: consider a slave, the

property of another, who has no power over anything, and one whom We have

granted from Ourselves a goodly sustenance; so, he spends from it secretly

and openly. Are the two alike? All praise is due to Allah! Nay, most of them

do not know. (16:75)

It also provides humans the desire to ponder this issue, such as in the following holy verse:

أَمَّنْ هُوَ قَانِتٌ آنَاءَ اللَّیْلِ سَاجِدًا وَقَائِمًا یَحْذَرُ الْآخِرَةَ وَیَرْجُو رَحْمَةَ رَبِّهِ قُلْ هَلْ یَسْتَوِی الَّذِینَ یَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِینَ لَا یَعْلَمُونَ إِنَّمَا یَتَذَکَّرُ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ


Are those who know and those who do not know alike? (39:9)

It also provides the concepts of good and evil, justice and inequity, honesty and lying, and miserliness and altruism as well as other concepts:

وَلَا تَسْتَوِی الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّیِّئَةُ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِی هِیَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِی بَیْنَکَ وَبَیْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ کَأَنَّهُ وَلِیٌّ حَمِیمٌ


alike are the good and the evil. (41:34)

By discussing such concepts, the Holy Qur’an aims at arousing man’s natural and sentimental perceptions, because these perceptions represent the foundations of ethical behavior, which is defined and depicted by the Holy Qur’an in detail and which we call rational good and evil.

When the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) directed their followers to

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adhere to this doctrine of Divine justice, which has become one of the fundamentals of their sect, they intended to establish an ethical basis in the spiritual and mental structure of their followers. They instituted a sort of psychological and spiritual immunity to protect their followers against supporting or keeping silent with regard to grave ethical deviations, like the ascription of inequity and aggression to Almighty Allah.

Distinction between Islam and Faith

The Holy Imams (‘a) distinguished a Muslim from a believer on ethical grounds, as is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an:

قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا قُلْ لَمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَکِنْ قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا یَدْخُلِ الْإِیمَانُ فِی قُلُوبِکُمْ وَإِنْ تُطِیعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا یَلِتْکُمْ مِنْ أَعْمَالِکُمْ شَیْئًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِیمٌ

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ لَمْ یَرْتَابُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ فِی سَبِیلِ اللَّهِ أُولَئِکَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ

The dwellers of the desert say, “We believe.” Say,

“You do not believe but say, ‘We submit’ and faith has not yet entered into

your hearts. And, if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not diminish

aught of your deeds. Surely, Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. The (true)

believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Messenger then they

doubt not and struggle hard with their wealth and their lives in the way of

Allah. They are the truthful ones. (49:14-15)

Accordingly, declaration of Islam in utterance of the two statements of belief (i.e. shahadah), belief in the Last Day, performing obligatory prayers, observance of fasting, performance of the ritual pilgrimage (to the Holy House of Allah in Mecca), and payment of the poor-rate (zakat)—all stand as the first step of Islamic doctrine. By declaring and

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performing such, one’s blood is protected from being shed, property and honor maintained, and the general Islamic social laws applied. From an ethical aspect, however, all these differ in reality from the actual commitment to Islam and that which stems from such commitment.

As for faith (i.e. iman), it represents a high rank of firm belief in the doctrine and also steadfastness in whatever it requires and whatever results from it.

The following text—reported by al-Kulayni, in his book of al-Kafi, through a valid chain of authority, from Hamran ibn A`yun—is the best depiction of this conviction and clarifies the difference between being Muslim and being faithful:

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a) has said:

اَلإی-مَانُ مَا إسْتَقَرَّ فِی الْقَلْبِ

وَأَفْضَی بِهِ إلَی اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَصَدَّقَهُ الْعَمَلُ بِالطَّاعَةِ

للهِ وَالتَّسْلِیمِ لأَمْرِهِ. وَالإسْلاَمُ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْ قَوْلٍ أَوْ

فِعْلٍ، وَهُوَ الَّذِی عَلَیْهِ جَمَاعَةٌ مِنَ النَّاسِ مِنَ الْفِرَقِ

کُلِّهَا. وَبِهِ حُقِنَتِ الدِّمَاءُ وَعَلَیْهِ جَرَتِ الْمَوَارِیثُ وَجَازَ

النِّکَاحُ وَاجْتَمَعُوا عَلَی الصَّلاَةِ وَالزَّکَاةِ وَالصَّوْمِ وَالْحَجِّ

فَخَرَجُوا بِذَلِکَ مِنَ الْکُفْرِ وَأُضِیفُوا إلَی الإی-مَانِ. وَالإسْلاَمُ

لاَ یُشْرِکُ الإی-مَانَ وَالإِی-مَانُ یُشْرِکُ الإسْلاَمَ وَهُمَا فِی

الْقَوْلِ وَالْفِعْلِ یَجْتَمِعَانِ، کَمَا صَارَتِ الْکَعْبَةُ فِی

الْمَسْجِدِ وَالْمَسْجِدُ لَیْسَ فِی الْکَعْبَةِ. وَکَذَلِکَ الإِی-مَانُ

یُشْرِکُ الإسْلاَمَ وَالإسْلاَمُ لاَ یُشْرِکُ الإی-مَانَ. وَقَدْ قَالَ اللهُ

تَعَالَی: { قَالَتْ الأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا. قُلْ لَمْ تُؤْمِنُوا، وَلَکِنْ قُولُوا:

أَسْلَمْنَا، وَلَمَّا یَدْخُلْ الإِی-مَانُ فِی قُلُوبِکُمْ.} فَقَوْلُ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ أَصْدَقُ الأَقْوَالِ.

Faith (iman) is

what settles in hearts, revealed to Almighty Allah, and is verified by

practicing acts of obedience to Him and submission to His decrees. Islam, on

the other hand, stands for the words and deeds that one says or does

publicly. Accordingly, Islam is that which is adopted by groups of people of

all sects. Due to declaration of the creed of Islam, one’s blood is spared,

laws of inheritance are applied to him, and marriage is permitted. Both

Muslims and faithful are equal in performing the obligatory prayers, paying

the poor-rate, observing the (obligatory) fasting, and undertaking the ritual

pilgrimage (hajj). By doing these acts, they depart atheism and attach

themselves to faith. Islam does not necessarily beget faith while faith

always accompanies Islam, even though both Islam and faith meet in words and

deeds. Just as the Ka`bah lies in the Sacred Mosque while the Sacred Mosque

is not situated in the Ka`bah, so also does faith accompany Islam while Islam

does not necessarily beget faith. Almighty Allah has said, “The dwellers of

the desert say, ‘We believe.’ Say, ‘You do not believe but say, we submit;

and faith has not yet entered into your hearts.” Verily, the saying of

Almighty Allah is the most truthful of all sayings.

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The reporter of this saying asked, “Does a faithful believer enjoy a preference in virtues, laws, provisions, or any other things over a Muslim?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:

لاَ. هُمْ یَجْرِیَانِ فِی ذَلِکَ مَجْریً وَاحِداً.

وَلَکِنَّ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ فَضْلاً عَلَی الْمُسْلِمِ فِی أَعْمَالِهِمَا وَمَا

یَتَقَرَّبَانِ بِهِ إلَی اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ.


the same laws and rulings are applied to both Muslims and faithful believers.

However, a faithful believer enjoys preference over a Muslim in deeds and

acts of seeking nearness to Allah, the Almighty and Majestic.”

لاَ. هُمْ یَجْرِیَانِ فِی ذَلِکَ مَجْریً وَاحِداً.

وَلَکِنَّ لِلْمُؤْمِنِ فَضْلاً عَلَی الْمُسْلِمِ فِی أَعْمَالِهِمَا وَمَا

یَتَقَرَّبَانِ بِهِ إلَی اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ.


the same laws and rulings are applied to both Muslims and faithful believers.

However, a faithful believer enjoys preference over a Muslim in deeds and

acts of seeking nearness to Allah, the Almighty and Majestic.”

The reporter asked, “Almighty Allah says, ‘Whoever brings a good deed, shall have ten like it (6:160),’ while you have just said that Muslims and faithful believers both perform the prayers, pay the poor-rate, observe fasting, and go on the ritual pilgrimage! How do you explain this preference?”

p: 40

The Imam (‘a) answered:

أَلَیْسَ قَدْ

قَالَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: {فَیُضَاعِفَهُ

لَهُ أَضْعَافًا کَثِیرَةً؟} فَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ هُمُ الَّذِینَ یُضَاعِفُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

لَهُمْ حَسَنَاتِهِمْ لِکُلِّ حَسَنَةٍ سَبْعِینَ ضِعْفاً. فَهَذَا فَضْلُ

الْمُؤْمِنِ، وَیَزِیدُهُ اللهُ عَلَی قَدْرِ صِحَّةِ إی-مَانِهِ أَضْعَافاً

کَثِیرَةً. وَیَفْعَلُ اللهُ بِالْمُؤْمِنِینَ مَا یَشَاءُ مِنَ الْخَیْرِ.

“Almighty Allah has also said, ‘Who is it that will offer

Allah a goodly gift, so He will multiply it for him manifold. (2:245)’ Those

who receive multiplication of their acts by Almighty Allah are the faithful

believers. Each good act of theirs will increase seventyfold. This is the

preference for the faithful believers. Their acts Almighty Allah will

multiply manifoldly according to the degrees of their faith. Moreover,

Almighty Allah imbues faithful believers with uncountable virtues as He


The reporter asked, “If one converts to Islam, does this mean that he has become a faithful believer?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:


وَلَکِنَّهُ قَدْ أُضِیفَ إلَی الإِی-مَانِ وَخَرَجَ مِنَ الْکُفْرِ.

وَسَأَضْرِبُ لَکَ مَثَلاً تَعْقِلُ بِهِ فَضْلَ الإِی-مَانِ عَلَی الإسْلاَمِ:

أَرَأَیْتَ لَوْ بَصُرْتَ رَجُلاً فِی الْمَسْجِدِ، أَکُنْتَ تَشْهَدُ أَنَّکَ

رَأَیْتَهُ فِی الْکَعْبَةِ؟

“No, it does not.

Such conversion only attaches him to belief and takes him out of disbelief.

Let me cite for you an example that will make you understand the preference

of faith over (profession of) Islam. If you see a man in the Sacred Mosque,

can you testify that you saw him in the Ka`bah?”

The reporter answered, “No, I cannot.”

The Imam (‘a) asked:

لَوْ بَصُرْتَ رَجُلاً فِی الْکَعْبَةِ، أَکُنْتَ

شَاهِداً أَنَّهُ قَدْ دَخَلَ الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ؟


you see a man in the Ka`bah; can you testify that you have seen him in the

Holy Mosque?”

p: 41

The reporter answered, “Yes, I can.”

The Imam (‘a) asked, “How is that?”

The reporter answered, “This man cannot arrive at the Ka`bah before he enters the Sacred Mosque.”

The Imam (‘a) said:

قَدْ أَصَبْتَ وَأَحْسَنْتَ. کَذَلِکَ

الإِی-مَانُ وَالإسْلاَمُ.

“You are right and

you have done well! Such are faith and Islam.”(1)

Faith and Deed

The Holy Imams (‘a) presented the practical aspect of belief in Almighty Allah, which signifies man’s most important ethical characteristic. They also taught their followers how to take this faith out of its abstract doctrinal state and sheer mental commitment to its behavioral, practical, and applied form by interpreting faith as a reality, essentially composed of different ranks and classes capable of being attained when put into practice.

It seems that this topic was quite controversial during the ages of the Holy Imams (‘a). Some scholars argued that there is no difference between the faith of the prophets and the faith of Satan, because faith is an unchangeable fact in the sense that it stands for no more than commitment to believing in the existence of Almighty Allah. This fact can be either present or absent. The only difference between the prophets and Satan in this ideology lies in their behavior and deeds not in the original existence of their commitment to belief.

p: 42

1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:26-27, H.5.

On the other hand, the instructions of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) entailed that belief in Almighty Allah is of various ranks that vary from one believer to another, because it depends upon practical actions to a great extent. Hence, the more a servant (of Almighty Allah) commits himself and gives his commitment a material form in his behavior, the more his degree of faith increases and stands firm in his heart and sentiment.

In his book of al-Kafi, Shaykh al-Kulayni, through a valid chain of authority, has reported Jamil ibn Darraj as saying:

I, once, asked Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) to define faith.

He (‘a) answered:

شَهَادَةُ أَنْ

لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ اللهُ وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّداً رَسُولُهُ.

“It is to profess

that there is no deity save Allah and Muhammad is His messenger.”

I further asked, “This is an act; is it not?”

The Imam (‘a) answered, “Yes, it is.”

I added, “So, action is part of faith.”

The Imam (‘a) clarified:

لاَ یَثْبُتُ

لَهُ الإی-مَانُ إلاَّ بِالْعَمَلِ، وَالْعَمَلُ مِنْهُ.

“One’s faith is not substantiated without action, which is

part of faith.”(1)

This concept has been explained by some texts in various ways, such as in the following tradition:

In al-Kafi, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported that Hammad ibn `Amr al-Nusaybi said that someone once asked the knowledgeable Imam (‘a) the following question:

p: 43

1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:38, H.6.

“O Knowledgeable, inform me of the best of all deeds in the view of Almighty Allah.”

The Imam (‘a) answered:

مَا لاَ

یُقْبَلُ عَمَلٌ إِلاَّ بِهِ.

“It is verily the

deed without which no other deed will be accepted.”

“What is that?” asked the man.

The Imam (‘a) explained:

اَلإی-مَانُ بِاللهِ، الَّذِی هُوَ

أَعْلَی الأَعْمَالِ دَرَجَةً وَأَسْنَاهَا حَظّاً وَأَشْرَفُهَا مَنْزِلَةً.


is belief in Almighty Allah (i.e. faith), which is the highest of all deeds

in rank, the most sublime in measurement, and the most honorable in


“Please, tell me whether faith is both word and deed or only word without deed,” asked the reporter.

The Imam (‘a) answered:

الإی-مَانُ عَمَلٌ کُلُّهُ، وَالْقَوْلُ بَعْضُ ذَلِکَ

الْعَمَلِ بِفَرْضٍ مِنَ اللهِ بَیَّنَهُ فِی کِتَابِهِ، وَاضِحٌ نُورُهُ، ثَابِتَةٌ

حُجَّتُهُ، یَشْهَدُ بِهِ الْکِتَابُ وَیَدْعُو إلَیْهِ.


is deed all in all. Word (i.e. utterance of the creed of faith) is only part

of that deed according to a decree of Almighty Allah that He has shown in His

Book with obvious light and firm argument to which the Book (i.e. Qur’an)

testifies and upon which it calls.”

“Please, describe this to me so that I can understand it,” requested the reporter.

The Imam (‘a) said:

إنَّ الإی-مَانَ حَالاَتٌ وَدَرَجَاتٌ وَطَبَقَاتٌ وَمَنَازِلُ

فَمِنْهُ التَّامُّ الْمُنْتَهِی تَمَامُهُ وَمِنْهُ النَّاقِصُ الْمُنْتَهِی نُقْصَانُهُ

وَمِنْهُ الزَّائِدُ الرَّاجِحُ زِیَادَتُهُ.


is of various states, ranks, classes, and standings. Some people hold the

most perfect degree of faith, others an extremely deficient degree, and

others a ponderously abundant degree.”

p: 44

The reporter asked, “Can faith be perfect, increasable, and deficient?”

The Imam (‘a) answered, “Yes, it can.”

The reporter asked, “How is that?”

The Imam (‘a) said:

إنَّ اللهَ تَبَارَکَ

وَتَعَالَی فَرَضَ الإی-مَانَ عَلَی جَوَارِحِ بَنِی آدَمَ وَقَسَّمَهُ عَلَیْهَا

وَفَرَّقَهُ عَلَیْهَا؛ فَلَیْسَ مِنْ جَوَارِحِهِمْ جَارِحَةٌ إلاَّ وَهِیَ مُوَکَّلَةٌ

مِنَ الإی-مَانِ بِغَیْرِ مَا وُکِّلَتْ بِهِ أُخْتُهَا، فَمِنْهَا قَلْبُهُ الَّذِی

بِهِ یَعْقِلُ وَیَفْقَهُ وَیَفْهَمُ، وَهُوَ أَمِیرُ بَدَنِهِ الَّذِی لاَ تُورِدُ

الْجَوَارِحُ وَلاَ تَصْدُرُ إلاَّ عَنْ رَأْیِهِ وَأَمْرِهِ، وَمِنْهَا یَدَاهُ

اللَّتَانِ یَبْطِشُ بِهِمَا وَرِجْلاَهُ اللَّتَانِ یَمْشِی بِهِمَا وَفَرْجُهُ

الَّذِی البَاهُ مِنْ قِبَلِهِ وَلِسَانُهُ الَّذِی یَنْطِقُ بِهِ الْکِتَابَ وَیَشْهَدُ

بِهِ عَلَیْهَا، وَعَیْنَاهُ اللَّتَانِ یُبْصِرُ بِهِمَا، وَأُذُنَاهُ اللَّتَانِ

یَسْمَعُ بِهِمَا. وَفُرِضَ عَلَی الْقَلْبِ غَیْرُ مَا فُرِضَ عَلَی اللِّسَانِ،

وَفُرِضَ عَلَی اللِّسَانِ غَیْرُ مَا فُرِضَ عَلَی الْعَیْنَیْنِ، وَفُرِضَ عَلَی

الْعَیْنَیْنِ غَیْرُ مَا فُرِضَ عَلَی السَّمْعِ، وَفُرِضَ عَلَی السَّمْعِ غَیْرُ

مَا فُرِضَ عَلَی الْیَدَیْنِ، وَفُرِضَ عَلَی الْیَدَیْنِ غَیْرُ مَا فُرِضَ عَلَی

الرِّجْلَیْنِ، وَفُرِضَ عَلَی الرِّجْلَیْنِ غَیْرُ مَا فُرِضَ عَلَی الْفَرْجِ،

وَفُرِضَ عَلَی الْفَرْجِ غَیْرُ مَا فُرِضَ عَلَی الْوَجْهِ. فَأَمَّا مَا فُرِضَ

عَلَی الْقَلْبِ مِنَ الإی-مَانِ فَالإقْرَارُ وَالْمَعْرِفَةُ وَالتَّصْدِیقُ وَالتَّسْلِیمُ

وَالْعَقْدُ وَالرِّضَا بِأَنْ لاَ إلَهَ إلاَّ اللهُ وَحْدَهُ لاَ شَرِیکَ لَهُ،

أَحَداً صَمَداً لَمْ یَتَّخِذْ صَاحِبَةً وَلاَ وَلَداً، وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّداً، صَلَّی

اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ، عَبْدُهُ وَرَسُولُهُ.

“Verily, Allah, the

Blessed and Exalted, has imposed faith on the organs of human beings, spread it

out and distributed it among them. Therefore, every organ in the human body

is ordained with a sort of faith that is completely different from other

sorts imposed upon other organs. One of these organs is one’s heart with

which he can realize, comprehend, and understand things. It is the chief of

the body and all other organs cannot do or stop doing anything except by its

command. Other organs are his hands with which he can hold things, his feet

with which he can walk, private parts that receive commands from the heart, the

tongue with which he can utter (the texts of) the Book and testify to it, the

eyes with which he can see, and ears with which he can hear. The faith that

Almighty Allah has imposed on man’s heart is different from that which He has

imposed upon the tongue; the faith imposed upon the tongue is different from

that imposed upon the eyes; the faith imposed upon the eyes is different from

that imposed upon the hearing; the faith imposed upon the hearing is

different from that imposed upon the hands; the faith imposed upon the hands

is different from that imposed upon the feet; the faith imposed upon the feet

is different from that imposed upon the private parts; and the faith imposed

upon the private parts is different from that imposed on the face. The part

of faith that is imposed upon man’s heart is to profess, recognize, testify, submit,

avow and accept that there is no deity but Allah. Also, that He is the One

and Only, without any partner, Singular, eternally besought of all, has taken

neither consort nor son, and that Muhammad—may He bless him and his

Household—is His servant and messenger.”(1)

p: 45

1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:38, H.7.

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) said one’s faith is decided on the above grounds. They also believed that Almighty Allah’s commissioning with a duty must be in the scope of man’s ability and power.

p: 46

It has been narrated on the authority of `Ammar ibn al-Ahwas that Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) said:

إنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ

وَجَلَّ وَضَعَ الإی-مَانَ عَلَی سَبْعَةِ أَسْهُمٍ: عَلَی البِرِّ وَالصِّدْقِ

وَالْیَقِینِ وَالرِّضَا وَالْوَفَاءِ وَالْعِلْمِ وَالْحِلْمِ. ثُمَّ قَسَّمَ

ذَلِکَ بَیْنَ النَّاسِ. فَمَنْ جُعِلَ فِیهِ هَذِهِ السَّبْعَةُ الأَسْهُمِ

فَهُوَ کَامِلٌ مُحْتَمِلٌ. وَقَسَمَ لِبَعْضِ النَّاسِ السَّهْمَ وَلِبَعْضٍ

السَّهْمَیْنِ وَلِبَعْضٍ الثَّلاَثَةَ حَتَّی انْتَهَوا إلَی السَّبْعَةِ...

لاَ تَحْمِلُوا عَلَی صَاحِبِ السَّهْمِ سَهْمَیْنِ وَلاَ عَلَی صَاحِبِ

السَّهْمَیْنِ ثَلاَثَةً فَتَبْهَضُوهُمْ.

Verily, Allah, the Almighty and Majestic, has

placed faith on seven qualities: piety, honesty, certitude, contentedness,

loyalty, knowledge, and forbearance. Next, He distributed these qualities

among people. He who won all these seven qualities is definitely perfect (in

faith) and capable (of deserving all these seven qualities). He then granted

some people one quality, two qualities, and three qualities up to seven…Do

not impose two qualities of faith upon him who has been granted one only and

three qualities upon him who has been granted two only and so on up to all

seven, lest you overburden them.(1)

In a validly reported tradition, Sadir has reported that Imam al-Baqir (‘a) addressed him as follows:

إنَّ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ

عَلَی مَنَازِلَ؛ مِنْهُمْ عَلَی وَاحِدَةٍ، وَمِنْهُمْ عَلَی اثْنَتَیْنِ، وَمِنْهُمْ

عَلَی ثَلاَثٍ، وَمِنْهُمْ عَلَی أَرْبَعٍ، وَمِنْهُمْ عَلَی خَمْسٍ، وَمِنْهُمْ

عَلَی سِتٍّ، وَمِنْهُمْ عَلَی سَبْعٍ. فَلَوْ ذَهَبْتَ تَحْمِلُ عَلَی صَاحِبِ الْوَاحِدَةِ

ثِنْتَیْنِ لَمْ یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی صَاحِبِ الثِّنْتَیْنِ ثَلاَثاً لَمْ یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی

صَاحِبِ الثَّلاَثِ أَرْبَعاً لَمْ یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی صَاحِبِ الأَرْبَعِ خَمْساً لَمْ

یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی صَاحِبِ الْخَمْسِ سِتّاً لَمْ یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی صَاحِبِ السِّتِّ

سَبْعاً لَمْ یَقْوَ، وَعَلَی هَذِهِ الدَّرَجَاتِ.

Verily, the believers are

of various ranks. Some of them hold one rank only, others two, some others

three, some others four, some five, some others six, and some others seven.

If you impose (an act that cannot be done except by those who enjoy) two

ranks upon one who has one rank only, he will certainly fail to undertake it.

If you impose three ranks upon one who has two only, he will fail to

undertake it. If you impose four ranks upon one who has three only, he will

fail to undertake it. If you impose five ranks upon one who has four only, he

will fail to undertake it. If you impose six ranks upon one who has five

only, he will fail to undertake it. If you impose seven ranks upon one who

has six only, he will fail to undertake it. So also are the other ranks(2) of faith.(3)

p: 47

1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:42, H.1. To impose two qualities of faith upon one who has been granted only one…etc.—this means to charge one who has only one quality of faith with an act that cannot be done except by one who enjoys two qualities or more is unacceptable because he will not be able to undertake such.
2- - This may be an indication of the grades mentioned by Almighty Allah in the holy verse that reads, “They are of varying grades in the sight of Allah. (3:163)
3- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:45, H. 3.

In view of this, one’s faith is threatened when one deviates from practical behavior and abandons ethical conduct. Likewise, one’s faith is increased and perfected when one abides by the highest moral standards of behavior.

This also reveals to us a method of education and management. The more perfect one’s faith is, the more authorized to hold higher grades of duties and responsibilities. Similarly, whenever entrusting some responsibilities with some people, it is necessary to take into consideration their level of faith in order to restrict to them the duties that are rendered to those of lower ranks of

p: 48

faith, as is instructed in the aforementioned tradition.

Beyond doubt, such a method of understanding faith and the role that moral standards play in the composition of this faith has great positive effects on behavioral and moral commitments and on the undertaking of responsibilities and tasks.

Pattern of Conduct and Morality

The Holy Imams (‘a) firmly instructed their companions and followers to play the role of excellent exemplars and models of trust and reliance for the Muslim community.

Presenting the philosophy of history, the Holy Qur’an refers to two kinds of exemplars:

The first kind is the ‘Excellent Exemplar’ (al-uswah al-hasanah) that is perfect in ideals, values and moral commitments, such as the exemplary role played by Prophet Abraham (‘a), his companions, and Prophet Muhammad (s) as well as other Prophets and Messengers of Almighty Allah. In this respect, the Holy Qur’an reads:

َلَنُذِیقَنَّهُمْ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَدْنَی دُونَ الْعَذَابِ الْأَکْبَرِ لَعَلَّهُمْ یَرْجِعُونَ

Certainly, you have in the

Messenger of Allah an excellent example for him whose hope is Allah and the

latter day and remembers Allah much. (33:21)

قَدْ کَانَتْ لَکُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِی إِبْرَاهِیمَ وَالَّذِینَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَآءُ مِنْکُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ


there is for you a good example in Abraham and those with him when they said

to their people: Surely, we are clear of you and of what you serve besides

Allah. (60:4)

لَقَدْ کَانَ لَکُمْ فِیهِمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ کَانَ یَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْیَوْمَ الْآخِرَ


there is for you in them a good example, for him who fears Allah and the last day. (60:6)

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أُولَئِکَ الَّذِینَ آتَیْنَاهُمُ الْکِتَابَ وَالْحُکْمَ وَالنُّبُوَّةَ فَإِنْ یَکْفُرْ بِهَا هَؤُلَاءِ فَقَدْ وَکَّلْنَا بِهَا قَوْمًا لَیْسُوا بِهَا بِکَافِرِینَ

أُولَئِکَ الَّذِینَ هَدَی اللَّهُ فَبِهُدَاهُمُ اقْتَدِهْ قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُکُمْ عَلَیْهِ أَجْرًا إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِکْرَی لِلْعَالَمِینَ


are they to whom We gave the Book and the Wisdom and the prophecy; therefore,

if these disbelieve in it, We have already entrusted it to a people who are

not disbelievers in it. These are the ones whom Allah has guided; therefore,

follow their guidance. (6:89-90)

The second kind is the wicked exemplar (al-uswah al-sayyi'ah) which relies upon power, authority, and external domination. This is specifically the pattern of oppressors, tyrants, leaders of evil, ruling authorities, and the rich. Referring to these wicked exemplars, the Holy Qur’an states:

بَلْ قَالُوا إِنَّا وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا عَلَی أُمَّةٍ وَإِنَّا عَلَی آثَارِهِمْ مُهْتَدُونَ


They say: We found our fathers on a course and surely, we are guided by their

footsteps. (43:22)

وَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّا أَطَعْنَا سَادَتَنَا وَکُبَرَاءَنَا فَأَضَلُّونَا السَّبِیلَا


shall say: O our Lord! Surely, we obeyed our leaders and our great men, so

they led us astray from the path. (33:67)

Usually, man acts upon one of the following two basic factors in the issue of exemplar:

First, sound human nature and the effects of righteousness, decency, and sentiment within man’s inner self.

Second, whims, lusts, fear, craving, and the points of weakness and defect in man’s inner self.

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) urged their followers to mobilize and utilize the first factor in order to attain this social and human position.

`Abdullah ibn Abi-Ya`fur has reported Imam al-Jadiq (‘a)

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as saying:

کُونُوا دُعَاةً لِلنَّاسِ بِالْخَیْرِ بِغَیْرِ

ألْسِنَتِکُمْ، لِیَرَوْا مِنْکُمُ الإجْتِهَادَ وَالصِّدْقَ وَالْوَرَعَ.

Act as

heralds to goodness in the milieus of people by other means than your tongues

(i.e. speech) so that they can become aware of your diligence, honesty, and


Ibn `Abbas has reported that the Holy Prophet (s) was asked about the best of associates. He answered,

(خَیْرُ الْجُلَسَاءِ) مَنْ تُذَکِّرُکُمُ اللهَ رُؤْیَتُهُ،

وَیَزِیدُ فِی عِلْمِکُمْ مَنْطِقُهُ، وَیُرَغِّبُکُمْ فِی الآخِرَةِ عَمَلُهُ.


best associate) is he who reminds you of Almighty Allah when you see him,

increases your knowledge when he speaks, and awakens your desires for the

Hereafter when he acts.(2)

Imam Zayn al-`Abidin (‘a) is reported to have said:

إنَّ أَبْغَضَ النَّاسِ إلَی اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

مَنْ یَقْتَدِی بِسُنَّةِ إمَامٍ وَلاَ یَقْتَدِی بِأَعْمَالِهِ.


the most hated of all people by Allah—the Almighty and Majestic—is one who

follows the beliefs of a leader but does not imitate his conduct.(3)

Decency and Good Manners

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) conferred a vital role upon decency(4) in practical social life. According to the

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1- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 8:513, H. 1.
2- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 8:412, H. 4.
3- - Shaykh al-Sadur, al-Khisal 1:21, H. 62; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 71:178, H. 25.
4- - Decency (`adalah) is a supreme rank of straightness and righteousness on the path of the religion, or mental disposition that prevents man from falling prey to prohibitions and abandoning obligatory acts or repenting after committing a sin.

Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School, decency is essential in people who hold such offices, positions, and acts like rulership, judicature, governmental offices, issuance of religious laws, leading congregational prayers, testifying in litigations, divorces, and other offices listed in books on the practical laws of Islam. This is clear-cut evidence regarding the fact that decency, as a quality, is of great importance, since it plays a vital role in social life.

Decency is so important that it is preferred to knowledge and experience. Hence, knowledge of a person who lacks decency and piety is worthless. Moreover, knowledge without piety denotes mischief. Therefore, the Holy Imams (‘a) have intensely warned against wicked scholars (i.e. knowledgeable persons who lack decency).

Thus, decency has occupied a special position in the mentality and psychological and spiritual conditions of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). It has also had a profound impact on the attitudes of jurisprudents, judges, politicians, and managers of public activities.

Such understanding of decency is missing in other Muslim sects or the religious milieus to which these sects belong. For instance, other Muslim sects admit, yet with discrepancy, that a decadent person (fasiq) may lead a congregational prayer and rule over the Muslim community. They also show lenience regarding the capacity of witnesses.

Without a doubt, decency holds a connotation wider than trustworthiness and reliability; therefore, it engrosses a wide-ranging moral aspect.

Naturally, decency that is essential in witnesses differs in

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degree from decency essential in rulers, governors, judges, and issuers of verdicts (mufti). In the latter, decency must be of a higher degree in order to be compatible with the significance of these offices and enable such people to handle their psychological and social pressures easily.

Method of Self-Purification

The Holy Imams (‘a) have instituted certain methods for the virtuous community to attain self-purification and the required degree of high morality. One of these is struggle with the carnal self.

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Struggle With The Carnal Self: Proposition And Approach


We need to understand the Islamic approach and proposition of struggle with the carnal self as a topic. Briefly, we can allude to the following aspects:

First: Human life is extensively long in the sense that it is not restricted to existence in this world, which is in fact short and limited when compared to the eternal life of human beings. This worldly existence is a period of test and tribulation but, because of its short term, it is treated as a period of “play, idle talk, pageantry, and boasting.” On the other hand, the other eternal life is the Hereafter in which the reality of all actions and their just consequences materialize.

Second: The basis of perfection of human life is the human soul, or self, not the physical aspect—the body—because that which survives and continues to exist and develop is the self not the body, which eventually perishes, reverses in nature, changes, and transforms.

Thus, struggle with the carnal self is an element of perfection of the human self.

Third: Almighty Allah created man and gave him reason, recognition of Him, a general inclination towards true guidance, and recognition of truths and causes of advantages and disadvantages, yet in a general manner. Almighty Allah also placed in man fancies and lusts that can allure him towards worldly life in order to test and try him on the one hand and to make these fancies act us a motivating power on the other. Hence, these are two factors, both parallel and opposite, that

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create human activity.

Besides, Almighty Allah has granted man the capability of creating personal activities, notions about the future, and arriving at generalizations. As a result, human volition has been the decisive factor in man’s movement and choice of certain acts.

Whenever man applies his reason to direct his will and choice and prevail over them, he will advance on the path of perfection. On the other hand, if man allows his fancy and lusts to prevail over his will and direct his actions, he will slip onto the path of deterioration and regression.

In the earlier hypothesis, the passions—directed by reason and knowledge—become energy that propel towards perfection, while in the latter, they become destructive and detrimental energy.

Fourth: Out of His kindness, mercy, magnanimity, wisdom and infinite knowledge, Almighty Allah sent the prophets with books, missions and guidance through Divine revelation in order to lead humanity towards the truth especially when facts are confused and the truth resembles falsehood or when man fails to realize and appreciate the truth or his benefit and loss.

The average person fails to recognize these truths and advantages; therefore, the prophets and messengers of Almighty Allah undertake the missions of conveying His messages, leading humanity to righteousness, teaching the Holy Book and wisdom, judging with justice between people in matters wherein they differ and witnessing their conduct and activity.

Fifth: If human will coincides with the Divine Legislative Will represented by Divine edicts, laws, and provisions, the human self will attain perfection because it will be compatible with the truth and its advantages. To achieve this, man is required to

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strive against his fancies and control his lusts in order to make them fall in line with the religious laws.

Moreover, struggle with the self—against fancies and lusts—intrinsically leads to self-perfection, which is the groundwork of human perfection, just as physical self-perfection can be attained through physical exertion and sports.

Islam has set up a definite course to overcome psychological strife of the self and attain self-perfection. Of course, this course has certain pillars, foundations, and practical forms. The following is a summary of these pillars and foundations in addition to other general aspects that relate to the practical forms and methods. Details are postponed for another occasion.(1)

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1- - In my exegesis of Surah al-Jumu`ah (No. 62) I have thrashed out the course of purification and education in Islam. In the discussions of the ‘Social Relations System’ and ‘Rituals and Acts of Worship System’, I will introduce an aspect of this topic.

The Way


The pillars of the Ahl al-Bayt’s Islamic method of struggle with the carnal self are as follows. The detailed features can be obtained from discussions published on the topic of struggle with the carnal self or self-purification.(1)

First: One of the foundations of struggle with the carnal self, according to Islam and the Ahl al-Bayt’s instructions, is to strengthen one’s ties with Almighty Allah through:

(1) Strong faith in Him

(2) Full trust in Him

(3) A good concept of Allah

(4) Sincerity in deed and intention

(5) Love for Him

(6) Fear of Him

(7) Hope in Him

Second: The second foundation of struggle with the carnal self is to comply with reason that guides towards the truth. One of the features of complying with reason is to depend upon knowledge and erudition to face ignorance and fancies and avoid falling under their influence. In view of this fact, Divine punishment and reward will be in

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1- - I have dealt with this topic, in some details, in my lectures of Ramazan, 1413-1414. Traditions in this respect are overlooked on account of briefingbrevity. However, these traditions can be seen in al-Hurr al-`Amili’s Wasa'il al-Shi`ah, Vol. 11, Section: Self-StrifeStruggle with the Carnal Self, Section: Enjoining the Right and Forbidding the Evil, and other sections.

accordance with one’s reason. It is strongly recommended to consult one’s reason and then give preference to it over fancy in all matters that one may face in life.

Third: The other foundation of struggle with the carnal self includes the avoidance of disobedience to Almighty Allah, sins, and wrongdoing and the practice of piety, chastity and restraint when the self inclines towards evil and lusts. The next stage is identifying one’s development in the struggle against the carnal self, control over tendencies, and use of faculties of the self within legal restrictions. The positive and negative psychological and spiritual consequences on life are connected to such commitment to contend with the self.

Fourth: The fourth foundation of struggle with the carnal self can be summarized in the following points:

(1) Be steadfast in obeying Almighty Allah

(2) Be committed to religious duties

(3) Forsake acts of disobedience

(4) Avoid committing forbidden acts

(5) Withstand psychological and external pressures by means of refraining from surrendering, accepting, or submitting to them

(6) Persist in the path of obedience

(7) Shun all acts of disobedience

(8) Strengthen factors of patience

(9) Develop willpower and capability for endurance

(10) Control one’s emotions and passivity by strengthening one’s willpower

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Fifth: Another foundation of struggle with the carnal self is the practice of calling oneself to account and monitoring one’s deeds and activities as well as emotions, feelings, and senses. By doing this one can figure out the scope of compatibility of one’s acts, behavior, emotions and feelings with religious laws, Islamic morals, perfective features and noble goals that Almighty Allah has put before man along his progress towards self-perfection.

Sixth: The other foundation is to repent and frequently turn to Almighty Allah whenever one feels that he has deviated from the path of truth and the straight course of justice, and whenever one falls into sin and wrongdoing or unwittingly commits offences. As soon as man finds himself performing such wrong deeds, he must hurry to repent by feeling sorry, confessing that he has committed a sin, determining to commit himself to religious duties, and compensating for the financial or moral wrongdoings that he may have committed against others.

Seventh: The seventh foundation is to detect sources of lustful drives, such as egoism and pursuance of desires like “women, sons, and hoarded treasures of gold and silver.” It also requires detecting psychological tendencies in one’s personality, such as rage, envy, hunger for power, arrogance, cavorting about, avarice, laziness, tribal or national fanaticism, ignorance-based zealotry, wronging others, inclination to transgression, violation of others’ rights, and so on. The stage following detection must be to remedy these drives and be watchful of them.

Eighth: Creation of immunity, resistance, impregnability, and refuge against fancies inside the human self can play a major role in the establishment of the high level of struggle

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against the carnal self that guides man in his progress towards self-perfection. To achieve such strength in the inner self, one needs to commit oneself to performing recommended acts and avoiding forbidden acts. Such commitment builds a defensive fence around the self to prevent it from falling under the influences of fancies. When this is done, the self climbs more steps towards self-perfection.

More Methods for Struggle with the Carnal Self

In addition to the above, other methods of struggle with the carnal self can be derived from general Islamic teachings, as follows:

(1) Supplicatory prayers (pl. ad`iyah/sing. du`a') and remembrance of Almighty Allah (i.e. dhikr): The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt ('a) set a course of supplicatory prayers and words and statements of dhikr that cover all the hours of days and nights. They also invited attention to the importance of devotional acts practiced on nights such as:

The Qadr Nights (the 19th, 21st, and 23rd of Ramazan); Thursday nights (i.e. the nights before Fridays);

The nights preceding the Feast Days (i.e. `«d—the 1st of Shawwal and 10th of Dhu’l-Hijjah);

The eves of Islamic occasions such as the eves of the Holy Prophet’s birth, the Divine Mission, `«d al-Ghadir, the 15th of Sha`ban…etc.

In addition to these nights, certain days of the year are of special significance with regard to acts of worship, such as:

The first nine days of Dhu’l-Hijjah;

The Tashriq Days (the 11th, 12th, and 13th of Dhu’l-Hijjah);

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The `«d Days, including the day of `«d Ghadir;

The Holy Prophet’s birthday;

The anniversary of the Divine Mission;

The day of `Ashura', and other special days.

(2) Special Recommended Prayers: The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt ('a) prescribed a number of voluntary prayers to be performed at any time. These are prayers ascribed to the Fourteen Infallibles, Ja`far al-Tayyar’s Prayer, and other prayers, as well as other general prayers to be voluntarily offered on particular nights that have special devotional acts, such as the nights of Ramazan and Islamic anniversaries.

(3) Other Acts of Worship: The Holy Imams ('a) have also recommended other devotional, yet voluntary, acts such as fasting, confinement to mosques (i`tikaf), `Umrah, visitations to the tombs of the Holy Prophet (s), the Holy Imams (‘a) and the righteous servants of Almighty Allah. Statements of glorification of Almighty Allah (dhikr), giving alms from one’s wealth for the sake of Allah, and visiting one’s relatives, neighbors, brethren-in-faith and even Muslims in general are included.

The minute details of all these devotional acts can be found in reference books of hadith on chapters dedicated to certain subjects like struggle with the carnal self, self-perfection, skill in social relationships, affiliation with one’s brethren-in-faith and excellent moral behavior. Practicing such devotional acts escalates the moral aspects and behavioral commitments and strengthens the personality at both individual and social levels.

Details of these acts are discussed in the coming book on Rituals and Acts of the Worship System.

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Chapter Three: Cultural Aspect


Culture, or education, occupies the third place of importance in the process of building the virtuous community. It can portray the correct features of this community, since it represents the proportionally detailed outlines of the doctrinal and moral content and the foundation on which the superstructure of the virtuous community can be established. The institutions, programs, and consequences of education can maintain the endurance and continuity of this structure in addition to connecting with the doctrinal and moral aspects. Education helps make these aspects become part of the culture by which the nation abides.

Education is a well-fortified shelter that can maintain the doctrines and morals of the nation on the one hand and supply the people with a high moral spirit on the other.

It can also hold together the nation and the virtuous community from all parts of the world to unify them on their path, affairs, and goals. This is so because education monitors the details of the social structure and supplies all aspects with the concepts it needs at political, economic, social, organizational, or security levels and even at the levels of form, content, and purport.

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School has granted the educational

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aspect a special privilege and particular significance through their actions and by building the virtuous community.

No doubt, the Holy Qur’an, being the richest source of Islamic education in the view of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), has been the object of their greatest interest. For that reason, Imam `Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a) took the initiative of compiling the Holy Qur’an based on its revelation and interpretation.

In this respect, `Amr ibn Abi’l-Miqdam has reported on the authority of Jabir that he heard Imam al-Baqir (‘a) saying:

مَا إدَّعَی أَحَدٌ مِنَ النَّاسِ أَنَّهُ جَمَعَ

الْقُرْآنَ کُلَّهُ کَمَا أُنْزِلَ إلاَّ کَذَّابٌ؛ وَمَا جَمَعَهُ وَحَفِظَهُ

کَمَا نَزَّلَهُ اللهُ تَعَالَی إلاَّ عَلِیُّ بْنُ أَبِی طَالِبٍ وَالأَئِمَّةُ

مِنْ بَعْدِهِ.


may claim that he compiled the entire Qur’an as exactly as it was revealed

but a liar. None compiled and preserved it as exactly as it was revealed

except `Ali ibn Abi-Talib (‘a) and the Imams (‘a) after him.(1)

Likewise, Imam `Ali (‘a) was the first to compile, write down and preserve the Prophetic Traditions (Sunnah), because these traditions are considered the second source of Islamic culture. His efforts resulted in the Comprehensive Document (al-Jahifah al-Jami`ah) that was transferred to the Holy Imams (‘a) thereafter.

Abu-Basir has reported Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) as saying:

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1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 1:228, H. 1. Undoubtedly, ‘compilation’ in this tradition must stand for collecting the Holy Qur’an with all of its peculiarities that went along with it, beginning with the reasons for the revelation of its verses and its inferences including the Holy Prophet’s explanations of it.

یَا أَبَا مُحَمَّدٍ! وَإنَّ عِنْدَنَا الْجَامِعَةَ.

وَمَا یُدْرِیهِمْ مَا الْجَامِعَةُ؟ صَحِیفَةٌ طُولُهَا سَبْعُونَ ذِرَاعاً

بِذِرَاعِ رَسُولِ اللهِ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ، وَإمْلاَئِهِ مَنْ

فَلْقِ فِیهِ وَخَطِّ عَلِیٍّ بِیَمِینِهِ. فِیهَا کُلُّ حَلاَلٍ وَحَرَامٍ

وَکُلُّ شَیْءٍ یَحْتَاجُ النَّاسُ إلَیْهِ حَتَّی الأَرْشَ مِنَ الْخَدْشِ.


Abu-Muhammad, we do have the Jami`ah with us. What do they know about

the Jami`ah? It is a seventy-cubit long document that was measured and

directly dictated by Allah’s Messenger (s) and handwritten by `Ali (‘a). It

includes all that which is lawful and unlawful and everything people may

need, even matters that are as minute as the expiation for a scratch.(1)

Abu-Basir has also reported that he heard Imam al-Jadiq (‘a), talking about the verdicts of Ibn Shabramah, saying:

أَیْنَ هُوَ مِنَ الْجَامِعَةِ؟ أَمْلَی رَسُولُ

اللهِ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ، وَخَطَّهُ عَلِیٌّ بِیَدِهِ. فِیهَا

جَمِیعُ الْحَلاَلِ وَالْحَرَامِ حَتَّی أَرْشُ الْخَدْشِ فِیهِ.


can he be compared with the Jami`ah? It is the dictations of Allah’s Messenger

(s) and the handwriting of `Ali (‘a). It comprises all that which is legal

and illegal even matters that are as minute as the expiation for a scratch.(2)

Additionally, Imam `Ali (‘a), after the Messenger of Allah (s), was the most knowledgeable of all people, the most skilled in judgment, and the most experienced in the lawful and the unlawful issues as well as the interpretation of the Holy Qur’an. He was verily the door to the city of the Holy

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1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 1:239, H. 1; al-Jaffar, Basa'ir al-Darajat, p. 143, H. 4 and pp. 151-152, H. 3; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 26:22, H. 11.
2- - Al-Jaffar, Basa'ir al-Darajat, p. 145, H. 15; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 26:35, H. 61 (quoted from the earlier reference book).

Prophet’s knowledge.

At the level of practice, Imam `Ali (‘a) was the most liberal of all people in cultural and educational aspects after the Holy Prophet (s). He was the first to set courses and invent new branches in the sciences of education. He is thus the founder of a number of sciences, such as jurisprudence (fiqh), hadithology, exegesis of the Holy Qur’an (tafsir), syntax (nahw), and many others.(1)

The same course of Imam `Ali (‘a) has been followed by the other Holy Imams (‘a), their followers and partisans who, directed by the Holy Imams (‘a), founded the Islamic sciences.(2)

In the field of education, while building the virtuous community, the Holy Imams (‘a) worked on diagnosing and constructing two important projects:

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1- - This subject will be discussed in further detail in the coming book regarding the intellectual referential authority.
2- - Refer to Sayyid Hasan al-Jadr, Ta'sis al-Shi`ah li-`Ulum al-Islam (The Shi`ah: Founders of the Sciences of Islam). This book has been summarized in Al-Shi`ah wa-Funun al-Islam (The Shi`ah and Islamic Arts) and Mu'allifu al-Shi`ah fi’l-Islam (Shi`ite Authors in Islam) by Sayyid `Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Din.

First Project Cultural And Educational Courses

Any educational course plays a major role in successfully strengthening the cultural aspect of the virtuous community by making its individuals competent enough to fulfill their requirements and fill the gaps of their cultural needs.

While building the virtuous community culturally, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) adopted four cultural policies that complemented each other. These policies are as follows:

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Freedom of Thought and Sources of Islamic Education

First Line: Freedom of Thought and Accurate Ijtihad

Freedom of thought and accurate ijtihad forms the general framework and foundation of educational policy. A reference to this point, which is one of the distinctive features by which the jurisprudence of the Twelver Imamiyyah sect outmatches other sects and jurisprudential schools, has been made in the previous chapter regarding intellectual and doctrinal aspects. We saw that the Holy Imams (‘a) had a clear-cut goal and accurate course on which their educational school was set up and its scientific foundations framed. This framework was established on the following foundations:

First: The Holy Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah (traditions) of the Holy Prophet (s) are the essential sources of Islamic culture in all fields such as historical-philosophy, socio-philosophy, Muslim jurisprudence, ethics, ideology, cosmology, literature, and linguistics.

Second: The principle of the referential authority of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) must be observed in understanding Islam, its convictions and in obtaining Islamic law. In fact, Islamic texts, history and Prophetic traditions have suffered inaccuracy in interpretations and explanations in addition to variety and multiplicity in situations and trends.

The policy of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School firmly attests that the Holy Imams (‘a) are the referential authorities in obtaining an accurate understanding of Islam in addition to being the divinely appointed leaders of the Muslim nation and the legitimate representatives of the Holy Prophet (s). The famous hadith al-thaqalayn (Tradition of the Two

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Weighty Things) has referred to this very fact, as has been previously cited.(1)

Third: Jurisprudential rules and fundamental principles of Islam can be inferred from the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah—the two sources of Islamic legislation. General rules and universal laws can be applied in order to deal with the latest developments. The Holy Legislator has left the Representative of the Holy Prophet (s), the Holy Imam (‘a) or a well-qualified jurisprudent, to deduct laws from their sources.

Inasmuch as the Islamic system is the final divinely revealed code of law, it must cover all ages and times. In view of this fact, jurisprudents and well-versed scholars are required to play the role of inferring the secondary and circumstantial religious laws from their sources in order to meet with the latest circumstances, on condition that such inference is based on the general laws of Islam. Furthermore, jurisprudents and scholars are required to assess the legal situation and human responsibility towards every event and condition.

As a part of the mission, competent scholars are required to implement the Qur’anic verses regarding Islamic law in their inferences regarding new developments that occur in Muslim life in general. They are also required to apply historical concepts and norms to their inferences attributed to the social and political conditions of the Muslim community.

Fourth: Considerable attention has been paid by the Holy Imams (‘a) to teach their followers the precise method of

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1- - Proofs on this fact will be cited in a coming book about the referential authority of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) within this series.

inference of religious laws from their sources and the accurate approach of using the Islamic texts (i.e. texts of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah) in the most appropriate way. They are expected to compare the texts, which seem to be contradictory, with one another in order to come up with an acceptable result and to uncover points of concurrence and connection between them and also prefer some texts over others on the basis of certain regulations and standards that are defined in `Ilm al-Usul (Fundamentals of Muslim Jurisprudence).

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) asserted the significance of familiarization with the abrogating and abrogated, decisive and allegorical, general and particular, concise and elaborate texts of the sources of the religious legislation before a process of inference of religious laws is carried out. They also emphasized the use of the method of dealing with such texts and understanding some of them in the light of others. This matter was one of the gifts in which Imam `Ali (‘a) used to excel over the other companions of the Holy Prophet (s), since it was one of his peculiar excellences.

Ijtihad and Vitality of Islamic Law

The objective of such meticulous freedom of thought was to accomplish the following two significant matters:

First: Freedom of thought aimed at creating among every generation a class of well-qualified scholars competent enough to infer religious laws from their genuine and fundamental sources. This was done to avoid falling into chaotic situations due to reliance upon the opinionism(1) in

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1- - Opinionism (in Islamic traditions) is the trend of using personal views and conjectures in the issuance of religious verdicts.

which the opinionists (ashab al-ra'y) had fallen; in other words, the Hadithists had become inert by depending upon a single text and not subjecting these single texts to perfect comprehension by comparing them to other texts. In fact, the totality of Almighty Allah’s words (i.e. the Holy Qur’an), the Holy Prophet’s traditions (i.e. Sunnah), and the Holy Imams’ (‘a) reported discourses are considered one word—one explaining the other—just like the uninterrupted speech of an individual when the first, middle, or the last part of that speech indicates the speech as a whole.

Second: Freedom of thought aimed at maintaining the vitality of the religious code of Islamic law and sustaining its capability to adapt itself to the changing circumstances and developments, without (1) falling victim to the perils of distortion, falsification and imitating other jurisprudential schools, (2) interpreting the sacred texts inappropriately, or (3) challenging the truth due to the political and cultural chaos into which the Muslim world had fallen as a result of the spread of seditious matters and painful events suffered by Muslims all through history.

p: 71

Seeking Knowledge and Learning

Second Line: Promotion of Seeking of Knowledge

The second line in the educational course of the Holy Imams (‘a) is urging seeking of knowledge in general and knowledge of the religious law in particular. In the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School, seeking knowledge has become a religious duty, the violation of which brings about accountability. Books of hadith have dedicated separate chapters to this subject, since many traditions, such as the following, have confirmed it:

Imam al-Riza (‘a) has reported Imam `Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a) as saying:

سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ

وَآلِهِ، یَقُولُ: طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِیضَةٌ عَلَی کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ... بِهِ

یُطَاعُ الرَّبُّ، وَبِهِ تُوصَلُ الأَرْحَامُ، وَبِهِ یُعْرَفُ الْحَلاَلُ

وَالْحَرَامُ. اَلعْلِمُ إمَامُ الْعَمَلِ، وَالْعَمَلُ تَابِعُهُ: یُلْهَمُهُ

السُّعَدَاءُ وَیُحْرَمُهُ الأَشْقِیَاءُ.

I heard the Messenger of Allah (s) saying, “Seeking knowledge

is obligatory upon every Muslim… Through it, the Lord is obeyed (properly), kinships

are observed, and lawful and unlawful (matters) are recognized. Knowledge is

the leader of deed while deed is its follower. Knowledge is inspired in the blessed

but withheld from the wretched.”(1)

Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) is reported to have said,

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1- - Shaykh al-Tusi, al-Amali, pp. 487-488; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 1:171, H. 24 (quoted from the earlier reference book).

لَوْ عَلِمَ النَّاسُ مَا فِی الْعِلْمِ

لَطَلَبُوهُ وَلَوْ بِسَفْکِ الْمُهَجِ وَخَوْضِ اللُّجَجِ.


people realized the benefits of knowledge, they would have certainly sought

it even by exposing themselves to death and the toil of tumults.(1)

Zayd al-Zarrad has reported Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) as saying:

قَالَ أَبُو جَعْفَرٍ الْبَاقِرُ عَلَیْهِ

السَّلاَمُ: یَا بُنَیَّ؛ إعْرِفْ مَنَازِلَ الشِّیعَةِ عَلَی قَدْرِ

رِوَایَتِهِمْ وَمَعْرِفَتِهِمْ، فَإنَّ الْمَعْرِفَةَ هِیَ الدِّرَایَةُ

لِلرِّوَایَةِ، وَبِالدِّرَایَاتِ لِلرِّوَایَاتِ یَعْلُو الْمُؤْمِنُ إلَی

أَقْصَی دَرَجَاتِ الإی-مَانِ. إنِّی نَظَرْتُ فِی کِتَابٍ لِعَلِیٍّ عَلَیْهِ

السَّلاَمُ فَوَجَدْتُ فِی الْکِتَابِ: إنَّ قِیمَةَ کُلِّ إمْرِئٍ وَقَدْرَهُ


Imam (Abu-Ja`far) al-Baqir ('a) said, “O Son, you can recognize the

ranks of the Shi`ah according to their reports and knowledge. Verily,

knowledge is to have acquaintance with the traditions. Through familiarity

with traditions, a believer can mount up to the furthest rank of belief. As I

looked at it, I found the following in the Book of `Ali (‘a): “The value and

worth of each individual is his/her knowledge.”(2)

Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) is also reported as saying:

إِعْرِفُوا مَنَازِلَ شِیعَتِنَا بِقَدْرِ مَا

یُحْسِنُونَ مِنْ رِوَایَاتِهِمْ عَنَّا، فَإنَّا لاَ نَعُدُّ الْفَقِیهَ

مِنْهُمْ فَقِیهاً حَتَّی یَکُونَ مُحَدَّثاً... اَلْمُؤْمِنُ یَکُونُ

مُفَهَّماً، وَالْمُفَهَّمُ مُحَدَّثٌ.

You can recognize the

standings of our Shi`ah (i.e. adherents) through recognizing the amount of

their reporting of our traditions in a proficient way. We cannot regard the

jurisprudents among them as true jurisprudents until they prove themselves as

reporters of our traditions…A believer can receive understanding of things

(from the angels), and one who receives understanding is actually talked to

by the angels.(3)

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1- - Ibn Abi-Jumhur, `Awali al-La'ali 4:61, H. 9; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 1:171, H. 53 (quoted from the earlier reference book).
2- - Shaykh al-Jaduq, Ma`ani al-Akhbar, p. 1, H. 2; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 2:184, H. 4 (quoted from the earlier reference book).
3- Al-Kashshi, Ikhtiyar Ma`rifat al-Rijal 1:61, H. 2; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 2:82, H. 1 (quoted from the earlier reference book).

In this respect, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) did not stop at touching this matter in general terms; rather, they portrayed the steps leading to it. These steps are as follows:

Knowledge and Opinion

The Holy Imams (‘a) laid much stress on adopting the Qur’anic methodology of research, highlighting the role of science and positivism in obtaining knowledge as opposed to the course of adopting conjecture and surmise. As has been previously cited, the Holy Imams (‘a) attached acquaintance with the religious laws to the authentic resources of these laws. In addition, they asserted that the dependence upon these resources must be consistent with the methodology of research founded on study and learning derived from the true scholars, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

As a result of these instructions, the Holy Imams (‘a) blocked the way of adopting surmise and personal views, opinions and conjecture, such as the so-called principles of equitable preference (istihsan), analogy (qiyas), acceptable advantages (al-masalih al-mursalah) and similar invented principles. Divine truths, religious laws and the details of

p: 74

advantages and disadvantages related to these laws cannot be realized except by Divine revelation and inspiration. This is granted to prophets and divinely selected individuals or by learning, erudition, recording, and taking from the true scholars who are the Household of the Holy Prophet (s) and trustees of Divine revelation.

The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said:

مَنْ عَمِلَ عَلَی غَیْرِ عِلْمٍ کَانَ مَا یُفْسِدُ

أَکْثَرَ مِمَّا یُصْلِحُ.

He who acts without

knowledge will bring about more corruption than correction.(1)

Imam ‘Ali Amir al-Mu’minin (‘a) said:

إنَّ النَّاسَ آلُوا بَعْدَ رَسُولِ اللهِ، صَلَّی

اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ، إلَی ثَلاَثَةٍ: آلُوا إلَی عَالِمِ هُدیً مِنَ اللهِ

قَدْ أَغْنَاهُ اللهُ بِمَا عَلِمَ عَنْ غَیْرِهِ، وَجَاهِلٍ مُدَّعٍ لِلْعِلْمِ

لاَ عِلْمَ لَهُ، مُعْجَبٍ بِمَا عِنْدَهُ، قَدْ فَتَنَتْهُ الدُّنْیَا وَفَتَنَ

غَیْرَهُ، وَمُتَعَلِّمٍ مِنْ عَالِمٍ عَلَی سَبِیلِ هُدیً مِنَ اللهِ

وَنَجَاةٍ. ثُمَّ هَلَکَ مَنِ إدَّعَی وَخَابَ مَنِ إفْتَرَی.

After the departure of Allah’s Messenger (s), the people separated into three

groups. One group represented the scholars that were truly guided by Almighty

Allah Who made them needless of other than Him due to the knowledge He gave

them (i.e. the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)). Another group represented the ignorant ones

who pretended to be knowledgeable while they lacked knowledge. They were

admirers of what they had. They were tempted by this world while they

themselves tempted others. The third group represented those who were

learning from scholars for the sake of finding Allah’s guidance and

salvation. Beyond these three categories, perdition befall him who claims

falsely and frustration befall him who forges lies.(2)

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1- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:12, S (section) 4, H. 13.
2- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:7, S. 3, H. 4.

Imam al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said:

مَنْ أَفْتَی النَّاسَ بِغَیْرِ عِلْمٍ وَلاَ هُدیً

مِنَ اللهِ لَعَنَتْهُ مَلاَئِکَةُ الرَّحْمَةِ وَمَلاَئِکَةُ الْعَذَابِ،

وَلَحِقَهُ وِزْرُ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِفِتْیَاهُ.

He who gives a verdict

without knowledge and true guidance will be cursed by the angels of mercy and

the angels of chastisement and will be responsible for the deeds of those who

acted upon his verdict.(1)

Answering the question of his companion who asked him to mention the creatures’ duty towards Almighty Allah, Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

أَنْ یَقُولُوا مَا یَعْلَمُونَ، وَیَکُفُّوا عَمَّا

لاَ یَعْلَمُونَ، فَإذَا فَعَلُوا أَدُّوا إلَی اللهِ حَقَّهُ.

They are required to say

only that which they know and refrain from that which they do not know. If

they do so, then they will have carried out their duty towards Almighty


Recording the Hadith

In addition to memorizing, reflecting on, and comprehending the Holy Qur’an, the Holy Imams (‘a) highlighted the significance of reporting, memorizing, and recording the Hadith. In this regard, history has recorded a precedence for the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers who were the first to record, maintain, and circulate the Hadith, especially after the Holy Sunnah had been in danger of extinction due to negativity shown by the second caliph in the earliest age of Islam. When the suggestion of recording

p: 76

1- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:9, S. 4, H. 1, 11, 14.
2- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:12, S. 4, H. 10. Refer to Chapter: Qualifications of Judges in the same reference book, S. 6 (Illegality of Analogy and Conjectures), H. 14, 15, 20, 21.

the Hadith was put before him, the second caliph rejected it, claiming that such records would have a negative bearing on retaining the Holy Qur’an and distract the public from it (i.e. the Holy Qur’an).(1)

As a result of the trend of recording and reporting the Hadith under the encouragement of the Holy Imams (‘a), their companions attained high ranks in jurisprudence and general knowledge in which they excelled over all others.(2)

By virtue of these instructions, the companions of the Holy Imams (‘a), in successive ages, endeavored to write down and record the ahadith (plural of hadith). These recordings were known as al-Usul al-Arba`mi'ah (The Four Hundred Principles). Some of the Holy Imams’(‘a) companions, such as Aban ibn Taghlib and `Ubaydullah ibn `Ali al-Halabi referred to these recordings.(3) The Holy Imams (‘a) praised those companions who undertook this work, including Burayd ibn Mu`awiyah al-`Ajli, Abu-Basir, Muhammad ibn Muslim, and Zurarah ibn A`yun.(4)

Propagation of Knowledge and Learning

The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) instructed their companions and followers to seek knowledge and learn. They highlighted these two activities as much as they focused on retaining and recording the Hadith. Consequently, these practices became as important as recording the Hadith.

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1- - Ibn Sa`d, al-Tabaqat al-Kubra 5:140; Ibn `Abd al-Barr, Jami` Bayan al-`Ilm 2:147; al-Dhahabi, Tadhkirat al-Huffaz 1:4-5; al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-`Ummal 5:239, H. 4865.
2- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:61, S. 8, Jifat al-Qazi (Qualifications of Judges), H. 35.
3- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:72-3, S. 8, H. 80-81.
4- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:57-59, H. 14, 16, 21.

As a result, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) managed to pave the way for making seeking of knowledge easy-to-obtain and within reach by the individuals of the virtuous community despite the difficult political circumstances encountered by these individuals. They suffered constant harassment by the ruling authorities who also imposed economic and educational boycotts on them.

Shaykh al-Kulayni, in his book of al-Kafi, has reported Mu`awiyah ibn `Ammar as saying, I asked (Abu`Abdullah) Imam al-Jadiq (‘a), “There is a reporter of your traditions who spreads them among people so as to show them and your partisans the right way. There is, on the other hand, a worshipper among your partisans that does not have such ability to report your traditions. Which one is better?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:

الرَّاوِیَةُ لِحَدِیثِنَا یَشُدُّ بِهِ قُلُوبَ

شِیعَتِنَا أَفْضَلُ مِنْ أَلْفِ عَابِدٍ.


reporter of our traditions who strengthens the hearts of our Shi`ah

(partisans) is better than a thousand worshippers.(1)

The Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said:

تَذَاکَرُوا وَتَلاَقَوْا

وَتَحَدَّثُوا؛ فَإنَّ الْحَدِیثَ جَلاَءٌ لِلْقُلُوبِ. إنَّ الْقُلُوبَ

لَتَرِینُ کَمَا یَرِینُ السَّیْفُ، جَلاَؤهُ الْحَدِیدُ.


sessions of discussions, meet each other, and exchange discourses. Verily,

discourses polish hearts. Just as swords rust and are then polished by iron,

so also do hearts rust.(2)

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1- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:52, S. 8, H. 1.
2- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:52, S. 8, H. 3. According to other forms of this tradition, the Holy Prophet (s) said, “Just as swords rust, so also do hearts rust, and discourses are the polish of the rust of the hearts.”

Imam Ja`far al-Jadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

مَنْ أَرَادَ الْحَدِیثَ لِمَنْفَعَةِ الدُّنْیَا

لَمْ یَکُنْ لَهُ فِی الآخِرَةِ نَصِیبٌ؛ وَمَنْ أَرَادَ بِهِ خَیْرَ الآخِرَةِ

أَعْطَاهُ اللهُ خَیْرَ الدُّنْیَا وَالآخِرَةِ.

He who

learns the science of reporting any traditions for the sake of gaining a

worldly benefit will have no share (of benefit) in the Hereafter, but he who

learns it for the sake of gaining the benefits of the Next World will be

granted by Allah the benefits of this world and the Next World.(1)

مَنْ أَرَادَ الْحَدِیثَ لِمَنْفَعَةِ الدُّنْیَا

لَمْ یَکُنْ لَهُ فِی الآخِرَةِ نَصِیبٌ؛ وَمَنْ أَرَادَ بِهِ خَیْرَ الآخِرَةِ

أَعْطَاهُ اللهُ خَیْرَ الدُّنْیَا وَالآخِرَةِ.

He who

learns the science of reporting any traditions for the sake of gaining a

worldly benefit will have no share (of benefit) in the Hereafter, but he who

learns it for the sake of gaining the benefits of the Next World will be

granted by Allah the benefits of this world and the Next World.(2)

Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) is also reported as saying:

مَنْ حَفِظَ مِنْ أَحَادِیثِنَا أَرْبَعِینَ حَدِیثاً

بَعَثَهُ اللهُ یَوْمَ الْقِیَامَةِ عَالِماً فَقِیهاً.

He who retains forty of

our traditions, Almighty Allah, on the Day of Resurrection, will include him

with the well-versed scholars.(3)

Muhammad ibn Muslim has reported the following:

I asked Imam al-Jadiq (‘a), “When I hear a tradition from you, is it acceptable to add or delete part of the statement when I convey it to others?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:

إنْ کُنْتَ تُرِیدُ مَعَانِیَهُ فَلاَ بَأْسَ.

If your

intention is to explain its meaning, it is then agreed.(4)

This policy is the only reason for the continuity of the Ahl al-Bayt’s cultural momentum and the endurance of their scientific and cultural centers in spite of the difficult circumstances they had to encounter. In addition, one of the most prominent features and evident characteristics of the

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1- Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:52, S. 8, H. 4.
2- Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:52, S. 8, H. 4.
3- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:52, S. 8, H. 5.
4- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:52, S. 8, H. 9.

scientific policy of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School is free education with which this school, along with all its branches, has withstood all pressures and difficulties.

At the same time as the ruling authorities strongly supported the official schools of the other Muslim sects by means of massive donations, they exercised pressure and official persecution against the schools of the Ahl al-Bayt’s followers in addition to depriving them of any support, donations or aid. Nevertheless, the Ahl al-Bayt’s schools endured in such an increasing manner that they occasionally excelled all the other officially supported schools that would have collapsed and vanished if governmental aid had stopped.

Among the major reasons for such endurance and continuity was the method of free education, the propagation of seeking knowledge and the adoption of seeking nearness to Almighty Allah through learning.

In fact, this is still the general feature of these schools and their prevailing methodology with regard to dealing with all educational activities appertaining to the individuals of the virtuous community at all levels, including teaching, propagation, communication of religious laws, writing books, or any other level of education.

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Variety in Educational Methodology

Third Line: Variety in Methods of Educating and Teaching

In addition to the current styles for preaching sermons, reporting traditions and composing poetry that were widely known in the earliest era of Islam, the Holy Imams (‘a) took much interest in other styles that were new methods for general education because they were unfamiliar practices and behaviors. These styles included supplicatory prayers (du`a’), bequests (wasiyyah), epistles (risalah), statements (bayan), formulas of visitation (ziyarah), sessions (majlis), general gatherings (ijtima`) including congregational commemoration of Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom (al-majalis al-husayniyyah).

Supplicatory Prayer (Du`a')

In the educational system of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), supplications (or supplicatory prayers) have transformed into a perfect school that teaches doctrines, ethics, Islamic and social concepts, human relationships and high moral standards as well as self-purification, high discipline, and expression of relationships with Almighty Allah.

Through his famous supplications (du`a’) and whispered prayers (munajat), Imam `Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a) founded this style for which he is famed. The most famous of his supplications is one reported by Kumayl ibn Ziyad al-Nakha`i and known as Du`a’ Kumayl.

One of the distinctive and famous formulas of supplication of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) is Imam al-Husayn’s ‘Supplication on the Day of `Arafah’.

Taking advantage of this style, yet more expansively, Imam

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`Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-`Abidin (‘a) produced an extensive collection of supplications, the role and impact of which has been considerable on the educational course of the Shi`ah. It was the most successful style of treating the educational and moral degradation that struck Muslim society on the one hand and overcoming the difficult political circumstances that Imam Zayn al-`Abidin (‘a) had to encounter after the martyrdom of his father and the proscription that the Umayyad ruling authorities imposed on him, on the other hand.(1)

Bequest (Wasiyyah)

The style of using bequests was started by the Holy Prophet (s) who addressed Imam `Ali (‘a) with a number of political, educative, and edifying instructions. Continuing this style, Imam `Ali (‘a) instructed his son Hasan (‘a), as well as his other sons, through a number of bequests. After that, this style became another idiosyncratic course adopted by the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), who left such a valuable asset of bequests—touching on various educational features—that they can be compiled in a voluminous book.(2)

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1- - The al-Jahifah al-Sajjadiyyah (also called Psalms of Islam) by Imam Zayn al-`Abidin (‘a) is one of the clearest examples in this respect.
2- - Examples on such precepts are: The Holy Prophet’s precept to Imam `Ali (‘a) (Tuhaf al-`Uqul by Ibn Shu`bah al-Harrani), Imam `Ali’s precept to Imam al-Hasan (‘a) (Nahj al-Balaghah), Imam al-Baqir’s precept to Jabir al-Ju`fi (Tuhaf al-`Uqul), Imam al-Jadiq’s precept to Muhammad ibn al-Nu`man (Tuhaf al-`Uqul), and Imam al-Kazim’s precept to Husham ibn al-Hakam (Tuhaf al-`Uqul).

Epistle (Risalah)

The style of epistles can be seen in the instructive and educational letters and statements of Imam `Ali (‘a) in the Nahj al-Balaghah. The same style is visible in the epistles that the Holy Imams (‘a) used to send to their partisans and followers, such as the epistles of Imam al-Baqir (‘a), Imam al-Jadiq (‘a), and Imam al-Kazim (‘a), that contained many precise and varied details of educational guidelines.(1)

More Styles

In coming books of this series, we will discuss in detail other styles, such as Ziyarah (Ritual Systems); the Husayni Assemblies (Educational Foundations); and general gatherings (System of Social Relations).

In these books, we will have a look at the great, organized work of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and the variety of educational styles they engendered, some of which have become substantial establishments and distinctive ventures.

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1- - Examples on such epistles are: Imam al-Jadiq’s Epistle to his followers (al-Kafi 8:397), Imam al-Baqir’s Epistle to the entirety of the Shi`ah and his companions (al-Kafi 8:230), Imam al-Hadi’s Epistle of refutations of the Fatalists and Indeterminists (Tuhaf al-`Uqul 341), and Imam `Ali’s Instructive Epistle to his companions (400 instructions compiled in Tuhaf al-`Uqul 66-83).

Variety in Topics of Education

Fourth Line: Miscellaneous Education and Scientific Specialization

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) took much interest in the variety of educational and scientific specializations because they believed that their followers must master such variety and specialization in various human and natural domains.

Not satisfied with the multiplicity and variety in educational information, the Holy Imams (‘a) urged their followers to adopt specialization in fields of knowledge in order to be able to reach high levels in various educational issues. Since the beginning, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) realized the significance of enlarging the fields of human and natural sciences. They also foresaw the expansion in the horizons of knowledge as well as intellectual conflicts and doctrinal deviations that the Islamic world would face, such as tendencies of infidelity, atheism, exaggeration, fanaticism, opinionism, personal views, and adjacency with the Greek, Indian, Persian, and Byzantine civilizations.

As a result of such efforts, specialization in various branches of science was practiced not only in later ages of Islamic history when educational affairs and branches ramified and expanded, but also in past ages, particularly in the beginning of the second century of Hijrah, and under the special direction of the Holy Imams (‘a). For instance, Husham ibn al-Hakam was specialized in theology, Zurarah ibn A`yun and Muhammad ibn Muslim in issuance of religious verdicts, Aban ibn Taghlib in the sciences of the Holy Qur’an, and Sulaym ibn Qays, Lut ibn Yahya, and Aban al-Ahmar al-Bujali in history.

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In natural sciences, Jabir ibn Hayyan, who received his knowledge directly from Imam Ja`far al-Jadiq (‘a), not only specialized in chemistry but also established the foundations of this science. In addition, al-Mufazzal ibn `Umar and many other prominent companions of the Holy Imams (‘a) were specialists.(1)

Such comprehensiveness and specialization represented a policy in the educational building of the virtuous community aimed at meeting the requirements, filling the gaps and meeting the needs of this community on the one hand, and granting them their independence in construction, movement, and self-dependence on the other. This enabled the virtuous community to take its normal position in the Muslim nation in the capacity of its being a pioneering group that undertook its mission of safeguarding, reinforcing, and protecting Islam.

Naturally, such specialization does not mean turning away from the other fields of knowledge. In fact, the companions and followers of the Holy Imams (‘a) dealt with the other sciences by means of research and learning side by side with their specialization, concentrating on a certain branch of science so that the educational movement would be comprehensive and characterized by profundity and power.

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1- - Refer to Sayyid Hasan al-Jadr, Ta'sis al-Shi`ah li-`Ulum al-Islam (The Shi`ah; the Founders of the Sciences of Islam).

Second Project Cultural And Scientific Establishments

After identifying the sources of Islamic culture and organizing the general courses to be taught, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) devoted their attention to building educational and scientific establishments.(1) They also encouraged others to activate establishments, such as mosques, which were the first educational and worshipping establishments known in Muslim societies. They also founded other educational establishments unfamiliar to Muslims, where special sessions were held by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and through the efforts of the virtuous community for the purpose of propagating and teaching their traditions. With the passage of time, these establishments became one expansive educational establishment that included the congregational commemoration of Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom (currently known as al-Majalis al-Husayniyyah).

Interest grew in these educational establishments for two reasons that are related to the cultural aspect:

The First Reason was to instill these educational approaches into the mainstream to ensure its continuity under all circumstances.

The Second Reason was that these unique approaches were not capable of being maintained by public establishments, no matter how competent they happened to be. Also, the

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1- - Each of these establishments can be a topic for a complete, expansive study. Nevertheless, we have to refer to the basic features of these establishments for brevity.

opportunities offered by these establishments would be limited to the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). For these two reasons, the Holy Imams (‘a) took a considerable interest in creating special establishments.

In the following sections, we shall refer to certain establishments that had a great impact on the educational aspect of the lives of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

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Shī`ite Seminaries (Ḥawzah `Ilmiyyah)


Since their first day, Muslims were forming debate groups in the form of assemblies (halqah) to confer the various branches of their sciences. Such sessions progressed into famous schools in the history of Islam, such as the School of Kufah, Madinah, Basrah, Mecca, Cairo, Andalusia and many others. In the tradition of the Ahl al-Bayt’s followers, such schools are called hawzah (seminaries).

Moving with this stream, which was familiar to Muslims, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) established these schools to not only teach the general knowledge of Islam but also activate schools of other fields of knowledge and Islamic sciences in all the cities of the Muslim world. This role became more evident during the age of Imam al-Baqir and Imam al-Jadiq—peace be upon them. They played a distinctive role in educating and disseminating knowledge among the entire Muslim community. As has been previously cited, the major Muslim scholars and scientists studied under the Holy Imams (‘a).(1)

Likewise, the Holy Imams (‘a) played a major role in the establishment of schools, especially for their followers and partisans (Shi`ah), within a special course which they drew up to build the virtuous community. This interest originated from their belief in the vital role the educational establishment could play in founding the pillars of education.

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1- - This discussion will be further discussed in the topic of the intellectual referential authority within my encyclopedia entitled ‘The Role of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in Muslim Life’.

Schools of Kufah and Qum

The School of Kufah was one of the private schools in the history of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). Shi`ism found its way to Iraq at the beginning of the Islamic conquest of Iran along with the earliest prominent companions of the Holy Prophet (s), such as Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman and Salman al-Farsi. They participated in this conquest and were the first to hold the highest governmental offices of the Islamic caliphate in the city of Mada'in, along with `Ammar ibn Yasir, `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, and many others.

The School of Qum, a branch of the School of Kufah before it became an independent school specializing in the sciences of the Shi`ah, was then established in this small town by sincere followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) to avoid being harassed by the ruling authorities.

Other schools in the Muslim east followed the Schools of Kufah and Qum, such as the schools in Ray (southern Tehran), Khurasan (northern Iran), Isfahan (central Iran),

Afghanistan, and Jabal `Amil (southern Lebanon).

After that, the School of Kufah, from which four thousand scholars graduated, each of whom used to say, “Ja`far ibn Muhammad al-Jadiq (‘a) taught me…”, developed to extend to Baghdad. That was during the ages of Imam al-Hasan al-`Askari (‘a) and the ‘Four Envoys’ in the Age of the Minor Occultation.

It distinctively expanded during the periods of Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Sharif al-Murtaza, and Shaykh al-Tusi in whose age this school moved to the cities of Najaf, Hillah, and Karbala' respectively. Finally, it settled in the holy city of Najaf in the last couple of centuries.

Passing through different stages, the School of Qum kept on swinging between expansion and contraction until it

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became the second most important school in the Shi`ite world in modern history after the School of Najaf.(1)

Graduation of Well-Versed Jurisprudents

The Holy Imams (‘a) took much interest in establishing religious seminaries. To achieve this goal, they encouraged their followers to embark upon teaching, issuing verdicts, and holding meetings and assemblies dedicated to such subjects. A firm, influential methodology was set up for running such schools in order to put into action a set of scientific, educational, and spiritual objectives and contribute to the achievement of other social, political, and organizational goals, the details of which will be discussed in the following books of this series.

However, the principal goal was to maintain the momentum of ijtihad. In addition to the graduation of proselytizers from all countries where the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) existed, the most important objective of the scholastic courses in these schools was to graduate well-versed scholars and researchers in fields like Muslim jurisprudence, Usul, preliminary sciences to these two fields and other Islamic sciences. Actually, this curriculum remained consistent for ages until the latest developments of the modern age made it necessary to add some new courses to it.

As a result, we can see that such schools (hawzah) are abounding with large numbers of well-versed jurisprudents (mujtahid) in every age and among every generation and social class. It is also noticeable that these schools differ

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1- - The history of these schools involves many details. I expect to have the opportunity to discuss these details in my book on the virtuous referential authority, which deals with the applied aspect and the history of the virtuous community after the Occultation.

from one another competitively in the quality and quantity of their graduates and in the profundity of the jurisprudential, fundamental, and Islamic studies that they teach.

However, such increasing interest in the achievement of this goal resulted in negative consequences that affected the nature of the scientific outcome of these schools and their capability of achieving other goals. It is thus noticed that there are gaps, both wide and limited, in the yield of other Islamic fields of knowledge, such as exegesis of the Holy Qur’an, Islamic doctrine, philosophy, ethics, Hadith, history, and literature. This is so because there was always urgent need for ijtihad (i.e. deep specialization) in the fields of fiqh and Usul, and some other fields of knowledge which did not need such specialization.(1)

Nevertheless, these schools made speedy progress in opening the door to Ijtihad and maintaining the graduation of well-versed scholars in the various fields of Islamic sciences even in the harshest circumstances through which the Islamic world passed.

They could also stand steadfast in the face of attempts at distortion which were encountered by other religious schools in the Islamic world, such as al-Azhar in Cairo and the al-Zaytunah Schools of the Indian subcontinent, plus the schools of Mecca, Madinah, Baghdad, and other places.

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1- - During the age of the referential authority of Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim in the holy city of Najaf and Sayyid al-Burujirdi in Qum, several attempts were made to rectify the progress of the scholastic courses of these schools and fill the gaps found therein. These attempts developed greatly to reach their climax after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran when a large movement of reformation began to bear fruit.

Graduation of Missionaries

Among the other objectives of these schools was to graduate preachers, missionaries, envoys to other countries and teachers for subsidiary religious seminaries.

In this respect, these schools had to face a big problem. This was the absence of a curriculum competent enough in form and content to achieve these objectives directly and respond to the requirements of the latest developments and the various stages, especially in the new regions of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). This was so because the level of general knowledge of the Muslim nation, as well as the type of knowledge and the new cultural and educational problems, were different and more progressive than the previous ones. Besides, the multiplicity, ramifications, and reciprocity of the branches of knowledge, in addition to the existence of modern scientific and technical methods, not to mention other channels of development—all required a new treatment of the curricula at both levels of form and content so as to spare time for the students, summarize knowledge for them, and supply them with useful means in practical fields.

In view of this, the idea of specialization in the various fields of knowledge became practicable and more effective since it would meet realistic requirements.

Surmounting New Problems

In spite of all the problems mentioned, the religious seminaries were able to surmount them, albeit partially, by means of increasing their personal scientific competence to enable a student to acquire scientific and technical knowledge through personal effort widening the horizons of knowledge.

The following features of these schools have helped in the

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achievement of all that has been accomplished in the discipline:

(1) Freedom of thought and research

(2) Freedom in choosing classes and instructors

(3) Freedom in controlling and utilizing time suitably

(4) The financial system of these schools which is, to a great extent, controlled by the social and cultural requirements of the virtuous community

(5) The system of social relations that drives students to respond to the cultural requirements of the Muslim nation

Another factor was the moral course of the religious seminaries that arouses religious responsibility, prompts the highest degrees of piety and asceticism, and induces mental and spiritual education.

These factors have made the students of these religious seminaries move speedily to fill these gaps and stand steadfast against temptation.

Maintenance of Islamic Heritage

Among the other objectives of the religious seminaries was the maintenance of Islamic heritage in general and the heritage and culture of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in particular. They were to provide Islamic thought, doctrine, history, and other researches related to Islam with the new, genuine, and pure thought based purely on Islamic resources and intended to face the other ideological trends.

We notice that these schools and seminaries continued to produce profound research and wide-ranging cultural investigation to maintain this heritage, such as research in the biography of reporters of Hadith (`ilm al-rijal) and Islamic encyclopedias of Hadith and jurisprudence.

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These seminaries produced grand scholars and reformers in various scientific fields, such as Avicenna, Shaykh al-Mufid, Sharif al-Murtaza, Sharif al-Razi, Shaykh al-Tusi, Shaykh Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, al-Muhaqqiq al-Hilli, `Allamah al-Hilli, Shaykh al-Tabrisi, al-Shahid al-Awwal (First Martyr; Muhammad ibn Makki), al-Shahid al-Thani (Second Martyr: Zayn al-Din al-`Amili), Ibn Tawus, Shaykh al-Baha'i, Sayyid al-Damad, Mulla Jadra (Jadr al-Din al-Shirazi), `Allamah al-Majlisi (Muhammad Taqi); Shaykh al-Majlisi (Muhammad Baqir), al-Fayz al-Kashani, al-Muhaqqiq al-Karaki, al-Wahid al-Bahbahani, Sayyid Bahr al-`Ulum, Shaykh Kashif al-Ghi(1)a', `Allamah Sharaf al-Din, Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin, Shaykh al-Balaghi, Sayyid al-Hakim, `Allamah al-Taba(2)ahhari, Martyr al-Jadr, Sayyid al-Khu'i, and many others who played a major role not only in the Shi`ite world but also in the Islamic world as a whole. These scholars have enriched the Islamic scientific schools with new theories as they have written scientific encyclopedias and research papers on Muslim jurisprudence, the sciences of the Holy Qur’an, various fields of Islamic knowledge, history, and doctrine. In addition, they approached with great determination the events through which they served Islam and its blessed renaissance and boldly faced international colonization, atheism, and local tyranny.

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1- a', Shaykh al-Jawahiri (known as Jahib al-Jawahir), Shaykh al-Ansari, and al-Shirazi the reformer. In the past century, these seminaries produced master scholars such as Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Shaykh al-Akhund al-Khurasani, Shaykh al-Mamuqani, Shaykh al-Na'ini, al-Muhaqqiq al-`Iraqi, Sayyid al-Burujerdi, `Allamah Kashif al-Ghi
2- aba'i, Sayyid al-Khumayni, Martyr Mu

Masjid and Husayniyyah

Since the beginning, the mosque (masjid) has played the role of an educational institution, not to mention its religious and administrative roles in the Muslim community. Sermons, lessons, and lectures were delivered in mosques and people frequented mosques in order to quench their thirst from this spring of Islamic education.

Following this pattern, the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) used mosques to link the general culture with religious duties on the strength of belief in Almighty Allah and thus confer sacredness upon them (i.e. cultures). It was one of the religious duties to seek knowledge, as expressed by the Hadith that states:

طَلَبُ الْعِلْمِ فَرِیضَةٌ

عَلَی کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ.

Seeking of knowledge is obligatory upon every


The followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) patterned this course after the Holy Prophet (s) and his noble companions lead by Imam ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib (‘a)—the Master of the Successors of the Prophets. During his reign as caliph, he changed the mosque into a perfect Islamic foundation of rule, judicature, jihad, and social attitudes, and made education act as one of the basic features of this foundation.

The Virtuous Community and Mosque

In the various regions of the Muslim world, the followers

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1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 1:30-31; Abu’l-Fath al-Karajaki, Kanz al-Fawa'id 2:107; Ibn Abi-Jumhur, `Awali al-La'ali 4:70, H. 36; al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 1:177, H. 54 (as quoted from the previous reference book); al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-`Ummal 10:57-79, S. Kitab al-`Ilm.

of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) had to encounter the problem of the aggression and harassment of the tyrannical ruling authorities against them, their culture, thoughts, and doctrines. Because of this, they could rarely find an opportunity to make use of mosques as cultural foundations, since mosques were under the management of the ruling authorities. They therefore had to choose other places away from the watchful eyes of the tyrants and their agents to study their religion, teach others, and exchange viewpoints in the various fields of life and culture.

Nevertheless, they never deserted the mosque; rather, they always established firm relationships with it as they practiced the Islamic rituals in the mosques even under the most vehement circumstances because they believed that the mosque was not only a place of study but also a place of worship, supplication, and confidential talk with Almighty Allah. In addition, mosques were a communication device of the Muslim nation.

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) worked earnestly toward keeping and maintaining this connection between their followers and mosques.

Whenever they would find an opportunity, the followers of the Holy Imams (‘a) made mosques their starting points for cultural work. As has been previously cited, al-Kufah Mosque was one of the major centers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School throughout the Islamic era.

Likewise, the mosques of the regions in which the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) could find some freedom and security were used as centers of Islamic education without seeking alternative locations, such as mosques in Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and other regions.

Additionally, the followers of the Holy Imams (‘a) took much interest in building, reconstructing, and concerning

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themselves with mosques—a fact that is witnessed in all Muslim regions that are inhabited by followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

The Virtuous Community and Husayniyyah

In the regions where the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) could not find freedom and security, they would betake themselves to other places in order to maintain their culture, doctrines, and history. This was the reason for establishing places that are currently known as Husayniyyah(1) because the original idea was to find centers in which they could speak freely and securely, as is derived from many traditions reported from the Holy Imams (‘a).

The main subject discussed in such places was Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and the atrocities he encountered. Later on, this idea developed so largely that the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) established many such Husayniyyahs as cultural and social centers.

Attending to the religious and ritual role of mosques, they would dedicate one part of such buildings to worship and another part to commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn. This guaranteed more freedom of work and activity and kept the mosque away from the religiously discommended or banned matters, taking into consideration the fact that jurisprudents from the Ahl al-Bayt School (‘a) believed in keeping mosques free of ceremonial impurity. They also hold it unlawful for the menstruous and the ceremonially impure to remain in mosques and it is not

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1- - Such places are ascribed to Imam Husayn (‘a) because the ceremonies of commemorating his martyrdom and the lectures about his uprising and its spiritual, moral, political, social, and doctrinal features were held therein.

recommended to eat and sleep in mosques or to bring children therein. Of course, such rulings are not applicable to Husayniyyahs. There are also other specific acts and practices discommended in mosques but not in Husayniyyahs.

In addition, Husayniyyahs are originally dedicated to holding and practicing certain social and cultural ceremonies, such as mourning ceremonies, particular events, general festivals, and establishment of loan offices and public libraries that may help those who gather therein.

In view of this, Husayniyyahs have changed into special cultural foundations that the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have adopted for the sake of proclaiming the Islamic culture. Likewise, they have become the springboard to the establishment of a wide-ranging cultural foundation that the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have as a distinctive feature. This foundation is namely the commemoration of Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom (al-sha`a'ir al-husayniyyah). Nevertheless, Husayniyyah is in fact an extension of the Islamic foundation of mosques.

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Commemoration of Imam al-Ḥusayn’s Martyrdom

Commemorating Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom has been one of the significant fundamentals that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) established in the field of cultural activities. It has also been one of the distinctive features of their followers and devotees. This fundamental includes holding ceremonies commemorating Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and his martyrdom, collective recital of ziyarah (formulas to be said when visiting the tombs of the Holy Imams (‘a)), and other ceremonies that will be described.

Actually, commemoration of Imam Husayn’s martyrdom is regarded as one of the significant objectives that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) adopted in building a virtuous community. It is important because they relied on it in their movement inside the Muslim nation, and it received inspiration from Imam al-Husayn’s uprising and venerated and highlighted the various political, cultural, doctrinal, and spiritual aspects of its goals.

The Holy Imams (‘a) laid the foundation of this commemoration, giving it a purely religious color and defining its form and contents so that it corresponded with the significant role these ceremonies needed to play.

As for the form, these ceremonies must be utterly compatible with the circumstances of the tragic saga of Karbala' and the circumstances of the Ahl al-Bayt’s followers.

As for the contents, they must be compatible with the political, spiritual, cultural, and doctrinal aspects of Imam al-Husayn’s (‘a) uprising and martyrdom.

Beyond doubt, Imam al-Husayn’s uprising has had a far-reaching impact on movements of the Muslim nation and

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has resulted in safeguarding Islam and the Muslim nation from a variety of distortions.

The ceremonies of Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom have played a great role in consummating the role of Imam al-Husayn’s uprising. This role is mainly consecrated within the virtuous community, even though it has had some impact on the Muslim milieus in general.

Because the cultural aspect is one of the basic, most important goals among its multifaceted goals, we will single out a rather comprehensive discussion on these ceremonies and include other aspects in order to round off its benefits.

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Commemoration of Imam al-Ḥusayn’s Martyrdom and the Virtuous Community


The commemoration of Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom can be organized in the following two major sections according to its form and contents:

(1) Prescribed Rituals


The first section deals with the ceremonies held according to authentic and forthright instructions reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). Their authenticity depends upon their performance:

A) Grief and Weeping

In addition to all reasonable semblances of grief, sorrow, and complaint about the offensive carried out against the grandson of the Holy Prophet (s), many traditions that are reported from the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have referred to the significance of weeping over Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom. These sorrowful slogans of protest obviously express the emotional and spiritual reaction to Imam al-Husayn’s tragedy and introduce the persecution he had to encounter and the brutal crime that was committed against him.

Many other traditions have asserted that the Holy Imams (‘a) did weep for Imam al-Husayn (‘a), as a token of protest that was initially instituted and raised by Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-‘Abidin (‘a).

In his book of Kamil al-Ziyarat, Ibn Qawlawayh has reported that a servant of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (‘a) saw him while he was prostrating before Allah and weeping. He asked, “O ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (‘a), has the time of the

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termination of your grief not yet come?”

The Imam (‘a) raised his head, looked at him, and answered:

وَیْلَکَ! وَاللهِ لَقَدْ شَکَا یَعْقُوبُ إلَی

رَبِّهِ فِی أَقَلَّ مَا رَأَیْتُ حِینَ قَالَ: ”یَا أَسَفِی عَلَی یُوسُفَ!“

وَإنَّهُ فَقَدَ إبْناً وَاحِداً. وَإنِّی رَأَیْتُ أَبِی وَجَمَاعَةَ أَهْلِ

بَیْتِی یُذَبَّحُونَ حَوْلِی.

Woe to

you! By Allah I swear, (Prophet) Jacob (‘a) complained to his Lord for less

than what I have seen, saying, “O my sorrow for Joseph!” That was because he

had lost one son only. As for me, I saw my father and a group of my household

lying slain around me!(1)

Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

بَکَی عَلِیُّ بْنُ الْحُسَیْنِ عَلَی الْحُسَیْنِ

بْنِ عَلِیٍّ صَلَوَاتُ اللهِ عَلَیْهِمْ أَجْمَعِینَ عِشْرِینَ - أَوْ

أَرْبَعِینَ - سَنَةً. وَمَا وُضِعَ بَیْنَ یَدَیْهِ طَعَامٌ إلاَّ بَکَی عَلَی

الْحُسَیْنِ حَتَّی قَالَ لَهُ مَوْلیً لَهُ: ”جُعِلْتُ فِدَاکَ یَا بْنَ

رَسُولِ اللهِ! إنِّی أَخَافُ عَلَیْکَ أَنْ تَکُونَ مِنَ الْهَالِکِینَ!“

قَالَ: ”إنَّمَا أَشْکُو بَثِّی وَحُزْنِی إلَی اللهِ. إنِّی لَمْ أَذْکُرْ

مَصْرَعَ بَنِی فَاطِمَةَ إلاَّ حَنَقَتْنِیَ الْعَبْرَةُ.“

‘Ali ibn al-Husayn wept for (his

father) Husayn ibn ‘Ali

(peace of Allah be upon them all) for twenty or fourty years. Whenever he was

served with food, he would weep for Husayn (‘a). Once, one of his servants said

to him, “May Allah accept me as ransom for you, O son of Allah’s Messenger (s)!

I fear you will die (by weeping so much).” The Imam answered, “I only

complain of my grief and sorrow to Allah. Whenever I recall the killing of

Fatimah’s sons, tears gush out.”(2)

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1- - Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 46:110, H. 4, as quoted from Kamil al-Ziyarat.
2- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 2:922, H. 7.

This intensive practice of weeping of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (‘a) cannot be interpreted as mere emotional reaction to the scenes that he had witnessed in those days of Muharram, after which he was not able to suppress his feelings and emotions. In addition to this understanding, this practice must have apprised his followers of a well-determined plan based on the tragic truth the Imam (‘a) had to personally suffer. This confirms its profundity and enormity so much so that this tragedy permanently exists as an issue experienced by the Muslim nation since the time it took place and as a basic motive for the virtuous community.

After Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (‘a), other Holy Imams (‘a) offered further insight when they propounded it as a third example of holding in honor the rituals of God.(1) This was done by declaring an objection to injustice and personally reacting to the issue and goals of the tragedy of Karbala', and undertaking a course of self-purification and self-discipline. As a result, weeping over Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom has changed into an act of worship practiced by people individually and collectively.

The Ahl al-Bayt’s emphasis on the significance of actually weeping and trying to weep for Imam al-Husayn ('a) and the reward of such acts shows that this act has become an example of weeping recommended by Almighty Allah, similar to weeping out of fear of Him.

In this regard, Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) is reported to have asked Fuzayl, “Do you regularly gather and mention us?”

Fuzayl answered, “Yes, we do.”

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1- - This is an indication of Almighty Allah’s remark mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, “Whoever holds in honor the rituals of Allah, such should come truly from piety of heart. (22:32)”

The Imam (‘a) commented,

إنَّ تِلْکَ الْمَجَالِسَ أُحِبُّهَا، فَأَحْیُوا

أَمْرَنَا یَا فُضَیْلُ. فَرَحِمَ اللهُ مَنْ أَحْیَا أَمْرَنَا. یَا فُضَیْلُ،

مَنْ ذَکَرَنَا أَوْ ذُکِرْنَا عِنْدَهُ فَخَرَجَ مِنْ عَیْنِهِ مِثْلُ جَنَاحِ

الذُّبَابِ غَفَرَ اللهُ لَهُ ذُنُوبَهُ وَلَوْ کَانَتْ أَکْثَرَ مِنْ زَبَدِ


I love these assemblies. Bring

to life our affairs (i.e. deeds), O Fuzayl. May Allah have mercy upon him who

revitalizes our deeds! O Fuzayl, if one mentions us or listens to our deeds

and his eyes shed a tear that is as little as a fly’s wing, Allah will

forgive all his sins even if they were as vast as the foam on the seas.(1)

Abu-Harun al-Makfuf (the blind) has reported that he once visited Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) who asked him to say an elegy about Imam al-Husayn (‘a). Abu-Harun recited the elegy in an ordinary way, but the Imam (‘a) said, “Do not recite it in this ordinary way; rather, chant it as you do at the graves.”

So, Abu-Harun started with this verse, “Pass by Husayn’s grave and say to his pure bones.”

As he saw Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) weeping, Abu-Harun stopped.

The Imam (‘a) commanded him to continue. He went on until the end of the lamentation. The Imam (‘a) then asked for more, so Abu-Harun chanted another elegy beginning with, “O Maryam, mourn for your master and weep soulfully for Husayn (‘a).”

Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) then wept, his body heaving with sobs, and women also began to wail. When they stopped, the Imam (‘a) said to Abu-Harun:

p: 104

1- - Al-Himyari al-Qummi, Qurb al-Isnad, p. 36, H. 117; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 44:282, H. 14 as quoted from the earlier reference book.

مَنْ أَنْشَدَ فِی الْحُسَیْنِ فَأَبْکَی عَشَرَةً

فَلَهُ الْجَنَّةُ… مَنْ أَنْشَدَ فِی الْحُسَیْنِ فَأَبْکَی وَاحِداً فَلَهُ

الْجَنَّةُ. مَنْ ذَکَرَهُ فَبَکَی فَلَهُ الْجَنَّةُ.

If one recites an elegy about Husayn (‘a) and makes ten persons weep, Paradise

will be his reward. If he makes nine persons weep, Paradise will be the

reward…If he makes even one person weep, Paradise will still be the reward.

If one mentions Husayn (‘a) and weeps, Paradise will also be his


Logic for Weeping

If we take into consideration the following consequences of weeping, we can understand its significance:

First: There is a political facet in weeping for Imam al-Husayn (‘a). Weeping is generally the best human and social method—sound and gentle—to condemn wrongdoing and express the profundity of this tragedy and the transgressions to which Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and his noble goals were exposed. The political significance of this method manifests under circumstances of ordeal, repression of freedom and terrorism, when all other aspects fail to convey the truth.

In various stages of history, the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have been experiencing difficult and brutal conditions; therefore, the method of weeping has been the most appropriate in expressing and abiding by their political posture.

We can now clearly understand Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s inclination to this method considering his psychological state due to his presence in Karbala' during that tragedy.

p: 105

1- - Allamal al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 44:287, H. 25 as quoted from Kamil al-Ziyarat.

This issue highlights a significant truth about the Ahl al-Bayt’s strategy about political issues: a faithful individual is required to demonstrate his political belief through this practice—under all circumstances—despite the fact that it represents the least degree of faith. Hence, it is imperative for a believer to be duly conscious of political ideology and belief. Many reports that deal with the duty of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong confirm this. Such reports focus on condemning that which is wrong, even if only in one’s heart when higher levels of condemnation are impossible (such being described as the lowest level of faith).

Second: At the same time, weeping represents, at minimum, a moral and subjective reaction to the tragedy of Karbala', an arousal of Muslims’ emotions towards the event and its goals, and detachment from the enemies, their acts and wicked purposes.

This moral aspect of weeping became one of the natural means through which the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) maintained the morality of unification. The virtuous community stood by the right party, faced wrongdoers despite pressures at various levels, including the external pressures of despotic rulers and the internal pressures of personal desires and lust.

Third: Because weeping has some bearing on tenderheartedness, wakefulness of the conscience, and awareness of the sentiments, it promotes a course of self-purification from sins and raises sensitivity towards the pains of humanity, deviations of the community and issues of persecution and justice.

The issues of hardheartedness, tenderheartedness, and reverence are the most important factors that create an impact on the personal progress of humanity. Relying on

p: 106

this fact, the Holy Qur’an treated and criticized hardheartedness and praised tenderheartedness and reverence on many occasions, some of which are as follows:

ثُمَّ قَسَتْ قُلُوبُکُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ ذَلِکَ فَهِیَ کَالْحِجَارَةِ أَوْ أَشَدُّ قَسْوَةً

Thenceforth were your hearts hardened: they became

like a rock and even worse in hardness. (2:74)

أَلَمْ یَأْنِ لِلَّذِینَ آمَنُوا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِکْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا یَکُونُوا کَالَّذِینَ أُوتُوا الْکِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَیْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَکَثِیرٌ مِنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ


not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility

should engage in the remembrance of Allah and the Truth revealed to them, and

that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation

aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For

many among them are rebellious transgressors. (57:16)

أَفَلَا یَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَی قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا


they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur’an, or are there locks

upon (their) hearts? (47:24)

وَقَالُوا قُلُوبُنَا غُلْفٌ بَلْ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّهُ بِکُفْرِهِمْ فَقَلِیلًا مَا یُؤْمِنُونَ


(i.e. the Jews) say, ‘Our hearts are the wrappings.’ Nay, Allah's curse is on

them for their blasphemy. Little is it they believe. (2:88)

أَفَمَنْ شَرَحَ اللَّهُ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ فَهُوَ عَلَی نُورٍ مِنْ رَبِّهِ فَوَیْلٌ لِلْقَاسِیَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ مِنْ ذِکْرِ اللَّهِ أُولَئِکَ فِی ضَلَالٍ مُبِینٍ

Woe to

those whose hearts are hardened and cannot celebrate the praises of Allah!

They are manifestly wandering in error. (39:22)

p: 107

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِیثِ کِتَابًا مُتَشَابِهًا مَثَانِیَ تَقْشَعِرُّ مِنْهُ جُلُودُ الَّذِینَ یَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ ثُمَّ تَلِینُ جُلُودُهُمْ وَقُلُوبُهُمْ إِلَی ذِکْرِ اللَّهِ ذَلِکَ هُدَی اللَّهِ یَهْدِی بِهِ مَنْ یَشَاءُ وَمَنْ یُضْلِلِ اللَّهُ فَمَا لَهُ مِنْ هَادٍ

Allah has revealed from time to time the most

beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, yet

repeating its teaching in various aspects. The skins of those who fear their

Lord tremble thereat; then their skins and their hearts do submit to the

celebration of Allah's praises. Such is the guidance of Allah: He guides

therewith whom He pleases, but those whom Allah leaves to stray can have none

to guide. (39:23)

The state of hearts and setting a seal on them, mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, is the state of hardheartedness. The opposite state is that of purity, reverence, fear, tenderness, leading to tranquility.

Based on this fact, the Holy Legislator has encouraged weeping for fear of Him. Thus, an eye that weeps for fear of Allah is, according to sacred texts, in line with the eyes abstaining from violating His prohibitions and staying awake to guard in His way.(1) In addition to its political and moral aspects, weeping enjoys a spiritual and sentimental aspect.

No doubt, weeping is the finest way of cleansing the filth from the hearts and preparing them to respond to improvement. This is linked to justice and injustice. The motives of weeping that stir up such emotional and sentimental feelings have an impact on man’s outlook on life and reaction to various socio-politico-economic issues. When feelings towards wrong and oppression are aroused

p: 108

1- - `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 93:329.

in a person and when he reacts to such feelings, he will undoubtedly think about the causes of injustice and the standards of justice and resort to methods of commitment to it. Usually, discussions of such ideas surface after stimulation of such feelings.

B) Significance of Ziyarah

Originally, Ziyarah of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) indicated presence near his tomb. Later, it took on a broader aspect appertaining to paying tribute to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) since it required visitation of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) on various occasions from near and far. After that, visitations to Imam al-Husayn’s tomb paved the way for visiting the shrines of the other Holy Imams (‘a), their descendants and followers.

According to certain reports, the first to have visited Imam al-Husayn’s grave was Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (‘a), forty days after his martyrdom (ceremonially called al-arba`in), on his return from Sham (currently Syria) to Madinah.(1)

Subsequently, the other Holy Imams (‘a) recommended visiting Imam al-Husayn’s tomb. According to traditions, some of which will be cited hereinafter, visiting Imam al-Husayn’s tomb is a duty required by every Shi`ite individual who believes in Imam al-Husayn’s Imamate.

Authentic traditions, reported from the Holy Imams (‘a), have mentioned the great rewards ensuing from this blessed act of devotion as well as its preference to the recommended (i.e. not obligatory) pilgrimage to Mecca (‘umrah).

p: 109

1- - Some reports indicate that the first to have visited Imam Husayn (‘a) on the forty-day occasion was Jabir ibn `Abdullah al-Ansari, a grand and revered companion of the Holy Prophet (s). See al-Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, p. 360.

Shaykh al-Tusi in his book of Misbah al-Za'ir has recorded a form of the ziyarah that is different from the famous one that is recited on the day of ‘Ashura'. Through a valid chain of authority, he has also reported this formula of ziyarah from ‘Abdullah ibn Sinan, the author of al-Mazar al-Kabir, as follows:

On the tenth of Muharram (‘Ashura') of one year, I visited my master Abu-‘Abdullah Ja‘far ibn Muhammad (al-Jadiq) (‘a) and found him gloomy, apparently aggrieved, with tears flowing from his eyes like pearls. I asked, “O Son of Allah’s Messenger (s)! What is making you weep? May Allah never cause your eyes to weep!”

The Imam (‘a) answered, “Are you inattentive? Do you not know that Husayn ibn ‘Ali (‘a) was martyred on this day?”

I then asked, “O master, what do you say about fasting on this day?”

The Imam (‘a) answered:

صُمْهُ مِنْ غَیْرِ تَبْیِیتٍ، وَأَفْطِرْهُ

مِنْ غَیْرِ تَشْمِیتٍ، وَلاَ تَجْعَلْهُ یَوْمَ صَوْمٍ کُمْلاً، وَلْیَکُنْ إفْطَارُکَ

بَعْدَ صَلاَةِ الْعَصْرِ بِسَاعَةٍ عَلَی شَرْبَةٍ مِنْ مَاءٍ، فَإنَّهُ فِی مِثْلِ

ذَلِکَ الْوَقْتِ مِنْ ذَلِکَ الْیَوْمِ تَجَلَّتِ الْهَیْجَاءُ عَنْ آلِ رَسُولِ

اللهِ وَانْکَشَفَتِ الْمَلْحَمَةُ عَنْهُمْ وَفِی الأَرْضِ مِنْهُمْ ثَلاَثُونَ

صَرِیعاً فِی مَوَالِیهِمْ، یَعَزُّ عَلَی رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ

مَصْرَعُهُمْ. وَلَوْ کَانَ فِی الدُّنْیَا یَوْمَئِذٍ حَیّاً لَکَانَ صَلَوَاتُ

اللهِ عَلَیْهِ هُوَ الْمُعَزَّی بِهِمْ…

یَا عَبْدَ اللهِ بْنَ

سِنَانٍ! إنَّ أَفْضَلَ مَا تَأْتِی بِهِ فِی هَذَا الْیَوْمِ أَنْ تَعْمَدَ إلَی

ثِیَابٍ طَاهِرَةٍ فَتَلْبَسُهَا وَتَتَسَلَّبُ… تُحَلِّلُ أَزْرَارَکَ وَتَکْشِفُ

عَنْ ذِرَاعَیْکَ کَهَیْئَةِ أَصْحَابِ الْمَصَائِبِ، ثُمَّ تَخْرُجُ إلَی أَرْضٍ

مُقْفَرَةٍ أَوْ مَکَانٍ لاَ یَرَاکَ بِهِ أَحَدٌ أَوْ تَعْمِدُ إلَی مَنْزِلٍ لَکَ

خَالٍ، أَوْ فِی خِلْوَةٍ مُنْذُ حِینَ یَرْتَفِعُ النَّهَارَ فَتُصَلِّی أَرْبَعَ

رَکَعَاتٍ تُحْسِنُ رُکُوعَهَا وَسُجُودَهَا وَخُشُوعَهَا، وَتُسَلِّمُ بَیْنَ کُلِّ

رَکْعَتَیْنِ. تَقْرَأُ فِی الأُولَی سُورَةَ الْحَمْدِ وَ{قُلْ یَا أَیُّهَا الْکَافِرُونَ}

وَفِی الثَّانِیَةِ الْحَمْدَ وَ{قُلْ هُوَ اللهُ أَحَدٌ} ثُمَّ تُصَلِّی رَکْعَتَیْنِ

أُخْرَیَیْنِ تَقْرَأُ فِی الأُولَی الْحَمْدَ وَسُورَةَ الأَحْزَابِ وَفِی الثَّانِیَةِ

الْحَمْدَ وَ{إذَا جَاءَکَ الْمُنَافِقُونَ} أَوْ مَا تَیَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ.

ثُمَّ تُسَلِّمُ وَتُحَوِّلُ وَجْهَکَ نَحْوَ

قَبْرِ الْحُسَیْنِ عَلَیْهِ السَّلاَمُ وَمَضْجَعِهِ. فَتُمَثِّلُ لِنَفْسِکَ مَصْرَعَهُ

وَمَنْ کَانَ مَعَهُ مِنْ وُلْدِهِ وَأَهْلِهِ. وَتُسَلِّمُ وَتُصَلِّی عَلَیْهِ

وَتَلْعَنُ قَاتِلِیهِ وَتَبْرَأُ مِنْ أَفْعَالِهِمْ، یَرْفَعِ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

لَکَ بِذَلِکَ فِی الْجَنَّةِ مِنَ الدَّرَجَاتِ وَیَحِطَّ عَنْکَ مِنَ السَّیِّئَاتِ.

ثُمَّ تَسْعَی مِنَ الْمَوْضِعِ الَّذِی أَنْتَ فِیهِ إنْ کَانَ صَحْرَاءَ أَوْ فَضَاءً

أَوْ أَیَّ شَیْءٍ کَانَ خَطَوَاتٍ، تَقُولُ فِی ذَلِکَ: إنَّا للهِ وَإنَّا إلَیْهِ

رَاجِعُونَ؛ رِضیً بِقَضَاءِ اللهِ وَتَسْلِیماً لأَمْرِهِ. وَلْیَکُنْ عَلَیْکَ

فِی ذَلِکَ الْکَآبَةُ وَالْحُزْنُ. وَأَکْثِرْ مِنْ ذِکْرِ اللهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَالاسْتِرْجَاعِ

فِی ذَلِکَ الْیَوْمِ.

فَإذَا فَرَغْتَ مِنْ

سَعْیِکَ وَفِعْلِکَ هَذَا، فَقِفْ فِی مَوْضِعِکَ الَّذِی صَلَّیْتَ فِیهِ ثُمَّ

قُلْ: اَللَّهُمَّ عَذِّبِ الْفَجَرَةَ الَّذِینَ شَاقُّوا رَسُولَکَ وَحَارَبُوا

أَوْلِیَاءَکَ وَعَبَدُوا غَیْرَکَ وَاسْتَحَلُّوا مَحَارِمَکَ، وَالْعَنِ القَادَةَ

وَالأَتْبَاعَ وَمَنْ کَانَ مِنْهُمْ فَخَبَّ وَأَوْضَعَ مَعَهُمْ أَوْ رَضِیَ بِفِعْلِهِمْ

لَعْناً کَثِیراً. اَللَّهُمَّ وَعَجِّلْ فَرَجَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَاجْعَلْ صَلَوَاتِکَ

عَلَیْهِ وَعَلَیْهِمْ وَاسْتَنْقِذْهُمْ مِنْ أَیْدِی الْمُنَافِقِینَ الْمُضِلِّینَ

وَالْکَفَرَةِ الْجَاحِدِینَ وَافْتَحْ لَهُمْ فَتْحاً یَسِیراً وَأَتِحْ لَهُمْ

رَوْحاً وَفَرَجاً قَرِیباً وَاجْعَلْ لَهُمْ مِنْ لَدُنْکَ عَلَی عَدُوِّکَ وَعَدُوِّهِمْ

سُلْطَاناً نَصِیراً. ثُمَّ ارْفَعْ یَدَیْکَ وَاقْنُتْ بِهَذا الدُّعَاءِ وَقُلْ

وَأَنْتَ تُؤمِی إلَی أَعْدَاءِ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ…

You may

abstain from eating and drinking on that day but without a predetermined

intention of ritual fasting and you may break your abstinence from eating and

drinking but without prearrangement. Do not fast for the whole day; rather,

you must break your fast an hour after the

Afternoon (‘Asr) Prayer

with a drink of water. At this very time of that day, the combat with the

family members of Allah’s Messenger (s) terminated and the massacre ended

while thirty of their supporters were thrown on the ground. Their slaying is

very hard for Allah’s Messenger (s). Had he been alive then, he would

have been the one consoled for their death.


`Abdullah ibn Sinan, the best act you may do on this day is to dress yourself

in clean clothes, undo the buttons, and uncover your arms, just like those

stricken by a disaster. At midday, you may take leave to a wasteland or a

place where nobody can see you, go to an empty house you own, or keep

yourself secluded. You may offer a four-unit (rak`ah) prayer with

genuflection (ruku`) and prostration (sujud). After each two

units, you say the taslim (the concluding statement of prayers). In

the first unit, you recite Surah al-Hamd (al-Fatihah, No. 1) and Surah

al-Kafirun (No. 109) and in the second Surah al-Hamd and Surah al-Tawhid (al-Ikhlas,

No. 112). You then offer another two-unit prayer, reciting in the first unit

Surah al-Hamd and Surah al-Ahzab (No. 33) and in the second Surah al-Hamd and

Surah al-Munafiqun (No, 63) or any other part of the Holy Qur’an as much as is



then say the taslim and turn your face towards Husayn’s tomb and place

of rest. You then call to mind the way he, his sons and family members were

slain. You salute him, invoke Allah’s blessings upon him and Allah’s curse upon those who slew him, and distance yourself from their crimes. By

doing so, Almighty Allah will raise your rank in Paradise and absolve you

from your evildoings.


then take some steps in the place where you are, be it desert, an empty

space, or any other area, repeating the following words:


are Allah’s and unto Him shall we return. We are pleased with His decree and we

submit to His decisions.”


and sadness should be manifest on your mien. You should also mention Almighty

Allah as much as you can and repeat the previous statement.


you finish walking while doing the previous acts, you should stop in the same

place where you offered the prayers and say the following statements:

“O Allah, torture the

wicked ones who contended with Your Messenger (s), fought against Your

Representatives (‘a), worshipped other deities than You, and violated Your

prohibitions. Curse the leaders and the followers as well as those who loved

them, those who participated with them, and those who approved of their

crimes with much cursing. O Allah, hasten the Deliverance of Muhammad’s

Family (‘a). Shower on them Your blessings and save them from the grasp of

the misleading hypocrites and the contemptuous unbelievers. Grant them (‘a) manifest

victory. Confer upon them soothing mercy and approaching relief, and furnish them

with an overcoming authority from You over Your enemy and theirs.”


then raise your hands, pointing to their (‘a) enemies, and say the following…


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1- - `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 101:303-307 as quoted from Shaykh al-Tusi’s Misbah al-Za'ir.


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Investigation of the political, ethical, social, and spiritual denotations of this sublime ziyarah requires a lengthy discourse, especially when we take into consideration the historical aspect and the reactions of the despotic ruling authorities to it during the various stages of history. However, let us now refer to a number of basic aspects briefly. (s)

The Various Aspects of Ziyarah

First Aspect: This ziyarah represents the same set of principles represented by the rituals of Hajj according to

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the Islamic ruling, yet in a special framework and a restricted goal, which is to refine the virtuous community and the genuine line of the Ahl al-Bayt’s followers in accordance with the purposes behind Imam al-Husayn’s uprising.

Such refinement can be achieved through loyalty to this Islamic standard, namely Imam al-Husayn (‘a), and by responding to his call in the capacity of a caller to Almighty Allah. This response has been introduced in the following formula:

لَبَّیْکَ دَاعِیَ

اللهِ! إنْ کَانَ لَمْ یُجِبْکَ بَدَنِی عِنْدَ إسْتِغَاثَتِکَ وَلِسَانِی

عِنْدَ إسْتِنْصَارِکَ، فَقَدْ أَجَابَکَ قَلْبِی وَسَمْعِی وَبَصَرِی.

سُبْحَانَ رَبِّنَا إنْ کَانَ وَعْدُ رَبِّنَا لَمَفْعُولاً.

Here I

am responding to you, O caller to Allah. If my body could not respond to your

call when you called for aid and my tongue could not respond to your call for

help, then, verily, my heart, my hearing, and my sight have responded to you.

Glory be to our Lord! Most surely, the promise of our Lord was to be


Second Aspect: The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) aimed at connecting the movement of the virtuous community and the genuine line of Islam to Imam al-Husayn’s Islamic standard and his religion-based situations. In view of differences in their conditions, which required variety in their provisional political affairs, the Holy Imams (‘a) needed to confirm a fixed line to be followed by their movement and a clear-cut practice for their school. This line signifies the objection to oppression and injustice, which was declared by Imam al-Husayn (‘a) in his first sermon delivered to the

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1- - Imam al-Husayn’s formula of Ziyarah on the fifteenth of Rajab and Sha`ban, as quoted from Abbas al-Qummi’s Mafatih al-Jinan.

people of al-Kufah, saying:

أَیُّهَا النَّاسُ، إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ، صَلَّی

اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ، قَالَ: مَنْ رَأی سُلْطَاناً جَائِراً مُسْتَحِلاًّ

لِحَرَامِ اللهِ، نَاکِثاً لِعَهْدِهِ، مُخَالِفاً لِسُنَّةِ رَسُولِ اللهِ،

صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ، یَعْمَلُ فِی عِبَادِ اللهِ بِالإثْمِ

وَالْعُدْوَانِ، فَلَمْ یُغَیِّرْ عَلَیْهِ بِقَوْلٍ وَلاَ فِعْلٍ کَانَ حَقّاً

عَلَی اللهِ أَنْ یُدْخِلَهُ مَدْخَلَهُ. أَلاَ وَإنَّ هَؤُلاَءِ قَدْ لَزِمُوا

طَاعَةَ الشَّیْطَانِ، وَتَوَلَّوْا عَنْ طَاعَةِ الرَّحْمَنِ، وَأَظْهَرُوا

الْفَسَادَ، وَعَطَّلُوا الْحُدُودَ، وَاسْتَأْثَرُوا بِالْفَیْءِ، وَأَحَلُّوا

حَرَامَ اللهِ وَحَرَّمُوا حَلاَلَهُ، وَإنِّی أَحَقُّ بِهَذَا الأَمْرِ.


people: Verily, Allah’s Messenger (s) has said, “He who realizes that an

unjust ruler is violating the prohibitions of Allah, breaching his pledge

with Him, opposing the traditions of His Messenger (s) and oppressing His

servants yet does not try to change that through his deeds or words, then

Allah will definitely place him with that ruler.” Verily, those rulers have acted

in accordance with Satan, abandoned their obedience to the All-beneficent

God, made overt mischief, infringed upon the provisions of Allah, seized

booty, violated the prohibitions of Allah, and prohibited that which Allah

has deemed lawful. Most certainly, it is my duty, more than anyone else, to

oppose them.(1)

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) took much interest in consolidating this fixed line in an unambiguous, clear way by concentrating on visiting Imam al-Husayn’s tomb, rendering homage to him, responding to his call, showing loyalty to his devotees and followers, and announcing hostility towards his enemies and all those who support and follow them.

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1- - Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Umam wa’l-Muluk (known as Tarikh al-Tabari) 4:304; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil fi’l-Tarikh 4:48 (with little difference).

Third Aspect: The Holy Imams (‘a) worked towards educating the individuals of the virtuous community on commitment to the doctrinal, ethical, and political concepts present in the texts of the ziyarah that are addressed to Imam al-Husayn (‘a) on various occasions.

Visiting Imam al-Husayn’s tomb was consecrated within a certain season to express commitment to these multifaceted concepts. As a result, a cultural line, which is characterized by attentiveness and firmness, was created in the milieus of the virtuous community.

Fourth Aspect: By way of connecting with Imam al-Husayn’s movement, the Holy Imams (‘a) introduced the virtuous community politically and socially and opened the doors for other Muslims to join this movement. This fact explains the following two events that manifested themselves eminently throughout history associated with the visitation to Imam al-Husayn’s tomb.

First Event: The despotic authorities and the criminal tyrants practiced suppression and violence against the Muslims who visited the holy shrine of Imam al-Husayn (‘a). Throughout history, these visitors had to encounter various sorts of injury: some were killed, some fined, some their hands cut off and others persecuted. The holy tomb of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) was exposed to many attempts of ruination at the hands of despotic rulers, such as al-Mutawakkil, the `Abbasid ruler (822-861 AD), the Wahhabis at the end of the thirteenth century of Hegira, and the `Aflaqi(1) rulers of Iraq (1968-2003).

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1- - Michel Aflaq (1910-1989), an anti-Islam leader and the founder of al-Ba‘th Socialist Party, fought against Islam in general and against the rituals of the Shi‘ah in particular.

Second Event: The Holy Imams (‘a) adopted the course of precautionary dissimulation (taqiyyah) and worked on safeguarding their followers and keeping them away from all risks and pain. However, they enlightened their followers on the necessity of reciting the ziyarah no matter what menace they faced, since visiting Imam al-Husayn’s tomb came to be regarded by them as a fight for the sake of Allah (i.e. jihad).

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said:

مُرُوا شِیعَتَنَا

بِزِیَارَةِ قَبْرِ الْحُسَیْنِ بْنِ عَلِیٍّ، عَلَیْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ، فَإنَّ

إتْیَانَهُ مُفْتَرَضٌ عَلَی کُلِّ مُؤْمِنٍ یُقِرُّ لِلْحُسَیْنِ، عَلَیْهِ

السَّلاَمُ، بِالإمَامَةِ مِنَ اللهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ.


our followers to visit the tomb of Husayn ibn ‘Ali

(‘a), for this deed is obligatory upon each and every believer who has

confessed to the divinely commissioned leadership of Husayn (‘a).(1)

Imam Ja‘far al-Jadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

لَوْ أَنَّ أَحَدَکُمْ حَجَّ دَهْرَهُ ثُمَّ لَمْ

یَزُرِ الْحُسَیْنَ بْنَ عَلِیٍّ، عَلَیْهِمَا السَّلاَمُ، لَکَانَ تَارِکاً

حَقّاً مِنْ حُقُوقِ اللهِ وَحُقُوقِ رَسُولِهِ، صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ،

لأَنَّ حَقَّ الْحُسَیْنِ عَلَیْهِ السَّلاَمُ فَرِیضَةٌ مِنَ اللهِ عَزَّ

وَجَلَّ وَاجِبَةٌ عَلَی کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ.

If you go on Hajj every year for your entire

lifetime but miss visiting Husayn ibn ‘Ali (‘a),

you will have abandoned one of the duties towards Allah and towards His

Messenger (s). Carrying out the duty towards Husayn (‘a) is verily obligatory

upon each Muslim by a command of Almighty Allah.(2)

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1- - Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Mazar, p. 37.
2- - Shaykh al-Mufid: al-Mazar, p. 37.
Commemorating Imam al-Husayn’s Martyrdom

The ceremonies commemorating Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom (al-majalis al-husayniyyah) are the assemblages that the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) hold on the days of the great disaster, in Muharram and Jafar, and on other days of the year. In these assemblages, Muslims gather to recollect the events of the tragedy of Karbala' as well as probe other religious issues.

Originally, these ceremonies expressed deep grief for Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom (‘a). They recalled the terribleness of the calamity that befell Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and his family members, and pointed out the savagery of the Umayyad band in general and Yazid the tyrant in particular, revealing the deep-rooted hatred and animosity they had against Islam, the Messenger (s), and his Household (‘a).

In the following stages, these ceremonies developed into a mobile school of the Ahl al-Bayt’s followers to meet the cultural, political, emotional, and social needs of the virtuous community whose individuals could move freely in the midst of these ceremonies under all circumstances.

Since the first days of the tragedy of Karbala', such sessions were first held in Sham when Yazid began to retreat in the face of the mass denunciation of the tragedy.

This mass wakefulness was the result of the all-inclusive enlightenment that Lady Zaynab and Imam Zayn al-`Abidin (‘a) spread among the public when their caravan, carrying them as captives, entered Sham and they were presented in the court of Yazid ibn Mu`awiyah. Some traditions confirm that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (‘a) held a three-day funeral

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ceremony in Sham.(1)

The other members of the Holy Prophet’s household and some of his wives, such as Ummu-Salamah, also held funeral ceremonies in al-Madinah as soon as the surviving members of Imam al-Husayn’s family, headed by Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (‘a), returned home.(2)

Whenever they had an opportunity and especially on the first ten days of the month of Muharram, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) continued to hold such ceremonies. They also encouraged their followers and devotees to do the same, as has been previously cited.

Although discussions of the history, aspects, consequences, and logic for these ceremonies of commemorating Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom are too extensive for one book, we will hereinafter refer to some of these aspects briefly:

Significance and Aspects

First: These ceremonies contribute to the preservation of the great event of Imam al-Husayn’s uprising, which also embodies a Divine proposal the purpose of which is to draw the Muslim nation’s attention towards safeguarding the final Divine message of Islam against loss, distortion, and deformation.

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1- - Sayyid `Abdullah Shubbar, Jala' al-`Uyun 2:264.
2- - Muhammad ibn Sa`d, in his famous book of al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, has recorded that when she was informed about the martyrdom of Imam Husayn ('a), Ummu-Salamah, the Holy Prophet’s wife, cried out, “Did they have the courage to do it? May Allah fill their houses and their graves with fire!” She then wept so heavily that she lost consciousness. See also Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani’s al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 8:218.

Since the beginning, the tyrannical authorities attempted to misrepresent the truth by presenting Imam al-Husayn’s uprising as mutiny against the legal authority, as an act of rebellion aimed at destroying Muslim unity. They also tried to cast a shadow on Imam al-Husayn’s personality and on the goals, background, causes, and circumstances of his uprising. The masses need to learn the truth of this great uprising in the history of Muslims. In the beginning Yazid, the tyrant, tried to absolve himself from the responsibility of this catastrophic massacre and cast the blame on `Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad, the commander-in-chief. However, the reason-based planning of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) reiterated the features of this uprising in such ceremonies and saved the truth from being hidden or lost. As a result, Imam al-Husayn’s uprising, with all its details and attributes, has been well-protected in the history of Islam.(1)

Second: These ceremonies keep the following significant aspects existent, active, and influential in Islamic life in general and the milieus of the virtuous community in particular:

A) These ceremonies activate the conscience of Muslims.

One of the basic goals of this uprising was to shake, revive and move this conscience whenever it was exposed to death or cultural anesthesia, or whenever it buckled under the psychological pressures or methods of terrorism that lead to

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1- - It is natural to find small differences in the details of the event. Not all the accounts that relate the details of Imam Husayn’s martyrdom are adopted as truths; rather, such details and special situations are aimed at presenting the basic features, trends, plans, reasonable grounds, backgrounds, and tragedies of this uprising, although there may be differences in depiction.

absence of willpower despite acquaintance with the truth.(1)

The tragedy of Karbala' has thus become a moving factor not only for the present generation but also for all generations throughout the ages.

A pioneering role in this field has been played by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) through their magnificent depictions that embodied the tragedy in the most effective way. Additionally, poets of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School have contributed to portraying and presenting this tragedy through the elegies they have composed in various stages of Muslim history.

We can understand the reason for the traditions that urged composing and reciting poetry on the tragedy of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) in particular.(2) We can also understand the reason for the voluminous poetic heritage on Imam al-Husayn (‘a), which is too huge to find its match in human literature as a whole.

B) These ceremonies reveal the politico-cultural recognition of the events by which the Muslim sects in general and the virtuous community in particular are passing, since this community has been characterized by profound and unique recognition of all political events and its commitment to Islamic principles and revolutionary ethics.

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1- - In my book entitled Thawrat al-Imam al-Husayn (Imam al-Husayn’s Uprising), I have discussed this goal in further detail.
2- - Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) is reported to have said: مَا مِنْ أَحَدٍ قَالَ فِی الْحُسَیْنِ شِعْراً فَبَکَی وَأَبْکَی بِهِ إِلاَّ أَوْجَبَ اللهُ لَهُ الْجَنَّةَ وَغَفَرَ لَهُ. As for any one who composes poetic verses about Imam Husayn (‘a) and weeps for him or makes others weep, Almighty Allah shall certainly award him Paradise and forgive his offenses. See al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 10:464, H. 1.

C) These ceremonies shed light on the need of a genuine Islamic inspection of the Islamic system of government and its components. It is necessary to stipulate the correct attitude regarding the Islamic system of government and have the competence of distinguishing between right and wrong practices within this system, along with the capability of distinguishing between the red, green and grey lines so that a more comprehensive understanding is achieved of the issues that menace Islam which must be confronted and resisted.

Third: The ceremonies of commemorating Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom maintain the human and social relations among the members of the virtuous community and the other Muslims who interact with them. However, such interactions must be within the accurate frame of these relations—a frame that represents the goals and moralities of Imam al-Husayn (‘a).

Just as these sessions and ceremonies have provided great opportunity to confirm such relations and strengthen the bonds of mutual love and affiliation among the members of the virtuous community and increase the spirit of cooperation and fraternity, so also have they become opportunities for spending, giving, offering, and attending to the feeble and poor after recognizing their condition. This can be accomplished because the largest congregations of Muslims of various social and religious levels attend such sessions and celebrations.

This aspect in the Ahl al-Bayt’s (‘a) plan (of commemorating Imam Husayn’s martyrdom) has preserved the unity of the virtuous community in its social and human relations throughout history regardless of the difficulties, ordeals, and pain the members of this community have to face.

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Fourth: These sessions and ceremonies of commemorating Imam al-Husayn’s uprising and martyrdom have contributed to spreading the genuine Islamic culture, which faced several attempts of ideological and physical debarments and terrorism at certain stages of its history as well as unavailability of both human and material potential for promulgating this culture.

The culture of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School, in its various aspects including the doctrinal, ethical, behavioral and historical has been characterized by the features and peculiarities of genuine Islam as practiced by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). Opportunities to promulgate this culture were not always available; rather, they were even banned at certain times. Secondly, religious establishments, such as seminaries, mosques, and other cultural centers, were neither helpful nor available. As a result, the virtuous community was threatened by dissolution, loss, ignorance, or baseless fanaticism.

To tackle these needs, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) recommended establishing the commemoration of Imam al-Husayn’s uprising and martyrdom, thus establishing mobile cultural schools. Shaykh al-Kulayni, through a valid chain of authority, has reported Maysar as saying:

Imam Abu-Ja‘far (al-Baqir) once asked me, “Do you (Shi‘ite groups) usually seclude yourselves to exchange discourses and say whatever you have in mind freely?”

I answered, “Yes, I swear it by Allah. We usually seclude ourselves to exchange discourses and say whatever we have in our minds freely.”

The Imam (‘a) commented:

أَمَا وَاللهِ،

لَوَدِدْتُ أَنِّی مَعَکُمْ فِی بَعْضِ تِلْکَ الْمَوَاطِنِ. وَأَمَا وَاللهِ،

إنِّی لأُحِبُّ رِیحَکُمْ وَأَرْوَاحَکُمْ. وَإنَّکُمْ عَلَی دِینِ اللهِ

وَدِینِ مَلاَئِکَتِهِ. فَأَعِینُوا بِوَرَعٍ وَاجْتِهَادٍ.

By Allah I swear, I do wish I were with you on even some of these

occasions. By Allah I swear, I do love your fragrance and your souls. You are

following the very religion of Allah and the religion of His angels. So, help

(us) by means of piety and diligence.”(1)

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1- - Al-Hurr al-Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:567, H. 5.
Basic Objectives

In view of the aforementioned display of the goals and outcomes of commemorating Imam al-Husayn’s uprising and martyrdom, we can ascertain that the nearer these ceremonies get to achieving their objectives in the most appropriate forms of practice the more they fulfill the actual function that the Holy Imams (‘a) planned.

However, when practiced in unacceptable forms, they will definitely fail to achieve their goals and be just like prayers performed without cordial attention to Almighty Allah.

The objectives of practicing these rituals and ceremonies are summarized below:

The first objective is to create a spiritual, mental, and emotional attachment to Imam al-Husayn (‘a), the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), and the purposes of this great uprising.

The second objective is to accurately inspect, at two levels of policy and religion, the issue of government rule and political events that the Muslim nation faces, including the issues of injustice, justice, enjoining the right, forbidding the wrong, and constructing the divine system of rule.

The third objective is to implant the features of genuine moral education in the virtuous community’s political and social movement. Such features can be represented through

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self-sacrifice, altruism, steadfastness, feelings of responsibility towards Muslim issues of resisting injustice and tyranny, abiding by what is right, fulfillment of pledges and covenants, sincerity to Almighty Allah, perseverance, and compliance with principles.

The fourth objective is to spread Islamic culture and cognizance of its various aspects, such as recognition of Islam, studying its fundamentals, raising the degree of feeling in human souls, and awakening sentiments and consciences.

The fifth objective is to strengthen the relations of fraternity, mutual love, and cooperation among the believers as well as take interest in their affairs, provide them with the required advice, help the poor and the feeble among them, bring into being more joint liability among them, and present them as a powerful, invulnerable and united community.

2) Innovative Rituals

The second section of this discussion deals with the rituals associated with the commemoration of Imam al-Husayn’s uprising and martyrdom, which have not been prescribed or recommended by the Holy Imams (‘a). These rituals have been invented by their followers in various stages of history. These include organizing processions for expressing grief and sadness for Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom (al-mawakib al-husayniyyah) and rituals of representing and acting out the scenes of Imam al-Husayn’s tragedy in addition to other rituals that may be invented in the future.

Discussion in this respect can be based on the following two topics:

The First Topic is dedicated to the legal justifications of

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performing such rituals about which we cannot find a tradition reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) at the three levels of words, deeds, and confirmation.

The best justification in this respect is the idea that any practice or act is regarded as a traditional expression of glorifying Imam al-Husayn (‘a) or showing sorrow for his tragedy, especially if such a practice or act was common during the ages of the Holy Imams (‘a), or a tradition reminding of his tragedy and goals. Such practice and act will thus be legal according to the following Qur’anic rule:

ذَلِکَ وَمَنْ یُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِنْ تَقْوَی الْقُلُوبِ


holds in honor the symbols of Allah, such (honor) should come truly from

piety of hearts. (22:32)

To describe Imam al-Husayn (‘a) as ‘the Vengeance of Allah’ is one of His symbols or signs and rituals that hold Imam al-Husayn (‘a) in honor is to hold in honor signs of Allah. Besides, many traditions of general purport have instructed showing sorrow for Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and proclaiming his tragic event on the days of ‘Ashura' (the first ten days of Muharram).

The Second Topic is about the limits and framework in which these innovative ceremonies and rituals are practiced to satisfy the aforementioned Qur’anic rule.

The first kind is legally correct under all circumstances because its forms and contents have been mentioned in traditions reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). It, therefore, represents a fixed line.

As for the second kind, its legality must include the same contents and purport that Almighty Allah has decided for it; that is, the symbols of Allah must be held in honor. It is not sufficient to claim that the effectuation of such ceremonies is for Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and not for holding in honor the symbols of Allah, as long as their form expresses a

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traditional reason-based style of holding honor. Hence, such practices must be in line with the legitimate content of Imam al-Husayn’s uprising, as has been previously explained.

This content can be restricted to two basic lines:

The Positive Line, which entails the goals determined for holding the ceremonies of commemorating Imam al-Husayn’s uprising and martyrdom in their third line. As much as these ceremonies achieve the goals cited in the previous five points, these practices express holding in honor the symbols of Almighty Allah.

The Negative Line entails that these practices must not violate the sacredness of Islam and the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) School and must not deform the view of this School. This may happen when these practices take a form that is incompatible with the actual goals that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) decided for them. Such distortion is obvious in some unwanted practices that are irreconcilable with any act of worship or behavior that the Holy Legislator has accepted to be an expression of connecting with, loving, honoring or glorifying Almighty Allah, as well as other forms that reasonable people acknowledge in social life. Some unwanted practices are disgusting to pure sentiment, sound human taste and reason. In fact, such practices are only expressions of uncontrolled passions, reckless emotions, and imaginations without legitimate basis since they cannot

be sanctioned by Islamic law. They are therefore practiced by naive people who lack acquaintance with Islamic culture and stand rejected by the well-versed scholars of jurisprudence and divinity.

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Chapter Four: Spiritual And Moral Aspect


The spiritual and moral aspect is important in Islamic theory, because it is associated with the issues of feelings, emotions, and spiritual and moral senses. Coming after doctrine, ethics and culture, this aspect occupies the fourth rank in importance, since it is founded on the fact that man’s behavior, which is the natural consequence of willpower and determination, directly acts upon this aspect, whereas the other three aspects represent the basis, background, and foundation on which these sentiments and feelings rely. They are also the starting point of these three aspects. Feelings, emotions and sentiments stand for the stirring energy that supplies human behavior with motion, activity, and agitation although such behavior is submissive to man’s willpower and its cause.

By virtue of this, there is a balanced relationship between man’s feelings and actions. Man’s determination, steadfastness and willpower become stronger and more powerful when there is compatibility between these feelings and reasonable, ethical, and cultural foundations.

For this reason, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) took much interest in the spiritual and moral aspect. They worked on directing it on the course that was compatible with both general goals of building a virtuous community and doctrinal, ethical, and cultural foundations.

We can observe the major lines that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)

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established to implant the spiritual and moral aspect in the virtuous community from their reported traditions and instructions for their followers and the treatment of issues.

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Spirit of Piety and Combining Faith with Practice

The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) fed their followers with the spirit of piety and the combining of faith with practice through the following features:

First Feature: They worked towards enhancing the spirit of piety and establishing a firm connection with Almighty Allah through the following three major ways:

First Way: The Holy Imams (‘a) laid stress on and instructed the course of prayer, supplication, and confidential talk with Almighty Allah. Their great interest in supplication and their superb supplicatory prayers are numerous.

Their prayers and supplications cover all times and circumstances and take various forms, such as post-prayer supplications, supplications at each hour of the day and night, special supplications on special occasions and during religious seasons, such as supplications in the months of Ramazan, Sha‘ban, Rajab, and Dhi’l-Hijjah as well as occasions like feast days. There are also various prayers offered on special occasions. The supplicatory heritage of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) encompasses many books that are voluminous, well known, and common to all ages.

They have left for us extensive supplications that carry educational and cultural features. Some of these include:

Imam ’Ali’s supplication reported by Kumayl ibn Ziyad al-Nakha‘i (known as Du‘a’ Kumayl)

Imam al-Husayn’s supplication on the Day of `Arafah (the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah)

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s supplication that is reported by

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Abu-Hamzah al-Thumali, the supplication known as Du‘a’ al-Jawshan

Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin’s supplications in Al-Jahifah al-Sajjadiyyah, and many more.

In addition to their previously noted cultural aspects, these supplications and prayers represent a great spiritual domain that builds in the inner selves of worshippers a connection with Him through piety and a combination of fear and hope in Him.

Second Way: The Holy Imams (‘a) entered upon the styles of written or specifically delivered bequests (wasiyyah) and excellent exhortation. As has also been mentioned, not only do such styles represent cultural and educational aspects but they also embody spiritual and moral trends.

Imam Ja‘far al-Jadiq (‘a) has reported the following from his infallible fathers (‘a):

The Holy Prophet (s) said:

مَنْ لَمْ یُحْسِنِ الْوَصِیَّةَ عِنْدَ مَوْتِهِ کَانَ

نَقْصاً فِی عَقْلِهِ وَمُرُوَّتِهِ.


fails to write his will before his death lacks reason and manliness.

He (s) was asked, “How should writing of one’s will be, Allah’s Messenger?”

He (s) instructed:

إذَا حَضَرَتْهُ الْوَفَاةُ وَاجْتَمَعَ النَّاسُ إلَیْهِ

قَالَ: اَللَّهُمَّ فَاطِرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ، عَالِمَ الْغَیْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ،

الرَّحْمَنُ الرَّحِیمُ؛ إنِّی أَعْهَدُ إلَیْکَ أَنِّی أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لاَ إلَهَ

إلاَّ أَنْتَ وَحْدَکَ لاَ شَرِیکَ لَکَ، وَأَنَّ مُحَمَّداً عَبْدُکَ وَرَسُولُکَ،

وَأَنَّ السَّاعَةَ آتِیَةٌ لاَ رَیْبَ فِیهَا، وَأَنَّکَ تَبْعَثُ مَنْ فِی الْقُبُورِ،

وَأَنَّ الْحِسَابَ حَقٌّ، وَأَنَّ الْجَنَّةَ حَقٌّ، وَمَا وَعَدَ اللهُ فِیهَا

مِنَ النَّعِیمِ وَمِنَ الْمَأْکَلِ وَالْمَشْرَبِ وَالنِّکَاحِ حَقٌّ، وَأَنَّ النَّارَ

حَقٌّ، وَأَنَّ الإیمَانَ حَقٌّ، وَأَنَّ الدِّینَ کَمَا وَصَفْتَ، وَأَنَّ الإسْلاَمَ

کَمَا شَرَعْتَ، وَأَنَّ الْقَوْلَ کَمَا قُلْتَ، وَأَنَّ الْقُرْآنَ کَمَا أَنْزَلْتَ،

وَأَنَّکَ أَنْتَ اللهُ الْحَقُّ الْمُبِینُ. وَإنِّی أَعْهَدُ إلَیْکَ فِی دَارِ

الدُّنْیَا أَنِّی رَضِیتُ بِکَ رَبّاً وَبِالإسْلاَمِ دِیناً وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ صَلَّی

اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ نَبِیّاً وَبِعَلِیٍّ عَلَیْهِ السَّلاَمُ إِمَاماً، وَبِالْقُرآنِ

کِتَاباً، وَأَنَّ أَهْلَ بَیْتِ نَبِیِّکَ عَلَیْهِ وَعَلَیْهِمُ السَّلاَمُ أَئِمَّتِی.

اَللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ ثِقَتِی عِنْدَ شِدَّتِی، وَرَجَائِی عِنْدَ کُرْبَتِی، وَعِدَّتِی

عِنْدَ الأُمُورِ الَّتِی تَنْزِلُ بِی، وَأَنْتَ وَلِیِّی فِی نِعْمَتِی، وَإلَهِی

وَإلَهُ آبَائِی، صَلِّ عَلَی مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِهِ، وَلاَ تَکِلْنِی إلَی نَفْسِی طَرْفَةَ

عَیْنٍ أَبَداً، وَآنِسْ فِی قَبْرِی وَحْشَتِی وَاجْعَلْ لِی عِنْدَکَ عَهْداً یَوْمَ

أَلْقَاکَ مَنْشُوراً. فَهَذا عَهْدُ الْمَیِّتِ یَوْمَ یُوصِی بِحَاجَتِهِ. وَالْوَصِیَّةُ

حَقٌّ عَلَی کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ.

In the

last hours of his life and when people gather around him, he must say: “O

Allah! O Designer of the heavens and the earth! O Knower of the unseen and

seen! O Most Beneficent! O Most Merciful! I confide in You that I bear

witness that there is no god save You alone, without Your having any

associate. I bear witness that Muhammad (s) is Your servant and messenger and

that the Hour shall undoubtedly come. You shall raise the dead from their graves,

and the Questioning will take place. Paradise is true, and that which You have

promised to be therein—such as bliss, eating, drinking and marriage—is true.

Hellfire is true, and Faith is true, and the (true) religion is as exactly as

You have described, and Islam is exactly as You have established, and all

that which You have said is exactly the truth, and the Qur’an is as exactly

as what You have revealed, and You are verily Allah, the Manifest Truth. I

also confide in You in this world that I submit to You being my Lord, Islam

being my religion, Muhammad being my Prophet, ‘Ali

being my Imam, the Qur’an being my Book, Your Prophet’s Household—peace be

upon him and them—being my Imams. O Allah, in You I trust at the time of

tribulation. You are my only provision when misfortunes befall me, You are my

patron in blessings, and You are my God and the God of my ancestors. So send

blessings upon Muhammad and his Household and do not make me depend on my own

self even for the twinkling of an eye. Please, entertain me in my grave and my

loneliness and keep my confidence in You active for the day on which I shall

meet You.”

This is the covenant of

the moribund when he makes his will, which is obligatory upon each Muslim


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1- - `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 13:193, H. 1 as quoted from Sayyid Ibn Tawus, Falah al-Sa'il.


p: 133

Third Way: The Holy Imams (‘a) worked towards connecting faith with deed. In addition to its doctrinal contribution to understanding the reality of faith and unbelief, this course carries a spiritual and moral aspect that builds the spirit of piety and connection with Almighty Allah. As a rule, faith is not realized unless it is connected with deed, behavior, and commitment.

Shortly in this book, I will cite many traditions confirming that true Shi‘ah are those who represent actual piety, diligence, and steadfastness in tribulations and ordeals and are forerunners in worship and asceticism.

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Real Supporters of the truth

Second Feature: The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) worked towards creating an emotional and sentimental connection with the virtuous community. They laid emphasis on affiliation with the virtuous entity by:

(1) Ingraining genuineness and reality in their followers

(2) Providing them with profound historical roots

(3) Securing their belief in the Ahl al-Bayt’s school to the highest levels

(4) Promoting as righteous the creed in which a righteous individual believes by means of standards, proofs and logical evidence so that belief evolves from mere reason-based states to spiritual, psychological and emotional commitments to faith. Such evolution depends on testifying that:

(a) Their doctrines are the true and genuine doctrines of Islam, utterly free from doubt and spuriousness

(b) Their community is the best of all communities and groups

(c) They are part of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) because they are the worthiest in loyalty and the nearest to them

(d) They are the only group that fulfils the Divine Covenant as it should be fulfilled

(e) Their love for and loyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) are the things that shall benefit them on the Day of Resurrection

(f) They shall resort to the Holy Prophet (s) on the Day of Resurrection according to the glad tidings conveyed to them by the Holy Imams (‘a)

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More than one Imam has confirmed these facts to increase their followers’ level of faith. From these confirmations, we conclude that the Holy Imams (‘a) aimed to achieve a certain degree of emotional and sentimental momentum and deepen their followers’ commitment to and confidence in the virtuous community.

Let us now refer to some examples so that the idea will be clearer:

1. `Imran ibn Maytham has reported that Habbabah al-Walibiyyah said to him, “I will tell you about a discourse that I have heard from your master, al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (‘a). He said:

وَالَّذِی جَعَلَ أَحْمَسَ خَیْرَ بُجَیْلَةٍ،

وَعَبْدَ الْقَیْسِ خَیْرَ رَبِیعَةٍ، وَهَمْدَانَ خَیْرَ الْیَمَنِ؛ إَنَّکُمْ

خَیْرُ الْفِرَقِ. مَا عَلَی مِلَّةِ إبْرَاهِیمَ إلاَّ نَحْنُ وَشِیعَتُنَا.


swear by Him Who has caused (the clan of) Ahmas to be the best of (the tribe

of) Bujaylah, has caused ‘Abd

al-Qays to be the best of Rabi‘ah,

and has caused Hamdan to be the best of the Yemen, you are verily the best of

sects. None is following the faith of (Prophet) Abraham (‘a) except us and our



2. ‘Umar ibn Yazid has reported that Abu-‘Abdullah (Imam al-Jadiq) (‘a) once said:

أَنْتُمْ، وَاللهِ، مِنْ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ.


Allah, I swear that you all are verily part of Muhammad’s Household (‘a).

I asked, “May Allah accept me as ransom for you! Do you mean that we are part of them?”

The Imam ('a) answered:

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1- - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1 :243, H. 449-450. Following the faith of Prophet Abraham (‘a) stands for true and utter commitment to his religion.

نَعَمْ، وَاللهِ، مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ.

Yes! I

swear by Allah. You are part of Muhammad’s Household (‘a) itself.

He repeated it three times. He (‘a) then gazed at me, I gazed at him and he said:

یَا عُمَرُ؛ إِنَّ

اللهَ تَبَارَکَ وَتَعَالَی یَقُولُ فِی کِتَابِهِ: { إِنَّ أَوْلَی النَّاسِ بِإِبْرَاهِیمَ لَلَّذِینَ اتَّبَعُوهُ وَهَذَا النَّبِیُّ وَالَّذِینَ آمَنُوا وَاللَّهُ وَلِیُّ الْمُؤْمِنِینَ }

O ‘Umar,

Allah the Blessed and Exalted says in His Book: “Most surely, the nearest of

people to Abraham (‘a) are those who followed him and this Prophet (s) and

those who believe and Allah is the guardian of the believers. (3:68)”(1)

وَاللهِ، مَا صَدَقَ أَحَدٌ مِمَّنْ أَخَذَ اللهُ

مِیثَاقَهُ فَوَفَی بِعَهْدِ اللهِ غَیْرُ أَهْلِ بَیْتِ نَبِیِّهِمْ

وَعِصَابَةٍ قَلِیلَةٍ مِنْ شِیعَتِهِمْ. وَذَلِکَ قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَی:

{وَمَا وَجَدْنَا لِأَکْثَرِهِمْ مِنْ عَهْدٍ وَإِنْ وَجَدْنَا أَکْثَرَهُمْ لَفَاسِقِینَ }

By Allah I swear, none of

those with whom Almighty Allah made His covenant fulfilled this covenant

except their Prophet’s Household (‘a) and a small group of their partisans.

This is the meaning of Almighty Allah’s saying (in the Holy Qur’an), “And We

did not find in most of them any faithfulness to the covenant, and We found

most of them to be certainly transgressors. (7:102)”(2)

4. Yunus ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman has reported Kulayb al-Asadi

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1- - Tafsir al-Qummi 1:105 (the tradition is reported through a valid chain of authority); `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:84, H. 1 (as quoted from the previous reference book).
2- - Tafsir al-`Ayyashi 2:23, H. 59; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:85, H. 7 (as quoted from the previous reference book).

as saying that he heard Imam al-Jadiq (‘a) saying:

أَمَا وَاللهِ،

إنَّکُمْ لَعَلَیٰ دِینِ اللهِ وَمَلاَئِکَتِهِ. فَأَعِینُونَا عَلَی ذَلِکَ

بِوَرَعٍ وَإجْتِهَادٍ. عَلَیْکُمْ بِالصَّلاَةِ وَالْعِبَادَةِ. عَلَیْکُمْ


By Allah, I swear

positively, you are following the religion of Allah and of His angels. So,

help us by means of piety and diligence. Abide by prayer and worship. Abide

by piety.(1)

5. Abu’l-Tufayl has reported that Imam `Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a) once ascended the pulpit and said:

إنَّ اللهَ بَعَثَ

مُحَمَّداً صَلَّی الله عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ بِالنُّبُوَّةِ وَإصْطَفَاهُ بِالرِّسَالَةِ،

فَأَنَالَ فِی النَّاسِ وَأَنَالَ. وَعِنْدَنَا أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ مَفَاتِیحُ الْعِلْمِ

وَأَبْوَابُ الْحِکْمَةِ وَضِیَاءُ الأَمْرِ وَفَصْلُ الْخِطَابِ. وَمَنْ یُحِبَّنَا

أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ یَنْفَعْهُ إی-مَانُهُ وَیُتَقَبَّلْ مِنْهُ عَمَلُهُ. وَمَنْ لاَ

یُحِبَّنَا أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ لاَ یَنْفَعْهُ إی-مَانُهُ وَلاَ یُتَقَبَّلْ مِنْهُ

عَمَلُهُ وَإنْ أَدْأَبَ اللَّیْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ لَمْ یَزَلْ.

Verily, Almighty Allah has

sent Muhammad—peace be upon him and his Household—with prophethood and chosen

him for conveying His Message. Therefore, he promulgated the religion for the

people some of whom accepted and others rejected. We, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a),

hold the keys to knowledge, the doors to wisdom, the light of all affairs, and

the most decisive speech. Whoever loves us—the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)—will benefit from

his faith and will have his deeds accepted, but whoever does not love us will

not benefit from his faith and will not have his deeds accepted even if he

works every day and night ceaselessly.(2)

6. Burayd al-`Ajali, Zurarah ibn A`yun, and Muhammad

p: 138

1- - Muhammad ibn `Ali al-Tabar, Bisharat al-Mustafa, pp. 84-85, H. 15; p. 225, H. 50; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:87, H. 14 (as quoted from the previous reference book).
2- - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:316, H. 629.

ibn Muslim—all these are authentic reporters who have said that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a) said to them:

مَا الِّذِی

تَبْغُونَ؟ أَمَا لَوْ کَانَتْ فَزْعَةٌ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ لَفَزِعَ کُلُّ قَوْمٍ

إلَی مَأْمَنِهِمْ، وَلَفَزِعْنَا إلَی نَبِیِّنَا وَفَزِعْتُمْ إلَیْنَا.

فَأَبْشِرُوا ثُمَّ أَبْشِرُوا ثُمَّ أَبْشِرُوا! لاَ وَاللهِ، لاَ یُسَوِّیکُمُ

اللهُ وَغَیْرَکُمْ، وَلاَ کَرَامَةَ لَهُمْ.

What more

are you seeking? If a horrible thing happens in the heavens and people resort

to a place to protect them, we shall resort to our Prophet (s) and you shall

resort to us. So, enjoy the glad tidings! Enjoy the glad tidings! Enjoy the

glad tidings! By Allah I swear, He shall never treat you like others and they

will have no dignity with Him.(1)

p: 139

1- - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:261, H. 105.

Love for and Loyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)

Third Feature: With regard to their relationship with the virtuous community, the Holy Imams (‘a) not only provided authentic proofs and valid demonstrations but also made use of emotions and feelings in order to strengthen love and loyalty. They also connected it to many significant values and ideals on the one hand and relevance people’s lives on the other.

As a result, love for the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) has played a major role in keeping their followers steadfast against the pressures and pains they had to encounter. They have even given up their lives and properties and faced all sorts of ordeals and pains for the sake of the love they had for the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

This sort of education, which was initially established by the Holy Qur’an, had a great impact not only on the Ahl al-Bayt’s partisans and followers but also on Muslims in general. Consequently, the issue of love for the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) has become a standard by which a Muslim individual, sober in behavior and conduct, is distinguished from other Muslims pretending to follow Islam but lacking in human and Islamic feelings. Such individuals have been afflicted with hostility and malice towards the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

Love of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), in the capacity of their having been the Holy Prophet’s kith and kin has been confirmed by the Holy Qur’an that reads:

قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُکُمْ عَلَیْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِی الْقُرْبَی

Say: I do not ask of you

any reward for it but love for my near relatives. (42:23)

This love for the “near relatives” has been also confirmed by authentically reported uninterrupted traditions of the Holy Prophet (s) in both meaning and words. Moreover, invoking Almighty Allah’s blessings upon the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) is a part of the obligatory prayers so that love for them naturally has an

p: 140

impact on Muslims in general and becomes a common trend among them.

The merit, outcome, and reward of invocations of Divine blessings upon the Holy Prophet (s) and the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) will be discussed in further details in the coming book on Acts of Worship within this series.

Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi‘i is well-known for composition of poetic verses proving the existence of this common trend among Muslims and referring to some political tendencies that opposed this trend for political and non-religious reasons.

Some of al-Shafi‘i’s poetic verses are as follows:

O Household of Allah’s Messenger, love for you is a duty imposed by Allah and revealed in the Qur’an.

It is sufficient for you that he who does not send blessings upon you will have his prayers nullified.

He has also composed the following:

If love for Muhammad’s Household (‘a) is a protest (against religion), then let both men and jinn witness that I am protesting (rafizi).(1)

Besides its great moral value, this love has cultural and political functions.

As for its cultural function, it has turned hearts towards true guidance, uprightness, and surrender to the culture and instructions of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

As for its political function, it defends the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers and provides ample opportunity to

p: 141

1- - Ibn Hajar, al-Jawa`iq al-Muhriqah, p. 133 ; al-Shablanji, Nur al-Absar, p. 104.

believe in their Divinely ordained leadership and their efficacious role in the history of Islam.

For these reasons, the political enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) waged political campaigns against them and attempted to extinguish the torch of this love and loyalty and presented alternatives and other loyalties. They also attempted to debilitate this loyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and fight the issue of love for them. In order to achieve these vicious goals these political enemies used fanaticism, antagonism and hatred as weapons, always ready to commit inhumane crimes against the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their followers.

In fact, the issue of love and affection for the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) has always been clear at all levels, including authentic religious texts, historical facts, and practices in the ages of the Holy Prophet (s), the Companions (Jahabah), the Followers (Tabi`un) and the other righteous Muslims.

Hundreds of traditions that are reported from the Holy Prophet (s) and the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have laid the foundation of this love and considered it to be a basic goal and a means of winning Almighty Allah’s reward, pleasure, and forgiveness. In this regard, the Holy Prophet (s) is reported to have said,

الإسْلاَمُ عُرْیَانٌ؛ فَلِبَاسُهُ

الْحَیَاءُ، وَزِینَتُهُ الْوَقَارُ، وَمُرُوءَتُهُ الْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ، وَعِمَادُهُ

الْوَرَعُ. وَلِکُلِّ شَیْ ءْ أَسَاسٌ، وَأَسَاسُ الإِسْلاَمِ حُبُّنَا أَهْلَ



is naked. Modesty is its dress, faithfulness its adornment, good deeds its

personality, and piety its pillar. Everything should have a basis. The basis

of Islam is the love for us—the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).(1)

Imam ’Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a) is reported to have said,

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1- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:141, H. 6.

عَلَیْکُمْ بِحُبِّ آلِ نَبِیِّکُمْ، فَإنَّهُ

حَقُّ اللهِ عَلَیْکُمْ وَالْمُوجِبُ عَلَی اللهِ حَقَّکُمْ. أَلاَ تَرَوْنَ

إلَی قَوْلِ اللهِ تَعَالَی:

﴿قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُکُمْ عَلَیْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِی الْقُرْبَی﴾

You are advised to love your Prophet’s Household

(‘a). This is your duty towards Almighty Allah due to which He shall fulfill

His promise to you. Have you not considered Almighty Allah’s saying:


I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives. (42:23)”(1)

Imam Ja‘far al-Jadiq (‘a) has reported Imam ‘Ali (‘a) as saying:

ذِکْرُنَا أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ

شِفَاءٌ مِنَ الوَعْکِ وَالأَسْقَامِ وَوِسْوَاسِ الرَّیْبِ. وَحُبُّنَا رِضَا

الرَّبِّ تَبَارَکَ وَتَعَالَی.

To mention us, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), is the

cure of apathy, disease, and suspicion. To love us is the pleasure of the

Blessed and Exalted Lord.(2)

Imam Ja‘far al-Jadiq (‘a) has also reported the Holy Prophet (s) as saying:

أَنَا شَافِعٌ یَوْمَ الْقِیَامَةِ

لأَِرْبَعَةِ أَصْنَافٍ وَلَوْ جَاؤوا بِذُنُوبِ أَهْلِ الدُّنْیَا: رَجَلٌ نَصَرَ

ذُرِّیَّتِی، وَرَجُلٌ بَذَلَ مَالَهُ لِذُرِّیَّتِی عِنْدَ الضِّیقِ، وَرَجُلٌ أَحَبَّ

ذُرِّیَّتِی بِاللِّسَانِ وَالْقَلْبِ، وَرَجُلٌ سَعَی فِی حَوَائِجِ ذُرِّیَّتِی

إذَا طُرِدُوا أَوْ شُرِّدُوا.

On the

Day of Resurrection I will certainly intercede for these four categories of

people, even if they are overburdened with the sins of the inhabitants of

this world: (1) those who support my descendants, (2) those who spend their

wealth for my descendants when they are in distress, (3) those who express

love for my descendants through their speech and with their heart, and (4)

those who exert efforts to satisfy the needs of my descendants when they are pursued

and banished.(3)

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1- - `Abd al-Wahid al-Amudi, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, No. 6244.
2- - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:135, H. 171.
3- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:556, H. 2.

Hannan ibn Sadir has reported Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying:

مَا ثَبَّتَ اللهُ حُبَّ عَلِیٍّ عَلَیْهِ السَّلاَمُ

فِی قَلْبِ أَحَدٍ فَزَلَّتْ بِهِ قَدَمٌ إلاَّ ثَبُتَتْ لَهُ قَدَمٌ أُخْرَی.

As for

one in whose heart Almighty Allah fixes the love for ‘Ali (‘a), if one of his feet

slips (from the Discriminating Bridge), the other foot will certainly be


Al-Fuzayl reported Imam al-Riza (‘a) to have quoted Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying:

حُبُّنَا إی-مَانٌ وَبُغْضُنَا کُفْرٌ.


love us is faith and to hate us is unbelief.(2)

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1- - Shaykh al-Tusi, al-Amali, pp. 132-133, H. 212; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:199, H. 3 (as quoted from the previous reference book).
2- - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:247, H. 463.

Self-Sacrifice and Altruism

Fourth Feature: The Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) solidified in the souls of their followers the spirit of self-sacrifice, altruism, and readiness to give up worldly pleasures for the sake of faith and principles. They ('a) also spread among them the spirit of struggle for the sake of principles and supreme goals.

In order to achieve these goals, the Holy Imams (‘a) used various means and exposed themselves to various tribulations. They (‘a) suffered all sorts of pain and ordeals patiently and sacrificed personal matters for the sake of achieving the public interests of Islam. They (‘a) were also ready to make any sacrifice required, including giving up their lives, the lives of their family members and companions. They (‘a) made their household subject to captivity and their wealth and prestige to usurpation and aggression for the sake of achieving these goals.

They (‘a) always became the targets of enemies’ assaults and conspiracies, struggling to save Islamic principles.

The issue of Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom has thus become the climax and the most eminent symbol of self-sacrifice. The same thing can be applied to all the Holy Imams (‘a) who never desisted in giving up everything possible in all fields of life for the sake of safeguarding Islam.

The Holy Imams (‘a) trained their followers in the spirit of self-sacrifice and altruism demonstrated by Imam al-Husayn’s astounding tragedy in the history of Islam to make self-sacrifice manifest itself as a signpost indicating the path to the truth. It also revealed the injustice that befell the Holy Prophet’s Household (‘a) and unmasked the hideous face of the Umayyad dynasty.

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Moral Features of Imam al-Ḥusayn's (‘a) Uprising


In the previous discussions on the cultural aspects of building a virtuous community, I have dealt with the issue of Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom from the cultural, ethical, and doctrinal viewpoints. Under this title, I will attempt to study the moral features of this uprising in a methodical way.

The following spiritual and moral features are found in Imam al-Husayn’s uprising:

Clash between Right and Wrong

The issue of Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom is the clearest representation of the conflict between right and wrong and belief and disbelief with regard to the extreme deviations that eventually led to unbelief and vacated the Islamic concept of its actual components within the Muslim community. The issue also depicts the incontrovertible situation of the righteous party who were exposed to this great injustice, irresponsible behavior and disgrace because of their principled stand.

Imam al-Husayn’s situation and attitude to this clash is incontestable and agreed upon by all Muslims without exception despite the political and cultural efforts the Umayyad rulers and their followers exerted to disfigure the great uprising and paint the position of Yazid and the Umayyad ruling authorities with a color of religious legality.

Also, they made other attempts to keep the public silent and made them surrender to the unjust rulers and submit to their rule by presenting themselves as religiously legal authorities. This culture spread among the public after the

p: 146

ruling authorities despotically controlled and dominated the Islamic homeland.(1)

Hence, the issue of Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom has survived as a signpost which directs towards true guidance those who stray off and wander in the murk of distortion and deception and from which the strivers, revolutionists, and freedom fighters obtain accurate potential, power, and determination.

Moral Values

Imam al-Husayn’s historic uprising and then martyrdom upholds all human and moral values. It therefore embodies a school of genuine Islamic teachings.

The secret of the endurance of this great uprising in influence and interaction lies in its tremendous moral content, which is compatible with basic human nature. The uprising of Imam al-Husayn ('a) embodied dignity, decorum, self-esteem, courage, altruism, kindness to everyone including enemies, steadfastness on principles, and endurance in misfortunes, pain, and difficulties. It also demonstrated exertion of all possible efforts to guide and save the lives of the people as well as maintain an ideal relationship with one’s relatives, friends, and followers and the leadership, the community, and other people of different nationalities. In fact, representatives of other peoples and nationalities stood by Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and suffered part of his astounding tragedy.

When put into practice during times of tribulation and colored with blood and sacrifice, these values and ideals attain a special significance that is different in profundity,

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1- - Further details about this topic have been cited in some of my other studies.

rank and level from all other values and ideals when raised as mere cultural slogans.

The Massive Dimension of Sacrifice

Imam al-Husayn’s uprising is distinguished by its high rank and massive magnitude of sacrifice for the sake of Islam and the Muslim nation. Besides giving up his soul and wealth as well as the souls of his sons, brothers and companions, Imam al-Husayn ('a) sacrificed other family members and his women exposing them to the ordeal of captivity and aggression.

However, Almighty Allah protected them and saved them from the consequences and other tragic ramifications of captivity.

Moreover, Imam al-Husayn (‘a) sacrificed himself and the group of virtuous, righteous, and honorable scholars and individuals who stood with him. Each one of these companions could have become a great school of knowledge and ethics or a prominent guide and instructor of the Muslim community.

When facing such perils in the conflict against unbelief and deviation, one might hang back or choose to keep silent and surrender because the conflict would require a massive amount of sacrifice. Throughout history, many people who had good intentions, sound ideas, and clear prospects stopped, developed reservations, or failed to carry on their conflicts against injustice because of the massive pressure of the enemies.

This fact was visible in the responses of some virtuous personalities during the time of Imam al-Husayn (‘a). Some advised the Imam (‘a) not to head for Iraq, such as Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, ‘Abdullah ibn Ja‘far, and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas who were the closest to him (‘a) and

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shared his views about the ruling regime. However, they did not agree with his views about self-sacrifice and altruism.

Clarity in Seeking the Truth

Imam al-Husayn’s uprising and martyrdom contrasts the fairness and truth of his own stance and the injustice with which he was treated. At the same time it reveals the falsity and viciousness of the party led by Yazid. Due to this clarity, feelings were shaken and the way was opened before the Muslim nation to aggressively participate in this tragedy and its objectives.

This clarity was one of the main objectives that Imam al-Husayn (‘a) planned in his uprising. He (‘a) paved the way for his uprising through dexterous informative work, powerful political speech, efficacious interaction with the masses and by adopting the preferable approach to the prerequisites and needs of that stage of Islam.

As a result, the Muslim community asked the Imam (‘a) to take the leadership and confront the despotic rulers. Public support was gathered by educating and spiritually arousing the masses to respond to the Imam’s uprising. Although the people did not have enough willpower, courage, and determination to participate in his revolutionary action, they believed in the validity of the objectives and motives of the uprising.

Undoubtedly, the clarity of objective in the uprising of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) was obvious but the Muslim nation had cold feet and responded to his calls for uprising with dejection and betrayal. These two factors had a great impact on stirring up the moral spirit of the virtuous community whose members felt sorrow, pain, and regret and vowed to do something lest such a painful encounter take place again.

p: 149

It was improbable that those who had committed the sin (of abandoning the Imam (‘a)) would feel sorry and regretful. What was possible was that all those who could comprehend and apply the incident to their lives would understand this aspect and feel sorry and regretful for having missed contributing to the Imam’s uprising. Maybe they would not allow the political conditions of their own time to descend to such level of lowliness and retardation and thus avoid falling in the same trap in which the others had fallen or face the same fate the others had faced.

Multifaceted Tragedy

The tragedy of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) has multifaceted misfortunes including crimes like the following committed by Yazid’s followers:

(1) They brutally killed Imam al-Husayn’s sons, brothers, cousins and children, including infants and adults.

(2) They also killed many leaders, chiefs, scholars, young and old men, women, friends and followers of Imam al-Husayn (‘a).

(3) His family members and those of the martyrs were subjected to plundering, robbery, captivity, and mayhem.

(4) Psychological and physical torture, material and mental aggression, that took various forms, was inflicted on the bereaved members of his (‘a) and the martyrs’ families.

These excesses supplied Imam al-Husayn’s great uprising with a spiritual and moral momentum.

Determination for Martyrdom

Imam al-Husayn’s group of active supporters was fully determined to attain martyrdom and sacrifice everything for the sake of the matter and question, and were prepared for the consequences even if they had to face them seventy

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times. This was the state of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and his devotees who knew the consequences and the fact that their uprising was not powerful enough to overthrow Yazid’s ruling regime.

In conclusion, the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) and his followers came after their determination to achieve martyrdom. This fact gives their martyrdom a spiritual level difficult to imagine. Generally, martyrdom that is determined and chosen bears great spiritual and moral fruit.

Heir of the Divine Message and the Messenger (s)

Imam al-Husayn (‘a) was heir to the divine message of Islam and the Messenger (s) who nurtured him in childhood. He was also of Allah’s Messenger (s) who showed deliberate care towards the sons of his daughter Fatimah (‘a) and cousin ‘Ali ibn Abi-Talib (‘a) in order to heavily burden Muslims’ consciences when this son would be martyred. Imam al-Husayn (‘a), together with Imam al-Hasan (‘a), Lady Zaynab and Lady Kulthum (‘a)—his brother and sisters—represented the remaining offspring of the Holy Prophet (s).

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The Tragedy and the Morale

Fifth Feature: In addition to their sacrifices and emphasis on self-sacrifice by bringing to the fore the issue of Imam al-Husayn’s uprising and martyrdom, the Holy Imams (‘a) confirmed that their followers will be exposed to various sorts of tribulations and ordeals.

In this respect, Sharif al-Ra¤i (the compiler of Nahj al-Balaghah) has recorded that when Sahl ibn Hunayf al-Sa‘idi passed away in Kufah immediately after his return from the Battle of Siffin, Imam ‘Ali Amir al-Mu'minin ('a) was visibly grieved because he was one his best friends. He (‘a) said:

لَوْ أَحَبَّنِی جَبَلٌ لَتَهَافَتَ.


if a mountain loves me, it will definitely collapse.(1)

Explaining this word, Sharif al-Ra¤i states that ordeals pounce upon one who loves Imam ‘Ali ('a) and afflict him with various sorts of misfortunes. Such ordeals attack none but the pious, upright, well-chosen, and good people. Similar to this meaning is another maxim of Imam ‘Ali in which he says:

مَنْ أَحَبَّنَا أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ فَلْیَسْتَعِدَّ

لِلْفَقْرِ جِلْبَاباً.


loves us, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), must ready himself for poverty with which he

must dress himself.(2)

Moreover, trials and tests are among the inevitable necessities of true faith, since they measure the degree of faith one has.

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1- - Nahj al-Balaghah, Maxim No. 111.
2- -Nahj al-Balaghah, Maxim No. 112.

Shaykh al-Kulayni, through a valid chain of authority, has reported ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Hajjaj as saying that when the trials that smite the faithful believers in particular were discussed before Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), he commented as follows:

سُئِلَ رَسُولُ

اللهِ صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ: مَنْ أَشَدُّ النَّاسِ بَلاَءً؟ فَقَالَ:

النَّبِیُّونَ، ثُمَّ الأَمْثَلُ فَالأَمْثَلُ. وَیُبْتَلَی الْمُؤْمِنُ بَعْدُ

عَلَی قَدْرِ إی-مَانِهِ وَحُسْنِ أَعْمَالِهِ. فَمَنْ صَحَّ إِی-مَانُهُ

وَحَسُنَ عَمَلُهُ إشْتَدَّ بَلاَؤُهُ، وَمَنْ سَخُفَ إی-مَانُهُ وَضَعُفَ

عَمَلُهُ قَلَّ بَلاَؤُهُ.

Allah’s Messenger (s) was asked, “Who are the

most afflicted with ordeals in this world?” He (s) answered, “They are the

Prophets (‘a) and then the nearest to them descending downwardly. A

faithful believer is tested according to the amount of his faith and good

deeds. Those whose faith is sound and deeds are excellent will be tested more

intensely than the others. Those whose faith is deficient and deeds are weak

are tested the least.”(1)

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said,

إنَّ اللهَ

لَیَتَعَاهَدُ الْمُؤْمِنَ بِالْبَلاَءِ کَمَا یَتَعَاهَدُ الرَّجُلُ أَهْلَهُ

بِالْهَدِیَّةِ مِنَ الْغَیْبَةِ وَیَحْمِیهِ مِنَ الدُّنْیَا کَمَا یَحْمِی

الطَّبِیبُ الْمَرِیضَ.


Almighty Allah is attentive towards the faithful believers through calamities

in the same way as an absent husband attends to his wife with gifts. He also

protects them from worldly seductions in the same way that a physician

protects his patient.(2)

Al-Husayn ibn `Alwan has reported that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said the following to Sadir:

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1- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 2:6-9, H. 1. In the same chapter of this reference book, there are several authentically reported traditions demonstrating the same thing.
2- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 2:6-9, H. 9.

إنَّ اللهَ إذَا أَحَبَّ عَبْ-داً غَتَّهُ بِالْبَلاَءِ غَتّاً. وَإنَّا

وَإیَّاکُمْ، یَا سَدِیرُ، لَنُصْبِحُ بِهِ وَنُمْسِی.

Verily, when Almighty Allah loves one of His

servants, He will thrust him abruptly into tribulations. O Sadir, you and we

are entering upon morns and eves with such tribulations.(1)

Addressing their partisans, the Holy Imams (‘a) confirmed that none deserves to be Shi‘ite except certain individuals who are ready to make such high-ranking sacrifices. They (‘a) used to test the sincerity and honesty of their true Shi‘ah (i.e. followers) through their propensities towards self-sacrifice.

Describing the righteous among his companions, Imam `Ali Amir al-Mu'minin (‘a) ascribed this feature to them, saying:


الأَنْصَارُ عَلَی الْحَقِّ، وَالإِخُوَانُ فی الدِّینِ، وَالْجُنَنُ یَوْمَ

الْبَأْسِ، وَالْبِطَانَةُ دُونَ النَّاسِ، بِکُمْ أَضْرِبُ الْمُدْبِرَ،

وَأَرْجُو طَاعَةَ الْمُقْبِلِ، فَأَعِینُونی بِمُنَاصَحَة خَلِیَّة مِنَ

الْغِشِّ، سَلِیمَة مِنَ الرَّیْبِ؛ فَوَاللهِ إِنِّی لأَوْلَی النَّاسِ



are the supporters of the Truth, the brethren in faith, the shield on the Day

of Tribulation, and (my) trustees among the rest of the people. With your

support, I strike he who turns away and hope for the obedience of he who comes

forward. Therefore, extend to me your support, which is free from deceit and

pure from doubt because, by Allah, I am the most preferable of all for the


Similarly, many traditions have been reported from the Holy Imams (‘a) concerning their encouragement of their followers to sacrifice themselves, risk themselves, give, offer, and strive for the sake of Almighty Allah.

Let us display some of these facts, instructions, and

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1- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 2:6-9, H. 11.
2- - Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 118.


Abu-Jamilah has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying that Imam ‘Ali Amir al-Mu'minin’s precept for his companions was as follows:

إعْلَمُوا أَنَّ الْقُرْآنَ هُ-دَی اللَّیْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ

وَنُورُ اللَّیْلِ الْمُظْلِمِ عَلَی مَا کَانَ مِنْ جَهْدٍ وَفَاقَةٍ. فَإذَا حَضَرَتْ

بَلِیَّةٌ فَاجْعَلُوا أَمْوَالَکُمْ دُونَ أَنْفُسِکُمْ، وَإذَا نَزَلَتْ نَازِلَةٌ

فَاجْعَلُوا أَنْفُسَکُمْ دُونَ دِینِکُمْ. وَإعْلَمُوا أَنَّ الْهَالِکَ مَنْ هَلَکَ

دِینُهُ، وَالْحَرِیبُ مَنْ حُرِبَ دِینَهُ. أَلاَ وَإنَّهُ لاَ فَقْرَ بَعْدَ الْجَنَّةِ،

أَلاَ وَإنَّهُ لاَ غِنَی بَعْدَ النَّارِ؛ لاَ یُفَکُّ أَسِیرُهَا وَلاَ یَبْرَءُ


Be it

known to you that the Qur’an is guidance during night and day and in the dim

of gloomy nights, because it suffices from all fatigue and indigence. If you

are afflicted with a tribulation, you must protect yourselves with your

wealth, but if a catastrophe afflicts you, you must then protect your

religion with your souls. Know that one who has truly perished is he whose

religion has perished, and one who has truly been despoiled is he whose

religion has been despoiled. Verily, there shall be no poverty after Paradise and there shall be no wealth after Hellfire whose captive shall never be released

and whose blindness shall never be cured.(1)

Imam ‘Ali (‘a) is reported to have said:


بَعْدُ، فَإِنَّ الْجِهَادَ بَابٌ مِنْ أَبْوَابِ الجَنَّةِ، فَتَحَهُ اللهُ

لِخَاصَّةِ أَوْلِیَائِهِ، وَهُوَ لِباسُ التَّقْوَی، وَدِرْعُ اللهِ

الحَصِینَةُ، وَجُنَّتُهُ الوَثِیقَةُ، فَمَنْ تَرَکَهُ رَغْبَةً عَنْهُ

أَلبَسَهُ اللهُ ثَوْبَ الذُّلِّ، وَشَمِلَهُ البَلاَءُ، وَدُیِّثَ بِالصَّغَارِ

وَالقَمَاءَةِ، وَضُرِبَ عَلَی قَلْبِهِ بِالاِْسْهَابِ، وَأُدِیلَ الحَقُّ

مِنْهُ بِتَضْیِیعِ الجِهَادِ، وَسِیمَ الخَسْفَ، وَمُنِعَ النَّصَفَ.


then, surely jihad (i.e. striving for Almighty Allah’s sake) is one of the

doors of Paradise, which Allah has opened for His chief friends. It is the

dress of piety and the protective armor of Allah and His trustworthy shield.

Whoever abandons it, Allah covers him with the dress of disgrace and the

clothes of distress. He is kicked with contempt and scorn, and his heart is

veiled with screens (of neglect). Truth is taken away from him because of

missing jihad. He has to suffer ignominy, and justice is denied to him.(2)

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1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:216, H. 2.
2- - Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 27.

3. Shaykh al-Kulayni, in his book of al-Kafi, has reported on the authority of Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) that the Holy Prophet (s) said,

اَلْخَیْرُ کُلُّهُ فِی السَّیْفِ وَتَحْتَ ظِلِّ

السَّیْفِ. وَلاَ یُقِیمُ النَّاسَ إلاَّ السَّیْفُ. وَالسُّیُوفُ مَقَالِیدُ

الْجَنَّةِ وَالنَّارِ.


entirety of goodness lies in swords and under their shadows. Nothing amends

people except swords. Swords are verily the keys of Paradise and Hellfire.(1)

Although this evaluation and comprehensive understanding of jihad has expansive denotations, the Holy Imams (‘a) did not stop at it; rather, they expounded and explained its laws and gave it more expansive significance in practical life—significance that includes honest words, distinguished behavior, and virtuous deeds.

We can observe that these high spirits of propensity towards self-sacrifice and strife for Almighty Allah’s sake

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1- - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:5, H. 1. The authenticity of this tradition is corroborated by other traditions that are mentioned in the same chapter of this reference book.

are among the basic features identifying the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). They also perpetuate this spiritual momentum in the Muslim nation to face the various circumstances to which they are exposed.

p: 157


Sixth Feature: The Holy Imams (‘a) imbued their followers with the spirit of resistance and perseverance and tolerance at times of misfortune, pain and ordeal during confrontations in order to overcome their enemies.

The Holy Qur’an has laid great emphasis on perseverance. The Holy Prophet (s), too, expresses the significance of perseverance through many pieces of advice and teaches us to learn lessons from the experiences of the earlier Prophets (‘a). The Holy Qur’an thus reads:

فَاصْبِرْ کَمَا صَبَرَ أُولُو الْعَزْمِ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ

Therefore, bear up

patiently as did the messengers endowed with constancy bear up with patience.


قَالَ الَّذِینَ یَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُمْ مُلَاقُو اللَّهِ کَمْ مِنْ فِئَةٍ قَلِیلَةٍ غَلَبَتْ فِئَةً کَثِیرَةً بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِینَ

وَلَمَّا بَرَزُوا لِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِ قَالُوا رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَیْنَا صَبْرًا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وَانْصُرْنَا عَلَی الْقَوْمِ الْکَافِرِینَ

فَهَزَمُوهُمْ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ


who were sure that they would meet their Lord said, “How often has a small

party vanquished a numerous host by Allah's permission, and Allah is with the

patient.” And when they went out against Goliath and his forces they said,

“Our Lord, pour down upon us patience, make our steps firm, and assist us

against the unbelieving people.” So, they put them to flight by Allah's

permission. (2:249-251)

To arouse the spirit of steadfastness and perseverance in their followers, the Holy Imams (‘a) used many methods that we can observe in their discourses, precepts, and practices:

(1) They emphasized the significance and role of perseverance in the accomplishment of man’s spiritual perfection and success in this world and the Hereafter by

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drawing their attention to what the Holy Qur’an had corroborated in this field, and through their discourses. Many traditions have been reported from them in this field. For instance, the famous book of Wasa'il al-Shi‘ah has an independent chapter dealing with this subject. The Holy Imams (‘a), through numerous traditions, intended to implant this aspect in their followers’ mentalities.

Hafs ibn Ghiyath has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as addressing him with the following words:

یَا حَفْصُ! إنَّ مَنْ صَبَرَ صَبَرَ قَلِیلاً،

وَإنَّ مَنْ جَزَعَ جَزَعَ قَلِیلاًٍ. عَلَیْکَ بِالصَّبْرِ فِی جَمِیعِ أُمُورِکَ،

فَإنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بَعَثَ مُحَمَّداً صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ فَأَمَرَهُ

بِالصَّبْرِ وَالرِّفْقِ، فَقَالَ: {وَاصْبِرْ عَلَی مَا یَقُولُونَ وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِیلًا وَذَرْنِی وَالْمُکَذِّبِینَ أُولِی النَّعْمَةِ وَمَهِّلْهُمْ قَلِیلًا} وَقَالَ تَبَارَکَ وَتَعَالَی: { ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِی هِیَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِی بَیْنَکَ وَبَیْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ کَأَنَّهُ وَلِیٌّ حَمِیمٌ وَمَا یُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِینَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا یُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِیمٍ} فَصَبَرَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ

وَآلِهِ حَتَّی نَالُوهُ بِالْعَظَائِمِ وَرَمَوْهُ بِهَا. فَضَاقَ صَدْرُهُ، فَأَنْزَلَ

اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: {وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّکَ یَضِیقُ صَدْرُکَ بِمَا یَقُولُونَ

فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّکَ وَکُنْ مِنَ السَّاجِدِینَ} ثُمَّ کَذَّبُوُهُ وَرَمَوْهُ، فَحَزِنَ لِذَلِکَ.

فَأَنْزَلَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: {قَدْ نَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُ لَیَحْزُنُکَ الَّذِی یَقُولُونَ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا یُکَذِّبُونَکَ وَلَکِنَّ الظَّالِمِینَ بِآیَاتِ اللَّهِ یَجْحَدُونَ

وَلَقَدْ کُذِّبَتْ رُسُلٌ مِنْ قَبْلِکَ فَصَبَرُوا عَلَی مَا کُذِّبُوا وَأُوذُوا حَتَّی أَتَاهُمْ نَصْرُنَا وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِکَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَکَ مِنْ نَبَإِ الْمُرْسَلِینَ}

فَأَلْزَمَ النَّبِیُّ صَلَّی

اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ نَفْسَهُ الصَّبْرَ. فَتَعَدَّوْا فَذَکَرُوا اللهَ تَبَارَکَ

وَتَعَالَی وَکَذَّبُوهُ. فَقَالَ: قَدْ صَبَرْتُ فِی نَفْسِی وَأَهْلِی وَعِرْضِی،

وَلاَ صَبْرَ لِی عَلَی ذِکْرِ إلَهِی. فَأَنْزَلَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: {وَاصْبِرْ عَلَی مَا یَقُولُونَ وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِیلًا} فَصَبَرَ النَّبِیُّ صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ فِی

جَمِیعِ أَحْوَالِهِ. ثُمَّ بَشَّرَ فِی عِتْرَتِهِ بِالأَئِمَّةِ وَوُصِفُوا بِالصَّبْرِ،

فَقَالَ جَلَّ ثَنَاؤُهُ: {وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً یَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا وَکَانُوا بِآیَاتِنَا یُوقِنُونَ} فَعِنْدَ ذَلِکَ قَالَ صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ

وَآلِهِ: الصَّبْرُ مِنَ الإیمَانِ کَالرَّأْسِ مِنَ الْجَسَدِ. فَشَکَرَ اللهُ عَزَّ

وَجَلَّ ذَلِکَ لَهُ، فَأَنْزَلَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: {وَاصْبِرْ عَلَی مَا یَقُولُونَ وَاهْجُرْهُمْ هَجْرًا جَمِیلًا} فَقَالَ صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ: إنَّهُ

بُشْرَی وَإنْتِقَامٌ. فَأَبَاحَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَهُ قِتَالَ الْمُشْرِکِینَ


{وَتَمَّتْ کَلِمَتُ رَبِّکَ الْحُسْنَی عَلَی بَنِی إِسْرَائِیلَ بِمَا صَبَرُوا وَدَمَّرْنَا مَا کَانَ یَصْنَعُ فِرْعَوْنُ وَقَوْمُهُ وَمَا کَانُوا یَعْرِشُونَ} فَقَتَلَهُمُ اللهُ عَلَی یَدَیْ رَسُولِ اللهِ

صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ وَأَحِبَّائِهِ، وَجَعَلَ لَهُ ثَوَابَ صَبْرِهِ مَعَ

مَا ادَّخَرَ لَهُ فِی الآخِرَةِ. فَمَنْ صَبَرَ وَاحْتَسَبَ لَمْ یَخْرُجْ مِنَ

الدُّنْیَا حَتَّی یُقِرَّ اللهُ لَهُ عَیْنَهُ فِی أَعْدَائِهِ مَعَ مَا یَدَّخِرُ

لَهُ فِی الآخِرَةِ.

O Hafs, whoever perseveres

will in fact persevere for a short while(1)

and whoever breaks down will break down for a short while.

You must thus persevere in

all your affairs. Verily, Almighty Allah has sent Muhammad (s) (as His

messenger) and ordered him to be patient and lenient. He thus says, “Bear

patiently what they say and avoid them with a becoming avoidance. Leave Me to

deal with the rejecters, the lords of ease and plenty. (73:10-11)”

He also says, “Repel evil

with what is best, when lo! He who was your enemy would be as if he were a

warm friend. None is made to receive it but those who are patient and none is

made to receive it but those who have a mighty good fortune. (41:34-35)”

So, the Holy Prophet (s) continued

to deal with them patiently until they forged unbearable things against him

and accused him falsely of these things; therefore, he was distressed at what

they had forged against him. As a result, Almighty Allah revealed to him the

following: “Surely, We know that your breast straitens at what they say!

Therefore, celebrate the praise of your Lord and be of those who make

obeisance. (15:97-98)”

They then belied and

accused him of fabrications that made him sad. So, Almighty Allah revealed to

him the following: “We know indeed that what they say certainly grieves you,

but surely they do not call you a liar, but the unjust deny the

communications of Allah. Certainly, messengers before you were rejected, but

they were patient on being rejected and persecuted until Our help came to

them. (6:33-34)”

Although the Holy Prophet

(s) committed himself to patience, they transgressed all limits when they

began to speak irreverently of Almighty Allah and belied Him. So, the Holy

Prophet (s) said, “I have borne patiently what they said about myself, my

family, and my honor, but I cannot stand anymore what they are speaking

profanely of my Lord.” So, Almighty Allah revealed the following: “Bear

patiently what they say. (73:10)” So, the Holy Prophet (s) remained patient

under all conditions.

Then, Almighty Allah gave

him the good tidings of the Imams being from his offspring and ascribed

perseverance to them, saying, “We made of them Imams to guide by Our command

when they were patient and they were certain of Our communications. (32:24)”

Only then, the Holy Prophet (s) declared, “The position of patience to faith

is as the position of the head to the body.”

For this situation, Almighty Allah thanked His Prophet (s) and revealed

to him the following: “The good word of your Lord was fulfilled in the

children of Israel because they bore up (sufferings) patiently and We utterly

destroyed what Pharaoh and his people had wrought and what they built.

(7:137)” The Holy Prophet (s) understood the good tidings and the punishment

of Almighty Allah mentioned in this verse.

Then, Almighty Allah

allowed him to fight against the polytheists, saying, “Slay the idolaters

wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in

wait for them in every ambush. (9:5)” “Kill them wherever you find them. (2:191)”

So, Almighty Allah slew them at the hands of His Messenger (s) and those who

love Him. He also kept for His Messenger (s) the reward of patience along

with what He had already kept for him in the Hereafter.


whoever draws on patience will never depart this world before Almighty Allah

delights him concerning his enemies not to mention what He has stored for him

in the Hereafter.(2)

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1- - The Holy Imam (‘a) means that one who is patient will be so for a short while, because he is either patient for his whole life, which is relatively short (when compared to the other life, which is the reward of his patience) or for the time of tribulation, which is also short.
2- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:88-89, H. 3; Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:207, H. 1 (as quoted from the earlier reference book).


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Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq (‘a) has also reported the Holy Prophet (s) as saying:

p: 162

سَیَأْتِی عَلَی النَّاسِ زَمَانٌ لاَ یُنَالُ

فِیهِ الْمُلْکُ إلاَّ بِالْقَتْلِ وَالتَّجَبُّرِ، وَلاَ الْغِنَی إلاَّ بِالْغَصْبِ

وَالْبُخْلِ، وَلاَ الْمَحَبَّةُ إلاَّ بِاسْتِخْرَاجِ الدِّینِ وَاتِّبَاعِ الْهَوَی.

فَمَنْ أَدْرَکَ ذَلِکَ الزَّمَانَ فَصَبَرَ عَلَی الْفَقْرِ وَهُوَ یَقْدِرُ عَلَی

الْغِنَی، وَصَبَرَ عَلَی الْبُغْضَةِ وَهُوَ یَقْدِرُ عَلَی الْمَحَبَّةِ، وَصَبَرَ

عَلَی الذُّلِّ وَهُوَ یَقْدِرُ عَلَی الْعِزِّ آتَاهُ اللهُ ثَوَابَ خَمْسِینَ

صِدِّیقاً مِمَّنْ صَدَّقَ بِی.

After me, there shall come upon people an age in

which sovereignty cannot be gained except by means of killing and arrogance,

wealth cannot be obtained except by means of usurpation and stinginess, and

amicability cannot be attained except by means of disregarding the religious

affairs and pursuing the whims. So, as for him who lives in that time and

tolerates poverty while he can be rich, tolerates humility while he can be a

master, and tolerates people’s displeasure while he can obtain their respect,

Almighty Allah will give him the rewards of fifty veracious men who have

believed in me.(1)

(2) The Holy Imams (‘a) interpreted tribulations and ordeals (that afflict the faithful believers) to be means of nearness to Almighty Allah and divine favor. Providing examples, they referred to their personal tribulations and ordeals. Previously, I have introduced some traditions demonstrating this issue.

(3) The Holy Imams (‘a) averred that submission to and satisfaction with such tribulations and ordeals are in themselves high ranks of belief in Almighty Allah Who confers them upon none but His elite servants. Of course, this fact stirs up in souls the feelings of satisfaction, tranquility, steadfastness, and resistance. A statement in a

p: 163

1- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:91, H. 12; al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:208, H. 2 (as quoted from the earlier reference book).

famous formula of ziyarah reads:


فَاجْعَلْ نَفْسِی مُطْمَئِنَّةً بِقَدَرِکَ، رَاضِیَةً بِقَضَائِکَ… صَابِرَةً

عَلَی نُزُولِ بَلاَئِکَ.


Allah, cause my soul to be fully tranquil with Your decrees, satisfied with

Your providence… and steadfast against affliction of Your tribulations.(1)

Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said:

رَأْسُ طَاعَةِ اللهِ الصَّبْرُ وَالرِّضَا عَنِ

اللهِ فِی مَا أَحَبَّ الْعَبْدُ أَوْ کَرِهَ. وَلاَ یَرْضَی عَبْدٌ عَنِ اللهِ

فِی مَا أَحَبَّ أَوْ کَرِهَ إلاَّ کَانَ خَیْراً لَهُ فِی مَا أَحَبَّ أَوْ


The apex

of obedience to Almighty Allah is perseverance and satisfaction with Allah regardless

of whether His servant likes or dislikes the circumstances. Whenever a

servant is pleased with Almighty Allah in what he likes or dislikes, this

shall certainly be better for him than the matter that he liked or disliked.(2)

Imam `Ali ibn al-Husayn (‘a) is reported to have said:

الزُّهْدُ عَشَرَةُ أَجْزَاءٍ؛ فَأَعْلَی دَرَجَاتِ

الزُّهْدِ أَدْنَی دَرَجَاتِ الْوَرَعِ. وَأَعْلَی دَرَجَاتِ الْوَرَعِ أَدْنَی

دَرَجَاتِ الْیَقِینِ. وَأَعْلَی دَرَجَاتِ الْیَقِینِ أَدْنَی دَرَجَاتِ الرِّضَا.


is of ten grades the highest of which is the lowest grade of piety. The

highest grade of piety is the lowest grade of conviction. The highest grade

of conviction is the lowest grade of satisfaction.(3)

(4) The Holy Imams (‘a) assured their followers that their fate and future was the same as their own.

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1- - Shaykh `Abbas al-Qummi, Mafatih al-Jinan, Ziyarah of Amin Allah.
2- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:60, H. 1.
3- - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:62, H. 10.

(5) The Holy Imams (‘a) also explained in detail the great rewards that their followers will win for attaching themselves to them and suffering because of it.

Such attachment and sufferings shall be the reason for acceptance of their deeds and redemption on the Day of Resurrection.

Al-‘Ala' ibn Muhammad has reported that he asked Imam al-Baqir (‘a) about the meaning of the following holy verse:

إِلَّا مَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا فَأُولَئِکَ یُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَیِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ وَکَانَ اللَّهُ غَفُورًا رَحِیمًا


are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones, and Allah is

Forgiving, Merciful. (25:70)

The Imam (‘a) answered:

یُؤْتَی بِالْمُؤْمِنِ الْمُذْنِبِ یَوْمَ

الْقِیَامَةِ حَتَّی یُقَامَ بِمَوْقِفِ الْحِسَابِ، فَیَکُونُ اللهُ تَعَالَی هُوَ

الَّذِی یَتَوَلَّی حِسَابَهُ لاَ یُطْلِعُ عَلَی حِسَابِهِ أَحَداً مِنَ النَّاسِ.

فَیُعَرِّفُهُ ذُنُوبَهُ، حَتَّی إذَا أَقَرَّ بِسَیِّئَاتِهِ قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ

وَجَلَّ لِلْکَتَبَةِ: ”بَدِّلُوهَا حَسَنَاتٍ وَأَظْهِرُوهَا لِلنَّاسِ.“ فَیَقُولُ

النَّاسُ حِینَئِذٍ: ”أَمَا کَانَ لِهَذَا الْعَبْدِ سَیِّئَةٌ وَاحِدَةٌ؟!“ ثُمَّ

یَأْمُرُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِهِ إلَی الْجَنَّةِ. فَهَذَا تَأْوِیلُ الآیَةِ،

وَهِیَ فِی الْمُذْنِبِینَ مِنْ شِیعَتِنَا خَاصَّةٌ.


faithful believer, who has committed sins, will be brought on the Day of Resurrection

for questioning. It will be Almighty Allah Who takes upon Himself the calling

to account of such servants so that none will witness it. Then, Almighty

Allah displays the sins that servant had committed and the servant will

confess to them. After that, Almighty Allah will order the Noble Writers to

change these sins into good deeds and then show them to the people. As they

see these records, the people will say to each other, “This servant has not

committed any single sin all his life.” Then, Almighty Allah will determine

Paradise for that servant. This is the interpretation of the verse. This is

for our Shi‘ah exclusively.(1)

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1- -Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Amali, pp. 298-299, H. 8; Shaykh al-Tusi, al-Amali, pp. 72-73, H. 105; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:100, H. 4 (as quoted from the earlier reference books).

On the authority of his fathers, Imam al-Ri¤a (‘a) has reported the Holy Prophet (s) as saying:

حُبُّنَا، أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ، یُکَفِّرُ الذُّنُوبَ

وَیُضَاعِفُ الْحَسَنَاتِ. وَإنَّ اللهَ تَعَالَی لَیَتَحَمَّلُ عَنْ

مُحِبِّینَا أَهْلَ الْبَیْتِ مَا عَلَیْهِمْ مِنْ مَظَالِمِ الْعِبَادِ إِلاَّ

مَا کَانَ مِنْهُمْ فِیهَا عَلَی إضْرَارٍ وَظُلْمٍ لِلْمُؤْمِنِینَ. فَیَقُولُ

لِلسَّیِّئَاتِ: ”کُونِی حَسَنَاتٍ.“

To love us, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), erases

the sins and doubles the rewards. Verily, Almighty Allah shall take upon

Himself the responsibility of our lovers’ wrong deeds against others except

for the deeds that have caused loss and injustice to other faithful

believers. He shall order the wrongdoings to change into good deeds.(1)

In vol. 68 of Bihar al-Anwar, there is a section entitled ‘bab al-safh (Section: Pardoning)’ comprising many authentic traditions that demonstrate the same purport of this tradition.

If we combine these traditions with the other ones that specify piety and diligence as stipulations for joining the community of Shi‘ism, we can conclude that the virtuous community cannot include anyone except those who are characterized by piety and diligence; however, if such individuals commit sins, they shall be forgiven by Almighty Allah on account of their loyalty to the Ahl

p: 166

1- - Shaykh al-Tusi, al-Amali, p. 164, H. 274; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:100, H. 5 (as quoted from the earlier reference book).

al-Bayt (‘a) and their sufferings because of this loyalty.

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Treatment Of Psychological Pressures

Seventh Feature: The Holy Imams (‘a) dealt with all the elements of the psychological campaigns and political and informational attacks that their enemies waged against their followers.

There are two strong negative issues, which mentally influenced the virtuous community:

First Issue: The virtuous community was a minority compared to the majority of Muslims, especially during the ages of the Holy Imams (‘a). Despite fewness in number, the virtuous community used to live within the expansive Muslim communities without having an independent entity or community. This fact made the members of the virtuous community feel mental and spiritual distress.

Such psychological distress has been usual for all the small faithful communities throughout the history of divine messages. In many verses, the Holy Qur’an has treated this problem by referring to the small and big numbers of the parties of right and wrong, indicating that fewness in number is usually observed for virtuous communities, while deviation and perversity usually accompany the larger communities. For instance, the Holy Qur’an reads,

وَمَا أَکْثَرُ النَّاسِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتَ بِمُؤْمِنِینَ


men will not believe though you desire it eagerly. (12:103)

وَقَلِیلٌ مِنْ عِبَادِیَ الشَّکُورُ


few of My servants are grateful. (34:13)

إِنَّ فِی ذَلِکَ لَآیَةً وَمَا کَانَ أَکْثَرُهُمْ مُؤْمِنِینَ


of them will not believe. (26:8)

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وَإِنَّ کَثِیرًا مِنَ الْخُلَطَاءِ لَیَبْغِی بَعْضُهُمْ عَلَی بَعْضٍ إِلَّا الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَقَلِیلٌ مَا هُمْ


surely, most of the partners act wrongfully towards one another save those

who believe and do good. Very few are they. (38:24)

Second Issue: The followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) were accused of protesting (raf¤), sowing dissension among the Muslims, and opposing the larger Muslim community that aimed at imposing sieges on the virtuous community attempting to make it seem unorthodox and remote from the truth isolating it from the larger Muslim community.

Some such charges developed into formal verdicts claiming members of the virtuous community to be atheistic, perverted, apostate, and therefore, killing or banishing them!

The followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) used to feel great distress because of such charges and besiegement; The Holy Imams (‘a) treated these two issues directly by finding solutions to them; and indirectly by confirming that it was Almighty Allah Who selected certain individuals to be their followers. As a result, to tolerate these charges and accompanying suffering patiently would bring about great rewards.

They also assured their followers that their fate is connected to their Imams’ (‘a) fate and that the Holy Qur’an makes exclusive references to them in the capacity of their being the only followers of the true religion of Almighty Allah.

The following are some examples of such confirmations:

`Utaybah, the reed trader, has reported that he told Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) that a man said to him, “Do not ever be a Rafi¤i.” The Imam (‘a) commented:

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وَاللهِ، لَنِعْمَ الإسْمُ الَّذِی مَنَحَکُمُ اللهُ

مَا دُمْتُمْ تَأْخُذُونَ بِقَوْلِنَا وَلاَ تَکْذِبُونَ عَلَیْنَا.


Allah I swear, how excellent this title is, which Almighty Allah has bestowed

upon you, as long as you carry out our commands and avoid forging lies

against us.(1)

Abu-Basir has reported that he said to Imam al-Baqir (‘a), “We have been given a title because of which the ruling authorities are shedding our blood, confiscating our properties, and persecuting us.”

The Imam (‘a) asked, “What is that title?”

Abu-Basir answered, “It is Rafi¤ah!”

The Imam (‘a) commented,

إنَّ سَبْعِینَ رَجُلاً مِنْ عَسْکَرِ فِرْعَوْنَ

رَفَضُوا فِرْعَوْنَ فَأَتَوْا مُوسَی (ع) . فَلَمْ یَکُنْ فِی قَوْمِ مُوسَی أَحَدٌ أَشَدَّ إجْتِهَاداً

وَأَشَدَّ حُبّاً لِهَارُونَ مِنْهُمْ. فَسَمَّاهُم قَوْمُ مُوسَی الرَّافِضَةَ.

فَأَوْحَی اللهُ إلَی مُوسَی أَنْ أَثْبِتْ لَهُمْ هَذَا الإسْمَ فِی

التَّوْرَاةِ، فَإنِّی نَحَلْتُهُمْ. وَذَلِکَ إسْمٌ قَدْ نَحَلَکُمُوهُ اللهُ.

Seventy men from the military forces of Pharaoh

had protested (raf¤) against Pharaoh and joined (Prophet) Moses (‘a).

They thus were the most diligent and they loved (Prophet) Aaron (‘a) more

than anyone else did in the community of Moses (‘a). As a result, the other

followers of Moses (‘a) called them Rafi¤ah. Almighty Allah revealed

to Moses (‘a) to record this title for them in the Torah, as gifted by the

Lord to them. Hence, this title has been gifted to you by Almighty Allah.(2)

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1- - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin: 1:256, H. 487; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:96, H. 1 (as quoted from the earlier reference book).
2- - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:257, H. 489; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:97, H. 3 (as quoted from the earlier reference book).

‘Ali ibn ‘Aqabah ibn Khalid has reported the following from his father:

Mu`alla ibn Khunays and I visited Abu-‘Abdullah (Imam al-Sadiq (‘a)) When he looked at us, he welcomed us. He then sat down and said,

أَنْتُمْ، وَاللهِ،

أُولُوا الأَلْبَابِ فِی کِتَابِ اللهِ. قَالَ اللهُ تَبَارَکَ وَتَعَالَی:

{أَفَمَنْ یَعْلَمُ أَنَّمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَیْکَ مِنْ رَبِّکَ الْحَقُّ کَمَنْ هُوَ أَعْمَی إِنَّمَا یَتَذَکَّرُ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ } فَأَبْشِرُوا،

أَنْتُمْ عَلَی إحْدَی الْحُسْنَیَیْنِ مِنَ اللهِ. أَمَا وَإنَّکُمْ إنْ

بَقِیتُمْ حَتَّی تَرَوْا مَا تَمُدُّونَ إلَیْهِ أَعْنَاقَکُمْ، شَفَی اللهُ

صُدُورَکُمْ وَأَذْهَبَ غَیْظَ قُلُوبِکُمْ وَأَدَالَکُمْ عَلَی عَدُوِّکُمْ.

وَهُوَ قَوْلُ اللهِ تَبَارَکَ وَتَعَالَی: {وَیَشْفِ صُدُورَ قَوْمٍ مُؤْمِنِینَ وَیُذْهِبْ غَیْظَ قُلُوبِهِمْ}

وَإنْ مَضَیْتُمْ

قَبْلَ أَنْ تَرَوْا ذَلِکَ، مَضَیْتُمْ عَلَی دِینِ اللهِ الَّذِی رَضِیَهُ

لِنَبِیِّهِ صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ وَبَعَثَهُ عَلَیْهِ.

By Allah (I swear), you

are verily those described in the Book of Allah as being endued with

understanding. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, says, “It is those who are

endued with understanding that receive admonition. (13:19)”

You are the object of

Almighty Allah’s glad tidings of winning one of the two weighty things.

If you survive until you

witness that thing to which you are extending your necks (i.e. what you

ardently wish), then Almighty Allah will heal your breasts, remove the rancor

of your hearts, and give you a hand over your enemies.

This is the word of Allah,

the Blessed and Exalted, in the Qur’an saying, “…and He heals the breasts of

Believers and stills the indignation of their hearts. 9:14-15)”

If you pass away before

you can witness that, then you will have passed away following the very

religion of Allah that He has accepted for His Prophet (s) and for which He

has appointed him.(1)

p: 171

1- - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:272-273, H. 137; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:93, H. 35 (as quoted from the earlier reference book).

Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Tha‘labi has reported that he heard Ja‘far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (‘a) saying:

نَحْنُ خِیرَةُ اللهِ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ، وَشِیعَتُنَا

خِیرَةُ اللهِ مِنْ أُمَّةِ نَبِیِّهِ.

We are

the elite choice of Allah among His creatures and our Shi‘ah are

the elite choice of Allah among the community of His Prophet (s).(1)afa, p. 32, H. 17; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:43, H. 88 (as quoted from the earlier reference book).(2) reported Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a) to have quoted the Holy Prophet (s) as saying:

یَأْتِی یَوْمَ الْقِیَامَةِ قَوْمٌ عَلَیْهِمْ ثِیَابٌ

مِنْ نُورٍ، عَلَی وُجُوهِهِمْ نُورٌ، یُعْرَفُونَ بِآثَارِ السُّجُودِ. یَتَخَطَّوْنَ

صَفّاً بَعْدَ صَفٍّ حَتَّی یَصِیرُوا بَیْنَ یَدَیْ رَبِّ الْعَالِمِینَ. یَغْبِطُهُمُ

النَّبِیُّونَ وَالْمَلاَئِکَةُ وَالشُّهَدَاءُ وَالصَّالِحُونَ. أُولَئِکَ شِیعَتُنَا،

وَعَلِیٌّ إمَامُهُمْ.

On the

Day of Resurrection, a group of people dressed in clothes of light with

luminous faces identified by the signs of prostration will come. They will pass

the rows until they stand in front of the Lord of the Worlds. The prophets

(‘a), the angels, the martyrs, and the righteous people will be glad for them…These are our Shi‘ah,

and ‘Ali(‘a) is their Imam.(3)

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1- - Muhammad ibn `Ali al-Tabari, Bisharat al-Mus
2- Muhammad ibn Qays and Իmir ibn al-Sim
3- -Shaykh al-Saduq, Fa¤a'il al-Shi`ah, pp. 30-31, H. 26; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:68, H. 123 (as quoted from the earlier reference book).

Abu-Basir has reported that he heard (Imam) Ja‘far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (‘a) saying:


أَهْلُ بَیْتِ الرَّحْمَةِ، وَبَیْتِ النِّعْمَةِ، وَبَیْتِ الْبَرَکَةِ.

وَنَحْنُ فِی الأَرْضِ بُنْیَانٌ، وَشِیعَتُنَا عُرَی الإسْلاَمِ. وَمَا کَانَتْ

دَعْوَةُ إبْرَاهِیمَ إلاَّ لَنَا وَشِیعَتِنَا. وَلَقَدْ إسْتَثْنَی اللهُ إلَی

یَوْمِ الْقِیَامَةِ إلَی إبْلِیسَ فَقَالَ:

{إِنَّ عِبَادِی لَیْسَ لَکَ عَلَیْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ}

We are the Household of mercy, the House of grace,

and the House of blessing. In the earth, we are the structure and our Shi‘ah are

the handles of Islam. The supplicatory prayer of (Prophet) Abraham (‘a) was for

none save our Shi‘ah

and us. Up to the Day of Resurrection, Almighty Allah has excluded us from

the sway of Satan (Iblis), saying, “Surely, as regards My servants, you have

no authority over them. (15:42)”(1)

Ibn ‘Abbas is reported to have said,

لَمَّا نَزَلَتْ

هَذِهِ الآیَةُ:

{إِنَّ الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولَئِکَ هُمْ خَیْرُ الْبَرِیَّةِ } قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّی اللهُ عَلَیْهِ وَآلِهِ: هُوَ أَنْتَ یَا

عَلِیُّ وَشِیعَتُکَ. تَأْتِی أَنْتَ وَشِیعَتُکَ یَوْمَ الْقِیَامَةِ رَاضِینَ

مَرْضِیِّینَ، وَیَأْتِی عَدُوُّکَ غِضَاباً مُقْمَحِینَ.

As revealed

in this holy verse: “As for those who believe and do good, surely they are

the best of men. (98:7)” When it was revealed, Allah’s Messenger (s) said,

“These are your Shi‘ah

and you, ‘Ali

(‘a). On the Day of Resurrection, your Shi‘ah

and you shall be pleased and well-satisfied, while your enemies shall be

enraged and have their heads raised aloft.(2)

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1- Tafsir al-`Ayyashi 2:243; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 68:35-36, H. 75 (as quoted from the earlier reference book).
2- Shaykh al-Tusi, al-Amali, pp. 405-406, 671, H. 1414 (with little difference in the order of words but not in the meaning); Tafsir al-Tabari 30:171; Jalal al-Din al-Suyui, al-Durr al-Manthur 8:589; Ibn Hajar, al-Sawa`iq al-Muhriqah, p. 161.

Being pleased and well-satisfied is an indication to this verse, which follows the earlier one:

جَزَاؤُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّاتُ عَدْنٍ تَجْرِی مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِینَ فِیهَا أَبَدًا رَضِیَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ذَلِکَ لِمَنْ خَشِیَ رَبَّهُ


reward with their Lord is gardens of perpetuity beneath which rivers flow,

abiding therein forever; Allah is well pleased with them and they are well

pleased with Him; that is for him who fears his Lord. (98:8)

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Inextinguishable Torch of Hope

Eighth Feature: The Holy Imams (‘a) endeavored to keep the torch of hope and the far-reaching view of human perfection active to help endure all suffering in the future and ensure the continuity of human progress and achievement of goals.

Islam has always urged its followers to maintain hope and has forbidden despair no matter how difficult the circumstances be, how unsurpassable the obstacles, and how unbearable the pain.

In this respect, Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an,

حَتَّی إِذَا اسْتَیْأَسَ الرُّسُلُ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ قَدْ کُذِبُوا جَاءَهُمْ نَصْرُنَا فَنُجِّیَ مَنْ نَشَاءُ وَلَا یُرَدُّ بَأْسُنَا عَنِ الْقَوْمِ الْمُجْرِمِینَ

Respite will be granted

until the messengers give up hope of their people and come to think that they

were treated as liars. Then Our help reaches them and they are delivered into

safety as We will. Never will those who are in sin escape Our punishment. (12:110)

أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَنْ تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا یَأْتِکُمْ مَثَلُ الَّذِینَ خَلَوْا مِنْ قَبْلِکُمْ مَسَّتْهُمُ الْبَأْسَاءُ وَالضَّرَّاءُ وَزُلْزِلُوا حَتَّی یَقُولَ الرَّسُولُ وَالَّذِینَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ مَتَی نَصْرُ اللَّهِ أَلَا إِنَّ نَصْرَ اللَّهِ قَرِیبٌ

Do you

think that you shall enter the Garden of bliss without such trials as came to

those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity

and were so shaken in spirit that even the Messenger (s) and those of faith

who were with him cried, “When will come the help of Allah?” Ah! Verily, the

help of Allah is always near. (2:214)

Under the harshest circumstances, the Holy Prophet (s) used to talk to his companions about hope and a bright future. In the battles of Uhud and al-Ahzab (the Allies), he

p: 175

promised them the conquest of the countries of Khosrow the Persian, and Caesar the Roman, which were two great powers of that time.

The enemies of Islam, the hypocrites, and the ill-hearted ones attempted to arouse doubts and implant despair and despondency among Muslims so as to achieve their wicked goals, as is cited in Surah al-Ahzab (No. 33) because as soon as the torch of hope is extinguished and desperation creeps into the soul, man is defeated after which he buckles before surrounding pressures and his despair becomes a lethal weapon. At all times, psychological wars focus on one chief goal, which is, extinguishing the spirit of hope.

However, the most important reason for building the virtuous community was the issue of expecting the advent of the Rising(1) Imam, Mahdi (‘a). The Holy Imams (‘a), besides confirming the advent of the last Imam (‘a) after his occultation and asking their followers to believe in and wait in eager expectation of him, strove to make their followers live the state of actual expectation of the Imam’s advent in all ages including the ages of the Holy Imams (‘a) themselves. Accordingly, their followers used to experience the likelihood that each Imam (‘a) might be the promised and expected one to undertake the mission. This state supplied the virtuous community with a dynamic and spiritual motive of achieving the final victory by overcoming the corrupt conditions of society caused by its doctrinal and moral deviations.

However, this presentation had some negative impacts on the virtuous community who were contemporaries of some

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1- - The Arabic word al-Qa'im means one who rises to undertake the mission. It is the chief title of Imam Mahdi, the promised and expected.

of the Holy Imams (‘a). They believed that the Imam of their age was the expected Imam and were not mentally prepared to accept the death of that Imam. This very thing occurred to Imam Musa ibn Ja‘far al-Kazim (‘a), because his political movement was so powerful that his companions believed him to be the Promised Imam. Hence, when he was poisoned in prison, these companions could not believe that he had died. Consequently, some of them believed that Imamate ended with him and a problem took place in the milieus of the virtuous community after his martyrdom. However, some of them believed in the Imamate of his successor, Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa al-Ri¤a (‘a) who managed to overcome this problem afterwards.(1)

In fact, such negative consequences soon vanish when the Holy Imams (‘a) overcome them because of their capacity to convince their followers with the truth. The positive consequence always remains prevalent in the milieus of the virtuous community.

In this manner, the expectation of the Promised Imam became a sort of worship—which the Holy Prophet (s) maintained to be the most favorable of all devotional acts—that the virtuous community practiced and took action on its basis. Subsequently, paving the way for the advent of the Promised Imam has become one of the features of this expectation and one of the effective factors of moving towards setting up the government of ultimate justice.

To conclude, the issue of expecting the advent of the Promised Imam—may Allah hasten his advent—and the confirmation of the particularities and features of this

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1- - These circumstances will be discussed in further detail in one of the coming books of this series when we discuss the situations of each of the Holy Imams (‘a) independently.

expectation during the Minor and the Major Occultation have had a huge impact on the spiritual aspect that distinguishes the virtuous community from other communities. Such an impact is not visible in other Muslim communities. The reason is not that they do not believe in the idea of Imam Mahdi (‘a) because it is one of the issues about which all Muslims agree unanimously. The actual reason is that belief in the existence and life of Imam Mahdi (‘a) is not found in the other Muslim communities at the same level and in the same form as is adopted by the individuals of the virtuous community.

It seems appropriate to take a general look at the matter of Imam Mahdi (‘a) as well as its spiritual and moral outcomes.

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The Issue of Imam Mahdī (‘a)


Like Imam al-Husayn’s uprising and martyrdom the issue of Imam Mahdi (‘a) has great relevance to the building of the virtuous community. The relevance is doctrinal, ethical, educational, and spiritual. Of course, to display the details of all of the pertinent items requires a lengthy dissertation(1) because this issue represents an entire interpretation of history that corresponds with the Qur’anic idea entailing that the earth shall be eventually inherited by the righteous servants of Allah:

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1- - The issue of Imam Mahdi (‘a) requires a survey of many aspects some of which are as follows: In its doctrinal aspect, we need to introduce concepts and evidence that prove the existence of the ostensibly absent Imam as well as explanations of this unique phenomenon in human life. The cultural aspect deals with the philosophy, perfection, perpetuity, theoretical compatibility with the idea of the infallibility of the Imams (‘a) and commitment to the instructions and guidelines of this issue. Accordingly, this issue is included in the core of the cultural establishments and courses. The historical aspect deals with the life and political conditions of Imam Mahdi (‘a), his occultation, signs of his dvent and, the future of humanity when he undertakes his mission. The moral aspect deals with the practice of a certain system of morals during the expectation of the Imam’s advent. The spiritual aspect correlates with the moral aspect. The dear reader can refer to hundreds of books that have dealt with Imam al-Mahdi, one of which is the unique, though small, thesis that my mentor, Martyr Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, wrote under the title of ‘bahth hawla al-mahdi (A Study on Mahdi (‘a))’.

وَلَقَدْ کَتَبْنَا فِی الزَّبُورِ مِنْ بَعْدِ الذِّکْرِ أَنَّ الْأَرْضَ یَرِثُهَا عِبَادِیَ الصَّالِحُونَ

Verily, We have written in the Scripture, after the

Reminder: My righteous servants will inherit the earth. (21:105)

وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا مِنْکُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَیَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِی الْأَرْضِ کَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِینَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَیُمَکِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِینَهُمُ الَّذِی ارْتَضَی لَهُمْ وَلَیُبَدِّلَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا یَعْبُدُونَنِی لَا یُشْرِکُونَ بِی شَیْئًا وَمَنْ کَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِکَ فَأُولَئِکَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

Allah has promised such of you as believe and do good

work that He will surely make them succeed the present rulers in the earth

even as He caused those who were before them to succeed others. Also, that He

will surely establish for them their religion which He has approved for them

and will give them in exchange safety after their fear. They serve Me. They

ascribe nothing as partner unto Me. Those who disbelieve henceforth, they are

the miscreants. (24:55)

The moral and spiritual aspect contributes to understanding the Holy Imams’ (‘a) reason for building the virtuous community on the basis of expecting the advent of Imam Mahdi (‘a).

According to the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) Imam Mahdi (‘a) represents a living embodiment of the aforementioned historical fact (of the inheritance of the earth by the virtuous servants of Almighty Allah) not only at the level of the unpredicted future but also at the level of the experienced present. (In Iran, Iraq and Lebanon) this belief has begun to embody the actual existence and life of Imam Mahdi (‘a). These followers and partisans believe in the existence and birth of Imam Mahdi (‘a) and the fact that he is witnessing all the harsh conditions through which Muslims are passing. He is observing and interacting in all human and social experiments and will execute the

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government of ultimate Divine justice in the future of human progress.

A faithful believer who suffers distress, doubt or confusion in the credibility of facts and norms of history which the Holy Qur’an talks about, such as the final win of the righteous over the wicked and the final victory of right over wrong must read the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:

وَقُلْ جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ إِنَّ الْبَاطِلَ کَانَ زَهُوقًا


The truth has come and falsehood has vanished. Surely, falsehood is a

vanishing thing. (17:81)

إِنَّا لَنَنْصُرُ رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِینَ آمَنُوا فِی الْحَیَاةِ الدُّنْیَا وَیَوْمَ یَقُومُ الْأَشْهَادُ


surely, We help Our messengers and those who believe in this world's life and

on the day when the witnesses shall testify. (40:51)

هُوَ الَّذِی أَرْسَلَ رَسُولَهُ بِالْهُدَی وَدِینِ الْحَقِّ لِیُظْهِرَهُ عَلَی الدِّینِ کُلِّهِ وَلَوْ کَرِهَ الْمُشْرِکُونَ

He it

is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He

might cause it to prevail over all religions, though the polytheists may be

averse. (9:33)

Another Divine norm is the custom of replacement in human communities:

یَا أَیُّهَا الَّذِینَ آمَنُوا مَنْ یَرْتَدَّ مِنْکُمْ عَنْ دِینِهِ فَسَوْفَ یَأْتِی اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ یُحِبُّهُمْ وَیُحِبُّونَهُ أَذِلَّةٍ عَلَی الْمُؤْمِنِینَ أَعِزَّةٍ عَلَی الْکَافِرِینَ یُجَاهِدُونَ فِی سَبِیلِ اللَّهِ وَلَا یَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ ذَلِکَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ یُؤْتِیهِ مَنْ یَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِیمٌ

O you

who believe, whoever from among you turns back from his religion, then Allah

will bring a people. He shall love them and they shall love Him, lowly before

the believers, and mighty against the unbelievers. They shall strive hard in

Allah's way and shall not fear the censure of any censurer. This is Allah's

Favor bestowed on whom He pleases. Allah is the Ample-Giver, Knowing. (5:54)

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وَإِنْ تَتَوَلَّوْا یَسْتَبْدِلْ قَوْمًا غَیْرَکُمْ ثُمَّ لَا یَکُونُوا أَمْثَالَکُمْ

If you

turn back, He will bring in your place another people. Then, they will not be

like you. (47:38)

Another Qur’anic norm is the relationship between piety and the descent of boons and blessings:

وَلَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ الْقُرَی آمَنُوا وَاتَّقَوْا لَفَتَحْنَا عَلَیْهِمْ بَرَکَاتٍ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَکِنْ کَذَّبُوا فَأَخَذْنَاهُمْ بِمَا کَانُوا یَکْسِبُونَ

If the people of the towns had believed and

guarded (against evil), We would certainly have opened up for them blessings from

the heaven and the earth, but they rejected so We overtook them for what they

had earned. (7:96)

Another norm is the progress of human nature towards perfection and belief in Almighty Allah:

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَکَ لِلدِّینِ حَنِیفًا فِطْرَتَ اللَّهِ الَّتِی فَطَرَ النَّاسَ عَلَیْهَا لَا تَبْدِیلَ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ذَلِکَ الدِّینُ الْقَیِّمُ وَلَکِنَّ أَکْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا یَعْلَمُونَ


set your face upright for religion in the right state—the nature made by

Allah in which He has made men. There is no altering of Allah's creation. That

is the right religion, but most people do not know. (30:30)

Another norm is the fact that man represents Almighty Allah on earth and man’s preference over angels as a result of this representation:

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وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّکَ لِلْمَلَائِکَةِ إِنِّی جَاعِلٌ فِی الْأَرْضِ خَلِیفَةً قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِیهَا مَنْ یُفْسِدُ فِیهَا وَیَسْفِکُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِکَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَکَ قَالَ إِنِّی أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

When your Lord said

to the angels, “I am going to place in the earth a viceroy.” They said,

“What! Will You place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood

and we celebrate Your praise and extol Your holiness?” He said, “Surely, I

know what you do not know.” (2:30)

All these norms and facts may bring about an important question in the mind of the faithful individual when he sees pain, ordeals, and corruption prevail in the entire earth and notice that right is not practiced and wrong is rampant. However, when he contemplates the existence of Imam Mahdi (‘a) who will achieve all his hopes and put into practice the credibility of all these norms and facts, things becomes very clear and evident for him.

Moreover, the issue of Imam Mahdi (‘a), which is a central concern in the building of the virtuous community, entails the following moral facts:

Clarity in Carrying out Religious Duties

An individual who believes in the existence of Imam Mahdi (‘a) and in his expected advent can clearly feel divine duty and religious commandments when he intends to perform any religious activity. He can also feel that all his deeds, service, struggle and sacrifices are being carried out under the blessed standard and the special care of Imam Mahdi (‘a).

This clarity in carrying out the religious duties grants a huge moral impetus to proceed and work—an impetus that is similar to the moral one obtained by those who fought under the standards of the prophets and messengers and achieved great triumphs and made sweeping changes in human society.

p: 183

With the increase of man’s feelings of the approaching divine reality, looming divine care, and getting closer to the actual power as represented by Almighty Allah, man’s feelings of achieving victory and carrying out duty grow manifold. Of course, to feel the care of the Holy Imam (‘a) and to associate oneself with him in motion and activity make one feel a nearness to Almighty Allah and His care as well as desire to comply with His commands.

Maintenance of Divine Values

The belief in the advent of Imam Mahdi (‘a) maintains one’s principles, values and divine ideals. It also encourages ceaseless endeavor to achieve human perfection away from the worldly concepts of gain and loss, material profit or the attainment of authority, power, and domination.

All these principles, values, and ideals are inspired from the concept of Imam Mahdi (‘a) and from the objectives he is divinely ordained to achieve; namely, the establishment of the ultimate Divine justice on earth.

Generally, any progression that is intended for Almighty Allah and the Divine message which are ascribed to the Unseen World, and to Imam Mahdi (‘a)—who is ascribed to the perceived world—can derive all these significances from him, because he plays the greatest role in the history of humanity, which shall be eventually realized.

Perception of these concepts will be steadier and more profound for those who believe in the advent of the Promised Imam (‘a) than for others; therefore, they can preserve a high spirit, which moves on the strength of gallant human values and ideals in tandem with their own progression.

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Perseverance and Steadfastness

Those who believe in Imam Mahdi (‘a) attain spirits of perseverance and steadfastness from him. They can attain perfection through these two features and act as models bearing suffering and trials. Through his blessed existence, Imam Mahdi (‘a) represents the great and most excellent example of perseverance and steadfastness, because he can see, incur, feel, and interact with all the pain and ordeals during his lifetime. Nevertheless, he perseveres, exposes himself to Almighty Allah’s trial for the sake of achieving great goals and waits for the appropriate opportunity to undertake his stately role.

On the other hand, the long duration of his occultation, despite his actual existence gives him the chance of being subjectively perfect because of experiencing such ordeals and tribulations. His progression will be perfect so that he will undertake his mission, which is unique in the history of humanity, completely and competently. Besides, the political, social, ideological, and mental conditions of humanity, which are other outcomes of such experience and suffering, will make it necessary to establish such a Divine government.

Such perfection will eventually give great impetus and high moral spirits of perseverance and steadfastness to those who believe in the advent of Imam Mahdi (‘a) and help them move towards human perfection.

Contribution to Justice

The belief in the advent of Imam Mahdi (‘a) makes one feel that all deeds and activities contribute to his historical role and pave the way for the establishment of his government of ultimate justice.

It is unreasonable to weigh up the role, deeds and activities

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of a faithful individual on the balance of the goals he achieved in his relatively short span of life, or on the balance of what he could achieve and what reformations could be achieved in one’s society. It is unfair to renounce all these deeds and activities because they seem to have been worthless in influence and in achieving goals. An individual who believes in the advent of Imam Mahdi (‘a) feels that he is undertaking his private role in the sequence of events, goals and deeds that, altogether, end up with the establishment of the virtuous human society in the future.

Naturally, such feelings raise the moral spirit of man vis-à-vis his activities, deeds and sacrifices. They make his goal so great that it covers all such activities, deeds, efforts, and sacrifices no matter how major and difficult, or how minor and limited his efforts might be.

Great Hope

The belief in the advent of Imam Mahdi (‘a) furnishes its believer with a great, incessant, and inextinguishable hope in the achievement of victory regardless of the time that it takes. It also grants the feeling that the round must reach its finish and that looking forward to a better future must be incessantly continuous.

Hope is undoubtedly one of the greatest motivations that supplies people with the capacity to go on with steadfastness, perseverance and sacrifice.

A soldier who believes that his progress will be completed by other soldiers who will achieve victory after him is ready to give himself up and make greater sacrifices than a soldier who believes that when he falls in the battlefield, his progress will stop and he will lose the battle.

Similarly, a soldier who is engaged in a battle while he believes that there are other battles to enter in order to

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obtain victory does not stop when he loses the first round; rather, he continues to move forward. Such feelings cannot be found except with those who believe in the idea of Imam Mahdi’s promised advent, because he shall lead the battle persistently until he reaches the end. This belief makes hope so lively and ablaze that it pushes man towards motion and activity under all circumstances.

Revenge for the Oppressed

Those who believe in Imam Mahdi (‘a) as the Divinely commissioned reformer who will establish a government of ultimate Divine justice and give each one his due, feel that they will eventually be able to avenge the torment which the faithful believers were exposed to and punish the criminals who committed such crimes and offenses against humanity.

Apart from the individual’s role in this process of vengeance, which is related to the idea of the Return (raj‘ah)(1) and its political and social purports, revenge will be imposed upon those who imitated their criminal ancestors. It is logically proven that the past and the present criminals form one trend of the same thought, behavior,

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1- - The Return (or raj`ah) is an idea mentioned in the traditions reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), entailing that the virtuous and the righteous, as well as the unbelievers and hypocrites shall be returned to this world after their death so as to witness the victory of right over wrong and the wronged persons shall defeat the wrongdoers. More light shall be shed on this idea in one of the coming books of this series. In their doctrinal books, scholars of the Imamiyyah Shi`ah have dealt with this topic in detail. (See, for instance, the Faith of the Imamiyyah Shi`ah, by Shaykh al-Muzaffar, Chapter: Our Doctrine concerning the Return (Raj‘ah)).

goals, and fate; therefore, to take revenge upon the last of them is to take it upon the former generations, also.

The idea of taking revenge and retaliating—which stands for making reprisals for the values and principles of right and justice—is a sound Islamic idea to which the Holy Qur’an has referred on more than one occasion, such as the following:

قَاتِلُوهُمْ یُعَذِّبْهُمُ اللَّهُ بِأَیْدِیکُمْ وَیُخْزِهِمْ وَیَنْصُرْکُمْ عَلَیْهِمْ وَیَشْفِ صُدُورَ قَوْمٍ مُؤْمِنِینَ


them; Allah will punish them with your hands and bring them to disgrace, and

assist you against them and heal the hearts of a believing people. (9:14)

Traditions have also spoken about this idea when they described Imam al-Husayn (‘a) as the Vengeance of Allah(1) and that Imam Mahdi (‘a) will avenge his murder and raise the slogan of “Revenge for Husayn.”(2) A formula of ziyarah of Imam al-Husayn (‘a) comprises the following statement:

وَاقْرِنْ ثَأْرَنَا بِثَأْرِهِ.


bind our revenge with his revenge.(3)

This feeling symbolizes a great spiritual power in the inner selves. Almighty Allah has conferred upon man such a

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1- - In the famous Ziyarah of Warith, the following statement is mentioned: “Peace be upon you, O Allah’s revenge and the son of His revenge…” See Mafatih al-Jinan.
2- - (ya litharat al-husayn): Refer to Shaykh al-Saduq, `Uyun Akhbar al-Ri¤a 2:268-269, Shaykh al-Saduq, al-Amali, pp. 192-193, H. 202; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 44:286, H. 23 (as quoted from the earlier reference books).
3- - Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Mazar, pp. 410-411.

feeling and man inclines to it naturally in his lifetime because it represents one of the motives of man’s progress.

Islam has taken much interest in this motive and feeling lest it may swerve and change into a meager expression of one of man’s instincts and miss its target—human perfection. However, Islam has subordinated the feelings of taking revenge, retaliating, and giving vent to one’s anger to certain values and principles to save them from becoming mere expressions of certain psychological feelings and sensual tendencies. It is clear that the question of revenge and retaliation in the issue of Imam Mahdi (‘a) does not involve taking revenge from certain persons; rather it is punishing the corrupted reality of man which inevitably brings about justice, right, and goodness.

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