Title: Principles of Faith (Usul al-Din)
Author(s): Ayatullah al-’Udhma Shaykh Husayn Vahid Khorasani
Translator(s): Alireza Razavi
Publisher(s): Qum: Madrasat al-Imam Baqir al-Uloum, 2011 = 1390.
Appearance: 132 p
Congress Classification: BP183/9/و26آ504952 1390
Dewey decimal classification: 297/3422
National bibliography number: 2623680
Category: General General
Topic Tags: faith
سرشناسه : وحیدخراسانی، حسین، 1299 -
Vahid Khorassani, Hossein
عنوان قراردادی : آشنایی با اصول دین مقدمه توضیح المسائل و توضیح المسائل. انگلیسی.
عنوان و نام پدیدآور : Principles of faith (Usul al-Din) / by Ayatullah al-Uma Shaykh usayn VaidKhorasani.; translated by Ali Raza Rizvi
مشخصات نشر : Qum: Madrasat al-Imam Baqir al-Uloum, 2011 = 1390.
مشخصات ظاهری : 132ص.
شابک : 978-964-2694-34-1
وضعیت فهرست نویسی : فیپا
یادداشت : انگلیسی.
موضوع : فقه جعفری -- رساله عملیه
موضوع : شیعه امامیه -- اصول دین
شناسه افزوده : رضوی، علیرضا، 1356 -، مترجم
شناسه افزوده : Rizvi, Ali Reza
رده بندی کنگره : BP183/9/و26آ504952 1390
رده بندی دیویی : 297/3422
شماره کتابشناسی ملی : 2623680
This book contains both logical and textual proofs for the tenets and principles of Islam. It is written by one of the leading figures of the Religious Seminary in Qum, Ayatullah Vahid Khorasani.
In His Name, the Most High
Faith is the most important element in each individual’s life. Faith is the means by which a person chooses to do or not do something. Our faith determines our future both in this world and the hereafter. For example, in this world, one would choose his career based upon his faith. In the hereafter, one’s good deeds will be accepted or rejected based upon his faith. The strength of an individual’s faith is seen in his daily life and how he achieves his goals.
There have been many attempts in writing and publishing material containing outlines of beliefs and practices. Some are from people who profess belief in one God, others are from atheists; some are condensed, others are comprehensive; some are logical, others are traditional; some are philosophical, others are theological; some are concerning ancient faiths, others are about recent ones; some are original and others are derivative. However, all are efforts to either teach one’s own belief to others to convince them, or to teach followers of the same faith their own faith.
This book contains both logical and textual proofs for the tenets of Islam. It is written by one of the leading figures
of the Religious Seminary in Qum. It is the largest Shi’ite religious seminary, containing over sixty thousand students and researchers.
The highest level in the Shi’ite Traditional Usuli Seminary is the Kharij. In Qum, the most popular teacher of Kharij in terms of attendance and material, is the Grand Ayatullah Shaykh Husayn Vahid Khorasani (may Allah protect him), the author of this book.
The present book is being taught in many religious institutes around the world and is being translated into many different languages and I thought it would be a valuable asset for the English speaking community. I personally found this book to be extremely beneficial; hence, I translated it into English. May Allah accept it for me and my parents’ hereafter, amin.
Ali Raza Rizvi
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Blessings of Allah be upon our master Muhammad and his Purified Progeny, especially the remaining one from Allah in the earths.
This book is about the Branches of Religion. However, I have placed this foreword with the aim of introducing the Roots of Religion. For instance, when referring to degrees of light, sunlight and candlelight are two different degrees of the reality of light. Likewise, there are different stages of understanding the Roots of Religion.
This introduction is a little sparkle for the travellers of this path. Its purpose is to provide a general understanding rather than a detailed and profound understanding of a research stage.
We have tried
to ensure that in this book the preliminaries for the logical proofs are easy to comprehend. For the textual proofs, we have transmitted from traditional books of both Shi’ahs and Sunnis, as well as popular history books.
Our traditions which we have transmitted from these sources are reliable, both in terms of the reporters and what has been reported.
Because the Book and the Sunnah awaken (human) nature and contain the most acceptable laws of wisdom, the use of the light of the verses from the Qur’an and the noble ahadith (traditions) is the basis of the Clear Religion.
Since the general public will use this book, we have not addressed some technical issues. Due to précis, in this small effort, it has not been possible for us to satisfy the topic as it deserved, in terms of study and research. However, the easy cannot be abolished for the difficult. And what cannot be obtained in its entirety should not be left out in its entirety.
Before we begin explaining the Roots of Religion we must mention some preliminaries:
The possibility of a Beginning and a Return necessitates the study and the struggle to obtain religious recognition. The human being believes in the possibility that there may be a Creator for this world who is All-Knowing and All-Wise, that death is not the end of human life, that there is a purpose behind his creation, and that the Creator has made a law for him to follow, which if he does not implement,
he will be placed in eternal adversity.
Human nature requires that he gives importance to this possibility; no matter how little it may be, because the outcome is enormously dangerous. Its prevention is to study the reality of this issue and not rest until and unless one reaches a clear result, either in its negation or confirmation.
It is like if someone suspects the presence of some explosives in his house, or if someone suspects an electrical fault that would cause the house to burn down with everyone in it. That person will not sit still for a moment; rather, he will search until he is certain that the danger is not present.
Human beings are made up of body and spirit, and intellect and desires. Due to this composition, it is man’s nature to search for material and spiritual privilege. He tries to obtain the perfection which is the purpose of his existence.
From another viewpoint, every human being has two aspects to his life: personal and social. Likewise, even though every part of the human body has its own function, it also has an effect in connection with all other parts of the body.
Based on this example, human beings require a system and set of laws in order to have a good personal and social life, and to achieve material and spiritual privilege.
This system and set of laws is that true religion, which the human nature necessarily requires:
Then set your face upright for religion in the right state—the nature made by
Allah in which He has made men.(1)
Hence, there is perfection for every being, which cannot be reached without following a specified practice for its perfection and nurture. Human beings are not exempted from this law:
He said: Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it (to its goal).(2)
A human’s life has a root and branches, a main text and margins. The root is the human being himself, while the branches and margins are his attachments such as wealth, status, spouse, children and relatives.
Due to the love human beings have for themselves and their attachments, they are connected to two scourges: distress and fear; distress over what he does not have and fear of losing what he does have.
Faith in Allah eliminates these two scourges from their roots, because faith in Allah, the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful, the All-Wise, the Most Merciful, makes the human being rise to his duties. When he performs his duties as a servant to his Lord, he knows that Allah, the Exalted, due to His wisdom and mercy, will make him reach what is good and prosperous for him, and He will save him from what would result in evil and regret.
All realities are metaphors when compared to the absolute reality, like a mirage which seems like water to the thirsty. When the human being finds the absolute reality, he will not miss anything. His faith becomes: What is with you passes away and what is with Allah is enduring.(3)
He does not
find in himself any attraction for the worldly debris, to distress over not having something or fear for its decline:
Now surely the friends of Allah—they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. Those who believe and guard (against evil): They shall have good news in this world's life and in the hereafter; there is no changing the Words of Allah; that is the mighty achievement.(1)
In this worldly life, the cause of nervous breakdowns in human beings is anxiety from the pleasure in conquering materialistic desires, and the fear and regret of not reaching them.
The only thing that gives peace to human beings in the waves of this flood is the faith in Allah:
So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you(2)
Those who believe and whose hearts are set at rest by the remembrance of Allah; now surely by Allah's remembrance are the hearts set at rest.(3)
The human being possesses the two faculties of desire and anger. If the faculty of desire of wealth overcomes him, then the treasures of the earth will not satisfy him. Even more, if the desire of status and power overtakes him, then even ruling the whole of the earth will not satisfy him. In fact, he will aspire to extend his sovereignty to other stars:
And Fir’awn said: O Haman! Build for me a tower that I may attain the means of access, the means of access to the heavens.(4)
Indeed, the oppressive human desires
of hunger, lust, wealth and status, which are served by the faculty of anger to feed its endless desires, are not humble before anything. They do not stop at any boundary, nor do they turn away from wasting any entitlement.
A life with all these desires can only result in corruption in life. With this anger there is no result but bloodshed, which destroys tilth and stock. In fact, human beings are capable of using their intellectual powers to discover secrets of the universe in order to attain their unlimited evil desires. Thus, they will drag the human life on this planet to ruin and destruction.
Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought.(1)
The only power that can control the defiant human self, take hold of excess anger and desire, train him until he becomes modest and establishes personal and social rights, is the faith in Allah and the Return, and reward and punishment. For, indeed the belief in Allah, Who
(He) is with you wherever you are,(2)
and with the requital, which:
So, he who has done an atom's weight of good shall see it, and he who has done an atom's weight of evil shall see it.(3)
This belief raises the human being to every good and stops him from every evil. Hence, they will follow the philosophy of reconciliation rather than struggle for existence.
Since it is a part of their nature, human beings love to seek knowledge. After all, what
makes the human a human is intellect. The fruit of intellect is knowledge. This is why if you call an ignorant ‘ignorant,’ he will be hurt, even though he knows that he is ignorant. On the contrary, if you called him ‘knowledgeable,’ he will be pleased, though he knows that he is not knowledgeable.
As Islam is the religion of nature, it has compared knowledge and ignorance to light and darkness, and to life and death.
Indeed, it (knowledge) is light. It arises in the heart of whomsoever Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, wills to guide.(1)
A learned between the ignorant is like a living between the dead.(2)
All sciences are distinctive in themselves. However, the status of all sciences is different based on a number of issues: the topic, the result, and the method of reasoning used in them. Thus, the science discussing the human is more honourable than that of studying plants, due to the honour of human beings over plants.
The science studying human safety is more honourable than the one studying the security of human wealth, due to the honour of the human being over his wealth. The science that results in evidence is more honourable than the one that results in supposition, due to the honour of certainty over assumption.
Based on this, the most honourable of all sciences is the one whose topic is Allah, the Blessed and Exalted. Bearing in mind that the connection between Allah, the Exalted, and other than Him is not that of the oceans
to the drop, nor of the sun to an atom. Rather, it is of the Everlasting to those that are temporary. With a profound vision, it is not possible for the needy in essence to be compared with the Needless in essence:
And the faces shall be humbled before the Living, the Self-Subsistent.(1)
The fruits of studying this science are faith and good deeds, both of which are the only means of human privilege in this world and the hereafter. They also fulfil the personal and social rights:
Whoever does good whether male or female and he is a believer, We will most certainly make him live a happy life.(2)
The method of analysis used in this path is reasoning and proof that is useful for certainty, which leaves no path for conjecture.
• Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom,(3)
• follow not that of which you have not the knowledge;(4)
• surely conjecture will not avail aught against the truth.(5)
Thus, the implication of this noble tradition is clarified: The most honourable of all obligations, and the most important one of them, is for mankind to recognise the Lord and acknowledge the service to Him.(6)
When a human being sees any visible existence, he looks and searches for its Creator. Human nature is thirsty for understanding the One who gives existence its beginning and its end.
However, the gem of faith in Allah and His recognition, which is the most precious gem from the treasure of knowledge and recognition, is not
achievable by the one who is regarded as an oppressor to this faith and recognition. This is based on the rule of justice, because bestowing wisdom to the one who does not deserve it is oppression against wisdom, and holding back wisdom from one who deserves it is oppression upon the person who deserves it.
It is impossible for a human being to deny the belief in God and the Return in any state, unless he encompasses all beings and chains of all causes and effects, and still does not find God and the Return. So long as this does not happen, his certainty in the nonexistence of God and the Return is impossible. In fact, what is possible is ignorance of the two.
Consequently, justice demands that the nonbeliever in Allah’s existence must follow the demand of doubt verbally and practically. He must admit not knowing and must not claim knowing the nonexistence of God.
For example, if one gives the possibility that a god may exist, belief in whom may cause him eternal privilege, and disbelief in whom may cause him eternal adversity; then his logical responsibility is to not deny Him with his tongue or heart and to always investigate about Him with all of his abilities.
He should take precaution in his practice so that he may not lose eternal privilege and should not be placed in eternal adversity, in case there is a God. That is just like the intellect commanding to abstain from tasty food which
may contain poison that can cause death.
All those who doubt Allah’s existence, if they did what justice demands them to do, will most certainly achieve recognition and faith:
And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways.(1)
Otherwise, the stains of oppression regarding this reality make it impossible to achieve the recognition of that Holy Exalted God:
He grants wisdom to whom He pleases, and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good;(2)
and Allah causes the unjust to go astray, and Allah does what He pleases.(3)
After consideration of these preliminaries we begin the explanation of the Principles of Faith:
The ways through which one may attain faith in Allah, the Exalted, are many:
As for the godly ones, then the proof for them over His existence and means of His recognition is He Himself:
• Is it not sufficient as regards your Lord that He is a witness over all things?(4)
• He Who guides to Himself through Himself.(5)
• I have come to know You through You and You have guided me to Yourself.(6)
For others, we will indicate only a few ways to be concise:
When a human being looks at himself or anything else he can perceive, when he observes its parts and particles, he notices that no parts are impossible in existence. He also notices that none of them are necessary in existence nor necessary in nonexistence, hence they are all possible beings.
Thus, everything which is possible
in its existence and its nonexistence requires a cause that brings it to being. The example of that is of the two sides of a balance, neither of the two can sway over the other without the addition of something else. Likewise, a possible being requires a cause for it to exist, or it will be nonexistent due to the nonexistence of a cause.
Since every particle from the parts of this universe requires a cause for its existence, it either gives existence to itself or something similar gives it existence. As for its giving existence to itself, then it was nonexistent. How could it give something which it did not have? As for something similar to itself, then the same applies to it. When it is not possible for it to give existence to itself then how could it give existence to something else? This rule applies to all parts of the universe and to the entire universe as well.
The light in the air, which does not have light in its essence, is proof over the existence of the One who brought about the light. He must have it in His essence; otherwise, He will not be able to lighten the air. It is impossible for one who is dark in essence to give light to itself, let alone give light to others.
Thus, the existence of the universe and the perfection of the existence, like life, knowledge and power, are proof over the existence of an Originator, whose existence, life,
knowledge and omnipotence are present in His essence and are not referred to other than Him:
Or were they created without there being anything, or are they the creators?(1)
A man entered the presence of Imam Abu al-’Ali al-Rida (as) and said: O son of the Messenger of Allah (S)! What is the proof that the universe emerged?
He (as) replied: You did not exist, and yet you came into being. You already know that you have not created yourself, and that you have not been created by someone like you.(2)
Abu Shakir al-Daysani asked Imam al-Sadiq (as): How can you prove that you have a Creator?
Consequently, he (as) responded: I found myself not free from one of two possibilities: either I have created myself, or someone else has created me. If I have created myself, then I am not free from one of two meanings: either I created myself while I was already existent, or I created myself while I was nonexistent. Hence, if I created myself, and I already existed, then I was self-sufficient of giving existence to myself. And if I was nonexistent, then you know that the nonexistent cannot bring about a thing. Therefore, the third meaning is proven that I have a Creator and that is Allah, the Lord of the Universe.(3)
A thing that did not exist and then came into being has either brought itself into being, or someone else has brought it into being. If it brought itself into being then it must have brought itself
into being when it was either already existent or it was nonexistent. If it was already existent, then that necessitates creating something which already exists, which is impossible. And if it was nonexistent then that necessitates a nonexistent to be the cause of an existent, which is also impossible.
If someone else brought Him into being, and if that other being was similar to Him in that it was nonexistent first then became existent, then the same ruling will apply to that thing, without any difference.
This is why the intellect requires that anything which did not exist and then came into existence, must have a Creator, who does not have any nonexistence.
Therefore, it becomes apparent that all beings of the universe and their alteration are proof over the existence of their Creator, Who does not have a creator. All created beings are proof over the existence of a Creator, Who is not created.
Suppose someone discovers a paper in the desert which contains all the letters of the alphabet in order from a to z. Then the conscience of every man will bear witness that the writing of those letters and their sequence is the result of understanding and perception. If he finds on the paper a word composed from those letters or a symmetrical speech, then he will believe that the composer is knowledgeable and well-informed. He will reason that the composer has knowledge and wisdom.
Then, is the formation of a plant from its basic origin, a lesser indicator of the
knowledge and wisdom of its Creator than the composition of a sentence, which is an obvious indicator of the knowledge of the composer? What is wrong with man that with one sentence, he reasons that its composer has knowledge and wisdom? Yet, with a plant, he fails to reason that its Creator has knowledge and wisdom.
What is this wisdom and knowledge that made a plant from water and soil that decays the husk of the seed, and gives life to its core?
He gave the root of a plant the power to tear out from the earth and draw nourishment from the darkness of the soil. From every piece of land, He has prepared nourishment for different kinds of plants and trees. Every plant and tree finds its nourishment from the soil. He has made the roots of all trees draw only the nourishment specific to them, resulting in their specific fruits.
He made the roots combat the gravity of the earth, thus, they send water and nourishment to the branches and the twigs of the tree. While the roots work in the depths, He made the branches, twigs and leaves work to attain light and air. Therefore, He made everything easy when He created it.(1)
No matter how hard the human being works in changing this wise practice, to make the roots go up to the sky—which are made to go to the depths of the ground, and to make the branches go in the ground—which are made to work in air,
they will find them combating this human practice. They continue their natural course:
and you shall not find any change in the course of Allah.(1)
Pay attention to the creation of a tree, from the stem to the thousands of leaves; indeed, it is a marvellous structure that amazes the intellects. What gave each one of the cells of the leaves the power to absorb water and nourishment from the depths of the earth through the roots? Who gave them the connection between the sky and earth? The difference between day and night, and the harmony in growth, which finishes the seed in its roots and branches but preserve it in its fruits, why is this law of nature effective in its life? It is sufficient for mankind to believe in the endless knowledge and wisdom behind it.
Nay, He Who created the heavens and the earth, and sent down for you water from the cloud; then We cause to grow thereby beautiful gardens; it is not possible for you that you should make the trees thereof to grow. Is there a god with Allah? Nay! They are people who deviate.(2)
Is it you that produce the trees for it, or are We the producers?(3)
We cause to grow in it of every suitable thing.(4)
Indeed, whichever plant or tree you look at, you will find from its roots to its fruits, a sign of the Creator’s knowledge, power and wisdom. They surrendered in their way, which has been made for their nurture and
And the herbs and the trees do prostrate (to Him).(1)
Similarly, paying attention to the life of each animal guides us to Allah, the Exalted.
Abu Shakir al-Daysani came to Imam al-Sadiq (as) and said, “O Ja’far ibn Muhammad, guide me to my Lord.”
Thus, Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) said to him: Sit down. He had a young boy, who had an egg in his hand and was playing with it. So Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) said: Young lad, bring me the egg. So he brought it to him. Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) further said:
Daysani, this is a concealed stronghold. It has a solid cover, and inside the solid cover there is a soft layer. Inside the soft layer there is the egg yolk and the albumin. Neither does the egg yolk mix with the albumin, nor does the albumin mix with the egg yolk. Each remains in its state. No informer comes out of it to inform of its usefulness, nor has a defect informed of its decay. No one knows whether it will make a male or a female. Colours like that of the peacocks burst out of it. Do you not think that it is the product of a Planner [Mudabbir]?
He put his head down for a long time, then said: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, Alone. He has no associates, and Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger, and you are an Imam and a Proof from Allah for His Creation. I repent for
the misguidance in which I was in.”(1)
Which planning has created this strong eggshell of pure lime and consigned astonishing secrets in it? What planning is it that has formed this eggshell, from the feed that the birds eat, into a white house that is a peaceful place for the growth of a chicken? Who placed the sperm in the egg, like the pearl in the shell?
The embryo is not attached to the mother, neither is there any womb to provide nourishment. Hence, the nourishment is provided inside the eggshell. A delicate membrane is placed between the wall of the tough eggshell and the chicken and its nourishment, which protect it from being harmed. Then, in the same dark surroundings, all parts of the animal are formed, such as the bones, muscles, veins, nerves and senses, and each one is placed in its own position.
From all those parts, if one only pays attention to the composition of an eye, he will ponder on how delicate its creation is. Its placement in its position is so astonishing for the intellect on its own, let alone the rest of the body.
Since this chicken will have to feed by picking seeds from between the earth and stones, He equipped it with a tough beak from the horns of the animals, so that it does not hurt itself from the earth. To ensure that the chicken does not miss, He gave it a craw to collect all the seeds in it and preserve them
there, gradually sending them to its digestive system. Then He covered its delicate skin with feathers and wings that protect it from hot and cold, from injury and other animals.
He did not only suffice the chicken with the necessities of life, but He also gave him the physical beauty of colourful feathers. The Imam (as) said: Colours like that of the peacocks burst out of it.
From the hen’s body, balanced heat is required for the development of the chicken. The bird that does not keep still except during the darkness of the night, sits still in its place to heat the eggs for the duration that is required to form the embryo, and hence the chicken. What wisdom is it that makes this constantly moving bird keep still so that life comes about in the new chicken?
Which teacher taught the bird how to turn over the egg in such a way that a chicken is formed, with no parts misplaced? And who taught the chicken to break the eggshell with its beak when its formation is completed, and it is ready to enter a new life full of energy?
What meticulousness and mercy has entered the hen that, against its instinct, it protects the life of the chicken? A reform occurs in the life of the hen that makes her stand up to protect and defend her chicken. The hen makes her chest a shield to guard her chicken. This emotional state continues until the chicken becomes able to carry on
with its own life.
Is it not sufficient for us to take notice of an egg so that it may guide us to Who creates, then makes complete, and Who makes (things) according to a measure, then guides (them to their goal).(1) This is when the Imam (as) said: Do you not think that it is the product of a Planner [Mudabbir]?
He put his head down for a long time, then said: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, Alone. He has no associates, and Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger, and you are an Imam and a Proof from Allah for His Creation. I repent for the misguidance in which I was in.”
Indeed the Omniscient, the Omnipotent, the All-Wise, Who nurtured the seed from the darkness of the earth, and the One who nurtured the chicken in the darkness of the egg, has done so for a specific objective and purpose. He has nurtured the human sperm in the darkness of the womb for an objective and a purpose. The sperm was a drop in its beginning, not worth mentioning. It did not have body parts or human strengths.
Thus, Allah prepared it with all kinds of provisions for the life after birth. He prepared it, for example, with bones of all kinds and sizes for serving different purposes. He lit the lamp of perception with the brain which astonishes the intellects. Man remains alive due to millions of heartbeats each year, which continue day and night.
to the formation of the simplest human body part is sufficient for instilling faith in the Creator, the Honourable, the Omniscient. For instance, the teeth are created in three types: front incisors teeth, canine teeth and molar teeth. What would happen in terms of biting the food and chewing it, if the molar teeth were in place of the front teeth and vice versa? What would happen in terms of beauty and ugliness?
What would happen if the eyebrows were below the eyes, or the opening of the nose was upwards rather than downwards?
All human activities, from building the earth, farming, building huge strong structures, to handling delicate fabrics and even tinier things are dependent on the fingers and the growth of nails.
Which power and wisdom is it that made the substance of the nails available in human food? He made the food go through chewing, digestion and absorption, so that it could enter the veins and reach the tips of the fingers. Then the nails become hard, so the purpose of their creation is served. The flesh of the fingers and the nails are separate from each other but are joined in such a way that they do not normally come off. Under normal circumstances, human beings cannot bear the pain if their nails are torn or broken. However, when their purpose is served, they grow out of their place in such a way that human beings can cut their nails without any trouble.
It is astonishing that the nutrients, which
flow through the veins, provide nutrition for the tough parts like the bones and the nails as well as for the delicate parts like the eyes.
What will happen to the structure of human life if the sustenance given to its parts is switched, so that the nutrition that should be given to the nails was given to the eyes, and vice versa?
These examples are the simplest signs of knowledge and wisdom, which do not require intense contemplation:
and in your own souls, will you not then see?(1)
Yet, what if we reach the depths of the secrets of the creation, through specialisation in medical science and use of complicated equipment?
Do they not reflect within themselves?(2)
Although the learned have made great efforts in understanding this being, they have yet to discover the secrets in the creation of his skin. So then, how will they understand his core and inner self? The faculty of desire is to attract the comfortable, the faculty of anger to protect the comfortable and reject the painful. In order to maintain a balance between the two powers, he has been given the intellect for practical balance and the five senses for theoretical balance.
And if you would count Allah's favours, you will not be able to number them.(3)
Which pen of knowledge and wisdom is it that wrote this book full of wisdom on the drop of water?
So let man consider of what he is created: He is created of water pouring forth.(4)
He creates you in
the wombs of your mothers—a creation after a creation—in triple darkness.(1)
What knowledge, power and wisdom is it that created from a floating drop of water a sound human being, who through his intellect and perception becomes aware of the zenith of the horizon and the souls?
Read and your Lord is Most Honourable, Who taught (to write) with the pen. Taught man what he knew not.(2)
He takes the earth and the sky as the scope of his thoughts and powers.
Do you not see that Allah has made what is in the heavens and what is in the earth subservient to you, and made complete to you His favours outwardly and inwardly? And among men is he who disputes in respect of Allah though having no knowledge nor guidance, nor a book giving light.(3)
What can the human being say to this knowledge, power, mercy and wisdom, except for what Allah, the Mighty and High, has already said:
So blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.(4)
What can he do except drop into prostration and say: Glory be to my Lord, the Most High, and Praise be to Him.
As for the Word of the Exalted:
We will soon show them Our signs in the Universe and in their own souls, until it will become quite clear to them that He is the truth.(5)
One must glance at the universe, which contains millions of suns, moons and stars. The light of some of these reaches the Earth in thousands of light-years.
Some of them are thousands of times greater than the Earth.
The distance between each one of them is very well calculated and each one is in its specified orbit. All of these have balanced attraction and repulsion, as none of them collide with each other.
Neither is it allowable to the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a sphere.(1)
This Earth, which is pivotal to human life, is encompassed by gases that protect it from thousands of luminous meteors in space, which can destroy once they enter the atmosphere of the Earth.
He has made the distance between the sun and the Earth well-measured. It changes to provide the proper conditions, in the best way possible, in terms of light and heat, for the formation of mines and the growth of plants, animals and humans.
The motion of the Earth is systematic in location and transference. This is to form the day and night, and sunrise and sunset in most of the Earth. The light for human life is acquired with the sunrise. It is then that they start their activities for their sustenance. At sunset, the night appears and darkness takes over, for bringing the peace and harmony necessary for the continuation of life and resting. Therefore, the sun does not give light constantly, nor does it cut it off completely, so that the way of life does not become abandoned.
And He it is Who made the night
and the day to follow each other for him who desires to be mindful.(1)
And out of His mercy He has made for you the night and the day, that you may rest therein, and that you may seek of His grace.(2)
Say: Tell me, if Allah were to make the night to continue incessantly on you till the day of resurrection, who is the god besides Allah that could bring you light? Do you not then hear?(3)
Therefore, light and darkness, and day and night, regardless of their extreme contradiction, are still united and assist each other. They both hold hands with each other for one purpose! The day makes what is in the Earth visible and the night makes what is in the sky visible to the human being. Thus, the kingdom of the heavens and the Earth is accessible to his physical and mental perception.
The day and night turn the pages of the book of human existence in order that she may read the verses of her Lord from the page of the heavens and the earth.
Do they not consider the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and whatever things Allah has created?(4)
And thus did We show Ibrahim the kingdom of the heavens and the earth and that he might be of those who are sure.(5)
How astonishing is it that a person who understands some beings, reflects upon a few laws of nature and secrets of the universe, and this fits the criterion for knowledge
and wisdom? On the other hand, how is it possible to perceive that the Creator of the mind and thoughts, Legislator of the laws running the universe and Innovator of the secrets of the creation, does not have knowledge and wisdom?
All of what has been achieved by the learned from the secrets of the universe and its laws is like a drop of information from the ocean of the unknown,
and you are not given aught of knowledge but a little.(1)
How can wisdom accept that the human who has the ability to copy a few lines from the book of existence is knowing and wise, while the author of the book of existence and the Creator of the copier does not have knowledge and information?
Of course not! Hence, you will see that even the one who rejects the Omniscient and the Omnipotent Creator, his nature bears witness over Him:
And if you ask them, Who created the heavens and the earth and made the sun and the moon subservient, they will certainly say, Allah. Whence are they then turned away?(2)
And if you should ask them, Who created the heavens and the earth? They would most certainly say: The Mighty, the Knowing One, has created them.(3)
An atheist entered the presence of al-Rida (as) when he had some people in his presence.
Therefore, Abu al-Hasan al-Rida (as) asked him: O man! Can you not see that if your view is correct, and it is absolutely not, then we are equal, despite our
prayers, fasting, alms-giving, and the beliefs we profess have not harmed us?
The atheist remained silent.
Then Abu al-Hasan (as) added: However, if our view is the correct one, which is certainly the case, then you are lost, and we are saved.
The man said: May Allah’s mercy be upon you! Can you describe to me how He is and where He is?
The Imam (as) answered: Woe to you! Verily, you are misguided. He originated the “where” since He existed when there was no “where.” He originated the “how” since He existed when there was no “how.” He cannot be described in terms of “how” or “where,” nor can He be perceived by any of our senses, or gauged by any other means.
The man said: Then surely He is nothing if He cannot be perceived by any of the senses.
Abu al-Hasan (as) said: Woe to you! Will you deny His Lorship simply because your senses cannot perceive Him? Although our senses fail to perceive Him, we know for certain that He is our Lord despite arguments to the contrary.
The man said: Then tell me, since when has He existed?
Abu al-Hasan said: If you can tell me when He did not exist, I can tell you when He did exist.
The man said: Then how can we prove His Existence?
Abu al-Hasan (as) replied: Verily, when I contemplate my body and see that it is impossible for me to increase or decrease its breadth and height, to keep unpleasant things away from it, or draw benefits
to it, then I know that this structure has a Maker. I acknowledge His Existence on the basis of the planets which orbit in the celestial sphere by His Command. I acknowledge His Existence on the basis of the production of clouds in the sky.
I acknowledge His Existence on the basis of the movement of the winds. I acknowledge His Existence on the basis of the movement of the sun, the moon, and the stars. When I consider all the wonders of creation, I know that they are the product of a Determiner [Muqaddir], and an Originator [Munshi’].(1)
The meaning of the word of the Imam (as): …then we are equal despite our prayers, fasting… is that the religious duties of the faith, good deeds and refraining from evil, are the source of satisfaction for the soul and improvement of society. Even if these actions were in vain, abiding by them is a minute effort, due to the possibility of the existence of God and the Return. It is also necessary for removing the harm and attaining the good, which has no limit.
The meaning of his word (as): He originated the “where”… is that place and state are two accidental things. Allah is the Creator of substances and accidents. Then how is it sensible to relate the Creator with what He has created?
Besides, the created cannot be an attribute of the Creator, because describing the Creator with the description of the creation necessitates that the Creator is in need
of His creation. This is why He cannot be confined by place and state. He cannot be sensed by the senses and cannot be compared with anything.
The meaning of his word (as): Woe to you! Your senses cannot perceive Him. The one who confines the existence to senses is neglectful of the fact that the sense is present, but He cannot be perceived with sense. For example, the ear may be present but there may be nothing to hear and the eye is present but there may be nothing to be seen.
The human being perceives that the endless should be unlimited, while every sensed thing is limited. There are many internal and external beings which are beyond sense and perception.
This man was deluded in his assumption that existence is restricted to the sensed being. Therefore, he rejected the Creator of the senses and the sensed. Hence, the Imam (as) guided him to realise that the Creator of the sense and the sensed, the imagination and the imagined, the understanding and the understood cannot be contained by senses, imaginations and understandings; for, every perceiving power is encompassed by what perceives it.
The Creator has encompassed the creation. Thus, it is not possible that the Creator of the senses, imaginations and understandings, Who encompasses them, is also encompassed by them. This would mean that the encompassing one would be the encompassed.
Then, if Allah, the Exalted, could be sensed or imagined or understood (completely), then the mind would contain Him. He would
become identical to what perceives Him from these powers and would be combined. The combined from a dimension would necessitate the separation from a dimension.
Thus, His existence would be composed of the two. Such a composition is from the description of the created and not the Creator. Therefore, if Allah, the Exalted could be contained in senses, imagination and intellect, then He would be created and not the Creator.
Indeed, the occurrence of evolution in matter and nature is a proof over the existence of a superior power over them both; because matter and material beings require location and parallel. For example, a body cannot become hot due to the effect of fire unless it has a connection and location near it. The lamp that lights the atmosphere has a location and connection.
It is impossible for location and connection to exist with the nonexistent. Therefore, it is impossible for matter and nature to have an effect on different beings which were previously nonexistent. The existence of whatever was nonexistent before is proof over the existence of a power that is not in need of the effects of location and connection. It has to be beyond the bodies and its likes.
His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it: Be, so it is.(1)
Faith in Allah, the Exalted, is innate in human nature. Therefore, humans naturally find themselves to be weak and needy beings who must refer to an Omnipotent and seek help from a Self-Sufficient. However, different
occupations distract him and his emotional attractions to his likenesses veil him from his nature and recognition.
When he is placed in danger and loses hope from all means of salvation, he sees himself helpless, so he wakes up to his sleeping nature. Thus, unwillingly he turns to the Omnipotent and the essentially Self-Sufficient to which he refers and naturally seeks help from.
Say: Who is it that delivers you from the dangers of the land and the sea (when) you call upon Him (openly) humiliating yourselves, and in secret: If He delivers us from this, we should certainly be of the grateful ones.(1)
And when distress afflicts a man he calls upon his Lord turning to Him frequently; then when He makes him possess a favour from Him, he forgets that for which he called upon Him before, and sets up rivals to Allah that he may cause (men) to stray off from His path.(2)
He it is Who makes you travel by land and sea; until when you are in the ships, and they sail on with them in a pleasant breeze, and they rejoice, a violent wind overtakes them and the billows surge in on them from all sides, and they become certain that they are encompassed about, they pray to Allah, being sincere to Him in obedience: If Thou dost deliver us from this, we will most certainly be of the grateful ones.(3)
A man asked Imam al-Sadiq (as): O son of the Messenger of Allah! Those who debate
with me have confused me. Guide me to Allah. What is He?
Hence, he (as) replied to him: O servant of Allah! Have you ever ridden a boat?
The man said: Of course.
The Imam (as) responded: Then did it ever sink, leaving you without a boat to rescue you, and with insufficient strength to swim?
He answered: Yes.
The Imam (as) asked: At that moment, did your heart have faith in something All-Powerful that could rescue you from your difficult situation?
Thus, the man replied: Certainly.
Al-Sadiq (as) said: Then that thing is Allah, the All-Powerful, the One who Rescues when there is no rescuer, and the One who Helps when no help is available.(1)
It is possible for humans to attain this recognition and natural connection with Allah in states other than necessity, i.e. freewill, with the two wings of knowledge and practice:
The First: The veil of ignorance and negligence departs due to the light of intellect and he sees that the existence of all beings and their perfection is not due to itself or due to himself. He knows that all end to the Almighty.
He is the First and the Last and the Ascendant (over all) and the Knower of hidden things, and He is Cognizant of all things,(2)
He is Allah the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner; His are the most excellent names.(3)
The Second: The turbidity of sins, lowliness and darkness declines from the essence of his spirit due to purification of the soul and devoutness. Indeed, the servant is only veiled from
his Lord due to ignorance, negligence and the darkness of sins and lowliness. Therefore, it is mandatory for him to strive in removing it with knowledge and practice.
And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways.(1)
Imam al-Sadiq (as) said to Ibn Abu al-’Awja’,
“How is He hidden from you when He showed you His Omnipotence in your own self? He brought you into being when you did not exist. His Omnipotence is shown in your old age after youth, in your strength after weakness, and in your weakness after strength; in your illness after health, and your health after illness; in your pleasure after anger, and your anger after pleasure; in your sadness after happiness, and your happiness after sadness; in liking after disliking, and in disliking after liking; in deciding after refusing, and in refusing after deciding; in kindness after meanness, and in meanness after kindness, in your exhortation after apprehension, and apprehension after exhortation; in your hope after despair, and your despair after hope; in the idea which was not in your imagination, and in the distance between what you believed from your mind.”
Ibn Abu al-’Awja’ said, “He was still counting to me (the proofs of) His Omnipotence in my own self, which I could not reject, until I started believing that Allah would appear between me and him.”(2)
Divine Unity refers to the belief that Allah is One. He is not composed of parts and attributes,
because any composed being is in need of parts and the one who composes it. Also, it is impossible for the being that is in need to give existence to itself, let alone give existence to one other than itself. Divine Unity is also the belief that Allah has no partners in Divinity or in His attributes.(1)
We will now explain some proofs of Divine Unity:
If there were numerous gods then for each one of them to be a god, it would require them to share Divinity. Each one of them requires distinction from the other to confirm duality. Thus, each one would be composed from what they both share and in what they both differ.
Existence of more than one god, without distinction, is impossible. Distinction is a cause of absence of what the other god may have of perfection. The one lacking perfection is in need. Therefore, the chain of need must end at the Self-Sufficient in essence from all dimensions. Otherwise, it would necessitate for all possible beings to be nonexistent, because the one that does not possess existence, cannot give it.
Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, is present without limitation. As ‘Ali (as) says: Limitation and end do not apply to Him,(2) because every limited being is composed of essence and the limitation of that essence. The limitation of essence would mean absence of perfection, which is in addition to that essence.
Thus, this composition is the worst of its types, as composition can be between two existing things or between
one existence and one nonexistence. The supposed composition would be between an existence and a nonexistence. However, all types of compositions are impossible for Allah, the Exalted.
The existence which has no limitation must be One for which a second cannot be conceived, because conceiving a second to Him would necessitate limiting Him. A limitation is composed of existence and nonexistence.
Every composed is in need of what it is composed of. Therefore, association in Divinity ends in making the god in need of nonexistence. The Glorified Allah is Unique in essence and attributes. Hence, He has no second to Him, neither confirmed nor conceived.
Indeed, the unity in the system of all parts of the universe, and in the universe as a whole, proves the Oneness of the Creator. A close examination of the system and composition of every part of the categories of the universe, and their connection with each other, reveals that both parts of the universe and the universe as a whole are created by One, Omniscient, Omnipotent and All-Wise Creator.
Indeed, the formation of the parts of a tree, the parts of the body of an animal and its strength, their connection with each other, their connection with the Earth and the sun, the connection of the solar system with other solar systems and the galaxy, in one sentence is: Verily, from the composition of an atom and what goes on around it to the composition of the sun and the galaxies, reveal that the Creator of all is
And He it is Who is God in the heavens and God in the earth; and He is the Wise, the Knowing.(1)
men! Serve your Lord Who created you and those before you so that you may guard (against evil). Who made the earth a resting place for you and the heaven a canopy and (Who) sends down rain from the cloud then brings forth with it subsistence for you of the fruits; therefore do not set up rivals to Allah while you know.(2)
Imam al-Sadiq (as) was asked, “Why is it not permissible that there be more than one creator of the universe?” Thus, he (as) replied: …Furthermore, if you claim that there are two gods, there must be a division between them both, which has always existed, and that division would have to be a third god. However, if you claim that there are three gods, then there must be two divisions between them, leaving us with five gods, and so on ad aeternum.(3)
The Commander of the Faithful (as) said to his son al-Hasan (as): Beware, O son that if your Lord had an associate then his messengers would have certainly come to you and you would have seen signs of his sovereignty and dominion. You would have learnt his actions and attributes. However, He is One God like He has described Himself.(4)
The outcome of the faith in Oneness of Allah, the Exalted, is His Unity of Service, because other than Him do not deserve service and cannot attain it.
As everything and everyone other than Him is His servant:
There is no one in the heavens and the earth but will come to the Beneficent Allah as a servant.(1)
Furthermore, service to other than Allah, the Exalted, is humiliation from the humiliated and begging from the needy. In fact, it is humiliation even for humility and is begging from the need itself.
O men! You are they who stand in need of Allah, and Allah is He Who is the Self-Sufficient, the Praised One.(2)
Verily, faith in His Oneness and that every being is from Him, due to Him and will return to Him, is summarised in three sentences: There is no god but Allah; There is no power and no strength except Allah;
And to Allah all things return.(3)
Fortunate is he who remembers these pure words constantly, and sleeps and wakes with them, and lives and dies upon them. Thus, he will succeed in reality:
Surely we belong to Allah and to Him we shall surely return.(4)
Amongst the effects that occur when mankind reaches the reality of Divine Unity, is that the thinking and intent of an individual and society must focus on one goal. There is no goal higher than that. In fact, there is no other goal but:
Say: I exhort you only to one thing, that rise up for Allah's sake in twos and singly.(5)
Even when the focus of the rays of the human soul is on nonessential points, it can do amazing things. However, if the rays of
the human soul in thinking and intent focused on one reality, which is the beginning and the end of existence, and the Light of the heavens and the earth,(1) then to what stage will this man achieve?
If the individual and the society reach the status, concerning which the Glorified and Exalted says:
Surely I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists,(2)
then through their connection with Allah and moulding with Allah’s ethics, they will become such a source of goodness, privilege and perfection that cannot be described.
To end this discussion, we will mention the word which is a fort of Allah for protection from the wrath of this world and the hereafter. Abu Hamzah reported on the authority Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (as) saying: There is nothing greater in reward than testifying that: There is no god but Allah [La ilaha illa Allah], because nothing equals Allah, the Mighty and High, and nobody shares His Power.(3)
From this tradition, we conclude that just as there is no equal or associate with Allah, the Exalted, in His Command; similarly, there is no deed equal to the testimony: there is no god but Allah [La ilaha illa Allah]. Likewise, there is nothing equal in reward for this deed.
Indeed, the verbal testimony there is no god but Allah [La ilaha illa Allah], protects the soul, wealth and honour in this world. Moreover, testimony with the heart causes salvation from the wrath
of Hell in the hereafter, and success to the highest level of Paradise. Thus, this sacred word is the manifestation of mercy of both the beneficence [al-rahmaniyyah] and the mercifulness [al-rahimiyyah].
It is reported from al-Sadiq (as): Verily, Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, has taken an oath by His Dignity and Glory that He will never punish the people who believe in His Unity with Hell-fire.(1)
It is reported from the Prophet (S): The one whom Allah has blessed with belief in Divine Unity shall have Heaven as his reward.(2)
Surely whoever remembers these words constantly, the vessel of his heart will be secured with the anchor of there is no god but Allah [La ilaha illa Allah] from the abyss of destruction and the waves of fear of calamities, whispers and evils:
Those who believe and whose hearts are set at rest by the remembrance of Allah; now surely by Allah's remembrance are the hearts set at rest.(3)
The word: There is no god but Allah [La ilaha illa Allah], is a remembrance that can be said loudly or quietly. Thus, it is the combination of hidden and apparent remembrance. It contains the sacred word “Allah.” It is reported from the Commander of the Faithful (as) that it is the greatest name of Allah, the Exalted.
Say: Tell me if the chastisement of Allah should overtake you or the hour should come upon you, will you call (on others) besides Allah, if you are truthful? Nay, Him you call upon, so He clears
away that for which you pray if He pleases and you forget what you set up (with Him).(1)
Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri reported from the Prophet (S) that he said: Allah, Mighty be His Glory, said to Musa (as), “O Musa! If everything that exists in all the heavens, their inhabitants, and the seven earths, were placed in one side of the scale, and ‘there is no god but Allah’ was placed in the other side, then ‘there is no god but Allah’ would tip the scale.”(2)
Thus, nothing from the earth, the heavens, the material and the abstract things, can equal ‘there is no god but Allah.’ None perceive its reverence but the ones who have reached the reality of negation and proof, as this testimony relates.
The Proofs for the Justice of Allah, the Mighty and High, are many. We will mention a few here.
Every human being, even though he may not be religious, perceives through his nature the goodness of justice and the evil of oppression. In fact, even if the oppressor himself was described as an oppressor, he would feel hurt and would dislike it. On the contrary, if he was described as just, he would feel delighted and pleased.
If a criminal and oppressor, who wastes all his aspirations following his desires and anger, was taken to court and the judge rules for him falsely due to bribe or fear of the criminal’s power, then the criminal would feel pleased, but his logic and instinct would rule
against the judgment. Hence, he will believe the judge to be lowly.
On the contrary, if the judge does not take the bribe or the criminal’s position into any consideration and rules with justice, then the oppressor would be angry at him. However, his instinct will look at the judge and his ruling with respect and admiration.
If this is the case with a human being, then how is it possible for Allah, Glory be Him, to be an oppressor in His sovereignty and rule? It is He who made human nature to accept justice as good and injustice or oppression as evil. He intends for the human being to adapt to justice and refrain from the dirt of oppression. He, the Exalted, has commanded through His Word:
Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good,(1)
Say: My Lord has enjoined justice,(2)
O Dawud ! Surely We have made you a ruler in the land; so judge between men with justice and do not follow desire.(3)
Certainly, oppression occurs due to one of three reasons and all of them are impossible to be related to Allah: either due to ignorance of the evil; or due to incapability in reaching the goal except through committing oppression; or due to nonsense and vanity. Allah is free from ignorance, incapability and nonsense.
Thus, His Knowledge of everything, His Power over everything and His Wisdom that reaches everything requires that He be Just and free from any kind of oppression and evil.
Oppression is a deficiency.
If Allah, the Exalted, was an oppressor then it would necessitate that He was composed of both deficiency and perfection, and of existence and nonexistence. This is the worst of the types of compositions, as mentioned earlier. In addition to that, the composed of both perfection and deficiency is in need and limited. Neediness and limitation are attributes of creation and not the Creator.
In conclusion, Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, is Just in creating the universe:
Allah bears witness that there is no god but He, and (so do) the angels and those possessed of knowledge, maintaining His creation with justice; there is no god but He, the Mighty, the Wise.(1)
He is Just in His laws and regulations:
Certainly We sent Our messengers with clear arguments, and sent down with them the Book and the balance that men may conduct themselves with equity.(2)
And He is Just in the accountability of His servants on the Day of Judgment:
And the matter shall be decided between them with justice and they shall not be dealt with unjustly.(3)
A man asked Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as): Verily, Divine Unity and Divine Justice are the foundations of faith. Since His Knowledge is so great, it is not possible for even a wise man to understand it all. So, teach me something that is easy to understand and easy to memorise. He (as) answered: As for Divine Unity, do not describe your Lord the way you describe yourself. As for Divine Justice, do not
apply to your Lord any of the shortcomings that you may apply to yourself.(1)
He (as) said to Hisham ibn al-Hakam: Should I not give you a sentence concerning Divine Justice and Divine Unity? He said, “Of course. May I be your ransom!” He replied: Justice is not to blame Him and Divine Unity is not to imagine Him.(2)
The Commander of the Faithful (as) said: Whatever you repent for from Allah, the Exalted, is from you, and whatever you praise Allah, the Exalted, for is from Him.(3)
Once the existence of the All-Wise Creator is proved, the necessity of Prophethood and prophets is proven through it.
To understand the need of mankind for the guidance of the prophets, we must know the nature of human creation, the purpose of his creation and the factors that make him reach that purpose or prevent him from it.
This brief book does not allow us to go deep into these discussions, as is apparent from the presented topics. However, we will indicate some dimensions to a degree:
The human being has different instincts. His life begins from the weakest stage, which is the plant life, and ascends to the intellectual life. In fact, it ascends to a stage higher than that. Indeed, a believer looks with the light of Allah.(4)
The human being is a creation composed of nature and intellect, a body with limited needs, and a soul with unlimited wishes. In his eminence man is higher than the angels, and in his abasement he is
lower than the animals.
It is reported on the authority of ‘Abd Allah ibn Sinan, who said: I asked Abu ‘Abd Allah Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (as): Are the angels superior or the children of Adam?
He (as) replied: The Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) said: Indeed, Allah, the Mighty and High, composed the angels from the intellect without the desires and composed the animals from the desires without the intellect, but He composed the children of Adam from both of them. Therefore, whose intellect overcomes his desires is better than the angels, and whose desires overpower his intellect is worse than the animals.(1)
This creation was at the peak of innovation as it became—after being made completely and the spirit breathed(2) into him—an exceptional creation of all beings. The greatness of His creation becomes apparent from the Word of the Exalted:
Then We caused it to grow into another creation, so blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.(3)
The human being perceives that he is not made for a limited materialist life. Wisdom demands that the tools should be appropriate for the work that is required of them. They should be made to suit the purpose they serve. If man was made for the life of this world alone, then the faculty of desire, which attracts to the comfortable and the faculty of anger, which rejects the painful, were sufficient for him.
There was no need to give him intellect, which informs of unlimited knowledge. The intellect is eager
to liberate itself from evil and embellish itself with virtues. It is naturally not content with whatever level it reaches. In fact, it is thirsty for what is higher than it. Thus, bestowing man with that intellect and that nature is proof that he is created for an unlimited life. This is transmitted in a prophetic tradition: You are not created for perishing; rather, you are created for remaining. Indeed, you transfer from one abode to the other.(1)
From another viewpoint, the wisdom of the Absolute Wise guides us that if He has placed potential in a being, then He has also prepared factors that elevate him to the stage of actualisation. Exhausting a potential does not change it into an actual. A wish that has no objective is useless and in vain. Exalted is Allah from that.
You see that when the Knowledge and the Absolute Power gave a seed the potential to become a fruit, He created for it the water, the soil and the air. Hence, He placed in them the factors that make the seed reach its goal.
When He gave human semen the potential to change into organs and limbs, He created for it the womb and other factors for its actualisation.
Then how is it possible that Allah created the intellectual faculty in the human being to reach the fruit of knowledge and practice? He created the human soul and placed in it the ability to reach the perfection in knowledge, morals and practice to reach the recognition
of Allah through Allah. Then how did He not prepare the factors that would make him reach the fruit of knowledge and practice? Why would He not provide the conditions to take the human being to the highest levels of perfection?
How is it possible that He would not guide the human being to the purpose of his creation? Is it possible that He would withhold the law: He gave to everything its creation, then guided it (to its goal),(1) and exempt the creation of the human beings from it?
Of course not! This is why it is clear that the need for Divine guidance is to make man accomplish the purpose of his creation.
And the soul and Him Who made it perfect, Then He inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it.(2)
It is in human nature to search for one’s Creator. Man wants to know Who it is that brought him about when he did not exist. The One Who gave him these limbs, organs and muscles
and made complete to you His favours outwardly and inwardly;(3)
and blessed him with which is countless and limitless:
And if you would count Allah's favours, you will not be able to number them.(4)
He wants to know the real Benefactor. His logical duty is to thank the real Benefactor.
From another angle, the human being perceives that Allah, the Exalted—Who is the Creator of the sense and the sensed, the imagination and the imagined, the understanding and the understood, the Most
Praised, the Most Holy from all deficiencies and evils, whose magnificence and perfection are endless—is Greater and Higher and Mightier than being on the other side of communication with the created who is full of ignorance, faults and evil desires. Thus, why should He answer man’s questions directly and elucidate to him what is obligatory and what is forbidden in his life?
Therefore, there must be a link between Allah, the Exalted, and His creation. This link should have a human shape and attributes, in order to deal with the people, an intellect free from mistakes, a soul consecrated from evil and full of Godly practice. Based on the rule of effectiveness and liability, he should have the ability to be lightened with the light of revelation, so that he can receive the guidance and recognition from Allah, the Exalted, and open the doors of this guidance and recognition to the mankind.
Then he can show man his shortcomings in hindering the intellect from the recognition of Allah on one extreme, and in ascribing human characteristics to God on the other extreme. Thus, he can guide mankind to the true faith and the right path.
And (know) that this is My path, the right one therefore follow it, and follow not (other) ways, for they will lead you away from His way; this He has enjoined you with that you may guard (against evil).(1)
The human being possesses many mental abilities with which he can discover a number of secrets of nature and its
laws, and then use these to serve his abilities. Yet, he also possesses evil desires and the faculties of lust and anger, which are vast and dangerous. These do not stop at any limit, which is a trait of human nature.
Hence, the interest and the corruption of the earth are connected to the interest and the corruption of mankind:
Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought.(1)
In fact, according to the Word of the Exalted:
And He has made subservient to you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, all, from Himself; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.(2)
Thus, the interest and the corruption of other planets are connected to the humans as well.
The only thing that guarantees the interest of this being is Divine guidance. Divine guidance results in the balance of the thoughts through correct belief. Spiritual balance is achieved through virtuous morals and good actions.
Human life is connected to society in various ways. The consequence of this connection is that people influence one another. Inevitably, this causes difference in personal and social rights. Social life cannot remain without having its right. It is impossible to give it its rights without stipulating and implementing laws which are correct and protected from deficiencies and mistakes. Their stipulator and executor must be an infallible who is not affected by personal interests, nor deviant from righteousness and justice.
This cannot materialise
except with Divine laws and with prophets who convey these laws and execute them.
Certainly We sent Our messengers with clear arguments, and sent down with them the Book and the balance that men may conduct themselves with equity.(1)
It is thus clear that mankind needs to be guided to God, the Return, and the purpose of his creation. It is clear that it is necessary to take him to his psychological and practical perfection. It is also clear that human faculties require balance, and that they need assurance of their personal and social rights. However, it is obvious that these goals are not achievable without the path of revelation and prophethood. These important matters cannot be achieved with intellects full of faults and hands full of personal desires.
No matter how strong human thinking may be, it cannot ascertain the ambiguous and unknown points of nature. Thus, he is not self-sufficient of the prophets (as) and their guidance in the walk of life.
Geniuses have struggled in studying the secrets of the universe. They thought that they had reached the conclusion, and were proud of their discoveries. The people agreed with them, and generations and centuries passed approving them. Nonetheless, they were later proved to be void.
The view that the human body is composed of four substances and that their illnesses originate from the nature of these four things was discovered to be null. The views of the early people that the universe is made up of dust, water, air and fire, and
that space cannot accept penetration and connection, went up in the air after scientific discoveries.
Even though his body is the closest thing to him, it has become so apparent that man does not even understand the make of his own body, or the factors behind its illness and health. Most of the human theories about nature, the universe, the moon, and the closest star are mere imaginations. Is it possible that this intellect can become a guide for mankind in understanding God and the Return, and the causes of his privilege and adversity? Never!
In fact, the human mind is unable to discover the secrets inside a particle. Then how is it possible for it to know the beginning and end of the creation of man and the universe? How can mankind know what guides him to God and the Return, and the causes of his privilege and adversity?
The Commander of the Faithful (as) said: Then Allah sent His Messengers and series of His prophets towards them to get them to fulfil the pledges of His creation, to recall to them His bounties, to exhort them by preaching, to unveil before them the hidden virtues of wisdom and show them the signs of His Omnipotence.(1)
A prophet possesses many qualities, two of which we will discuss:
There are many proofs for the infallibility of the Prophets (as). We will mention some of them:
Every creation has to follow practices and laws in order to attain its perfection. It is clear from what has been
explained earlier that the practice that takes mankind to his perfection, which is the purpose of his creation, is Divine guidance and true faith.
The achievement of this perfection is based upon the guidance of mankind to the true faith, and delivering and executing Divine laws. A prophet is liable for the training of mankind in accordance with this practice. It would be against the objective if any deviation in conveying or execution occurred; for, the deviation of this conveyor and instructor of Divine training would be due to error or evil desire. Undoubtedly, either of these two would be against the objective.
The perfection of Divine guidance demands perfection of the guide. Infallibility of the Divine law requires infallibility of the teacher and the executor.
Falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it.(1)
Both rational and textual proofs tell us that the religion has come to give humanity a happy life.
Whoever does good whether male or female and he is a believer, We will most certainly make him live a happy life, and We will most certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did.(2)
The water of happy life is faith and good deeds. These two make up the religion.
The spring of life from which pours out this water is the presence of a prophet. If the place where the water is pouring out from is unclean, then the water would be unclean. Hence, it would not be suitable for quenching the
thirst of the minds and the hearts of the people. Then the fruit of a happy life would not be achieved.
The objective of sending a prophet is not accomplished without obeying his commands. Obedience of the one who commits mistakes and sins is not permissible. Therefore, if a prophet is not infallible, his obedience will not be obligatory, which would negate and invalidate the objective of sending a prophet.
If a prophet is not infallible from making mistakes, then the people will never be confident in his truthfulness or the veracity of his delivering the revelation. Also, if a prophet is not infallible from committing sins, then his position will drop in the eyes of the people. The words of an unpracticing scholar do not have any effect. As such, the purpose of sending the prophets would not be fulfilled.
The origin of mistakes and sins is weakness of intellect and will-power, whereas the intellect of a prophet is perfect. A prophet reaches the stage of true certainty due to his connection with revelation. He sees things as they really are. His will-power is only affected by the will of Allah, Glory be to Him, the Exalted. Therefore, there remains no place for mistake and sin in a prophet’s personality.
Accepting any proclamation requires proof. The connection between the proclamation and the proof must be so reliable that the confidence in the righteousness of the proclamation is indissoluble from the proof. A prophet proclaims representation from Allah, the Exalted. There is no way
of proving this proclamation except for confirmation from Allah. Thus, a miracle is a practical confirmation from Allah for his proclamation as a prophet.
A miracle takes place without a material cause, with a will that encompasses the causes and effect. The cause determines the effect and the effect accepts determining from the cause, which is nothing but the will of Allah, the Exalted. When a miracle takes place with the proclamation of a prophet, then it gives certainty that Allah, the Exalted, performed the miracle for his confirmation.
When someone proclaimed prophethood and it was rationally possible to confirm this, if he showed a miracle, it would be a convincing proof to verify his claim. However, if he was not truthful, then the occurrence of a miracle from him would be verification of a liar and a reason for misleading the people. Exalted is Allah, Glory be to Him, from authenticating a liar and misleading the people.
Regarding common prophethood, there are noble verses and gracious traditions. We will suffice with two traditions.
It is said on the authority of Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Sadiq (as): Indeed, we prove that we have a Creator and a Maker Who is Higher than us and everything He has created. And that this Creator is All-Wise to the extreme, and it is not possible for His creation to witness Him or touch Him, so that He may form physical connection with them and they with Him. He disputes them and they dispute Him. This proves that He
has representatives in His creation, who voice Him in His creation, and servants who guide them to their interests and benefits and to what will make them remain and make them perish.
This proves that there are ones who command what to do and what not to do on behalf of the All-Wise, the All-Knowing, who are in His creation and are designated by Him, the Mighty and High. They are the prophets (as) and the best of His creation. They are wise, mannered with wisdom and sent with wisdom. They do not share with people in anything from their state, even though they share the creation and composition.
They are endorsed with wisdom by the All-Wise, the All-Knowing. This was proved in all times and places with the reasons and proofs the Messengers and the prophets brought with them. So that Allah’s earth is not vacant from a proof who has knowledge indicating his truthfulness and justice.(1)
We will elucidate some of the points which his words imply:
He (as) mentioned the proof for the necessity of sending prophets with his words: and that this Creator is All-Wise to the extreme… the implication is that every action that a man performs or leaves, and every motion or stillness that occurs from him is either useful for both worlds or harmful, or neither useful nor harmful. Based on all of these assumptions, the human being needs to know what is useful and what is harmful, what is in his interest in this life and
the life hereafter, and what is harmful.
This knowledge can only be achieved from one who knows of the connection between performing an action and not performing it, the interests of mankind and his problems. It has to be from the one who encompasses the effects of all motions and stillnesses in human life in this world and the hereafter. Indeed, that is the Creator of the mankind and the Creator of this world and the hereafter.
Divine Wisdom demands that He should guide His servants, however, His guidance to Himself cannot happen without an intermediary due to His being above physical connection and conversation. Thus, there must be selected representatives: who guide them to their interests and benefits and to what will make them remain and make them perish.
This proof is distinctive from all dimensions in comparison with the proof that philosophers use to prove the necessity of prophethood. This proof from the Imam (as) includes all the interests and harms of the human being in all stages of existence. Philosophers use the rule that man is naturally a social animal. Therefore, he requires fair laws for his dealings and social connections; hence, their proof is specified for social life on earth.
He (as) has indicated the exceptional existence of the prophets due to what they have in common with the people and what they are distinctive in: they do not share with people in anything from their state, even though they share the creation and composition.
He (as) has indicated with his
word: the best of His creation, to the fact that a prophet has been chosen over the rest of the creation. Due to this pure conduct, he can be at the position of the connection between the Creator and the created. He can perform the significant role of being a connection between the High and the low.
What a fine expression he has used: who voice Him, to clarify the status of a prophet. It is, indeed, an unequivocal statement revealing the true intention. It means speaking from Allah, the Exalted and delivering to His creation what He wills. Sanctity and infallibility are required for the status of a prophet.
The Imam (as) has explained the proof for the necessity of a miracle to prove the prophethood with his word: who has knowledge indicating his truthfulness and justice. The source of the prophethood is the wisdom of the Absolute Wise and its result is wisdom as well.
‘Isa said: I have come to you indeed with wisdom;(1)
Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom.(2)
He (as) has attached importance to the distinction of the prophets’ wisdom in thinking and practice from the wisdom of mankind, which is the result of human thinking. However, their wisdom is that they voice the Exalted. The requirement of his word: who voice Him, and that by the All-Wise, the All-Knowing, their wisdom is pure from the filth of delusions. A prophet is a radiant lamp. He does not take the light of his knowledge from the
teaching and training of mankind. It is indeed from the connection he has with the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The oil whereof almost gives light though fire touch it not.(1)
He (as) said: They are wise and mannered with wisdom. Later, he added: They are endorsed with wisdom by the All-Wise, the All-Knowing. This is to explain that the wisdom of the prophets—its occurrence and endurance—is from the All-Knowing, Who encompasses everything and the All-Wise, Who made firm everything. The wisdom of a prophet is as distinctive from human thinking as what is with Allah, the Exalted and what is with the people.
This Creator is All-Wise. It is apparent from this sentence and the sentence that describes the prophets as they are wise, mannered with wisdom and sent with it, that the effectual reason and purpose of Prophethood is wisdom. The middle way between the beginning and the end is also wisdom.
Whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth declares the glory of Allah, the King, the Holy, the Mighty, the Wise. He it is Who raised among the inhabitants of Mecca an Apostle from among themselves, who recites to them His communications and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, although they were before certainly in clear error.(2)
There are other valuable and profound insights in the indications and elegant words of the Imam (as). However for reasons of brevity we will not discuss them.
Imam Al-Rida (as) said: If one said:
Why is it compulsory for them to know the Messengers, acknowledge them and submit to their obedience? The reply would be: This is due to the creation not being able to reach in perfection what is in their interest. The Creator is Higher than can be seen. Due to their weakness and incapability, the creation cannot perceive Him. Thus, it was a must that an infallible messenger be in between Him and His creation to convey to them His commands regarding what to do and not to do.
He would teach them manners and inform them of their interests and harms, as they do not have the ability to understand what they need, and what is in their interest or what is harmful for them. If recognising and obeying the prophet was not compulsory upon the people, then there would be no use of his coming. This would mean that He has carried out a useless act which has no benefit and use. This is not the attribute of the All-Wise Who made firm everything.(1)
As our Prophet, Muhammad (S), was the Seal of the Prophets and Messengers, and was the possessor of the Final and Everlasting Messengership, and then his miracle must last forever as well.
He was sent in an era when people were boasting and competing in rhetoric and eloquence in poetry and prose. Rhetoric and eloquence was the prevailing criterion for recognising the eminence of remarkable personalities in society. Articulate and eloquent people had significant influence
in that society. Consequently, Divine Wisdom demanded the Noble Qur’an to be a miracle in its letter and spirit, so that it can be an everlasting miracle and a continuous proof of the prophethood of Muhammad (S). Thus, his message is everlasting for all ages and eras.
We will suffice with a concise account about the miraculousness of the Qur’an.
The Prophet (S) appeared in a time and place which consisted of many nations and beliefs. Some were materialistic atheists who rejected God and the hereafter. Others believed in the transcendental. Some of them worshipped idols, while others worshipped celestial bodies. The ones who dissociated from idol-worshipping and the worship of celestial bodies ascribed to Zoroastrianism, Dualism or Judaism. Jews proclaimed that ‘Uzayr is the son of Allah while Christiansity proclaimed the Trinity.
Meanwhile, the Iranian Khosraus(1) [akasirah] and the Roman Caesars [qayasirah] were busy colonising the weak nations and exploiting them, or battling and killing them.
The Prophet (S) was sent at a time when intellects were covered with delusions, hearts were grim with desires, and all those ruling were spreading corruption on earth or shedding blood. The banner of faith in the unseen and Divine Unity was raised.
The world was called to the service of Allah, the Exalted, and to the breaking of the imprisonments of disbelief and oppression. The tyrant kings of the Earth, the king of Iran, the Roman emperor, the Ghassanides(2) of Syria, the Himyarites of Yemen and other minor and major rulers were invited to accept Islam,
obey Allah and submit to truth and justice.
The Dualism of the Zoroastrians, the Trinity of the Christians, the fabrications of the Jews upon Allah and the Prophets (as), and the practices of the ignorant pagans, which were inherited from fathers and forefathers, were all dismissed.
The Prophet (S) stood alone before all the countries of the world, their nations, leaders and scholars. He declared their beliefs were wrong and challenged them with the miracles which Allah had given him as a proof over his prophethood.
His most outstanding miracle was the Qur’an, with which he challenged the kings, the emperors, the idol-worshippers, the Jewish rabbis and the Christian monks.
And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.(1)
It is obvious that if common people, who are prejudiced in their beliefs, priests from different faiths, who hold onto their followers, kings and rulers, who fear the awakening of their nations, could have confronted the Qur’an then they would not have delayed for a moment.
Do you think that if they had the ability to object to this challenge, they would not, which would outbalance their previous religion and world?
Surely they all took pains in encountering the challenge of the Prophet (S) regarding the Qur’an. They had scholars, poets and orators who were outstanding in eloquence and rhetoric. They would compete with each other every year in the famous ‘Ukkadh market
and other places. They would hang the most astonishing poems in the Ka’bah. The most famous of these were the seven placards [mu’allaqat].
They strived for the triumph of their religions and this world, which was being threatened by the Qur’an. However, they returned disappointed and disgraced. They did not find any answer except that they said:
This is nothing but clear enchantment.(1)
History records that Abu Jahl went to al-Walid ibn al-Mughayrah, who was an authority for the eloquent Arabs, and put forward to him the challenge of the Qur’an given by Muhammad (S). Thus, he replied, “What should I say in this matter?
By god, there is not a single man among you better than me in poetry, nor is there anyone more knowledgeable than me in poetical metre, thematic sequence and songs. By god, what he (Muhammad (S)) says does not resemble any of these. By god, this Word has a sweetness that will shatter everything below it. It is indeed above all and nothing is above it!”
Abu Jahl said, “By god, your people will not be pleased unless you say something against it.”
He replied, “Give me some time to think.” When he pondered, he said, “This is an enchantment that has information about others.”(2)
Their allegation that the Qur’an is enchantment is surely due to their surrender to its miraculousness, because enchantment is a result of normal causes that are not outside human powers. Hence, that was an achievable matter for them. Magicians and prognosticators were all over the
Arabian Peninsula and the nearby lands.
Nevertheless, history has recorded that they could not find an answer for the challenge of the Qur’an. They thus took refuge in trying to tempt the Prophet (S) with wealth and status. When he rejected all that, they began attempts to murder him (S).
The Noble Qur’an was revealed in an age when a group of people were atheists, who did not believe in transcendental beings. They used to believe that the one managing the astonishing system of creation is not attributed with wisdom and perception. As for the ones who did believe in transcendental beings they used to worship idols of all shapes. On the contrary, the ones that were connected to the heavenly religions were describing God with human characteristics based on their altered books.
History has recorded that the people in such an era were at their lowest in terms of ideas, morals and practices. An Ummi man rose, who had not received knowledge from anyone; yet, he broke the locks of ignorance and misguidance. He opened the gates of knowledge and guidance, revived the dead souls with pure life and took the people out of darkness into the light.
He called the people to the service of Allah, Who is free from all deficiencies. From Him are all perfections and beauties. To Him is all praise and extol. He declared that God alone deserves worship and that whatever other than Him they call onto is like a mirage in the desert, which the
thirsty presume to be water. He also declared that Allah is Greater than being restricted with limits and attributed with descriptions.
سبحان الله والحمدلله ولااله الاالله والله اکبر
Glory be to Allah, all praise be to Allah, there is no god but Allah and Allah is the Greatest.
The Prophet (S) challenged in an environment in which they were ascribing the Creator with numbers, composition with numbers and Trinity. They were relating need and begetting the One free from partner and son. They had made His likes and associates. They believed that He is in an idol they had carved or that He was in a tree they had sanctified.
The Qur’an was revealed in such an atmosphere. Thus, the Prophet (S) freed Allah from all those delusions. The Prophet (S) declared that Allah is Unique, free from any intellectual, imaginative and sensual composition. He is essentially Self-Sufficient from all things. Everything other than Him is essentially in need of Him. His Holy Being was declared free from all types of mental and physical begetting. He clarified that all beings have come about through His Omnipotence. They were created with His Will. He has no like to Him in His essence, His attributes and His actions.
More than one thousand verses were revealed in the Noble Qur’an about the recognition of Allah, the Exalted, His attributes and His beautiful names. If we contemplate a line from those, the chapter of the Divine Unity, we will come to know the greatness of the guidance he (S)
Say: He, Allah, is One. Allah is He on Whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And none is like Him.(1)
Moreover, the traditions of the Prophet (S) and his Household (as) are the keys to the treasures of Allah’s recognition. We will suffice with only two traditions from them:
Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Sadiq (as) said: Verily, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, is free from His Creation, and His Creation is free from Him. Whatever can be defined by the word ‘thing’ is a creation other than Almighty Allah. Exalted is He who is beyond compare.(2)
Imam al-Baqir (as) said: All that you have made distinctive with your imaginations in its complete meanings is created and originated like yourselves. It returns back to you.(3)
Indeed, the greatness of what the Qur’an has presented of the guidance in the Divine knowledge manifests when compared with the Old Testament and the New Testament. Hundreds of millions of people, Jews and Christians, still believe in their verses. The faith of every synagogue and church is based on it.
We will suffice with a few examples from their Torah, which exemplifies their ideas about God:
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done…
The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…
15. The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
16. And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
17. But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”(1)
Now the serpent was craftier than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
But God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.
“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like
God, knowing good and evil.”
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
22. And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”(1)
The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and
birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.”(1)
We will suffice with stating a few remarks
Their Torah thinks that Allah, the Exalted, stopped Adam and Eve from understanding good and evil. Whereas Allah, the Exalted, created the human being and bestowed him with intellect to understand good and evil, and better and worse. Then how is it sensible to stop them from understanding good and evil?
The guidance of the Qur’an says:
Say: Are those who know and those who do not know alike? Only the men of understanding are mindful.(2)
Surely the vilest of animals, in Allah's sight, are the deaf, the dumb, who do not understand.(3)
In this brief text we cannot mention the numerous verses of the Qur’an in encouragement of seeking knowledge, recognition, intellect, thinking and contemplation.
Allah created mankind to compete in good, and commanded him to do that. He restrained him from evil and commanded him to refrain from it. The purpose of this formation and legislation does not transpire except by understanding good and evil. The command to perform the preliminary and stop from the preliminary, with both ending in contradiction, cannot occur even from a fool, let alone the Absolute Wise.
Their Torah claims that God said to Adam and Eve: You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.
If, according to their belief God did not know that they will both die, then He is
ignorant. However, if He did know, then He is a liar. How is it appropriate to call an ignorant or a liar, God?
More amazing than that, is that the snake deceived Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of recognition of good and evil. It revealed the lie and deception of God to them.
These are the examples from the guidance of the Qur’an regarding Allah’s Knowledge:
He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases.(1)
Not the weight of an atom becomes absent from Him.(2)
Your Allah is only Allah, there is no god but He; He comprehends all things in (His) knowledge.(3)
How can a confined being—who could not find Adam between the trees of the Paradise and the trees obstructed him from seeing so that he had to call: Where are you? to learn his place through his voice—be worthy of being the God of the universe, the Knower of secrets and hidden things, the One Who encompasses the Earth and the Sky and is the Creator of the universe and place?
As for the example of the guidance of the Qur’an, then it states:
And with Him are the keys of the unseen treasures—none knows them but He; and He knows what is in the land and the sea, and there falls not a leaf but He knows it, nor a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything green nor dry
but (it is all) in a clear book.(1)
Whilst the Qur’an teaches the people the Unity of God and His deanthropomorphism and says:
Nothing whatsoever is like unto Him; and He is the Hearing, the Seeing,(2)
the Torah teaches the people association with God and anthropomorphism. Thus, it says: The Lord God said: The human has become like us after knowing the good and the evil…
Their Torah relates to God that He became regretful after creating Adam. He was thus ignorant of the outcome of his creation. How is it possible that a divine book, that came to guide mankind to their Lord, relates ignorance to God. This would necessitate limiting the essence and composing God in the light of knowledge with the darkness of ignorance. The result is describing the Creator with the description of the created.
The guidance of the Qur’an is:
Does He not know, Who created? And He is the Knower of the subtleties, the Aware.(3)
And when your Lord said to the angels, I am going to place in the earth a caliph, they said: What! Wilt Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood, and we celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy holiness? He said: Surely I know what you do not know.(4)
Their Torah has related resting, grief, affliction, anxiety and sorrow to God; whereas these are attributes that require body, ignorance and powerlessness.
So the LORD said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face
of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them.” Nevertheless, He was still regretful of informing them of this. Then why does He say what He will not do it? Is this but ignorance of self and falsifying His own Word?
Glory be to Him, and highly exalted is He above what they ascribe (to Him).(1)
As for the Qur’an, then it says: Whatever is in the heavens and the earth declares the glory of Allah, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. His is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He gives life and causes death; and He has power over all things. He is the First and the Last and the Ascendant (over all) and the Knower of hidden things, and He is Cognizant of all things.(2)
And we will also portray some beliefs specific to the Christians from the Bible:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.
This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
For there are three that testify:
The Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.(1)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.
He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him.
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
Children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen
his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.(1)
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.”(2)
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there,
And Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding.
When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, "My time has not yet come.”
said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so,
And the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realise where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside.
And said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him.(1)
We will suffice with stating a few remarks:
Among the principles of Christian faith, the belief in Trinity is unanimously agreed upon by them. However, they would find stipulation in their Bible on the Divine Unity. As it has come in the Bible:
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.(2)
They are unable to combine the Trinity and the Divine Unity. Hence, they say, as it has appeared in the Bible: The three are one. They are united in reality and distinctive
from one another in reality.
In any way, it is a void belief due to a number of reasons:
The sequence of numbers, like one and three, are opposites and opposites do not meet. Then how is it possible that the three may be one and one may be three?
The belief in Trinity necessitates belief in five gods. Rather, it would necessitate belief in endless gods, as it was mentioned in the chapter of Divine Unity from Imam al-Sadiq(1) (as); thus, the Christians cannot escape from endless gods.
The belief in Trinity necessitates composition and composition requires components and one who composes it.
The belief in Trinity necessitates attributing the Creator with a created number, because the number and the numbered are created. Allah, the Exalted, is free from being numbered even from the number one, because the number one implies two, and Allah does not have second to Him. However, attributing Him with Oneness has already been discussed in the chapter of Divine Unity.
Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one Allah, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.(2)
The Christians claim that Jesus is the son of God. The Qur’an has rejected their claim saying:
The Messiah, son of Maryam is but a messenger; messengers before him have indeed passed away; and his mother was a truthful woman; they both used to eat food. See how
We make the communications clear to them, then behold, how they are turned away.(1)
The Word of the Exalted: they both used to eat food, is an indication that they both were beings in need of food. The one who is in need of food cannot be God.
The Christians believe that Jesus was the word of God and that this word came to this world and became a human made from body, flesh and blood. Then, he became incarnated in the flesh and blood of his followers. The first miracle Christ performed was to change the water into wine at a wedding in Cana and quench the ones present.
Now, which logic will accept that the one who came to elevate the intellects of the people to perfection and teach them wisdom would perform a miracle to make the people intoxicated and take away their thinking power?
The Christians believe that Jesus is God. At the same time, they believe he is from the children of the Prophet of God, David. They take back his relation to the wife of David who, they claim, had a husband and the Prophet of God David committed adultery with her. May Allah save us from such belief! Then when her husband was killed, he brought her to his own house and she gave birth to his children.
The summary of the story from the Bible is as follows:
Uriah was a commander in David’s army, who had a very beautiful wife. David sent messengers to
get her. She came to him and he slept with her. The woman conceived. David sent Uriah to a place where he knew the strongest fighters were. When the men of the city came out and fought against Joab, some of the men in David’s army fell; moreover, Uriah the Hittite died. Uriah’s wife mourned for him. When the mourning period was over, David had Uriah’s wife brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.(1)
As for the Qur’an, Allah, the Exalted, has made it free from these delusions and rectified the belief about Prophet ‘Isa (as) from the two extremes of accusing him of being illegitimate of birth and claiming him of being the son of Allah, the Exalted. Hence, He said:
And mention Maryam in the Book when she drew aside from her family to an eastern place; so she took a veil (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her Our spirit, and there appeared to her a well-made man. She said: Surely I fly for refuge from you to the Beneficent Allah, if you are one guarding (against evil).
He said: I am only a messenger of your Lord: That I will give you a pure boy. She said: When shall I have a boy and no mortal has yet touched me, nor have I been unchaste?
He said: Even so; your Lord says: It is easy to Me: and that We may make him a sign to men and a mercy
from Us, and it is a matter which has been decreed. So she conceived him; then withdrew herself with him to a remote place.
And the throes (of childbirth) compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten! Then (the child) called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you; and shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates:
So eat and drink and refresh the eye. Then if you see any mortal, say: Surely I have vowed a fast to the Beneficent Allah, so I shall not speak to any man today. And she came to her people with him, carrying him (with her).
They said: O Maryam! Surely you have done a strange thing. O sister of Harun! Your father was not a bad man, nor, was your mother an unchaste woman. But she pointed to him.
They said: How should we speak to one who was a child in the cradle? He said: Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet; and He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and poor-rate so long as I live; and dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed; and peace on
me on the day I was born, and on the day I die, and on the day I am raised to life. Such is Isa, son of Maryam; (this is) the saying of truth about which they dispute.(1)
He freed Dawud (as) from these fabrications and said regarding him:
O Dawud! Surely We have made you a ruler in the land.(2)
He said to our Prophet (S):
Bear patiently what they say and remember Our servant Dawud, the possessor of power; surely he was frequent in returning (to Allah).(3)
We suffice with these examples from the guidance of the Qur’an in recognition of Allah, the Exalted, and the status of the prophets (as).
Indeed, the dimensions of the miraculousness of the Qur’an in its remaining teachings and laws are numerous. They include the beliefs, the ethics, the acts of worship, the dealings, the politics, etc… We will suffice by mentioning a few:
In comparison with social distinctions for distinguishing between people, like power, wealth, tribe, relations, race, etc. the Qur’an brought a criterion for merits, which is acceleration and competition in stages of human perfection both academic and practical. The honour of the human being in its reality and in its status is with what is with Allah and in what is with people. Specifically, it is piety in its extended form, like fearing that which causes the delicate humanity to become filthy. This results in becoming a veil between him and the Originator of perfection, beauty and magnificence. Thus, the Exalted says:
men! surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honourable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.(1)
The Qur’an cures the corrupt thinking that occurs due to drinking intoxicants and it also cures the economical illnesses rising from eating the properties gained with unlawful means:
O you who believe! Intoxicants and games of chance and (sacrificing to) stones set up and (dividing by) arrows are only an uncleanness, the Shaytan’s work; shun it therefore that you may be successful.(2)
And Allah has allowed trading and forbidden usury.(3)
And do not swallow up your property among yourselves by false means.(4)
In the world where killing a human was not only allowed, but was a means of pride taking, the Qur’an forbade murder. It emphasised the sanctity of human life and laid the foundation of its jurisprudence on the most precautious status regarding souls.
And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden except for the requirements of justice;(5)
and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men.(6)
The Qur’an closed the door of injustice and oppression by negating tyranny and enmity. It opened the doors of good and virtue to mankind by emphasising justice and kindness.
Whoever then acts aggressively against you, inflict injury on him according to the injury he has inflicted on you;(7)
and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land.(1)
Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good (to others) and the giving to the kindred, and He forbids indecency and evil and rebellion; He admonishes you that you may be mindful.(2)
The Qur’an was revealed in an age where women were treated like animals. The Mighty said:
And treat them (the women) kindly;(3)
and they have rights similar to those against them in a just manner.(4)
So their Lord accepted their prayer: That I will not waste the work of a worker among you, whether male or female, the one of you being from the other.(5)
The Qur’an forbade all types of unfaithfulness:
O you who believe! Be not unfaithful to Allah and the Messenger, nor be unfaithful to your trusts while you know.(6)
Surely Allah does not love the treacherous.(7)
The Qur’an made obligatory the paying of trust:
Surely Allah commands you to make over trusts to their owners;(8)
but if one of you trusts another, then he who is trusted should deliver his trust.(9)
The Qur’an has made the fulfilment of a covenant a sign of faith:
And those who are keepers of their trusts and their covenant;(10)
and has commanded to fulfil the indentures and covenants:
O you who believe! Fulfil your indentures;(11)
and keep the covenant; surely (every) covenant shall be questioned about.(12)
Allah has salvaged the people
from the abyss of disbelief, ignorance and foolishness. And He made them carry the light of faith, knowledge and wisdom.
Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees.(1)
He grants wisdom to whom He pleases, and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good.(2)
The Qur’an commands all its followers to do good and forbid the evil. It made permissible for them the purities and forbade the impurities. It makes them free from all things that imprison their humanity and are against their nature of equality. Hence, Allah says:
Those who follow the Messenger-Prophet, the Ummi, whom they find written down with them in the Tawrat and the Injil (who) enjoins them good and forbids them evil, and makes lawful to them the good things and makes unlawful to them impure things, and removes from them their burden and the shackles which were upon them; so (as for) those who believe in him and honour him and help him, and follow the light which has been sent down with him, these it is that are the successful.(3)
He founded Medina based upon wisdom, chastity, courageousness, justice and the enjoining of good and forbidding of evil.
You are the best of the nations raised up for (the benefit of) men; you enjoin what is right and forbid the wrong.(4)
He burdened the believing men and women with these two responsibilities.
And (as for) the believing men and the believing women,
they are guardians of each other; they enjoin good and forbid evil.(1)
Enjoining good and forbidding evil require knowing the good and the evil. The one enjoining the good must himself first enjoin the good and the one telling others to forbid the evil must first leave the evil. The evil is general in that it includes the void beliefs, the abysmal morals and the corrupt actions. When this occurs then the society rotates around nobility and virtues. It does not incline away from the Right Path to the two extremes.
And thus We have made you a medium (just) nation that you may be the bearers of witness to the people and (that) the Messenger may be a bearer of witness to you.(2)
This is a sparkle from the radiant light of the Qur’an and the lights of its guidance for knowledge. If we wished to present its sciences and laws in the fields of human life from theology, morals, services, economics, politics and to all that which is guidance for the privilege of this life and the hereafter, then we would be compelled to compile detailed books.
If someone claims that he is the Messenger of Allah for the guidance of mankind up to the Day of Judgment, then the most difficult thing for him is to inform the people of what will happen in the future. The probability of it not happening, even if it was one to a billion, would frighten him so that it would abolish what he
has established and prove his claim false.
Yet, we see that the Prophet (S) informed with decisive certainty, trust and tranquillity things that were about to happen, and then they occurred as he had said word for word, clearly his indicating his connection with the All-Knowing, the All-Informed, the One Who encompasses the time and all that are connected to time. Below are some news of the unseen that the Qur’an predicted:
The two major countries in the time of the Prophet (S) were Persia and Rome, who were engaged in conflicts and battles with each other. Persia defeated Roman army in a great battle in Syria. Historians mention that all signs indicated that it was the final victory. However, the Qur’an declared that Rome will overcome Persia in a few years, and thus it happened.
Alif Lam Mim. The Romans are vanquished, in a near land, and they, after being vanquished, shall overcome, within a few years.(1)
The tribes of Quraysh united with all of those from the Arab Tribes, who had taken oath to falsify the Prophet (S) and confronting his proclamation. They tried killing him numerous times, until he was compelled to migrate from Mecca in fear of their enmity. Thus, Allah, the Exalted, informed him that he will return victorious to Mecca. It so happened as it was said eight years later.
Most surely He Who has made the Qur’an binding on you will bring you back to the destination.(2)
The Qur’an declared the defeat of the Quraysh before the Battle of
Badr, whilst they were sure of victory due to their much larger numbers, gathering and penetration in the Peninsula. Hence, the Qur’an said:
Or do they say: We are a host allied together to help each other? Soon shall the hosts be routed, and they shall turn (their) backs.(1)
It happened as the Qur’an had informed.
Allah had informed the Muslims that they will conquer Mecca and will enter the Sacred Mosque, mentioning their state at the time of admission. It happened as He had informed. The Exalted had said:
You shall most certainly enter the Sacred Mosque, if Allah pleases, in security, (some) having their heads shaved and (others) having their hair cut, you shall not fear.(2)
After the return of the Muslims from the Battle of Tabuk, the word of the Exalted about the hypocrites revealed:
Say: By no means shall you ever go forth with me and by no means shall you fight an enemy with me.(3)
It was as the verse informed.
Before the conquer of Khaybar and before a significant amount of war booty came into the hands of the Muslims, while they did not even think of getting their hands onto the treasures of Kisra (Iranian Khosraus) and Qaysar (the Roman Caesars), the Prophet (S) promised the Muslims that they will conquer Rome and Persia and will rule them. These verses came down:
Certainly Allah was well pleased with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree, and He knew what was in their hearts,
so He sent down tranquillity on them and rewarded them with a near victory, and many acquisitions which they will take; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
Allah promised you many acquisitions which you will take, then He hastened on this one for you and held back the hands of men from you, and that it may be a sign for the believers and that He may guide you on a right path. And others which you have not yet been able to achieve Allah has surely encompassed them, and Allah has power over all things.(1)
When the son of the Prophet (S) died, al-’As ibn Wa’il said, “He is without posterity as he does not have descendants and progeny. Hence, the chapter of al-Kawthar was revealed:
Surely We have given you Kawthar. Therefore pray to your Lord and make a sacrifice. Surely your enemy is the one who shall be without posterity.(2)
The Qur’an declared that the one saying the previous statement will be without posterity, while the progeny of Muhammad (S) will remain.
The Qur’an was revealed in an era when the people thought the celestial sphere to be simple. They did not have any idea about the movement of the planets and stars in their orbits. The Qur’an described their movement and said:
Neither is it allowable to the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a sphere.(3)
In an age when scholars did not have the perception that
the law of duality included all things, Allah said:
And of everything We have created pairs that you may be mindful.(1)
In a time when people did not give any thought to the possibility of existence on other stars, Allah said:
And what He has spread forth in both of them of living beings.(2)
He taught about the fertilisation of the plants with the help of winds. Thus, He said:
And We send the winds fertilising.(3)
In a period when people believed that the celestial sphere was simple and that their creation is distinct to that of the Earth, and they did not have any knowledge about the contraction and expansion of the heaven, He said:
Do not those who disbelieve see that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, but We parted them.(4)
In an era when they had no idea about the extent of the connected universe; He said to them:
And the heaven, We raised it high with power, and We it is Who make the vast extent (thereof).(5)
In a time when scholars were picturing the celestial sphere as unable to be disrupted and tormented, and they believed that mankind can pass through them; Allah said:
O assembly of the jinn and the men! If you are able to pass through the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass through; you cannot pass through but with authority.(6)
Likewise, there are many other facts which the Qur’an presented about human beings, nature and the universe that were not known in
the time of its revelation. Some were rejected or found astonishing, then were later discovered to be correct; all of these indicate that the Qur’an is from the All-Knowing, the All-Wise, Glory be to Him.
Every reasonable person who is familiar with the language of the Qur’an will undoubtedly admit that it has a special spirit and extraordinary attraction, unlike any other text. In fact, the relation between any other text—no matter how eloquent and ample it may be in all the standards of eloquence from the subtleties of content, articulation and style—and the Qur’an, is like the relationship between artificial flowers and natural flowers, or between engraved forms and the real human.
Undoubtedly, the actions of human beings and their words are not the same during different stages of their life. This is due to the constant evolving of his thinking and knowledge. The scientific contributions of a very learned person will be different in the various stages of his life, no matter which science he is an expert in and how vast the resources were in his excess. The modification in his work will be a result of the adaptation in his thinking.
The Noble Qur’an is a book containing different sciences; from the recognition of God and the Return to the signs in the horizon and the souls, the relationship of man with the Creator, personal and social duties, stories of the past nations and accounts of the Prophets (as).
An Ummi person recited it to the people, in approximately 23
years, who had not studied before any teacher. He lived in the most difficult circumstances in which all factors caused dispersing of thoughts; from the troubles of the infidels of Mecca, constant battles with them, to problems from the cunningness and planning of the hypocrites.
If we take into account the length of the period for the revelation of the Qur’an, the consideration of those factors, we will realise that had this Book been disconnected from the Beneficent God, Who taught the Qur’an, it would have contained many a discrepancy. However, we do not find any disparity or discrepancy in the Qur’an. This is clear proof that it was revealed from well above the human thought and their different states. And that is the status of the revelation, which is holier than ignorance and negligence.
Do they not then meditate on the Qur’an? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy.(1)
If someone claims to be better in medicine than all the doctors of the world, then there are two ways of confirming his claim:
He should write a book on medicine which explains the causes of illnesses, and the medicine and the treatment required in such a way that is unique from all other medical books.
He is able to treat a sick person who has the illness spread to all parts of his body and strengths, and is on the verge of death. All other doctors are incapable of treating him. However,
he becomes cured by this doctor and returns to full recovery.
The Prophets (as) are doctors of human intellects and their souls. They are curers of the illnesses that overtake human beings. Our Prophet Muhammad (S) is the best of those doctors and the most superior of them. The scientific proof is the Noble Qur’an. This Book has no parallel in explaining the causes of illnesses of thoughts, morals, and personal and social practices. It also contains their treatment. The examples we have already presented from the guidance of the Qur’an are sufficient.
The Qur’an was revealed to a society afflicted with the worst of human spiritual illnesses. Mental decline had reached such a level that every tribe had their own specific idol. In fact, every family had an idol. Sometimes they made the idols out of dates, worshipped them, prostrated to them in the morning and when they felt hungry they ate their god.
Hence, the Qur’an came to treat their afflicted minds. It praised the Creator of the universe as:
Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Everliving, the Self-subsisting by Whom all subsist; slumber does not overtake Him nor sleep; whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth is His; who is he that can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knows what is before them and what is behind them, and they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge except what He pleases, His knowledge extends over the heavens and the
earth, and the preservation of them both tires Him not, and He is the Most High, the Great.(1)
Thus, they fell in prostration and said: Glory be to my Lord the High and praise be to Him.
From the natural emotional viewpoint, we notice that the society in which the Prophet (S) was sent was extremely hardhearted. A father would bury his daughter alive with his own hands.(2) Then Prophet Muhammad (S) revived the natural emotions within them in such a way that they changed into the most merciful and victorious Ummah.
When they conquered Egypt, they saw a dove that had made its nest on a tent from the tents of the army. When the army decided to travel on, they left the tent for the bird as they did not wish to raze its nest. Thus, the city that was founded there was named Fustat after the name of the tent.(3)
He (S) eliminated the arrogance of the rich over the poor, such that once a rich man wearing clean clothes was sitting in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (S). A very poor person came and sat next to him. Consequently the rich man collected his dress from the poor person’s side. The Prophet (S) asked him: Did you fear that his poverty may come to you?
He said: No.
The Prophet (S) asked: Did you fear that your wealth may go to him?
He replied: No.
The Prophet (S) then asked: Then did you fear that he may make your clothes
He answered: No.
The Prophet (S) then asked: Then what made you do what you did?
The man replied: I have a Satan in me that beautifies all evil to me and makes every good look evil to me. However, I am willing to give half of my wealth to him.
The Messenger of Allah (S) asked the one in difficulty: Do you accept?
He replied: No.
The rich man asked: Why not?
He said: I fear that what has entered you may also enter me.(1)
What training is this that inserted the spirit of generosity in the rich and changed his arrogance to modesty; inserted farsightedness and high aspiration in the poor and changed his humility to dignity.
The Qur’anic training eliminated the overwhelming of the powerful over the weak. As we see in the story of Malik al-Ashtar below:
The Islamic state had earned sovereignty over the Roman Empire and Persia. At the time, Malik al-Ashtar was the commander in chief of the forces of the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali (as). One day Malik was passing through the market in Kufah. He was wearing coarse shirt and a turban made of the same material. Some men in the market saw Malik, made fun of him and threw a bullet at him to disrespect him. Malik passed by and did not pay attention. The other man was asked, “Woe be to you! Do you know who you have thrown at?”
He replied, “No.”
He was told, “That was Malik, the companion of the Commander of the Faithful (as).”
started trembling. He went after Malik to ask him for forgiveness. He found that Malik had entered a mosque and was praying. When Malik started to leave, the man threw himself at his feet and started kissing them. Malik asked him, “What is this?”
The man answered, “I ask you to excuse me for what I did.”
Malik responded, “There is no problem. I swear by God! I did not enter the mosque but to ask for your forgiveness (from Allah).”(1)
The effect of Qur’anic training on Malik was that the pride of high position did not take away from him the modesty of a believing servant to the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsisting, the Mighty and High. He paid back the one who disrespected him, who was in a predicament of not knowing what is going to happen to him, with the best gift. Malik had interceded to Allah, the Exalted, and sought forgiveness for him.
Such training eliminated the ethnic differences that were firmly embedded in the souls. Among these was the ethnic prejudice between the Arabs and the Persians etc. When some objected to Salman the Persian and his likes sitting in the gathering of the Prophet (S) next to Arab tribal personalities, and wanted the Prophet to have a separate sitting with them, he answered them with the Word of the Exalted:
And withhold yourself with those who call on their Lord morning and evening desiring His goodwill, and let not your eyes pass from them, desiring the beauties of this world's
life; and do not follow him whose heart We have made unmindful to Our remembrance, and he follows his low desires and his case is one in which due bounds are exceeded.(1)
Thus, Salman became the ruler of al-Mada’in. His salary was five thousand. Whenever he was given his salary, he would give it in charity. He used to eat food made by his own hands. He had one garment which he would lie down upon and then he would also cover himself with it.(2)
Likewise, the Qur’an eliminated differences based on race and colour to such an extent that Bilal, the black slave, became the special caller for prayer for the Prophet (S) and his close companion. When some of the Quraysh objected, saying: Could Muhammad not find someone other than this black crow as a caller for prayer?(3) The response of the Prophet (S) to them was the Word of the Exalted:
O you men! surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware.(4)
The example of the Qur’an is of a tree, the roots of which are knowledge and recognition. Its trunk is the faith in God and the Return. Its branches are commendable talents and good manners. Its flowers are piety and god-fearingness. Its fruits are wise words and admirable actions.
you not considered how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word (being) like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in heaven, yielding its fruit in every season by the permission of its Lord?(1)
With this education and this training of the Qur’an, the tree of humanity gave fruit with the work of the Prophet (S). He presented the best unique fruit to mankind in the shape of ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (as).
It would be adequate to mention a few lines from his infinite intellectual and practical virtues:
Because of his decency, he did not illustrate his knowledge and understanding in the lifetime of the Prophet (S). Hence, he was a moon under the shadow of a sun.
After the Prophet, he faced circumstances where he was covered by suppression and was prohibited to give rays of his light to the people.
Then, in the almost five years during which he ruled, he was faced with difficult battles: the battles of Jamal, Siffin and Nihrawan. However, during this short period, when he was given a cushion to rest and speak, his speech was better than the words of all creation, only below the words of the Creator. This statement is according to the expression by a Sunni writer, Ibn Abu al-Hadid.(2)
Whoever pays attention to the facts of his first sermon in Nahj al-Balaghah regarding the recognition of Allah, the Exalted will see that ‘Ali (as) is an ocean encompassing intellectual and practical wisdom. Another example is in the
subtleties of the sermon where he describes pious, personal governing and the letter he writes to Malik al-Ashtar explaining the principles of administration and the political system. One should bear in mind that these three masterpieces are only drops from the ocean full of waves, striking with knowledge, recognition, articulation and eloquence.
When he went forward in battle, history has not witnessed more courageous than him. He used to wear armour that did not cover the back.(1) In one night alone, he fought till morning and the people counted 523 proclamations of Allahu Akbar. With each recitation of Allahu Akbar, he would kill an enemy of Allah.(2)
In the same night, known as laylat al-Harir, he stood between the two armies and prayed his nightly prayers. He performed the rituals of service to his Lord. He commanded that his praying mat be spread between the two sides, and he entered the prayer before his Lord unconcerned about the shooting of arrows in front of him and on his sides, until he completed his supererogatory prayers.(3) Even in battle, he continued to worship Allah as any other time.
When the Muslims were under attack in a battle and were escaping from fighting with the heroic warriors like ‘Amr ibn ‘Abd Wudd, he would go forward saying: I will take him on, O Messenger of Allah! He advanced to him with firm steps and a heart connected to Allah. He did not take long before hitting a Hashimite stroke that fell him to the ground.
Thus, on that day, the Prophet (S) announced: The battle of ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib with ‘Amr ibn ‘Abd Wudd on the day of Trenches is better than all of the actions of my Ummah upto the Day of Judgment.(1)
At Khaybar, the Muslims were frightened from the Jews and they were beaten by the deadly arrows of the guards from their strong castle. They were terrified by the dread of the famous Jewish riders, like Marhab, until ‘Ali (as) came forward and persisted in his attack to the top of the hill all alone, while facing the flood of arrows and stones from the guards of the fort.
He fought until he reached the gate of the fort and unrolled it. Marhab came to combat him, so ‘Ali (as) cut him in two halves. After killing Marhab, he killed another seventy horsemen. He proclaimed Allahu Akbar, announcing the victory. The Muslims thus came and joined him. The Muslims and Jews alike were stunned by his battle.(2)
This warrior, from whom the flanks of the fighters quivered with fear, had combined courageousness with fear of Allah. When he used to prepare for the prayer, his colour would change and his body would start to shiver. When they asked him the reason for that, he replied: The time has come for the trust, which Allah, the Exalted, presented to the heavens, the Earth and the mountains and they refused to take the burden, whilst man took it…(3)
This warrior, due to whose strength in the
battlefields, the soldiers tremble; when night prevails, he is completely restless and cries:
O vicious world! Be away from me, why do you come in front of me like this? Do you want to allure me? Allah forbid that I should be allured and tempted by you and your pleasures. It is not possible. Go and try your allurements on somebody else. I do not desire to own you and do not want to have you. I have forsaken you thrice. It is like divorcing a woman thrice after which act she cannot be taken back as a wife…Sad is the plight of those who want to acquire you. They do not provide for the Hereafter. They have to pass through a long journey over a very difficult road towards a set destination.(1)
Once a Bedouin begged from him; therefore, he ordered one thousand coins for him. The representative asked, “From gold or silver?” Thus, he (as) responded: They are both stones for me. Give the Bedouin more beneficial of the two.(2)
In which nation or people have you seen courage combined with generosity in the battlefield? As an infidel said to him, “O son of Abu Talib, grant me your sword.” Thus, he threw it to him. Hence, the infidel asked, “Amazing, O son of Abu Talib! In such a time, you gave me your sword?”
Thus, he replied: O man! You spread your hand with a request before me and it is not generosity to reject the asking.
The disbelieving man threw
himself to the ground and said, “This is the practice of the religious.” Then he kissed his feet and professed Islam.(1)
Ibn al-Zubayr said to him, “I have found in the accounts of my father that your father owed him eighty thousand dirhams.”
Thus, he replied: Indeed, your father is truthful. So he paid him the amount.
Ibn al-Zubayr then came to him and said, “I made a mistake in what I said. It was my father who owed your father that amount.”
The Imam (as) answered: I forgive your father the amount and what I gave you is yours from me.(2)
Has the world seen a ruler whose government extends from Egypt to Khurasan, that if he sees a woman carrying a waterskin, he takes it from her and carries it to her house? Then when morning came, he went to provide for them. He cooked food for them and fed the children. When the woman recognised him, she asked him to excuse her. Thus, he responded: In fact, I am embarrassed from you, O servant woman of Allah!(3)
Once, ‘Ali (as) accompanied his slave to the market. He was the caliph at the time. He bought two shirts and made the slave wear the better of the two wjile he wore the other himself. He wanted to please the young man, as he desired the better one.(4)
Who has seen a ruler, who has treasures of gold and silver under him, saying: By Allah, I have been putting patches in my shirts so much that
now I feel shy of its tailor.(1)
Whenever he finished distributing the spoils, he would pray two cycles of prayers and would say: Praise be to Allah, who took me out of it the same as I had entered it.(2)
During his reign, he (as) presented his own sword for sale in the market and said: By Allah, even if I had the price of a loincloth then I would not have sold this.(3)
Whenever he was afflicted with a calamity, he would pray a thousand cycles [rak’at] of prayer, give charity to sixty poor people and fast for three days.
He had freed one thousand slaves with the hard work of his own hands. When he parted this world, he had a loan of eight hundred thousand dirhams.(4)
The night before he was struck with the sword, he went to the house of his daughter to break the fast with her. This dinner table of the ruler of an extensive country did not have more than two breads made from barley. O my daughter! Are you presenting your father with two condiments in one plate? Thus, he opened his fast with bread and salt, and did not even touch the milk. This manner was so that his dinner table is not more colourful than that of his subjects.(5)
Where will you see a ruler in history, who governs a country that extends from Khurasan to Egypt, abiding by a code of conduct for himself, his officials and the ones under his guardianship? The example of
that is recorded in his letter to ‘Uthman ibn Hunayf, the governor of Basra. He wrote this letter when a report was made to him about the governor accepting the invitation of someone wealthy:
Ibn Hunayf! I have received information that a person of Basra invited you to a dinner and you immediately accepted the invitation. I have also heard that very sumptuous meals were served there! Finest varieties of viands were placed before you in large plates and you enjoyed them. I am sorry to hear the news. I never expected that you would accept the invitation of a person who invites big officers and rich people and from whose doors poor persons and hungry paupers are turned away rudely.
Look carefully into the things which you eat. If there is even a shade of their being obtained unlawfully then throw them away, only eat those things about which you are perfectly certain that they are obtained by honest means.
You must know Ibn Hunayf, that for everyone who follows a religion there is a leader and a guide from whom the follower learns the canons of that religion and the ways of leading a pious life. Now look to your Imam (Imam Ali (as) meant himself). In this world he has satisfied himself with two old, torn and coarse garments and two pieces of bread (one in the morning and one in the evening).
I know that to adopt such a hard way of life is beyond you but at least
try to be pious. Try to follow me and be my companion in virtue, piety and simple living. I swear by Allah that from this world I have neither amassed gold, nor have I gathered wealth and possessions, nor have I changed these coarse and old garments of mine with even an ordinary raiment from your treasury (nor did I gain control of any land even as little as a hand-span. I did not take anything from it like the aliment of a female donkey)…
If I had so wanted I could have very easily found ways and means to provide for myself the purest honey, the best variety of wheat and the finest silk clothes that could be woven. But it is not possible for inordinate cravings to overcome me and it is not possible that greediness persuades me to acquire the best provisions when in Hijaz and Yemen there may be people who have no hope of obtaining a piece of bread and who have never satisfied their hunger fully…(1)
Indeed, the Islamic state manifests itself in the mirror of the existence of the ruler, the centre of which was Kufa. However, the possibility that someone in Hijaz or Yemen may be hungry stopped him from extending his hand toward delicious food. Neither did he (as) change his coarse and old garments with even ordinary raiment from the treasury, nor did he (as) gain control of any land even as little as a hand-span. That is how his food, dress
and house were in this world. His intention was that he should not have a better living standard than the poorest subjects.
The Imam (as) implemented justice in his government such that when he saw his armour with a Jewish person, he (as) said to him: This is my armour that dropped from the back of my camel.
The Jewish man replied, “This is my armour and is in my possession. If you disagree, then a Muslim judge will decide between us.”
They thus went to Shurayh. When he saw ‘Ali (as) coming, he came down from his place and made ‘Ali (as) sit in his place. Then ‘Ali said: If a Muslim had disputed with me, then I would have sat in a similar position as him… He then said to the Jewish man: Take the armour!
The Jewish man responded, “the Commander of the Faithful came with me to a Muslim judge, the judge passed a ruling and he accepted it! O Commander of the Faithful! You are, by Allah, telling the truth that your armour dropped from the back of your camel. I picked it up. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
Thus, ‘Ali (as) granted it to him and gave him seven hundred coins. He was killed during the battle of Siffin (from ‘Ali’s side).(1)
When the news reached him that a non-Muslim woman living under the protection of Islam had her anklet robbed from her, he could not tolerate this
oppression and breaking of the law and said: Even if a Muslim dies of grief after all this he is not to be blamed; rather, there is justification for him before me.(1)
Once, he saw an elderly man begging in the street, so he asked: What is this?
The people replied, “O Commander of the Faithful, he is a Christian.”
Thus, he responded: You used him when he was young and now that he is old and incapable, you have left him! Pay his expenses from the treasury [bayt al-mal].(2)
In observing the rights of the creation, even if the seven heavens and whatever is in between them were given to him, he would not deny an ant the shell of a barely grain.(3)
And in observing the rights of the Creator, he said: O God, I have not served You in yearning for Your Paradise, nor for the fear of Your Hell-fire. However, I found You to be worthy of service, thus, I served You.(4)
This is how the Messenger of Allah (S) trained ‘Ali (as) and when he was pleased with his training, he said about him: Allah educated me and I educated ‘Ali.(5)
With this training, he was able to present the perfect human model to mankind, who combined strength in the battlefield with a soft heart that causes a flood of tears on his cheeks when he sees a deprived orphan.
He was able to elevate humanity to the level where it was free from the imprisonments of all the limitations of worldly interests
and all unlimited interests of the hereafter. He devoted himself to the service of the Lord of the Worlds.
This sincerity was not due to personal interests, but it was because he believed that his Lord was worthy of worship. Therefore, he worshipped Him.
The Prophet (S) combined freedom and worship in the personality of his student, which is the ultimate aim of the human creation and the creation of the universe. He destroyed his personal pleasure and anger for the pleasure and anger of his Creator so much so that he abstained from becoming pleased or angry (for personal reasons).
We witness this in the night of migration of the Prophet (S), when he slept in the bed of the Prophet and the Prophet left for Medina. It can also be seen on the Day of the Battle of Trenches, when the Prophet (S) is reported to have said that ‘Ali’s one stroke equals the actions of all man and jinn.(1)
He, who worked in the arid land of the Arabian Peninsula for a short period in those difficult circumstances, caused his nation to rise. He planted the tree of humanity that resulted in the best fruit in the shape of ‘Ali (as), which he gifted to humanity. Is it not the right of such a man (S) to claim that he is the leading gardener for humanity?
Is there anyone in the world who has an education and training better than that of ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful (as)?
Despite the miracles of
the Prophet (S), which cannot be described in this book, do justice and fairness not require the one without evil desire and prejudice to believe in the Prophethood and religion of this Messenger? Should they not believe in him, who has been able to bring humanity to this intellectual and practical training, as mentioned briefly, which is the objective of the perfection of humanity?
What human intellect and nature demand of religion cannot be found but in this religion and path. A better personal and social education and training for mankind cannot be found. Thus, is there any religion better than Islam to become the final religion and its Messenger to be the Last Messenger (S)?
Such is the faith in the Prophet of Islam being the Last Messenger and for his laws to be eternal.
Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Last of the prophets; and Allah is cognisant of all things.(1)
We will shed some light on the brilliant life of the luminous sun, which is itself a proof of his Messengership and Prophethood.
When the Prophet (S) announced his convocation, the Quraysh tribes became frightened that the people will follow him. Therefore, they resorted to threats and temptation. They came to his uncle Abu Talib, and said, “O Abu Talib, your nephew has certainly depreciated our patience, blasphemed our gods, destroyed our youth and divided our assembly. If lacking is making him do this, then we will collect
for him wealth so that he may be the wealthiest of the Quraysh. We will marry him to any woman he wants from the Quraysh.” They even offered him properties and sovereignty.
His (S) answer to that was: If they placed the Sun on my right hand and the Moon on my left hand, I would not want them.(1)
When they saw that temptation did not affect him (S) and that he was keen in his matter and did not give any importance to their bribe, then they resorted to threats and torture. Following are some examples:
Whenever he stood for prayers in the Sacred Mosque (in Mecca), they would send four chiefs of the armies of the Quraysh, belonging to the Bani ‘Abd al-Dar. Two would stand whistling on his right and the other two would stand clapping their hands on his left. They would do this to torture him and disturb him in his prayer.(2)
One day he was on his way to the Mosque when they threw dust on his head. Sometimes they would throw the intestines of a goat on him while he was prostrating in prayer. His daughter would come, remove them and wipe it off him.(3)
After the death of his uncle, his helper, Abu Talib, the Quraysh increased their tribulations and torture. Hence, in those dangerous circumstances the Prophet (S) proposed to the tribe of Thaqif in Ta’if to shelter him for allowing him to preach the message of his Lord. They, however, refused. They derided him and
confronted him with their insane men and slaves.
They made two rows for him in the street. When the Messenger of Allah (S) passed through the rows, they did not allow him to place his feet or lift them; rather, they stoned him. They continued stoning him until his feet started to bleed. He thus passed through their rows, with his feet bleeding. Then he took shelter in one of their gardens.
He sat under the shadow of a grape plant while he was in pain and his feet were bleeding. ‘Utbah ibn Rabi’ah and Shibah ibn Rabi’ah were in a house. When they saw his state, even they felt ashamed at themselves for the enmity of Allah and His Messenger. Thus, they sent him some grapes with a Christian slave, called ‘Addas, who was from Naynawa. When he came to him, the Messenger of Allah (S) asked him: Which land do you belong to?
He replied, “I am from the inhabitants of Naynawa.”
He (S) said: From the land of the servant of Allah, Yunus ibn Muta?
‘Addas asked him, “Where do you know Yunus ibn Muta?”
Thus, he (S) replied: I am the Messenger of Allah and Allah, the Exalted, informed me of the news of Yunus ibn Muta. When he informed ‘Addas of what Allah had revealed to him about Jonas [Yunus], he fell in prostration to Allah and in showing reverence to the Messenger of Allah. He started to kiss the feet of the holy Prophet (S) when they were still
They tortured his companions with various forms of torture. Amongst these was the casting of Bilal under the heat of the sun. They would place a heavy rock on his chest and would demand him to disbelieve. However, he would reject them by saying, “He Alone.”(2)
They tortured the elderly lady, Sumayya, the mother of ‘Ammar, to turn her back from her religion and to disbelieve. When she did not, they killed her.(3)
Because of all these tortures, in certain circumstances, some of his companions asked him to pray against his people. He (S) would reply: Indeed, I have been sent as a mercy for the worlds;(4) and he would pray for his people: O Allah, guide my people, for they do not know.(5)
Instead of wrath, he would desire mercy for them, a mercy that has no like of it from Allah, the Benevolent. This mercy was the blessing of guidance, and he related the people to himself by saying: My people, to protect them from the punishment of Allah and to intercede for them before Him. Instead of complaining to Him about them, the Prophet (S) would make excuses for them that they do not know.
His (S) living was ascetic and moderate. His food was barley bread and he would never eat to his fill.(6)
The greatest truthful woman, his daughter Fatima (as), came to him in the Battle of Trenches with a crust of bread. She gave it to the Prophet (S). The Prophet (S) said: What is this crust of
She replied: I made some bread for my two sons, Hasan and Husayn (as); I brought you its crust.
The Prophet (S) responded: O Fatima, this is the first food that has entered the mouth of your father in three days.(1)
His moderation was not like this due to being straitened. In fact, he had wealth coming to him in those days, but he would distribute it, grant others and give in charity, to such an extent that he would grant up to a hundred camels to one person.(2)
When he parted this world, he did not leave behind a single dinar or dirham, a slave man or woman, a goat or a camel. His armour was deposited with a Jewish man for sixty kilograms of barley, which he had bought as provisions for his family.(3)
We must pay attention to two points:
The First: There is no doubt that the Jewish man did not demand any deed from the Prophet (S), due to his eminence and honesty. However, he (S) desired to abide by the law of deposit when a deed is not written, so that the property is like a deed to the creditor, even if the creditor was a Jewish person and the borrower is the highest personality in Islam.
The Second: It was possible for the Prophet (S) to consume the purest and the most delicious of food, but he sufficed with barley bread until the end of his life. Thus, he did not eat better nourishment than the weakest of his
The status of Fatima al-Zahra’, peace be upon her, is clearly known to the Shi’ites and the Sunnis. The books of the two schools of thought are filled with her merits, as we will mention later. Following her father, she would stand in her prayer niche until her feet were swollen.(1) Although, she was absorbed in the worship of Allah, she would nevertheless manage the house of her husband, ‘Ali (as), the Guardian of Allah, and train the grandsons of the Messenger of Allah (S). One day, the Prophet (S) entered her house and found her grinding the handmill while feeding her son. The Prophet (S) began to shed tears.(2)
‘Ali (as) saw her draw the water skin so that it affected her upper body. She would grind the hand mill until her hands would blister, and sweep the house until her clothes became dusty. Thus, he (as) said to her: If you went to your father and asked him for a servant, it would remove your troubles. She went to her father, but felt embarrassed and returned. The Prophet (S) found out that she had come with a need. Thus, he came to her and asked her need. So ‘Ali (as) informed the Messenger of Allah (S) about what troubles afflicted her.
The Prophet (S) said: Shall I not teach you both something which is better for you than a servant? When you want to sleep then say Glory be to Allah سبحان الله, thirty-three times, Praise be to Allah الحمدلله,
thirty-three times and Allah is the Greatest الله اکبر, thirty-four times.
The narrator says: Fatima (as) leant her head out and said three times: I am pleased with Allah and His Messenger.(1)
This father is able to fill the house of his daughter with gold and silver, and to provide her with slaves, men and women. Although he never turned away any needy person from his door, he abstained from giving a servant to the Queen of the Ladies of the Worlds, who was a part of him and whatever pleased her pleased him.(2) Even though it was such an emphatic desire of his daughter, who was the most beloved person to him, it was the intrinsic nature of his heart to sacrifice for the poor people of his Ummah.
Such was his practice, for Allah had sent him to train his people. That is in the Word of the Exalted:
And prefer (them) before themselves though poverty may afflict them.(3)
Once a Bedouin lady passed him while he was eating sitting on the earth, so she said, “O Muhammad, by Allah, you eat the food of slaves and sit like them.”
He (S) replied: Woe onto you. Who is more of a slave than me?(7)
He (S) used to sew patches on his clothes.(8) He used to milk his sheep himself.
He would answer the call of the free and slaves equally.(1)
He would visit the sick, even at the most distant parts of the city.(2) He would sit with the poor and eat with the needy.(3) When he shook hands with anyone, he would not release his hand until the other person let go.(4) He would sit in the last seat in the gathering.(5) He would not constantly stare at a person.(6) He would only become angry for his Lord and never for himself.(7)
Once, a man came to him. While talking to the Prophet (S) he started to tremble. Consequently, the Prophet (S) said to him: Take it easy. I am not a king. Indeed, I am the son of a woman who used to eat dried meat.(8)
His servant, Anas ibn Malik said, “I served the Prophet (S) for nine years. I do not know if he even once said to me: Why did you not do such and such? Neither did he ever criticise me about anything.”(9)
Once he (S) was sitting in the Mosque and a maidservant of the natives of Medina [ansar] came and caught the side of his robe. The Prophet (S) stood up for her. However, she did not say anything, so the Prophet did not say anything to her. She did that three times. The fourth time, he stood up for her and she was behind him. She took a thread from his robe and left.
The people asked her, “May Allah do to you what you
did! You obstructed the Messenger of Allah three times without saying anything to him, nor did he say anything to you. What was it that you needed?”
She answered, “We have a sick person in the house, so the family sent me to take a thread from his robe to heal the sick person. When I wanted to take it, he saw me, so I felt embarrassed that I should take it while he is looking. I disliked asking him to give it to me, so I took it myself.”(1)
This incident indicates his concern about the honour of a person, because he (S) understood the need of the maidservant and her dislike of asking. Thus, he stood up from his place four times to fulfil her need. He did not speak to her so that she does not undergo questioning. Therefore, what will be the value of human honour in the view of one who safeguards the honour and respect of a maidservant with so much delicacy and manners?
During the time when the Jews were living in his government under oath and with tax, and he was in the highest position of power, one of them had given the Messenger of Allah (S) a loan. The man demanded his money back. He (S) said to him: O Jewish man, I do not have what I owe you.
Thus, the Jewish man said, “I will not part from you until you pay me.”
He replied: Then, I will sit with you. He sat with
him in that place for so long that the Prophet (S) prayed DHuhr, ‘Asr, Maghrib, ‘Isha’ as well as the next day’s morning prayer.
The Companions of the Messenger of Allah (S) were threatening the Jewish man. The Messenger of Allah looked at them and said: Why are you doing this to him?
They replied, “O Messenger of Allah, a Jew has obstructed you?”
He replied: My Lord, the Mighty and High, did not send me to oppress someone under oath or anyone else.
As the day rose, the Jewish man said, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah; and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. I give a portion of my wealth in the way of Allah. By Allah, I did what I did to confirm your description in the Torah. For I had read your description there as: Muhammad son of ‘Abd Allah, the place of his birth will be Mecca and the place of his migration will be Medina [Tayba]. He will not be impolite or callous, nor will he be abusive or speak nasally. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah. This is my wealth, so do with it as Allah has revealed.” The Jewish man was very wealthy.(1)
It is reported on the authority of ‘Aqba ibn ‘Alqama that he said, “I entered the presence of ‘Ali (as). He had sour milk in front of him. Its sourness and dry fragmentation
distressed me. Hence, I asked him, “O Commander of the Faithful, do you eat things like this?”
He (as) replied to me: O Abu al-Junub, I found the Messenger of Allah (S) eating drier things than this and wearing rougher things than this. If I do not do what the Messenger of Allah (S) did, then I fear that I will not join him.(1)
‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (as) was asked, who was at the peak of worship, “How is your worship compared with the worship of your grandfather?”
He (as) replied: My worship compared to the worship of my grandfather is like the worship of my grandfather compared to that of the Messenger of Allah (S).(2)
Towards the end of his life, he forgave his own killer.(3) Thus, the Divine morals were manifest in him, and the mercy of the Beneficent appeared through him:
And We have not sent you but as a mercy to the worlds.(4)
Indeed, a Great Messenger like this can say: Surely, I was sent to complete the noble traits of morals.(5)
How can it be possible to explain his moral merits whilst Allah, the Exalted, says about him: And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime morality.(6)
Indeed, only a brief study of his life, morals and traits is sufficient for a just person to initiate belief in his Prophethood.
O Prophet! Surely We have sent you as a witness, and as a bearer of good news and as a warner, and as one inviting to Allah by His permission, and as
a light-giving torch.(1)
The Divine Books and previous Prophets (as) gave glad tidings about our Prophet, Muhammad (S), although their followers altered their books so there may not remain any sign of those glad tidings. Nevertheless, if one studies what remains of them, he will discover the reality. We will suffice with two examples:
It has come in the Torah:
This is the blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death.
He said: “The LORD came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran. He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes.(2)
Sinai [Sina’] is the place where revelation came to Prophet Moses. Seir [Sa’ir] is the place where Allah sent Jesus. Mount Paran [Faran] is where the light of Allah shined, and that is the mount in the holy city of Mecca, where the light of the Prophethood of Muhammad (S) shined.
In another place in the Torah, regarding Prophet Ishmael [Isma’il] and his mother Hagar [Hajar], it says:
God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer.
While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.(3)
Paran is Mecca, where Ishmael and his sons lived. The one whose light shined from Mount Paran, who came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from its mountain slopes, is the light Allah sent from the cave of Hira to illuminate the world
with the light of the guidance of the Qur’an. He will burn infidelity and hypocrisy with the fire of the wrath of the Subduer [al-Qahhar]. O Prophet! Strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites.(1)
In another place in the Torah it states:
God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth.
His splendour was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden.(2)
With the coming of Prophet Muhammad (S) the world heard the declaration from the Mount in Mecca: Glory be to Allah, all praise be to Allah, there is no god but Allah and Allah is the Greatest. سبحان الله والحمدلله ولااله الاالله والله اکبر
Thus, it spread around the world through the daily prayers of the Muslims: Glory be to my Lord, the Greatest and praise be to Him; and Glory be to my Lord, the Highest and praise be to Him.
It is said in the Bible:
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”(3)
And in another place in the Bible:
“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.”(4)
In the original script, the name of the Prophet (S) had been quoted which Jesus had promised them that their Lord will send: Paraclete [Farqilita] which translates in
Arabic as Mahmud or Ahmad. However, the translators changed it to al-Mu’izzi.
This is found in the Gospel of St. Barnabas:
Know, O Barnabas, that for this I must have great persecution, and shall be sold by one of my disciples for thirty pieces of money.
Whereupon I am sure that he who shall sell me shall be slain in my name,
For that God shall take me up from the earth, and shall change the appearance of the traitor so that everyone shall believe him to be me;
Nevertheless, when he dies an evil death, I shall abide in that dishonour for a long time in the world.
But when Muhammad shall come, the sacred Messenger of God, that infamy shall be taken away.(1)
In this Gospel, the glad tiding with the words: Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah:
Adam, having sprung upon his feet, saw in the air a writing that shone like the sun; which said: “There is only one God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”
Whereupon Adam opened his mouth and said: “I thank you, O Lord my God, that You have deigned to create me;
But tell me. I pray to You, what means the message of these words: “Muhammad is the Messenger of God. Have there been other men before me?”
‘Then said God: “Be you welcome, O my servant Adam.
I tell you that you are the first man whom I have created.
And he whom you have seen [mentioned] is your son,
Who shall come into the world many years hence, and shall be
my Messenger, for whom I have created all things;
Who shall give light to the world when he shall come; whose soul was set in a celestial splendour; sixty thousand years before I made anything.”(1)
In another place from the same Gospel it is found:
Then, Adam, turning around, saw written above the gate, “There is only one God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”(2)
And in another place from the same Gospel, it says:
Whereupon God will have mercy upon the world,
And will send his Messenger for whom he has made all things who shall come from the south with power,
And shall destroy the idols with the idolaters who shall take away the dominion from Satan which he has over men.
He shall bring with him the mercy of God for salvation of them that shall believe in him,
And blessed is he who shall believe his words.
“Unworthy though I am to untie his hosen,
I have received grace and mercy from God to see him.”(3)
It is sufficient for ascertaining the glad tidings of the Torah and the Bible about our Prophet, Muhammad (S), that he called the Jews and the Christians, and their rulers, rabbis, monks and clerics to Islam. He announced the deviation of the Jewish belief: Uzayr is the son of Allah;(4) and for the Christian belief: Surely Allah is the third of the three.(5)
He made known very clearly that it was he for whom the Torah and the Bible gave glad tidings.
Those who follow the Messenger-Prophet, the Ummi, whom they find
written down with them in the Tawrat and the Injil.(1)
And when ‘Isa son of Maryam said: O children of Israel! Surely I am the apostle of Allah to you, verifying that which is before me of the Tawrat and giving the good news of an Apostle who will come after me, his name being Ahmad.(2)
Is it possible to make such an announcement about this claim when he is not truthful in it; especially before those enemies who used to wait for every opportunity to condemn him, physically or mentally?
Indeed, the rabbis, the monks, the Jewish and Christian scholars and their rulers exploited all resources to stand before him. They strived to oppose him, but returned disappointed and unsuccessful, even in battles and disputes. How did they fail in confronting this annihilating claim and become incapable of facing it and invalidating it?
Indeed, this disgraceful silence of the Jewish and Christian scholars and rulers, and that clear claim from the Prophet (S), is a conclusive proof over the confirmation of those glad tidings during that time. They did not spare a moment before changing their books to protect their worldly positions and status before the people. This is apparent from the report of a Christian cleric who became a Muslim and wrote a book called Anis al-A’lam. Its summary is stated below:
I was born near the Armenian Churches. Towards the end of my studies, I started to serve one the Catholic Bishops. Around four to five hundred listeners used to attend
his lecture. One day, the students were discussing between them in the absence of the teacher. When I entered his presence he asked me, “What were they discussing?”
I said, “About the word Paraclete.”
Thus, he asked me about the views of the ones discussing so I informed him. He said, “The truth is other than what they have said!” Then he gave me the key to a box, which I used to think contains his treasure. He said, “In this box are two books; one is in Syriac language and the other is in Greek. Both of these were written before the deputation of Muhammad (S). Bring them to me.”
When I brought him the books, he showed me the sentence that contained the word Paraclete and said, “This word means Ahmad and Muhammad.” He then added, “Before the deputation of Muhammad, there was no difference between the Christian clerics about the meaning of this word. However, they changed his name after his deputation.”
I asked him about the religion of the Christians. Thus, he said, “It is abrogated. The path of salvation is confined to the following of Muhammad (S).”
I asked him, “Why do you not display that?”
He answered, “If I displayed that they will kill me.”
At that point we both cried. Then I travelled with this provision which I took from my teacher to Muslim countries.
The recitation of those two books was enough to bring change to the belief of that cleric. After being honoured with faith in Islam, he compiled
his book, Anis al-A’lam in nullifying Christianity and proving that the true religion is Islam. His book shows his pursuit and research on the Torah and the Bible.
The faith in the Return is based on logical and textual proofs.
Every sane person perceives that the learned and the ignorant, the moral and the immoral, the good in words and actions, and the evil in them, are not alike. To treat these two groups equally is injustice and nonsensical. Moreover, it is favouring the least deserving without any logic.
We see that the doers of good as well as the doers of evil do not attain their return in this world like they deserve. Justice and wisdom necessitate that raising, reckoning, reward and punishment must exist
so that every soul may be rewarded for what it has earned.(1)
Since people do not get the recompense of their actions in this world, their actions demand a reward. Therefore, if there was no other world where reckoning would take place and appropriate reward or punishment would be given to the people based on their beliefs and their deeds, then that would be injustice.
The Justice of Allah, the Exalted, demands the existence of raising, reckoning, reward and punishment.
Shall We treat those who believe and do good like the mischief-makers in the earth? Or shall We make those who guard (against evil) like the wicked?(2)
On that day men shall come forth in sundry bodies that they may be shown their works. So, he
who has done an atom's weight of good shall see it and he who has done an atom's weight of evil shall see it.(1)
Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, is All-Wise. Therefore, foolishness and nonsense do not occur from Him. He did not limit the human creation by giving them only the powers of the plants and the animals, like attraction, repulsion, desire and anger. Rather, He gave them other powers to evolve and accomplish knowledgeable and practical qualities with which they can attain higher levels. Thus, they would not stop at any level. In fact, each time they accomplish something, they would feel the thirst for that which is higher. Allah sent the Prophets (as) for guidance to perfection, which humanity would be seeking due to their nature that they will not stop at any limit until they reach what the Glorified has described:
And that to your Lord is the goal.(2)
Hence, if the human beings were created only for animalistic life, then His bestowing of intellect would be futile, for it is not content except with perceiving the secrets of existence. His creating them on nature would be ineffective, for it is not satisfied with any perfection except by reaching the Beginning of the perfection that does not have any limit.
Therefore, Godly wisdom requires that the human life should not be a materialistic and animalistic one. Rather, human beings should accomplish and reach the goal for which they were given intellectual and spiritual powers.
What! Did you then think that
We had created you in vain and that you shall not be returned to Us?(1)
Indeed, human nature ordains that every deserving person should be given what he deserves and that every oppressed must seize the oppressor. Despite the difference in their faiths, thinking and what they worshipped, nature drove human beings in all eras to form justice systems and courts for the implementation of justice.
We see that many oppressors and criminals die without punishment and we see the oppressed dying under the scourge of the oppressors and the conflagration of their suppression. Thus, the Wisdom of Allah, the Exalted, His Justice, Might and Mercy demand that there be another life where the oppressors take what they deserve from the oppressors.
And do not think Allah to be heedless of what the unjust do; He only respites them to a day on which the eyes shall be fixedly open.(2)
The Wisdom of Allah, the Exalted, facilitates a means for human beings to accomplish the objective of their existence and the aim of their creation, and this cannot occur without the command of Allah to do that which necessitates privilege and to stop them from that which results in adversity.
Implementation of divine dos and don’ts against human desires is not possible without the presence of two factors: fear and hope. These two are not achieved except by the giving of glad tidings and warning. Giving of glad tidings and warning necessitate the existence of reward and punishment, and Paradise and Hell after this
world. Otherwise, the giving of glad tidings and warning would be false. Allah, the Exalted, is higher than lying and evil.
The divine religions all agree on the existence of the Return and the life Hereafter. All Prophets (as) have informed about the Return, and the followers of the Divine religions have given credence to them. The infallibility and protection of the revelation from mistake requires the belief in the Return.
As for the rejecters of the Return and Resurrection, in opposition of the Prophets (as), they do not have any proof for its nonexistence apart from unlikelihood. They believe it is unlikely that Allah will give life to bones when they have become powder, and bring together the parts of the human being after his death and perishing, and raise them again.
They have ignored, or they pretend to ignore, that the living things were created from different things of dead material. The Omniscient, the All-Wise and the Omnipotent, Who created them the first time and composed them from different dead parts that accept life, and shaped them into human form without any prior example, has the power to repeat the creation a second time from the same parts, wherever they may be and whatever they may have become.
Because wherever and however the parts of the body may be, they are not outside of Allah’s knowledge and omnipotence, with which He created the human beings without prior example. In fact, the second creation is easier than the first one:
What! When we are dead and become dust and bones, shall we then be raised?(1) Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them? Yea! And He is the Creator (of all), the Knower.(2)
Indeed, the One who has the power to make fire from the green tree and has the power to give life to the earth in every spring after its death in every autumn, surely has the power to give life to the dead:
He Who has made for you the fire (to burn) from the green tree, so that with it you kindle (fire).(3)
Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death; indeed, We have made the communications clear to you that you may understand.(4)
Verily the Omnipotent, Who extinguishes the torch of human perception, knowledge and will every night and gives it death by taking away his power and will, and then wakes him up and returns to him what He had taken away, is certainly All-Powerful to give him light, life and raise him again to be a complete human after giving him death. He has the power to return to him the information which he lost:
You will surely die like you go to sleep and you will certainly be raised like you wake up.(5)
Glory be to Him, Who made the sleep an awakening to understand the Return and the Beginning, Whom the slumber takes Him not and nor sleep:
And one of
His signs is your sleeping and your seeking of His grace by night and (by) day.(1)
There is no difference of opinion between the two schools of thought, the Shi’ites and the Sunnis, in the belief of the need of a caliph after the Messenger of Allah (S). Indeed, the difference is whether the caliph is appointed by Allah, the Exalted, or by the people?
The Sunnis believe that Allah does not need to appoint him; rather, he can be nominated by the people. The Shi’ites, on the other hand, believe that he must be appointed and stipulated by Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, through the Prophet (S).
The arbitration in this dispute is with the intellect, the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
We will suffice with only three precepts:
Take, for example that an inventor founds a factory which manufactures the most expensive ornaments, and his aim is to continue his manufacturing and not have it stop in his presence or absence, in his life or after his death. The factory contains complicated and intricate machinery, which no one can understand until and unless the inventor teaches him their specifics and how they work.
Is it possible that we accept that the intelligent and heedful inventor announces to the people that he will die in this year, but still does not appoint anyone, who knows the equipment and has the power to use it and manufacture it to manage the factory? In fact, the inventor leaves it to the people, who do not understand
the equipement, its complicatedness and complexity to choose the manager and engineer of the factory.
Are the complications and elegance of the features, practices and divine rulings for all scopes of life, which are the equipments of the factory of Allah’s religion, any less than that factory?
The products of this factory, which are the most valuable treasures of existence, that is, the perfection of humanity to know and serve Allah, the Exalted, any less valuable than the ornaments of that factory? The products of this factory are to balance the faculty of human desire to chastity, the faculty of anger to courageousness, the faculty of thinking to wisdom and to establish a virtuous town on the basis of justice and fairness.
Allah described the Book, which He sent to His Messenger, as:
And We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and a guidance and mercy.(1)
He also said about it:
(This is) a Book which We have revealed to you that you may bring forth men, by their Lord’s permission from utter darkness into light.(2)
And He said concerning it:
And We have not revealed to you the Book except that you may make clear to them that about which they differ.(3)
He has made it liable for the solution of all levels of disputes of the people and for the differentiation between right and wrong. Therefore, this Book requires an interpreter who derives from it what it intends to explain. It requires someone who should encompass the intellectual,
ethical and practical darknesses, so that he can take them out of those darknesses and guide them to the light. He should explain to them the right and wrong in their disputes.
He should know the right and wrong in all that in which the people dispute in so that he can explain to them. His knowledge should include the intense arguments of the principles of faith from Divine Unity to the Return—which still occupy the minds of the most genius of scholars—to all those practical issues which people face, like the dispute of two women over a baby, each one claiming to be its mother.
Is it logical to say: The provisions of the Qur’an in guiding the people, training them, solving their problems and resolving their disputes has ended with the death of the Prophet (S)? Have Allah and His Messenger (S) left this Book that is responsible for all the needs of mankind, without appointing an interpreter and explainer?
In conclusion, the concept of the reality of the revelation of the Wise Qur’an from the All-Knowing, the All-Wise to the Prophet (S) necessitates the confirmation of a divine teacher and interpreter who has the knowledge of the Book which Allah has sent as an explanation for everything. Does any sane person accept that Allah and His Messenger (S) have delegated the appointment of the interpreter of His religion to the ones who are ignorant of the arts and secrets of the Qur’an and the laws of Islam and its purposes?
the definition of divine leadership for mankind is Imamat and the leadership of the human intellect, because the topic of divine leadership is about who can be a divine leader for human beings. The humanity of a human being is due to his intellect and thinking:
The support of the human being is the intellect.(1)
Thus, in regards to the physical mechanisms, the human is in need of his powers and body parts for steering his senses. He is in need of his nerves for the function of his nervous system. However, it is the intellect that guides the senses and differentiates for them from accuracy and mistakes. The intellect has a limited perception and it is prone to mistakes and desires.
Thus, it is in need of a leadership of a complete intellect that encompasses the illness and cure, who covers the factors of perfection and deficiency. Furthermore, he must be protected from mistakes and desires, so that through his leadership the guidance of human intellect is guaranteed.
The path of understanding this perfect human, who is himself protected from mistakes and safeguards himself from mistake, is through the announcement of Allah, the Exalted.
As a result, the concept of the reality of divine leadership never separates from the verification that the appointment of the divine leader must be from Allah, the Exalted.
The purpose of divine leadership is to protect the divine laws, explain them and implement them. Indeed, the proof which leads to the necessity of infallibility in a prophet who delivers
the religion and implements it, leads to the necessity of infallibility of his successor who protects, explains and implements the Book and the Practice [Sunnah].
Just as error and desire in a prophet nullify the purpose of his sending, likewise, error and desire in the protector, explainer and implementer would cause the people to go astray and will contradict the purpose of his sending. As it is impossible for the people to know the infallible, he must be introduced by Allah, the Exalted, and His Messenger.
For précis, we will mention only three verses:
And We made of them Imams to guide by Our command when they were patient, and they were certain of Our communications.(1)
Every tree is recognised through its roots, branches, seeds and fruits. In this verse of the Noble Qur’an, the root and stem of the pure tree of divine leadership is mentioned.
Therefore, the root of divine leadership is the high rank of intellectual perfection, which is the certainty in the constitutional and legislative signs of Allah, the Glorified, which is derived from the plural tense in the verse. The branches of divine leadership are the high ranks of intentional perfection, which are patience in holding back from every disliked by Allah and performing every liked by Allah. We derive this from the use of patience in its absolute form without any restriction to specfics. Thus, the two sentences in this holy verse explain the knowledge and infallibility of the Imam.
As for the fruit of this pure tree, it is
the guidance with the command of Allah, which is not possible for anyone except the one who is a link between the world creation and command. This fruit is from that pure tree which keeps humanity alive with a life purified from ignorance and desire.
Evaluation of this noble verse clarifies the beginning and end of divine leadership. No one except Allah can plant the tree, the root of which is the certainty in Allah’s signs, the branches of which are the patience in Allah’s pleasure and the fruit of which is the guidance of Allah’s command. Thus, only Allah appoints the Imam. This is why He has said:
And We made of them Imams to guide by Our command when they were patient, and they were certain of Our communications.(1)
And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words, he fulfilled them. He said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Ibrahim said: And of my offspring? My covenant does not include the unjust, said He.(2)
This verse indicates that divine leadership is for the generation of people who have great Godly status. The Prophet of Allah, Ibrahim (as), only attained divine leadership after completion of his trial with certain words. Among his trials was being cast in the fire of Nimrod, leaving his wife and son in the valley without water and plantation, and the slaughtering of his own son Isma’il.
When Ibrahim (as) attained the status of Prophethood, Messengership and Friendship of Allah, and when he was tried with
certain words and he fulfilled them, Allah, the Exalted said: Surely I will make you an Imam of men. Due to the greatness of this status, Ibrahim (as) asked for it to continue in his generation. Allah, the Exalted, replied to him: My covenant does not include the unjust.
Allah, the Exalted, referred to divine leadership as ‘Allah’s Covenant’ which will not include any but the infallible. Indeed, Ibrahim did not ask for divine leadership for all his porgeny. It is impossible that Ibrahim, the Friend of Allah, (as) would ask the all-Just, the all-Wise, the Commander for Justice and Good, for divine leadership for those who are oppressors and evil-doers. Hence, his prayer was for the just ones of his progeny.
However, his prayer included all just ones even if they had been unjust previously. The answer meant that the just ones who were unjust in the past are not included in the acceptance of his prayer. Thus, the holy verse indicates that purification and absolute infallibility stipulate absolute divine leadership, both logically and Islamically. Hence, far is it from including the ones who worshipped the idols of Lat and ‘Uzza and associated others with Allah. The Glorified has said: Most surely polytheism is a grievous iniquity.(1)
..you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you.(2)
In this verse the words those in authority are conjunct to the word the Messenger. Moreover, in Arabic grammar when two words are mentioned in conjunction with each other,
the connecting verb is usually repeated. In this instance it would be the word obey. However, Allah did not repeat it, in order to emphasise that obedience of the ones in authority and the Messenger is of the same origin and has one reality. Like the obedience of the Messenger which is obligatory without any restrictions and conditions, the obedience of the ones in authority does not have any limit in its obligation.
The similarity in this obligation cannot exist if the ones in authority are not infallible, because obedience to anyone of the ones in authority is inevitably with the condition of their not disobeying Allah. Otherwise, it would necessitate disobeying God. When the command of the infallible, due to his infallibility, is in line with the command of Allah, then his obedience would be unrestricted.
Since all Muslims accept the fact that divine leadership is succession to the Prophet (S) in implementing the religion and protecting the existence of the Ummah, and that divine leader must be obeyed by all the Ummah,(1) then it implies that the divine leader must be infallible. Thus, the Word of Allah states:
Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good,(2)
(The Prophet) enjoins them good and forbids them evil.(3)
Otherwise, the command to absolute obedience of the one in authority would necessitate commanding oppression and evil and prohibiting justice and good. Exalted and Glorifed is Allah from that.
From another perspective, if the divine leader is not infallible then
his command may oppose the command of Allah and His Messenger. In this case, the command to obey Allah and His Messenger and the command to obey the one in authority would be a command for two opposite things, which is impossible. Therefore, on the basis of logical and textual proofs, the one in authority has to be absolutely infallible.
In conclusion, the command of Allah, the Glorified, to obey the ones in authority without any restriction and condition, is proof that they will not oppose the command of Allah and His Messenger (S). Thus, this is proof of their infallibility. Appointment of the infallible is not possible for anyone but the Knower of the Secrets and Hidden Things.
Here we refer to the traditions from the Sunnis for divine leadership of the Commander of the Faithful (as) as a completion of proof and argument in the best way. Otherwise, the criteria established from the Qur’an and the intellect regarding divine leadership is adequate to prove it for him (as). These continuously transmitted traditions are sufficient to be applied to Imam ‘Ali’s (as) divine leadership.
The traditions from the Sunni sources to which we will refer to as authentic are authentic according to their criteria. As for the traditions from the Shi’ite sources, when we refer to them as authentic, it implies that they are authentic according to us and them.
Undoubtedly, following the Way of the Prophet (S) is obligatory according to intellectual perception, which demands us to follow the infallibles and obey
their commands. The Qur’an also commands the same:
Whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back.(1)
We will suffice by mentioning the continuously transmitted traditions from the Prophet (S) and what the learned, the commentators of the Qur’an, the traditionists, the historians and the experts of literature have unanimously agreed upon. These are the traditions that are well-known by the young and old. Ibn Abu al-Hadid says: Sufyan al-Thawri reports on the authority of ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Qasim, on the authority of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-Ghaffar that when Abu Hurayrah came to Kufah with Mu’awiyya, he used to sit at the door called Kinda at nightfall and the people would sit with him. A young man of Kufah came to him, sat with him and said, “O Abu Hurayrah, may Allah adjure you! Did you hear the Messenger of Allah (S) saying for ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (as): O Allah support the one who supports ‘Ali and oppose the one who opposes ‘Ali.” Abu Hurayrah replied, “Of course, I did (hear that).” The young man responded, “Then I take Allah as my witness that you have most surely supported His enemy and opposed His beloved.” The young man then left Abu Hurayrah.(2)
Ibn Hajar al-’Isqilani says in his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari: As for the tradition ‘whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master’, al-Tirmidhi and al-Nisa’i have transmitted it, and it has very many chains of transmission. Ibn ‘Uqdah has one
complete book on its study; many of its transmissions are authentic and good…(1)
We will mention one from their authentic traditions, which Zayd ibn Arqam has transmitted saying: When the Messenger of Allah (S) was returning from the final pilgrimage, he stopped at the pond [Ghadir] of Khumm and commanded us to make a platform; thus we made it. He (S) then said:
I have been called back (by Allah) and I have accepted. I am leaving behind two weighty things between you; one of them is greater than the other, the Book of Allah and my Progeny. See what you do to them after me. They will not part from one another until they meet me on the Pool (of Kawthar).
He (S) then added: Indeed Allah, the Mighty and High, is my Master and I am the Master of every believer. Then he took ‘Ali (as) by his hand and said: Whoever I am the Master of this is his Master. O Allah support the one who supports him and oppose the one who opposes him…(2) He mentioned the tradition in full.
The leadership of the Ummah after his departure was so important to him (S) that not only did he stress it during the last pilgrimage, but he had also emphasised it on numerous occasions both before and after the final pilgrimage. One of those occasions was on his deathbed when the companions were present before him; he made a will to them using different expressions regarding the Qur’an and the
Sometimes he (S) used the words: I have left [taraktu] behind two weighty things [thaqlayn].(1)
At other times he (S) said: I am leaving [tarik] behind two Caliphs [khalifatayn] (Qur’an and Ahlul Bayt).(2)
In addition, he (S) said: I am leaving [tarik] behind two weighty things.(3)
Furthermore, he (S) stated: They will not separate.(4)
At some places he (S) has said: They will not disunite.(5)
I other places he (S) stated: Do not lead them otherwise you will perish. Do not teach them for they are more learned than you.(6)
Also he (S) said: I am leaving behind two commands. You will never go astray if you follow them.(7)
It is not possible to elucidate all the profound points that are implied in the Prophet’s (S) statements; thus, we will suffice by indicating some:
The sentence, I have left indicates that the Book and the Progeny are the legacy of the Prophet (S) for the Ummah, because the relation of the Prophet (S) to the Ummah is like that of the father to the son. The human being is composed of body and soul. The relationship between the soul and the body is like that of the meaning to the word and the core to the crust.
The physical father is the cause of physical and bodily strengths, while the spiritual father is the cause of spiritual strengths like correct beliefs, noble ethics and good deeds. The cause of spiritual behaviour and mental state cannot be compared with the cause of material state and physical appearance, just as the
core cannot be compared with the crust, the meaning with the word or the pearl with the shell.
This great father of the Ummah informed the people about his death and that his Lord, the Exalted, will call Him and he will answer the call and leave the people. (I have been called back and I have accepted.) He (S) emphasised that my legacy between you, the result of my life and the fruit of my existence, are two things the Book of Allah and my Progeny.
The Book is the link of the Ummah to their Lord and the Progeny is the link between the Ummah and the Prophet (S). Thus, the disconnection of the Ummah from the Qur’an is disconnecting from Allah, the Exalted, and the disconnection from the Progeny is disconnecting from the Prophet (S). Evenmore, the disconnection from the Prophet (S) is also disconnecting from Allah, the Exalted.
To explain the greatness of the Qur’an and the Progeny, it is sufficient to say that they both are connected to Allah, the Exalted, and His Messenger (S), because the connected one obtains its value from the one it is connected to. What is more, he (S) described them as the two weighty things, to indicate their substantial value and weightiness. Hence, the worth of the Noble Qur’an and its spiritual value is beyond comprehension, because the Qur’an is a manifestation of the Creator for the creation. To perceive its greatness, ponder in the following verses:
Ya Sin. I swear by
the Qur’an full of wisdom;(1)
Qaf. I swear by the glorious Qur’an.(2)
Most surely it is an honoured Qur’an, in a book that is protected; none shall touch it save the purified ones.(3)
Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would certainly have seen it falling down, splitting asunder because of the fear of Allah, and We set forth these parables to men that they may reflect.(4)
By describing the Progeny with the same words with which he (S) described the Qur’an, he shows that the Progeny is equal to the Qur’an and shares the revelation. In the speech of the Prophet (S), which is on the scale of reality, it is not possible that the Progeny may be equal to the Qur’an except when they share the knowledge of the Qur’an, as described by the Book itself:
Explaining clearly everything.(5)
The Progeny should also share infallibility with the Qur’an:
Falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it.(6)
The word of the Prophet (S): They will not disunite indicates that the Qur’an and the Progeny are forever inseparable, as they will not split from each other. The Noble Qur’an is a book that was revealed for all of mankind, taking into consideration their various abilities. Thus, its words are for the public, its hints are for the learned, its subtleties are for the Divine Guardians and its realities are for the Prophets (as).
It is a book that enlightens with the light of its guidance
the lowest of mankind, who cares only about materialistic matters. At the same time, it guides the best of mankind, whose spiritual disarray only come to rest with the remembrance of Allah, the Exalted. They are always in search of the Best Names (of Allah), lofty examples and the ability to bear the Greatest Name of Allah.
The Qur’an is indeed like the sun. Those who are ill due to the cold cure themselves by its heat. The farmer needs the sun to grow his plantation. The naturalist investigates the effects of its rays on living beings, the plants and the minerals. The religious scholar researches the effects of the sun on the earth and whatever it contains, its laws that systematise its proximity and distance from the earth and its rising and setting. Thus, he finds his lost treasure, the Creator and the Planner of the sun.
Such a Book that has come for all members of mankind, and a Book that is responsible for all the needs of humanity in this world, the purgatory and the hereafter, must have a teacher whose knowledge encompasses all of that. Undoubtedly, medicine without a doctor and science without a teacher is insufficient. Hence, the divine law, on which rely all of the affairs of this life and the hereafter, is insufficient and incompatible without an explainer, as states the Word of the Exalted:
Today I have perfected for you your religion.(1)
The purpose of sending the Book would be nullified and contradicted by
the Word of Allah:
And We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything.(1)
It is impossible that the Absolute Wise would send down an insufficient religion or contradict the purpose for which it had been sent. Thus, the Prophet (S) said: They will not disunite.
Some phrases of the tradition of the Two Weighty Things state: If you follow both of them then you will not go astray. The guidance of mankind, from the perspective of their specific creation, results in their eternal privilege and their misguidance results in their eternal adversity. Mankind, as we previously mentioned, is the finest of all the creations of the world. They are a creation that belongs to this world, the purgatory, the hereafter, the human sovereignty and the realm of the angels. Man is connected to both the world of creation as well as the world of command. He is created for eternal life, not for temporary life.
The guidance that is required for such a creation is a special guidance, which cannot be facilitated but with education and training from divine revelation. That holy light is far from darkness:
Indeed, there has come to you light and a clear Book from Allah.(2)
Based on the law of harmony and originality, the teacher of mankind must be linked to revelation. For, the Glorified has said:
This Book, there is no doubt in it.(3)
nor does he speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed.(4)
In addition, he must be infallible
from mistakes and desires.
The Prophet (S) said: If you follow both of them then you will not go astray, because following the Book, which speaks the truth, guarantees man security from intellectual, moral and practical misguidance.
To explain the words of the Prophet (S): Do not teach them for they are more learned than you, we will suffice with what Ibn Hajar, a very prejudiced Sunni scholar, stated when describing the family of the Prophet (as), “They are distinctive from the rest of the learned ones, because Allah has kept away the uncleanness from them and purified them a thorough purification… the most deserving to be adhered amongst them is their leader and the most learned ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, Allah made his face honourable.
Indeed he (as) has more knowledge and his deriving of the religious teachings are more accurate. For this reason, Abu Bakr said: ‘Ali is from the Progeny of the Messenger of Allah (S), i.e. the ones to whom everyone should adhere. The Prophet (S) specified him with what we have said, and he also distinguished him with what he said in the plains of Ghadir.”(1)
By admitting that ‘Ali (as) is distinguished from all other scholars of the Ummah due to the verse of the purification, they indicate that he (as) is pure from all types of uncleanliness. They have also admitted that the Prophet (S) stipulated that ‘Ali (as) is the most learned of the Ummah. Bear in mind that both the Qur’an and logic make
it incumbent to follow the most learned:
Say: Are those who know and those who do not know alike? Only the men of understanding are mindful.(1)
Also the Word of the Exalted states:
Is He then who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed, or he who himself does not go aright unless he is guided? What then is the matter with you; how do you judge?(2)
They have also admitted to the command of the Prophet (S) saying: I am leaving behind two commands. You will never go astray if you follow them; they are the Book of Allah and my Household, my Progeny.
The conclusion is that this proves that ‘Ali (as) should be obeyed by the whole Ummah, without any exception. It also proves that the whole Ummah is commanded to follow ‘Ali (as) for their salvation.
Say: Then Allah’s is the conclusive argument.(3)
After explaining that he is leaving behind the Book and the Progeny for safeguarding the Ummah from misguidance, the Prophet (S) clarified the implication of the Progeny. He (S) made known that the Qur’an will not separate from the Progeny and the Progeny will not separate from the Qur’an. So that no doubt would remain for anyone from the Ummah, he (S) took ‘Ali (as) by the hand and said: Whoever I am the guardian of this is his guardian. O Allah, befriend the one who befriends Ali and oppose the one who opposes ‘Ali.
The proof was complete with the first argument, as
it confirmed ‘Ali (as) due to his knowledge and infallibility by a witness from the Qur’an and the traditions. Nevertheless, the Prophet (S) still insisted in proving ‘Ali’s guardianship over all the believers so that no one leaves the circle of general guidance and ‘Ali’s absolute guardianship. Hence, he (S) said: Indeed, Allah, the Mighty and High, is my Guardian and I am the guardian of every believer. He thus explained the Word of the Exalted:
Only Allah is your Guardian and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.(1)
Although the proofs from logic, the Qur’an and the traditions about general leadership elucidate the subject of specific leadership, the necessary qualities for a divine leader do not assimilate in anyone but the infallible Imams (as), as described in the tradition of the Two Weighty Things. However, for the completion of the proof we will transmit some traditions for the divine leadership of the Commander of the Faithful and the Master of the Successors ‘Ali (as). These traditions are regarded as authentic by the experts of the field:
Abu Dharr (ra) has been reported as saying: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: Whoever obeys me has obeyed Allah and whoever disobeys me has disobeyed Allah. Whoever obeys ‘Ali has obeyed me and whoever disobeys him has disobeyed me.(2)
This tradition has been authenticated by the most important scholars of the Sunnis and it indicates that the Prophet (S), for whom the Qur’an and
intellect bear witness that he does not speak of his desires, ruled that obeying ‘Ali (as) is obeying the Prophet (S) and disobeying him is disobeying the Prophet (S). Thus, obedience or disobedience to the Prophet (S) is obedience and disobedience to Allah. Allah, the Exalted, says:
Whoever obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys Allah.(1)
Since obedience and disobedience are with the commandment to do or not to do, the source of the commandments to do or not to do is like or dislike. Thus, it is not possible that ‘Ali’s obedience or disobedience would be Allah’s obedience or His disobedience, unless ‘Ali’s like and dislike is a manifestation of Allah’s like and dislike.
The one whose like and dislike manifests Allah’s like and dislike has certainly reached the status of infallibility where his pleasure and anger is the pleasure and anger of Allah.
The word ‘whoever’ conforms to generality. Thus, it declares that all those who are in the circle of obedience to Allah and His Messenger (S) must obey ‘Ali (as). Otherwise, they would be disobeying Allah and His Messenger (S):
And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying,(2)
and whoever disobeys Allah and His Apostle surely he shall have the fire of Hell to abide therein forever.(3)
Whoever obeys him has obeyed Allah and the Messenger (S):
And whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, He will cause him to enter gardens beneath which rivers flow,(4)
and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, he indeed achieves
a mighty success,(1)
and whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours.(2)
The Messenger of Allah (S) was leaving for (the Battle of) Tabuk and left ‘Ali (as) behind as his successor. So, ‘Ali (as) said: Are you leaving me behind with women and children? The Prophet (S) answered: Are you not pleased that you are to me like Harun was to Musa except there is no prophet after me.(3)
This tradition is unanimously accepted by both Shi’ites and Sunnis. The compilers of Sihah(4) and authentic Masanid(5) (tradition) Sunni books have transmitted it. Many of their great scholars have claimed consensus over its authenticity, for they state that this tradition is unanimously accepted as authentic.
The pioneers of great memorisers have transmitted it, like Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Bukhari in his Sahih, Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj in his Sahih, Abu Dawud in his Sunan, Abu ‘Isa al-Tirmidhi in his Jami’, Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Nisa’i in his Sunan and Ibn Majah al-Qazwini in his Sunan. All of them have unanimously accepted this tradition as authentic and have consensus over it. Al-Hakim al-Naysaburi has said: This tradition has reached the level of continuous transmission [tawatur].(6)
The commonality of the word ‘status’ in this blessed tradition denotes that every status that is proven for Harun from Musa is also proven for ‘Ali (as) from the Prophet (S), with the only exception of prophethood. This similarity is emphasised.
Allah, the Exalted, has said about the relationship of Harun with Musa (as):
give to me an aider from my family: Harun, my brother, strengthen my back by him, and associate him (with me) in my affair.(1) Musa said to his brother Harun: Take my place among my people, and act well and do not follow the way of the mischief-makers.(2)
This status can be summarised in a number of places
‘Ali (as) is the vicegerent of the Prophet (S) and the vicegerent is the one who bears all responsibilities on behalf of the one he represents. He executes these responsiblities with the command of the one he represents. This tradition is unambiguous in proving this status for ‘Ali (as).
However, the proof of his vicegerency is not restricted to this tradition alone. The Prophet (S) has expressed other traditions regarding this matter on numerous occasions, as recorded in the books of traditions and commentaries from both Sunnis and Shi’ahs.(3)
‘Ali (as) is the brother of the Prophet (S) and Harun (as) was the blood-brother of Musa (as). The Prophet (S) gave the same position to ‘Ali (as) by making the brotherhood contract [‘aqd al-ukhuwwah]. There are numerous traditions regarding this topic that have been transmitted in Shi’ah and Sunni sources, one of which we will describe.
It has been transmitted from ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar that: When the Messenger of Allah (S) entered Madina, he made all the companions brothers of one another. Thus, ‘Ali (as) came with tears in his eyes saying: O Messenger of Allah (S), you made all the companions brothers of each
other, but you did not make me the brother of anyone? The Messenger of Allah (S) replied: O ‘Ali, you are my brother in this world and the hereafter.(1)
This brotherhood proves that ‘Ali (as) is superior to all the believers. When this verse was revealed: The believers are but brethren,(2) the Prophet (S) made the believers brothers of each other according to their status. He (S) made Abu Bakr the brother of ‘Umar, ‘Uthman the brother of ‘Abd al-Rahman and Abu ‘Ubaydah was made the brother of Sa’d ibn Mu’adh.(3) For himself, the Prophet (S) chose ‘Ali (as). Thus, why should he not be better than all the children of Adam? The Prophet (S) has certainly specified him with his brotherhood for both the worlds.
It is thus proved that ‘Ali (as) was on a similar level of intellect, knowledge, character and practice as the best of creation, the Prophet (S):
And all have degrees according to what they do.(4)
The ranks in the hereafter are based on what is earned and acquired:
And We will set up a just balance on the Day of Resurrection, so no soul shall be dealt with unjustly in the least.(5)
Allah knows best how much he has truly struggled in Allah’s way to reach the position in the Eternal Abode. The Glorified has said about him:
Maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory.(6)
Thus, it is not possible to describe ‘Ali’s (as) rank except as the Prophet (S) has described:
You are my brother in this world and the hereafter. ‘Ali’s (as) pride in this brotherhood was second only to his pride of being the servant of Allah. Hence, he (as) used to say: I am the servant of Allah and the brother of His Messenger.(1) On the day of the Counsel [shura], he (as) said: Is there anyone amongst you other than me, who the Messenger of Allah (S) made his brother?(2)
There are other traditions that indicate that the Prophet (S) asked Allah, the Exalted, to assist him. Thus, Allah accepted his call.(3)
Undoubtedly, no one can carry the weight of the Final Messengership, which is the greatest responsibility that Allah, the Glorified, bestowed upon the Holy Prophet (S), except for the assistant of the Messenger of Allah (S) who is the assistant of the prophets and messengers (as).
After carrying the burden Allah, the Exalted, entrusted him with, he prayed to his Lord to assist him and strengthen him through ‘Ali (as). Hence, his Lord answered his prayer as He did for Musa (as), as the Glorified says:
We will strengthen your arm with your brother.(4)
The prayer from the Messenger and the acceptance from Allah is proof that the execution of the command of the Final Message could not occur except through his tongue, with the Wisdom of Allah, and through his empowering hand, with the Power of Allah.
Is it logical that someone who did not assist the Messenger (S) assists his Ummah or that the Ummah seeks assistance from
someone other than the assistant of the Messenger (S)?
And Musa said to his brother Harun: Take my place among my people, and restore.(1)
Harun was the restorer of Musa’s people and his deputy in restoration for his people; similarly, this status is for ‘Ali (as) in the Ummah of the Messenger (S). Restoration in its absolute form is the quality of the one attributed with absolute good, not with general goodness. Thus, Allah described Yahya as such:
honourable and chaste and a prophet from among the good ones,(2)
and ‘Isa (as) as:
And he shall speak to the people when in the cradle and when of old age, and (he shall be) one of the good ones.(3)
Harun (as) shared the command and work of Musa (as). In conformity with this tradition, ‘Ali (as) shares all the work of the Prophet (S) with the exception of the Prophethood.
Among the commands of the Prophet (S) is to teach the Book which is the explanation of everything; for, it is the wisdom about which Allah, the Exalted, has said:
He grants wisdom to whom He pleases, and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good.(4)
And Allah has revealed to you the Book and the wisdom, and He has taught you what you did not know, and Allah’s grace on you is very great.(5)
Without any doubt, what Allah revealed to him of the Book and wisdom, is what He revealed to all the prophets and messengers altogether. In addition
to the general prophethood, Allah bestowed upon him the Last Message, the leadership of all the prophets (as) and the mastery over all but Allah.
Among the commands of the Prophet (S) is to clarify for the people everything in which they differ:
So that He might make manifest to them that about which they differ.(1)
Also among his commands is to judge between people:
Surely We have revealed the Book to you with the truth that you may judge between people by means of that which Allah has taught you.(2)
Furthermore, among the commands of the Prophet (S) is that he has more priority over the believers than they themselves. Thus, ‘Ali (as) shares the command over all things constitutionally and legislatively.
Harun (as) was the successor of Musa (as) to his people. Likewise, ‘Ali (as) is the immediate successor of the Prophet (S) over his people after him.
The successor, as we will discuss later, is the deputy of the one he succeeds, who covers the vacuum in his absence or occultation. The deputation of the Seal of the Prophets (S) is incomparable with the position of any of the other prophets (as).
In fact, the successor of the Last Prophet (S) cannot be compared with all the prophets (as) combined, because the successor of the Last Prophet (S) is someone beneath whose banner will be all the prophets (as), starting with Adam. Hence, how can the shadow of the empyrean be compared with the shadow of all that is other than the
Therefore, Harun (as) is the successor of Musa (as) and the deputy of the one for whom Allah, the Glorified has said:
And We called to him from the blessed side of the mountain, and We made him draw nigh.(1)
‘Ali (as) is the successor of the Seal of the Prophets (S) and the deputy of the one for whom the Glorified has said:
Then he drew near, then he bowed, so he was the measure of two bows or closer still.(2)
In an authentic tradition on the authority of Aban al-Ahmar from al-Sadiq (as) saying: O Aban, how do the people reject the word of the Commander of the Faithful (as) when he said, “If I wanted I would raise my foot and hit it in the chest of the son of Abu Sufyan in Syria and I would pull him off his throne.” Yet, they do not reject that Asif the successor of Sulayman (as) reached the throne of Bilqis and brought it to Sulayman (as) before the blinking of an eye. Is our Prophet (S) not the best of the prophets and is his successor not the best of the successors? Do they not even give him the position of the successor of Sulayman (as)? May Allah judge between us and the ones who refuse our right and reject our virtues?(3)
Thus, ‘Ali’s ministry to the Greatest Prophet (S), his assistance, the sharing of the command, his brotherhood of the Prophet (S), his restoration of his people and his
succession of the Prophet (S) is not comparable with anyone from Adam (as) to ‘Isa (as), other than the Prophet (S) himself, who is the holder of all of these positions.
Whoever ponders upon the tradition of the relationship, and is blessed with an in-depth understanding of the Book (Qur’an) and the Sunnah, will recognise that the gap in succession between the Messenger of Allah (S) and the one who he (S) appointed within his lifetime is against the law of intellect, the Book and the Sunnah.
It is found in a widely authentic tradition on the authority of Bukayr ibn Mismar: I heard ‘Amir ibn Sa’d saying: Mu’awiyyah said to Sa’d ibn Abu Waqqas, “What stops you from swearing at the son of Abu Talib?”
He replied, “I do not swear at him when I remember three things the Messenger of Allah (S) said for him. If I had even one of those three, it would be more beloved to me than any precious thing.”
Mu’awiyyah said to him, “What are those, O Abu Ishaq?”
He answered, “I will not swear at him so long as I remember that when the revelation came to the Prophet (S), he took ‘Ali and his two sons and Fatima and placed them under his cloak and said: O Lord, certainly these are my household. I will not swear at him so long as I remember when the Messenger of Allah (S) left him behind in the Battle of Tabuk. So ‘Ali said to him: Are you leaving
me behind with women and children? The Prophet (S) answered: Are you not pleased that you are to me like Harun was to Musa except there is no prophet after me. I will not swear at him so long as I remember the Day of Khaybar when the Prophet (S) had said: I will surely give this banner tomorrow to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger. Allah will grant victory by his hands. Hence, we were all longing for the Messenger of Allah (S) when he said: Where is ‘Ali? All replied: He is sore-eyed. The Prophet (S) said: Call him. Hence, they called him. The Prophet (S) applied his saliva to his eyes and gave him the banner. Allah gave victory by his hands.” He adds: By Allah, Mu’awiyyah did not talk to him for the duration he remained in Medinah.(1)
Al-Hakim has said, “Both (al-Bukhari and Muslim) have agreed upon the transmission of the traditions of brotherhood and the banner.”(2)
It has come in al-Bukhari that Sahal ibn Sa’d said: On the Day of Khaybar the Prophet (S) said: Indeed tomorrow I will give the banner to a man by whose hands Allah will grant victory. He loves Allah and His Messenger and Allah and His Messenger love him. The reporter says: The people spent the night in suspense about who will be given the banner. When morning dawned, they all came to the Messenger of Allah (S) desiring to be given the banner. However, the Prophet (S)
said: Where is ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib? Thus, it was said to him: O Messenger of Allah, he has a problem with his eyes. He (S) then said: Call him! So they called him (as). The Messenger of Allah (S) applied his saliva to his eyes and prayed for him. As a result, he was cured as if he did not have any illness. Then he (S) gave him (as) the banner. ‘Ali (as) then said: O Messenger of Allah, I will fight them until they become (believers) like us. The Prophet (S) replied: Penetrate gently until you enter their ground. Then call them towards Islam. Inform them of their obligations towards Allah. By Allah, if Allah guides a single person through you it would be better for you than the most precious treasure.(1)
The Prophet’s (S) word that: Indeed I will give the banner to a man, who loves Allah and His Messenger and Allah and His Messenger love him, clearly reveals that amongst his companions there was no one who could be described with this attribute other than ‘Ali (as). Otherwise, it would mean specification without the specified. The Prophet (S) is above all that is void by logic or by Islamic law.
When he (S) gave the banner and said: Allah will give victory by his hands, he explains the tradition of the relationship, i.e. it is through ‘Ali (as) that Allah strengthened His Messenger’s arm.
His (S) statement: Allah will give victory by his hands, is also proof that
Allah’s action was executed with his hands just as it was executed with the hands of the Prophet (S) in the Word of the Exalted:
And you did not smite when you smote, but it was Allah Who smote.(1)
Also, look at the word of ‘Ali (as): By Allah, I did not pull out the door of Khaybar with physical power.(2)
He, by whose hands Allah conquers Khaybar, is the hand of Allah. Then will Allah strengthen the arm of His best creation by someone other than him?
Most surely there is a reminder in this for him who has a heart or he gives ear and is a witness.(3)
This tradition has been transmitted by both Shi’ahs and Sunnis. We will suffice with what al-Hakim al-Naysaburi has transmitted in his al-Mustadrak(4) and al-Dhahabi in his al-Talkhis(5) on the authority of Burayda saying, “I was with ‘Ali (as) to carry out a military expedition in Yemen. I fell in disagreement with him. When I returned to the Messenger of Allah (S), I remembered ‘Ali (as) with ill words. At that time I saw the face of the Messenger of Allah (S) change. Thus, he (S) said: O Burayda, do I not have priority over all the believers more than they have on themselves? I replied: Of course, O Messenger of Allah. He (S) responded: Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master…”
The Prophet (S) said these exact words in the sermon of al-Ghadir. The event of Ghadir Khumm and
the Prophet’s (S) sermon are famous. The greatest of the experts in the science of traditions, historians and the commentators(1) of the Qur’an have mentioned it in the event of the final pilgrimage. The greatest linguists have explained it.
In Jamhurat al-Lughah, Ibn Durayd says, “Khumm is a famous pool. It is the place where the Messenger of Allah (S) completed the virtues of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib.”(2)
While explaining the word al-wali in Taj al-’Urus, al-Zubaydi says, “The one that follows your command… and of this is the tradition: Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master.”
Under the explanation of the word wali in al-Nihayah, Ibn Athir says, “And the speech of ‘Umar with ‘Ali: You have become the Mawla of every believer, i.e. the master of every believer.”
Although its numerous transmissions make the discussion of its authenticity unnecessary, the tradition of al-Ghadir has been transmitted with authentication in the Sunnis. In Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah, al-Hafidh al-Qanduzi says, “Al-’Allamah ‘Ali ibn Musa and ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Abu al-Ma’ali al-Juwayni, who was known as the Imam of the two shrines, and the teacher of Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (ra), gave an astonishing account: At a bookbinder’s in Baghdad, I saw a volume from a set of books that contained traditions about Ghadir Khumm, titled volume number 28 on the transmissions of the tradition of the Prophet (S): Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master… volume number 29 follows.”(3)
In Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, after transmitting
the tradition of Ghadir from Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr on the authority of Abu Hurayra, al-Barra’ ibn ‘Azib and Zayd ibn Arqam, under ‘Ali’s (as) biography, Ibn Hajar says, “Ibn Jarir al-Tabari has compiled in his book many more transmissions about this and has authenticated them. Abu al-’Abbas ibn ‘Uqdah has especially endeavoured in compiling its transmissions. Thus, he has transmitted it from seventy or more companions.”(1)
This tradition clearly indicates the authority of ‘Ali (as) over the Ummah and his succession of the Prophet (S) without gap, due to the use of the word mawla. Although it has been used in many different meanings, circumstantial and syntactical evidence stipulate its intent, which is guardianship over all people. Here are a few proofs:
Before the Prophet (S) announced the guardianship of ‘Ali (as), he (S) informed the people that he (S) will be departing to his Lord and he (S) made a will to them about the Book and the Progeny. He (S) also emphasised that the two will not part each other. Then he (S) brought ‘Ali forward announcing: Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master. Hence, his purpose was to define to the people upon whom, alongwith the Qur’an, devotion is obligatory so the two would safeguard them from deviation.
It does not befit the wisdom of the Prophet (S) that he (S) would issue an order to hold up thousands of people comprised of pilgrims in a desert in the midday heat. Furthermore, why would he order
them to make him a pulpit from rocks and camel sedans just to announce that ‘Ali is their mawla in the meaning of their friend and helper. Without a doubt, he had an important matter to announce, which was none other than explaining the guardianship and authority after him.
Al-Wahidi has reported on the authority of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri in Asbab al-Nuzul saying, “This verse: O Messenger! Deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people,(1) was revealed on the Day of Ghadir Khumm for ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib.”(2)
From this noble verse we can conclude that the one for whom the Messenger (S) was ordered to deliver this verse had two dimensions:
The matter which the Prophet (S) had to stop and convey to the people was of such great significance for them, so much so that if he (S) had not conveyed it then he (S) would not have conveyed the Messengership of Allah. Thus, it cannot be anything but the Guardianship of the Ummah.
The promise of Allah that He will protect the Prophet (S) from the people is proof that the delivering of what he was ordered to deliver would result in the deception of the hypocrites. The hypocrites had already heard from the people of the Book about the coming of the Last Prophet (S) and the establishing of a state. Thus, they feigned to be believers
and accompanied him out of greed for the government after him. In conclusion, the only meaning of wilayah which is implied here is the guardianship.
Al-Khatib has reported on the authority of Abu Hurayra saying: Whoever fasts on the 18th of Dhul Hijja, will be rewarded for fasting for sixty months. That is the day of Ghadir Khumm, when the Prophet (S) took ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib by the hand and said: Am I not the Master of the Believers? The people all said: Of course, O Messenger of Allah. Then he (S) said: Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master. At that point, ‘Umar ibn Khattab said, “Congratulations to you, O son of Abu Talib. You have become my master and the master of every Muslim.” And then Allah revealed this verse:
Today I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favour on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion.(1)
The perfection of religion and completion of favour over the Muslims cannot be imagined without the stipulation of a person who would explain Islam and execute it after the Prophet (S).
In Nur al-Absar, al-Shablanji says, “Al-Imam Abu Ishaq al-Tha’labi (ra) has reported in his Commentary (of the Qur’an) that Sufyan ibn ‘Ayinah, may Allah have mercy on him, was asked about the Word of the Exalted:
The demander demanded the chastisement which must befall,(2)
who was it revealed for? He replied to the questioner: You have asked me an issue which no
one asked me prior to you. My father related to me on the authority of Ja’far ibn Muhammad, on the authority of his forefathers (ra) that when the Messenger of Allah (S) was at Ghadir Khumm, he called the people so they assembled. Then he (S) took ‘Ali (ra) by the hand and said: Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master. This became famous and spread throughout the towns. Hence, it reached al-Harith ibn Nu’man al-Fihrii, so he came to the Messenger of Allah (S) riding a she-camel. He made his camel kneel, he dismounted, and said: O Muhammad! You ordered us from Allah, the Mighty and High, to bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah.
Therefore, we accepted it from you. You then ordered us to pray five times. Hence, we accepted it from you. You ordered us to pay the poor-rate. We accepted that as well. You ordered us to fast the complete month of Ramadan. We accepted it. You ordered us to perform Hajj. We accepted that as well. However, you were not pleased with that until you raised your cousin over us like a hyena and declared: Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master. Is this from you or from Allah, the Mighty and High?
The Prophet (S) answered: By the One there is no god but He, this is indeed from Allah, the Mighty and High.
Al-Harith ibn Nu’man
turned towards his camel saying: O Allah, if what Muhammad is saying is true then send down on us a stone from the heavens or send us a severe chastisement. He had not reached his camel when Allah, the Mighty and High, sent down a stone which dropped on his head and came out the other end, killing him. Allah, the Exalted, revealed: The demander demanded the chastisement which must befall. The unbelievers—there is none to avert it—from Allah, the Lord of the ways of Ascent.(1)
Undeniably, the traditions of the Prophet (S) about the virtues of ‘Ali (as) had reached all Muslims. The tradition which the likes of al-Harith ibn Nu’man al-Fihrii and Jabir ibn al-Nadr did not know was most certainly about the guardianship of ‘Ali over all the people after the Prophet (S). Thus, it was difficult for them to swallow and that is why they objected to it.
Amongst the clear evidence regarding the meaning of mawla as guardian after the Prophet (S) is that the Muslims understood that meaning from the sermon of the Prophet (S) and thus congratulated ‘Ali (as) for it. Ahmad has reported it in his Musnad,(2) al-Khatib in his Tarikh Baghdad(3) and al-Razi in his Commentary.(4) We will suffice with what has come in the Musnad of Ahmad:
Al-Barra’ ibn ‘Azib reports saying: We were with the Messenger of Allah (S) on a journey. We camped at Ghadir Khumm. The call for congregational prayer was made for us. The area under two trees was
cleaned up for the Messenger of Allah (S). He (S) led the noon prayer, then took ‘Ali (ra) by the hand and said: Do you all not know that I have priority over the Believers than they have on themselves? They all said: Of course you do. Then he (S) said: Do you all not know that I have priority over every believer than he has on himself?
They all said: Of course you do.
The reporter says: He then took ‘Ali by the hand and announced: Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master. O Allah, love the one who loves him and envy the one who envies him!
The reporter says: ‘Umar met him after that and said to him: Congratulations! O son of Abu Talib. You have become the master of every believing man and woman.(1)
Congratulation from a person like ‘Umar was not possible if the Prophet (S) had praised ‘Ali with something that was common between him and others. Clearly, it must be for something which the Prophet (S) has specified for ‘Ali, which can be nothing except ‘Ali’s guardianship and the leadership of the Ummah.
Another evident proof regarding the fact that the word mawla means the guardian of the Ummah, is the protest of Ali (as) with the sermon of Ghadir. A great number of Sunni scholars have mentioned his protest, like Ibn Hajar in al-Isabah(2) and Ibn al-Athir in Usd al-Ghabbah.(3) We will suffice with what Ibn Kathir has mentioned: Abu Ishaq said: Countless
sources have related to me that ‘Ali magnanimously asked the people if they had heard the announcement of the Messenger of Allah (S): Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master. O Allah, love the one who loves him and envy the one who envies him! Many people stood up and bore witness that they had heard that from the Messenger of Allah (S), while others were concealing it. Thus, the ones concealing it did not leave this world until they became blind or another clamity befell them. Among these were Yazid ibn Wadi’ah and ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Mudlaj.
It is obvious that when the Commander of the Faithful (as) used to quote this tradition to the companions (of the Prophet (S)) and asked them to bear witness over it, it was to ascertain his succession to the Prophet (S). It is a clear evidence for stipulating the word wali in the meaning of the guardianship of the affairs of all Muslims.
Also amongst the evidence that the word wilayah in the tradition is used in the meaning of guardianship of all affairs is that the Prophet (S) initiated the guardianship of ‘Ali (as) with the Guardianship of Allah, the Exalted, and said: Allah is my Master. Indisputably, no one has guardianship over the Prophet (S) except Allah, the Blessed and Exalted. Then he (S) said: And I am the Master of every believer. Hence, he conveyed that guardianship is established for him over the believers. It is then
that he said: Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master. Therefore, he established that after himself (S) guardianship is for ‘Ali. It is thus apparent that this wilayah is nothing but the guardianship of the affairs of all Muslims.
A final proof that the Prophet (S) eliminated obscurity and doubt, and closed the path for the ones who intend to change the announced guardianship of Ali (as), was his reminding them of the Word of Allah, the Exalted:
The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves.(1)
He first took a confirmation of his own guardianship and priority over them by saying: Do I not have priority over the believers than they have on themselves? They all said: Yes, you do. Then he (S) laid that guardianship and priority for ‘Ali (as) by saying: Whoever I am the master of then ‘Ali is his master. Thus, there remains no doubt that the meaning of the word mawla is the guardian of the affairs of all Muslims.
Al-Bukhari and other great experts in the science of traditions have transmitted the word of the Prophet (S) for ‘Ali (as): You are from me and I am from you.(2)
There is no doubt that the perfection of the world is through wisdom, knowledge, service, obedience and free-will. These are the characteristics which resulted in the creation of mankind, for they distinguish him in his creation in wisdom and free-will. The perfection of mankind lies in reaching the
status of connection with the unseen world and enlightening his wisdom with the light of revelation, which is the status of Prophethood.
The perfection of this status is through sending him as a representative from the Creator to the creation for enlightening their wisdom through the light of Divine Wisdom. Thus is the status of the Messengership.
The perfection of this status is to reach the status of the five high-ranking Prophets of the covenant, who are sent with new law. Moreover, the perfection of this status is to reach the status of the Seal of the Prophets, which is the status of eternal divine law, and that is the extent of all extents. The possessor of this status is the first creation and the last to remain. He is the Seal for the ones before him and the opener of the ones after him. He is the greatest name and the highest example.
‘Ali (as) reached such a status that the personality for whom Allah has said:
Nor does he speak out of desire;(1)
says for ‘Ali: ‘Ali is from me, revealing that ‘Ali the part of the most precious gem of possible beings. More specifically, he is the holy being who is the ultimate reason for the creation of this world and the sending of Adam. However, the Prophet (S) did not suffice with that, but added: And I am from him. This statement is due to the fact that the purpose of the existence of the Prophet (S)
and the purpose of his sending is the guidance to the True Religion and the Right Path. However, any of this could not have happened without ‘Ali (as) and his infallible sons (as). Thus, is it possible to have a gap between the Prophet (S) and ‘Ali’s (as) succession?
The Prophet (S) said: ‘Ali is with the Qur’an and the Qur’an is with ‘Ali. They will not part from each other until they meet me on the Pool.(1) The greatest of the experts of the science of tradition from both Sunnis and Shi’ahs have admitted to the authenticity of this tradition.
The implication of this tradition is clear like the previous one, because among the divine books there is no book like the Qur’an.
Allah has revealed the best announcement, a conformable book.(2)
Surely this Qur’an guides to that which is most upright.(3)
Allah has described the Qur’an with attributes which portray its greatness. These qualities are such that the pen is incapable of writing them and the tongue is expressionless when explaining them. Just as the Exalted has said:
And certainly We have given you seven of the oft-repeated and the grand Qur’an.(6)
Ya Sin. I swear by the Qur’an full of wisdom.(7)
He has described Himself as the Teacher of this Book:
The Beneficent taught the Qur’an.(8)
He has pointed to the manifestation of His Might in this
Book by His Word:
Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would certainly have seen it falling down, splitting asunder because of the fear of Allah.(1)
He has indicated the manifestation of His Omnipotence in the secrets of His verses by His Word:
And even if there were a Qur’an with which the mountains were made to pass away, or the earth were travelled over with it, or the dead were made to speak thereby.(2)
This Book is the manifestation of His Knowledge and Wisdom:
And most surely you are made to receive the Qur’an from the Wise, the Knowing.(3)
And We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and a guidance and mercy.(4)
He praised Himself upon the revelation of this Book:
All praise is due to Allah, Who revealed the Book to His servant and did not make in it any crookedness.(5)
It is the Book for which the Messenger of Allah (S) has instructed to cling onto: When trials surround you like the dark night then upon you is the Qur’an. Indeed, it intercedes and its intercession is accepted. Whatever it decodes is true. Whoever makes it his leader, it guides him to Paradise. Whoever turns his back to it, it drives him to Hell. The Qur’an is a guide, which leads to the best path. It is a Book, which contains elaboration, explanation and attainment. It is the decision and not a jest. It contains the apparent and the secret. Its apparent is
judgment and its secret is knowledge. Its apparent is elegant and its secret is profound. It has boundaries and its boundaries have further boundaries. Its remarkable things are countless. Its wonders do not decline. In it are the lights of guidance and the heights of wisdom. It is a guide to the righteous for whoever recognises it.(1)
This is the Book which Allah has manifested for His creation. The One who revealed it has introduced it with what He has mentioned in the verses. The one to whom it was revealed has praised it with such words. Then what must be the position of the one who the Prophet (S) has described as being with this Book!
It is he who is with the apparent of the Qur’an in its wisdom and with the secret of the Qur’an in its knowledge. He is also with the remarkable things of the Qur’an, which are countless, and its wonders which do not decline. Hence, with this relation, he has all that Allah revealed to all of His Prophets (as) of the Book and the wisdom. Allah has taught him His knowledge of His immense affairs and the mysteries of His secrets.
Indeed, the one that had partial knowledge of the Book was able to bring the throne of (Queen) Bilqis before the blinking of Sulayman’s eye. Then how elevated must the status be of the one who is with the Book and all that is in it!
He is the Retaining Ear in the Word of
the Exalted: The retaining ear might retain it,(1) based on what the experts of the commentary and traditions(2) have reported. He it is who said: Ask me anything. By Allah, you will not ask me about anything upto the Day of Judgment except that I will tell you. Ask me about the Book of Allah. By Allah, there is not a single verse about which I do not know if it was revealed at night or day, in plain land or a mountain.(3)
Then how great must be the status of the person the Prophet (S) has described as the Qur’an being with him. Furthermore, the relationship is two-sided. The Prophet (S) did not suffice with: ‘Ali is with the Qur’an, he (S) added in his explanation of ‘Ali’s greatness, that no one but the wise can understand, his word: And the Qur’an is with ‘Ali.
In the first sentence, he began the sentence with ‘Ali and ended with the Qur’an. Yet, in the second sentence, he began with the Qur’an and ended with ‘Ali. The sequence of this speech is most eloquent from the one who is the most eloquent of the ones that uttered.(4) Hence, the beginning and the end are both with ‘Ali, due to subtleties which cannot be mentioned here.
To summarise, there is no one superior than the Holy Prophet (S) amongst all the ones that Allah has sent. When ‘Ali (as) is from him (S) and he (S) is from ‘Ali (as), then ‘Ali is subsequent to
the best of Allah’s creation. Also, there is no better revelation from Allah than the Qur’an. When ‘Ali is with the Qur’an and the Qur’an is with him, then his heart is the treasure of all the guidance, light, the Book and the wisdom that Allah has revealed.
Does any doubt remain that ‘Ali (as) should be the successor of the Holy Prophet (S) and the explainer of the Noble Qur’an? Does any doubt remain that he is the master of all those who believe in Allah, Who has said:
Whatever the Messenger gives you, accept it.(1)
Nothing rests on the Messenger but clear delivering (of the message).(2)
The Sunni experts of traditions and biographers of the narrators have admitted to the authenticity of the following tradition. ‘Amr ibn Maymun said: I was sitting with Ibn ‘Abbas when a group of nine people came to him and said: O son of ‘Abbas, you either come with us or ask these people to leave us alone with you. The reporter says: Ibn ‘Abbas said: I will come with you. He adds: Ibn ‘Abbas had not become blind yet.
He says: They started talking, but we did not know what they said. Ibn ‘Abbas returned, shaking the dust off his clothes. He was expressing anger and was saying: They began quarrelling about a man who has ten virtues that no other person has. They began quarrelling about a man for whom the Prophet (S) said (in the Battle of Khaybar): I will certainly send a
man who Allah will never dishonour. He loves Allah and His Messenger and Allah and His Messenger love him. Everyone started looking around, then he (S) said: Where is ‘Ali? They all replied: He is grinding a hand-mill. The reporter says: None of them were grinding. ‘Ali came with sore eyes. The Prophet (S) applied his saliva to ‘Ali’s eyes. He then waved the flag three times and gave it to ‘Ali.
Ibn ‘Abbas continues: The Messenger of Allah (S) sent so and so with the chapter of Repentence. Then he sent ‘Ali after him to take it from him, saying: None can take this chapter except for a man who is from me and I am from him.
Ibn ‘Abbas then adds: The Prophet (S) said to his cousins when ‘Ali was present: Which one of you will succeed me in this world and the hereafter? The Messenger of Allah (S) asked each one of them: Which one of you will succeed me in this world and the hereafter? They all refused. Thus, he (S) said to ‘Ali: You are my successor in this world and the hereafter.
Ibn ‘Abbas then said: ‘Ali was the first person to belive after Khadija (ra).
He added: The Messenger of Allah (S) placed his cloak over ‘Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn and said:
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to keep you purified a (thorough) purifying.(1)
Ibn ‘Abbas continued: ‘Ali bought his own self when he wore
the dress of the Prophet and slept in his place. The pagan Arabs were throwing stones at ‘Ali like they used to at the Prophet of Allah (S). He was writhing with pain, but he covered his head with the sheet and did not come out until morning. Then the sheet was removed from his head. They said to him: You tricked us. Your Prophet did not writhe when we threw stones at him, while you did, but we denied ourselves.
Ibn ‘Abbas then said: The Messenger of Allah (S) went out for the Battle of Tabuk and the people went out with him. ‘Ali said to the Prophet (S): Shall I come with you? The Prophet (S) replied: No. ‘Ali cried. Thus, the Prophet (S) said: Are you not pleased that you are to me like Harun was to Musa except there is no prophet after me. It is a must that when I go you are my successor.
Ibn ‘Abbas then added: The Messenger of Allah (S) said to ‘Ali: You are the guardian of every believing man and woman after me.
Ibn ‘Abbas says: The Apostle of Allah (S) shut all the doors to the mosque except for ‘Ali’s door. He used to enter the mosque as he pleased. That was his way and there was no other way.
Ibn ‘Abbas then said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: Whoever I am the master of then his master is ‘Ali.(1)
After the Prophet (S) specified him with the banner of victory, does
any doubt still remain that ‘Ali is the successor of the Prophet (S) without gap? What about the stipulation about him over all his companions that he is the beloved of Allah and the Messenger? Or, the fact that the Prophet (S) had sent the chapter of Repentence with someone else to the people of Mecca, but then Allah ordered him to take it away from that person and give it to ‘Ali. It is thus not permissible for anyone to deliver it except for the Prophet (S), or the one who is from him and that is ‘Ali.
Is there any doubt after the explicit declaration of the Prophet (S) that the relationship between them is that of Harun (as) and Musa (as)? Also, that he cannot leave Medina until ‘Ali is his successor.
Is there still any doubt after the stipulation on his absolute guardianship over all the believers in the declaration of the Prophet (S): You are the guardian of every believing man and woman after me?
How can any doubt remain for a just person after all of these traditions and the likes of these which are compiled in the Sunni sources and are agreed upon as authentic by them? These stipulate that ‘Ali (as) is the successor of the Prophet (S) without gap.
Nevertheless, these are only a small part of the vast amount of verses from Allah, the Exalted and traditions of the Messenger of Allah (S) regarding this topic, of which this concise book cannot accommodate a
thorough examination. Al-Hakim al-Haskani, a great Sunni scholar of the fifth century, has reported from Mujahid that he said, “Indeed, ‘Ali has seventy virtues which none of the companions of the Prophet (S) have like it, and there is not a single virtue of any one of the companions except that ‘Ali shares it with them.”(1)
It is reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “There is not a single verse in the Qur’an that says: The ones who believe and do good, except that ‘Ali is its leader and is distinguished in it. There is not a single companion of Muhammad (S) that Allah has not criticised. However, He has always mentioned ‘Ali with good.”(2)
He has also said, “‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (as) has eighteen such virtues, that even if he had only one, it would be sufficient for his salvation. He had thirteen virtues that no one has in this Ummah.”(3)
Ibn Abu al-Hadid says in his commentary of Nahj al-Balagha, “When a questioner asked our scholar Abu al-Hadhil: Who is superior before Allah, ‘Ali or Abu Bakr? He replied: O my child, by Allah, ‘Ali’s one combat against ‘Amr in the Battle of Khandaq equals all the deeds and actions of the migrants of Mecca and the helpers of Medina. In fact, it exceeds them all combined let alone Abu Bakr by himself.”(4)
As reported in al-Mustadrak by al-Hakim, Ahmad bin Hanbal has said, “What has come in the virtues of Ali ibn Abu Talib has not come for anyone of the
companions of the Messenger of Allah (S).”(1)
It was said to al-Khalil ibn Ahmad, the master of literature and the founder of the science of prosody [‘ilm al-’arud], “What is the proof that ‘Ali is the leader of everyone in everything?”
He replied, “Everyone needs ‘Ali but he is needless of everyone.”
It was also said to him, “What do you say about ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib?”
He responded, “What can I say in respect of one whose virtues were hidden by his followers due to fear, and by his enemies due to jealousy. Even then so many virtues have appeared that they have filled the East and West.”(2)
If there was no envy of the enemies and fear of the friends, and the dark eras of the Umayyad and the ‘Abbasid governments did not cover the sun of guardianship and divine leadership, then the lights of the virtues of this complete moon would have excelled on the sky of Islam and would have spread in the souls and the horizons.
We will end this discussion with two verses that were revealed concerning ‘Ali (as):
Only Allah is your Wali and His Messenger and those who believe, who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.(3)
Great Sunni scholars have admitted that this verse was revealed concerning ‘Ali (as). We will suffice with what al-Fakhr al-Razi has transmitted in his commentary of the Qur’an, “It is reported from Abu Dharr (ra) that he said: One day I prayed noon prayers with the Messenger of Allah (S).
A beggar asked in the mosque, but no one granted him anything. The beggar then raised his hands to the heavens and said: O Allah, be my witness that I asked in the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (S), but no one gave me anything. ‘Ali (as) was bowing down at the time. Thus, he (as) pointed with the little finger of his right hand, which had a ring. The beggar came to him and took the ring while the Prophet (S) was watching.
Hence, the Prophet (S) said: O Allah, certainly my brother Musa asked you:
O my Lord! Expand my breast for me, and make my affair easy for me, and loosen the knot from my tongue, (that) they may understand my word; And give to me an aider from my family: Harun, my brother. Strengthen my back by him, and associate him (with me) in my affair.(1)
Thus, You revealed the verses:
We will strengthen your arm with your brother, and We will give you both an authority.(2)
O Allah, I am Muhammad, Your Prophet and Your sincere friend. Expand my breast for me and make my affair easy to me; and give to me an aider from my family, ‘Ali. Strengthen my back by him!
Abu Dharr says: By Allah, the Messenger of Allah had not completed these words when Jibra’il came down and said: O Muhammad, read: Only Allah is your Wali and His Messenger and those who believe, who keep up prayers and pay the
poor-rate while they bow.”(1)
The revealation of the verse after the prayer of the Prophet (S) indicates the acceptance of his prayer. Allah, the Mighty and High, has made ‘Ali to the Prophet (S) like He had made Harun to Musa (as).
We can derive from the conformity of the conjunction in this verse that the guardianship of Allah is confirmed for the Messenger (S), and his is confirmed for Ali (as).
The holy verse, in conformity with the use of the definite particle, endorses that the wilayah confirmed for Allah, His Messenger and ‘Ali is a wilayah restricted to them. This wilayah is none but the absolute guardianship.
But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our souls and your souls, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.(2)
Experts can elucidate many points in this verse. We will however suffice with only three of these:
The invitation of the Prophet (S) to earnest prayer is proof of the truthfulness of his Messengership and the righteousness of his religion. The refusal of the Christians is their admittance of the invalidation of their religion.
The word ‘our souls’ is proof of the succession of the Commander of the Faithful (as) without gap, because he is the soul of the Prophet (S), based on the stipulation of the Qur’an. He is the continuation
of the essence of the Prophet (S). It is illogical that another person should replace him.
The experts of the commentaries (of the Qur’an) have unanimously agreed that ‘our sons’ in the verse refers to al-Hasan and al-Husayn (as), ‘our women’ indicates Fatima (as), and ‘our souls’ signifies ‘Ali (as).(1)
Here we will mention only one tradition which al-Fakhr al-Razi has transmitted in his commentary of the Qur’an:
Second issue: It has been reported that when the Prophet (S) reasoned with the Christians of Najran, but when they insisted on their ignorance, he said: Surely, Allah has ordered me that if you do not accept my proof then I should earnest in prayer against you. They replied, “O Abu al-Qasim, we will return and see the matter and will come back to you.” When they returned, they said to al-’Aqib, who was their scholar, “O servant of Christ, what do you say in this matter?” He replied, “By God, O Christians, you have come to know that Muhammad is a divine Messenger. He has brought you the truth about Jesus. By Allah, no nation has ever gone to earnest in prayer against a Messenger except that their young and old have not lived after that. If you do it then God will eliminate you all. However, if you refrain from it and wish to continue on your own religion, then leave it and return to your towns.”
The Messenger of Allah (S) came out wearing a black cloak. He was holding Al-Husayn (as) in
his arms and was holding Al-Hasan (as) by the hand. Fatima (as) was walking behind him and ‘Ali (as) was walking behind her. The Prophet (S) was saying: When I pray then say amen.
The archbishop of Najran said, “O group of Christians, I am indeed seeing faces that if they asked God to move a mountain from its place then God would do it. Thus, do not earnest in prayer or you will be destroyed and not a single Christian will remain on the surface of the Earth till the Day of Judgment.”
They all said, “O Abu al-Qasim, we have all decided that we will not earnest in prayer with you and that we shall acknowledge your religion.”
The Prophet (S) responded: If you refuse to earnest in prayer then become Muslims. All will have all that the Muslims have and all that is forbidden on the Muslims will be forbidden upon you. They all refused. Thus, he (S) said: I set a penalty for you to battle. They said, “We do not have the strength to fight the Arabs. However, we will make a settlement with you that you will not fight us and that you will not refuse us our religion…”
Thus, the Prophet (S) made peace with them and said: I swear by the one is whose hand is my life, indeed ruin was very close to the people of Najran. Had they cursed us, they would have turned into monkeys and pigs. This valley would have turned into
fire for them. Allah would eliminate Najran and its inhabitants, even the birds above them in the trees. All Christians would have perished within a year.
It is reported that when the Prophet (S) came out wearing a black cloak, then Al-Hasan (ra) came and he placed him in the cloak. Then came Al-Husayn (ra) and he placed him in it. Then Fatima (ra) came and then ‘Ali (ra). Then he (S) said:
Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to keep you purified a (thorough) purifying.(1)
Beware that this tradition is unanimously accepted as authentic amongst the experts of commentary and the traditions.(2)
Since we cannot fully explain this noble verse and honourable tradition, we will elucidate a few points:
Surely the Prophet (S) gathered ‘Ali, Fatima, Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, and covered them with the cloak then read the verse: Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to keep you purified a (thorough) purifying, to prove that the prayer which will overturn the laws of nature, roam its causes and will be granted instantly by the intent of Allah, the Exalted. It must ascend to the Creator of the Universe from a soul pure of all kinds of filths. To Him do ascend the good words;(3) this purification is confirmed for these five personalities (as) with the Intent of Allah, the Exalted.
Certainly, Allah, Glory be to Him, has made the prayer of the Prophet
(S) an absolute cause for acceptance. However, in this instance, in conformity with Allah’s command, it is combined with the four other people present at the event. The conditional sentence in the speech of the Prophet (S): When I pray then say amen, implies the necessity between the condition, which is his prayer, and the final clause in a conditional sentence, which is their amen.
Allah, the Glorified and Exalted, made the amen of these four part of the condition of acceptance to make the status of ‘Ali, Fatima, Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn (as) apparent for the people. Also, to make it known that their prayers are always answered by Allah and that they have a prestigious position before Allah. Prayers are granted for them and the needs of the people are not rejected if they are through them, an honour solely for these five on the surface of the Earth.
The challenge of the earnest in prayer of the Prophet (S) with the Christians [mubahalah] would have resulted in their cursing. The assured acceptance of such a great prayer would have transformed the humans into animals and the earth into fire, and Najran and its inhabitants would have been eliminated from the surface of the Earth.
This is not possible except with the intent which is directly connected with the command that is
indeed His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it: Be, so it is.(1)
This is the status of a perfect human being, whose pleasure and anger
is the manifestation of the pleasure and anger of Allah. This is the status of the Seal of the Prophets (S) and his successor (as).
The only woman who shares this status is the greatest truthful lady Fatima al-Zahra’ (as), revealing that the spirit of the general guardianship and the common leadership, which is the absolute infallibility, is confirmed in her. May the blessings of Allah be upon her, her father, her husband and her children!
Our statement is endorsed by the tradition that both Sunnis and Shi’ahs have transmitted, and have admitted to its authenticity, that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: Fatima is a part of me, whoever angers her has angered me.(1)
Logically speaking, the Qur’an and the Sunnah all indicate that the anger of the Prophet (S) is the anger of Allah, the Exalted. However, the Sunni scholars have transmitted that the Prophet (S) has further said: Surely, Allah is angered by your anger and pleased with your pleasure.(2)
If Allah is pleased with someone’s pleasure and angered by her anger regardless of any restriction and condition, then his pleasure and anger must be above error and desire. Hence, it is the greatest level of infallibility.
What has preceded are concise proofs on the issue of divine leadership in the righteous school of thought. The Shi’ahs believe that the divine leaders of the Muslims after the Prophet (S) are the Twelve Infallible Imams (as) and that the Prophet (S) specified them as:
First: Al-Imam ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, Commander of
the Faithful [Amir al-Mu’minin] (as)
Second: Al-Imam al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, the Oldest Grandson [al-Sibt al-Akbar] (as)
Third: Al-Imam al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali, Master of the Martyrs [Sayyid al-Shuhada’] (as)
Fourth: Al-Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn, Beauty of the Worshippers [Zayn al-’Abidin] (as)
Fifth: Al-Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, the Splitter of Knowledge [al-Baqir] (as)
Sixth: Al-Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad, the Truthful [al-Sadiq] (as)
Seventh: Al-Imam Musa ibn Ja’far, the Controller of anger [al-Kadhim] (as)
Eighth: Al-Imam ‘Ali ibn Musa, the Content [al-Rida] (as)
Ninth: Al-Imam Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, the Generous [al-Jawad] (as)
Tenth: Al-Imam ‘Ali ibn Muhammad, the guide [al-Hadi] (as)
Eleventh: Al-Imam al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali, the Soldier [al-’Askari] (as)
Twelfth: Al-Imam al-Hujjat ibn al-Hasan al-’Askari, the Rightly Guided, the Awaited [al-Mahdi al-Mawud] (as)
Previous proofs on the divine leadership of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali (as) are sufficient. However, a separate discussion on the proofs of the divine leadership of each one of the Imams (as) is necessary regarding his knowledge, acceptance of the prayer and the stipulation of the previous divine leader [Imam].
The objective of this chapter is to state the glad tidings in the Prophetic traditions about the Twelve Imams (as) in Sunni sources, which have been transmitted with the title of ‘Twelve Khalifas’ and ‘Twelve Amirs’. Below are some of them:
It has come in Sahih al-Bukhari: It is reported on the authority of Jabir ibn Samurah that he said: I heard the Prophet (S) saying: There will be Twelve Commanders. He says that he (S) then said something I did not hear, so my father told me that he said
that they will all be from Quraysh.(1)
It has come in Sahih Muslim: It is reported on the authority of Jabir ibn Samurah that he said: I entered the presence of the Prophet (S) with my father. I heard him (S) saying: Surely this command will not end until there will be Twelve Successors [Khalifah]. He says that he then said something quietly, so I asked my father: What did he (S) say? He replied: They are all from Quraysh.(2)
It has come in both Sahih Muslim and Musnad of Ahmad: It is reported on the authority of Jabir ibn Samurah that he said: I heard the Prophet (S) saying: The command of the people will not pass until twelve men command over them. He says that the Prophet (S) then said something which I could not hear, so I asked my father: What did he (S) say? He replied: The Prophet (S) said: They will all be from Quraysh.(3)
It has come in Sahih Ibn Habban: I heard the Messenger of Allah (S) saying: There will be twelve successors after me and all of them will be from Quraysh.(4)
It has come in Sunan al-Tirmidhi: There will be Twelve Commanders after me. The reporter says: He then said something I did not understand. Therefore, I asked the one beside me, he said: All of them will be from Quraysh.(5)
It has come in Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal: There will be Twelve Successors after me and all of them will be from Quraysh.(6)
And it has
also come: There will be Twelve Commanders after me. Then I don’t know what he said so I asked all the people present, they all said: He (S) said: They are all from Quraysh.(1)
It has come in Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal: There will be Twelve Commanders after me. Then he said something I could not hear, so I asked someone beside me, and he said: They are all from Quraysh.(2)
It has in Musnad Ahmad: There will be Twelve Commanders after me. Then he said something quietly. The reporter says that I asked someone sitting next to me about what he (S) said? He replied: They are all from Quraysh.(3)
It has come in Musnad by Ibn Ju’d: There will be Twelve Commanders afer me. Husayn has reported in his narration that then he said something I did not understand. One reporter said that I asked my father. Another said that I asked the people. The reply was: They are all from Quraysh.(4)
It has come in Musnad Abu Ya’la: The Prophet (S) said: This relgion will remain till the Day of Judgment and there will be Twelve Successors over you, all of whom will be from Quraysh.(5)
It has come in Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal: It is reported on the authority of Jabir ibn Samurah that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) delivered a sermon to us in ‘Arafat saying: This matter will remain honourable, mighty and distinct against the opposition so long as the Twelve have the sovereignty, all of them.
Then he (S) said something that I did not understand, so I asked my father about what he said after that. Thus, he replied: All of them are from Quraysh.(1)
It has come in al-Mustadrak al-Hakim: It is reported from Masruq that he said: One night we were sitting with ‘Abd Allah. He was reading us the Qur’an. One man asked him, “O Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman, did you all ask the Messenger of Allah (S), how many caliphs will rule this nation? ‘Abd Allah replied, “No one before you have asked me this since I have come to Iraq. Yes, we did ask him and he (S) said: Twelve, the number of the chieftains of the Children of Isra’il.”(2)
The traditions regarding this topic are numerous.(3) Their transmissions are from the best of the companions, like Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn Mas’ud, Salman al-Farisi, Abu Sa’id al-Khudri, Abu Dharr, Jabir ibn Samurah, Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah, Anas ibn Malik, Zayd ibn Thabit, Zayd ibn Arqam, Abu Thumamah, Wathilah ibn al-Asqa’, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, Hudhayfah ibn Usayd, ‘Imran ibn Husayn, Sa’d ibn Malik, Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman, Abu Qutadah al-Ansari and others.
Here we number some significant points in these traditions:
The number of the successors (of the Prophet) is restricted to twelve.
These twelve successors will continue till the Day of Judgment.
The honour of Islam and the Muslims is dependent on their obedience.
The religion will be established both intellectually and practically through them, because the intellectual establishment of religion will take place through the commentator
of the Qur’an and through the one who explains its realities and cognitions. The practical establishment will take place through the executor of its laws and just rules. These two important goals cannot be achieved except under special circumstances with these twelve divine leaders.
Choosing the example of the chieftains of the Children of Isra’il from all other examples is significant, because their succession was not chosen by people, rather it was specified by Allah. Thus, Allah, the Exalted, said about the chieftains:
And We raised up among them twelve chieftains.(1)
These divine leaders [Imams] are from Quraysh.
Are there any caliphs who have these specifications, except for those on the Right Path? Is it possible to define the Twelve Divine Leaders except with our divine leaders (as)? Has the honour of Islam and its aims been achieved during the caliphate of Yazid son of Mu’awiyyah and his likes?
Some of the learned researchers of the Sunnis have admitted that the glad tidings of the Prophet (S) cannot be implied onto any but the twelve divine leaders (as). Thus, it has come in Yanabi’ al-Mawaddah of al-Qanduzi:
“Some of the researchers have said: Surely, the traditions indicating that the successors of the Prophet (S) will be twelve are famous and from many different chains of transmissions. With the passing of time and the change of circumstances, it is known that the intent of the Messenger of Allah (S) from this tradition was the twelve Imams from his Household and Progeny.
For it is not possible
to apply this tradition onto the caliphs that came after him from his companions as they were less than twelve. It cannot be applied to the Ummayyad kings as they were more than twelve; also, because of their horrible oppression, except for ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-’Aziz. Furthermore, they were not Hashimites.
Based on the tradition from ‘Abd al-Malik on the authority of Jabir: The Prophet (S) said: They are all from Bani Hashim. This tradition is preferred over the other one because of the claim of the low voice of the Prophet (S), because the other narrators do not like the succession of the Hashimites. It also cannot be applied to the ‘Abbaside kings as they were more than twelve as well, and also because they did not abide by the verse:
Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives.(1)
Thus, this tradition must be applied to the twelve Imams from his Household and Progeny (as), because they were the most learned of their time, the most honourable, the most splendid, the most pious, the most devout, the highest in nobility, the best in family and the best before Allah.
Their knowledge was from their forefathers, which was connected to their great-grandfather the Prophet (S). It was hereditary and directly imparted by Allah. The knowledgeable, the researchers, the mystics and the fortunate have recognised them as such.”(2)
The intent of the Prophet (S) about the twelve successors is the twelve Imams from his
Household (as). The tradition of the Two Weighty Things and other traditions mentioned in this book and elsewhere bear witness to and prefer this fact.
It is reported from al-Suday in his Commentary (of the Qur’an), who is a Sunni scholar and is trustworthy for them, “When Sarah began to dislike the position of Hajar, Allah, the Exalted, revealed to Ibrahim: Leave with Isma’il and his mother for the house of the assigned Prophet (S). For indeed, I will spread your progeny (on Earth) and will give them power over the ones who deny me. I will make from his Progeny twelve great men.”(1)
The above also confirms what is in the present day Torah:
And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.(2)
There are many authentic traditions that stipulate the divine leadership of the Twelve Imams (as) from our (Shi’ah) sources. It suffices to study their transmission to the Infallibles (as) due to its continuous transmission [tawatur]. In this concise work we will only mention two transmissions of the tradition known as the tradition of the Tablet [hadith
al-lawh]. It has been transmitted with many chains of transmissions by the greatest experts of traditions. Some of these are reliable:
The report of Shaykh al-Saduq (ra) from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as), on the authority of Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari saying: I entered the presence of Fatimah (as) while a tablet was in front of her which contained the names of the successors from her progeny. I counted them to be twelve, the last being al-Qa’im. There were three named Muhammad and four ‘Ali, may the blessings of Allah be upon them all.(1)
This transmission contains prophecies of the unseen. The content of this tradition prove it to be issued from the infallible. The greatest of our experts in traditions have reported it, like Shaykh al-Saduq, Shaykh al-Mufid and Shaykh al-Tusi, may Allah increase their status. They have reported it on the authority of ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Salim, on the authority of Abu Basir from al-Imam al-Sadiq (as) saying: My father (as) said to Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari:
I have a matter to discuss with you. When do you have time so that I can sit alone with you and discuss it? Jabir replied to him: Whenever you want. One day my father sat down with him and said: O Jabir, tell me about the tablet which you saw in the hand of my grandmother, Fatimah the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (as). What did my mother inform you about what is written in that tablet?
Jabir said: I take Allah
as my witness that one day I entered the presence of your mother Fatimah (as) during the life of the Messenger of Allah (S). Thus, I congratulated her on the birth of al-Husayn. I saw in her hands a green tablet. I thought it was made of emerald. It had white writing like that of the colour of the sun. I asked her: May my father and mother be your ransom, O daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S). What is this tablet? She answered: This is the tablet that Allah gave to his Messenger (S) as a gift. It contains the names of my father, my husband, my two sons and the successors from my progeny. My father gave it to me to give me the glad tidings. Jabir said: Your mother Fatimah (as) gave it to me. I read it and made a copy from it.
My father said to him: O Jabir, can you show it to me? Jabir replied: Yes. Then my father walked with him to his house. My father took out a fine paper and said: O Jabir, look in your book while I read to you. Therefore, Jabir looked in his copy while my father read to him. Not a single word differed between the two. Jabir says: I take Allah as my witness that that is how I saw it written in the tablet:
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, this is a letter from Allah, the Honourable, the All-Wise to
Muhammad, His Prophet, His light, His representative, His veil and His guide. The Trustworthy Spirit brought it down from the Lord of the Worlds.
Muhammad, revere My Names and thank Me for My bounties. Do not reject My blessings. Surely, I am Allah, there is no god but I, the Destroyer of the tyrants, the Granter of victory to the oppressed and the Compensator of all rewards. Certainly, I am Allah there is no god but I. Thus, whoever places hope in the mercy of someone other than Me and fears the justice of other than Me, then I will punish him a punishment that I will not give to anyone in this worlds. Only worship Me and only rely on Me.
Surely, I did not send a Prophet whose days have completed and his time has finished except that I made for him a successor. I have given you priority over all Prophets and I have given priority to your successor over all successors. I have honoured you with your two young brave grandsons, Hasan and Husayn. I have made Hasan the source of My Knowledge after the completion of his father’s period. And I have made Husyan the treasure of My revelation.
I have honoured him with martyrdom and have made his end fortunate. He is the greatest of all the martyrs and the highest of them in status. I have placed My complete word with him and My considerable proof with him. Through his progeny I will reward
and punish. The first one of them is ‘Ali, the master of the worshippers and the beauty of My previous beloved ones. His son resembles his grandfather, Mahmud. He is Muhammad, the splitter of My Knowledge and the source of My Wisdom.
The doubters in Ja’far will be destroyed quickly. The one who rejects him is like the one who rejects Me. This My word is true that I will honour the place of Ja’far and I will please him amongst his followers, helpers and friends.
After him will be Musa, whose time will see dark mischief, because the thread of My obligation does not break and My proof is not hidden. Indeed, My guardians will drink from the cup of perfection. Whoever rejects anyone of them has rejected My blessing. And whoever changes a single verse from My Book has related falsehood to Me.
Woe onto the rejecting liars of ‘Ali, My Guardian and Helper, after the completing period of Musa, My servant, My beloved and My chosen one. I will place the weighty responsibilities of Prophethood with him. I will try him proficiently for it. A mischievous proud man will kill him. He will be buried in a city that the pious servant has built next to the worst of My creation.
This My word is true that I will please him with Muhammad, his son and his successor after him and the inheritor of his knowledge. He is the source of My Knowledge, the repository of My secrets and My proof
over My creation. No servant will believe in him except that I will make the Paradise his place of rest. I will accept his intercession for seventy of his family members for whom the Hell would have become obligatory.
For his son ‘Ali, My Guardian, My Helper, My witness over My creation and My trustworthy over My revelation, I will end with fortune. I will bring forth from him the caller to My path and the treasure of My Knowledge, al-Hasan.
I will complete that with his son M u h a m m a d, the mercy for the universe. He will have the perfection of Musa, the magnificence of ‘Isa and the patience of Ayyub. My beloved ones will be humiliated during his period. Their heads will be given as gifts like the heads of Turks and Daylamis. They will be killed, burnt, will be frightened, terrified and fearful. The Earth will be coloured with their blood. The afflicted sounds of their women will circulate.
Those are My true beloved Gurdians. Through them I will remove every dark mischief. I will remove the earthquakes through them and remove the burdens and chains through them. They are upon whom is blessing and mercy from their Lord. And they are the rightly-guided.
‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Salim says that Abu Basir said, “If you only hear this one tradition during all your life then it is sufficient for you. Preserve it from all those who do not deserve it.”(1)
The proofs regarding the divine leadership of
the Infallible Imams (as) are more than can be counted in this concise book. We will end this brief section with a noble sermon from Imam al-Sadiq (as) describing the status of infallibility and the divine leadership. The master of the experts of the traditions, Muhammad ibn Yaqub al-Kulayni has transmitted it from Muhammad ibn Yahya,(1) on the authority of Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Isa,(2) on the authority of al-Hasan ibn Mahbub,(3) on the authority of Ishaq ibn Ghalib(4) from Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq (as), a sermon in which the status and the attributes of the Imams (as) has been described:
Surely, Allah, the Mighty and High, elucidated His religion through the Imams of guidance from the Household of our Prophet (S). He has made His path shine through them. He has opened the hidden sources of His Knowledge through them. From the Ummah of Muhammad (S), whoever recognises the obligatory right of his Imam has found the sweetness of the faith. He has also come to know the brilliance of his Islam, because Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has appointed the Imam as a banner for His creation.
He has made the Imam a proof over His bounties and His universe. Allah has dressed him with the crown of honour and has covered him with the light of the Almighty. Due to this the Imam has support from the heavens. The bounties are never disconnected from him. No one can reach what is with Allah except through the Imam.
Allah does not accept the deeds of His servants without the recognition of the Imam. He knows what may come to him of the obscurities of the darkness, the puzzles of the practices and the doubts of the temptations.
Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, always chooses an Imam for His creation, one after the other from the sons of al-Husayn. He selects them. He is pleased with His creation through them and approves of them. Whenever an Imam passes away from them then Allah appoints for His creation another one as a clear sign, illuminating guide, right leader and learned proof.
The Imams are from Allah. They guide to the righteousness and judge with justice. They are the proofs of Allah and they call towards Him. They are His custodians in His creation. The people owe them their guidance. They give light to the civilisations. The inherited possessions grow due to their blessing. Allah has made them a means of life for mankind. They are lights in the darkness, the keys of speech and the pillars of Islam. Due to them, the extents of Allah flow in them for that which is ordained.
Therefore, the Imam is the chosen and the selected. He is the saviour guide. He is the awaited one who will rise. Allah has chosen him for that. When He created the Imam, He created him as His special creation. Before He created the creation, He created the Imams under the right side of His throne in a state that
He granted them the wisdom of His unseen knowledge. He chose them for His Knowledge due to their purification.
The Imams were to remain from Adam (as) and they were the best of the children of Nuh (as). They were the chosen ones from the progeny of Ibrahim (as) from the children of Isma’il. They are the chosen ones from the progeny of Muhammad (S). They are always observed by Allah’s vision. They are protected and preserved by Allah’s cover. The tricks of Iblis (Satan) and his army are pushed away from them.
The hollow darknesses and the effusions of every unjust are kept away from them. The evil loathers are diverted from them. They are free from all imperfections and protected from all (spiritual) calamities. They are infallible of all errors and protected from every indecency. In their young age they are known for their forbearance and goodness. In their old age they are ascribed with chastity, knowledge and virtue. They support the command of their fathers, while keeping quiet during the lives of their fathers.
When the period of their father ends and the Divine Will ends with him, and the Divine Intent comes to him for His love and his father departs from this world, then the command of Allah transfers to him. Allah then makes His religion follow him and makes him the proof over His servants. Allah raises the Imam in His land and endorses him with His spirit. He gives the Imam His Knowledge and informs
him of His conclusive explanation. He entrusts His secret with the Imam and assigns him the greatest command.
Allah informs the Imam with the virtue of the explanation of His Knowledge. He raises the Imam as a banner for His creation and makes him a proof over the inhabitants of His universe. He makes him a light for the followers of His religion and a custodian over His servants. Allah is pleased with him as the Imam for them. He entrusts His secret with the Imam and places His Knowledge with him.
He reveals His Wisdom to the Imam and observes him for His religion. Allah revives the courses of His path, divine duties and the divine law through the Imam. The Imam rises with justice with dismay of the ignorant and baffle of the controversial. He stands with radiant light, practical cure, shining truth and flourishing explanations. He stands on the right path, upon which his forefathers, the truthful, passed.
None but the mischievous ignore the right of such a learned Imam. None but the misled reject them. No one turns away from them except that he rebels against Allah, the Mighty and High.(1)
Indeed, every sentence of this noble sermon requires detailed explanation. We suffice with a few points:
Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) made ‘the Imams of guidance’ the topic of his sermon to clarify the necessity of the existence of the Imam for the people:
(Remember) the day when We will call every people with their Imam.(2)
The divine leader of the
people must be the leader of guidance. As Allah, the Exalted says:
And We made of them Imams to guide by Our command.(1)
You are only a warner and (there is) a guide for every people.(2)
The recognition of the Imam of guidance is based on the recognition of guidance. Recognition of guidance requires contemplation upon the verses of the Book that have come about this topic, which exceed two hundred and ninety verses. This short book does not allow us to explain them.
The guidance is perfection for the creation: He said:
Our Lord is He Who gave to everything its creation, then guided it (to its goal).(3)
Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High, Who creates, then makes complete, and Who makes (things) according to a measure, then guides (them to their goal).(4)
The guidance of every created being is in accordance with its creation. Therefore as the human being is the best of creation, then his guidance is the highest level of the perfection of all creations.
The Imam (as) has explained the greatness of the status of divine leadership by describing them as the Imams of guidance. In fact, he has clarified the specific characteristics of the Imam and what are the requirements of this status for those who observe and reflect.
After a brief summary the Imam (as) goes into detail. He explained the position of the divine leader [Imam] in the divine religion. The Imam is the interpreter of the principles of faith and its branches,
because Allah, the Exalted, has not endorsed the views of the creation, which are open to error and dispute. Error and dispute in religion are two calamities that invalidate the purpose of divine law and these two engulf the people into the darkness of misguidance.
In fact, Allah, the Exalted, has not left a single iota of ambiguity and discrepancy about the principles of His faith and its branches which the Imams of guidance have not explained. As the Imam (as) said: Surely, Allah, the Mighty and High, elucidated His religion through the Imams of guidance from the Household of our Prophet (S).
The human being, in accordance with his nature, seeks his Exalted Creator. The goal of this nature is not achieved except by sincerely reaching the path to Allah, which is the right religion: Say:
This is my way: I call to Allah, I and those who follow me being certain.(1)
The factors that led astray from the religion of Allah, the Exalted, are present in every age, like human error and desire, and the misleaders from Allah’s path from the jinn and man: And follow not (other) ways, for they will lead you away from His way;(2) They have taken a small price for the communications of Allah, so they turn away from His way; surely evil is it that they do.(3) Thus, the presence of an Imam is necessary to fulfil the purpose of creating this nature—that is to reach Allah—and legislating the right path—that is the religion and
the way to Allah—when he (as) said: He has made His path shine through them.
The purpose of creating the human intellect is to make him realise the reality of knowledge and recognition. The human being demands with the tongue of his nature, from the Giver of wisdom and perception: O Lord, show me the things as they are. Give me self-recognition and make me realise my origination, my presence in this world and my end.
The thirst of human perception is not quenched except by the spring of life of divine knowledge. Otherwise, the result of the human philosophy is also confusion of the perfect beings, which is that they should know that they do not know.
Hence, it is necessary that there be a human being who has access to the spring of life and sources of knowledge and wisdom to quench the thirst of reaching the reality by his own hand. Only thus the purpose of creating wisdom and perception is fulfilled. For this reason, the Imam (as) has said in a reliable citation: Whoever believes that Allah protests through a servant in His land, but hides from him all that which he requires then he has related falsehood to Allah.(1)
Undoubtedly, the belief that Allah has made a human being a proof over His servants, that He has covered from His proof what His servants are in need of and that He does not teach him, is an accusation upon Allah, the Exalted. This notion has originated from their not
knowing the endless Knowledge, Power and Wisdom. Thus, the Imam (as) said: He has opened the hidden sources of His Knowledge through them.
Allah has dressed him with the crown of honour. The crown of dignity, which is on the head of the Imam (as), is knowledge and power. Thus, it has been reported from Abu al-Hasan al-Rida (as) that when asked about the signs of the Imam (as) he replied: His knowledge and the acceptance of his prayer.(1)
This sign is because the origin of disarray and insignificance in human beings is ignorance and incapability. Since the Imam is the teacher of the Book of Allah, and he does not separate from it on the basis of the stipulation in the tradition of the Two Weighty Things, and the Book explains everything in accordance with the Word of the Exalted:
And We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything;(2)
therefore, no knowledge from the knowledge of the Divine Book escapes him.
This point can be derived from a reliable tradition: It is reported on the authority of Ibn Bukayr from Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Sadiq (as) that, “I was with the Imam when Sulayman was mentioned to him and the knowledge he was given and the kingdom he was bestowed. Thus, the Imam (as) said to me: What was given to Sulayman ibn Dawud? Surely, he only had one word from the great names. And as for your master for whom Allah has said:
Say: Allah is sufficient as a witness between
me and you and whoever has knowledge of the entire Book.(1)
By Allah, ‘Ali had the knowledge of the complete Book. I said: By Allah, you are saying the truth. May I be your ransom!”(2)
Thus, due to the connection with Allah’s affair, the Imam has every prayer granted to him. With this knowledge and power, he is dressed with the crown of honour.
Allah has covered him with the light of the Almighty. The word ‘light’ is annexed to the Holy Name ‘Almighty’. The annexation to any divine name acquires its qualities simply due to the annexation.
Allah is the Almighty who restores every broken thing: O Setter of broken bones.(3)
The Imam is covered with the light of the Almighty so that he can restore every break or defect regarding Islam and the Muslims.
The Imams are from Allah. They guide to the righteousness and judge with justice. The Imam is the chosen human being from Allah, the Exalted. He is the selected one by Allah’s selection and raised by Allah for the divine leadership and guidance. Thus, when an Imam passes away then Allah appoints another one in his place as a clear sign, illuminating guide, right leader and learned proof to serve the purpose of human creation and the sending of the Prophets (as). That purpose can be summarised in two expressions: guidance to the righteous and justice for the righteous. These two are the outcome of the theoretical and practical wisdom, and the conclusion of human perfection in intellect and
These two matters are ascertained through intellect, that understands things as they are, and through intent that rises for every action as it should. This is the status of intellectual and practical infallibility, and why the Imam (as) said: The Imams are from Allah. They guide to righteousness and judge with justice.
Allah has chosen him for that. When He created the Imam, He created him as His special creation. Allah made the intrinsic nature of the Imam under the right side of His throne. Allah nurtured him with His vision and grants him the wisdom to His unseen knowledge. There is no course for anyone to it:
Except to him whom He chooses as an apostle.(1)
In this origination, as for lineage, the Imams are from the best of the progeny of Nuh (as), from the chosen ones of the children of Ibrahim (as), from the selected ones of the offspring of Isma’il (as) and the most sincere from the progeny of Muhammad (S). In their physical form, the Imams are free from all deficiencies, and in their spirit they are infallible from all errors and protected from all sins.
Iblis (Satan) has been kept away from their holy beings as he has been quoted:
Then by Thy Might I will surely make them all live an evil life, except Thy servants from among them, the purified ones.(2)
This is due to the honour that has come their way under the shadow of Allah’s service:
Surely, as regards My servants, you have
no authority over them.(1)
The speech of the Imam (as): then the command of Allah transfers to him indicates that the command of Allah transfers from the former Imam to the subsequent one. This command is that which has come in an authentic tradition from al-Sadiq (as): Surely, Allah is One, Unified in Oneness. He is Peerless in His Command. Thus, He created a creation to whom He gave power over that command. O son of Abu Ya’fur, we are that creation. We are the proofs of Allah over His servants. We store His Knowledge and we are firm with it.(2)
Allah endorses him with His spirit. The spirit that Allah has endorsed the Imam with is explained in the authentic tradition reported on the authority of Abu Basir saying: I heard Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) saying:
And they ask you about the soul. Say: The soul is one of the commands of my Lord.(3)
The Imam (as) said: This (soul) is superior to (the angels) Jibra’il and Mika’il. It was not with anyone who has passed away except Muhammad (S) and it is with the Imams (as). It directs them. It is not that whatever is demanded is found.(4)
He gives the Imam His Knowledge. It has come in an authentic tradition from Abu Ja’far (as) saying: Surely, Allah has Knowledge that no one knows other than Him and He has knowledge that He has given to His angels, His prophets and His messengers. Thus, we have all that. He then pointed
to his chest.(1)
He entrusts His secret with the Imam. It has come in an authentic tradition reported on the authority of Mu’ammar ibn Khalad from Abu al-Hasan (as) that: The knower cannot inform of what he knows because it is a secret of Allah. He gave the secret to Jibra’il (as). Jibra’il brought it to Muhammad (S) and Muhammad (S) gave it to whomever Allah willed.(2)
Allah is pleased with them as the Imams for them. Undoubtedly, the Ummah needs an Imam. The Imam must be one with whom Allah is pleased. However, who is the Imam with whom Allah is pleased?
Between knowledge and ignorance, Allah is pleased with knowledge:
Say: Are those who know and those who do not know alike?(3)
Between safety and calamity, He is pleased with safety:
With it Allah guides him who will follow His pleasure into the ways of safety.(4)
Between wisdom and foolishness, He is pleased with wisdom:
He grants wisdom to whom He pleases, and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good.(5)
Between justice and injustice, He is pleased with justice:
Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good.(6)
Between truth and falsehood, He is pleased with truth:
And say: The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing).(7)
Between right and wrong, He is pleased with right:
They shall not speak except he whom the Beneficent permits and who speaks the right thing.(8)
Therefore, Allah would only be
pleased with an Imam for the Ummah who has the attributes which Allah is pleased with. Amongst those attributes are knowledge, justice, safety, wisdom, righteousness, truth and guidance.
From another angle, we see that choosing the best is liked by Allah, the Exalted:
Therefore give good news to My servants, those who listen to the word, then follow the best of it.(1)
Allah also orders to take hold of the best:
And enjoin your people to take hold of what is best thereof.(2)
He commands for the best speech:
And say to My servants (that) they speak that which is best.(3)
He commands to have disputations—if need be—in the best manner:
And have disputations with them in the best manner.(4)
When it is necessary, repel and reject in the best way:
Repel evil by what is best.(5)
Allah rewards for the best deeds:
And We will most certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did.(6)
He reveals that which is best:
Allah has revealed the best announcement.(7)
Now then, is it possible that He would choose someone for divine leadership who is not the best, the most perfect, the most virtuous, the most learned, the most just, etc. and someone who does not contain the noble characteristics mentioned in the tradition?
The necessity of commanding to follow the best is that the best be followed. Then how can it be logical that Allah would be pleased with the leadership and obedience of someone who is not the best?
And who is
better than Allah to judge for a people who are sure?(1)
Hence, the Imam (as) has said: Allah assigns him the greatest command. He informs the Imam with the virtue of the explanation of His Knowledge. He raises the Imam as a banner for His creation and makes him a proof over the inhabitants of His universe. He makes them a light for the followers of His religion and a custodian over His servants. Allah is pleased with them as the Imams for His creation.
The Shi’ahs (Followers) of the Twelve Imams (as) (Shi’at al-A’immat al-Ithnai ‘Ashar)
According to the commentaries of the Sunnis and Shi’ahs,(2) the Shi’ahs of the Household (as) are the ones for whom this verse is revealed, the Exalted said:
..(As for) those who believe and do good, surely they are the best of men.(3)
Allah, the Exalted, says:
Only Allah is your guardian and His Messenger and those who believe, keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow.(4)
According to the Shi’ah and Sunni reports and what the commentators of the two schools of thought have mentioned, this verse was revealed in praise of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali (as).(5)
After this verse, the Glorified said:
And whoever takes Allah and His Messenger and those who believe for a guardian, then surely the party of Allah are they that shall be triumphant.(6)
It is reported that Nawf al-Bakali said to the Commander of the Faithful (as): O Commander of the Faithful, describe for me your Shi’ahs. Thus, ‘Ali
(as) cried for his Shi’ahs and then said: O Nawf, my Shi’ahs by Allah, are the forbearing, the learned about Allah and His religion, abiding His obedience and His Command.(1)
Allah, the Glorified, said:
And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly company are they.(2)
The Shi’ahs are on the religion of their Imams (as). Their religion is piety, chastity, truthfulness, goodness, striving, honesty with just and unjust, lengthy prostrations, nightly prayers, refraining from forbidden acts, awaiting the relief with patience, keeping good company, being good to neighbours…(3)
The Shi’ahs are people free from evil morals and adorned with noble deeds. In this brief work, we will suffice with the mention of two traditions regarding evil and noble deeds. Their every sentence contains doors of practical wisdom for whoever contemplates upon them; albeit this is not the place to explain them.
The Commander of the Faithful (as) said to a man who asked him to admonish him:
Do not be like him who hopes for (bliss in) the next life without action, and delays repentance by lengthening desires, who utters words like ascetics in this world but acts like those who are eager for it. If he is allowed something from it he does not feel satisfied and if he is denied he is not content.
He is not grateful for what he begets and covets for an increase in
whatever remains with him. He refrains others but not himself. He commands others for what he himself does not do. He loves the virtuous but does not behave like them. He hates the vicious but himself is one of them. He dislikes death because of the excess of his sins, but adheres to that for which he is afraid of death.
If he falls ill he feels ashamed. If he is healthy he feels secure and indulges in amusements. When he recovers from illness he feels vain about himself. When he is afflicted he loses hope. If distress befalls him he prays like a bewildered man. When he finds ease of life he falls into deceit and turns his face away. His heart overpowers him by means of imaginary things, while he cannot control his heart by his conviction.
For others he is afraid of small sins, but for himself he expects more reward than his performance. If he becomes wealthy he becomes self-conscious and falls into vice. If he becomes poor he despairs and becomes weak. He is brief when he is doing good things, but goes too far when he is begging. When passion overtakes him he is quick in committing sin but delays repentance. If hardship befalls him he goes beyond the canons of the (Islamic) community.
He describes instructive events but does not take instruction himself. He preaches at length but does not accept any preaching for himself. He is tall in speaking but short in action. He
aspires for things that will perish and ignores things that will last for good. He regards profit as loss and loss as profit. He fears death but does nothing in its anticipation.
He regards the sins of others as big but considers the same things for himself as small. If he does something in obedience to Allah he considers it much but if others do the same he considers it small. He therefore rebukes others but flatters himself. Entertainment in the company of the wealthy is dearer to him than remembrance (of Allah) with the poor.
He orders others for his own interests and does not do so against himself for others’ interests. He guides others but misguides himself. He is obeyed by others but he himself disobeys (Allah). He seeks fulfilment of obligations (towards himself) but does not fulfil his obligations (towards others). He fears the people (and acts) for other than his Lord and does not fear his Lord in his dealings with the people.(1)
It has come in the authentic report of ‘Abd Allah ibn Bukayr from Abu ‘Abd Allah Ja’far ibn Muhammad, blessings of Allah be upon them both, saying:
We indeed love our Shi’ah, the ones who are wise, understanding, learned, forbearing, moderate, patient, truthful and honest. He then added: Surely, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, has distinguished the prophets with excellence in conduct. Whoever has this trait should thank Allah for it. Whoever does not have this trait should beseech Allah for it. The reporter says: I
said: May I be your ransom, what is that? He replied: Piety, contentment, patience, thankfulness, forbearance, chastity, generosity, courageousness, zeal, goodness, truthfulness and honesty.(1)
Below, we explain these characteristics.
The Imam (as) gave precedence to wisdom, because wisdom is the pillar of humanity.(2)
It is reported from the Messenger of Allah (S): Allah has not given anything better than wisdom to the servants. Hence, a wise person’s sleep is better than an ignorant one’s vigilance. A wise person’s state of not fasting is better than the fast of an ignorant. The stay of a wise is better than the travel of an ignorant. Allah does not send a messenger or a prophet unless he is complete in wisdom and his wisdom is better than that of all of his people.
A prophet keeps in himself better efforts than all the diligent. The wise do not fulfil the obligations of Allah without wisdom. None of the worshippers can ever reach the level of the virtue of the worship of the wise. Indeed the wise are those who possess understanding and for whom Allah, the Mighty and High has said: Only those possessed of understanding will mind(3).(4)
The Imam (as) ended with the keeping of promises. It is reported from Abu Malik that: I said to ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (as): Inform me of all the religion. He (as) replied: Saying the truth, ruling with justice and keeping the promise.(5)
It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) said: Allah does not permit anyone of the people
to go against three things: being kind to parents whether they are good or evil, keeping promise to those good and evil, and honesty to good and evil.(1)
It has come in an authentic tradition on the authority of Abu Ja’far (as) from his father (as) that: Whoever has four characteristics his Islam is complete, he will be purified of his sins and he will meet his Lord, the Mighty and High, in a state when He is pleased with him: He who keeps his promise with people for the sake of Allah, the Mighty and High, whose tongue utters truth with people, who feels diffidence of doing any evil before Allah and the people, and whose manner with his family is good.(2)
It is transmitted from Abu Ja’far (as) that: Four things cause rapid punishment: a person, to whom you have carried out a favour, recompenses you with evil; a man who you do not do any wrong to treats you unjustly; a person with whom you made a promise on a matter, then you kept your promise with him but he betrayed his promise; and a person whose relatives establish ties with him but he breaks ties with them.(3)
Al-Sadiq (as) has transmitted from his forefathers (as) that: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: The closest one of you to me tomorrow will be the most truthful, the most honest, the most complete in keeping promise, the best in conduct and the closest one to the people.(4)
Imam Ali (as) in his
will to al-Ashtar said: Beware of bragging over your subjects for having done good to them or exaggerating in doing something that was your duty or making promises then breaking them, because bragging nullifies good, exaggerating takes away the light of truth and breaking the promise causes hate from Allah and the people. Allah, the Exalted, says: It is most hateful to Allah that you should say that which you do not do(1).(2)
The Imam (as) then described the excellence in conduct, which is:
It has come in a reliable [muaththaq] tradition on the authority of ‘Amr ibn Sa’id ibn Hilal al-Thaqafi from Abu Abd Allah (as) that: I said to him, “I only see you once in a few years. Tell me something that I should abide by.” Thus, he (as) said: I prescribe to you God-wariness, piety and diligence. Beware that diligence is not useful unless there is piety with it.(3)
In an authentic tradition from Abu ‘Abd Allah (as), it has come: We do not count a person to be a believer until he intentionally obeys all of our commands. Beware, indeed obeying our command intentionally is piety. Therefore, beautify yourselves with it. May Allah have mercy on you. Inflict our enemies with piety, may Allah raise you.(4)
The Commander of the Faithful (as) was asked, “Which of the deeds is the best before Allah?” He replied: Total submission and piety.(5)
It is reported from Abu ‘Abd Allah ibn Muhammad Ja’far (as) that he said: Be God-wary, be God-wary, upon you is
piety, truthfulness, honesty, chastity of stomach and private-parts. You will be with us in the highest escort.(1)
It is transmitted from Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) that he said: Among the calls of Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, to Musa (as) was: O Musa, the close ones to Me do not do anything to become close to Me other than remain pious and refrain from forbidden things. For, I will certainly permit them to Paradise and will not place anyone with them.(2)
It is reported from ‘Ali (as) that: Contentment is as good as estate and good moral is as good as a blessing. He (as) was asked about the Word of the Exalted: We shall revive him with a good life.(3) He replied: It is contentment.(4)
It is reported from Al-Sadiq (as) that: Whoever is content with his share is at rest from grief, lying and trouble. Whoever has lack of contentment has an increase in desire and greed. Desiring the world is the origin of all evil. The one who has desire and greed cannot be saved from Hell unless he repents.
This is why the Prophet (S) said: Contentment is a sovereignty that does not come to an end and the pleasure of Allah, the Exalted, rides it. It carries the content to his abode. Therefore, have trust in Allah in what you do not have and be pleased with what He has given you. Have patience in what afflicts you because that is a determined matter.(5)
It is reported from Abu al-Hasan
al-Rida (as) that he said: He who is only content with abundant sustenance, then it is not sufficient for him to do anything but abundant deeds. He who is content with humble sustenance, then it is sufficient for him to do small deeds.(1)
It is reported on the authority of Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) that the Commander of the Faithful (as) said: O son of Adam, if you want from this world only that which will suffice you, then the slightest of what is in it will suffice you. And if you want more than that which will suffice you, then all that which is in it will not suffice you.(2)
Abu Ja’far (as) said: Beware of aspiring he who is above you for Allah, the Mighty and High, says to His Prophet (S):
And let not their property and their children excite your admiration;(3)
and He says:
And do not stretch your eyes after that with which We have provided different classes of them, (of) the splendour of this world’s life.(4)
If you get any of that then remember the life of the Messenger of Allah (S), because his food was barley, his sweet was dates and his fuel was palm leaves, if he obtained that.(5)
Al-Rida (as) related from his forefathers (as) saying: Abu Ayyub Khalid ibn Zayd came to the Messenger of Allah (S) and said: O Messenger of Allah, admonish me in short words so that I may memorise them. The Prophet (S) stated: I advise you of five
things: Be hopeless of what is in the hands of people, as that is self-sufficiency. Beware of greed, because it brings poverty. Perform your prayers as your farewell (from the world). Be careful of what you give as an excuse, and choose for your brother what you choose for yourself.(1)
Allah, the Exalted, said:
O you who believe! Take assistance through patience and prayer.(2)
It has come in an authentic tradition on the authority of al-Fadl from Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Sadiq (as) that: Patience is to faith like the head is to the body. Therefore, if the head goes so does the body. Similarly, if patience parts so does faith.(3)
It is related on the authority of Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) that the Messenger of Allah stated: A time will come when a king will not become a king except by killing and oppression, a wealthy will not become wealthy except by usurping and miserliness, and no one would be able to love except by losing faith and following evil desire. Whoever reaches such a time, then he must have patience over poverty even if he can become wealthy, he must have patience over dislike even if he can love, and he must have patience over humility even if he can have dignity. Allah will bestow such a person with the reward of fifty truthful ones who have testified for me.(4)
An authentic tradition from Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) from the Messenger of Allah (S) states: Allah, the Mighty and High, said: I have
indeed made this world a loan for my servants. Therefore, whichever one of my servants gives me a loan, whatever I like I give ten times to seven hundred times in place of one. However, if he does not give me a loan then I take away from him something by force. If he shows patience over it then I give him three virtues, of which if I gave even one of to my angels they would be pleased with Me for it.
Then Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) recited the Word of Allah, the Mighty and High: Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return. Those are they on whom are blessings; this is one of the three, and mercy from their Lord, this is second, and those are the followers of the right course,(1) and this the third. Then the Imam (as) stated: This is for someone from whom Allah takes away something by force.(2)
In an authentic tradition Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) says: Be patient upon difficulties, excel in patience upon obligations, and remain steadfast about the Imams (as).(3)
It is related from al-Rida (as) that: On the Day of Judgement a caller will call, ‘Where are the ones who were patient?’ Hence, a group of people will rise. Then the caller will call again, ‘Where are the ones who took patience?’ Then another group of people will rise. The narrator said: May I be your ransom, what are the
patient and those who took patience? The Imam (as) replied: The first group are the ones who were patient upon fulfilling their obligations and the second group are the ones who refrained from the forbidden acts.(1)
It is related on the authority of ‘Ali (as) saying: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: Patience is of three types: patience upon hardships, over obedience and against sins. Whoever has patience upon hardship, until he fights it with good commemoration then Allah writes for him three hundred levels of reward, the difference between each level is like the distance between the heavens and the earth. Whoever has patience over obedience, Allah writes for him six hundred levels of reward, the difference between each level is the distance between the boundaries of the earth to the empyrean. Whoever has patience against sins, Allah writes for him nine hundred levels of reward. The difference between each level is the distance between the boundaries of the earth to the end of the empyrean.(2)
Allah, the Exalted, said:
Why should Allah chastise you if you are grateful and believe? And Allah is the Multiplier of rewards, Omniscient.(3)
There surely came over man a period of time when he was a thing not worth mentioning. Surely We have created man from a small life-germ uniting (itself): We mean to try him, so We have made him hearing, seeing. Surely We have shown him the way: he may be thankful or unthankful.(4)
Give thanks, O family of Dawud! And very few
of My servants are grateful.(1)
Grateful for His favours; He chose him and guided him on the right path.(2)
It is related on the authority of Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) that: Allah, the Mighty and High, revealed to Musa (as): O Musa, thank Me the way I deserved to be thanked. Musa (as) asked: O my Lord, how do I thank You the way You deserve to be thanked, because each time I thank You that is in itself a blessing from You? Allah answered: O Musa, now you have thanked Me when you have come to know that even the direction for thanking to thank Me is from Me.(3)
In an authentic tradition on the authority of Isma’il ibn al-Fadl saying: Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) said: When you begin your morning or evening then say ten times: O Allah, whatever blessing You have bestowed upon me this morning and any well-being in my religion or worldly affairs is from You alone. You have no partners. All praise is for You. O Lord, I am grateful to You for everything for this until You become pleased and even after You are pleased.
If You say this then you have performed your gratitude for the blessings that Allah has blessed you with in that day and night.(4)
In another authentic tradition on the authority of Hafs ibn al-Bakhtari that Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) said: Prophet Nuh (as) used to say this prayer(5) when he began his morning. Hence, he (as) was titled a very
grateful servant. He (as) then added: The Messenger of Allah (S) said: Whoever trusts Allah is saved.(1)
It is related on the authority of al-Sadiq (as) on the authority of his forefathers (as) saying: A person who is not fasting and is thankful has the recompense of a fasting person whose fast is rewarded. A healthy thanking person has the reward of an ill that has patience, and charitable thankful person has the reward of a disadvantaged content one.(2)
In an authentic tradition from Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Sadiq (as) that he said to one of his students, “O Mu’awiyyah, whoever obtains three things will not be deprived of three things, whoever obtains prayer will be granted the answer, whoever obtains gratitude will be granted more, and whoever obtains trust in Allah will be granted sufficiency. Indeed, Allah, the Mighty and High, says in His Book: And whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him;(3) He also says: If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more,(4) and He says: Call upon Me, I will answer you (5).”(6)
Forbearance is to control oneself from outburst of rage, and balance of the faculty of anger.
It is related on the authority of Al-Rida (as) saying: A person cannot become a true worshipper until he becomes forbearing.(7)
It is related on the authority of Abu Ja’far al-Baqir (as) that: ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (as) used to say: A man who forbears at the time of anger amazes me.(8)
It is also related on the authority of Abu
Ja’far (as) that: Indeed, Allah, the Mighty and High, loves the modest and the forbearing.(1)
It is related on the authority of the Commander of the Faithful (as) that: There is no honour more elevating than forbearance.(2)
It is related from al-Rabi’, an attendant of al-Mansur, the caliph that: Al-Mansur said to al-Sadiq (as), “Relate to me a tradition from yourself that I may be admonished from it, and it may be an obstacle for me from grave offenses.” Thus, al-Sadiq (as) said: You must abide by forbearance, because it is a pillar of knowledge. Hold yourself at the time of showing power because if you do what you have power over then you are as if you have given life to anger or given health to hatred or you like to be remembered with tyranny. You must know that if you punish someone who deserves it, then you will be described as just and I do not know a state better than the state of justice. A state that causes thankfulness is better than a state that causes patience. Al-Mansur said, “You have admonished me and what a nice job you have done. You have said it concisely.”(3)
It is related on the authority of ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (as) that: Allah does not like any swallowing better than two swallowings: swallowing of anger when a beliver resists it through forbearance and swallowing of distress when a believer resists it through patience.(4)
It is related on the authority of Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) that:
Whoever has three qualities in him, his faith is complete: he who has patience when oppressed, suppresses his anger, and reckoned but forgives and forgets, then he is amongst those who Allah will enter in the Paradise without account and will intercede for the good and bad.(1)
It is in the will of the Commander of the Faithful (as) to his son al-Hasan (as): O my son, wisdom is a friend of man, forbearance is his assistant, friendliness is his father and patience is his best soldier.(2)
The word of the Exalted is sufficient regarding the significance of forbearance:
And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo! He between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend. And none are made to receive it but those who are patient, and none are made to receive it but those who have a mighty good fortune.(3)
Modesty is to take hold of oneself from shameful deeds.
It is related on the authority of Mu’adh ibn Kathir from one of the two (as) that: Modesty and faith are combined together. If one of them leaves the other one follows.(4)
It is related on the authority of Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: If someone has four qualities in him and even if he was full of sins from his neck to the feet, then Allah will change them to good deeds: truthfulness, modesty, good conduct and thankfulness.(5)
It is related
on the authority of Ja’far ibn Muhammad (as) that he related from his father (as) that his forefathers (as) related saying: the Messenger of Allah (S) said: Generous is close to Allah, close to people, and close to the Paradise. On the contrary, the miser is far from Allah, far from people, and far from the Hell.(1)
Here conclude the noble ethics which every Shi’ah must have. Whoever desires perfection in humanistic virtues must ponder upon the words of the infallible Household (as), and in the implications of their traditions. They are the mines of knowledge and wisdom. We will mention three traditions here:
It is related from the Prophet (S) that: The faith of a believer does not attain completion until he embraces one hundred and three attributes in action, practice, intention, hidden and apparent.
The Commander of the Faithful (as) asked: O Messenger of Allah (S), what are those one hundred and three attributes?
The Prophet (S) said: O ‘Ali (as), among the attributes of a believer are that his thinking is free, his report is inherent, his knowledge is immense, and his forbearance is great. He is nice in discord and generous at request. He is the most open-hearted of people and most humble in spirit. A believer’s laugh is through his smile. His gathering is training. He reminds the negligent and teaches the ignorant. He does not hurt the ones that hurt him and does not tackle a subject that is not his. He does not rejoice at misfortune and
does not backbite anyone. He is clear from forbidden acts and upright from doubts.
He gives plenty, but harms less. He is an aid for the stranger and a father to the orphan. His joy is on his face and his grief is in his heart. He is cheerful in poverty. He is sweeter than honey and harder than rock. He does not reveal a secret and does not tear down the cover. A believer has subtle movements and pleasant views. He worships much. He is respectful, sociable and silent. He is forbearing when unrecognised and extremely patient with the ones who harm him.
He honours the elderly and has mercy upon the small. He is honest when trusted and far from disloyalty. His friend is piety and his oath is chastity. A believer has much caution and fewer faults. His movements are manners and his speech is amazing. He holds his slips and does not follow on defectiveness.
He is dignified, patient, content, thankful, quiet, truthful, kind, virtuous, forbearing, gentle, pure and distinguished. He does not accuse or lie, nor does he backbite or swear. He is neither envious nor miserly. He is cheerful and smiling. He is neither sensitive nor spying.
He aims for the best of the matters and more brilliant of the ethics. He is comprised in Allah’s protection and supported with Allah’s direction. He is resilient and firm with certainty. He does not harm the one who hates him and does not sin with the one
he loves. He is patient in difficulties. He does not oppress nor act outrageously. He does not act with greed. Poverty is his motto and patience is his mantle. He has modest expense and is incredibly helpful. He fasts excessively, stands long in prayers, and sleeps little.
His heart is devout and his knowledge is pure. When he overpowers, he forgives and when he promises, he fulfils. He fasts with desire and prays with respect. He carries out his act with goodness as if he sees it. He lowers his glance. He is generous, does not reject who asks, and is not miserly to one who requires something. He keeps kinship with brothers and continuously performs good deeds.
His speech is balanced and he speaks quietly. A believer neither drowns in hatred nor is destroyed in love. He does not accept falsehood from his friends nor does he reject righteousness from his enemy. He does not learn except for knowing and does not know except for practicing. His resentment is minute and his gratitude is plenty. In the day he seeks sustenance and at night he cries over his mistakes.
If he enters upon a course with worldly people, he is the nicest of them, and if he enters upon a course with Godly people, he is the most godfearing of them. He is not satisfied with any doubtful thing in his income and does not compromise in his religion. He is compassionate over his brother in errors and protects what
has passed of his old friendship.(1)
It is related on the authority of ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-’Abidin (as) that: If you see a person whose manner and direction are good, his speech is calm, and his actions are humble, then do not hasten to be deceived by him. There are many people who are incapable of obtaining the world and from mounting onto that which is prohibited due to the weakness of their determination, their contempt and their cowardice. Thus, they display their religion as a trap for obtaining the world. They mingle with the people for showing off and when it is possible for them, they dive into the prohibited.
If you find him abstaining from forbidden wealth then do not hasten to be deceived by him, because the desires of people are different. There are many people who distance themselves from forbidden wealth, even if it is plenty. However, they cannot control their lust and if they are faced with it, they commit the prohibited.
If you see him abstaining from lust, then do not hasten to be deceived by him until you see his wisdom, because there are many people who abstain from that. However, they do not have firm wisdom. Thus, they cause more mischief due to their ignorance than virtue due to their wisdom.
If you discover him to have firm wisdom then do not hasten to be deceived by him, unless you see if his desires are in control of his wisdom or if his wisdom is
in control of his desires. Does he love evil ranks or abstain from them? There are many people who lose both this world and the hereafter by abstaining from worldly rank for the sake of this world. They find the joy of evil rank to be better than the joy of wealth and permissible bounties. They refrain from all those seeking rank. And when it is said to him to fear Allah, then pride carries him off to sin, therefore hell is sufficient for him; and certainly it is an evil resting place.(1)
He acts rashly; the first evil leads him to extreme loss. His Lord pulls him after demanding from him what he cannot do in his sin. He makes legal that which Allah made forbidden and makes illegal that which Allah made permissible. He does not care about what he overlooks from his religion if he reaches the rank for which he was pretending to be pious. They it is upon whom are Allah’s wrath and curse, and He has promised them a disgraceful punishment.
On the contrary, he is truly the best person who makes his desires subservient to the command of Allah and makes every effort to please Allah. He sees humiliation in the company of truth closer to eternal honour than honour in the company of falsehood. He knows that the bad times he goes through in this world will result in the eternal blessing of an abode which will not perish or come to an end.
Similarly, he knows that the good times he will see due to following his evil desires will cause him to face a punishment that will not end or decline. Thus, such a person is a good person. Grab hold of such a person and follow his way. Through him find access to your Lord, because God does not reject his prayer and does not disappoint his request.(1)
The Imam (as) is explaining that the criteria of human perfection are neither words and humble actions, nor abstention from desire of wealth and food. In fact, the criterion of human perfection is a wisdom purified from the grime of desire so that it can be a source of virtue and reform, and a soul that obeys Allah’s commands. It should be such that it cannot be deceived by any desire, even the desires of fame and status, that would leave honour in the company of falsehood and would choose humility in the company of truth.
A ninety-four year old man named ‘Unwan al-Basri narrates that: “I had been studying under Malik ibn Anas for a number of years. When Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) came to Madinah, I went to visit him and was interested in learning from him just as I had been learning from Malik. He said to me one day: “I am a man much sought after and am also occupied by various supplications throughout the day and the night so please do not disturb me in my state of supplication and go
and learn from Malik and study under him, just as you were doing before.”
I became sad on hearing this and left the Imam’s presence, and said to myself, “If the Imam had perceived any good in me he would not have prevented me from studying under him and learning from him.” I then went to the mosque of the Holy Prophet (S) and I gave my salutations to him, then I turned from the grave and prayed two cycles of prayer at the rawdah(1) and said supplicating Allah (SWT): “O Allah (SWT)! O Allah (SWT)! I beseech You please make Ja’far’s (as) heart incline towards me, and grant me from his knowledge that which will guide me on the right path.”
Then I returned home, sad and upset, and did not even attend Malik b. Anas’s study circles for my heart was filled only with love for Ja’far (as). I did not leave my house except to attend congregational prayers, until I finally ran out of patience. When I could bear it no longer, I put my shoes and my cloak on, and made my way to Ja’far’s (as) house after the ‘Asr (afternoon) prayer.
When I arrived at his house, I sought permission to enter, and a servant of his came out and asked me what I wanted. I replied: “I’ve come to extend my salutations to the noble one. He said that the Imam was busy praying. So I waited on the doorstep, and it wasn’t long before
the servant came out again and said: “Come in by the grace of Allah (SWT).”
So I entered and greeted the Imam, and he returned my greeting, saying: “Take a seat and may Allah (SWT) forgive you.” So I sat down. Then he bowed his head, looking down for quite a long time before he asked me my title, to which I replied: “Abu ‘Abd Allah.” He said: “May Allah (SWT) extend your progeny and enable you to succeed in doing what pleases Him.” Upon hearing this, I thought to myself that if I were to take away nothing of benefit from this visit except this prayer (that he had wished for me), it would be more than enough.
Then he bowed his head down again for a while, then raised it saying: “O Abu ‘Abd Allah, what do you want?” I replied: “I asked Allah (SWT) to give me a place in your heart and to grant me benefit from your knowledge, so I hope that Allah (SWT) will grant me what I asked Him for with respect to you.”
The Imam said: “O Abu ‘Abd Allah, knowledge is not acquired through learning. Rather it is a light that illuminates in the heart of one who wants Allah (SWT) to guide him. So if you want knowledge, first seek true servitude (to Allah (SWT)) within yourself. And seek knowledge according to its use (i.e. what you can act upon) and ask Allah (SWT) to make you understand, and He will
make you understand.”
I asked: “O noble one” and he immediately said: “Call me Abu ‘Abd Allah”, so I started again: “O Abu ‘Abd Allah, what constitutes true servitude to Allah (AS)?” He replied: “Three things, 1) that in all that Allah (SWT) has placed at his disposal, the servant does not consider any of it his own possession, for verily servants do not have the right to ownership. They see all wealth as belonging to Allah (SWT) and so they dispose of it as Allah (SWT) commands them to. 2) that the servant does not make plans for himself (i.e. does not see himself as the executer of his plans), and 3) that the servant occupies himself solely with observing what Allah (SWT) has commanded and refraining from that which He has forbidden.
So when the servant does not see any of the wealth at his disposal as his own, giving from it in the way of Allah (SWT) becomes easy for him. When the servant entrusts all his plans to the Master Planner, the tribulations of this world become insignificant in his eyes. When the servant occupies himself with observing Allah’s (SWT) commands and refraining from what He has forbidden, he no longer has time for showing off and useless debates with people.
So when Allah grants (SWT) these three characteristics to a servant, the world (i.e. worldly matters), Satan and people (and their opinions) become insignificant in his eyes, and he does not seek after worldly gains to amass
possessions, nor does he demand fame and status from people, and nor does he waste his time on futile things. This is but the first stage that the pious God-conscious ones (muttaqun) reach. Verily Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Qur’an:
“As for the future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief, and the good end is for those who are God-conscious (muttaqun).”(1)
I asked: “O Abu ‘Abd Allah, please give me some advice.” The Imam replied, “I advise you on nine issues. Know that they are my advice especially to those who strive on the path to Allah (SWT), and I beseech Allah (SWT) to help you act upon this advice. Three of them do with self-discipline, three do with clemency towards others, and three do with knowledge, so learn them well, and do not take them lightly”.
I emptied my heart of all else in order to receive this advice, and the Imam continued: “As for the three pieces of advice on self-discipline – firstly, do not eat that which you have no appetite for, for this brings about idiocy and stupidity. Secondly, do not eat unless you are hungry, and thirdly, when you do eat, eat only that which is lawful (halal) and begin in the Name of Allah (SWT), and remind yourself of the tradition of the Prophet (S): “There is no vessel that man fills worse than his own stomach.” So if you must
fill it, then allow one third of it for food, another third for drink, and keep the last third for air.
The three pieces of advice to do with clemency are – firstly, if someone were to say to you: ‘If you dare say a word, I’ll give you ten back,’ then you should be such as to reply, ‘Even if you say ten words, you will not hear a single one back from me.’ Secondly, when someone insults you, say: ‘If you are right in what you are saying, then may Allah (SWT) forgive me for it, and if you are wrong then may He forgive you for it.’ Thirdly, when someone treats you harshly, return it with good counsel and pray for Him.
As for the advice to do with knowledge – firstly, ask the scholars that which you are ignorant of, but do not ask them obnoxiously or testingly. Secondly, do not act based on your own opinion about something, and exercise precaution in all things wherever possible. And thirdly, beware of giving religious decrees and legal opinions as you would beware of a lion, and do not put your neck at stake for people to walk all over.
Now please take your leave O Abu ‘Abd Allah, for I have advised you, and please do not preoccupy me further from my supplications, as I am a man who does not waste his breath. ‘And peace be on him who follows the guidance.’”(1)
We will suffice by mentioning these traditions and
will not embark on their commentary because each of these traditions, in fact, each sentence of these traditions, contains treasures of knowledge and recognition. We will elaborate a sentence from this tradition, which is his (as) word: If you want knowledge, first seek true servitude within yourself.
Servitude is either relative, meaning it rotates around the subject that it is related to, or it is real, meaning it implies servitude of the essentially in need to the Self-Sufficient in essence.
Whoever knows his self, knows that his self does not belong to him and he does not control anything for himself either useful or harmful, nor does he control his death or life or rising again. He would recognise his Lord with the words of Abu ‘Abd Allah (as): None but Allah can create something out of nothing. None but Allah can transfer one substance into another. None but Allah can transfer existence into non-existence.(1)
He would learn that the relationship of everything to Allah’s Intent, other than Allah Himself, is like the relationship of shapes present in the mind to those in the surroundings. The difference between the two relationships is astonishing, as the shapes present in the mind decline with slumber and sleep, whereas people and minds are stationary due to the Everliving, the Self-subsisting, Whom slumber does not overtake nor sleep. There is no likeness of His Subsistence and Creation. However, the Glorified said:
O people! A parable is set forth, therefore listen to it: surely those whom you
call upon besides Allah cannot create a fly, though they should all gather for it, and should the fly snatch away anything from them, they could not take it back from it, weak are the invoker and the invoked.(1)
Whoever reflects upon the creation of a fly and upon the strengths and the body Allah has endowed it with, will realise that whatever other than Allah is called upon is incapable of creating its body and shape, and giving life to its dead substance. We are unable to comprehend what subtle wisdom is placed in its creation. Whoever reflects upon the incapability of the ones called upon other than Allah, that they cannot take back this weak creation, would acknowledge that they are servants that belong to Allah and have no power. The explanation of the Word of the Exalted would be understood after this verse:
They have not estimated Allah with the estimation that is due to Him; most surely Allah is Strong, Mighty,(2)
and this verse would also be understood:
There is no one in the heavens and the earth but will come to the Beneficent Allah as a servant.(3)
Whoever understands real servitude knows that it demands the reality of servitude, which takes a servant to the reality of worship. The status of the liberated people is purely for Allah. They worship Allah to thank Him and not due to fear or hope.
Those who want to perfect their souls must perceive actual servitude, and render it the right it deserves.
Its right is to find in oneself the reality of servitude, which is the key to knowledge, and it is not taught. Surely knowledge is a light, which Allah casts into the heart of whoever He wishes to guide. This is the elevation of perfection, which the servants of Allah attain through crossing the stages of knowledge of certainty, the revelation of certainty and the truth of certainty. For this reason, the Imam (as) said: If you want knowledge, first seek true servitude within yourself.
The purpose of this point is not to research into the depths of this tradition; however, it is to remind us to reflect upon the words of the infallible Household (as). We ask Allah for the direction to His servitude and worship, which is the ultimate goal of the creation. The Word of the Exalted is sufficient for the one hoping to reach the stage of servitude:
And the servants of the Beneficent Allah are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace. And they who pass the night prostrating themselves before their Lord and standing. And they who say: O our Lord! Turn away from us the punishment of Hell, surely the punishment thereof is lasting.
Surely it is an evil abode and (evil) place to stay. And they who when they spend, are neither extravagant nor parsimonious, and (keep) between these the just mean. And they who do not call upon another god with Allah and
do not slay the soul, which Allah has forbidden except in the requirements of justice, and (who) do not commit fornication and he who does this shall find a requital of sin;
The punishment shall be doubled to him on the Day of Resurrection, and he shall abide therein in abasement; Except him who repents and believes and does a good deed; so these are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And whoever repents and does good, he surely turns to Allah a (goodly) turning.
And they who do not bear witness to what is false, and when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly. And they who, when reminded of the communications of their Lord, do not fall down thereat deaf and blind.
And they who say: O our Lord! Grant us in our wives and our offspring the joy of our eyes, and make us guides to those who guard (against evil). These shall be rewarded with high places because they were patient, and shall be met therein with greetings and salutations. Abiding therein; goodly the abode and the resting-place.(1)
This is a minute piece of the immense literature that is transmitted regarding noble ethics and good manners. It is sufficient for any sensible person who wishes to perfect his soul with virtues. This little collection can take mankind to perfection.
We will end this discussion with the words of the Commander of the Faithful (as) that
describe his true followers:
It is related that a companion of the Commander of the Faithful (as) called Hammam, who was a man devoted to worship, said to him: O Commander of the Faithful, describe to me the pious man in such a way as though I may see him.
The Commander of the Faithful (as) avoided the reply and said: O Hammam, fear Allah and perform good acts because verily ‘Allah is with those who guard (themselves against evil), and those who do good (to others).’(1)
Hammam was not satisfied with this and insisted that he speak. Thereupon, the Commander of the Faithful (as) praised Allah and extolled Him and sought His blessings on the Holy Prophet (S) and then spoke: Now then, Allah the Glorified, the Sublime, created the creation. He created them without any need for their obedience or security from their sinning, because the sin of anyone who sins does not harm Him, nor does the obedience of anyone who obeys Him benefit Him. He has distributed among them their livelihood, and has assigned them their positions in the world.
Thus, the God-fearing in it are the people of distinction. Their speech is to the point, their dress is moderate and their gait is humble. They keep their eyes closed to what Allah has made unlawful for them, and they put their ears to that knowledge which is beneficial to them. They remain in the time of trials just as they remain in comfort. If there had not been fixed
periods (of life) ordained for each, their spirits would not have remained in their bodies even for the twinkling of an eye because of (their) eagerness for the reward and fear of chastisement. The greatness of the Creator is seated in their heart, and so everything else appears small in their eyes. Thus, to them Paradise is as though they see it and are enjoying its favours. To them, Hell is also as if they see it and are suffering punishment in it.
Their hearts are grieved, they are protected against evils, their bodies are thin, their needs are scanty, and their souls are chaste. They endured (hardship) for a short while and, consequently, they secured comfort for a long time. It is a beneficial transaction that Allah made easy for them. The world aimed at them, but they did not aim at it. It captured them, but they freed themselves from it by ransom.
During night they are upstanding on their feet reading portions of the Qur’an and reciting it in a well-measured way, creating through it grief for themselves and seeking by it the cure for their ailments. If they come across a verse creating eagerness (for Paradise) they pursue it avidly, and their spirits turn towards it eagerly, and they feel as if it is in front of them. Yet, when they come across a verse which contains fear (of Hell) they bend the ears of their hearts towards it, and feel as though the sound of Hell and
its cries are reaching their ears. They bend themselves from their backs, prostrate themselves on their foreheads, their palms, their knees and their toes, and beseech Allah, the Sublime, for their deliverance. During the day they are enduring, learned, virtuous and God-fearing. Fear (of Allah) has made them thin like arrows. If anyone looks at them he believes they are sick, although they are not sick, and he says that they have gone mad. In fact, great concern (i.e., fear) has made them mad.
They are not satisfied with their meagre good acts, and do not regard their major acts as great. They always blame themselves and are afraid of their deeds. When anyone of them is spoken of highly, he says: ‘I know myself better than others, and my Lord knows me better than I know. O’ Allah do not deal with me according to what they say, and make me better than they think of me and forgive me (those shortcomings) which they do not know.’
The peculiarity of anyone of them is that you will see that he has strength in religion, determination along with leniency, faith with conviction, eagerness in (seeking) knowledge in forbearance, moderation in riches, devotion in worship, gracefulness in starvation, endurance in hardship, desire for the lawful, pleasure in guidance and hatred from greed. He performs virtuous deeds but still feels afraid. In the evening he is anxious to offer thanks (to Allah). In the morning his anxiety is to remember (Allah).
He passes the
night in fear and rises in the morning in joy, fear lest the night is passed in forgetfulness and joy over the favour and mercy received by him. If his self refuses to endure a thing which it does not like he does not grant its request towards what it likes. The coolness of his eye lies in what is to last forever, while from the things (of this world) that will not last he keeps aloof. He transfuses knowledge with forbearance, and speech with action.
You will see his hopes simple, his shortcomings few, his heart fearing, his spirit contented, his meal small and simple, his religion safe, his desires dead and his anger suppressed. Good alone is expected from him. Evil from him is not to be feared. Even if he is found among those who forget (Allah), he is counted among those who remember (Him); yet, if he is among those who remember, he is not counted among the forgetful. He forgives him who is unjust to him, and he gives to him who deprives him. He behaves well with him who behaves ill with him.
Indecent speech is far from him, his utterance is lenient, his evils are non-existent, his virtues are ever-present, his good is at the forefront and mischief has turned its face (from him). He is dignified during calamities, patient during distresses, and thankful during ease. He does not commit excess over him whom he hates, and does not commit sin for the sake of
him whom he loves. He admits truth before evidence is brought against him. He does not misappropriate what is placed in his custody, and does not forget what he is required to remember. He does not call others bad names, he does not cause harm to his neighbour, he does not feel happy at others’ misfortunes, he does not enter into wrong and does not go out of right.
If he is silent his silence does not grieve him, if he laughs he does not raise his voice, and if he is wronged he endures till Allah takes revenge on his behalf. His own self is in distress because of him, while the people are in ease from him. He puts himself in hardship for the sake of his next life, and makes people feel safe from himself. His keeping away from others is by way of asceticism and purification, and his nearness to those to whom he is near is by way of leniency and mercifulness. His keeping away is not by way of vanity or feeling of greatness, nor his nearness by way of deceit and cheating.
It is related that Hammam passed into a deep swoon and then expired. Then the Commander of the Faithful (as) said: Verily, by Allah I had this fear about him. Then he added: Effective advices produce such effects on receptive minds. Someone said to him: O Commander of the Faithful, how is it that you do not receive such an effect?
The Commander of
the Faithful (as) replied: Woe to you. For death there is a fixed hour which cannot be exceeded, and a cause which does not change. Now look, never repeat such talk which Satan had put on your tongue.(1)
This is an example of the teachings of our Imams (as) and the training of our leaders (as). Thus, if Islam had not been covered with the delusions of its followers and the light of the guidance of the Imams of the Muslims had not disappeared in the actions of the ones claiming to follow them, then the meaning of this verse would have come into sight:
He it is Who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the true religion that He may make it prevail over all the religions.(2)
In this concise book we cannot discuss the philosophy and secrets of the Branches of Faith. The Branches of Faith are Divine rules and laws for systemising man’s personal and social situations. Furthermore, they systemise the connection between the Creator and the creation.
Thus, Jurisprudence has been compiled under forty-eight titles. Each one of these titles contains many chapters. It is not possible to comprehend the obvious philosophy behind the Jurisprudential titles, let alone that which cannot be understood by the intellect. We will briefly discuss some aspects of the philosophy behind the prayer and the poor-rate.
The prayer consists of parts, conditions and rules about what is forbidden:
The condition for the permissibility of the place of the prayer informs the performer
that he must not breach upon the rights of others. The condition that a person should be clean from physical and ritual impurities guides to the fact that the physical impurities that can be cleaned with water, or the ritual impurities that affect the spirit that are cleaned with ritual bathing, both cause invalidity of the prayers. They hold back the human being from paying attention to the Honourable and the Glorified.
Based on the above, it is possible to visualise the effect of the impurity of the evil deeds that a person intentionally commits, like lying, dishonesty, oppression and extravagance. It is also possible to imagine the impurity of ill manners in depriving from the reality of the prayers, which is the ascension of every believer and immolation of every pious.
Indeed, the parts of the call for prayer [adhan], the call to the presence of Allah, the Exalted, and the parts of iqamah, the preliminary for the preparation of the spirit for the ascension to the status of nearness to the Glorified, contain the essence of Islamic teaching.
If one ponders upon the beginning of the call for prayer and its end, then by starting with ‘Allah is the Greatest’ and ending with ‘There is no god but Allah’, illustrates the emphasis upon teaching and training in Islam. When the call for prayer begins with the word ‘Allah’ and ends with it as well, then a worshipper can learn that He is the First and the Last.(1) Just as the adhan
and iqamah begin with the Name of Allah and end with His Name, the recommendation to recite them in the ears of the newborn(1) and to direct the dying person to the words of Divine Unity indicate that human life begins and ends in the Name of Allah.
The repetition of ‘There is no god but Allah’ at the end of adhan and iqamah, after having said them twice earlier, reveals the role of this pure word in the intellectual and practical development of mankind.
This sentence has other verbal and conceptual specifications:
All the Arabic letters in this sentence [la ilaha illa Allah] are the exact letters used in the word Allah. It is a hidden remembrance which showing off cannot reach, for it is possible for the human being to remember Allah with it and not show anyone.
It contains both negation and assertion, firm faith in the two results in negating the falsehood and asserting the truth in beliefs, ethics and actions.
Thus, the meaning of this holy tradition [hadith al-qudsi] in the report of the Chain of Gold narration [silsilat al-dhahab] becomes clear: ‘There is no god but Allah’ is My fort. Whoever enters My fort is saved from My wrath.(2)
The depth of the speech of the Noble Messenger reveals: All Say: There is no god but Allah and you shall all have salvation.(3) With this negation and assertion, the spirit forms a connection with the light of the heavens and the earth. It moulds to the ethics of Allah, the
Exalted. Likewise, the declaration of the Messengership of the Prophet (S) renews the covenant with him and with what he was sent with.
The declaration is not valuable if it is not with sensory perception in perceptible things, nor is it reliable if it is not with intellectual certainty in rational things.
The bearer of the witness of Divine Unity and the Messengership in adhan and iqamah perceives with his heart the essence of Unity and the Messengership. Then he proceeds to salvation by saying ‘hasten to salvation’ and to the best of the deeds by saying ‘hasten to the best deed.’
The beginning and the end in the adhan and iqamah is Allah. The middle of the two is the Right Path, which Allah sent His Messenger with. The servant prepares for the ascension to Allah with pure words that rise to Him and good deeds that Allah elevates.
When the worshipper purifies his spirit by reflecting upon the significance of ‘there is no god but Allah,’ he reaches the level of:
Surely I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists.(1)
Once the worshipper turns to the Originator of the heavens and the earth, he rises above the earth and the heaven. The seven veils are torn apart by his seven Allahu Akbar(s)(2) [takbir].
When he raises his hands to his ears (to say Allahu Akbar), he places everything other than Allah behind him. When he says Allahu Akbar, he
nullifies all the thoughts and imaginations of the human mind before the Greatness of Allah, the Exalted. He admits that Allah is Greater than can be described and confined.
The worshipper then begins his speech with Allah, the Exalted. The prayer is the word of man with Allah while the Qur’an is the Word of Allah with man. However, man starts his word with Allah, the Exalted, with the Word of Allah itself, because it is not possible for man to praise Allah except with what Allah has taught him of His praise. With the sacredness of the Word of Allah, the Exalted, the word of man becomes worthy enough to be heard by Allah. Therefore, the man says: Allah listens to whoever praises Him.
In accordance with the tradition: No prayer is acceptable without the Opening of the Book;(1) it is a must to read the Opening chapter of the Qur’an in the prayer. Just as the Qur’an, being the word of the Creator with the creation, begins with the Opening chapter, the prayer, being the word of the creation with the Creator, begins with the same.
The worshipper must perform the Opening chapter and another chapter of the Qur’an with the intention of the recitation [qir’at]. However, the attainment of the reality of the prayer is only through knowledge of the meanings, subtleties and elegance which are in the actions of the prayer and its words. Here we will indicate some of the qualities of the Opening chapter:
This holy chapter encompasses
the summary of Islam. It describes the recognition of the Origin and the Return. It contains Allah’s names and His attributes. This chapter is man’s covenant with Allah and Allah’s covenant with man. According to some reports, the Greatest Name of Allah is carved in it.
The Opening chapter designates that Allah, the Exalted, has divided it between Himself and His servant. Thus, the half of the chapter which ends with Master of the Day of Judgment is for Allah, the Exalted. The other half of the chapter, which starts from Keep us on the Right Path till the end, is for man. The verse, Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help, is common between Allah, the Exalted, and His servants. The service is for Allah and the help is for man.(1)
This chapter begins with the name of Allah, the Exalted, with which the Messengership of Muhammad (S) began. Thus, Allah, the Exalted, said to His Messenger (S):
Read in the name of your Lord, Who created.(2)
Amongst the qualities of Allah’s name is that it is the name of the essence that comprises all of the best names. And Allah’s are the best names, therefore call on Him thereby.(3)
It is reported from ‘Ali (as) that the meaning of the word Allah is:
The One who is worshipped and the One who is taken and served as God.(4)
The limit of mankind in His recognition is that he should know that he does not have the ability to
fully understand Him. Allah, the Exalted, has attributed Himself as the Beneficent, the Most Compassionate.
This concise book does not allow explanation of the difference between the two mercies. It is of significance that Allah, the Exalted, made In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Compassionate the beginning of His speech with man and the beginning of the speech of man with Him.
Thus, He made this heavenly sentence foremost among the speech and actions of a Muslim. Allah has made it mandatory to repeat this sentence in the daily five prayers. Thus, Allah teaches man that the system of the universe is established upon mercy and that the constitutional and legislative Book begins with mercy.
Even the Islamic legal punishments are a mercy for the ones who contemplate upon them and fully understand them. A clear example can be given from the stages of the obligation of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. If some people in a society avoid righteousness or turn towards corruption, then first they must be treated with kindness and moderation.
As we see in the story of the Prophet of Allah Musa (as), when Allah sends him and his brother with nine clear signs to a tyrant like the pharaoh, He says:
Then speak to him a gentle word haply he may mind or fear.(1)
The purpose of sending Messengers is not supremacy and power; rather, it is guidance, reminder and fear of Allah.
As long as an injured part of the body
can be treated with medicine, it is not permissible to perform surgery on it. In fact, it is obligatory to protect it. However, if it cannot be treated even with surgery, then it is removed for the betterment of the other parts of the body.
Likewise, if a corrupt person is incurable, legal punishment is a mercy for him to reduce his involvement in criminal offences that would corrupt his world and the hereafter. It is also a mercy for society, because it closes the door of spreading corruption to the rest of the people.
After the first verse, the worshipper reads: All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Universe. Thus, he establishes that every praise and extol is for Allah, the Exalted, because He, the Glorified, is the Lord of the Universe. Every perfection and beauty is a manifestation of His upbringing. When the worshipper reads this verse and sees the signs of Allah’s Lordship and nurture in his own self and the world, the heaven, the earth, the minerals, the plants, the animals and the human beings, he realises that the praise is relevant to Him.
The presence of the signs of His nurture in all creations, from the lowest being to the highest, shows that His mercy is for both the ordinary and the special. Hence, the worshipper says a second time: The Beneficent, the Most Compassionate.
After absorbing Allah’s favour and His mercy, the worshipper remembers His justice and says: Master of the Day of Judgment.
of the servants on the Day of Judgment is necessary for the establishment of justice, because man’s disobedience to Allah exceeds His sacredness. Exceeding the sacredness of the Endless cannot be compared with the disobedience of others. Thus, the Possessor of eternal greatness must possess eternal sacredness.
The disobedience of the One Whose right and favour upon humanity is countless and unlimited must be penalised with what is suitable.
The sin which a man commits against his Lord is not a simple matter as some think, because the strength a man exhausts in it is a result of the world, since his life is connected to the world. Therefore, the sin a man commits implies dishonesty against what the whole universe is striving for.
Hence, it is necessary that there must be record, accountability and compensation with justice on that Great Day, which Allah has described as:
O people! Guard against (the punishment from) your Lord; surely the violence of the hour is a grievous thing. On the day when you shall see it, every woman giving suck shall quit in confusion what she suckled, and every pregnant woman shall lay down her burden, and you shall see men intoxicated, and they shall not be intoxicated but the chastisement of Allah will be severe.(1)
Nonetheless, His justice is absolute mercy, because the punishment from the Beneficent over disobedience cannot be compared with what the servant deserves over the tyranny, due to his insolence against the Lord of the Great Throne. Glory be to Him,
Who is Generous and Honourable in His obedience and His disobedience.
Indeed, when a gnostic worshipper reads: Master of the Day of Judgment, his being trembles. This is why when the Imam of the Gnostics, the Beauty of the Worshippers, ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (as) used to reach here, he would repeat this verse and cry until he almost died.(1)
Surely, the two verses: The Beneficent, the Most Compassionate and Master of the Day of Judgment, give the worshipper the two wings of fear and hope. With these two he comes to know the mercy of Allah and His honour. With the first one he perceives the compensation and punishment, while with the second one he desires forgiveness and reward.
After the heart of the worshipper turns to the greatness of the Divinity and Lordship, and to His Beneficence, Compassion, Favour and Justice, he perceives that other than Allah is not worthy of worship. Thus, he transfers from speaking in third person to second person and says: Thee do we worship.
As worship requires guidance, power and strength, so the worshipper says: And Thee do we seek for help. Thus, in the word: we worship, he sees that worship is from him and in the words: we seek help; he sees that that is from Allah, the Exalted, as there is no strength and no power except with Allah.
With the words: We only worship You, the worshipper negates compulsion. With the words: We only seek help from You, he negates surrender.
When the worshipper speaks in
plural tense: We worship, he connects himself to all the Muslims. Thus, the word of unity and unification of word are practically ascertained.
Once the worshipper carries out the rituals of worship, he enters the stage of supplication and the stage of seeking from the Master. Hence, he says: Keep us on the Right Path. With these words he seeks the essentials that will benefit him in all stages of life, because the peak of human courage and the honour of the status of the divinity demands that the worshipper ask for something which is great. That is the essence of the guidance to the Right Path, which is secure from all extremes.
The straight path is one. It has no multiplicity. Therefore, Allah is One and His path is one. It is a path that begins with the point of human insufficiency, which Allah, the Exalted, explains as:
And Allah has brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers—you did not know anything;(1)
and ends at the point of absolute perfection:
And that to your Lord is the goal.(2)
O my Lord, what has he who has You not? And what has he not who has You?(3)
When a Muslim asks his Lord for guidance in his prayers: The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favours. That is the path which Allah, the Exalted, has made distinct in His Word:
And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours from among the
prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly company are they.(1)
Thus, the worshipper is asking to be granted the company of the prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the virtuous. He also seeks to be kept away from those upon whom wrath is brought down and from those who go astray. Thus, it would make it necessary for him to adapt the morals of the prophets and the guardians, and it would make him refrain from the path of those upon whom wrath is brought down and those who have gone astray.
In conformity with the Word of the Exalted:
Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light;(2)
the worshipper must turn his full attention to the Holy One, Who is
the light of the heavens and the earth.(3)
He must look at the greatness of the Glorified with the eyes of his heart and the reality of his faith. The worshipper then bows down for Allah’s reverence in compliance with His Word:
Therefore glorify the name of your Lord, the Great.(4)
Hence, he says: Glory be to my Lord, the Great and praise be to Him.
With these words, he takes his share of the secrets of the bowing [ruku’] and prepares for the closest position to his Lord, which is prostration. He then performs prostration upon earth in compliance with the Word of the Exalted:
Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High.(5)
his forehead on the earth. He remembers the might of his Lord, Who enlightened the light of his wisdom with darkened clay so that the man sees in his prostration on clay the secret of this verse:
And certainly We created man of an extract of clay.(1)
Hence, he says:
Glory be to my Lord, the Most High and praise be to Him.
Then he raises his head and perceives the secret of the verse:
Then We caused it to grow into another creation, so blessed be Allah, the best of the creators.(2)
Here perceives his worldly life. Then he says: Allah is the Greatest. He returns to prostration upon the clay and remembers the day he will face death after his life and take it as an abode. Then he perceives the life after death, so he raises his head and remembers the life after death. From his two prostrations he understands the meaning of the Word of the Exalted:
From it We created you and into it We shall send you back and from it will We raise you a second time.(3)
Thus, he understands the phases of his existence.
Certainly, what we have mentioned is only a glimpse or a sparkle from the rays of the sun of the wisdom and guidance of the prayers. We cannot enumerate here the secrets of the chapter to be read after the Opening chapter. Likewise, we will leave out the secrets of the remembrance in prayers, the standing, the sitting, the qunut,
the tasbihat, the tashhhud, the taslim, the recommendations of the prayers and their manners.
We will mention some examples of Christian worship in comparison with what we have mentioned about Islamic worship. The Bible says:
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.(1)
We will discuss a few points from this prayer:
It begins by addressing God with the word: Our father, in the heavens!
The application of the expression ‘father’ to God, if it is with realisation, then Exalted is Allah, the One, the Unique, the Needless, Who begets not, nor is He begotten. If it is anthropomorphism, then High is His Might that He be ascribed with human characteristics. In such a situation their prayers and worship would be for the created and not the Creator.
As for worship in Islam, then it is for Allah, the Exalted, Who has nothing whatsoever like unto Him. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing; thus, the intellect does not deny Him recognition. He cannot be anthropomorphised with His creation.
After this praise for
God, we see that the Christian prayer teaches him to ask for the bread for his body which is like grass for the body of an animal.
A Muslim, however, after praising his Lord in his prayer, seeks the light of vision in his wisdom so that he may find the right path to move to the purpose of his creation and the success in the way of his goal: Keep us on the right path. Thus, there is not any treasure more noble and precious than guidance which is the perfection of the human being. There is no path to the goal more fair, more right and nearer than the right path. And there is no goal higher and above Allah, the Blessed and Exalted.
The Christians do not forgive the people who have committed sins against them, nor do they forgive loans to people. Then how can they say this prayer, because with the words: as we also have forgiven our debtors; they would be lying in their prayers. Based on logic, lying is one of the evil acts and according to divine laws it is one of the major sins. Nearness to Allah is not possible through evil deeds and serving Him through sins. Repenting by sinning is another sin.
This short comparison between Islamic prayers and the prayers of other faiths is sufficient.
The prayer is the connection of man with the Creator, while the alms-tax is the connection of man with the creation.
Allah has joined alms-tax with the prayers
in numerous verses. Abu Ja’far and Abu ‘Abd Allah (as) both have been reported saying: Allah has made alms-tax obligatory with the prayers.(1) Human beings are social animals by nature. Whatever wealth, position, knowledge and perfection a man gains, is due to his social connections. Thus, the society he lives in has a right and share in his material and spiritual achievements. When a person adapts Islamic rulings in paying his religious dues then he has fulfilled his social right.
Indeed, the Islamic law of alms-tax and other voluntary charitable contributions are wise laws. If they are implemented then a single poor person will not remain in society, and a peaceful city free from oppression of the poor and needy will prevail.
Al-Sadiq (as) said: Certainly, Allah, the Mighty and High, has placed a share for the poor in the wealth of the rich with which they can spend their life. If He had known that this will not be enough then He would have increased this. The poor are in such a state due to the rich not paying their share not due to Allah, the Mighty and High. If the people had paid their rights then they would also be living an affluent life.(2)
Allah, the Exalted, describes the terrible consequences of not fulfilling the rights of the needy:
And (as for) those who hoard up gold and silver and do not spend it in Allah's way, announce to them a painful chastisement.(3)
Due to the role of sacrifice and generosity in
removing poverty from society and in the purification of the souls of the people from greed and miserliness, the Book of Allah and the Sunnah have urged us to pay alms and make sacrifice.(1)
It has come in reports concerning ‘the care for the poor’ that feeding a poor family, providing clothing for them and saving them from the humility of pleading is better than seventy pilgrimages to Mecca.(2)
Islam has increased the circle of charity and the doing of good, and has included doing good to animals. Imam al-Baqir (as) has said: Surely, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, likes the act of cooling a thirsty liver. Whoever quenches a thirsty liver of an animal or other than it, Allah will give him a shade on the day when there is no shade except His shade.(3)
Islam has not restricted charity to the giving of money. In fact, it considers any kind of help to the weak, like leading a blind person, as charity. Islam has made modesty in helping the needy a charity for rank and position. The charity of knowledge is teaching the ignorant. In brief, Islam has not limited charity to material things only but has said:
And they spend out of what We have given them of subsistence.(4)
Subsistence is all that upon which human life depends on in any way. This is why Imam al-Sadiq (as) explains this verse as: And they spread of what We have taught them.(5)
Islam has suggested some etiquette for giving charity. An example
is to give charity secretly and not announce it,(1) to safeguard the honour of a believer and the reputation of a needy. One should think of the charity as less, even if it is a large sum.(2) One should know that the one taking the charity is superior to it,(3) no matter how great the charity may be. One should not oblige anyone with his charity.(4)
In fact, one should understand that the needy has obliged him, because it is he who has become the cause of the purification of his wealth and heart. One should give charity to the deserving before he asks. Al-Sadiq (as) has said: The goodness is to give without asking. When a person gives because he has been asked then that is due to saving your face.(5)
One should hide himself from the needy so that the needy person does not feel embarrassed. One should ask the needy to pray for him. One should kiss his own hand after giving charity, because apparently the one taking the charity is the needy, but in reality the one taking it is Allah, the Mighty and High, as Allah says:
Do they not know that Allah accepts repentance from His servants and takes the alms.(6)
Islam has conferred such a high status for granting to the needy that it is as opening the door of sacrifice. Allah, the Exalted, says:
And prefer (them) before themselves though poverty may afflict them,(7)
while it has made sacrifice the utmost of the
levels of perfections. Thus, the Exalted describes the holy ones, may blessings of Allah be upon them:
And they give food out of love for Him to the poor and the orphan and the captive: We only feed you for Allah's sake; we desire from you neither reward nor thanks.(1)
What has been mentioned is only a fraction of the philosophy of legislating alms-tax and charity in Islam. This holy law purifies the souls of the rich from the filth and rust of miserliness and greed. It also purifies their wealth from the rights of the poor, which is like their blood. This way the rich are not afflicted with squeezing the blood of the poor, and the poor with lack of blood. It strengthens the relationship between the upper class and the lower class. It transforms their relationship from hatred to like and reduces the gap between these two classes that make up society.
It is a law that fulfils the needs of the poor, in the shadow of protecting their honour and putting out the fire of jealousy of the poor with the water of the mercy of generosity. Generosity, which encompasses alms-tax and voluntary charity, is to safeguard the wealth of the rich, which is like the blood in the veins of society. It protects the economic system. Hence, the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali (as) describes alms-tax as a fortress for the wealth of the rich; he (as) said: Fortify your wealth with alms-tax.(2)
Will the roots of material
and spiritual poverty not be cut from society with the implementation of this programme of granting from the rich their wealth and the learned their knowledge?
After this synopsis of the philosophy of Islamic laws concerning prayers and alms-tax, and their effect in the privilege of an individual and society, we will turn to the concept of the city of excellence. Islam can establish this city with its laws, which comprise all human relations, rights, all his acts of motion and acts of stillness, and all that he does or does not do. It regulates collection of all conventional laws and all Islamic precepts with its types of obligatory, forbidden, recommended, discouraged and permissible acts concerning rights, property, conclusiveness, authority and government, etc.
These laws safeguard the protection of human life, freedom, honour and rights. They guide man to his interests and what is against him, to his benefits and losses in his entire existence, although he may be unable to perceive all of that and it may be difficult for him to accomplish it all. However, whatever is easy from these laws indicates that there is a hidden wisdom in these laws of Islam.
Indeed, just a glance upon the laws and etiquette of what Islam has regulated for the rights of animals which are subjugated for human service, reveal the Islamic view on human rights.
Ja’far ibn Muhammad has reported on the authority of his forefathers (as) saying: the Messenger of Allah (S) said: An animal has rights over its owner:
When one reaches his destination one should feed the animal before eating himself. When one passes by water one should give it to the animal to drink. One should not hit the animal on the face, because it praises its Lord with the mouth. One should not stand on the animals back except in battle. One should not make the animal carry more than it can bear and one should not make the animal travel the distance it cannot bear.(1)
It has also come in a report from the Prophet (S): Every animal has a proof over its owner and that is the right of the animal. The owner must fulfil the rights.
In other reports it has come that one should not make the animal look ugly. One should not make the animal run fast except in barren land. One should let the animal graze in grassland. One should not make the back of an animal a place to converse.(2)
If one is eating food in his own house and something drops, then one should pick it up and eat it. However, if one eats in a desert or a place outside then one should leave the remaining for the birds or beasts, even if it was a leg of a goat. Other animals may benefit from it even beasts.(3)
The holy divine law has forbidden from urinating in water, because even water has inhabitants.(4) This rule was given in an era when no one knew about microscopic organisms.
From these examples of the
rights of the animals in Islam, we can understand Islam’s plan in preserving human rights and establishing social justice.
Indeed, Islamic law ascertains civilisation of this world and the hereafter and the safety of both body and soul. Islam has given importance to both material and spiritual lives. Each one is based on its own worth, according to justice and wisdom, connecting this world and the hereafter, and connecting the body and soul.
And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world.(1)
Islam has paid full attention to the civilisation of this world. However, human comfort here is dependent while attention to the hereafter is independent, in accordance with the nature of their creation.
The explanation of the ‘good in this world’ in the Word of the Exalted:
Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire,(2)
has come in the word of the Imam (as) as the comfort in sustenance and living, and good manners, while the good in the hereafter is Allah’s pleasure in the Paradise.(3)
Islam has given great significance to economic strength, particularly to agriculture and business… Islam has invited the believers to strive in becoming self-sufficient and honourable with the order of the rule:
And to Allah belongs the honour and to His Apostle and to the believers.(4)
It has been reported from al-Sadiq (as): There is no action more beloved to
Allah than agriculture. The Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali (as) used to cultivate crops, dig wells and plant trees.(1)
In Islam, business, buying and selling is based on intelligence, honesty, planning and knowledge of the rules and regulations of business. Thus, a tradition says: No one should sit in the market except for the one who has knowledge of buying and selling.(4) Another report says: First learn law then do business.(5)
Islam specifies obligatory, recommended, forbidden and discouraged rules concerning dealings. Because we cannot go in details here, we will list some different types:
Islam has forbidden from interest, from taking an oath to sell the commodity and praising it, from the buyer dispraising the goods he wants to buy, from hiding the defect of something one is selling, from fraud and deception in giving or taking anything.
The dealer should take only that which he deserves and should give that which is right. He should return the endowment and abstain from dishonesty. The seller should accept the excuse of the buyer who regrets buying. If the buyer becomes straitened then the seller should give him time. If someone designates him to buy some commodity then he should not sell it to him if he has that commodity. If someone designates him to sell something then he should
not buy it for himself. The seller who weighs should give a little more and should take a little less from the price.
All businessmen are insolent except for the ones who are truthful. If one promises someone to be good in dealing then one should not take profit from him. One should treat two buyers equally and should not take notice of his relation with them. If a commodity has a fixed price then one should sell it for the same price to ones who negotiate and the ones who do not. One should learn to write and record his work and should not work without it.
One should not hoard the things that people need. One should be easy to deal with and easy to buy from and sell to. One should give what people owe him with ease and take from them what they owe with ease. One should not be hard on the one who owes him. One should not ask for discount after the completion of the deal. One should turn to the mosque at the time of the call to prayers and clean his heart for the remembrance of Allah, the Exalted. One should rise from the physical world to the metaphysical world.
In houses which Allah has permitted to be exalted and that His name may be remembered in them; there glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings, men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping
up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about.(1)
If one realises the roots and branches of religion, reflects upon their laws of worship and dealings, ponders upon their policies about managing the self, home and city, and relects upon the collective etiquette of Islam from its recommendations and discouragements, one would perceive with certainty that these laws are established by divine wisdom.
Naturally, understanding the reasons of religious laws, which are made for the privilege of all aspects of human life, is dependent upon our encompassment of these cosmos, on knowing the needs of the human beings in them and the ways of fulfilling them. In fact, the truth is that complete understanding of the reasons of a single divine law is not possible for mankind, because this law is part of the programme for mankind for all aspects of his life.
Therefore, our lack of understanding the reasons of an Islamic law does not mean that there is no reason; rather, it is proof of our shortcoming.
There are decisive and allegorical metaphors in the book of nature; yet, no one knows the reasons of their existence. Logically, it is not permissible to leave what one knows for what one does not know and to nullify the certainty for the doubt.
Likewise, the book of divine laws contains decisive and allegorical metaphors, which are in conformity with the nature of the law made by the All-Wise, the Subtle and the
All-Informed, Who has knowledge of everything and encompasses everything. Indeed, the book of divine laws contains both the decisive and allegorical. If we see an allegorical, it is not correct for us to leave a decisive. We should not think that the creation or the divine law is useless:
None knows its interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it is all from our Lord.(1)
It is necessary for man to know that the life of this world in relation to the life of the hereafter is like the life of a fetus in the womb of his mother in connection with its life of this world. Thus, no matter how much wisdom and knowledge a fetus may have, it is not possible for it to understand the wisdom behind the creation of its limbs and powers and the reasons why Allah made his sight, hearing and breathing. What are the benefits of these limbs for him? What are the reasons for creating his perception, thinking and intellect? However, when it is born into this world, it understands all that.
Similarly, the fetus of the human spirit lives in the womb of nature and must also have parts and powers, which are the means of his eternal life. Eternal life cannot take place except with implementing the teachings and laws of his Lord. Soon the reasons for these teachings will become clear to him; when he steps into the hereafter he will understand that
he was like a fetus in this world.
Consequently, submission to religious laws is from the necessities of human creation. In fact, it is necessary for a man’s perfection. The reward of a doer is based upon his action and the reward of an action is based upon the intention. In other words, the reward of an action is based upon the motives of the action. The Prophet (S) hasled to this reality in his word: Surely, the actions are based upon the intentions and for every man is what he intended.(1)
For this reason, the quality of the godly people is that they obey Allah, the Exalted, only for the sake of Allah and regardless of their understanding of benefit or detriment, and interest or loss.
The safeguarding of one’s health is based upon the abiding by medical rules. To know them one must be a physician, or one must refer to a reliable physician and then follow his direction, or one must practice precaution. Precaution would require him to refrain from everything that may be harmful for his health. He will do this until he finds out the ruling for himself or finds someone who knows it so he may ask him.
In fact, emulation is from the necessities of human life, whether he is ignorant or learned. As for the emulation for the ignorant then it is clear, but as for the learned, it is because the specialisation of every learned is limited to a part of all the things which
are required for human life.
For example, a physician must emulate an engineer and a builder for the construction of his house; he must emulate a mechanic for the repair of his car. When he flies in an airplane, he emulates the pilot. When he rides a boat, he emulates the sailor. In fact, within the departments of medicine, the specialist of one organ or part of the body must emulate another specialist physician, who is in specialisation of another expert.
As a result, the life of any human being is incomplete without emulation. Therefore, any person who believes in any religion and knows that he has been specified with responsibilities and has laws to follow, must act according to logic and nature: either he must become an expert himself, or follow an expert who has the conditions for giving edicts like knowledge, fairness and other conditions, or he must practice precaution.
When he is not learned enough himself, nor does he follow precaution then he only has one choice, which is to emulate an expert. In case of differences in opinions between experts, it is stipulated for him to follow the most learned. When two physicians differ in diagnosing an illness and its treatment, then logically it is obligatory for him to follow the greater expert of the two.
In conclusion, Islam is a religion of knowledge. In Islam, every action must end with knowledge, even if that is through a link. Thus, emulation of an expert in relious matters is acting
with knowledge, because it refers to the view of an expert in religious rulings. The basis of emulation is knowledge, wisdom and nature.
And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.(1)
In the name of Allah
Are those who know equal to those who do not know?
Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan, from 2007, under the authority of Ayatollah Haj SayyedHasanFaqihImami (God blesses his soul), by sincere and daily efforts of university and seminary elites and sophisticated groups began its activities in religious, cultural and scientific fields.
Ghaemiyeh Computer Research Institute of Isfahan in order to facilitate and accelerate the accessibility of researchers to the books and tools of research, in the field of Islamic science, and regarding the multiplicity and dispersion of active centers in this field
and numerous and inaccessible sources by a mere scientific intention and far from any kind of social, political, tribal and personal prejudices and currents, based on performing a project in the shape of (management of produced and published works from all Shia centers) tries to provide a rich and free collection of books and research papers for the experts, and helpful contents and discussions for the educated generation and all classes of people interested in reading, with various formats in the cyberspace.
Our Goals are:
-propagating the culture and teachings of Thaqalayn (Quran and Ahlulbayt p.b.u.t)
-encouraging the populace particularly the youth in investigating the religious issues
-replacing useful contents with useless ones in the cellphones, tablets and computers
-providing services for seminary and university researchers
-spreading culture study in the publich
-paving the way for the publications and authors to digitize their works
-acting according to the legal licenses
-relationship with similar centers
-avoiding parallel working
-merely presenting scientific contents
-mentioning the sources
It’s obvious that all the responsibilities are due to the author.
Other activities of the institute:
-Publication of books, booklets and other editions
-Holding book reading competitions
-Producing virtual, three dimensional exhibitions, panoramas of religious and tourism places
-Producing animations, computer games and etc.
-Launching the website with this address: www.ghaemiyeh.com
-Fabricatingdramatic and speech works
-Launching the system of answering religious, ethical and doctrinal questions
-Designing systems of accounting, media and mobile, automatic and handy systems, web kiosks
-Holding virtual educational courses for the public
-Holding virtual teacher-training courses
-Producing thousands of research software in three languages (Persian, Arabic and English) which can be performed in computers, tablets and cellphones and available and downloadable with eight international formats: JAVA, ANDROID, EPUB, CHM, PDF, HTML, CHM, GHB on the website
-Also producing four markets named “Ghaemiyeh Book Market” with Android, IOS, WINDOWS PHONE and WINDOWS editions
We would appreciate the centers, institutes, publications, authors and all honorable friends who contributed their help and data to us to reach the holy goal we follow.
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Introduction of the Center – Ghaemiyeh Digital Library