(١٣٠) وَمَن يَرۡغَبُ عَن مِّلَّةِ إِبرَٲهِـمَ إِلَّا مَن سَفِهَ نَفسَهُ ۥۚ وَلَقَدِ ٱصطَفَينَـٰهُ فِى ٱلدُّنيَاۖ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ فِى ٱلأَخِرَةِ لَمِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِ
(١٣١) إِذۡ قَالَ لَهُ ۥ رَبُّهُ ۥۤ أَسلِمۡۖ قَالَ أَسلَمتُ لِرَبِّ ٱلعَـٰلَمِينَ
(١٣٢) وَوَصَّىٰ بهَآ إِبرَٲهِـمُ بَنِيهِ وَيَعقُوبُ يَـٰبَنِىَّ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ٱصطَفَىٰ لَكُمُ ٱلدِّينَ فَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسلِمُونَ
(١٣٣) أَمۡ كُنتُمۡ شُهَدَآءَ إِذۡ حَضَرَ يَعقُوبَ ٱلمَوۡتُ إِذۡ قَالَ لِبَنِيهِ مَا تَعبُدُونَ مِنۢ بَعدِى قَالُواْ نَعبُدُ إِلَـٰهَكَ وَإِلَـٰهَ ءَابَآئكَ إِبرَٲهِـمَ وَإِسمَـٰعِيلَ وَإِسحَـٰقَ إِلَـٰهًا وَٲحِدً۬ا وَنَحنُ لَهُ ۥ مُسلِمُونَ
(١٣٤) تِلكَ أُمَّةٌ۬ قَدۡ خَلَتۡۖ لَهَا مَا كَسَبَتۡ وَلَكُم مَّا كَسَبتُمۡۖ وَلَا تُسـئَلُونَ عَمَّا كَانُواْ يَعمَلُونَ
And who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim but he who makes himself a fool; and most certainly We chose him in this world, and in the hereafter, he is most surely among the good ones (130).
When his Lord said to him, Submit (yourself) he said: “I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds” (131).
And the same did Ibrahim enjoin on his sons and (so did) Ya'qub: “O my sons! surely Allah has chosen for you (this) faith, therefore die not unless you are Muslims” (132).
Or, were you witnesses when death approached Ya'qub, when he said to his sons: “What will you worship after me?” They said: ”We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Ibrahim and Isma'il and Ishaq, one God only, and to Him do we submit” (133).
This is a people that have passed away; they shall have what they earned and you shall have what you earn, and you shall not be called upon to answer for what they did (134).
Qur’an: And who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim but he who makes himself a fool: “ar-Raghbah” ( اَلرَّغْبََةُ ) followed by the preposition 'an عَنَْْ ) = away from; off) means “to turn away”, “to dislike”; when followed by fi فِيَْْ ) = in), it denotes “to incline towards”, “to desire”.
The verb, safiha سَـفِهَ) = made a fool; became a fool) is used both as transitive and intransitive. Some exegetes have taken this word here as a transitive verb - according to them, the word nafsahu نَفْسَهَُ ) = himself; his self) is its object; others have taken the verb in the intransitive sense and in that case nafsahu will be at-tamyiz اَلتِـَّمْيِيزُ) = a specification), not an object.
In any case, the meaning will remain the same: Whoever turns away from the religion of Ibrahim is a fool; he does not recognize what is beneficial to him from that which is harmful. From this verse we may infer what we have been told in the hadith: “Surely wisdom is that by which the Beneficient (God) is worshipped.”
Qur’an: and most certainly We chose him in this world: “al‑Istifa' ” ( اَلإصْطِفاءُُ ) means to choose, to separate best parts of a thing from other parts (if they were mixed together). Looking at the positions of al-wilayah اَلولايََةُ ) = love of Allah), this choosing, this selection fits the sincerity of servitude.
A person so chosen behaves in all his affairs as a sincere slave and servant, totally surrendering himself to his Lord. In other words, religion is embodied in all his affairs. After all, what is religion if not total servitude to Allah in all matters whether of this world or of the hereafter, accepting gladly whatever the Lord decides for His servant in any given situation, as He says:
Surely the religion with Allah is Islam (3:19).
Clearly it shows that the position
of “selection” is not different from that of “Islam”, that is, surrender. As a further proof, look at the next verse: “When his Lord said to him, Submit (yourself) he said: 'I submit my-self to the Lord of the worlds' ”.
Obviously, the adverb “when” is related to the preceding verb “We chose him”. It means that Ibrahim was chosen when his Lord said to him to submit and he responded by submitting himself to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.
In other words, the verse 131 (When his Lord said to him, Submit, he said. “I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds”,) is like an explanation of the words, “most surely We chose him”.
In these verses pronouns have been changed from the first person to the third, and again from the second to the third. After saying, “We chose him”, it would have been more usual to say: “When We said to him”; but Allah says,
“When his Lord said to him, Submit (yourself)”; then in reply, Ibrahim (a.s.) should have said: “I submit myself to Thee”; instead he said: “I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds”. The reason is a follows:
“When his Lord said to him”: It points to the fact that the talk was a secret between Ibrahim and his Lord, at a level where there was no one else to listen to that confidential conversation. Had Allah said, “When We said to him”, it would have implied that the hearers of this verse were present at that sublime station and could be addressed to by Allah - after all, the audience has a direct relationship with the speaker.
Therefore, Allah referred to Himself in the third person, cutting the connection between Himself and the hearers of the verse, showing that at the level where He spoke with Ibrahim, no one else was present; the conversation between Allah and Ibrahim was a confidential matter veiled in secrecy. In short, it was a talk between two close friends which others were excluded from.
“I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds”. As mentioned above, the preceding phrase shows that Allah bestowed His grace exclusively on Ibrahim and enhanced his rank by this friendly confidential conversation. But Ibrahim knew how to speak in Divine presence; he was a servant of Allah; he should not forget the dictates of humility; it was a sign of his excellence, of his humbleness, that he did not start talking with Allah in a friendly
way, did not consider himself as worthy of that exclusive proximity, of that sublime friendship. He continued to see in himself a humble and powerless servant who is sustained by his Master's grace. That is why he submitted to the Lord to Whom all the worlds surrender, and said: “I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds”.
“al-Islam” ( اَلإسـْلامُُ ), “at-taslim” ( اَلتِـَّسْلِيمُ ) and ”al-istislam ( اَلإسـْتِسْلامُُ ), all are from the same root s-l-m ( س-ل-م ) and have the same meaning, that is, to submit, to surrender. These verbs are used when a man or a thing submits to another thing, in such a way that the first never disobeys the second, never goes against it.
Yes! whoever submits himself entirely to Allah... (2:112);
Surely I have turned my face, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth... (6:79).
It is with the face that one turns towards someone. So far as Allah is concerned, the whole being, the whole existence, of the thing turns to Him. When a man surrenders to Allah, he obeys and accepts whatever comes to him from Allah - the creative matters like the measure and the decree, as well as the legislative ones like order and prohibition.
As men differ in degrees of their submission to Divine Decrees or legislations, so does their Islam.
The first stage of Islam is to accept and obey the exoteric commandments, orders and prohibitions, by reciting ash-shahadatayn ( اَلشَّهَادَتَيْنِ ) = the two testimonies, that is, testifying to the Oneness of God and Messengership of Muhammad, (S), no matter whether the belief has entered into the heart or not.
The dwellers of the desert say: “We believe”. Say: “You do not believe but say, 'We submit'; and faith has not yet entered into your hearts”... (49:14)
This Islam is followed by the first stage of al-iman ( اَلإيْمَانُُ ) = faith, belief); and that is the sincere belief in the above-menioned shahadatayn; such a believer faithfully obeys most of the rules of the shari'ah.
This first stage of al-iman is followed by the second stage of Islam. It is the sincere acceptance of all true beliefs in detail, with its necessary concomitant, that is, good deeds – although occasional slips are not impossible. Allah says praising the pious ones:
Those who believed in Our signs and were submissive (43: 69).
Also, He says:
O you who believe! enter into submission one and all (2:208).
These verses show that there is an Islam which comes after al-iman; obviously this Islam is other than the previously mentioned one.
This Islam is followed by the second stage of al-iman; and it is the believing, with full details and reasoning, in the realities of the religion. Allah says:
The believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Messenger then they doubt not and struggle hard with their wealth and their lives in the way of Allah; they are the truthful ones (49:15).
Again, He says:
O you who believe! shall I lead you to a merchandise which may deliver you from a painful chastisement? You shall believe in Allah and His Messenger, and struggle hard in Allah's way with your properties and your lives (61:10-11).
This verse directs the believers to believe; obviously the second Iman is other than the first one.
This second stage of al-iman paves the way for the third stage of Islam. When the soul is sufficiently imbued with the above-mentioned iman, and acquires its characteristics, then man's all animalistic and beastly faculties are subdued to the sublime powers of his intellect and spirituality. He keeps all his desires - pulling him to the material attractions and transient trinkets of this world - under firm control.
Thereupon, he reaches a stage where he worships Allah as though he was seeing Him - and if he was not seeing Allah, then Allah was seeing him. There is nothing in his hidden life and inner-self, that is not submissive to Allah's orders and prohibitions; he is never annoyed with any decree or measure of Allah. Allah says:
But no! by your Lord! they do not believe until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them, and then do not find any straitness in their selves as to what you have decided, and submit with total submission (4:65).
This Islam is followed by the third stage of al-iman. Allah says:
Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers and who keep aloof from what is vain... (23:1-3).
It is this stage that the words of Allah refer to: “When his Lord said to him, Submit (yourself), he said: 'I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds.' ”
Sometimes the second and the third stages are counted as one. The sublime virtues, for example, being pleased with Divine Decree, submitting to the commands of Allah, forbearance and patience for the love of Allah, self-denial, piety, and love and hate for the sake of Allah are concomitants of this stage of al-iman.
The fourth stage of Islam follows the third stage of al-iman. In the above-mentioned stage of al-iman the condition of a man vis-à-vis his Lord is like that of a slave with his master when a slave faithfully follows the dictates of his bondage - when he totally surrenders to the will of his master and accepts his likes and dislikes.
Obviously there is no comparison between the ownership and authority a master has over his slave and the ownership and authority the Lord of the worlds has over His creatures. His is the real possession, the real ownership; nothing else has any independent existence - neither in person or characteristics nor in actions.
Sometimes, when a man reaches the third stage of surrender and submission, the Divine Grace takes him under its wing; he is shown the reality, and sees with his heart's eyes that the Kingdom belongs to Allah, nothing else owns anything at all - except when Allah bestows it to someone; there is no Lord other than He.
This realization, this unveiling of reality, is a Divine Gift, a bestowal by Allah, to whom He pleases; a man cannot reach this sublime stage by his own will or effort. Probably it is to this Islam that the prayer of Ibrahim and Isma'il refers:
Our Lord! and make us both submissive to Thee and (raise) from our off-spring a group submissive to Thee, and show us our ways of devotion... (2:128).
Compare this to the verse: “When his Lord said to him, Submit (yourself), he said: 'I submit myself to the Lord of the worlds' ”.
Obviously the latter is a legislative, not a creative, order. Ibrahim was Muslim by his own will and choice, responding to the Divine Invitation, obeying the orders of Allah. It was an order he received in his early life.
Now the former verse shows him, in the twilight of his life, praying with his son, Isma'il, for Islam and for being shown their ways of devotion. Undoubtedly, he was asking for something which was not in his hand; or was praying to be kept firm on something which was not in his power. In short, the Islam, which Ibrahim and Isma'il prayed for, was of this fourth and sublime stage.
This Islam is followed by the fourth stage of al-iman. It happens when the above-mentioned conditions permeates the believer's whole being, and submerges all his conditions and actions. Allah says:
Now surely the friends of Allah - they have no fear nor do they grieve; those who believed and were pious (10:62 -63).
The believers mentioned here must be having the certainty that nothing is independent of Allah, and no “cause” has any causative power except by His permission. It is this certainty which insulates them from grief when a tragedy strikes them, and protects them from fear if a danger looms ahead.
It is only because of this factor that they have been praised in these terms. This iman comes after the above-mentioned Divine Gift of Islam. Ponder on this point.
Qur’an: and in the hereafter he is most surely among the good ones: “as-Salah” ( اَلصَّلاحُ ) literally means: capability, ability. In the Divine Speech, this word and its derivatives, have been used sometimes for the man himself, and, at other times, for his actions and deeds. Allah says:
... he should do good deeds... (18:110);
also, He says:
And marry those among you who are single and those who are good (i.e., fit) among your male slaves and your female slaves... (24:32)
No clear explanation is found in the Book of Allah as to what constitutes goodness of deeds. But the Book attributes to it some effects, which may be helpful in understanding its meaning. For example:
A good deed is good for the pleasure of Allah:
And those who are patient, seeking the pleasure of their Lord... (13:22);
and you do not spend but to seek Allah's pleasure... (2:272)
It is good for the reward of Allah:
Allah's reward is better for him who believes and does good... (28:80)
It lifts up the good words which ascend to Allah:
To Him do ascend the good words; and the good deed lifts them up... (35:10)
These descriptions show that, so far as actions are concerned, a “good deed” means an action that is fit to receive honour from God, is capable of lifting the good words to Allah. Allah says:
... but to Him reaches the piety on your part... (22:37);
All do We aid - these as well as those - out of the bounty of your Lord; and the bounty of your Lord is not confined (17:20).
As for the persons, the following verses show what constitutes their goodness:
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 ones; and excellent are these as companions! (4:69);
And We caused them to enter into Our mercy; surely they were of the good ones (21:86).
Again Allah quotes Sulayman (a.s.) as saying:
... and make me enter, by Thy mercy, into Thy servants, the good ones (27:19).
Also, He says:
And (as for) Lut, We gave him wisdom and knowledge... and We took him into Our mercy; surely he was of the good ones (21:74 - 75).
The mercy referred to in these verses is not the general Divine Mercy which encompasses everything; nor does it mean that mercy which is ordained for the pious believers, as Allah says:
... and My mercy encompasses all things; so I will ordain it (especially) for those who are pious... (7:156).
The great personalities mentioned in the verses earlier referred to were “the good ones”, and they were a selected group from among the pious believers; they were “fit” for the exclusive mercy mentioned in those verses. We know that some of the mercies of Allah are reserved for some especial groups to the exclusion of others. Allah says:
and Allah chooses especially whom He pleases for His mercy (2:105).
Also, this expression does not refer to the general honour of al-wilayah in other words, it does not say that Allah man-aged or manages their affairs for them. Of course, the good ones had that honour too; certainly they were among the honoured al-awliya'( اَلأوْلِياءُ = friends of Allah), as we have explained in the exegesis of the verse 1:5 (Guide us to the straight path); but this wilayah is an attribute which is also shared by the prophets, the truthful ones and the martyrs.
If they had only this honour to their credit they could not be counted as a separate group distinguished from the other three.
So, what is the distinctive feature of the “goodness”? The answer is that Allah takes a “good one” into His especial mercy and grants him comprehensive protection from chastisement. These two effects are mentioned in the Qur'an:
Then as to those who believed and did good, their Lord will make them enter into His mercy (i.e., into the Garden) (45:30);
They shall call therein (i.e., in the Garden) every fruit in security (44:55).
Now ponder on the following verses:
And We took him into Our mercy (21:75);
and We made (them) all good ones (21:72).
Note how Allah attributes these actions to Himself, not to the people concerned. Also look at the fact that according to the Divine declarations, reward is always given in lieu of actions and efforts. Keeping all this in view, you will realize that the “personal goodness” is a especial honour which cannot be earned as a reward of good deeds or by one's own will.
Probably, it is to this reality that the verse refers:
They have therein what they wish and with Us is more yet (50:35):
Possibly, the first clause (They have therein what they wish) refers to the reward of their deeds; and the second one (and with Us is more yet) concerns what they shall be given not in lieu of action, but purely by Divine Mercy. We shall elaborate it, Allah willing, in the exegesis of this verse.
Now look at the life of Ibrahim (a.s.). He was a prophet, a messenger of God, one of the ulu 'l azm prophets and an Imam; many of the prophets and messengers coming after him were his followers; and he was of the good ones, as the words of Allah clearly say:
and We made (them) all good ones (21:72).
This verse also shows that he was made, in this very world, one of the good ones. Consider also the fact that many prophets of lesser rank were made, in this very world, among the good ones. Then why does he pray to Allah to join him to the good ones?
It is clear from this prayer that there was a group of the “good ones” who had gone ahead of him, and now he was praying to Allah to join him to them. Allah granted him his prayer “in the hereafter”, as is mentioned in the Qur'an in three places - one of which is the verse under discussion:
and most certainly We chose him in this world, and in the hereafter he is most surely among the good ones (2:130).
Other two verses are:
... and We gave him his reward in this world, and in the hereafter he is most surely among the good ones (29:27).
And We gave him good in this world, and in the hereafter he will most surely be among the good (16:122).
If you ponder on the foregoing details, you will know that “goodness” has many ranks, one above the other. Therefore you should not be astonished if you are told that Ibrahim (a.s.) had asked to be joined to Muhammad (S) and his purified progeny (a.s.), and that Allah granted him his prayer in the here-after, not in this world.
Ibrahim (a.s.) had prayed to Allah to join him with the good ones, while Muhammad (S) unambiguously claims this honour for himself:
Surely my guardian is Allah, Who revealed the Book, and He takes in hand (the affairs of) the good ones (7:196).
It is obvious that Muhammad (S) claims the wilayah for himself. In other words, the Prophet, according to his claim mentioned in the verse, had already got the “goodness”; and Ibrahim (a.s.) was praying to be joined to a group of “good ones” who had already been given that rank, and that group was Muhammad (S) and his progeny.
Qur’an: And the same did Ibrahim enjoin on his sons: that is, the same religion.
Qur’an:... therefore die not unless you are Muslims: Death is something beyond one's control; and “at-taklif” اَلتَّكْليْفُ ) = commandments of the shari'ah) covers only those things which are under one's control.
Then why did Ibrahim and Ya'qub (peace be on them!) tell their progeny not to die unless they were Muslims? The fact is that this admonition concerned a matter which was fully under their power. The real meaning is like this:
Beware lest the death comes to you and you are not Muslims; always remain Muslims; keep on Islam, so that whenever death comes to you, you are Muslims.
The verse gives a hint that the religion means Islam, as Allah says:
Surely the religion with Allah is Islam (3:19).
Qur’an: “We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Ibrahim and Isma'il and Ishaq”: The verse uses the word “father” for the grandfather, the uncle and the father - and it has been used without any reason of “at-taghlib” ( اَلتَّغْْليْبُُ ) that is, all groups are equal in number; there were not more “fathers” than the grandfather and the uncle to justify the use of this word for the whole group.
It proves that the word “father” may correctly be used for uncle, as we shall show, Allah willing, that Ibrahim (a.s.) addressed his uncle Azar, as “father”.
Qur’an: “one God only”: This sums up the preceding detailed description, “your God and the God of your fathers...”; it serves to remove any possible misunderstanding that his God was other than the God of his fathers - as the idol-worshippers thought that there were many gods. '
Qur’an: “and to Him do we submit”; It refers to the subject of their talk, that is, worship. They made it clear that their worship of Allah would be totally in accordance with the dictates of Islam. The reply shows that the religion of Ibrahim was Islam.
Accordingly, the religion which was inherited by his offspring, for example, Ishaq, Ya'qub and Isma'il, and which continued in the Children of Israel and Isma'il, was Islam, and nothing else. It was this religion which Ibrahim (a.s.) brought from his Lord; and nobody had any right to turn away from it or to call to any other religion.
Sama'ah narrates from as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said: “The position of iman (faith) vis-à-vis Islam is like that of the Sacred Ka'bah vis-à-vis the Sanctuary; sometimes one may be in the Sanctuary without being in the Ka'bah, but he cannot be in the Ka'bah without being in the Sanctuary.” (al-Kafi )
Also he narrates from the same Imam that he said: ”Islam is to bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and to accept the truth of the Messenger of Allah; it is by this that the bloods are spared (i.e., lives are protected) and marriages and inheritance are validated; and the multitude of people are on its apparent (meaning); and the iman (i.e., faith and belief) is the guidance, and (it is) that characteristic of Islam which is firmly placed in the hearts.” (ibid.)
The author says: There are other traditions of the same meaning; and they explain the above-mentioned first stage of the Islam and Iman.
al-Barqi has narrated from 'Ali (a.s.) that he said: “Islam is submission and submission is conviction.” (ibid.)
Kahil said that as-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “If a people worshipped Allah - the One, there is no partner to Him - and established prayer, and paid the zakat and did the hajj of the House, and kept the fast of the month of Ramadan, and then said about-something done by Allah or done by the Messenger of Allah, 'Why did he not do it in another way?', or (even if) they felt (like) it in their hearts, they would become polytheists because of it...” (ibid.)
The author says: The foregoing two traditions refer to the third stages of the Islam and iman.
Ad-Daylami narrates in his al-Irshad - and he gives two sanads for this hadith which is one of the traditions of Ascension - that Allah said:
“O Ahmad! Do you know which way of living is happier and which life more durable?” (The Messenger of Allah) said: “No, O Allah!” (He) said: “As for the happy way of living, it is that in which the (living) person is not tired of remembering Me, and does not forget My bounties, and does not ignore My rights (on him); he seeks My pleasure day and night.
And as for the ever-lasting life, it is (realized) when (the person) works for his (spiritual) benefit until the world looses its significance for him, and looks small in his eyes; and the hereafter becomes great for him; and he gives preference to My pleasure over his own desire, and seeks My pleasures, and thinks the right of My bounty (as) great (on him); and keeps in mind what I have done for him (i.e., for his benefit); and watches Me day and night whenever he is tempted to commit any wrong or sin; and keeps his heart clean from all that I dislike; and hates Satan and his whisperings, and does not let Satan establish a hold over, or a passage to, his heart.
When he acts (like) this, then I put (My) love into his heart until I make his heart, as well as his leisure and engagement, and his thought and speech, a part of (My) favours which I have bestowed on those of My creatures who love Me; and I open his heart's eye and ear, so that he hears with his heart, and looks with his heart to My Majesty and Greatness; and I make the world straitened for him; and make him hate it with all its pleasures; and I caution him of the world and all that it contains, as a shepherd protects his sheep from dangerous pasture lands.
When it happens, then he flees from people, and transfers from the house of termination to the abode of eternity, and from the house of Satan to the seat of the Beneficent (God), O Ahmad! and I adorn him with dignity and majesty.
So, this is the good way of living and the eternal life; and it is the station of those who are pleased (with Me). So, whoever acts for My pleasure, I give him three characteristics: I teach him gratitude which is not polluted by ignorance, and remembrance that is not adulterated with forgetfulness, and love - so that he does not prefer the love of creatures to My love.
Then when he loves Me, I love him, and I open the eye of his heart to My Majesty, and do not keep My (very) special creatures hidden from him. And I converse with him secretly in the dark of night and the light of day, until he ceases talking with the creatures and sitting with them; and I make him hear My talk and the speech of My angels; and I make My secret known to him - which I have kept hidden from (all) My creation. And I dress him in modesty, until all the creation is awed of him. And he walks on the earth (and all his sins are) forgiven.
And I make his heart hearing and seeing; and do not hide from him anything of the Garden or the Fire; and I make known to him what terror and affliction are going to happen to the people on the Day of Resurrection, and the things I will question the rich and the poor, as well as the learned and the ignorant, about.
And I will make him sleep (in peace) in his grave, and I will send Munkar and Nakir to him for questioning him; and he will not see the sorrow of death, nor the fright of the prelude (of the next world).
Then I will erect his weighing scale for him, and will unroll his book (of deeds), then I will put his books in his right hand, and he shall read it unfolded; then I will not keep any interpreter between Me and him. So these are the attributes of the lovers.
O Ahmad! make your concern one concern, and make your tongue one tongue, and make your body (i.e., your person) alive that is never oblivious (of Me). Whoever is oblivious of Me, I do not care in which valley he perishes.” (Biharu 'l-anwar)
Al-Majlisi quotes the following tradition from al-Kafi, Ma'ani 'l-akhbar and an Nawadir of ar-Rawandi, with various chains of narrators, from as-Sadiq and al-Kazim (a.s.) - and the text given here is from al-Kafi - that the Imam said:
“The Messenger of Allah met Harithah ibn Malik ibn an-Nu'man al-Ansari, and said to him: 'How are you? O Harithah ibn Malik an-Nu'mani!' He said: 'A believer in reality, O Messenger of Allah!' The Messenger of Allah then said to him: 'There is a reality for everything; so what is the reality of your word?'
He said: 'O Messenger of Allah! I turned myself away from the world, so I kept my night awake (in worship) and my days thirsty (in fast); and (it is) as though I am looking at the throne of my Lord which has been set up for (taking) the (people's) account; and as though I see the people of the Garden visiting one another in the Garden, and as if I hear the howling of the people of the Fire in the Fire.'
Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (S) said: 'A servant that Allah has enlightened his heart. You have seen, so be firm.'” (ibid.)
The author says: The two traditions describe the fourth stage of the Islam and iman mentioned above. There are many traditions explaining particulars of these two; and, Allah willing, we shall quote some of them in various places of this book; and they are supported by the Qur'anic verses.
Also it should be kept in mind that for each stage of the Islam and iman, there is an opposite stage of al-kufr اَلكُفْرُ ) = disbelief) and ash-shirk اَلشـِّركُ ) = polytheism). And it is known that the higher and subtler the meaning of the Islam and iman, the more difficult it is to protect oneself from its opposite kufr or shirk.
Obviously, a lower stage of the Islam or iman does not exclude the possibility of a subtler kufr or shirk.
These two principles should be kept in mind. It follows that the verses of the Qur'an have some esoteric meanings which are applied to the situations which its exoteric meanings cannot be applied to. Please keep this hint in mind until we explain to you its details.
Al-Qummi writes about the words of Allah, and with Us is more, that the Imam said: “Looking towards the mercy of Allah.” (at-Tafsir)
The Prophet said: “Allah says: 'I have prepared for My good servants that which no eye has ever seen, nor any ear ever heard, nor has it ever passed from the heart of any man.' ” (Majma'u 'l-bayan)
The author says: The meaning of the two traditions may easily be understood from what we have written about the meaning of “good ones”; and Allah is the Guide.
al-Baqir (a.s.) said about the words of Allah, Or, were you witnesses when death approached Ya'qub...: “It is applied to al-Qa'im اَلقـَآئِمُ ) = the one who stands - i.e., with sword to establish the way of Allah). (al 'Ayyashi)
The author says: The author of as-Safi writes: “Perhaps the Imam meant that it was about the Qa'im from the progeny of Muhammad, because every Qa'im of them asks his children the same question at the time of his death, and they reply him as the children of Ya'qub had replied.”