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The Conduct of Jesus

1. Imam ‘Ali (‘a) said, “John the son of Zachariah (‘a) cried and did not laugh, and Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) laughed and cried; and what Jesus did was more excellent than what John did.”1

2. Abu Ja‘far (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary and John the son of Zakariyya, peace be with our prophet, his progeny and them, went out to the desert. They heard the sound of a wild animal. Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, ‘O how wonderful! What is this sound?’ John said, ‘This is the sound of a wild animal who is giving birth.’ Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, ‘Come down easily, easily, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted.’”2

3. It is said that a man accompanied Jesus the son of Mary and said that he would go with him. They continued along until they came to a river. They sat and started to eat. They had three loaves of bread. They ate two of them and one remained. Jesus went to the river, drank some water and returned. He did not find the third loaf.

He asked the man who had taken that loaf. He said that he did not know. They continued until they came to a doe followed by two fawns. Jesus beckoned one of the fawns, killed it, roasted it and they ate it. Then Jesus addressed the fawn [that had been eaten,] saying, “Live!” It came to life and went. Then Jesus said to the other man, “By the God Who has shown you this miracle, who took that loaf of bread?” He said that he did not know.

They continued until they reached a lake. Jesus took the hand of the man and led him over the water. When they reached the other side, Jesus said, “By the One Who has shown you this miracle, who took that loaf of bread?” He said that he did not know. They continued until they reached a desert. They sat down.

Jesus gathered some sand or dust and said, “By the permission of Allah, be gold!” It became gold. He divided it into three portions. He said, “One third is for me, one third for you, and one third for whoever took that loaf of bread.” The man said, “Alright, I took that loaf of bread.” Jesus said, “Then all of this gold is yours.” Then he left him.

The man encountered two other men in the desert. They wanted to take his gold and kill him. He said, “Let us divide the gold into three portions.” They sent one of them to the village to buy food. The one who went said to himself, “Why should I let them have portions of this wealth? I shall put some poison into the food, and kill them.” So, he poisoned the food. The other two said, “Why should we give a third of this wealth to him.

When he comes back, let us kill him, and divide the rest of the wealth between us.” When he returned, they attacked him and killed him. Then they ate the food and died. The wealth remained in the desert with the three dead men beside it. Jesus passed them and saw the situation. He said to his disciples, “This is the world, so beware of it!”3

4. It is reported that Al-Sadiq Ja‘far ibn Muhammad (‘a) reported that Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) turned to some needs, and three of his companions were with him. He passed by three golden bricks on the road. Jesus (‘a) said to his companions, “Verily, these kill people.” Then he went. One of them said, “I have a need.” So, he returned. Then another of them said, “I have a need.” So, he returned. Then the other one said, “I have a need.” So, he returned.

All three persons gathered around the gold. Two of them said to the other, “Buy some food for us.” He went to buy food for them; then he put some poison in it to kill them, so that he would not have to share the gold with them. And the other two said, “When he comes we will kill him so that we do not have to share the gold with him.”

So, when he came, they stood up to him and killed him. Then they ate the food. So, they died. Then Jesus (‘a) returned to them while they were lifeless around [the gold]. He lent life to them by the permission of Allah, may His remembrance be exalted, and said, “Did I not tell you that this kills people?!”4

5. Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari said, “‘Ali (‘a) prayed with us as a leader at Buratha after his coming from fighting with Shurat [al-Khawarij] and we were about one hundred thousand men. Then a Christian came down from his monastery and said, ‘Who is the chief of this army? We said, ‘He is.’ He came to him, greeted to him and said, ‘O my master, you are a prophet?’ He said, ‘No, my master, the Prophet died.’

He said, ‘Are you the executor of the prophet?’ He said, ‘Yes. Why did you ask about this?’ He said, ‘I established this monastery here for the sake of this place, Buratha. I read the revealed books and found that no one prays at this place with this community but a prophet or the executer of a prophet. I came to become a Muslim.’

Then he accepted Islam, and with us he left for Kufa. ‘Ali (‘a) asked him, ‘So, who prayed there?’ He said, ‘Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) and his mother prayed there.’ ‘Ali (‘a) said to him, ‘Should I tell you who prayed there?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Al-Khalil [Abraham].’”5

6. Jesus (‘a) said, “I saw a stone upon which was written, ‘Turn me over,’ then I turned it over, then I saw written on it, ‘He who does not act according to what he knows will not be blessed in his search for what he does not know and what he knows will come back against him.’”6

7. I heard Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) say, “Fear Allah and do not envy each other. Roving through the countries was a sacred law prescribed for Jesus the son of Mary (‘a). So, he went out to do some roving and with him among his companions was a short man and he was very much attached to Jesus (‘a).

So, when Jesus wound up at the sea, he said, “In the Name of Allah”, with a level of certainty in him to walk on the surface of the water. Then, when he looked at Jesus (‘a), the short man said, “In the Name of Allah”, with a level of certainty in him to walk on the water. And he caught up with Jesus (‘a). Then he became conceited and said, ‘This is Jesus, the Spirit of Allah who goes on the water and I go on the water, too, so what is his excellence over me?”

Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Then he was immersed in the water and he called for help. Then he [Jesus] brought him out and said to him, ‘What did you say, O short man?’ He said, ‘I said, “This is the Spirit of Allah who goes on the water and I go on the water, and a pride with this entered into me.”’

Jesus (‘a) said to him, “Verily you placed yourself in the position in which Allah should be placed, so Allah became angry with you for what you said. So turn to Allah, the Almighty and Glorious, in repentance for what you said.” Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “The man returned and came back to the position in which Allah had placed him. So fear Allah and do not envy others.”7

8. Ibn al-Sikkit said to Abu al-Hasan (‘a), “Why did Allah raise Moses ibn ‘Imran (‘a) as a prophet by his staff and his white hand and the magicians, and He raised Jesus (‘a)by healing, and He raised Muhammad (peace and blessings be with him and his progeny and all the prophets) by speech and the sermon?”

Abu al-Hasan said, “Verily, when Allah raised Moses (‘a) sorcery dominated the people of that time, so he brought to them from Allah the like of which they could not bring, and that by which he invalidated their sorcery, and by this he proved his authority over them.

And verily, Allah raised Jesus (‘a)in a time when chronic illness appeared and the people were in need of medicine, so he brought from Allah the like of which they did not have, and that by which he lent life to the dead, and he cured the born blind and the leper by the permission of Allah, and by this he proved his authority over them.

And verily Allah raised Muhammad (S) during a time when the sermon and the word8dominated among the people of that time so he brought them from Allah advice and precepts which refuted their sayings, and by this he proved his authority over them.” Then Ibn Sikkit said, “By Allah, I have never seen anyone like you!”9

9. It is said that Jesus (‘a) was sitting with his companions when a man passed him. He said either, “He is dead,” or “He will die.” They lingered until he returned carrying a bundle of firewood. One of the companions said, “O Spirit of Allah! You told us that he was dead! We see him alive.” Jesus (‘a) said, “Put down your bundle.” He put it down and opened it.

All of a sudden [they saw that] there was a large black snake with a rock in its mouth. Jesus (‘a) said to him, “What did you do today?” He said, “O Spirit of Allah and His Word! I had two loaves of bread, when a beggar passed me, so, I gave him one.”10

10. Abu Basir said, “I heard from Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a), ‘Jesus, the Spirit of Allah (‘a), passed by a noisy group. He said, “What is the matter with them?” It was said, “O Spirit of Allah! This is the night for so-and-so daughter of so-and-so to go to so-and-so son of so-and-so [for the wedding night].” He said, “Today they make noise, but tomorrow they will cry.” A speaker from among them said, “Why, O Apostle of Allah?” He said, “This is the night for [her] their friend to die.” Then said those who accepted what he said, “Allah is true and His Apostle is true.”

The hypocrites said, “How much closer tomorrow is!” Then when they entered into the morning, they came and they found her in her condition that nothing had happened to her. Then they said, “O Spirit of Allah! She about whom you informed us yesterday that she would die has not died.” Then Jesus, peace be with our Prophet and with his folk and with him [i.e. Jesus], said, “Allah does what He wants, so bring us to her.”

They went racing each other until they knocked on the door. Then her husband came out. Then Jesus (‘a) said to him, “Ask permission for me to enter before your wife.” Then he [her husband] entered before her and informed her that the Spirit of Allah and His Word was at the door and a group with him. He [her husband] said [to Jesus (‘a)], “She is stupefied.”

Then he [Jesus] entered before her and said to her, “What did you do on this night of yours?” She said, “I did not do anything, except what I was doing in the past. There was a beggar who came to us every Thursday night and we were giving him what supported him until the next Thursday night, and he came to me last night and I was busy with something and my family was busy. Then he called out and no one answered him.

Then he called out but no one answered until he called out repeatedly. Then when I heard what he said I stood concealed to give to him what we had been giving to him.” He [Jesus (‘a)] said to her, “Step aside from your seat.” All at once there was a viper like the trunk of a tree beneath her dress which had clenched its tail in its teeth. He [Jesus (‘a)] said, “Because of what you did, this turned away from you.”’”11

11. Abu al-Layth said in his interpretation of the Qur’an, “The people asked Jesus (‘a) in ridicule, ‘Create a bat for us, and put a spirit in it, if you are one of the truthful.’ Then he took some clay and made a bat and breathed into it. Then it suddenly flew between the sky and the earth. The clay was put in order and breathed into by Jesus, but the creation was by Allah, the Supreme. And it is said that they asked for the creation of a bat because it is more wonderful than the rest of creation.”12

12. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) was asked, “Did Jesus the son of Mary enliven someone after his death, so that he was eating and had a daily living, continued his life for a term and had a child?” He said, “Yes, he had a friend who was a brother in Allah to him. And when Jesus passed by he would go down to him. And Jesus (‘a) would spend a while with him. Then he would leave with salutations of Peace unto him. Then his mother came out to him [Jesus].

Then she said to him, ‘He died, O Apostle of Allah!’ He said to her, ‘Would you like to see him?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ He said to her, ‘I will come to you tomorrow to enliven him, with the permission of Allah.’ When the morrow arrived he came and said to her, ‘Accompany me to his grave.’ So they went to his grave. Jesus (‘a) stopped, then called on Allah.

Then the grave opened and her son came out alive. Then when his mother saw him and he saw her, they cried. Jesus (‘a) had mercy on them and said to him, ‘Would you like to remain with your mother in the world?’

He said, ‘O Apostle of Allah! With eating and a daily living and a term, or without a term and no daily living and no eating?’ Then Jesus (‘a) said to him, ‘But with a daily living and eating and a term you will live for twenty years, marry and father a child.’ He said, ‘Yes, in that case.’” [Imam Al-Sadiq] said, “Then Jesus (‘a) returned him to his mother and he lived for twenty years, married and fathered a child.”13

13. It is reported that Jesus (‘a) passed by a man who was blind, leprous and paralytic, and Jesus heard him giving thanks and saying, “Praise be to Allah Who has protected me from the trials with which He afflicts the majority of men.”

Jesus (‘a) said, “What trial remains which has not been visited upon you?” He said, “He protected me from a trial which is the greatest of trials, and that is disbelief.” Then Jesus (‘a) touched him, and Allah cured him from his illnesses and beautified his face. Then he became a companion of Jesus (‘a) and worshipped with him.14

14. It is reported that Jesus (‘a) passed by a man who was blind, a leper, paralytic, both of whose sides were paralyzed, and whose flesh had fallen off from leprosy, and he was saying, “Praise be to Allah Who has preserved me from that with which He has tried many of His creatures.”

Jesus (‘a) said to him, “O you! From what calamity have you been preserved?” He said, “O Spirit of Allah! I am better than one who has not been given what Allah has placed in my heart of His knowledge.” Jesus (‘a) said to him, “You speak truly. Reach out your hand.”

Then, when he took his hand, he came to have the most beautiful face of any of the people, and his form became better than the others. Allah took away all that had been [wrong] with him. Then he became the companion of Jesus (‘a) and he worshipped with him.15

15. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdu-Allah [Imam Al-Sadiq] (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) passed by a village whose inhabitants, birds and animals had died. Then he said, ‘They died not but by His wrath, and had they died individually, they would have buried each other.’

The disciples said, ‘O Spirit of Allah and His Word! Call upon Allah to give them life for us, so they may inform us about their deeds, so we may avoid them.’ Jesus (‘a) called upon his Lord. Then it was proclaimed from the sky, ‘Call them!’ Then Jesus (‘a) stood in the night near the earth and said, ‘O dwellers of this village!’ Then an answerer from among them answered him, ‘Here I am, O Spirit of Allah and His Word!’ He said, ‘Woe unto you! What were your deeds?’

He said, ‘Worshipping the idol (al-Taghut) and loving the world with little fear and much desire, and negligence, trifling and playing.’ He said, ‘How was your love for the world?’ He said, ‘Like the loving of the baby for its mother. When it approached us we would be glad and would be made happy, and when it turned away from us, we would cry and it would make us sad.’ He said, ‘How was your worshipping of the idol?’ He said, ‘The obedience of the insubordinate.’

He said, ‘How was the end of your work?’ He said, ‘We slept at night healthy and entered into the morning in al-hawah (a burning abyss).’ He said, ‘And what is al-hawah?’ He said, ‘Sijjin (a prison).’ He said, ‘And what is sijjin?’ He said, ‘Mountains of burning stones upon us until the Day of Resurrection.’ He said, ‘What did you say and what was said to you?’ He said, ‘We said, “Return us to the world so we may abstain from it.”

It was said to us, “You lie.”’ He [Jesus (‘a)] ‘Woe unto you! How is it that one from among them did not speak to me except for you.’ He said, ‘O Spirit of Allah! They are bridled by rough strong angels with a bit made from fire, while although I was among them, I was not one of them. Then when the chastisement came down, it extended to me along with them.

So, I am hanging by a hair at the brink of hell. I do not know whether I will fall headlong into it or I will be saved from it.’ Then Jesus (‘a) turned to the Apostles and said, ‘O Friends of Allah (Awliya Allah)! Eating dry bread with crushed salt and sleeping on a dunghill is a great good with health in this world and in the next.’”16

16. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a)] said, “Verily, Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) came to the tomb of John the son of Zachariah (‘a) and he asked his Lord to revive him. Then he called him, and he answered him and he came out from the grave and said to him, ‘What do you want from me?’ And he said to him, ‘I want you to be friends with me as you were in this world.’

Then he said to him, ‘O Jesus! The heat of death has not yet subsided, and you want me to return to the world and the heat of death would return to me.’ So he [Jesus] left him, and he returned to his grave.”17

17. It is reported that a woman from Canaan brought her invalid son to Jesus (‘a). She said, “O Prophet of Allah! This my son is an invalid. Call on Allah for him.” He said, “That which I have been commanded is only the healing of the invalids of the Children of Israel.”

She said, “O Spirit of Allah! Verily the dogs receive the remnants from the tables of their masters after the meal, so, avail us of that which may benefit us of your wisdom.” Then he supplicated Allah, the Supreme, asking for permission. Then He gave His permission, and he made him well.18

18. Al-Imam al-’Askari (‘a) said, “Jesus (‘a) revived the dead. Was it not a miracle? Was it a miracle for the dead or for Jesus? Did he not create [something] like a bird from clay and it became a bird by the permission of Allah? Was it a miracle for the bird or for Jesus? Some people became monkeys. Was it not a miracle? Was it a miracle for monkeys or for the prophet of that time? …”19

19. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said: “Verily, when Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) passed along the shore of a sea, he threw a piece of his bread into the water. Then some of the disciples said: ‘O Spirit of Allah and His Word! Why did you do this when that was your food.’ He said, ‘I did this in order that some animal among the animals of the sea may eat it, and the reward of Allah for this is great.’”20

20. [Imam] Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Verily, a man came to Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), and said to him, ‘O Spirit of Allah! I have committed fornication, [or adultery, sex between a man and woman not married to each other, in Arabic: zina’] so purify me.’ Then Jesus ordered the people to be called so that none should be left behind for the purification of so-and-so.

Then when the people had been gathered together and the man had entered into a hole, so as to be stoned, the man called out, ‘Anyone for whom Allah has a punishment should not punish me.’ Then all the people left except for John and Jesus, peace be with them.

Then John (‘a)approached him and said to him, ‘O sinner! Advise me!’ Then he said to him, ‘Do not remove the distance between your self and your desires or you will fall.’ John (‘a)said, ‘Say more.’ He said, ‘Verily, do not humiliate the wrong-doer for a fault.’ John (‘a)said, ‘Say more.’ He said, ‘Do not become angry.’ John (‘a)said, ‘That is enough for me.’”21

21. It is reported that one day the rain and thunder became severe for Jesus (‘a) so that he sought some place of shelter. Then a tent was set up for him in the distance, so he came to it. All at once, (he saw) there was a woman in it, so he turned from it. Suddenly, he saw a cave in a mountain, then he came to it. Then, all at once (he saw) there was a lion in it.

So he rested his hand against it (the cave), and said, “My God! For everything there is a shelter, but You put no shelter for me.” Then Allah, the Supreme, revealed to him, “Your shelter is in the abode of My Mercy. By My Greatness, on the Resurrection Day, verily, I will marry you to a hundred houris created by My hand, and verily for your wedding I will provide food for four thousand years, each day of which is like the lifetime of the entire world.

And I will command a crier to cry out, ‘Where are the ascetics of the world? Be present at the wedding of the ascetic Jesus the son of Mary.’”22

22. It is reported that Imam ‘Ali (‘a) said in one of his sermons: “If you like, I will tell you about Jesus the son of Mary (‘a). He used a stone as his pillow, wore course clothing and ate rough food. His stew was hunger and his lamp in the night was the moon.

His shade in the winter was the east of the earth and its west. His fruit and his basil is that which grows from the earth for the cattle. He had no wife to try him, and no son to grieve him. He had no wealth to distract him, nor greed to abase him. His mount was his feet and his servant was his hands.”23

23. Jesus (‘a) served a meal to the Apostles, and when they had eaten it, he himself washed them. They said, “O Spirit of Allah! It would have been more proper for us to wash you!” He said, “I did this only that you would do this for those whom you teach.”24

24. Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, “O assembly of Apostles! I have a request of you. Fulfill it for me.” They said, “Your request is fulfilled, O Spirit of Allah!” Then he stood up and washed their feet.

They said, “It would have been more proper for us to have done this, O Spirit of Allah!” Then he said, “Verily, it is more fitting for one with knowledge to serve the people. Indeed, I humbled myself only so that you may humble yourselves among the people after me, even as I have humbled myself among you.” Then Jesus (‘a) said, “Wisdom is developed by humility, not by pride, and likewise plants only grow in soft soil, not in stone.”25

25. Among the miracles of the Prophet (S) is that when he went to the battle of Tabuk, twenty-five thousand Muslims, not counting servants, accompanied him. On their way they passed a mountain along the length of which there was a trickle of water, not flowing water. They said, ‘How strange, that this mountain has such a trickle of water!’ He (S) told them that the mountain was weeping. They said, ‘A mountain that cries?’

He said, ‘Would you like to know about it.’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He (S) said, ‘O mountain! Why are you weeping?’ The mountain answered in eloquent (fasih) language that the crowd heard, ‘O Apostle of Allah! Jesus the son of Mary passed me while reciting this verse, “A fire whose fuel is men and stones.”

From that day I have been weeping in fear that I may be among those stones.’ He (S) said, ‘Stop crying. You are not of them. They are stones of sulfur.’ Suddenly, the trickle of the mountain dried up until nothing of it or its wetness was visible.26

26. Mufaddal ibn ‘Umar said, “I said to Abu ‘Abdullah, ‘Who washed Fatimah’s [corpse], peace be with her?’ He said, ‘That was the Commander of the Faithful.’ This, which he said, was shocking to me. Then he said to me, ‘It seems that you are vexed by what I have informed you.’ Then I said, ‘It is so, may I be your sacrifice!’

He said to me, ‘Do not be vexed, for she was a righteous woman (Siddiqah) who could not be washed by any but a righteous man. Do you not know that no one washed [the corpse of] Mary but Jesus (‘a)…’”27

27. Anas reported that the Prophet (S) said, “The food of Jesus (‘a) was broad beans, until his ascension. Jesus (‘a) never ate anything changed by fire, until his ascension.”28

28. It is reported that Jesus placed his head on a stone when going to sleep, then he threw it away after Iblis (the devil) appeared to him and said, “You have come to desire the world!”29

29. Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “Verily Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, made His greatest name from seventy-three letters. Then He gave Adam twenty-five letters of them, and He gave Noah twenty-five letters of them, and He gave Abraham eight letters of them, and He gave Moses four letters of them, and He gave Jesus two letters of them.

So, he revived the dead by them, and cured the born blind and the leper. And He gave Muhammad seventy-two letters and He kept a letter, so that it would not be known what is in Himself, and He knows what is in the souls of the servants.”30

  • 1. Kafi, 2 665 20
  • 2. Tibb al-A’imma, 98
  • 3. Majmu‘ah Warram, 1, 179
  • 4. Bihar 14, 284, 5
  • 5. Faqih, 1, 232, 698
  • 6. Bihar, 2, 32, 24
  • 7. Kafi, 2, 306, 3
  • 8. Ibn Sikkit inserts the parenthetical remark here, “and I think he said, ‘poetry’”
  • 9. Kafi, 1, 24, 20
  • 10. Bihar, 93, 135
  • 11. Bihar, 14, 245, 22
  • 12. Bihar, 61, 322
  • 13. Bihar, 14, 234, 3
  • 14. Bihar, 68, 33
  • 15. Bihar, 79, 153
  • 16. Kafi, 2, 318, 11
  • 17. Kafi, 3, 260, 37
  • 18. Bihar, 14, 253, 45
  • 19. Tafsir al-Imam al-‘Askari, 319
  • 20. Kafi, 4, 9, 3
  • 21. Faqih, 4, 33, 5019
  • 22. Bihar, 14, 328, 52
  • 23. Nahj al-Balagha, 1, 227
  • 24. Bihar, 14, 326, 42
  • 25. Kafi, 1, 37, 6
  • 26. Bihar 17, 364, 5
  • 27. Kafi, 3, 159, 13
  • 28. Bihar, 63, 266, 5
  • 29. Majmu‘a Warram, 1, 152
  • 30. Bihar, 4, 211, 5

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