The spiritual and worldly benefits of charity to individuals and society as a whole. Includes stories of Prophets, Imams & Scholars who have sacrificed their wealth for Allah (swt).
Allah (S.w.T.) says in the Holy Qur’an that:
“in their histories, there is certainly a lesson for men of understanding. it is not a narrative which could be forged, but a verification of what is before it, and a distinct explanation of all things, and a guide and a mercy to a people who believe”. (Sura Yusuf, 12:111)
The style of story telling, that the Holy Qur’an adopts is considered to be one of its miracles. In addition, this style has a tremendous effect on making the reader interested in reading. A story is better understood and not easily forgotten while mere words are easily forgotten. Stories are easily absorbed without taxing the brain. This is the reason that made us to adopt the same style in this book, which is filled with real life events in the past and present, concerning the Ahlul Bait, great scholars of Islam and ordinary people, in order to convey the message without any changes, with perfection and in a summarized fashion to the brain.
When the people who sacrifice and the charitable, answer the call of the Qur’an which says:
“and spend out of which He has made you to be successors of …. (Sura Al-Hadid , 57:7)”,
and the call of the Holy Masum’in (a.s.) who said that:
“On the day of judgment the act of charity will provide a shade for the people who sacrifice”1,
they are trying in their own fashion to find a solution to an age old problem of poverty. Luqman the wise was true in saying to his son that:
“He had tasted patience, but there was nothing worse than poverty ”.2
How many fathers return back to their families after a hard day of finding sustenance only to find that they have failed to fulfill the needs of their families? How many mothers feel so hurt and pained to see the poor condition of their children compared to other children? How many celebrations of Eid and other happy occasions pass with orphans who don’t have good food and new clothes? How many capable youths have had their dreams and hopes crashed because of not having enough funds for their education. How many parents have not been able to save their children from the pangs of death simply because they didn’t have funds for the medicine to cure them?
The people who are generous and charitable inspire hope in hard times. The people who secretly give charity, in such a way that if they give by their right hand, the left hand doesn’t know, are saviours for the milliards of poor people who roam around the streets and are on the increase daily.
Such people are finding a gradual and partial solution for thousands and millions of people; and at the same time are reaping rewards from Allah in the world and Hereafter. It is for this reason that we have tried to site real life events throughout the ages, so that others are motivated to follow suit. Shall we then not answer the call of the Holy Qur’an which says:
“they shall be rewarded with high places because they were patient, and shall be met there in with greetings and salutations” (Sura al-Furqan, 25:75-76)
The course of the book in hand deals with six chapters:
The first chapter of this book deals with people who sowed the seeds of charity in this world, in order to form a bridge to benefit from, in the hereafter.
The second chapter deals with events and stories related by various sources, which show the connection between the people who are alive and dead, and how we can perform certain acts which can directly benefit the dead people.
The third chapter deals with the deep connection between charity and protection from problems, mishaps and misfortunes.
The fourth chapter deals with the unseen or spiritual connection between the giving of charity and increase in sustenance.
The fifth chapter deals with the efforts exerted by our great Islamic Scholars to serve others and sacrifice their wealth and possessions in order to encourage and motivate others to do the same.
The sixth chapter deals with people who have done service to the family of the Prophet Muhammad (S) and how they have got worldly and spiritual returns.
The great religion of Islam has only come for the benefit of mankind, and one of Allah (S.w.T.)’s mercy on us is that He has opened for us a great door of opportunity of doing good deeds which remains open even after death. The key to this door is through charity and sacrifice.
During his life, a Muslim may contribute his money towards the building of a mosque or an orphanage or the printing of a useful book. After his death these deeds lighten up his grave and this indeed is a great opportunity, unique to the teachings of Islam. A man should be so crafty so as to sow his farm only to reap the harvest in the hereafter. The teachings of our Imams have emphasized a lot on this aspect.
Often Imam Ali (a.s.) used to raise his voice during the nights in the city of Kufa so as to be heard by every one:
“Prepare for a journey and do good deeds with what you have been blessed, for what lies in front is difficult road full of obstacles and frightening junctions from which there is no escape.”1
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that:
“Three things help a man after his death, and these are: a charity given by him, a good habit he taught to others and a good offspring he leaves behind, who prays for his forgiveness”.2
The Holy Prophet (S) says that:
“Four things continue to reward a person even after his death; a man who dies on the true path, a good advise or knowledge given by him to someone who acts on that advice, an act of charity and a good son who prays for him and asks for forgiveness on his behalf”.3
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that:
“Six things benefit a man after his death; a pious son who asks for forgiveness on his behalf, a copy of the Holy Qur’an he read from, a tree he planted, a glass of water he quenched others’ thirst with, a well he dug, and a good tradition or habit he left behind to those around him”4.
The following is a series of real life events of people who left behind them good deeds that filled the sky with stars illuminating the way, and their deeds remain eternal despite their death.
There lived a man in Turkey during the time of a ruler called Mustafa Kamal Ataturk who despised the teachings of Islam and prevented the Turkish people from following Islam .The women folk were not permitted to adorn themselves with a hijab and no religious organizations were permitted to function.
However during this suppression, a man rose, who was determined to challenge the authorities and made himself busy with the task of building mosques inspiring those around him. Soon the authorities came to know about this and he was sentenced to a ten years imprisonment.
However this man never gave up and while he was serving his sentence, he influenced his friends who used to come to visit him to form a committee that would supervise the activities involved in the construction of mosques. He was so sincere that he inspired his cellmates to start building mosques once they completed their term in prison. It is recorded that he was able to build tens of thousands of mosques even in this period of constraint and oppression.
What was the secret of this man? It is said that whenever a mosque’s construction would be completed, a collection box was put at the disposal of the worshippers of that mosque to start contributing towards the building of yet another mosque. Imam Ali (a.s.) says:
“a man flies with his efforts, the way a bird flies with its wings”.
Sayyid Khatib Jawad Shabber relates from Sheikh Muhammad Husayn Kaashiful Ghitaa that he saw a mosque with a strange name in Turkey. It was called ‘As If I Have Eaten And Drunk’. The Sheikh was fascinated by this strange title and wished to know the reason behind this name. So he questioned the Imam of the mosque. The Imam said that the mosque in question was in a state of ruins and needed urgent repairs. However, when he approached the wealthy merchants of the city they refused to help, giving various excuses. He thus decided to take out the expense from his personal income.
The way he did this was by economizing just the way we save up for any worldly item we dearly wish for. He loved travelling and for some time he stopped travelling and saved the money for the mosque. He even asked his children to limit their expenses and make do with the clothes they had for that year. He in other words lowered his standards of eating and clothing and budgeted his expenses. Every time he felt the urge of good food and clothes he consoled his heart that his share was waiting for him in the Hereafter. In this way he managed to repair the mosque.
To inspire others to sacrifice their luxuries even for a short time in order to do an act of charity, he named the mosque ‘As If I Had Eaten And Drunk’5.
Marhum Ayatullah al-Sheikh Jawad al-Balaghi an-Najafi is known for his publications in which he has debated with Atheists, Jews and Protestants. Despite all these talents in the field of knowledge he lived in extreme poverty. His house in Najaf showed signs of his poverty. It is indeed astonishing to know that when he wanted his educational work to be published, he found himself in no position to do so due to his abject poverty, and despite this he sold his house and got his desire. Wasn’t it possible for the Sheikh to lead a life of comfort? Of course, but he gave preference to the world Hereafter which is eternal.
Shahid Sayyid Abdul Husayn Dastghaib, may Allah’s mercy be on him, relates that a great and pious man told him the following event.
A relative of this pious man had bought a property on which he had built a house. After the death of this relative, the pious man saw him in his dream one night. The relative was blind, and when he was asked the cause of his blindness he related to the pious man the reason for his bad state.
He related that when he had bought the land, there was a well in it by means of which the villagers in the surrounding villages benefited. However the relative ordered for the well to be closed. The villagers faced the constraint of going through long distances to get their supply of water. The result of this act was blindness in the life hereafter.
The pious man asked his relative in the dream whether he could do anything for him to relieve him of this bad state. The man replied in the affirmative, and suggested that his heirs should endeavour to open that well for the villagers’ benefit. The pious man stood up to carry out this act, and after some time he dreamt that his relative had got back his sight and was thanking him for the help given to him6.
It has been related that during the Abbasid regime one of the cruel rulers used to charge high taxes to the people. The people of Balkh in Afghanistan were subjected to cruelty when they refused to pay taxes to the rulers. When the situation for the people of Balkh became intolerable they went to the wife of the representative of the ruler in Balkh who they knew to be a merciful and considerate lady.
When they asked her to intercede on their behalf, she took out an expensive and glamorous robe of hers, the value of which equalled to the amount demanded of them. The representative of the ruler in Balkh took his wife’s robe and placed it in front of the merciless ruler. The ruler demanded to know whose robe it was, and when the representative informed him of the events, the ruler was touched by the merciful act of the lady and forgave the villagers asking that the robe should be returned to its owner.
The lady on receiving the robe asked whether the ruler had glanced at her robe.
“Yes,” said her husband.
“Well, I shall not wear a dress on which a stranger’s eye has befallen, so sell this robe and build a mosque from the money you get.”
Ibn Batuta in his narrations says that this mosque still stands. The dress was sold but a mosque remains. Good acts remain. A shining reminder that what counts are deeds!
One of the followers of the great Ayatollah Murtadha Ansaari, donated some wealth to him requesting him to buy a house. Having donated this money the man went to perform the Pilgrimage. The Ayatullah deemed it more important to build a mosque with this money.
This mosque still stands and so many people have prayed in it and have gained knowledge in it. The man on his return from pilgrimage, was surprised to see that contrary to his expectations the Ayatullah had built a mosque instead of a house to reside in.
When the man questioned, the Ayatullah replied, “Which is better, a house here in this world or a residence in the Hereafter? For we shall soon leave this world and we need a house more in our permanent abode.”
The man’s trust and faith increased tenfold in the Ayatullah’s wisdom.7
One prominent scholar and authority on Islam called Sayyid Mar’ashi established a famous library in the city of Qum. He did this with his own personal effort by toiling hard for many years.
Libraries play a very important role in causing awareness to the people, giving the people a good hobby and pass time, to spread good virtues, to be a source of pleasure, for the preservation of our culture and for the continuation of our culture and knowledge. It is due to all these reasons that our scholars toiled hard to establish public and private libraries and preserved valuable and ancient manuscripts in it.
I will relate some examples which will touch our emotions and find in front of us a man of great caliber and cause us to question ourselves as to why we don’t exploit our potentials.
The doors of this library were opened since 1394 A.H. Sayyid Mar’ashi didn’t get much financial assistance in establishing this library. In many of the books in this library I have seen a caption in which the Sayyid has written that he bought the particular book in question by praying and fasting on behalf of people who had died and whose relatives paid for these acts of worship. This is called ‘Salaat of Istijara’. This prayer is incumbent on the eldest son of a dead man to pray or fast or go to pilgrimage on behalf of his dead father in case the dead man did not perform these acts. The son may pay somebody reliable to perform these acts.
How great are these scholars who used each and every opportunity to do something which would help them in the life Hereafter. Sayyid Mar’ashi bought some great and rare books by praying on behalf of the dead, and sometimes a sum total of two years prayers in conditions of hunger and extreme fatigue.8
Marhoom Sheikh Abbas Qummi Rahamullah who compiled the book of supplications called Mafateehul Jinaan was a man of great piety and sincerity. People used to throng the mosque, when they knew that he was going to lead the prayers because of their respect and love for him. He however was not arrogant or proud of this but in fact used the love of the people for a good use.
He chose old mosques which needed repair and construction and prayed in them. He then mobilized the congregation to donate towards its repair and maintenance. Once the mosque was repaired he shifted to another mosque which was in dire need of repair. The masses were surely to follow him to the mosque and once again they would stand up to its repair. In this way the great sheikh repaired a number of mosques.
How many people still pray in these mosques and the reward goes to him. 9
One of the great projects which Ayatullah Golpayeghani took up was the building of a great hospital in the holy city of Qum.
The director of this hospital narrates in an interview given by him to Iran T.V. that the late Ayatullah asked him some 27 years ago to leave Tehran in order to manage the new hospital in Qum.
The director says that he was hesitant to move from Tehran, when one night he dreamt that a holy and dignified personality was escorting him around the wards and various departments of the hospital. This great and holy personality then remarked that, indeed his wealth had been spent in a good way.
The director was surprised and asked in his dream: “Your wealth? Who are you?”
The great personality replied: “I am Mehdi.”
“Which Mehdi?” asked the director.
“Why, the same Mehdi you always hear and know about.”
When the director came to know that the 12th Imam was blessing the project, his mind about shifting to Qum was made up already.
There is a very beneficial idea. Just as we all love to receive gifts and we all love when people remember us in our life time, similarly we love to be remembered in our death when we shall be counted as dead people and our graves will lie amongst other graves.
We should therefore not forget others who have departed from us especially our parents and relatives by praying for them, by giving charity on their behalf and by visiting their graves. Some people think wrongly that our rights towards our parents are limited only in their life and end at their death.
Muhammad ibn Muslim narrates a tradition from Abu Ja’far (a.s.): “A person may be good to his parents during their life and forget them after their death, thus Allah considers him to have angered his parents. If on the other hand he was irresponsible in his duties towards them during their life and started to do good deeds on their behalf after their death Allah considers him to be an obedient servant”. 1
The Holy Prophet says that the leader of the good doers on the day of Judgment is the one who did good to his parents after their death. 2
A famous scholar relates that he was told by Sheikh Ali Tehrani that the Sheikh’s father related that he was in Karbala’ and his mother was in Tehran. Then one night he dreamt that his mother had come to him and said that she had died and that she had been brought to Karbala’.
The Sheikh’s father woke up and as he wondered about his dream, he received a letter saying that his mother had indeed died and they had sent her body to Karbala’ to be blessed and buried at the Haram (shrine) of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
The sheikh’s father brought the body to the Haram of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) and prayed to this saint. “Ya Abbas! my mother was not a regular in saying her prayers or fasting. I beg you to intercede on her behalf and I promise to pay somebody who will pray and fast for fifty years on her behalf”, he begged.
After many months, the Sheikh’s father heard that there was noise and commotion in his dream at the door of his house. He came out to find out about the origin of that noise when at the door he saw that his mother had been tied to a tree and was being whipped. The sheikh’s father asked the reason for this and he was told that they had been ordered by Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) to whip her until the Sheikh’s father fulfilled his promise of paying the debt of her prayers and fasting.
Thus he went into his house and brought back the money and then took his mother in to the house to tend to her wounds. When he got up from his dream he realized the mistake he had committed and in reality found people to pray Salaat Istijaara and fast for her.3
Marhum Khalil Tahraani says that there was a man who worked at the public bath house in Tehran. This man was called Ali Talib and he never prayed or fasted. He even had a public bath built well known by his name.
Once when Marhum Khalil was in Najaf, he saw Ali Talib in his dream at Wadius Salaam. According to the traditions from our Imams, the soul of the believers is bought to Wadius Salaam which is a place situated in Najaf. Marhum Khalil asked him how he happened to be in this nice place when he never prayed or fasted.
Ali Talib then related how the famous scholar called Sheikh Muhammad Kermanshahi had paid several people to pray and fast on his behalf. Then Ali Talib also mentioned the people who were praying, fasting and performing pilgrimage for him.
Marhum Khalil says that when he got up from his dream, he met after some time travellers from Tehran who indeed verified that Ali Talib had died and that Sheikh Muhammad Kermanshahi had indeed paid several people to pray his lifetime prayers and fasts, and they too mentioned the same people who were mentioned in the dream.
This event proves that what we perform for the dead reaches them. It also proves that the soul of every believer does go to Wadius Salaam in Najaf. It teaches us how people in the past cared about people who were not related to them except in faith not only in the lifetime but also in the death. 4
Once a companion of the Prophet (S) called Saad had gone to the battle field outside Medina. On the way, Saad heard that his mother who had been sick had died. Saad who loved his mother very much came to the Prophet (S) and said that he had wanted to give charity on his mother’s behalf but it had not been possible for him.
He then enquired if he could give charity on her behalf now that she was dead. The Prophet (S) replied in the affirmative. Saad then went on to inquire what was the best charity he could offer? The Prophet (S) said that on the route to the battle field he had seen that the soldiers were thirsty and there was a dire need of water.
The Prophet suggested that the best charity was to dig a well on the road so that caravans would benefit from the supply of water and it would also be a continuous form of charity for years to come. That was what Saad did. 5
Sayyid Husayn Muddarrisi relates that one of his female relatives had seen his dead father in a dream. His father’s face was illuminating with light and beside him was a woman who was folding beautiful and smart clothes the likes of which she had never seen in this world before. When asked where the clothes had come from, the woman replied that they were for his father and that they had been sent by his sons for him.
This woman who had seen the dream asked all his dead father’s relatives whether they had done any special good deeds for their father. One of the Sayyid’s brothers was taken back and admitted that he had prepared for some clothes to be given to orphans but he had not actually distributed them.
The Sayyid was so surprised to know that a deed had been rewarded when only a decision was made on his part and the charitable act had not taken place yet. So this proves that any charitable act done for the dead reaches them immediately, as soon as you make the intention. 6
One great scholar Allama Muhammad Husayn Al Husayni At-Tehrani says that when we do an act of charity or a good deed for the dead, it should be with respect.
He relates a real life event as told to him by another great scholar of Islam Agha Buzurgh ATahraani who said that when he was small he lived with his family in Tehran. It was a few days after the death of his grandmother and he was with his mother in the kitchen while his mother was cooking some food.
A beggar knocked on the door and Agha Buzurg decided to give the beggar some food as an act of charity on behalf of his grandmother so that she would get a reward. Well, because he didn’t find a suitable vessel in which he could put the food he quickly grabbed a cup which they used in the bathroom and put the food in it and gave it to the beggar.
That night his father dreamt a strange dream and woke up in the middle of the night and related to his mother that he had seen his mother and she was annoyed, because she had received some charity in a bath cup and her friends had all made jokes of this. She stressed that when you stand up to do an act of charity it should be done with respect.
Agha Buzurg says that his mother was taken back by this incident and on straining her memory she remembered that Agha Buzurg had given the beggar some food in a cup used in the bathroom. 7
Sayyid Muhammad Taqi Al Mudarrisi says that he saw his father a few days after his death and asked him how he felt when his soul was being removed. His father, Marhoom Ayatullah Al Kazim Al Mudarrisi replied that he was quite at ease when it happened.
Sayyid Taqi Mudarrissi says that the Marhoom father often appears in his children’s dreams and relates to them about many events connected to them.
Once his father’s soul appeared in the dream of their neighbour who teaches his children and asked the neighbour to inform his children that the good charitable acts that they do reach him continuously.
One of his sons called Sayyid Husayn Al Mudarrissi has been specially appointed by his family to rise up to the task of doing charitable acts for the deceased members of the family. Sayyid Taqi’s brother Sayyid Muhammad Bakir Al Mudarrissi relates that one year they commemorated the death of their father with a majlis and then they distributed tea, cakes and biting to the people who had participated.
On that particular night the soul of their father appeared in the dream of their sister who knew nothing about this event and who resides in Tehran. Their father told her that his sons had sent him some cake that day. In another yearly commemoration for their father, as they prepared food in the kitchen, one of his brothers called Abbas saw his father in his dream and his father asked him to check whether every thing was all right in the kitchen.
The reward of food distributed as charity reaches the dead people very quickly, as related in many teachings of Islam. 8
It is very important to pay the debts of the people who are dead, since this can relieve them of punishment in the grave.
After the death of the great scholar Almir Sayyid Hassan Bin Air, Sayyid Ali Al Husayni revealed in a dream to his son the amount of money which he owed to a person, and that he was in trouble due to this. When the amount of money was paid, he thanked his son for relieving all the pain and torture he was undergoing.
Another scholar Allamah al Noori relates that he was told by Amir Sayyid Ali, that the latter in his dream saw his father and expressed his thanks and the relief he felt since he had been through a lot of trouble. When the scholar asked his father why he had been through turmoil, his father revealed that it was because of a certain amount of money that he owed somebody, and mentioned the name of that person.
On going through the accounts of his father he became even more surprised on not finding the name of this person in his father’s account books. The only way was to ask the person whose name had been mentioned by his father. The man when approached said that, at the death of the scholar’s father he had inquired whether there was a mention of his name in the list of people his father owed, but he had been told by the man who was handling the accounts that there was no mention of his name. The man went on to say that he had been upset and regretted that he had not made a written contract as a proof of the money owed to him by his father. However after sometime he chose to forgive this matter and overlook it.9
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) said: “Gift the dead”. When the companions asked what they should gift the dead with, the Prophet said: “With Charity and Prayers,” and continued to say that: “the souls of dead people descended every Friday on earth and begged their close ones with a forlorn voice: ‘O Mother, O Father, O Children, O Close ones to me, be kind to me even with a dirham, or a piece of bread or clothes, and Allah shall reward you.”
Then the Prophet S.A.W. cried bitterly and all the companions cried bitterly too such that the Prophet (S) could not utter anything. Finally the Prophet said, “These were your brothers in faith and they now have turned to dust after enjoyment in this life and they regret bitterly and reproach themselves and wish that they had done good deeds so that they wouldn’t need you, and that is why you should help them in their desperate condition.”
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that: “All the prayers, fasts, pilgrimage, charity, good acts and prayers reach the dead and help and reward them”.
The Holy Prophet (S) says that: “The dead man is like a person drowning who helplessly holds on to any help given to him by his father or brother or friend and he clings on to these and loves these acts more than the world itself, and the gifts for the dead are charity and praying for their forgiveness.10
One scholar relates that in the season of Hajj after completing the acts of worship he did Tawaf, going round the Kaaba seven times and prayed two units of prayers at Maqaame Ibrahim (a.s.) for another scholar.
When he went home, the same night he saw the scholar whom he had gifted the acts of worship, come in his dream and thank him for his kindness, a proof that these acts reach the dead. 11
Al Haj Sayyid Muhammad Hassan Naaji Shirazi informed his own son after his death in a dream that the person his son had hired to pray the Salaat and Fasts that he had missed in his life time, had not acted upon his will and in fact had only repaid the equivalent of six days prayers.
Sayyid Muhammad Hassan Naaji’s son relates that his father had instructed him to hire a man to pray an equivalent of four years prayers, and four months fasts. His son had done as instructed, but after some time his son saw his father in a sorry state and he was informed that his will had not been acted upon.
His son immediately went to ask the man whom he had hired and on checking the books in which the hired man used to write how much of the worship he had accomplished, they realized that the dream was true. The hired man apologized and said that he had been under the impression that he had accomplished much, but from then he promised to complete the contract.12
A scholar relates that he saw a friend of his in the dream, and when he asked his friend’s condition after death, he was told that his condition had been bad were it not for some money given by his trustee on his behalf in the year of severe drought in Yazd.
On waking up, this scholar went to the deceased’s trustee and asked him what he had done for the deceased during the drought in Yazd. The Trustee thought for a little while and on recalling said that he had been asked to help the people of Yazd who had been suffering from famine. In addition to his own money or charity he also took out some sixty tumans from the deceased’s account and gave charity on the dead man’s behalf.
Well he was surprised to understand that these sixty tumans were the ones which changed the destiny of the deceased’s man after his death.13
A woman lost her husband through death. She decided to give charity on his behalf. One Friday night she prepared some food and sent her son to give it to a poor man who lived near her house. While sending the food the dead man’s son felt very hungry but he controlled himself and after having given the charity, he returned home hungry and went to bed.
The next Friday the same sequence of events took place. On the third Friday, the orphan while sending the food to the poor, could not control himself and ate the food on the way. That night the widow of the dead man dreamt her husband who told her that: “That night was the first night whence he received the reward of the charity she had given, while the charities she had given before had not reached him”.
The widow got up and doubting that her son had committed a blunder went to investigate the matter. Her little orphan said that contrary to her suspicion he had sent the charity the two Friday’s to the poor man, and it was on the third Friday that he had eaten the food.
It was then that the widow understood that her son deserved the food more than the poor neighbour. Thus we need to give charity to our near kith and kin before we look further14
“But he would not attempt the uphill road, and what will make you comprehend the uphill road? it is the setting free of a slave or giving of food on a day of hunger to an orphan having relations or to the poor man lying in dust.” 15
Marhoom Nahawandi says that it was related to him by a scholar who saw in his dream a group of dead people walking together in a happy mood. He saw an old man walking behind them who was unhappy and despairing.
When the scholar asked the old man why he was unhappy, the old man replied that while the relatives of other dead people sent charity to them his own son didn’t send anything to him.
This scholar woke up and immediately went to the deceased’s son. The son was a launderer and the scholar found him washing some clothes near a river. On inquiry, the dead man’s son said that his economic condition was too bad for him to help his father and when the scholar tried to convince him he got angry and took a cup and poured some water on the river bank three times, and retorted angrily, “Here take some charity for my father!’’.
That night the scholar dreamt the same old man in a happy mood. On inquiry the old man said that the charity of the water had reached him. The scholar questioned how three cups poured down on the river bank could have helped him. The old man answered that there had been a little fish on the river bank which was dying due to lack of water. The three cups of water poured by his son had pushed the little fish back into the river, thus saving its life.
This had made the dead man happy and prayed for the economic condition of his son to improve. After some time the son became rich due to his fathers blessings. This shows us to give charity even if it is little. 16
A great scholar’s wife relates that after the death of her husband she visited his grave and greeted him. That night the woman saw her husband who told her that he had received her greetings.
This small incident shows that if a mere greeting reaches a dead man so what about an act of charity. 17
After the death of Ayatullah Sayyid Mirza Mahdi Shirazi, a believer saw him in the dream and asked him: “What was the act he really benefited from in the Akhira”.
The great scholar replied that it was small acts of charity he had given to beggars who knocked his door and were satisfied with whatever was given to them. 18
Sayyid Shaheed Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib relates that a scholar told him that he had seen his father in the dream. When the scholar asked him to give him details about the rewards and the punishments that are found in the life here after, the dead man replied that worldly people could not understand about the circumstances of the hereafter but he would try to give some examples.
The punishments meted out were as if you had a very high and steep mountain which you cannot ascend and you are being followed by a wolf, and there is no way out.
As for the rewards they can be likened to being in a sauna with all the steam and water vapor, and if somebody opens the door slightly how soothing is the breeze that creeps into the sauna? Well a reward feels this way. This is the way it feels when you send us gifts from the world.
It has been related in some books that a believer spent a night in a graveyard. In the middle of the night he saw a group of people emerging out of their graves with a shining light and a plate full of various blessings. Only one dead man didn’t come out of his grave and remained in its darkness full of remorse.
The believer went to him and asked him why he was not blessed as the others. The dead man replied that all the others had relatives who sent them gifts. He had an old mother but she had been unhappy with him and didn’t give him a thought.
The dead man asked the believer to greet his mother for him and told him where she lived. In the morning the believer went to the old woman and related what he had seen. The old woman wept bitterly and gave the believer a bag of gold to be distributed to the poor as charity on her son’s behalf.
The next night the believer saw the young man happy and thankful, and asked that his mother should be thanked for saving him. 19
Mullah Fateh Ali Sultaan Abadi relates that whenever he used to hear about the death of anybody, he would pray Salaatul Wahsha; the prayer recommended to be prayed for the deceased, and ask Allah to protect him especially in the first night in the grave from loneliness.
Well a certain man died and the Mullah prayed for him as was his custom. The Mullah met a friend of his who told him that he had seen the dead man in his dream, and was told that his condition had been miserable but when the Mullah prayed for him the torture was removed.
The dead man prayed for the Mullah for showing such consideration and kindness to him. 20
It has been related in the book ‘Al Irshadaat fi ilm il Ibaadaat’, that a man prayed for a dead woman and this woman came in his dream to thank him and assure him that his prayers had reached her in the form of blessings.
It has been related in the book stated above that a woman used to work in somebody’s house. The owner of the house had invited some guests and shortly after the guests had left, the maid servant collected all the remaining food and gave it as Sadaqah in her mother’s name.
The next day the maid was visited by her sister who informed her that she had dreamt their deceased mother who informed her that the food her sister had sent had reached her, but she had asked that the next time she should send proper Sadaqah and not remains of some meals.
Sheikh Sudooq relates from Imam Ja’far Sadiq who heard this tradition from the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) that once Prophet Isa (a.s.) was passing a grave whose occupant was being tortured. After some time, Nabi Isa (a.s.) passed that grave again and saw that the torture had stopped.
He asked Allah who revealed to him that the deceased’s son had given charity and so the torture had stopped. 21
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) has said that: “An act of charity shields seventy dead people from ill fate”.
The Prophet (S) has also said that “The angel of death is told to remove the soul of a person, but if during that time charity is given then the order to remove the soul is cancelled”.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that: “An act of charity given openly prevents seventy types of mishaps, and a secretly given charity cools the anger of our Lord Allah (S.w.T.)”1.
It has been related in the same book that the Holy Prophet (S) said that: “Allah says that when the angel of death is asked to remove the soul of a person, and if he or she gives Sadaqah, Allah orders the angel of death to stop”.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that: “An act of charity shields us of seventy evils of this world including an ill fated death. The one who gives charity never dies ill fatedly”.2
According to Islamic beliefs, when we give charity, Allah due to his mercy changes our fate. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an that:
“Allah removes what He wishes and establishes what He wishes, for He has the Mother of Books”. (Sura ar-Ra‘ad, 13: 39)
Here below are few incidences from genuine and reliable sources to prove this.
This is an incident witnessed by the author of this book. Once I was admitted to the hospital, and as I was lying in my ward, I saw a friend of mine bring in his son with a life threatening situation. His son was in acute pain, and when I asked my friend he said that the nurses were taking some tests and soon his son would be taken to the operating theatre.
Well, the nurse took a sample of blood, and we on the other hand started comforting the little boy who was only nine years old. As we were waiting the father of the boy put something small under the pillow of his son.
Shortly after, the doctor arrived and said that they had tested the blood and didn’t think it necessary to operate, and instead some medicine was prescribed for him. The father at once thanked the Imam of our time Al Mahdi (aj) for helping, and then revealed that he had put an amount of money as charity and asked the Imam to help, and this was the result.
Sheikh Ahmed Mujtahidi says that there was a time when many grape gardens in a village in Shahriyaar in Iran were afflicted with disease, which caused extensive damage to the fruit. There was a man who owned a garden in the same village who on hearing the news was sure that his garden was in a good state.
When the man was asked how he could be so sure about this, he answered that he always gave the Zakaat (Islamic Tax) on the property and also gave out a lot of charity, and this was a guarantee for his property to be safe from disasters.
When people who had heard this went to investigate his gardens in Shariyaar, they found it to be the only garden which had not been affected with the disease. 3
The author of the book Najafiyat, Sheikh Ali Dakheel relates that Al Haj Abdul Husayn Abu Reeha related to him that Al Haj Rasheed Roomaani who was a Syrian businessman once became extremely sick. His family had surrounded him with despair, crying for him.
The sick man asked his family whether they wished him to be well. They admitted eagerly that that was their hearts desire. Well he asked them to give all the food and grains stored in the house as charity. Shortly after he recovered and is said to have lived up to the age of 130 years.
Indeed the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) says: “Cure your sickness with charity”. 4
A man known as Al-Hajj Salim Tarih who died in Iraq in 1293 A.H. was a famous ship merchant who traded with other countries. He once asked his trade partner to contribute some money to give as charity. When asked by his business partners why he had given this charity, he answered that he had received some news that the ship in which they had sent their property had sunk. He was certain that the charity would help in the recovery of their property.
Soon afterwards some men came to give Al-Hajj Salim a bag full of dirhams. The men said that all the goods had sunk but this bag which had the money belonging to Al-Hajj Salim was hanging on a nail which was hammered onto a plank of wood that formed part of the ship. This plank together with the bag of money had not sunk.5
Iraq was a nation which in olden times was afflicted just like any other nation with diseases like cholera and typhoid, and the epidemic affected so many people. It is to avert such dangers that the people carried out many religious ceremonies in the name of the great Imam and Martyr Husayn (a.s.).
A man relates that in one such ceremony, the people appealed to Imam Husayn (a.s.) to help them from such diseases. A man after the ceremony had a dream that some armed people came to steal things from them. As they wanted to attempt stealing, the leader of the gang instructed them to stop because he would not like to kill people who had taken part in a ceremony commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
The gang leader then asked his companions to go to another place.
The next morning the man who had seen this dream heard that, three people had been killed in the neighboring village by thieves.
All this shows that Sadaqah conducted in the name of our Imams is effective in averting problems. 6
Allamah Hilli relates in some of his books that the Holy Prophet (S) once passed by a Jew who was going to chop some wood. On seeing him, the Prophet said that the Jew would be bitten by a poisonous snake and die.
In the evening the companions saw the Jew and found it strange that he was still alive contrary to what the Prophet (S) had predicted. So they questioned the Holy Prophet (S) about his predictions. The Prophet (S) asked for the Jew to be presented to him so that he could be questioned.
When the Jew came, the Prophet asked him to open the bundle of chopped wood, and out popped a snake. The Holy Prophet (S) asked the Jew what act he had done on that day.
In reply the Jew answered that he had not done anything in particular except that as he was eating some food a beggar asked him for some of it, so he gave one of the two cakes he had without any hesitation to the beggar.
The Prophet then said that the Jew had been destined to die but for the charity he had given which removes seventy evils. The Jew accepted Islam.
Indeed charity increases your good deeds and your life. 7
A woman from the Bani Israil tribe was washing some clothes on the sea shore. Her child lay near her. A beggar came begging and she quickly gave him a piece of bread which she had.
Shortly after a wolf came beside the lady and snatched away the little baby in its mouth. Well, Allah sent an angel who removed the baby from the wolf’s mouth and the angel retorted: A Morsel For A Morsel.8
Imam Ja’far Al Sadiq (a.s.) was once travelling with some companions amongst whom were some businessmen who had some goods with them. After some time they became aware that there were gangs of thieves who were waiting ahead planning to loot them. The companions of the Imam wondered what steps to take.
The Imam advised that the best step was to make intention of giving some of the goods in the way of Allah as Sadaqah or charity. This is what the companions did and when they passed the thieves, nothing happened to them. Charity had averted the danger in which they were. 9
It has been related in some books that Nabi Yaqub (a.s.) once was visited by a beggar on a Friday night. Although Nabi Yaqub (a.s.) heard the beggar, he didn’t feed him.
In order to make Nabi Yaqub realize the importance of charity, Allah (S.w.T.) revealed to him that due to this act Allah would soon put Nabi Yaqub to a test, and that he should show patience in face of this test.
After that Nabi Yaqub was tested by the temporary loss of Nabi Yusuf, his son, for quite a long period. Due to this Nabi Yaqub really suffered, until he finally was reunited with his son. 10
It has been related by Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that Nabi ‘Isa’ (a.s.) was once told by people that a certain girl was getting married. When they mentioned her name, he said that she was going to die on her wedding night.
The morning after the wedding they found the bride still alive. When they asked Nabi ‘Isa’ (a.s.) as to why his predictions were not correct, the prophet asked to see the bride, and asked whether she had done some good act on the wedding night.
The bride replied that there was a beggar who used to beg every Friday night outside the house. On the wedding night, he came to beg as usual and because nobody bothered with him, she got up and went to give him some charity.
Nabi ‘Isa’ (a.s.) asked her to look at a pile of clothes which lay in her room. When the bride tried to look beneath the pile of clothes she found a scorpion. That’s when Nabi ‘Isa’ (a.s.) remarked that due to the good act, she had been saved from death. 11
Cause and effect, are from the wisdom of Allah (S.w.T.). He has connected the cause and effect of things. For example, the person who uses good methods in planting his crops, will get a good harvest. Just the same way a person who eats and drinks healthily will have good health.
Allah (S.w.T.) too has linked spiritual and metaphysical causes to spiritual results. Allah states that the one who is beneficial to his relatives will have an increase in his life span. Also Allah states that giving charity removes evil. We human beings wonder how the cause and effect is connected, and what is the wisdom behind the incidences in life? Some cause and effects are easy to explain and the wisdom behind them is clear. On the other hand some of these phenomena’s are hard to explain. However Islam stresses that giving charity increases sustenance. Here are a few traditions that stress on this fact.
The Holy Prophet (S) says: “Attract sustenance by giving charity”. 1
Abu Abdillah (a.s.) says: “Allah gives help to person equal in quantity to the charity a person gives”.2
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) says that: “Everything has a key, and the key to sustenance is charity”. 3
Here below are some real life events that will illustrate these facts.
One famous scholar, Sheikh Muhammad Hadi Al Amini relates that his father while acquiring knowledge in Najaf, Iraq, went to his hometown Tabriz. While he was in his hometown, he used to visit his relatives and friends.
Sheikh Amini’s father didn’t see an old acquaintance of his who was a poor and needy man. When he didn’t see this friend, he asked about him and was told by people, that the man he was asking about was a rich man and no longer poor. Sheikh Amini’s father decided to pay a visit to his friend.
While conversing with his friend he asked his friend the reason for the change in his economic position. The man replied that he had been very poor to the extent that he was forced to sell some properties that belonged to him, like furniture etc. By selling these things he had collected some money enough to start a business with.
As he was on his way back to his house with the capital, he saw a poor lady crying. The man asked the lady the reason for crying, and she explained that she was a widow with orphans who were hungry. The man felt pity on her, and on seeing that she needed the money more than himself he gave the whole amount of money to her. He returned home and spent the night depressed and worried for his family.
The next morning, surprisingly he was summoned to the house of a rich man. When he went to the rich man he was told by him that he had six thousand bags of rice which he feared were on the verge of expiring. The rich man suggested to him to buy the rice at a low price on loan from him. The poor man did so and sold the rice bags quickly. He took some more and in this way was able to make much profit. Soon he became rich and well to do. 4
Indeed the Qur’an says that:
“The person who lends to Allah, a good lending will receive many times more”. (Sura al-Baqara, 2:245 )
Sheikh Abdul Aziim Al Muhtadi Al Bahraani in his book ‘Qasas wal Khawatir’ relates that a beloved friend of his came to him in need of some money. Although the Sheikh didn’t have anything to give this friend, yet he asked the friend to meet him at a certain venue so that he would give away the little he possessed, thinking of the saying that if you can’t give everything you can give a little.
As the Sheikh waited for this friend, he came across a verse of Qur’an which says that a person should give charity according to his means, and that Allah doesn’t burden a person more than his capability, and surely after difficulties there is ease5.
The Sheikh saw that the verse was describing his position in respect to his friend, as the Sheikh didn’t have much to give to his friend but he would help his friend according to his capability. As he took out an envelope containing the little he had, he decided to write the verse of Qur’an on the envelope.
As he finished doing so, he found his friend coming towards him happily and saying that he had obtained what he desired soon after the Sheikh had promised to give him something.6
I encountered this incident personally, and I will reveal it in detail.
A friend of mine telephoned me and asked me to collect some money for the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hassan (a.s.) to help some needy people. I started to do so and shortly after I collected fifty dinars, while the amount needed was sixty dinars. In order to fill the deficit I personally added ten dirhams myself since the time was short and it was needed urgently.
Three days after the incident a friend of mine phoned me and told me that as he was looking into his account books he found that he owed me a hundred dirhams, and wanted to pay me back quickly. I was surprised and could not remember how he came to owe me this money.
However he reminded me, and told me that he used to pay me back in instalments, and after checking his books he found that he had not paid me the last instalment. Well, he paid me the money, and as I was thinking over the events I remembered how Allah promises in the Holy Qur’an, to increase a good deed ten folds. I remembered the amount of ten dirhams that I had taken out as charity.
A great scholar Al Haj Mu’iin Ashirazi relates that a friend of his Sayyid Darshooji who was a businessman said to him that his business was in a bad state and that his capital had been depleted and he was in debt. As he was in this dire state, a Jewish girl once came to him and informed him that she was getting married and that she was an orphan. She asked him to take pity on her and to sell her some home accessories at a cheap price.
Although the businessman was in a bad economic state, he decided to sell the girl the goods at a cheap price. Whereby the goods cost a hundred and fifty tumans, he gave her a discount of thirty tumans and sold her the goods at a loss.
Soon after that, he was offered some household commodities that were rare to be seen in the market at a very low price and with an additional advantage that they were offered to him on credit. Although he was hesitant to take on the deal, he did so and ended up making a huge profit, since people were in need of the items due to their scarcity in the market. In this way he recovered his capital and his economic condition improved.
Sheikh Kulaini in his book Al Kaafi relates the following tradition from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.): “Cure your sick by giving Sadaqah or charity, and remove troubles and mishaps by giving charity, and increase sustenance with charity. Charity banishes seventy shaitans from what is within one’s beard, and charity goes unto the hand of Allah before it goes unto the hand of the needy”. 7
Our Holy Prophet (S) says that: “We should give charity as it increases our property, and it makes the mercy of Allah befall on us”. 8
Once Abu Abdillah (a.s.) asked his son how much money he had. His son replied that he only had forty dinaars. Abu Abdillah (a.s.) asked his son to give it all away in the way of Allah. His son was hesitant and said that it was the only meager amount he possessed.
His father replied that: “Charity was the key to sustenance”.
Shortly after having given the amount in charity the Imam’s son got four thousand dirhams. The Imam (a.s.) said to his son: “O son, we gave Allah forty dirhams and he gave us four thousand.” 9
Mullah Fatah Ali relates that one of his close friends related to him that he had several farms. One year due to bad economic conditions people were suffering from starvation. This man decided to give the harvest of one of the farms to the poor. So he went to the mosque and proclaimed that people could benefit from this land, provided they were in need, and that they would not take from the harvest more than that which was necessary.
The needy went there everyday in great numbers and benefited. The owner of the farm was so busy with his work that he didn’t follow up closely on the condition of that piece of land. After he had harvested all the other pieces of land, he remembered this particular farm he had given as charity, and ordered his servants to go and collect any dry grass, plants and seeds that may have remained.
To the great surprise of the servants, they found that there still remained a lot of crop that had not been harvested and consumed. On collecting the harvest, they all found that the harvest of that piece of land exceeded that of all the other pieces of land that the man possessed.
In addition to that, while it was a common practice to leave a land without planting any crops the following year so that it could regain the minerals it had lost, it was found that this piece of land had not lost it’s fertility at all, and it was possible to cultivate it in the following year. 10
“Indeed Allah increases for whomsoever He wishes”. (Baqara 2:261)
It has been related from Mirza Khalil, may Allah have mercy on him, that he was not a physician, but he got the knowledge of medicine from a simple act of charity, as a gift of Allah to him.
He says that in his youth, he once visited the city of Qum that has the mausoleum of the sister of Imam Ridha (a.s.). During those days there was war between the countries of Iran and Russia, and there was lot of hunger due to bad and deteriorating conditions, especially when the cities of Iran were filled with prisoners from Russia.
He relates that his room was in one of the rooms of Dar ul-Shifaa, the top story of which constituted of a Madrassah and some rooms in which the visitors took abode.
Once Mirza Khalil went to the market to buy some bread and after a lot of efforts he got some. On the way back to his room he saw a Russian woman who was carrying a baby and was pale with hunger. When she saw Mirza Khalil with the loaf of bread she rebuked him, blaming him that the Muslims were not keeping the prisoners in a good state. Her words had a deep effect on Mirza Khalil and he decided to give the bread as charity. He then went back to his room feeling deep pangs of hunger.
Shortly after, a stranger knocked on his door to ask him where he could find a doctor, since the stranger’s mother was ill. Mirza Khalil asked him about the symptoms of the ailment, and when the stranger described to him about the nature of his mother’s sickness, Mirza Khalil found himself automatically or involuntarily prescribing some medicines to the stranger.
When the stranger left to look for the medicines, Mirza Khalil was really puzzled, since he knew that he didn’t have any knowledge of medicine, but he was able to prescribe the medicine. Soon after, the stranger came to thank him and tell him that the medicine had cured the sick mother. Also, the stranger brought food and gold coins as an appreciation to him.
After some days the stranger brought to him several people suffering from various ailments, and Mirza Khalil repeated the same act of prescribing the medicines to them, and they were all cured. This is when Mirza Khalil realized that this was a gift he had got from the Almighty in return for the act of charity.
Mirza Khalil became a renowned doctor without passing any exams except that of a spiritual nature. In addition he studied medicine and saw that he grasped it’s principles with ease and reached great heights in this new career granted to him by Allah. 11
Imam Husayn (a.s.) saw a slave eating a morsel of food and then giving a morsel to a dog near him. The Imam asked the slave the reason why he was feeding the dog. The slave said that I feel ashamed to eat without feeding the dog.
The Imam asked the slave to wait until he returned, and went to the slave’s master, and bought the slave and the piece of land on which he worked from his master. Then he freed the slave. Thus the slave achieved his freedom as well as becoming the owner of a piece of land due to his kindness to the dog. 12
It has been related from Abil Hassan Al Mussa (a.s.) that there was a man amongst the Bani Israelites who saw a dream in which an angel informed him that half of his life would be prosperous and another half would be in distress. The angel asked him to choose whether he would like the first half to be in prosperity or the latter half.
The man woke up from his dream and consulted his wife. His wife advised him to choose the first half to be in prosperity, suggesting that Allah may have mercy on them later on.
The second night the man dreamt the angel again who demanded the answer from him. The man replied exactly what had been discussed by him with his wife. As prophesized by the angel the dream came true and the man was leading a very prosperous life with an abundance of blessings.
However his wife advised him to help his relatives, neighbors and the needy. Soon the first half of his life came to an end, and despite his expectation of problems and distress he found no change in his life, and still had all the blessings. He was puzzled and in this condition he dreamt of an angel who informed him that Allah thanked him for all the charity he had given and so decided to increase the blessings given to him.
A poet once said that if you wish to do good do so, and if you decide to sow a seed then sow a good one since a good seed will produce seven hundred more seedlings but a bad seed will only result in a bad outcome.
The famous poet Firdous says that: “A good deed is for yourself and a bad one also returns back to you”. 13
Sheikh Muhammad Ali Dakheel says that once he was in the market of Najaf when news was brought to the merchants of Najaf that their goods which were on the way to Najaf from Karbala’ have all got burnt. All the merchants decided to go to Karbala’. When they approached Sheikh Muhammad Dakheel to go with them, he said that he trusted Allah to have secured his goods as he had paid Zakaat and Khums on it.
As the merchants were conversing they found a porter bring the property of Sheikh Muhammad Dakheel safe and sound without any damage. The porter said that his colleagues had refused to bring the goods at the price quoted to them but he had agreed to do so. 14
A poor man once came to one of the many Iranian cities, in a very bad state, with no money to buy food. As he walked through the streets of the city he remembered the tradition of our Holy Prophet (S), which says that if a person has a need and wants to ask something from someone he should look for a person with a pleasant face.
As he glanced at the people in the streets he found a man who fitted the description, and before he approached the man he asked people about the man. The people in the streets informed him that the man was a doctor by profession and was a Christian by faith. However the poor man decided to go to the Christian doctor, and asked him to check his body as he was suffering from some ailment.
The doctor asked him to sit and then checked his pulse. The doctor then asked his servant to go and get some food. The servant brought the food and the poor man ate till his hunger vanished. Then the doctor gave him money, and informed him that nothing but poverty ailed him.
The poor man thanked the doctor and left praying asking Allah to cure the doctor of a spiritual ailment and grant him guidance to Islam. As soon as the poor man had uttered this prayer when the doctor ran up to him and said that he had accepted Islam, and that the poor man’s prayer had been accepted.
This shows that charity can give you a spiritual reward that is more beneficial than a material reward. 15
The scholars of our nation are stars. They are models for each aspect of life. Some people think that scholars are only involved in studying and learning the religion of Islam and concerned with Fiqh, the sciences and philosophy. People don’t think that our scholars are concerned with good morals and ethics, and to uplift the society.
Sacrifice and charity are the basis of Islam that our scholars must take the lead in being good examples, even if they become exhausted in helping the oppressed and helping the needy and orphans. Let us relate to you the way our scholars have taken the lead in charity and sacrifice.
Sheikh Kaasim Muhyideen, who died in the year of 1376 A.H., was one of the noble scholars of the city of Najaf. This scholar used to go to the rich merchants and businessmen in Najaf to pledge money for the poor and needy. Although they used to refuse him in the morning, he used to go to them in the afternoon and once again ask them again. In this way he used to collect a lot of money to distribute to the needy.
It is known that he didn’t use this wealth personally and used to have a simple diet of bread and milk due to his own poverty. It is also known that when he became ill, and doctors advised him to go abroad for medical treatment, he had to sell his library in order to get money for the treatment. 1
Sayyid Ali Al Qadhi (died in the year 1355 A.H.) is one of the great scholars of Islam who used to teach lessons of ethics in the city of Najaf. One of his students relates that he once saw the Sayyid go into a green grocer’s shop. The Sayyid then started choosing some vegetables and contrary to the common behavior of most customers who always look for fresh vegetables, the Sayyid chose some stale vegetables, paid the owner and went out of the shop.
The student decided to follow him and ask the reason for this. The Sayyid when asked replied, that he knew that the owner was a poor man and the Sayyid was in the habit of helping the poor owner, but because it was not good to help someone without a reason, since it would be a cause of embarrassment, encourage laziness and the habit of begging, the Sayyid just made an excuse of buying some vegetables so that he would get a chance of helping the poor man.
“As for us it doesn’t make a difference what type of vegetables we eat, particularly so when I know that nobody will buy the stale vegetables from the owner and he will incur a greater loss,” the Sayyid replied. 2
Sheikh Jaafer Kashiful Gitaa, a great scholar and mujtahid used to collect money in order to help the poor. One day as he had distributed money amongst the poor, a poor man from the progeny of the Prophet (S) asked him for something to fulfil his needs.
The Sheikh was apologetic that he didn’t have anything to help the poor man when the latter pulled at the beard of the Sheikh and demanded to be helped. The Sheikh announced that who ever loved his beard i.e. respected him, should help the poor man; and so it happened that the people filled the beard of the Sheikh with gold and silver in respect of him.
In this way the Sheikh diverted the love the people had for him in the service of the poor masses around him. 3
Sheikh Abdul Karim Al Hairi was a great scholar and founder of the great Islamic College or Hauza in the city of Qum. One of his assistants called Sheikh Ali relates that one night as he was sleeping, he heard a knock on the door.
As he went to open the door, he saw a poor woman who asked for help. She said that her husband was sick, and in addition they didn’t have any food, and her family was cold as they didn’t have any fuel to get warmth.
The assistant informed her that his master could not help her as his own condition was not good in those days. The woman left with great disappointment.
Sheikh Abdul Karim Al-Hairi had heard somebody at the door and so he asked his assistant what was going on. The assistant informed him about the whole incident. Sheikh Abdul Karim said, “What will Allah ask us on the day of judgment?”
Then he asked his assistant whether he knew the house of the lady. Although it was difficult to reach the lady’s house as the roads were covered with snow, yet the Sheikh Hairi was determined to reach the lady and help her. Thus they found themselves on the way to the lady.
On reaching the lady’s house, they found the family in a dire state. The Sheikh asked his assistant to call a doctor who diagnosed the husband and prescribed the medicines. Again the Sheikh asked his assistant to go and buy the medicine from the chemist on credit and that he would pay for it, as well as getting some firewood and food to give warmth to the family.
When the sick husband took the medicine he felt better and they had food and warmth restored in the house. Then only did the Sheikh find it suitable to leave and return. In addition, the Sheikh asked his assistant to divide the portion of firewood which was supplied to their house daily and give it to the poor family. Such were these great scholars who served Islam by example.4
In Nahjul Balagha, the believers have been described as people in whose heart Allah has become so magnified that the world has become microscopic for them and of little significance. One of the people who fit this description is Mullah Sabzwari who died in 1289 A.H.
He owned land and wealth on which he took out the Zakaat (charity) and distributed it amongst the poor personally. Every Thursday he had an appointment with the needy and distressed, so that he would fulfill their wishes.
On the last three days of the month of Saffar he commemorated Majlis for Imam Husayn (a.s.) in which he called the poor. A man would be chosen amongst them who would recite the majlis, a poor man not known in the society, but the Mullah would give such people a chance to recite, after which food and money was distributed to each and every poor man.
It is said that in his youth he inherited a lot of properties, yet he sold shops and houses and distributed the wealth to the poor. He repeated the same procedure in his old age and were it not that the Qur’an5 asks people to adopt a medium way between miserliness and to be over charitable such that if a man dies his orphans do not have to beg and curse their father, he would have given all his wealth to Allah.
People asked him why he didn’t give all his wealth away and sit as a monk. It is interesting to hear his answer in which he said that he would love to do so but his children did not favour the same type of life, and what wealth remained with him was for only his children. 6
One of the scholars in the U.S.A. was conversing with the representative of Imam Mohammed Shirazi, may Allah have mercy on him. The scholar stated that he thought that the Imam was one of the richest Marja of the world.
The representative of the Imam queried the scholar as to why he made this statement. The scholar replied that it was because of so many organizations and centres in so many countries of the world from America to Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia. The representative of Imam Shirazi replied that on the contrary the Marja had a great debt and faced many problems.
The scholar was puzzled and said that how then was it possible for so many mosques and organizations to exist if the Marja was not so rich. It is here that the representative gave the scholar the Marja’s secret.
The great Marja always inspired his friends and believers a love of starting a project such as a mosque, a printing press, a library, publishing a book, etc. just so as to renew the spirit of a Muslim to contribute and sacrifice for his/her religion. The great Marja’s philosophy was to awaken the nation and exploit the potentials of each and every individual however small the potentials may be as expressed in his book (The Awakening of the Nation).
The scholar was amazed and remarked that it seems that the Marja had a spirit of sacrifice and of that of encouraging and inspiring others. It must be noted that due to his encouragement, management, planning and foresight more than hundred mosques, organizations, publication of magazines and books in addition to charitable trusts and humanitarian institutes have been established all over the world.
One great scholar related to the representative of Imam Muhammad Shirazi, that he once decided to build a Madrassah although he didn’t have any money. The Islamic tradition states that man should make the first move, and Allah will shower the blessings on him. One should always start the work first and Allah will help to find the necessary funds for it, and not wait for the funds to start the work.
Thus he decided to ask some laborers to start the work making a clear agreement that they would be paid when the money was available. The agency that supplied them with the building materials did so under the same agreement.
Sometimes the laborers would work till evening while the funds were not available, yet in the evening by Allah’s blessings they would be paid. Shortly after, the walls of the Madrassah reached up to a meter in height.
One day it so happened, that a man knocked the door of the scholar and said that he had been passing by and was impressed with the determination of the scholar to build the Madrassah. He handed over an envelope to the scholar saying that it was a meagre donation. Expecting that it was a small amount, the scholar was excited to see a huge sum of money when he opened it.
Soon the project reached its peak with the handsome donation, and the donor contributed a second amount of money to complete the project.
Sayyid Nematullahi Al Jazairi says that I looked for a teacher who would teach me and I heard about Allamah Muhammad Baqer Al Majlisi who is the author of the book Bihaarul Anwaar in Isfahaan. I went to him and he taught me and took great care of me as if I was one of his children.
We in the course of our stay with each other had promised that whoever out of us died first would come in the dream of the other and relate about the world Hereafter.
Sayyid Jazairi says that he stayed with Allamah Majlisi for a long time until the Allamah fell sick and died. The funeral procession was an event which showed how respected he was.
Shortly after his death, Sayyid Jazairi went to the graveyard and sat and recited verses of the Holy Qur’an for him and cried in his remembrance of him and as a result fell asleep. In his dream, he saw Allamah Majlisi richly dressed and apparently in good condition.
Sayyid Jazairi remembered that Allamah had died and so asked him what happened to him when he was put in the grave. The Allamah replied that as soon as he was buried he was addressed by a voice which asked him what he had brought of good deeds in the world hereafter. The Allamah mentioned various deeds that he had performed but the voice was not satisfied and asked repeatedly.
The Allamah was terrified, and as he pondered he remembered an act of charity. He related that once as he was walking in the streets of Isfahan, he saw a poor old man being harassed by many pedestrians. The Allamah felt pity on the poor man and decided to gather courage to confront the crowd.
When he asked the crowd of people about the reason for their harassment, they replied that the poor man owed them all some amounts of money. The Allamah asked them to stop the harassment and to follow him to his house so that he would pay them the amount which the poor man owed them.
When the Allamah had related this event, a door to heaven was opened for him and so many blessings were showered for him. 7
It is related that Muqaddas Ardabili who was a very great scholar in the tenth A.H., was a man of great piety and good morals. Ardabili used to donate so much food to the needy during famines that he often was left with very little food for himself.
People often used to gift him with expensive shawls with which turbans were worn. When he wore these expensive turbans and came across poor people, he would remove his turban and cut a meter or two of the expensive shawl like cloth and give it to the poor. In this way he repeated this act several times and when he would come home he would often be left with a mere piece of cloth. It has been said that it was for this reason that he wore very big turbans. 8
It has been related that a great scholar called Allama Shaheed Sayyid Abdu Sahib Al-Hakim, once received a big sum of money as charity, the amount totalling up to twenty thousand dinars. The Allamah at once set to put various sums of money into envelopes and wrote the names of numerous people on the envelope. He would put hundred dinars in some and two hundred in others, until he completed dividing the money.
The man who relates this incident says that the Allamah then told him to accompany him and as they came up to the house of a person the narrator was told to knock the door, while the Allamah stood a distance away. As soon as the door was opened the narrator threw the envelope and they hurried away with the Allamah.
In this way all the money was distributed in one night while the Allamah didn’t keep anything for himself. 9
Sheikh Fadhil Al Muwahhidi, relates that he had the opportunity of accompanying the great Marja of Islam, called Sayyid Al Burujardi who died in the year 1370 A.H., to the hot springs situated in the city of Mahallat, which are known to be the cure of bones and muscles, as the great Marja was complaining of pain in the legs.
Sheikh Fadhil says that they remained in that city for a short time, and when the people came to know that their Marja was residing in their city as a guest, they warmly welcomed him and it became obvious that most of the people were very poor.
The Marja on appraising the situation asked Sheikh Fadhil to buy cattle and have them slaughtered so as to distribute the meat to the poor. Sheikh Fadhil carried out the order and as the meat was distributed, a bit of the meat was set aside and delicious Kabaabs or broiled meat were cooked and put in front of the Marja.
The Marja only drank some milk with bread and cucumbers, and ignored the kabaabs completely. When he was asked the reason for his action he said that how could he consume the kabaabs when the poor people were not offered the same. As a result all the kabaabs were distributed amongst the poor. 10
It has been related by Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Al Husayni Al Milaani, that Sayyid Abdullah Al Shiraazi once told him that a young scholar in the city of Najaf once came to the great Marja Sayyid Abil Hassan Al Isfahani, and asked him to give him some money as a help to get married.
The great Marja promised to help him the next day. Now it so happened that within that day the great Marja’s son was assassinated while praying behind his father in the congregational prayer. This incident is famous and well known in Najaf.
The following day during the burial ceremony, the great Marja was seen to be looking around as if searching for someone. His followers thought that he was mentally disturbed since it was an odd behaviour potrayed by the Marja as it was a time of poignant sadness for the Sayyid at the sad demise of his son.
As he kept looking around they saw him calling somebody, and found a young man approaching the Marja and they then saw the Marja give a bag of gold coins to the young man as he had promised to do so, and did not forget this even though he was surrounded with grief.11
One of the followers of Sheikh Murtaza Ansaari gifted him an expensive winter cloak whose color quality and material was indeed extra ordinary. The Sheikh wore the cloak on the first day to the mosque, but it was observed by the man who had given him the cloak that the next day the Sheikh wore his old ordinary cloak.
When the disciple asked him the reason for not wearing the cloak which he had gifted to the Sheikh, the Sheikh replied that he didn’t feel comfortable wearing the cloak, while so many people around him were poor, so he had sold the cloak and bought about twelve ordinary winter cloaks and given them to the poor people. 12
Sheikh Jawaad Al Balaghi An-Najafi was an author of great prowess, who discussed and debated with people of various faiths: the Jews, Christians, Marxists and even atheists who believed that the world has come about through coincidence.
A man of such great talents used to live in great poverty, in a poor house, his bed made of palm leaves. It is related that the extent of his poverty was so great that when he wanted to publish his writings, he had no money, and thus had to sell his own house.
This shows how our scholars sacrificed their basic necessities just so as to spread the religion of Allah. 13
Mullah Muhammad Taqi Al Barghani who is commonly known as the ‘Third Martyr’ related that his father saw in his dream the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) surrounded by so many Scholars of Islam.
However, he saw the son of the scholar called Fahad Al Hilli sitting very close to the Prophet (S). Mullah Barghani says that he was surprised to see this when there were other scholars who were greater in calibre, knowledge and their service to Islam who were not sitting so close to the Holy Prophet (S).
Mullah Barghani’s father asked the Prophet (S) the reason for this, and the Prophet replied that it was because all the scholars surrounding him used to give charity when they possessed something, but if they didn’t have any property they didn’t give anything to the person who was begging or in need. However the son of Fahad Al Hilli used to give in charity despite not possessing anything extra, and used to sacrifice his personal belongings in order to fulfil other people’s needs. This gave him a higher degree of proximity to the Prophet. 14
Al-Hajj Muhammad Hassan Shaukat who lived in Isfahan relates that he heard from one of the relatives of Sheikh Baid Abaadi that the former used to be a servant of Sheikh Baid Abaadi.
He used to be sent on a daily basis to a friend of the Sheikh who used to sell perfumes and was called Al Haj Sayyid Musa to get some money, some few Riyals. Sheikh Abaadi used to distribute this money amongst the needy. The Sheikh used to keep the money under a mattress under his feet, and when ever he was approached by the poor and destitute, he would extend his hand under the mattress and come out with a few coins.
The nephew of the Sheikh relates that he used to often visit his uncle when in need and he found out that what the Sheikh gave him was less than what he gave to others. When he enquired his uncle, he was told by his uncle that the latter didn’t decide what to give to various people, rather he only extended his hand under the mattress and gave out what came in his fist.
Many people kept the coins given to them, since it was believed that the coins were blessed. 15
The word sacrifice is not limited to material things but can also be extended to spiritual things, and any work and effort put to spread Islam is also an act of charity. The love of our Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) is a very dear act to Allah, and there are many incidents that prove this. Allah (S.w.T.) helps anybody who befriends the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) in any way.
Allah says in the Qur’an on behalf of his Prophet (S):
“I ask nothing from you as a reward except the love of my near ones or my kith and kin”( Sura ash-Shura, 42: 23)
Let us now see how people who sacrificed for the sake of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) were rewarded generously for this act.
It has been related by Sheikh Noori, may Allah have mercy on him, that Sheikh Al Ustadh Allamah Al Rabbani Sheikh Abdul Husayn Al-Tahraani related to him the following incident. It took place soon after the death of Mirza Nabi Khan who was one of the servants of the Sultan Shah Qajar. Mirza Nabi Khan was a man who had committed notable sins.
Once, Sheikh Husayn Tahraani saw in his dream that the Mirza Nabi Khan was walking leisurely in a garden surrounded by beautiful tall buildings. The beauty of the place made him to realize that he was in some kind of paradise. As he strolled, his companion pointed out a palace to him and announced that it belonged to Mirza Nabi Khan. Then his companion pointed to the Mirza and said that if the Sheikh wanted to talk to him he could do so.
The Mirza was sitting on a high throne, and he gestured to the Sheikh to go up to him. The Sheikh went up to the Mirza and he was welcomed to sit on a place beside him. Sheikh Tahraani who knew the personality of Mirza Nabi Khan in the world, was surprised to see him to be in such a good condition and state. Mirza Khan understood why he was surprised and said as if to clear his doubt, that although he had sinned in this world, he had achieved this palace and gardens because of only one act that he used to commit in this world.
Mirza Nabi Khan had a salt mine in the city of Taliqaan and he used to send the earnings of this mine to Najaf in order to be spent on the Majlis (ceremony to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) each year, and as a result of this he got these gardens and palace.
When Sheikh Al Tahraani got up from his dream, he remembered his dream vividly, and happened to have mentioned this dream to some scholars. One of the scholars ascertained that this dream was true as he happened to know that Mirza Nabi Khan used to send the money for the Majlis of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
It should be noted that the people who do any act for the love of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) will definitely get a great reward and even if these acts were committed in the end of their lives. It should be noted that Allah (S.w.T.) forgives those sins that are personal, while sins and wrong acts committed towards people cannot be forgiven by Allah, until people forgive you. 1
Sheikh Abdul Majid Al Muzaffer relates having heard Sheikh Muhammad Hassan Al Muzaffer, one of the leading scholars of Najaf, that one of the residents of the city of Najaf used to hold special Majaalis for Imam Husayn (a.s.) on every Thursday night and used to serve to the congregation high quality rice and curry on which he used to incur a lot of expense.
Once when this man decided to travel, he instructed his family to rise up to the occasion and hold the majalis in their own method and style. It so happened that the man, while still on the journey happened to see in his dream, the personality of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and Hazrath Abbas (a.s.).
Imam Husayn (a.s.) was dictating to his brother Abbas (a.s.) to write down the quantities of various material goods which the followers had sacrificed in his way in order to commemorate his martyrdom and, one of the things which he happened to mention was the name of that man and the amount of rice and curry which was donated.
It so happened that the quality of the materials donated were mentioned too. The man was surprised and said that didn’t remember having contributed rice and curry of this quality as he was travelling and that he always donated what was the best. The Imam (a.s.) replied that they only wrote down what was donated in their name.
When the man returned from his journey he found out that his family had indeed commemorated the Majlis and served the particular type of rice and curry mentioned in his dream during his absence. 2
It has been related by Hujjatul Islam Sheikh Ahmed Mujtahid Tahraani, that one year in the city of Tehran, the day of Ashoora on which we commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.), coincided with the birthday of the emperor of Tehran, called Ridha Shah.
It is normal for all Shias to mourn on that day and not engage in any normal activities, but to spend that day in Husaynias or Imam Bargaahs. The emperor asked his subjects to be happy and to decorate the Bazaars.
One man didn’t obey this order and closed his shop, and took no part in the happy celebrations. The next day it was found that a fire had burnt all the shops except that shop belonging to the man who had not taken part in the happy celebrations but instead had mourned Imam Husayn (a.s.).
This incident clearly verifies that we must consider the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) as our own dear ones and appreciate the great sacrifices of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and sacrifice our businesses and studies to remember them. What is a days earning compared to the reward that we shall get from Allah, for our sacrifices. 3
A member of the family of Sheikh Hasoon Taliqaani, had gone for pilgrimage to the Holy city of Mashhad i.e. shrine of Imam Ridha (a.s.), and members of his family went to greet him.
The pilgrim asked his family whether a resident of Najaf called Muhammad Nassaar had died on a certain date. His family confirmed this piece of news, and asked him how he came to know this when he had been travelling.
The pilgrim related that on the day when Muhammad Nassaar had died, he saw in his dream the funeral procession of the dead man. However he did not recognize any body in the crowd of people.
He then asked in his dream why there was nobody from Najaf present in the burial ceremony. He was told that since the deceased was a man who read majlis for Imam Husayn (a.s.), then it was only fit that the companions of Imam Husayn (a.s.) i.e. the martyrs of Karbala’ should be in the burial ceremony. 4
Mullah Muhammad Radood died some twenty years ago, and the funeral procession, and the burial ceremony conducted for him was the like given to great ulamas and mujtahids of Islam. The body of the late Mullah was put in a big coffin, which can be carried by hundreds of people.
So many people attended his funeral, and some great scholars commented that this was all because of his service to Imam Husayn (a.s.) i.e. in spreading the love of the Ahlul Bait (a.s.) to the people, and spending their wealth in this way. Such people have a great place in their life, death and in the hereafter.
It has been related by reliable sources, that a young man used to serve water to the mourners who came to the ceremonies commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
Once a man who was in the congregation approached the young man and offered to exchange some cigarettes in exchange for the spiritual reward the man would gain due to the good act of charity he was doing. The young man agreed eagerly being attracted to the worldly goods.
It so happened that the young man dreamt the same night, that he was being shown a beautiful palace, and he is being told that the palace was his spiritual reward that he exchanged for a few cigarettes. When he awoke from the dream he bitterly regretted why he had traded such a beautiful palace for a few cigarettes, and he knocked on the same night on the door of the buyer to demand his spiritual reward and to return the cigarettes.
The buyer refused saying that he had got the same dream and he was shown the beautiful palace that was his very own. A quarrel broke out between them and they had to refer the case to the chief judge who ruled in favour of the buyer since an agreement or a contract; be it written or oral cannot be nullified. 5
One believer relates that he saw in his dream that he was talking to the angel who keeps record of the people who are going to enter heaven. He asked the angel about a famous scholar called Sayyid Hassan Shirazi who was assassinated by the Baathist regime of Saddam Husayn, the ruler of Iraq in the year 1980 in Beirut.
The Angel looked in his records as the believer described Sayyid Hassan Shirazi to be a scholar who was of great faith, who had built a Hauza in Syria, as well having established so many projects. The Angel did not seem to find the name of Sayyid Shirazi, so the believer urged him to look at the list of authors who have written Islamic books.
The believer mentioned the names of the books that Sayyid Shirazi had written: the like of Kalimatullah, Kalimatul – Rasul, Kalimatul Imam Hassan and Kalimatul Imam Mahdi. Despite all the references given still the angel found it hard to find the name of Sayyid Shirazi amongst the people going to Paradise.
Finally after renting his brain the believer mentined that Sayyid Shirazi was also a poet who had written many poems in honour of Imam Husayn (a.s.). This is when the angel looked into the list of poets and finally found the name of Sayyid Shirazi. 6
All this shows that the service rendered in the way of Imam Husayn (a.s.) is of high value. Any small act; be it serving water, reciting a poem in the way of Husayn can take us so far.
It is for this reason that Prophet Muhammad (S) says that: “Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn”.
He also said that: “Husayn is the boat that saves you, and a lamp that guides you”.
He also said that: “The blood of Husayn is warmth for the hearts of the believers which never cools”.
“The one who respects the signs of Allah then that is from fear or Taqwa”. (Sura Al- Hajj, 22:32)
Ibrahim Ibn Mehraan says that there was a man who resided in his neighborhood in Kufa, whose name was Abu Ja’far. He was a shopkeeper, and many people came to him to buy goods. However if a man was an Alawi i.e. a descendent of Imam Ali (a.s.), and was poor he would be kind enough to give him goods on credit, and would ask his assistant to write the amount the man owed to him in a debtors book under the account of Imam Ali (a.s.).
It so happened that after having shown so much consideration and generosity to the descendents of Imam Ali (a.s.), there came a time that his business fell and he underwent a great loss. It was customary for him to open his account books and if the people who owed him money were alive he would ask them to pay back the debts, but if they were poor or dead he just forgave the people.
Once a Naasibi (a man who hates the progeny of the Prophet) passed near his shop and on seeing him with his books he taunted in a mocking tone, and said that Imam Ali (a.s.) who was his biggest creditor should have paid the debts of his descendents, and because the faith of Abu Ja’far was not good, it was for this reason that he was in a poor condition.
Abu Ja’far was hurt by his comments, and that night he saw in his dream that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) is asking Imam Hassan and Husayn (a.s.) about the whereabouts of their father Ali (a.s.). When Imam Ali (a.s.) comes, the Holy Prophet (S) asks him whether he has given back the money he owes Abu Ja’far. Imam Ali (a.s.) nods and hands over a bag to Abu Ja’far.
With this Abu Ja’far wakes up and is astonished to find a bag in his hand containing a thousand liras of gold. It is said that when he consulted his account books he found the amount owed to him by his creditors to be exactly what Imam Ali (a.s.) had given him, and in other narrations all the names of his creditors were erased. 7
There was a man who lived in the city of Mashhad, whose economic condition was not good. However, he decided that he must do something for the life hereafter, so that the act of charity would continue benefiting him even after his death. He therefore decided to collect money to build a Husayniyya or a place where religious functions can be conducted.
He started collecting money, and this was at a slow pace as many people did not trust him. He faced a lot of blames and mistrust. After some time he managed to collect and get a Husayniya built in the name of Prophet (S). He didn’t stop here and decided to go on to build another Husayniya in the name of Imam Ali (a.s.), Imam Hassan (a.s.), till he managed to complete fourteen such Husayniyas in the name of our fourteen Masooms from the progeny of our Prophet (S).
What is the difference between this man and us except for having a great determination and will power!
It has been related that a woman who was from the descendents of Imam Ali (a.s.) used to live with her family in Balkh which is situated in the south of Iran. The lady had a few daughters, and it so happened that at the death of her husband the lady decided to leave that city and go to Samarkand. This was in order to avoid disgrace as the family was not in a good state.
The lady reached Samarkand, and left her daughters in a mosque while she looked for something to end their hunger. As she walked in the city she saw many people surrounding a man. On questioning the people she was told that the man was like a chief or head or ruler to the people and was the lover of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
She thought that this was the right man to approach with her difficulties, but she was disappointed when the chief asked her to produce a witness that she was from the descendents of Imam Ali (a.s.). She stated that she couldn’t do so as she was a stranger and nobody knew her in this strange city. The chief turned away from her.
Well, as she walked filled of worry and anxiety, she saw another crowd of people surrounding a man, and again on asking she was told that this man too was a chief to some people, but he was a Zoroastrian in faith. She decided to try her luck perchance he may pity her. The Zoroastrian welcomed her and instructed his family to serve the woman with an abode, clothes and food.
That night the Muslim chief saw in his dream that he was standing before a beautiful castle, and as he asked for the owner of the castle, he was told that it belonged to a good obedient Muslim. Then the Muslim chief asked the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) the permission to enter the castle, but the Prophet (S) refused him and asked him for a proof or witness to prove that he was a Muslim. The chief was offended and claimed that how could he produce a witness when nobody knew him. The Prophet (S) reminded him how he had refused to help a lady, and had asked her for a proof or witness to prove that she was a descendent of Imam Ali (a.s.).
The Prophet (S) then said that the castle belonged to the man who was a Zoroastrian but had given refuge to the lady for humanitarian reasons. The Muslim chief woke up and went to the Zoroastrian and asked him to allow him to serve the lady. The Zoroastrian refused and said that he too had seen the same dream, and he had accepted Islam. 8
It is my sincere wish that this book that holds so many real life events should be a lesson for us. Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) says that: “Congratulations to the person who prepares with him the provision for the life here after”.