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Twenty-Ninth Hadith: The Prophet’s Counsel To ‘Ali

بِالسَنَدِ المُتَّصِلِ إلَى أَفْضَلِ المُحَدِّثِينَ وَأَقْدَمِهِمْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ يَعْقُوبَ رِضْوَانُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ يَحْيَى، عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى، عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ النُّعْمَانِ، عَنْ مُعَاوِيَةَ بْنِ عَمَّارٍ قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ أبَا عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ يَقُولُ: كَانَ فِي وَصِيَّةِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ لِعَلِيٍّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ أنْ قَالَ: يَا عَلِيُّ، أُوصِيكَ فِي نَفْسِكَ بِخِصَالٍ فَاحْفَظْهَا عَنِّي. ثُمَّ قَالَ: اللَّهُمَّ أَعِنْهُ، أَمَّا الأُولَى فَالصِّدْقُ، وَلا تَخْرُجَنَّ مِنْ فِيكَ كِذْبَةٌ أَبَداً. وَالثَّانِيَةُ الوَرَعُ، وَلا تَجْتَرِئْ عَلَى خِيَانَةٍ أَبَداً. وَالثَّالِثَةُ الخَوْفُ مِنَ اللهِ عَزَّ ذِكْرُهُ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ. وَالرَّابِعَةُ كَثْرَةُ البُكَاءِ مِنْ خَشْيَةِ اللهِ يُبْنَى لَكَ بِكُلِّ دَمْعَةٍ أَلْفُ بَيْتٍ فِي الجَنَّةِ. وَالخَامِسَةُ بَذْلُكَ مَالَكَ وَدَمَكَ دُونَ دِينِكَ. وَالسَّادِسَةُ الأَخْذُ بِسُنَّتِي فِي صَلاتِي وَصَوْمِي وَصَدَقَتِي. أَمَّا الصَّلاةُ فَالخَمْسُونَ رَكْعَةً، وَأَمَّا الصِّيَامُ فَثَلاثَةُ أَيَّامٍ فِي الشَّهْرِ؛ الخَمِيسُ فِي أَوَّلِهِ وَالأَرْبُعَاءُ فِي وَسَطِهِ وَالخَمِيسُ فِي آخِرِهِ، وَأَمَّا الصَّدَقَةُ فَجُهْدُكَ حَتَّى تَقُولَ: قَدْ أَسْرَفْتُ، وَلَمْ تُسْرِفْ. وَعَلَيْكَ بِصَلاةِ اللَّيْلِ، وَعَلَيْكَ بِصَلاةِ اللَّيْلِ، وَعَلَيْكَ بِصَلاةِ اللَّيْلِ، وَعَلَيْكَ بِصَلاةِ الزَّوَالِ، وَعَلَيْكَ بِصَلاةِ الزَّوَالِ، وَعَلَيْكَ بِصَلاةِ الزَّوَالِ. وَعَلَيْكَ بِتِلاوَةِ القُرْآنِ عَلَى كُلِّ حَالٍ، وَعَلَيْكَ بِرَفْعِ يَدَيْكَ فِي صَلاتِكَ وَتَقْليبِهِمَا. وَعَلَيْكَ بِالسِّوَاكِ عِنْدَ كُلِّ وُضُوءٍ. وَعَلَيْكَ بِمَحَاسِنِ الأَخْلاقِ فَارْكَبْهَا، وَمَسَاوِئَ الأَخْلاقِ فَاجْتَنِبْهَا. فَإنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَلا تَلُومَنَّ إلاّ نَفْسَكَ.

With my continuous chain of transmission reaching up to the best of the traditionists and the foremost of them, Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al-Kulayni (R) from Muhammad ibn Yahya, from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Isa, from ‘Ali ibn al-Nu’man, from Mu’awiyah ibn ‘Ammar, who says, “I heard Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) say: In a counsel that the Prophet (S) gave to ‘Ali (A), he said, “O ‘Ali, I exhort you concerning certain characteristics (khisal) which you must preserve in yourself (as a trust) from me.”

Then he prayed, “O God, help him.” (Then he continued) “As to the first of them, it is truthfulness: never should a falsehood come out of your mouth. The second is piety (wara’), and never venture upon a treachery. The third is to fear God-sublime is His remembrance-as if you see Him. The fourth is to weep a lot out of the fear of God, the Exalted, and a thousand mansions shall be built for you in the Garden for every tear. The fifth is to offer your property and your blood for the sake of your religion. The sixth is to follow my sunnah in respect of my salat, my fasting, and my charity (sadaqah). As to the salat, it consists of fifty rak’ahs. As to the fasts, they are to be kept on three days in a month: on the first Thursday, on the Wednesday at its middle, and on the last Thursday. As to the charity, that consists of the utmost that you can give, so much so that you say to yourself, ‘I have been immoderate,’ whereas you will not have been immoderate.

““Commit yourself to the nightly prayer (salat al-layl)! Commit yourself to the nightly prayer! Commit yourself to the nightly prayer! Stick to the (supererogatory) noon prayer! Stick to the noon prayer! Stick to the noon prayer! Accustom yourself to reciting the Qur’an at all times. Make it your practice to raise your hands during prayer and to turn them. Take care to brush your teeth every time that you perform wudu.” Commit yourself to ethical virtues, practice them, and refrain from moral vices, and if you don’t, don’t blame anyone except yourself.”1

Khisal is the plural of khaslah, meaning khui (i.e. trait, characteristic, disposition) as mentioned in the Surah. Accordingly, its usage to denote the generality of dispositions as well as acts, as in this noble tradition and other places, is a figurative one. Or, perhaps, khaslah has a wider meaning than trait, in which case this kind of usage will be a literal one.

As to the word al-wara’ (with fathah on the ra’), which occurs in the narration of the Imam (A) that and ri’ah are verbal nouns of wari’a and yari’u (with kasrah on ra’ in both the cases) meaning God-fearing (taqwa) or intensity of God-fearing and piety. Probably it is derived from ورعته توريعاً meaning كففته [I restrained it], for wara’ is, in reality, restraining of the soul and making it refrain from transgressing the limits of the Shari’ah and reason.

Or, it might have been derived from warra’a in the sense of radda (meaning dissuasion). Thus, it is said وَرَّعتُ الإبِلَ عنِ الماءِ i.e. ‘I turned back (radadtuhu) the camel from water. That is because, in wara’, one dissuades the soul from what it covets and seeks to indulge in.

As to his words (A) لا تجترئ it pertains to the verbal form إفتعال and means temerity, daring, and boldness of action in matters. Al-Sihah, quoting Abu Zayd, states الجرأة مثال. الجرأة: الشجاعة. Also, it is mentioned in al-Sihah that: الجرئ: المقدام.

As to the word فَجُهدُكَ in the statement of the Imam (A) الجهد with dammah or fathah on the jim, it means strength and hardship (الطاقة والمشقة). It is said جهد دابته وأجهدها when one makes one’s mount run with all its power. Jahd is also used in the sense of effort and exertion and this meaning seems [more] more appropriate for this tradition.

As to his statement (A): عَلَيكَ بِصَلاةِ اللَّيلِ, here عليك is an ism al-fi’l (verbal noun) which is used in the sense of a transitive verb or as its substitute. عليكم أنفسكمmeans ألزموا أنفسكم (i.e. ‘Look after your own souls’)2 Accordingly this ba’ (in بصلاة ) is for the sake of stress and emphasis and not for making the verb transitive.

In the Majma’ al-bahrayn it is stated that if the ba’ be transitive it gives the sense of استمسك (i.e. stick to). This kind of expression does not exist in Persian, and in Arabic it is used for intensive emphasis upon a certain matter. Probably, a close Persian expression for it would beبچسب به فلان كار. However, its translation as something like بر تو باد به فلان does not accord with common usage. God willing, we will expound the relevant themes of the tradition in the course of a preface and several sections.


In this noble tradition, there are several aspects which reveal that these exhortations made by the Noble Messenger (S) to the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (A), were very important in his blessed eyes. One of them is that these were addressed to the Commander of the Faithful (A) though that master stood above any possibility of negligence in regard to the laws of the Shari’ah and Divine commandments.

However, since the matter was itself of supreme significance in the blessed eyes of the Noble Messenger of Allah (S) he did not refrain from exhorting him, and it is quite usual to find him exhorting someone concerning a matter that he considers as important and is concerned about, though he may know that that person will carry it out without fail.

As to the possibility that this counsel given to that holy personage was really aimed at others, being of the kind referred to in the proverb إياكِ أعني واسمعي يا جارةُ (i.e. ‘I tell you in order that the neighbor may hear’), such a possibility is remote. That is because the very context of the tradition bears witness that it was addressed to him and aimed independently at that holy personage, as indicated by the words في نفسك (in yourself) and the order to cherish and safeguard them, as yell as the invocation for Divine assistance.

These kind of exhortations were customary amongst the Ahl al-Bayt and it was usual for the Infallible Imams (A) to make them to one another. The very context of every one of these exhortations clearly shows that they were addressed by those holy personages to one another. Hence, in one of these counsels the Commander of the Faithful (A)says to Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn (A): “This is my counsel to the two of you and the other members of my household, as well as anyone whom this letter of mine should reach…”‘3

It is clear that the Hasanayn (A) were included in this counsel and these exhortations reveal the supreme importance of the matter and the intensity of the love that those holy personages had for one another. In fine, the very fact that the Commander of the Faithful (A) should be the addressee of these exhortations reveals the great importance of the matter.

Another point is that although it was addressed to Hadrat Amir (i.e. Imam ‘Ali), who would never have done anything against the Messenger’s exhortations or treated them with laxity or negligence, the Prophet considered it essential to stress the matter with such a great force.

Another point is that after saying “I exhort you,” he added, “you must safeguard them as a trust from me” in order to bring to his attention the importance of these exhortations. Thereafter, on account of his desire that Hadrat Amir should fulfill these important duties, he supplicated saying, “O God, help him.” In addition, there are other scattered points of stress in a number of the sentences, as indicated by the nun of emphasis (as in لا يخرجن), the use of repetition, and so on, which need not be mentioned. All this shows the importance of these matters.

Of course, it is obvious that the Prophet’s sacred personage had no imaginable self-interest in any of these matters and his sole concern was to benefit his addressee. And although Hadrat Amir (A), was the one to whom these exhortations were originally addressed, but since these duties are of a universal nature, we should do our utmost so that the exhortations of the Messenger of God (S) do not go unheeded. We should know that the greatness of the love that the Noble Messenger (S) had for Hadrat Amir (A) requires that there be a very great benefit in these matters and that they be so much important that he should have mentioned them in this manner. And God knows best.

The Evils Of Lying

One of the exhortations of the Noble Messenger (S) enjoins truthfulness and requires abstention from falsehood. The fact that it is mentioned foremost amongst his exhortations shows that its importance was greater in his venerable opinion than all the other things. We shall mention the evils of lying before the benefits and virtues of truthfulness. Hence, know that this vice is one about whose ugly and vicious character there is agreement between reason and revelation. In itself, it is one of the major sins and indecencies, as indicated by many traditions.

Moreover, at times it leads to other vices whose ugliness and viciousness is no lesser than this fatal sin. Sometimes it happens that due to the discovery of a single lie a man so loses his credibility in the eyes of the people that its loss cannot be compensated for until the end of his life. God forbid that one should ever become known for being a liar, for; perhaps, there is nothing that can do a greater injury to one’s repute.

In addition to this, the religious harms and otherworldly punishments associated with it are also numerous. Here we will confine ourselves to mentioning some of the noble traditions relating to this topic and refrain from undue elaboration, for the matter is of a clear and well-known character.

رُوِيَ فِي الوَسَائِلِ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ يَعْقُوبَ بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أبِي جَعْفَرٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: إنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ جَعَلَ لِلشَّرِّ أَقْفالاً وَجَعَلَ مَفَاتِيحَ تِلْكَ الأَقْفَالِ الشَّرَابَ. وَالكَذِبُ شَرٌّ مِنَ الشَّرَابِ.

In al-Wasa’il, it is narrated from Muhammad ibn Ya’qub, who reports with his isnad from Abu Ja’far (Imam al-Baqir) (A) that he said, “Verily, God, Almighty and Glorious, has assigned certain locks for evil and made wine the key to these locks. Yet falsehood is more evil than wine.”4

Now reflect a little on this sacred tradition, whose source is the Learned One of the Prophet’s Household (‘Alim Al Muhammad) and which is recorded in a book which serves as a source book for all the ulama of the Ummah (R)and which is accepted by all of them, and see if there remains any room for any excuse. Can a lax attitude in regard to lying have any cause other than weakness of faith in the traditions of the infallible Ahl al-Bayt (A)?

We do not know the Hidden forms of our deeds and are unaware of the spiritual links between the realms of mulk and malakut. As a result, we regard this kind of traditions as far-fetched and consider those like them as overstatements. This is itself an erroneous approach arising from nescience and feeble faith. If, supposedly, we consider this noble tradition as an hyperbole, shouldn’t there be some grounds for the exaggeration to be proper to the occasion? Can it be said of anything that it is worse than wine? Isn’t it that the evil of that thing should be so great that one may hyperbolize it by stating that it is worse than wine?

وَبِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أبِي جَعْفَرٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: الكَذِبُ هُوَ خَرَابُ الإيمَانِ.

Hadrat Baqir al-‘Ulum, i.e. Imam al-Baqir (A), said, “Lying is the ruin of faith.”5

Truly, such traditions as this make one’s heart tremble and give one cold feet. I think lying is one of those behavioral vices, which are so prevalent that their ugliness has totally disappeared. We only become aware [of its evil character] at a time when we wake up to find our faith, which is the most vital asset of the life of the Hereafter, forfeited as a result of this fatal sin without our knowing it.

It has been narrated from the Eighth Imam (A)that he said, “The Seal of the Prophets was asked if a believer could possibly be cowardly and timid. ‘Yes,’ he replied. Then they asked him if he could be stingy. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘Can ale be a liar?’ they asked him. ‘No!’ came the Prophet’s reply.”

It has been narrated from the Truthful of the Sect (Saduq al-Ta’fah, i.e. al-Shaykh al-Suduq) that he said, “Amongst the sayings of the Messenger of God is the statement:

أَرْبَى الرِّبَا الكَذِبُ.

Lying exceeds usury [in its evil].6

Such is the matter, whereas the severity of the banality of usury has been so much emphasized as to make one amazed.

Of the things that one should note is that telling an untruth even in jest and for humor’s sake has been considered lying and regarded with severity. The ulama have also prohibited it in their fatwas. Thus, the author of al-Wasa’il (M) has given the following title to a chapter [in his compilation] -a title that accords with his fatwa:

“Chapter on the prohibition of lying, in small and big matters, in serious talk and in jest, to the exclusion of what has been excepted.”

In the noble al-Kafi, it is reported through a chain of transmission reaching up to Imam al-Baqir (A) that the said, “ ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (A)used to tell his sons: ‘Refrain from falsehood in your speech, whether it is a small or big matter, whether it is said in serious talk or in jest. That is because lying in trivial matters produces the temerity to lie in big matters. Don’t you know that the Messenger of Allah (S) said, “There is a servant of God who so perseveres in truthfulness that God writes his name amongst the truthful ones, and there is a servant who makes lying his wont until God, the Exalted, styles him a liar?”7

Again al-Kafi reports with its isnad reaching up to the venerated Asbagh ibn Nubatah that he said:

قَالَ أَمِيرُ المُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: لا يَجِدُ عَبْدٌ طَعْمَ الإيمَانِ حَتَّى يَتْرُكَ الكَذِبَ هَزْلَهُ وَجِدَّهُ.

The Commander of the Faithful (A) said, “One does not taste the flavor of faith until he refrains from lying, in serious speech and in jest.”8

In a counsel given by the Noble Messenger (S) to Hadrat Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, the Prophet is reported to have said:

يَا أَبَا ذَرٍّ، وَيْلٌ لِلَّذِي يُحَدِّثُ فَيَكْذِبُ لِيُضْحِكَ بِهِ القَوْمَ! وَيْلٌ لَهُ! وَيْلٌ لَهُ!

O Abu Dharr, woe to the man who tells lies in order to make other people laugh. Woe to him! Woe to him!

Now, with all these traditions and severe warnings of the Messenger of God and the Imams of guidance (A), it needs great audacity and wretchedness for one to perpetrate this enormity and commit this serious vice.

In the same way as lying has been considered as one of the most serious vices, truthfulness of speech has been commended as one of the most significant of virtues. It has been highly praised in the traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt, and here we will confine ourselves to mentioning some of them:

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَعْقُوبَ بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: كُونُوا دُعَاةً لِلنَّاسِ بِالخَيْرِ بِغَيْرِ أَلْسِنَتِكُمْ لِيَرَوا مِنْكُمُ الإجْتِهَادَ وَالصِّدْقَ وَالوَرَعَ.

Muhammad ibn Ya’qub reports with his isnad from Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) that he said, “Call people to righteousness through means other than your tongues, that they may observe diligence, truthfulness and piety in you.’9

The venerated Saduq reports with his isnad from the Messenger of God (S) that he said, “The nearest of you to me on the Day of Resurrection and the worthiest of my intercession will be the one who is the most truthful amongst you, the most reliable amongst you in regard to his trusts, the most genial of you in disposition, and the closest amongst you to the common people.”

The Meaning Of Wara’ And Its Levels

Wara’ has been reckoned as one of the stages of the wayfarer’s journey. In accordance with the definition of it given by the well-known gnostic, the venerable Khwajah ‘Abd Allah Ansari, it is:

هُوَ تَوْقٌ مُسْتَقْصىً عَلَى حَذَرٍ أَوْ تَحَرُّجٍ عَلَى تَعْظِيمٍ.

It means that wara’ is the utmost of restraint and the ultimate of self-vigilance accompanied with the fear of stumbling; or it means subjecting the soul to a rigorous discipline for the sake of God’s glorification. And this includes all its levels, because there are many degrees of wara. Thus the wara’ of the common people consists of abstaining from major sins, whereas the wara’ of the elect (khassah) consists of refraining from suspect things for the fear of falling into what is unlawful (muharramat), as indicated by the noble hadith al-tathlith.10

The wara’ of the zahid (ascetic) consists of abstaining from lawful things for the sake of avoiding the burden (of answerability) that they entail. The wara’ of the wayfarers of the path of gnosis is abstaining from beholding the world for the sake of attaining to the stations (maqamat). The wara’ of those captivated by the Divine Being (majdhubun) is to relinquish the stations for reaching the Threshold of Allah and witnessing His Beauty. The wara’ of the awliya’ is to refrain from paying attention to ends (ghayat). Each of these has an elaborate description, engaging wherein is not beneficial for our state.

However, that which we should know in this connection is that the exercising of wara’ or piety in relation to what Allah has made unlawful (haram) is the root of all spiritual excellences and Hereafterly stations, and none can attain any station whatsoever except by abstaining from the muharramat.

A heart that does not possess this wara’ becomes so covered with rust and obfuscations that there ceases to be any hope of its deliverance. The purity of the souls and their burnish comes through wara’. This is the most important of the stages for the common people, and reaching it is one of the most essential goals of the wayfarer of the path of the Hereafter. Its excellence, as described in the traditions of the infallible Ahl al-Bayt (A) is more than what can be mentioned in these pages. We will confine ourselves to mentioning some of these traditions, and anyone seeking further details should refer to the compilations of hadith.

الكَافِي بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: أُوصِيكَ بِتَقْوَى اللهِ وَالوَرَعِ وَالإجْتِهَادِ، وَاعْلَمْ إنَّهُ لا يَنْفَعُ اجْتِهَادٌ لا وَرَعَ فِيهِ.

In al-Kafi of, al-Kulayni reports with his isnad from Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) that he said, “I exhort you concerning God-fearing, wara’, and diligence in worship, and know that a diligence that is devoid of wara’ is of no benefit.”11

There are still other traditions containing this theme. They indicate that a worship that is devoid of wara’ is devoid of worth. It is obvious that the main purpose of the acts of worship is self-discipline and restraint, and its aim is the domination of malakut over the realm of mulk and physical nature, which cannot be perfectly realized without intense wara’ and piety.

The souls, which are afflicted with sinfulness and disobedience to God are unreceptive to the spiritual forms. Any effort to impress these forms on the tablet of the soul is futile unless the tablet’s surface is first cleared from the obfuscations of rust. Thus worship, which is the form of the perfection of the soul, remains futile without purifying the soul from the rust of sinfulness. Without the soul’s burnish, it remains an empty form devoid of meaning, and a body without spirit.

بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ يَزِيدَ بْنِ خَلِيفَةَ قَالَ: وَعَظَنَا أَبُو عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ فَأَمرَ وَزَهَّدَ ثُمَّ قَالَ: عَلَيْكُمْ بِالوَرَعِ فَإنَّهُ لا يُنَالُ مَا عِنْدَ اللهِ إلاّ بِالوَرَعِ.

Yazid ibn Khalifah says: Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) sermoned us, exhorting and directing us to adopt zuhd. Then he said, “Commit yourselves to wara’, for, verily, that which is with God cannot be attained by anything except wara’.”12

Thus, in accordance with this sacred tradition a man who is devoid of wara’ is deprived from the bounties that God, the Exalted, has promised His servants, and this is the height of wretchedness and failure.

The following tradition is reported with isnad from Imam al-Baqir (A):

The Imam said, “Our wilayah cannot be attained except with works (of righteousness) and piety.”

In another tradition, Imam al-Sadiq (A) says:

“One who lives in a city of a hundred thousand wherein there are other people more pious than him, such a one is not one of our followers (shi’ah).”‘13

The same assertion is made in a tradition recorded in the noble al-Kafi.14

It should be known that, in accordance with the noble traditions, the criterion of perfection in wara’ is abstention from that which has been forbidden by God, and anyone who refrains from what God has made unlawful is considered the most pious of men. So do not let Satan make this matter appear as greatly difficult in your eyes, and make you despairing and despondent. For it is the habit of that accursed one to lead man into everlasting wretchedness by the way of despair.

For instance, in this regard he will tell you: “How is it possible to the most pious person in a city of hundred thousand people or more?” This is one of the tricks of that damned creature and the insinuations of the carnal ego. The answer to this is that, in accordance with the traditions, everyone who refrains from what God has decreed as unlawful stands in the ranks of the most pious of men referred to in these traditions. Refraining from the Divine muharramat is not a very difficult task. Rather, with a measure of spiritual training and practical effort one can avoid all the muharramat.

Of course, if one desires to be one of the felicitous and one of those who attain salvation, and if one aspires for the protection of the wilayah of the Ahl al-Bayt and the mercy of God, the Exalted, without possessing at least this much of forbearance in regard to sin, that cannot be. Certainly, a measure of resistance, forbearance, and austerity is essential.

The Evils Of Treachery And The Meaning Of Trustworthiness

There is a point here that needs some elucidation, which is that the Noble Messenger (S) refers to the avoidance of betrayal of trust as a matter subsidiary to his exhortation regarding wara’. That, despite the fact that wara’ relates to the generality of muharramat or, as said, is something still more inclusive. Hence ‘treachery’ here must either be taken in a wider sense corresponding to wara’, than the customary sense of it, in which case it would include the generality of sins and perpetration of anything that is an obstacle in the Godward wayfaring and which amounts to a betrayal of trust. That is because the Divine duties are Divine trusts, as pointed out in this noble verse:

﴿إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَنْ يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنْسَانُ إِنَّهُ كَانَ ظَلُومًا جَهُولًا.﴾

We offered the Trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to carry it and were afraid of it; and man carried it. Surely, he is unjust, ignorant. (33:72)

Some exegetes have interpreted [the ‘Trust’ in this verse] as the Divine duties. Rather, all the bodily members, organs, and faculties are God’s trusts and their use in a manner contrary to God’s good pleasure is a betrayal of trust. Similarly, turning the heart’s attention to anything other than God is a treachery:

اين جان عاريت كه به حافظ سپرده دوست

روزي رخش ببينم وتسليم وي كنم

This soul that the Friend had lent to Hafiz as a trust,

I’ll restore to Him one day when I see His face.

Or, what is meant by ‘treachery’ here is its usual sense, and that it has been singled out here for mention due to its great importance, as if the totality of wara’ lay in refraining from betrayal of trust. If one were to make a study of the traditions of the Infallible Ones (A) concerning the delivery of trust and abstention from treachery, one would understand how important this matter is in the view of the Holy Lawgiver.

Moreover, its innate viciousness is not hidden from any sensible person. The perfidious person is to be reckoned as standing outside the fold of humanity and counted among the vilest of devils. It is obvious that if someone becomes notorious among the people for his treacherous and villainous character, his life will be greatly miserable in this world itself.

Mankind can lead a prosperous life in this world only through mutual help and cooperation. It is not feasible for anyone to lead an isolated existence, which is possible only if he leaves the society of men to join the fold of wild beasts. The great wheel of social life revolves on the axis of mutual confidence amongst the people. If, God forbid, mutual confidence were to depart from the life of mankind, it would not be possible for them to lead a satisfactory life. The great pillar of mutual confidence rests on trustworthiness and abstention from treachery.

Hence, the treacherous person does not enjoy the confidence of others and is an outcast from civil life and the membership of human society. His membership is not accepted in the walks of civic existence and such a person, obviously, lives a life of hardship and misery. In order that the benefit of this section be complete, we shall cite some traditions of the infallible Ahl al-Bayt concerning this theme, and these suffice wakeful hearts and open eyes.

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَعْقُوبَ بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: لا تَنْظُرُوا إلَى طُولِ رُكُوعِ الرَّجُلِ وَسُجُودِهِ فَإنَّ ذَلِكَ شَيْءٌ اعْتَادَهُ وَلَوْ تَرَكَهُ اسْتَوْحَشَ لِذَلِكَ. وَلَكِنِ انْظُرُوا إلَى صِدْقِ حَدِيثِهِ وَأَدَاءِ أَمَانَتِهِ.

Muhammad ibn Ya’qub (al-Kulayni) narrates with his isnad from Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) that he said, “Don’t look at the protracted kneelings and prostrations of a man, for that is something which he does out of habit and would be upset if he were to neglect them. But look at the truthfulness of his speech and his fulfillment of trusts.15

وَبِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أَبِي كَهْمَسَ قَالَ: قُلْتُ لأَبِي عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: عَبْدُاللهِ بْنُ أَبِي يَعْفُورَ يُقْرِئُكَ السَّلامَ. قَالَ: عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ، إذَا أَتَيْتَ عَبْدَاللهِ فَأَقْرِئْهُ السَّلامَ وَقُلْ لَهُ: إنَّ جَعْفَرَ بْنَ مُحَمَّدٍ يَقُولُ لَكَ انْظُرْ مَا بَلَغَ بِهِ عَلِيٌّ عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ فَالْزَمْهُ فَإنَّ عَلِيّاً عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ إنَّمَا بَلَغَ مَا بَلَغَ بِهِ عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللهِ بِصِدْقِ الحَدِيثِ وَأَدَاءِ الأَمَانَةِ.

(Al-Kulayni reports) with his isnad from Abu Kahmas that he said: I said to Abu ‘Abd Allah (A): “Abd Allah ibn Abi Ya’fur conveys his salam to you.” The Imam replied: “May peace be upon you and upon him. When you see ‘Abd Allah convey my greetings and tell him that Ja’far ibn Muhammad says to you: Consider what made ‘Ali attain the standing that he attained with the Messenger of God (S) and stick to it, for, verily, ‘Ali (A) attained the standing that he attained with the Messenger of Allah through truthfulness of speech and fulfillment of trust.”16

And you, my dear, reflect upon this sacred tradition and behold how sublime is the station of truthfulness and trustworthiness, which brought ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (A) to that lofty station of his! This tradition shows that the Messenger of God loved these two characteristics more than anything else, and amongst the attributes of perfection of Mawla- ‘Ali (A)it were these two which had brought him so close to the Prophet and raised him to that distinguished station.

Also Imam al-Sadiq (A) recommends these two, from among all kinds of deeds and characteristics, to Ibn Abi Ya’fur, who was a dedicated and self-effacing follower of the Imam, and sends him a message asking him to cling to them, because they were very important in his blessed eyes.

وَبِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أَبِي جَعْفَرٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: قَالَ أَبُو ذَرٍّ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ: سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ يَقُولُ: حَافَّتَا الصِّرَاطِ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ الرَّحِمُ وَأَدَاءُ الأَمَانَةِ. فَإذَا مَرَّ الوَصُولُ لِلرَّحِمِ المُؤَدِّي لِلأَمَانَةِ نَفَذَ إلَى الجَنَّةِ. وَإذَا مَرَّ الخَائِنُ لِلأَمَانَةِ القَطُوعُ لِلرَّحِمِ لَمْ يَنْفَعْهُ مَعَهُمَا عَمَلٌ وَتَكَفَّأَ بِهِ الصِّرَاطُ فِي النَّارِ.

(Al-Kulayni reports) with his isnad from Abu Ja’far (A) that he said: Abu Dharr (R) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (S) say: “On the Day of Resurrection the Womb and the Trust shall stand on the two sides of the Sirat. When one who has fulfilled the duties of kinship and discharged his trusts passes over (the Sirat), he will cross over to paradise. But when the betrayer of trust or the violator of the rights of kinship passes over it, no work of his will benefit him by the side of these (vices), and the Sirat will turn him over into hell.”17

This indicates that the [otherworldly] forms of the Womb and the Trust shall stand on the two sides of the Sirat in that world and they will assist one who has fulfilled the duties of blood relationship and discharged his trusts. No work will benefit him if he has violated these two, and they will cast him into hell.

وَبِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أبِي عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: قَالَ أَمِيرُ المُؤْمِنِينَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: أَدُّوا الأَمَانَةَ وَلَوْ إلَى قَاتِلِ وُلْدِ الأَنْبِيَاءِ.

Al-Kulayni reports) with his isnad from Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) that he said: Amir al-Mu’minin (A) said, “Discharge your trusts, even if they pertain to a murderer of the offspring of the Prophets.”18

وَبِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أبِي عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ فِي وَصِيَّةٍ لَهُ: إعْلَمْ أنَّ ضَارِبَ عَلِيٍّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ بِالسَّيْفِ وَقَاتِلَهُ لَوِ ائْتَمَنَنِي وَاسْتَنْصَحَنِي وَاسْتَشَارَنِي ثُمَّ قَبِلْتُ ذَلِكَ مِنْهُ لأَدَّيْتُ إلَيْهِ الأَمَانَةَ.

(Al-Kulayni reports) with his isnad from Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) that he said in one of his exhortations, “Know shat even if the assassin of ‘Ali (A) who struck him with the sword, were to entrust me with something and were he to seek my advice and counsel, and were I to accept his request, I would not betray his trust.”19

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الحُسَيْنِ بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أَبِي حَمْزَةَ الثُّمَالِيِّ قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ سَيِّدَ العَابِدِينَ عَلِيَّ بْنَ الحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ يَقُولُ لِشِيعَتِهِ: عَلَيْكُمْ بِأَدَاءِ الأَمَانَةِ، فَوَالَّذِي بَعَثَ مُحَمَّداً صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ بِالحَقِّ نَبِيّاً لَوْ أنَّ قَاتِلَ أَبِي الحُسَيْنِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلامُ ائْتَمَنَنِي عَلَى السَّيْفِ الَّذِي قَتَلَهُ بِهِ لأَدَّيْتُهُ إلَيْهِ.

Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn reports with his isnad from Abu Hamzah al-Thumali that he said: I heard the Master of the Devout, ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (A)say to his followers (shi’ah), “Commit yourself to trustworthiness; for, by Him Who sent Muhammad (S) with the Truth as a Prophet, even if the killer of my father, al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (A) were to entrust me with the sword with which he had killed him, I would not betray his trust.”20

وِبِإسْنَادِهِ عَنِ الصَّادِقِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ عَنْ آبَائِهِ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلامُ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ فِي حَدِيثِ المَنَاهِي أنَّهُ نَهَى عَنِ الخِيَانَةِ وَقَالَ: مَنْ خَانَ أَمَانَةً فِي الدُّنْيَا وَلَمْ يَرُدَّهَا إلَى أَهْلِهَا ثُمَّ أَدْرَكَهُ المَوْتُ مَاتَ عَلَى غَيْرِ مِلَّتِي وَيَلْقَى اللهَ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِ غَضْبَانَ. وَمَنِ اشْتَرَى خِيَانَةً وَهُوَ يَعْلَمُ فَهُوَ كَالَّذِي خَانَهَا.

(Al-Saduq reports) with his isnad from Imam al-Sadiq (A)that he narrated from his ancestors from the Prophet (S) that, in a tradition concerning certain proscribed acts, he forbade the betrayal of trust and said, “Whoever betrays a trust in the life of the world, not delivering it to those to whom it belongs, and then dies, such a person doesn’t die upon my creed and he shall meet God in a state wherein He will be wrathful with him. And whoever knowingly purchases the despoils of treachery is like the traitor.”21

There are other traditions of this kind, and it is obvious what consequences will result from the wrath of God’s Sacred Being upon a servant. Of course, the venerable intercessors, too, will not intercede on behalf of someone who is the object of God’s wrath, especially since the betrayer of trust is out of the pale of the creed of the Messenger of Allah (S). It is stated in a (prophetic) tradition that:

Whoever commits a breach of trust in regard to a believer does not belong to me.”22

It is mentioned in another tradition that such a man “is outside the faith of Islam and he will be cast into the abyss of hell for ever and ever.”23 I seek refuge in God from the evil of this vice.

It is obvious that the breach of a believer’s trust includes dishonesty of a financial nature as well as other breaches of trust that are of a more serious nature. Hence, one should be very vigilant of the carnal self, which may make one turn a blind eye to certain matters and make their vicious character appear as something trivial and simple, though they be the cause of everlasting wretchedness and perpetual ignominy. This is the state of those who commit treachery against God’s creatures, and from this, we come to know the state of treachery in relation to the trust of God, the Exalted.

Concerning Some Divine Trusts

It should be known that God, the Blessed and the Exalted, has bestowed upon us all our outward and inward faculties and bodily members and organs. He has spread out the table of bounties and beneficence throughout the inner and outer realms of our being, subjecting all of them to our power. He delivered them to us as trusts in a form wherein all of them were pure, immaculate, and free from formal and spiritual impurities. Everything that He sent down for us from the world of the Hidden, was pure and free from any kind of contamination.

Therefore, if while meeting that Sacred Being we return these trusts to Him in the condition of purity from the contaminations of the corporeal sphere and the impurities of the mundane world and mulk, we shall be reckoned as trustworthy; otherwise we shall be held guilty of betrayal of trust and cast outside the pale of genuine Islam and the creed of the Noble Messenger (S).

It is mentioned in a famous hadith that:

قَلْبُ المُؤْمِنِ عَرْشُ الرَّحْمَنِ.

The heart of the believer is the throne of the All-Beneficent.

And it is said in a well-known hadith qudsi

لا تَسَعُنِي أَرْضِي وَلا سَمَائِي، بَلْ يَسَعُنِي قَلْبُ عَبْدِيَ المُؤْمِنُ.

Neither [the vastness of] My earth, nor [that of] My heaven can contain Me. Indeed it is the heart of the man of faith which can contain Me.24

The believer’s heart is the throne and seat of Godhead and the abode of that Sacred Being. That Sacred Being is the owner of the heart. Riveting the heart’s attention on other than God, the Exalted, is a breach of His trust. The love of anything other than that of the Holy Being and His elect, loving whom is the same as loving Him, is considered a treachery in the creed of gnosis. The wilayah of the Household of Purity and Infallibility and the friendship of the Family of the Messenger (A) and the gnosis of their holy station is a Divine trust.

Accordingly, in many noble traditions the word ‘Trust’ (in verse 33:72) has been interpreted as the wilayah of the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali (A). In the same way as the usurpation of the authority and office of that personage is a treason, so also the failure to follow that sacred personage is one of the degrees of treachery. And it is mentioned in the sacred traditions that “A shi’ah is one who follows [the Ahl-al-Bayt] in a complete manner. Otherwise, the mere claim of being a shi’ah will not be considered as tashayyu’ (shi’i hood).”

Many of our fancies belong to the category of fake longings. At the mere feeling of love for Hadrat Amir (A) in our hearts, we become proud of this love and imagine that this love will survive even if we don’t continue to follow him. But what surety is there that this attachment will survive if we fail to take care of it and if we neglect the attendant qualities of this love’’

It is possible that during the pangs of death, which are experienced by all except the Faithful (mu’minun) and the Sincere (mukhlasun), one may forget ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (A) as a result of the panic and terror of the last agony. It is mentioned in a tradition that a group of sinners facing punishment in hell will forget the name of the Noble Messenger (S). When their term of punishment draws to its close and they are purged of and purified from the filth of sin, the blessed name of the Prophet shall come to their memory, or they will be reminded of it.

Thereupon, they will raise the cry of ‘Wa Muhammada!’ O Muhammad! (S). Thereat, they will receive mercy and release. We imagine that the encounter with death and the last agony is something similar to the experiences of this world. My dear! A short attack of fever is sufficient to make you forget everything that you know. Think what will happen when those calamities, agonies, terrors, and panics hold you in their grip! If one loves and fulfills the requisites of that love, remembering the beloved and following him, of course, such a love of the absolute friend and the absolute beloved of God shall enjoy Divine favor.

But if one makes merely a claim unaccompanied by action, or, rather, accompanied by defiance, it is possible that before he departs from this world its diversions, vicissitudes, and shifting scenes may lead one to forsake the love of that Master, or, na’udhubilldh, turn one into his enemy. We have seen persons who claimed to befriend God and the Messenger (S) but who, after moving about in degenerate company and adopting evil conduct, became hostile to the Prophet and his Family (A).

And even if, supposedly, one were to depart from this world with that love, though he will ultimately attain salvation and felicity in accordance with certain noble traditions and sacred verses, yet he will still have to suffer the afflictions of Barzakh and the terrors of death and resurrection in accordance with this tradition: “We shall intercede in your favor on the Day of Resurrection. But it is up to yourselves to do something for the life of Barzakh.”25

I seek God’s refuge from the punishment and pressures of the grave and the hardships and tortures of Barzakh, which have no resemblance to anything in this world. That door of hell which opens into the grave, should it be opened upon this world, it will destroy all its creatures. God be our refuge from such horrors.

The Fear Of God Almighty

Know that the fear of God, the Exalted, is one of the stages that is hardly equaled by any other in respect of the common people. Aside from the fact that this fear is itself one of spiritual excellences, it is the source of many virtues of the spirit and one of the important reforming agents of the soul. Rather, it may be reckoned as the mainspring of all reform and the healing source of all spiritual ailments.

A human being with faith in God and a wayfarer and emigrant towards Allah should give utmost importance to this stage and pay great attention to everything that increases it in the heart and strengthens its roots, such as the remembrance of chastisement and punishment, recalling the severity of the perilous passes of death, and, after death, those of Barzakh and resurrection, the terrors of the Sirat, the Balance, the scrutinies of the Reckoning, and the various punishments of hell, as well, as the remembrance of the Might, Glory, Irresistibility, and Sovereignty of God and the remembrance of the gradualness of deviation (istidraj), the Divine stratagems, the possible evil of one’s ultimate end and the like. Since we have in these pages described all these stages to some extent, we shall confine ourselves here to citing some traditions concerning the merits of the fear of God:

مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ يَعْقُوبَ بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنِ إسْحَاقَ بْنِ عَمَّارٍ قَالَ: قَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِاللهِ الصَّادِقِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: «خَفِ اللّهَ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ، وَإنْ كُنْتَ لا تَرَاهُ فَإنَّهُ يَرَاكَ، وَإنْ كُنْتَ تَرَى أنَّهُ لا يَرَاكَ فَقَدْ كَفَرْتَ، وَإنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أنَّهُ يَرَاكَ ثُمَّ بَرَزْتَ لَهُ بِالمَعْصِيَةِ، فَقَدْ جَعَلْتَهُ مِنْ أَهْوَنِ النَّاظِرِينَ إلَيْكَ.»

Muhammad ibn Ya’qub reports with his isnad from Ishaq ibn ‘Ammar that he said: Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) said, “O Ishaq, fear God as if you see Him. For if you don’t see Him, indeed He sees you. And if you imagine that He does not see you, you have disbelieved. And if you know that indeed He sees you and yet go forth to disobey Him, then you have made Him the least of onlookers who behold you.”26

Know that if someone should understand the character of the manifestation of the Divine in mulk and malakut and the revelation of that Sacred Essence in the heavens and the earths, either through unmediated (huduri) experience, or epiphany, or through real faith, and should he apprehend the relation of God to creation and the relation of creation to God as it really is, and should he have the knowledge of the character of the manifestation of the Divine Will in determinate things and their dissolution fana’in it, as it really is, he would know that God, the Exalted, is present in all places and realms, and he would observe Him with unmediated knowledge (‘ilm huduri) in all existents, as stated by Imam al-Sadiq (A):

مَا رَأَيْتُ شَيْئاً إلاّ وَرَأَيْتُ اللهَ مَعَهُ أَوْ فِيهِ.

I don’t see a thing without seeing God with it or in it.

In the intimacy of the nawafil (supererogatory prayers) the true meaning of:

كُنْتُ سَمْعَهُ وَبَصَرَهُ وَيَدَهُ.

I will be his hearing, his sight and his hand,

and other than that will become disclosed to him. Then, he will see, in accordance with his own station, the Divine Presence in all the levels of being, knowledgewise or faithwise or through direct experience and epiphany.

Of course, at this stage, the wayfarer-whatever his rank-would observe the etiquette of the Divine Presence and refrain from the defiance of that Sacred Essence. That is because the observance of presence and its etiquette is something innate in human beings, and no matter how shameless a person might be, absence and presence [of someone are not the same for him, especially when the presence is that of the All-mighty and the All-perfect Provider, which is independently impressed in the presence-observing nature of everyone.

The Disparity Of People In Observing The Divine Presence

It should be known that every believer, wayfarer, gnostic, and wali observes the etiquette of the Divine Presence in a manner that is special to him. Hence, the faithful and the God-fearing consider observance of the presence to lie in abstaining from unlawful things and in observing the precepts. The majdhubun consider it to lie in refraining from attending to other-than-God and in directing one’s perfect and complete attention to God. The awliya’ and the Perfect consider it to lie in the negation of otherness, as well as the negation of the ego.

In fine, one of the sublime stations of the gnostics and the people of the heart is the experience of Divine Presence and its observance. Hence, with the apprehension of the character of God’s active knowledge and the dissolution of all things in His Sacred Essence and the presence of all beings before Him, and with the understanding that the realm of being is present before the Lord, each of them, whatever his station, observes the requisites of presence. Also, this is an innate characteristic of the human nature.

The Noble Messenger (S) has referred to the first station in the spiritual counsel that he gave to Hadrat Amir (A) and which we are now engaged in expounding. The same station is referred to in the noble tradition narrated by Ishaq ibn ‘Ammar, wherein the Imam (A) says:

وَالثَّالِثَةُ الخَوْفُ مِنَ اللهِ عَزَّ ذِكْرُهُ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ.

And the third thing is to fear God-sublime is His remembrance-as if you see Him.

And where he says:

خَفِ اللهَ كَأَنَّكَ تَرَاهُ.

Fear God as if you see Him.

Imam al-Sadiq (A) refers to the second station where he says:

وَإنْ كُنْتَ لا تَرَاهُ فَإنَّهُ يَرَاكَ.

For if you don’t see Him, verily He sees you.

Imam al-Sadiq (A) refers to the natural proclivity to observe presence in his statement:

وَإنْ كُنْتَ تَعْلَمُ أنَّهُ يَرَاكَ…

And if you know that He indeed sees you

Further, there are various levels of the fear in accordance with the different levels of the faithful, the wayfarers, and the people of austerities and gnosis, and one of its higher levels is the fear of the Greatness of God and the manifestations of Divine Might and Glory. It is possible not to reckon this station as a level of ‘fear’, as stated by the famous ‘arif in Manazil al-sa’irin:

وَلَيْسَ فِي مَقَامِ أَهْلِ الخُصُوصِ وَحْشَةٌ إلاّ هَيْبَةَ الإجْلالِ.

That is, there exists no fear for the people of the heart and the mysteries of wilayah except the awe of Divine Majesty, Magnificence, Greatness, and Glory.

The Virtues Of Lamentation

There are many virtues in weeping and lamenting for the tear of God. As mentioned in this noble hadith, God shall build a thousand mansions in paradise for every tear that is shed in fear of Him. The venerable Shaykh Saduq (R) narrates with his unbroken chain of transmission from Imam al-Sadiq (A)from his forefathers, from the Noblest Messenger (S) that he said in a tradition relating to certain things that one should refrain from: “One whose eyes weep from the fear of God shall be bestowed for every tear that he sheds a palace ornamented with jewels and pearls every paradise the like of which no eye has ever seen, no ear has ever heard, and no heart has ever imagined.”

عَنْ ثَوَابِ الأَعْمَالِ: بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أبِي جَعْفَرٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ: لَيْسَ شَيْءٌ إلاّ وَلَهُ شَيْءٌ يَعْدِلُهُ إلاّ اللهُ، فَإنَّهُ لا يَعْدِلُهُ شَيْءٌ، وَلا إلَهَ إلاّ اللهُ لا يَعْدِلُهُ شَيْءٌ، وَدَمْعَةٌ مِنْ خَوْفِ اللهِ فَإنَّهُ لَيْسَ لَهَا مِثْقَالٌ، فَإنْ سَالَتْ عَلَى وَجْهِهِ لَمْ يَرْهَقْهُ قَتَرٌ وَلا ذِلَّةٌ بَعْدَهَا أَبَداً.

In the Thawab al-‘a’mal (al-Shaykh al-Saduq reports) with his isnad from Abu Ja’far (A)that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “Except God, there is nothing that doesn’t have an equal, for, verily, nothing equals Him. And there is nothing, which equals [the statement], “There is no god except God.” And [the worth of] a tear shed in fear of God cannot be weighed by anything, for the face on which it flows shall never ever he covered with abasement and humiliation thereafter.”

In al-Kafi, it is narrated from Imam al-Sadiq (A) that “Everything has a weight and measure except tears, for a tear is sufficient to extinguish seas of fire.” And he said, “If there is a single person who weeps [out of fear of God] in a community (ummah), all of its members receive Divine mercy.” There is a large number of traditions containing this theme.27

Doubts Regarding Disproportionate Award

That which is essential to point out here is that some feeble souls lacking conviction question the possibility of such great rewards for trivial matters. They are ignorant of the fact than if something appears small to us in this world that does not prove that its Hidden and malakuti form be trivial and insignificant as well. For it is often the case that a minute creature has an inward and malakuti being that is extremely great and magnificent.

Thus the holy frame and physical form of the last and the noblest of Messengers, the honored and the venerable Prophet (S) was one of the small existents of this world, whereas his holy spirit encompassed the realms of mulk and malakut and was the mediating means for the creation of the heavens and the earths.

Therefore, to judge the inward and malakuti form of something as trivial and small, presumes the knowledge of the world of malakut and the inward reality of things. Hence the like of us have no right to make such a Judgment. Rather, we should open our ears to the pronouncements of those who have the knowledge of the world of Hereafter, that is, the prophets and the awliya’ (A).

Another point is that the basis of that world rests on the expansive bounteousness and the infinite mercy of God, Glorious and Exalted. There is no limit or hound to the munificence of God, the Exalted, arid it is the height of ignorance and nescience to doubt the generosity of the Absolutely Generous and the infinite mercy of the All-merciful.

All these bounties that He has bestowed upon His creatures, which minds cannot encompass, or, rather, even the comprehension of whose general features confounds the intellects, have been awarded without asking and without any background of deservedness. So why should it appear incredible if He, out of His sheer generosity and without any prior deservedness, gives a manifold reward to His servants? A world whose very basis has been decreed in accordance with [the principle of] the influence of the human will, and regarding which He has said:

﴿وَفِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِيهِ الْأَنفُسُ وَتَلَذُّ الْأَعْيُنُ.﴾

Therein being whatever the souls desire, and the eyes delight in. (43:71)

is it possible to regard it as tar-fetched and improbable, although that which the human soul desires is without limit and boundless? God, Blessed and Exalted, has so determined that world and has so fashioned the human will that anything that it wills would come into existence by the sheer act of the will.

My dear! The number of the noble traditions and narrations relating to this kind of rewards is not one or two so that there should remain any room for denial. Rather, their number exceeds the limit of tawatur. All the reliable and trustworthy works of hadith are replete with this kind of traditions. They are such as if we have heard them directly from the Infallible Ones themselves (A).

Their character is not such as to allow one to take resort in interpretation (ta’wil). Therefore, to deny the truth of this matter without any grounds-a matter that is in accordance with mutawatir texts and is not contrary to any discursive proof, or rather agrees with a certain kind of proof-such a denial springs from weakness of faith and extreme ignorance. Man should submit to the statements of the prophets and the awliya’ (A).

Nothing is better for human perfection than submission to the awliya’ of God, especially in matters which human reason cannot fathom and there is no way to whose understanding except the way of revelation and prophethood. Should man try to butt in his inadequate intellect and his fancies and presumptions on matters of the Hidden and the Hereafter and those relating to worship and religious law, that would ultimately lead him, little by little and in gradual stages, to deny even the self-evident necessities of the faith.

Even if, supposedly, you should doubt the authenticity of the traditions and their chains of transmission-though there is no room for such a doubt-you cannot question the authority of the Noble Scripture of God, the Glorious and the Celestial Qur’an. The likes of such rewards are also mentioned there, as in the following statements of God, the Exalted:

﴿لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ.﴾

The Night of al-Qadr is better than a thousand months. (97:3)

﴿مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ حَبَّةٍ أَنْبَتَتْ سَبْعَ سَنَابِلَ فِي كُلِّ سُنْبُلَةٍ مِائَةُ حَبَّةٍ وَاللَّهُ يُضَاعِفُ لِمَنْ يَشَاءُ.﴾

The likeness of those who expend their wealth in the way of God is as the likeness of a grain of corn that sprouts seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. So God multiplies unto whom He will, God is All-embracing, All-Knowing. (2:261)

My conjecture is that one of the factors responsible for the tendency to regard such rewards as far-fetched and unlikely and to deny their truth is the exaggerated sense of the worth of our works and pride in them. For instance, if someone fasts on a day and spends a whole night in prayer and later on hears that such acts have a very great reward, he does not regard such a thing as unlikely, although such a thing is far-fetched if one were to go by (the proportionality of) wages and work. But since he considers this act of his as something big and takes pride in it, he affirms the otherworldly reward of that act.

My dear! This entire duration of our lives, which is some fifty or sixty years. Even if, supposedly, we carry out therein all our religious duties and leave the world with a sound faith, with righteous deeds, and a valid repentance, what measure of reward, do you think, do this measure of works and this faith of ours deserve? Yet, in accordance with the Book and the Sunnah and the consensus of all religious creeds, such a person receives Divine mercy and goes to paradise, a paradise where he will enjoy everlasting gifts and comfort and dwell in eternal mercy, bliss and fragrance. Is there any room for denying the truth of this?

And if one were to go by the idea of compensation for work-that is, if we make the invalid assumption that our works deserve compensation-it could not be so disproportionate, quality- as well as quantity-wise, to be beyond the comprehension of human reason. This shows that the matter is based on another foundation and revolves around some other axis. If we understand this, there no longer remains any ground for denying this truth or considering it unlikely and far-fetched.

Raising The Hands In Prayer And Turning Them

Apparently, the statement of the noble tradition, “Make it your practice to raise your hands during prayer and to turn them,” refers to lifting them at the time of takbirat [i.e. pronouncing “Allahu akbar”] By ‘turning’ them (taqlib) is probably meant the turning of the palms in the direction of the kiblah. Raising the hands at the time of saying the takbirat is one of the mustahabbat.

Or, perhaps, that which is meant in the hadith is the raising of hands at the time of qunut, and that which is meant by turning them is turning the palms upwards towards the sky, in accordance with the fatwa of the fuqaha’ (R) who have considered it mustahabb, although they disagree concerning its basis in the sources (dalil), even though no other basis is needed after the definite practice of the devout who know no other manner of saying the qunut, and the mere raising of hands in whatever manner is not sufficient. In any case, that which is more evident (azhar) is that that which is meant in this sacred tradition is the first probability mentioned.

One should know that the predominant (mashhur) opinion amongst the fuqaha’ (R) is that it is mustahabb to raise one’s hands while saying the takbirat and some of them have held it to be obligatory on the basis of the apparent import (zahir) of certain prescriptions and traditions that have been narrated in regard to the interpretation of the sacred verse,

﴿فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَانْحَرْ.﴾

that the word nahr in the command of God, the Exalted, means the raising of the hands at the time of takbirat.28 But there are many indications in the traditions, which imply its istihbab, such as the reasons that are mentioned therein, especially in the tradition narrated by al-Fadl ibn Shadhan from Imam al-Rida (A).

In addition to this, the sahih tradition of ‘Ali ibn Ja’far29 is explicit (nass) on its not being obligatory, and the apparent import (zahir) of these traditions, without taking into account the indications to the contrary, is that it is obligatory. The way to reconcile them is by considering them to imply istihbab by overruling the zahir in the favor of the nass.

And that riwayah, although it exempts others than the imam from raising the hands-and one may claim that apparently it applies to both the imam and the ma’mumun and that it is silent about the prayer offered singly by an individual (furada)-it does not preclude the possibility that the raising of hands be obligatory for all, and the imam’s raising them exempts the ma’mumun from it, in the same way as the qira’ah of the imam exempts others from doing their own qira’ah. On the .basis of this probability, which is the more evident of the probable meanings of the tradition, the objection of some later authorities, which requires taking of the general in a particular sense, is also avoided.

However, the absence of any opinion to this effect and the predominant opinion among early and latter day legists, as well as the inner and external indications leave no room for a debate, and even this much of detail was outside the scope of these pages. In any case, the raising of hands is supererogatory and it is not appropriate for one to omit it as far as possible, especially in a case such as this wherein there are some amongst the ulama who hold it to be obligatory. Accordingly, it is also required by caution in religious matters that one should not omit it.

The Secret Behind The Raising Of The Hands

In any case, the raising of the hands during prayer at the time of every takbirah gives elegance to it, and this is the manner of the prayer of Gabriel (A) and the angels of the seven heavens, as reported in a narration by Asbagh ibn Nubatah from Amir al-Mu’minin,30 (A). According to a certain citation from the ‘Ilal and the ‘Uyun akhbar al-Rida (A), Imam al-Rida (A) has said, “The reason for raising the hands at takbirah is that it carries a kind of absorption (inqita’), sincere dedication (takhlis), and humility (tadarru’).

Hence God, the Exalted, likes His servant to be totally attentive towards Him at the time of remembering Him and to be humble and sincere. And it is for the reason that one’s attention be focused by the raising of the hands, thereby becoming alert in one’s intent, with a receptive heart,”31

This statement accords with that which some gnostics say, that the ‘other’ [than God] is rejected behind one’s back by means of the raising of the hands and the thorns in the path of access to Him are removed, cutting one off from everything else and making one pure and sincere, without a trace of attention towards another, which is shirk in the creed of love, whereat one proceeds to the real spiritual ascent (mi’raj) and commences the voyage towards Allah. This voyage and ascent are not possible without the rejection of the ‘other’ and ‘otherness’ and without freedom from the ego and egoism. Hence, with the sevenfold opening takbirat, all the seven curtains (hujub) of mulk and malakut are removed.

Thus the prayer of the awliya’ is such that they remove a curtain with every takbirah, abandoning the realms associated with these veils, leaving behind the inmates of these habitats, whereafter another curtain is removed for them and their hearts receive yet another conditioned epiphany (tajalli taqyidi). But that does not become an obstacle in their way and it does not engage their attention or preoccupy their hearts. They remove it with yet another takbirah, as if from the inner core of their hearts there arises the song:

اللهُ أَكْبَرُ مِنْ أَنْ يَتَجَلَّى تَجَلِّياً تَقْلِيدِيّاً.

Allah is greater than that He should manifest Himself with a conditioned manifestation (tajjali),

as declared by the mentor and shaykh of the awliya’ and the mukhlasun, the dedicated friend of the All-Beneficent [the Khalil al-Rahman, i.e. the Prophet Abraham (A)] during that journey of gnosis, epiphany and conditioned tajalliyat. Thus the wayfarer towards Allah, the traveler of the path of love, and the dedicated traveler of the road of communion removes one veil after another until he reaches the last takbirah with which he removes the seventh veil and rejects every ‘other’ and ‘otherness,’ declaring,

﴿وَجَّهْتُ وَجْهِي لِلَّذِي فَطَرَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ.﴾

I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth. (6:79)

with Abraham, the Khalil. Thereafter, the door is opened for him and lie experiences the majesties of Divine Glory. Thereat he seeks refuge with God and enters in the Name of God, the Exalted. To this refers the noble tradition of Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (R) who reports with his isnad from Abu al-Hasan (A):

بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أَبِي الحَسَنِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ أَنَّهُ رَوَى لِذَلِكَ عِلَّةً أُخْرَى وَهِيَ: أنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ لَمَّا أُسْرِيَ بِهِ إلَى السَّمَاءِ قَطَعَ سَبْعَ حُجُبٍ فَكَبَّرَ عِنْدَ كُلِّ حِجَابٍ تَكْبِيرَةً فَأَوْصَلَهُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِذَلِكَ إلَى مُنْتَهَى الكَرَامَةِ.

(Al-Shaykh al-Saduq reports) with his isnad from Abu al-Hasan (A) that he has narrated another reason for it and that is that when the Prophet (S) was carried on his celestial journey, he pierced seven veils (hijab), pronouncing the takbirah at every hi jab, whereby Allah, Almighty and Glorious, enabled him to attain to the ultimate nobility (muntaha al-karamah).32

In another hadith nearly the same thing has been narrated from Imam Musa ibn Ja’far33 (A) except that it is mentioned there that the Messenger of God (S) pronounced the takbirat after the removal of every hijab. This is more in agreement from the viewpoint of gnostic teaching and the mystic way, for a hijab and curtain is removed at every raising of the hands, and a takbirah is pronounced on the manifestation of each of the lights of nobility. And since that is a conditioned light from among the hijabs of light, it is removed with the raising of the two hands and cast away until the tajalli becomes absolute and. the ultimate nobility (muntaha al-karamah), which is the ultimate goal. of the awliya’, is attained. Hence, the earlier tradition can be interpreted in the light of the second one.

Whatever the case may be, we are unable to understand these things, to say nothing of epiphany (shuhud) and communion (wasul). But what is worse and more unfortunate for us is that we also deny all spiritual stations and degrees and consider the celestial ascensions (mi’raj) of the awliya’ and the prayers of the pure ones like those of our own, regarding their perfection as similar, though of a superior degree, to our own performances.

The limit of our imagination, beyond which we are unable to apprehend anything, is to imagine that their salat is good in its qira’ah and other points of etiquette and free from shirk, ostentation, and love of fame, or that their worship was not for the sake of the fear of hell or on account of the craving for paradise. These, of course, are one of their ordinary stations, and their salat, this spiritual ascension, has other stations that lie beyond our imagination.

A Warning Concerning One Of The Satanic Ruses

A warning is essential at this point and that is that the worst obstacle in the path of perfection and attainment of spiritual stations, which is also one of the major masterpieces of Satan, the highwayman, is the negation of the Hidden spiritual stations and degrees. This negation and denial is the root cause of all kinds of misguidance and ignorance and the cause of spiritual stagnation and torpor. It kills the spirit of eagerness, which is the heavenly stead (buraq) for ascending to spiritual excellences. It extinguishes the fires of love, which represents the angelic wings for undertaking the heavenward spiritual journey towards perfection, stopping man from making his spiritual quest.

On the contrary, if one has sincere faith in spiritual stations and the lofty ascents of gnosis, perchance this might help in rekindling the innate fire of love buried under the dust and ashes of carnal desires and illuminate the torch of yearning in the depths of the heart, thus gradually prompting one to seek and to undertake the labors of the quest so that one becomes worthy of Divine guidance and the assistance of that Sacred Essence. And all praise belongs to God.

The Merit Of Brushing The Teeth

It should be known that brushing the teeth, which has been enjoined by the Noblest Messenger (S) in this noble tradition, is absolutely one of the recommended etiquettes of the Shari’ah and has been stressed for certain particular occasions, such as before wudu’ and prayer, at the time of reciting the Qur’an, at daybreak, and on waking up from sleep. It has been highly recommended and greatly emphasized in the sacred traditions, and many a fruitful quality and profitable result is ascribed to it. Here, in these pages, we shall cite some of them for the sake of tabarruk

الكَافِي بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: فِي السِّوَاكِ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ خِصْلَةً: هُوَ مِنَ السُّنَّةِ وَمُطَهِّرَةٌ لِلْفَمِ وَمَجْلاةٌ لِلْبَصَرِ وَيُرْضِي الرَّبَّ وَيُذْهِبُ البَلْغَمَ وَيَزِيدُ فِي الحِفْظِ وَيُبَيِّضُ الأَسْنَانَ وَيُضَاعِفُ الحَسَنَاتِ وَيُذْهِبُ بِالحَفْرِ وَيَشُدُّ اللَّثَّةَ وَيُشَهِّي الطَّعَامَ وَيَفْرَحُ بِهِ المَلائِكَةَ.

In al-Kafi (al-Kulayni reports) with his isnad from Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) that he said, “There are twelve qualities associated with the brushing of teeth: it is part of the Prophet’s sunnah (it is mentioned in many traditions that brushing the teeth is one of the sunnah of the prophets.34 it purifies the mouth, strengthens eyesight, is pleasing to the Lord, takes away the phlegm, sharpens the memory, whitens the teeth, doubles the merit of good acts, stops tooth decay, strengthen the gums, increases appetite and is delightful to the angels.”35

Nearly the same thing is mentioned in another tradition. The tooth decay mentioned in this noble tradition consists of cavities and pustules formed at the root of the teeth, which produce a white and bad-smelling pus and burst at the time of chewing the food. This pus gets mixed with the food and causes many ailments such as indigestion, etc. Present-day physicians call it pyorrhea and consider it a serious condition whose remedy may require even pulling out of the teeth.

Hence, aside from the inward Hidden aspects, the most significant of which is the good pleasure of God, it is good for one to make it a regular practice for the sake of physical health and cleanliness and to perform this perpetual sunnah of the prophets. It is mentioned in a tradition that the Noblest Messenger (S) said, “So much did Gabriel recommend the brushing of teeth to me that I became concerned for my teeth…”36 And he said, “If it were not for the fear of hardship I would have made the brushing of the teeth obligatory on my ummah before every wudu’ and every salat.”37

The Noblest Messenger (S) used to keep the miswak [the stick used for brushing the teeth] and the water for wudu’ at the head of his bed at night and he would cover up the vessel containing water. On waking from his sweet sleep he would brush his teeth, perform wudu’, and then offer four rak’ahs of prayer and go to sleep again. Again he would wake up, brush his teeth, perform wudu’ and offer prayer. After mentioning this practice of the Prophet in a hadith, Imam al-Sadiq (A) declares, “You have a good example to emulate in the Messenger of God (S).”38

It is stated in hadith that two rak’ahs of prayer performed after brushing the teeth is superior to seventy rak’ahs performed without it. It is stated that if one forgets to brush his teeth before wudu’, it is mustahabb to do so after it and to rinse the mouth thrice with water.39 The number of traditions on this topic is quite large and anyone who wants to study them should refer to the works of our companions.40

Moral Virtues And Vices

Although we have discussed a number of times-in detail and in several relevant places in these pages, to an extent that appeared appropriate and within easy reach-the soul’s moral dispositions and the method of acquiring ethical virtues and avoiding vices, here we will give a concise and comprehensive explanation.

It should be known that ‘disposition’ (khulq) is a state of the soul that inclines it to action without the need of thought or reflection. For instance, someone who has the disposition of generosity is induced by it to give and expend generously without any preliminary thoughts and without reflecting on the preponderants on each side. He acts as if it were one of his natural acts, like seeing and hearing.

In the same way, a soul that is chaste, for which the attribute of chastity has become a disposition, preserves itself with such ease as if that were part of its natural behavior. Until the soul does not attain to this station through self-discipline, reflection, and repeated action, it cannot attain a disposition and the spiritual perfection associated with it. Otherwise, the danger always remains, if the trait be one of moral perfections, that it be eroded and overwhelmed by vicious dispositions.

However, if it were to become like one of the natural activities and should one’s faculties and organs be brought under control and were the rule and sovereignty of God to manifest itself within the soul, its decline would be difficult, and such a thing happens only rarely.

The ethicians have stated that this state and disposition of the soul is at times innate in human beings. Whether good or evil, felicitous or wretched, it is based on the original nature and related to temperament. As is well known, some persons are disposed towards goodness from infancy and some are inclined towards evil. Some are enraged at the smallest annoyance or are alarmed by a trivial matter, or panic at the slightest cause. Others are quite the opposite.

At other times these psychic dispositions are acquired through habit, social intercourse, thought and reflection. Sometimes they are first acquired by means of thought and reflection until they become habitual. In this regard there is a difference of opinion amongst them, to discuss which and to engage with whose details would take us beyond the scope of these pages and divert us from our main aim. We shall mention here only that which is appropriate and beneficial in this regard.

It should be known that when it is said that a disposition is natural or innate it does not mean that it is essential (dhati) and unchangeable. Rather, all habits (malikat) and psychic dispositions are capable of change. As long as the soul remains in this world of change and transition, it is subject to time and renewal; and as long as it is associated with matter (hayula) and potentiality (quwwah), the human being can change all its dispositions and transform them into their opposites. This claim is affirmed, besides metaphysical proof (burhan), by experience, as well as by the summons of the prophets and the true religions to noble dispositions and their restraining people from the opposite qualities.

It should be known that the experts of ethics have divided all virtues of the soul under four heads, which are: wisdom (hikmah), chastity (‘iffah), courage (shaja’ah), and justice (‘adalah). Wisdom is regarded as the virtue of the rational discerning soul (nafs al-natiqah-ye mumayyizah); courage as a virtue of the irascible soul (nafs al-ghadabiyyah); chastity as a virtue of the appetitive soul (nafs al-shahwiyyah), and justice as a state of moderation of these threefold virtues.

All other virtues are considered derived from these four. However, the definition and details of each one of them lie outside the scope of these pages and are not that useful for the likes of us. That which must be known is that in accordance with this tradition narrated from the Noblest Messenger (S):

بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ مَكَارِمِ الأَخْلاقِ.

I have been sent to perfect noble dispositions,41

the purpose and result of the summons of the Seal of the Prophets (S) is the perfection of morality. In the noble traditions, both that are brief and those which are elaborate, moral excellences have been given more importance than anything else after doctrinal teachings (ma’arif). Hereafter, we will cite some of them, God willing.

Their importance is greater than what we are capable of explaining adequately, but that which we know for certain is that the asset of the everlasting life of the hereafter and the capital asset of the life of that abode is the acquisition of noble dispositions and the possession of moral excellences. The paradise which is given to man for the sake of moral excellence, is the paradise of Attributes, incomparable to the physical paradise of Act, wherein the greatest and the fairest of physical bounties and delights are present. Similarly, the darkness and the terrors that seize man due to evil deeds are more terrible than any torture.

As long as man is in this world, he can liberate himself from this darkness and attain those lights. Yes, he can do that, but not with this half -heartedness, slackness, torpor, feebleness, and negligence of ours, who, as we see ourselves, retain every ugly disposition and undesirable trait with which we have grown up since our childhood days or have acquired in improper company and friendship. Rather, we keep on adding to this burden every day, as if we didn’t believe that there is another world and another phase of lasting existence:

واى اگر از پس امروز بود فردايى

Woe, if there be a tomorrow after this!42

As if the summons of the prophets and the awliya’ (A) have nothing to do with us. Who knows, where these dispositions and conduct of us will take us and in what form we shall be resurrected? We would wake up at a time when we could do nothing and regret and shame would be our lot, and we shall have none to reproach except ourselves.

The prophets (A) have shown the path of felicity and the learned and the wise have expounded their statements for us and described the method of curing inner diseases, translating these teachings into every language and disseminating them in various forms. But these things did not enter our ears, and we closed our eyes, ears, and our hearts to them. Therefore, all blame rests on our own shoulders, as stated by the Messenger of God (S) in the present tradition in whose exposition we are engaged. So replete with exhortation for acquisition of moral virtues and abstention from vices are the traditions and reports that its extent is incalculable, yet we neglect even to refer to their books.

And you, my dear! If you are used to traditions and narrations, refer to the sacred works of tradition, especially the noble al-Kafi. If you are used to scientific discourse and the jargon of scholars, refer to such ethical texts as the Taharat al-a’raq,43 and the books of marhum al-Fayd al-Kashani, al-Majlisi and the two Naraqis.44 And if you do not consider yourself to be in need of acquiring [the knowledge of ethical principles] or do not consider the acquisition of noble dispositions and abstention from vicious dispositions as essential, then find a remedy for your ignorance which is the mother of all diseases.

We conclude this topic with the mention of some noble traditions related to this theme for tabarruk’s sake:

الفَقِيهُ: بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: إنَّ اللهَ خَصَّ رَسُولَهُ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ بِمَكَارِمِ الأَخْلاقِ فَامْتَحِنُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ، فَإنْ كَانَتْ فِيكُمْ فَاحْمِدُوا اللهَ وَارْغَبُوا إلَيْهِ فِي الزِّيَادَةِ مِنْهَا؛ فَذَكَرَهَا عَشْرَةً: اليَقِينُ وَالقَنَاعَةُ وَالصَّبْرُ وَالشُّكْرُ وَالحِلْمُ وَحُسْنُ الخَلْقِ وَالسَّخَاءِ وَالغِيرَةُ وَالشَّجَاعَةُ وَالمُرُوءَةُ.

In Man La yahduruh al-faqih, (al-Shaykh al-Saduq reports) with his isnad from Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) that he said, “Verily, God favored His Messenger (S) with noble dispositions. So test yourselves and if you find them in yourselves, thank God and turn to Him that He may increase you therein.” Then he mentioned ten of them: conviction (yaqin), contentment (qina’ah), patience (sabr), gratitude (shukr), mildness (hilm), geniality (husn al-khulq), generosity (sakha’), sense of honor (ghayrah), courage (shajaah), magnanimity (muru’ah).45

This tradition has been transmitted through several chains (turuq), except that rida (satisfaction), instead of hilm,46 occurs in the citation from the Ma’ani al-’akhbar. In al-Wafi, this tradition has been cited with a slightly different wording from al-Kafi.47

عَنِ المَجَالِسِ بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنِ الصَّادِقِ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلامُ أنَّهُ قَالَ: عَلَيْكُمْ بِمَكَارِمِ الأخْلاقِ فَإنَّ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يُحِبُّهُمَا وَإيَّاكُمْ وَمَذَامَّ الأَفْعَالِ فَإنَّ اللهَ يَبْغُضُهَا إلَى أَنْ قَالَ: وَعَلَيْكُمْ بِحُسْنِ الخُلُقِ فَإنَّهُ يَبْلُغُ بِصَاحِبِهِ دَرَجَةَ الصَّائِمِ القَائِمِ... الحديث.

In al-Majalis (al-Shaykh al-Saduq reports) with his isnad from Ja’far ibn Muhammad (A) that he said, “Acquire moral virtues, for, verily, God loves them, and beware of blameworthy conduct for God hates it” “Accustom yourselves to fairness of disposition, for it raises one who possesses it to the rank of those who fast (perpetually) and stand in prayer (through the night, constantly)”48

الكَافِِي بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أبِي جَعْفَرٍ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: إنَّ أَكْمَلَ المُؤْمِنِينَ أيمَاناً أَحْسَنُهُمْ أخْلاقاً.

In al-Kafi (al-Kulayni reports) with his isnad from Abu Ja’far (A) that he said, “Among believers the most perfect in faith is the one who is the most fairly disposed amongst them.”49

وَبِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ الحُسَيْنِ عَلَيْهِمَا السَّلامُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَآلِهِ: مَا يُوضَعُ فِي مِيزَانِ امْرِئٍ يَوْمَ القِيَامَةِ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ حُسْنِ الخُلُقِ.

(Al-Kulayni reports) with his isnad from ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (A) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “There will be nothing superior to fairness of disposition in the balance of a person’s works on the Day of Resurrection.”50

Also, the Prophet (S) has said:

(Of all qualities) that which will take most of my ummah to paradise is God-fearing (taqwa) and a fair disposition.51

And Imam al-Sadiq (A) said:

Verily, virtuousness and fairness of disposition make homes flourish and extend the spans of lives.52

He also said:

Verily, God, the Exalted and the Blessed, rewards a servant for his fair disposition in a measure equal to what He grants to someone who fights day and night in the way of God.53

There are many traditions on this subject. In the same way as good nature and fairness of disposition lead to the perfection of faith, add to the weight of one’s deeds in the Balance, and take one into paradise, so also ill- naturedness, on the contrary, corrupts one’s faith and subjects one to Divine chastisement, as pointed out in the sacred traditions:

الكَافِي بِإسْنَادِهِ عَنْ أَبِي عَبْدِاللهِ عَلَيْهِ السَّلامُ قَالَ: إنَّ سُوءَ الخُلُقِ لَيُفْسِدُ الإيمَانَ كَمَا يُفْسِدُ الخَلُّ العَسَلَ.

In al-Kafi (al-Kulayni reports) with his isnad from Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) that he said, “Verily, ill-naturedness destroys one’s faith in the same way as vinegar destroys honey (on being mixed with it).”54

It is mentioned in another tradition that ill-naturedness destroys one’s works in the way vinegar destroys honey.55 It is narrated from the Messenger of God (S) that God does not accept the repentance of an ill-natured person. When asked about its reason, he replied, “That is because as soon as he repents for a sin, he falls into a sin worse than the earlier one.”56

It is stated in a tradition that one who becomes ill-natured subjects himself thereby to Divine chastisement.57 It is evident that ill-nature continually torments one who possesses it and is the cause of hardship, darkness, and adversity in the next phases of life, as mentioned in some of the traditions cited. And all praise is God’s, at every beginning and end.

  • 1. Al-Kulayni, Rawdat al-Kafi , p. 79, hadith no. 33.
  • 2. Al-Qur’an, Surat al-Ma’idah: 105.
  • 3. Nahj al-balaghah, ed. Fayd al-Islam, Kutub, no. 47.
  • 4. Al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, “kitab al iman wa al-kufr”, “bab al-kidhb” hadith no. 3.
  • 5. Al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, “kitab al iman wa al-kufr”, “bab al-kidhb” hadith no. 4.
  • 6. Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. viii, p. 574.
  • 7. Usul al-Kafi, “kitab al-’iman wa al-kufr”, “bab al-kidhb”, hadith no. 2.
  • 8. Usul al-Kafi, “kitab al-’iman wa al-kufr”, “bab al-kidhb”, hadith no. 11.
  • 9. None given.
  • 10. See the exposition of the twenty-fifth hadith on waswas, note no. 6.
  • 11. Usu al-Kafi “kitab al-’iman wa al-kufr”, “bab al-wara”‘, hadith no. 11.
  • 12. Usu al-Kafi “kitab al-’iman wa al-kufr”, “bab al-wara”‘, hadith no. 3.
  • 13. Wasa’i! al-Shi’ah., vol. xi, p. 196
  • 14. Wasa’i! al-Shi’ah., vol. xi, p. 194.
  • 15. Usul al-Kafi, “kitab al-’iman wa al-kufr”, “bab al-sidq wa ada’ l-’amanah”, hadith no. 12.
  • 16. Usul al-Kafi, “kitab al-’iman wa al-kufr”, “bab al-sidq wa ada’ l-’amanah”, hadith no. 5.
  • 17. Usul al-Kafi, “kitab al-’iman wa al-kufr”, “bab silat al-rahm”, hadith no. 11.
  • 18. Al-Kulayni, Furu’ al-Kafi vol. v, p. 133.
  • 19. Al-Kulayni, Furu’ al-Kafi vol. v, p. 133.
  • 20. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. xiii, p. 225, cited from al-Saduq, al-Majalis, majlis” no. 43.
  • 21. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. xiii, p. 225, cited from al-Saduq, al-Majalis, majlis” no. 43., cited from al-Saduq, Man la yuhduruhu al-faqih vol. ii, p.198.
  • 22. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. xiii, p. 225, cited from al-Saduq, al-Majalis, majlis” no. 43. p. 226.
  • 23. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. xiii, p. 225, cited from al-Saduq, al-Majalis, majlis” no. 43.
  • 24. Ithaf al-sadat al-muttaqin, vol. vii, p. 234.
  • 25. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. iv, p. 688.
  • 26. Usul al-Kafi, “kitab al-’iman wa al-kufr”, “bab al-khawf wa al-raja’,” hadith no. 2.
  • 27. For the traditions cited in this section, see Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. xi, pp. 175-179.
  • 28. Tafsir Nur al-Thaqalayn, vol. v, pp. 683-684, the exegesis of Surat al-Kawthar, hadith 17-19.
  • 29. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. iv, p. 726, “kitab al-salat” bab 9.
  • 30. Majma’ al-bayan, the exegesis of Surat al-Kawthar.
  • 31. Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol. iv, p. 727, “kitab al-salat,” “abwab takbirat al-ihram,” bab 9, hadith 11.
  • 32. Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol. iv, p. 727, “kitab al-salat,” “abwab takbirat al-ihram,” bab 7, hadith 5.
  • 33. Wasail al-Shi’ah, vol. iv, p. 727, “kitab al-salat,” “abwab takbirat al-ihram,” bab 7, pp. 722-723, hadith 7.
  • 34. Al-Khisal, vol. ii, p. 449, bab 10, hadith 51.
  • 35. Furu’ al-Kafi, vol. vi, pp. 495-496, “kitab al-zayy wa al-tajammul,” “bab al-siwak,” hadith 6.
  • 36. Furu’ al-Kafi, vol. vi, p. 496, hadith 8.
  • 37. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. i, p. 355, “kitab al-taharah,” “abwab al-siwak,” bab 5, hadith 3.
  • 38. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. i, p. 355, “kitab al-taharah,” “abwab al-siwak,” p. 356, bab 6, hadith 1.
  • 39. Bihar al-’anwar, vol. 73, pp. 132-133, “kitab al-adab wa al-sunan,” “bab al-siwak wa al-hathth ‘alayh,” hadith 32-34.
  • 40. Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. i, pp. 353, 355-356, “kitab al-taharah,” bab 3, 5-6.
  • 41. Majma’ al-bayan, exegesis of verse 4 of Surat al-Qalam.
  • 42. Adapted from the following couplet of Hafiz:
    گر مسلماني از اين است كه حافظ دارد آه اگر از پي امروز بود فردايي
  • 43. By Miskawayh, ethical philosopher and historian of the 5th/11th century.
  • 44. Among these works are Muhajjat al-bayda’, al-Kalimat al-maknunah, and al-Ilayal al-jawid by al-Fayd al-Kashani, Haqq al-yaqin by al-Allamah al-Majlisi, Jami’ al-sa’adat by Mulla Mahdi al-Naraqi and Mi’raj al-sa’adah by Mulla Ahmad al-Naraqi.
  • 45. Al-Khisal, vol. ii, p. 431, bab 10, hadith 12.
  • 46. Ma’ani al-’akhbar, p. 191, “bab fi makarim al-akhlaq,” hadith 3.
  • 47. Al-Wafi, vol. iv, p. 264, “kitab al-iman wa al-kufr,” “bab jawami’ al-makarim,” hadith 2.
  • 48. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, al-Amali, majlis 57; Wasa’il al-Shi’ah, vol. xi, p. 156, “kitab al-jihad,” “abwab jihad al-nafs,” bab 6, hadith 8.
  • 49. Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, p. 99, “kitab al-iman wa al-kufr,” “bab husn al-khulq,” hadith 1.
  • 50. Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, p. 99, “kitab al-iman wa al-kufr,” “bab husn al-khulq,” hadith 2.
  • 51. Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, p. 99, “kitab al-iman wa al-kufr,” “bab husn al-khulq,” hadith 6.
  • 52. Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, p. 99, “kitab al-iman wa al-kufr,” “bab husn al-khulq,” hadith 8.
  • 53. Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, p. 99, “kitab al-iman wa al-kufr,” “bab husn al-khulq,” hadith 12.
  • 54. Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, p. 99, “kitab al-iman wa al-kufr,” “bab husn al-khulq,” hadith 3.
  • 55. Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, p. 99, “kitab al-iman wa al-kufr,” “bab husn al-khulq,” hadith 1.
  • 56. Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, p. 99, “kitab al-iman wa al-kufr,” “bab husn al-khulq,” hadith 2.
  • 57. Usul al-Kafi, vol. ii, p. 99, “kitab al-iman wa al-kufr,” “bab husn al-khulq,” hadith 4.

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