Allah had dilated the chest of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) for receiving knowledge and expanded his heart for sciences. Secrets of facts and intricacies of things were uncovered for him without any request or effort. People spoke about the vast knowledge he had, with none equal to him in his amazing, scientific treasures, covering all sciences of Hadith, jurisprudence, philosophy, theology, and other branches of knowledge.
Scholars and jurisprudents often referred to his opinions in complicated and mysterious questions on the verdicts of the Islamic Sharia. Al-Mutawakkil, the Abbasid caliph, who was the bitterest enemy of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and of his fathers, referred to the opinion of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) in the questions which the ulama’ of his age disagreed on, and he preferred the opinion of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) to the opinions of the rest of ulama’. We shall discuss this point in the coming chapters.
Anyhow, we shall talk in brief about the knowledge and sciences transmitted from him and his maxims and literatures that dealt with different educational and social matters.
The traditions transmitted from the Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams of his progeny were not limited to legal verdicts and religious questions, but they included all aspects of life. They had established the bases of morals, disciplines, good behaviors, and other intellectual and social issues.
Many traditions were transmitted from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) - some of them were narrated from the Prophet (S), and some were narrated from his infallible fathers (a.s.).
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated a group of traditions from his fathers who narrated them one by one from the Prophet (S). Here are some of them:
1. Al-Mas’oudi said, “Muhammad bin al-Faraj told me in Jirjan…that Abu Du’amah said, ‘I visited ‘Ali bin Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Musa during his illness that led to his death and when I wanted to leave, he said to me, ‘O Abu Du’amah, you have a right on me. Shall I tell you a tradition that shall delight you?’ I said to him, ‘I am in utmost need of that O son of the messenger of Allah.’
He said, ‘My father Muhammad bin ‘Ali told me from his father ‘Ali bin Musa bin Ja’far from his father Ja’far bin Muhammad from Muhammad bin ‘Ali from ‘Ali bin al-Husayn from al-Husayn bin ‘Ali from his father ‘Ali bin Abu Talib that the messenger of Allah (SwT) said to him, ‘Write down!’ ‘
Ali said, ‘What shall I write down?’ The messenger of Allah (SwT) said, ‘Write down: “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Faith is that which hearts acknowledge and deeds prove, and Islam is that which tongues witness and marriage becomes lawful with.’
Abu Du’amah said, ‘O son of the messenger of Allah, I do not know which of them is better; the tradition or the narrators!’ ‘Ali al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘It is a book written down by the hand of ‘Ali bin Abu Talib and the dictation of the messenger of Allah (SwT) that we inherit one from the other…’1
This tradition shows the difference between faith and Islam (being a Muslim). Faith is to settle inside the soul and the depth of the heart and to be proved through good deeds, but Islam (being or turning a Muslim) is to witness the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad (a.s.) and consequently marriage becomes lawful besides other positive orders that require being a Muslim in order to be achieved.
2. Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali narrated from Abul Hasan al-Hadi from his fathers that Amir’ul- Mu’minin said, “Once, I heard the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his progeny) say, ‘When people will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection, a caller will call me: O messenger of Allah, Allah has permitted you to reward your lovers and the lovers of your household (progeny) who have followed them for your sake, and have been opposed to their enemies for your sake.
You can reward them as you like.’ I shall say, ‘O my Lord, Paradise! You put them in whatever part of it You like. This is the praised estate You have promised of.”2
3. Abul Hasan al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated from his fathers that the Prophet (S) said, ‘Love Allah for the blessings He gives you, and love me for the love of Allah, and love my household for my love!’3
4. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated from his fathers that the Prophet (S) said, ‘On the Day of Resurrection I will be intercessor for four ones; the lovers of my progeny, one who follows them, one who shows enmity against their enemies, one who carries out their needs, and one who relieves their distresses…’4
The Prophet (S) stressed on loving his pure progeny and made this love as an obligation on every Muslim man and Muslim woman, because loving and following them would protect the nation from disagreement, separation, deviation and seditions.
5. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated from his fathers that the Prophet (S) said, ‘Allah the Almighty says: O son of Adam, you are not fair to Me. I endear Myself to you through blessings and you make yourself hated through sins. My good comes down to you and your evil comes up to Me. Every day and night an honorable angel comes to Me bringing ugly deeds from you. O son of Adam, if you hear your description from other than you while you do not know who the described one is, you will soon hate him…’5
The tradition invites people to do good deeds and avoids the deeds that Allah hates, because every deed goes up to Allah. Allah has said,
To Him do ascend the good words; and the good deeds…6
and He rewards His people due to their deeds in the worldly life.
7. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated from his fathers from his grandfather Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) that Jabir bin Abdullah al-Ansari said, ‘Once I was with the Prophet (S). I was at his side and ‘Ali Amir’ul- Mu’minin at the other side when Umar bin al-Khattab came drawing some man from the collars.
The Prophet (S) asked Umar, ‘What is the matter with this man?’ Umar said, ‘He narrated that you had said: ‘He, who says “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” will be in Paradise. If people hear this, they will give up good deeds. Have you said this?’ The Prophet (S) said, ‘Yes, if they keep to the love and guardianship of this man.’ He pointed to Imam ‘Ali (peace be upon him).’9
8. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated from his fathers from his grandfather Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) that the Prophet (S) said, ‘O ‘Ali, Allah has created me and you from His light. He created Adam and put that light into Adam.
This light reached to Abdul Muttalib and then it divided and so I was in Abdullah and you were in Abu Talib. Prophethood does not befit anyone other than me and guardianship does not befit anyone other than you. Whoever denies your guardianship denies my prophethood and whoever denies my prophethood Allah will throw him down on his nose into Fire…’10
Allah created Prophet Muhammad (a.s.) and his guardian Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) from one light and then they illuminated intellectual and social life and liberated the earth from idolatry and superstitions of the pre-Islamic era. They were but one self. Whoever denied the guardianship of Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) denied the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (a.s.) and will have no share in the afterlife and will be among losers.
9. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated from his fathers that the Prophet (S) had said to Imam ‘Ali (a.s.), ‘O ‘Ali, he, who loves you, loves me, and he, who hates you, hates me.’
There are many prophetic traditions declaring that the love of Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) is out of the love of the Prophet (S) and the hatred towards Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) is out of the hatred of the Prophet (S) because Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) was the very self of the Prophet (S), the gate of the town of his knowledge, the father of his two grandsons, and his defender in all situations and battles.
10. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated from his fathers from his grandfather Amir’ul- Mu’minin (a.s.) that the Prophet (S) said, ‘He, who likes to meet Allah (on the Day of Resurrection) safe, purified, and without fearing the great horror, let him follow you O ‘Ali, and follow your two sons al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and (your grandsons) ‘Ali bin al-Husayn, Muhammad bin ‘Ali, Ja’far bin Muhammad, Musa bin Ja’far, ‘Ali bin Musa, Muhammad bin ‘Ali, ‘Ali bin Muhammad, al-Hasan bin ‘Ali, and al-Mahdi the last of them.
O ‘Ali, at the end of time there will be a group of people following you where people will hate them, but if they love them it will be better for them if they know. They (that group) will prefer you to their fathers, mothers, brothers, tribes, and all relatives. The best blessings of Allah be upon them. Those people will be resurrected under the banner of Hamd (praise). Allah will forgive their bad deeds and exalt their positions as reward for what they have done.’11
11. He narrated that the Prophet (S) said, ‘People (after death) are of two kinds; one will rest and the other will relieve (others). One, who will rest, is a believer. He will be free from this world with all its troubles and will go to the mercy of Allah and His great reward. As for the one, who will relieve, is a dissolute. People, animals, and trees will be relieved from him and he will go to what he has done.’12
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated a good collection of maxims and sayings from his grandfather Amir’ul- Mu’minin, the pioneer of wisdom and justice in the earth. Here are some of them:
1. He narrated that Amir’ul- Mu’minin Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Beware of wishes because they are from the wares of the dissolute ones.’13
Islam resists all means that lead to backwardness and deterioration. Among these means is the relying on wishing and giving up work and labor, which means the end of progress and development in life.
2. He narrated that Amir’ul- Mu’minin said, ‘He, who busies himself thinking of the afterlife, will be rich with no money, feel at ease with no family, and feel mighty with no fellows.’14
One, who cares for the affairs of the afterlife, will be rich with his piety and religiousness, will be happy because he satisfies his conscience through associating with his Creator, and will be respectable and honorable among people by his benevolence and piety.
3. He narrated that Amir’ul- Mu’minin said, ‘Knowledge is a worthy inheritance, morals are graceful garments, pondering is a clear mirror, and taking lessons is a sincere warner. It suffices for you to have good manners by giving up what you hate of others.’15
4. He narrated that Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Whoever feels conceited will perish.’16
5. He narrated from Amir’ul- Mu’minin his saying, ‘He, who is certain of recompense (from Allah), will give generously.’17
6. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, “Once, a Jew came to Amir’ul- Mu’minin (a.s.) and said to him, ‘Tell me about that which is not of Allah, that which Allah does not have, and that which Allah does not know!’
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, ‘What Allah does not know is that He does not know (accept) that He has a child. This refutes your (the Jews’) saying that Uzayr is the son of Allah. As for that which is not of Allah, it is injustice because there is no injustice with Allah against His people. And as for your saying about that which Allah does not have, it is that Allah has no partner.’
The Jew was astonished and became Muslim. He declared the shahada and then said to Imam ‘Ali (a.s.), ‘I bear witness that you are the truth, from the people of truth, and have said the truth.’18
Imam ‘Ali was the gate of the town of the Prophet’s knowledge. If he was given his right (in the caliphate), he would have given verdicts to the people of the Bible from their Bible, to the people of the Psalms (Zabur) from their Psalms, and to the people of the Torah from their Torah. He often said that if the caliphate had come to him after the death of the Prophet (S), every Jew or Christian would have turned Muslim and followed the path of the truth.
7. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated from his fathers that a man from Iraq asked Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) when he was marching (with his army) for the battle of Siffeen, ‘Tell us about our marching to fight the people of Sham!19 Is it by the fate of Allah?’
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, ‘O sheikh (old man), yes, it is. By Allah, you do not mount a castle or descend into a valley unless it has been determined by the fate of Allah.’
The man said, ‘I expect the reward of my efforts from Allah O Amir’ul- Mu’minin.’
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) explained fate by saying, ‘O sheikh, wait! You may think it is inevitable fate and inescapable doom! If it is so, then reward and punishment, enjoining and forbidding, scolding, warning and threatening will be void, and a bad doer will not to be blamed and a good doer will not be rewarded. A good doer will be worthier of being blamed than a guilty one, and a guilty one will be worthier of reward than a good doer.
This opinion is of idolaters, enemies of Allah, fatalists, and the magi. O sheikh, Allah the Almighty has charged His people but has given them the option to do or not to do, and forbidden them as warning. He gives much for a little. He is not disobeyed out of defeat and He is not obeyed by force. He has not created the heavens, the earth, and what is between them in vain. That is the opinion of those who disbelieve, and woe unto those who disbelieve from the Fire…’
The man got up reciting some verses of poetry in which he praised Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) and showed his satisfaction regarding what Imam ‘Ali said.20
We shall discuss in detail the subject of fate in the following chapter insha’Allah.
8. He narrated that Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, ‘Many are they, those inattentive people, who may weave a dress to wear, but it becomes their shroud, and build a house to live in but it becomes the place of their grave.’21
He narrated from his grandfather Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) his saying, ‘Beware of the physiognomy of a believer because he sees by the light of Allah.’ Then he recited this verse:
(Lo! therein verily are portents for those who read the signs.22
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated many traditions from his grandfather Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.). Here are some of them:
1. He narrated that Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘There are three prayers that are not blocked from Allah the Almighty; the prayer of a father for his child if he is dutiful to him or against his child if he is undutiful to him, the prayer of an oppressed one against his oppressor or for his (oppressed one’s) supporter, and the prayer of a believer for his believing brother if he comforts him or against him if he does not, when he is able to do that (to comfort him)…’23
2. He narrated that Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Keep to piety because it is the essence of religion which you keep to and believe in Allah through it. It is that which Allah wants from those who follow us.’24
3. He narrated that Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘He, who does not practice taqiyyah (dissimulation) to keep us safe from the villains of people, is not from us.’25
The infallible Imams (a.s.) urged their followers to act due to taqiyyah to spare their lives from the tyrannical governments who killed the Shi’a without a bit of mercy. If taqiyyah had not been legislated, none of the Shi’a and lovers of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) would have remained alive.
4. He narrated that Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘There are three times at which du’a is not blocked from Allah the Almighty; the du’a after the obligatory prayers, the du’a during the falling of rain, and the du’a when one of the signs of Allah appears in His earth.’26
Allah the Almighty likes to be supplicated at these times and He has promised to respond to His suppliants as He also responds to supplication in the holy shrines of the infallible Imams.
5. He said, “Once, a man came to Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) and said to him, ‘I am bored with this life. Would you please ask Allah for death to me?’ Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘The price of life is to obey and not to disobey. That you live long to obey is better for you than to die and neither disobey nor obey.’”
6. He said, “Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked to describe death and he said, ‘For the faithful death is sweeter than breeze that a faithful smells and refreshes with it and all fatigue and ends pain, and for the unbelievers it is like the stinging of snakes and scorpions or even bitterer.’ It was said to him, ‘Some people say that death is bitterer than sawing, cutting with scissors, stoning, and turning of millstones on the pupils of eyes.’
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘Yes, it is so for some unbelievers and sinners. Do you not see that some of them suffer these severities? What they will meet after that will be much more severe. It is the torment of the afterlife which will be much more severe than the torment in this life.’ It was said to him, ‘Then, why do we see some unbelievers die easily while talking and laughing, and some believers too, and we see some believers and unbelievers suffer much when dying?’
Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘The easy death of a believer is an early reward for him, and when he suffers at death, he is purified from his sins in order to be pure and then to deserve the eternal reward in the afterlife. The easy death of some unbelievers is that they are given the reward of their good deeds in this world and in the afterworld they will have torment. And if some unbelievers suffer at death, it is the beginning of the torment of Allah on them. Allah is just and He does not wrong.’27
7. He narrated that Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) explained the saying of Prophet Jacob (a.s.) “Comely patience!” by saying, ‘It is the patience that one undergoes without complaining.’28
8. He narrated that Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) interpreted this Qur’anic verse
Their sides draw away from (their) beds29
by saying, ‘They did not sleep until they offer the Isha’ (evening) prayer.’30
9. He narrated that Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said in interpreting this Qur’anic verse
…We will most certainly make him live a happy life 31
‘It means satisfaction.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated from his fathers that his grandfather Imam Musa bin Ja’far al-Kadhim (a.s.) said, ‘Allah created creation and knew what they would be. He enjoined them to do some things and forbade them from doing other things. He gave them a way to do what He enjoined them to do and gave them a way to refrain from what He forbade them from. He forced no one of His creation to disobey but He tried them with misfortunes as He had said:
He may try you; which of you is best in deeds 32
In this tradition, Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) refuted the concept of “compulsion” which we shall discuss in one of the coming chapters.
Imam Abul Hasan al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated from his grandfather Imam ‘Ali bin Musa ar-Ridha (a.s.) that one day Abu Hanifah was with Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and when he went out, he met Imam Musa Bin Ja’far al-Kadhim (a.s.) and asked him, ‘O boy, from whom does disobedience come?’
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) replied, ‘It is one of three; it either comes from Allah the Almighty - and certainly not - and it does not behoove the Generous Lord to punish His slave for something he does not do, or from Allah and man - and it does not - and it does not behoove the mighty partner to oppress the weak partner, or from man - and it does - and if Allah punishes him, it will be for his guilt, and if He forgives him, it will be out of His generosity and munificence.’33
In this tradition the Imam (a.s.) refuted the concept of “compulsion” and showed that man is free in this life. He is forced neither to obey nor to disobey. His will makes him free to choose whatever he likes.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) ordered his followers to be certain about the traditions narrated from the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). If they were certain that those traditions had come from the infallible Imams and they understood their contents, they should act according to them; otherwise, they should refer them to the Imams to verify and explain them.
Once, Dawud bin Farqad al-Farisi said in a letter he sent to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), ‘We ask you about the knowledge transmitted to us from your fathers and grandfathers. There is some contradiction in them. How do we act due to them with this contradiction?’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied to him, ‘If you are certain it is our saying, you act upon it, otherwise, you refer it to us.’34 He ordered his followers to refer such traditions to the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) so that they would show whether they were theirs or fabricated.
Al-Himyari wrote to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) asking about contradictory traditions and how to act upon them. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied to him, ‘He, who clings to the head of a spring, his affairs will not be confused because they come out white and pure.’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) meant that whoever associated with the Imam directly nothing would be confused to him because he would take facts from their origin and source.
When al-Himyari read this reply, he wrote to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), ‘How can we get to the head as it is blocked between us and it (him)?’ Al-Himyari meant that there was no way for people to contact with Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) because of the political pressure and severe punishment the government followed against the Shi’a who contacted with the infallible Imams (a.s.).
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied, ‘The truth is available for whoever sincerely seeks it…’35
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) paid a lot of attention to the spreading of the principles of the Islamic Sharia, the explaining of its verdicts, and the teachings of its sciences. Jurisprudents and scholars gathered around him acquiring from the springs of his knowledge and recording his traditions that were of the sources of the Islamic rulings to the Twelver Shi’a.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was the unequalled jurisprudent of his age, to a degree that even al-Mutawakkil, the Abbasid caliph, who was one of the bitterest enemies to the Alawids, referred to him in complicated questions and preferred his fatwas to those of other jurisprudents. Here we mention some traditions of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) that Shiite jurisprudents refer to in deriving legal verdicts;
Ahmad bin al-Qassim wrote a letter to Imam Abul Hasan al-Hadi (a.s.) asking if a believer died and a washer wanted to wash the corpse (perform the ritual ghusl of the dead) while there were some Murjites36 present whether the washer would wash the corpse of the believer in the way like the other (sects of) Muslims did without putting a turban on his head and without putting a palm branch with him or not. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied, ‘He should perform the ghusl of believer even if they are present. As for the palm branch, it should be put secretly and he (the washer) should try his best not to let them see him do that.’37
This tradition showed clearly that a dead believer should be washed according to the way of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) paying no attention to the Murjites. It also instructed to place palm branches with the corpse secretly due to taqiyyah. There are many traditions about the recommendation of putting two green palm branches with a dead believer, or else some branches of trees other than palm-tree. One of these traditions is the one narrated by ‘Ali bin Bilal from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.), on which jurisprudents depend upon in deriving their fatwa.38
Shiite jurisprudents specify certain conditions of one’s clothing, when offering prayers (Salat) for the validity of the prayer, such as their purity and their not being illegally obtained. They depend in these rulings on valid traditions transmitted from the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
‘Ali bin Eesa wrote to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) asking about the permissibility of offering the prayer with clothes of fur of the animals whose meat is unlawful to eat, and Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied to him saying, ‘I do not like offering the prayer in any of these furs.’
He wrote again to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) saying that he lived among people such that he had to practice taqiyyah with them and that no one could travel in his country without clothes of fur, and he feared that he would be harmed if he put off his fur clothing. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied to him, ‘You wear fur of fennec and beaver.’39 This tradition permitted offering prayer with clothes of the fur of fennec and beaver when one is obliged.
There are many traditions from the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) showing the impermissibility of prayer with fur of animals whose meat is unlawful to eat, like cats, for example. Of course, this does not include man’s hair.
Once, ar-Rayyan bin as-Salt asked Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) about the permissibility of offering prayer with a garment on which some hair or nail of man were present and Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said to him that it was permissible.40
Twelver Shi’a jurisprudents believe that prayer is not invalidated when someone passes in front of one who is offering prayer. They depend in that on a tradition narrated by Abu Sulayman from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) in which a man asked him (Imam al-Hadi) whether prayer would be invalidated if someone passed in front of one during offering his prayer and Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘No, prayer is not so simply invalidated. It is accepted from its keeper.’41
‘Ali bin Mahziyar asked Imam Abul Hasan al-Hadi (a.s.), ‘If someone is in the desert when the time of obligatory prayer comes and he cannot get out of the desert before the time of prayer elapses, what should he do with his prayer since it is forbidden to offer prayer in the desert?’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘He can offer prayer in the desert but he should avoid roads.’42
It is unrecommended (makruh) to offer prayers in the middle of roads whether they are busy with people or empty, and if one troubles the passers-by when offering prayer in the middle of roads, prayer is unlawful in this case.43
Shi’a jurisprudents have agreed that prostration in prayer must be performed on the earth or what is grown from the earth.44 They have not permitted prostration on things which are eatable or wearable and they have prohibited prostration on glass. They depend in all these claims on traditions narrated from the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
Muhammad bin al-Husayn said, ‘One of our companions wrote a letter to Imam Abul Hasan (a.s.) asking about prostrating on glass. He said, ‘When I sent my letter, I thought to myself and said: it (glass) is from that which is grown from the earth and I did not have to ask about it. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote to me, ‘Do not offer prayer on glass even if your self says to you it is grown from the earth because it is from salt and sand which are changed.’45
Jurisprudents say a mukallaf46 must not be unconscious when prayers are required from him. If a mukallaf is unconscious from the beginning of the time of charging to the end, he is not charged with prayers neither ada’ nor qadha’.47 They depend on many traditions of the infallible Imams (a.s.).
‘Ali bin Mahziyar asked Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) about the unconscious and he said, ‘An unconscious one has neither to offer qadha’ prayer nor to perform qadha’ fasting. Allah is worthier of pardoning him.’48
Ayyub bin Noah wrote to him asking about one who was unconscious for a day or a little more whether he had to offer qadha’ prayers or not. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote to him, ‘He has to offer neither prayers nor fasting.’49
Twelver Shi’a jurisprudents make conditions on qasr prayer such that qasr prayers should be prayed while traveling except if traveling is one’s job, like drivers, sailors, shepherds and the like. Such persons offer tamam (full) prayer in travel. A traveling job depends on one’s will, and practice of travel a time after another in a way that there is no unusual break in it. Travelers who take pilgrims to the hajj every year are not permitted to offer full prayer but they must offer qasr (shortened) prayer.50
Muhammad bin Jazzak said, ‘I wrote to Abul Hasan the Third (Imam al-Hadi) that I had some camels and had employees on them (to travel in caravans), but I did not go except in the way of Mecca to perform the hajj and on very few occasions to some places. I asked him what I should do when I went with them (the shepherds), whether I should offer qasr prayer and break my fasting in travel or not. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote to me, ‘If you do not keep to them and do not go with them in every travel except to Mecca, you have to offer qasr prayer and to break fasting.’51128
Khums (one fifth) is one of the Islamic taxes that Islam has imposed to fight poverty, spread culture, develop intellect, and revive Islamic sciences. Khums is obligatory on the profits of trades, industries, and other kinds of work that are more than one and his family’s expenditure of one year as it is mentioned in the books of jurisprudence. Jurisprudents depend in this on the traditions transmitted from the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
In al-Kafi it has been mentioned that Ibrahim bin Muhammad al-Hamadani said, “I wrote to Abul Hasan (al-Hadi) (a.s.) saying, ‘‘Ali bin Mahziyar read to me your father’s letters in which he imposed (a tax of) a half of the sixth on the owners of small villages after deducting the costs, and one, whose village income does not cover the costs, does not have to pay a half of the sixth or anything else.
Some people disagreed on this and said, ‘The khums must be paid from the income of villages after deducting the costs of the village and the tax taken on it by the government and not the expenditure of one and his family.’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote replying, ‘After deducting his and his family’s expenditure and after the tax of the government.’52
‘Ali bin Mahziyar narrated that ‘Ali bin Muhammad bin Shuja’ an-Naysaburi said to Abul Hasan the Third, ‘Some man got from his farm one hundred kurrs53 of wheat which included zakat. The tenth, which was ten kurrs, was taken, thirty kurrs were spent on repairing the farm, and sixty kurrs remained for him. What must be paid to you (as khums) from that?’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote, ‘For me is the khums (fifth) of what remains after deducting his (the owner’s) expenditure (of a year).’54
Jurisprudents have depended on these traditions in providing verdicts that khums is obligatory on whatever remains from the expenditure of a year. Jurisprudential books and practical theses have discussed this matter in details.
Zakat is one of the effective programs Islam has established in its economic system. It is one of the wonderful means that pluck out the roots of poverty and wretchedness in society. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was asked about some branches of zakat and he gave answers to them where jurisprudents depended and still depend on in deriving legal verdicts.
Among the conditions jurisprudents make on the deserving of zakat is that one, who deserves to be given zakat, must be a believer. Unbelievers are not to be given from the zakat. It was narrated that Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was asked whether it was permissible to give those, who believed in embodiment (of God), from the zakat or not and he said, ‘Do not give whoever believes in embodiment from the zakat and do not offer prayer behind him!’55
Of course, there is no specification for those who believe in embodiment and so this prevention from zakat includes every unbeliever who does not believe in Allah and the Day of Resurrection.
Jurisprudents say that one who is given from zakat is not to be from those whose expense is on the giver of the zakat like father or grandfather, children or grandchildren. However, al-Kulayni mentioned in al-Kafi that Isma’il bin Imran al-Qummi said, ‘I wrote to Abul Hasan the Third that I had male and female children and asked him whether I could give them from the zakat or not.
He wrote to me that I could.’ The sheikh (at-Tusi) in at-Tahthibayn thought this tradition to concern the case of this man, and his like, whose money did not satisfy the expenditure of his family.56
There is no limitation to the money given to the poor from zakat except the zakat al-fitr.57 One of the Shi’a wrote to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) through Ahmad bin Isaaq asking him, ‘Can I give my brothers two or three dirhams from the zakat?’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote to him, ‘You can do so, insha’Allah.’58
The first kind of zakat legislated in Islam was the zakat al-Fitr which jurisprudents called the zakat of bodies. It is obligatory on all people; faithful and unfaithful, old and young, male and female. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote to Ibrahim bin Muhammad al-Hamadani saying, ‘The zakat al-Fitr is (obligatory) on you and on all people and whoever you are responsible for whether male or female, old or young, free or slave, suckling or weaned.
You pay six rotls according to the rotl of Medina. A rotl is one hundred and ninety-five dirhams, and so the zakat al-Fitr is one thousand and one hundred and seventy dirhams.’59
Ibrahim bin Muhammad al-Hamadani said, ‘Traditions were different on the zakat al-Fitr and so I wrote to Abul Hasan asking him about that and he wrote to me saying, ‘The (amount of) zakat al-Fitr is a sa’60 of the usual food in your country.
On the people of Mecca, Yemen, Ta’if, the sides of Sham, Yamama, Bahrain, Iraq, Persia, Ahwaz, and Kirman is a sa’ of dates, on the people of the middle of Sham a sa’ of raisin, on the people of the island, Mosul, and all mountains a sa’ of wheat or barley, on the people of Tabaristan a sa’ of rice, on the people of KhurHasan a sa’ of wheat, on the people of Marw and Riy a sa’ of raisin, on the people of Egypt a sa’ of wheat, and on other peoples is a sa’ of their usual foods.
On the nomads of the desert is a sa’ of uqt (dried cheese). The zakat al-Fitr is obligatory on you and on all people.’61
The substance of the zakat al-Fitr is to be from the usual food of the people of a country like wheat or barley for example. The obligatory amount of this kind of zakat is one sa’ which is about three kilograms. One can pay money instead of food substances as jurisprudents say.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was asked about many questions about fasting and he answered them in traditions transmitted by his followers.
The surest way of ascertaining the beginning of Ramadan is the sighting of the crescent. Whoever sees the crescent, whether alone or with others, must fast.
‘Ali bin Rashid narrated from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) his saying, ‘Do not fast except on the sighting (of the crescent).’62 Jurisprudents believe in the impermissibility of fasting with the intention of obligation when the sighting of the crescent of Ramadan is not proved.
‘Ali bin Mahziyar wrote to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) asking him, ‘There is some woman who suckles her son or other than her son in the month of Ramadan. She suffers much in her fasting. She suckles until she faints and cannot fast. Does she suckle her child and breaks her fast and instead keep it later if she is able, or does she give up suckling in order to fast? If she cannot hire some woman to suckle her child, what does she do?’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote to him saying, ‘If she can hire a wet nurse for her child, she may do and keep her fasts; otherwise, she breaks fasting and continues suckling her child and performs her fasting later on whenever she is able to.’63
Jurisprudents depend on this tradition in giving a fatwa that a suckling mother, whose milk is little, is permitted not to fast in Ramadan if her fasting harms her child and she cannot hire a wet nurse.
Al-Husayn bin Ubayda wrote to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) saying, ‘O my master, some man vowed to fast on a certain day, but he slept with his wife on that day. What expiation is on him?’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied to him, ‘He has to fast for one day instead of that day and set free a slave.’64 In the light of this tradition, jurisprudents say that the kaffara of breaking one’s specified fast is the same as the kaffara of breaking one’s oath which is the freeing of a slave, or feeding ten needy persons, or giving them clothes, and if he cannot do that, he must fast for three days.
Narrators transmitted from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) many questions about trade, which jurisprudents depend on in deriving their fatwas. Here are some of them:
Since the Abbasid rulers were unjust and oppressive, work with them was unlawful as the Shi’a believed. Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Eesa wrote to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) asking whether the work for the Abbasids and taking from their monies was permissible or not. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘That which happens by force and subjection is pardoned by Allah, otherwise, it is hated. There is no doubt that the little of it is better than the excess. The expiation of that is that one does what may delight us and our followers.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said in his reply that Allah did not punish one, who worked for the Abbasids, if his work was by force and subjection, but if it was by one’s will, it would be hated - or it might mean forbidden here. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said that the expiation on one who worked with the Abbasids was to delight the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) by carrying out the needs of the faithful and the poor and saving them from misfortunes and oppression (of the government). Jurisprudents mentioned many traditions in their studies on “working with tyrants”.65
When the letter of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) came to Muhammad bin ‘Ali bin Eesa, he wrote to the Imam, ‘I want to work with them to cause them trouble and to take revenge on them through being close to them.’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied, ‘Whoever does so his work is not unlawful, but rather he will be rewarded (by Allah).’66
1. Muhammad bin Eesa al-Yaqtini wrote to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) saying to him, ‘Someone sent his son to some man to work for him as a busheler for one year and for specified wage. Then another man came to the father and asked him for employing the son for one year but more wage. Does the father have the right to send his son to the second man and is it permissible for him to annul his agreement with the first man?’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote to him that the father had to fulfill his agreement with the first man except if his son became ill or weak.67
2. Muhammad bin Isaaq said, “I wrote to Abul Hasan (peace be upon him) saying, ‘Some man rented a farm from another man. Then, the lessor sold the farm in the presence of the tenant who did not deny the sale, but rather he was present and as a witness. Then the buyer died and left some heirs. Does that property go into the inheritance or it remains in the hand of the tenant until the period of renting ends?’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote, ‘until the period of renting ends.’68
3. Ibrahim bin Muhammad al-Hamadani said, ‘I wrote to Abul Hasan (a.s.) asking him about some woman who rented out her land for ten years on the condition that the rent was to be given at the end of every year. Nothing of the rent would be given to her except after the end of every year. Before (or after) three years, the woman died. Should her heirs carry out the renting to the specified period, or would the renting condition be invalidated by the death of the woman?’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote, ‘If the renting had a specified time that did not end when the woman died, then the heirs would have the right to determine on the renting condition, and if a third or a half or some period of renting has passed, then the heirs could decide on the remaining period of renting insha’Allah.’69
Jurisprudents disagreed on renting whether it would be invalid or not by the death of the lessor or the tenant. Some of them said it would not be invalid and some others said it would be invalid since the death of the lessor and not from the beginning. They relied in that on this saying of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.).
‘Ali bin Mahziyar said, ‘I wrote to Abul Hasan the Third (a.s.) that I had entailed a piece of land to my children, hajj, and other ways of charity, and you have a right from it after me and for me after you, but I changed it from this way.’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘You are free from any blame and permitted to do so.’70
Sheikh al-Hurr al-Aamili understood from this tradition that the change here took place before receiving the entailment. It is also possible that the entailment here might mean “will” because he said “after me”71 in order not to contradict entailment, which, if it takes place with its correct conditions, becomes inevitable and cannot be renounced.
Once, Ayyub bin Noah asked Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) about buffalo. He said, ‘The people of Iraq say it has been metamorphosed- which means that its meat is unlawful to eat.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied to him saying, ‘Have you not heard the saying of Allah:
And two of camels and two of cows? 72’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) refuted this spuriousness and proved that the buffalo was a kind of cow and not a metamorphosed animal.
Ja'far bin Eesa said, ‘I wrote to Abul Hasan (al-Hadi) (a.s.) asking that, if a woman dies and her father claims that he has lent her some things and some slaves, is his claim accepted without evidence?’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied that the father’s claim might be accepted without evidence. I also wrote to him, ‘If the husband of the dead woman, or his father or mother claim, like her father does, that they have lent her some things or some slaves, are they considered like her father in the claim?’ Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote, ‘No…’73
1. Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali bin Shu’bah narrated that Abul Hasan the Third (a.s.) said, ‘As for a man who confesses sodomy, if there is no evidence proved against him, but he willingly confesses his guilt against himself, and if the Imam, who is from Allah, is to punish on behalf of Allah, he can pardon on behalf of Allah. Have you not heard the saying of Allah,
This is Our free gift, therefore give freely or withhold without reckoning’ 74
This tradition shows clearly that a legal Imam, who is appointed by Allah, may pardon whoever confesses sodomy against himself, though he has the right to punish for that. However, if one is proved by clear evidence that he has committed sodomy, the Imam is not to pardon him.
2. Ja'far bin Rizqillah said, ‘Some Christian man, who committed adultery with a Muslim woman, was brought to al-Mutawakkil, the Abbasid caliph, in order to be punished. When the caliph wanted to punish the man, the man converted to Islam. Yahya bin Aktham said, ‘His faith (in Islam) cancelled his polytheism and sin.’ Some other person said, ‘He is to be punished with three penalties.’ Another one said, ‘He is to be punished with so-and-so.’
Then, al-Mutawakkil ordered his men to ask Imam Abul Hasan (al-Hadi) about his opinion on the matter and the Imam said, ‘He (the sinner) is to be hit until he dies.’ Yahya and the rest of jurisprudents denied this fatwa and asked al-Mutawakkil to write to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and ask him for the evidence he depended on in his fatwa.
Al-Mutawakkil wrote to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) and Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied,
‘But when they saw Our punishment, they said: We believe in Allah alone and we deny what we used to associate with Him. But their faith could not avail them when they saw Our doom. This is Allah's law which hath ever taken course for His bondmen. And then the disbelievers will be ruined).’75
Then, al-Mutawakkil ordered the sinner to be hit and he was hit until he died.’76
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) depended on the Book of Allah in issuing his fatwa that made al-Mutawakkil and the jurisprudents feel astonished at his abundant knowledge.
The Shi’a unanimously believe that the excessive are unfaithful and impure and so it is permissible to kill them. It was narrated that Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said to one of his companions, ‘If you see one of them (the excessive) alone, you break his head with a stone.’77 We shall talk in details about them in one of the coming chapters.
We have mentioned above a few examples of Imam al-Hadi’s jurisprudence. The questions he was asked showed that he was the highest authority of fatwas in the Islamic world at his time and he had great scientific treasures of knowledge in the Islamic laws.We have mentioned above a few examples of Imam al-Hadi’s jurisprudence. The questions he was asked showed that he was the highest authority of fatwas in the Islamic world at his time and he had great scientific treasures of knowledge in the Islamic laws.
At the age of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) many doubts and illusions spread about the basics of Islam. The beginning was during the Umayyad rule that paved the way for the spread of deviant and misguiding thoughts and concepts.
The Umayyads encouraged those misguiding cultures which spread more strongly during the Abbasid rule. Muslim ulama’, at the head of whom were the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), resisted and confuted the atheistic opinions and thoughts using irrefutable, scientific evidences.
All these are recorded in the books of “argumentation” written by Shi’a scholars to prove the struggle of their Imams in supporting Islam and fighting against disbelief and atheism. Here we mention some examples transmitted from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) in this concern.
Ahmad bin Isaaq wrote to Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) asking him about (the possibility of) seeing Allah and what people said in this regard. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) replied, ‘seeing is not possible if there is no air (space) between the seer and the seen thing through which sight goes through. If there is no air and no light between the seer and the seen thing, there will be no sight. When the seer equals the seen thing in the cause of sight between them, sight takes place, but those who compare the seer (man) to Allah, they are mistaken because they liken Allah to man…for effects must relate to causes.’78
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) proves the impossibility of seeing where there is no air (space) and light, because the eye sees through these two means; air and light, otherwise, seeing is impossible and these two powers cannot see Allah the Almighty because they are limited possibilities that cannot see the great power that created and managed these amazing worlds and universes with all their wonders.
The system of seeing sees things when they equal the seer in the possible aspect of seeing, and if there is no equality between them, there will be no sight. Prophet Moses tried his best to see Allah;
And when Musa came at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said: My Lord! show me (Thyself), so that I may look upon Thee. He said: You cannot (bear to) see Me but look at the mountain, if it remains firm in its place, then will you see Me; but when his Lord manifested His glory to the mountain He made it crumble and Musa fell down in a swoon; then when he recovered, he said: Glory be to Thee, I turn to Thee, and I am the first of the believers. 79
Prophet Moses (a.s.) received the words of Allah and his soul longed and wished to see his Lord, but he forgot who and what he was when he asked for that which no human being in the earth was allowed or could bear this great seeing. However, Prophet Moses (a.s.) was occupied by his great longing and forced by wish until the decisive words of Allah woke him up,
You cannot (bear to) see Me.
Then the Great Creator pitied His prophet and taught him why he could not see Him,
But look at the mountain, if it remains firm in its place, then you will see Me.
The mountain is firmer and more fixed, though less sensitive and responsive than man but nevertheless,
When his Lord manifested His glory to the mountain He made it crumble.
Prophet Moses (a.s.) understood the awe of the situation and fell in a swoon, and when he woke up, said,
Glory be to Thee, I turn to Thee, and I am the first of the believers.80
See how Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) spoke with his Lord with these bright words, showing the extent of his recognition of Allah the Almighty:
‘O my Lord, thoughts of thinkers went astray, sights of seers fell short, descriptions of describers dissipated, sayings of fabricators vanished before the wonders of Your affair, or the reach to Your highness, for You are in the unreachable place, and no eye can fall upon You with a glance or expression. How far, and how far! O You the First, the Only, the Unique! You have exalted in highness with the glory of greatness, and risen up beyond every bottom and end with the omnipotence of pride…’81
It is impossible for the Necessary Being to be described with features of embodiment because this is an aspect of possible beings, which need, for their existence a cause, and for their non-existence a cause, because they are created things. In many traditions Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) confuted those who believed in embodiment. Here are some of these traditions:
1. As-Saqr bin Abu Dalf said, ‘I asked Abul Hasan ‘Ali bin Muhammad about monotheism and said to him that I believed in that which Hisham bin al-Hakam believed. He believed in embodiment before his guidance. The Imam (a.s.) became angry and said, ‘What do you have to do with the saying (belief) of Hisham? He, who claims that Allah has a body, is not from us and we are free from him in this world and in the afterworld. O ibn Abu Dalf, body (substance) is created and it is Allah Who has created and embodied it.’82
2. Hamza bin Muhammad said, ‘I wrote to Abul Hasan (a.s.) asking him about the body and the shape (of Allah) and he wrote to me, ‘Glory be to Him, Whom nothing is like neither in body nor in shape.’83
3. Ibrahim bin Muhammad al-Hamadani narrated, ‘I wrote to the man (he meant Abul Hasan) saying to him, ‘With us there are some of your followers who have disagreed on monotheism. Some of them say (Allah is) “a body” and some say “shape”.’ He wrote saying, ‘Glory be to Him Who can not be limited, and can not be described. Nothing is like Him and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.’84
It is impossible to describe Allah the Almighty with the limits of the created things and it is impossible to describe Him with multiplicity of aspects because His attributes are His very essence as theologians have proved.
Imam Abul Hasan al-Hadi (a.s.), in his talk with al-Fatah bin Yazeed al-Jirjani, declared the impossibility of describing the Wise Creator with any attribute that might cover his essence and truth. He said, ‘The Creator is not described except with that which He Himself had described Himself with. How can the Creator, Whom senses fail to conceive, minds to arrive at, imaginations to contain, and sights to surround, be described?
Exalted is He above what describers say, and glorified is He above what depicters describe. He is far in His nearness, and near in His farness. He has adapted the “how” that it is not said (for Him) how, and has adapted the “where” that it is not said (for Him) where. He is out of how and where. He is Only, One, Eternal, Absolute.
He begetteth not, nor was begotten, and there is none comparable unto Him. Glory be to Him. Or how is Muhammad (blessings be on him and on his progeny) described in his essence where Allah the Sublime compared him with His own name, participated him in His gift, and promised whoever obeyed him to be rewarded for his obedience when He said,
And they did not find fault except because Allah and His Messenger enriched them out of His grace? 85
It relates the saying of those who give up His obedience and He tortures them between the covers of Hellfire and its garments of tar,
O would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger. 86
Or how are those (the Ahlul Bayt), whom Allah the Sublime compared their obedience with the obedience of His messenger, described in their essence when He said,
O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you,87 and
And if they had referred it to the Messenger and to those in authority among them,88 and,
Surely Allah commands you to make over trusts to their owners, 89 and,
So ask the followers of the reminder if you do not know? 90
O Fatah, as Allah, glory be to Him, the messenger, the guardian (Imam ‘Ali), and the sons of Fatima (the infallible Imams) can not be described, neither can a believer who believes and submits to our matter be.’91
The tradition shows the impossibility of describing Allah in a way that expresses His very essence and truth. It is the same for the Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams and even a believer who loyally submits and believes in the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), for descriptions fail to surround a believer’s noble tendencies and virtuous qualities.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was asked about the truth of monotheism and he said, ‘Allah the Almighty was still alone nothing with Him, and then He created things skillfully, and chose names for Himself. Names and words are still with Him since eternity.
Allah was and is still existent. Then He formed what He willed and nothing can repel His will or delay His determination…’92
Perhaps one of the most wonderful intellectual and scientific traditions transmitted from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was this letter that he sent to the people of Ahwaz (in Iran) in which he refuted the concept of “compulsion” that the Ash’arites adopted and spread when they said that man was compelled into his actions and he had no will or option.
He also refuted the concept of “free will” that the Mu’tazilites believed in saying that Allah had authorized people in their actions due to their will and there were no will or power over them.
After refuting these two concepts, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) proved with irrefutable, scientific proofs the concept of “the matter between the two matters; a moderate concept between compulsion and free will”, which was the concept adopted by the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and by their followers. This letter was one of the best discussions in this concern. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) wrote in this letter:
‘From ‘Ali bin Muhammad, peace, mercy, and blessings of Allah be upon you and upon whoever follows the guidance. Your letter came to me and I understood what you mentioned of your disagreement in your religion, your plunging in the matter of “fate”, the belief of some of you in “compulsion”, and others in “free will”, and the disagreement, separation, and enmity among you because of that. Then you asked me about that and to explain it you. I understood all that…
Know, may Allah have mercy on you, that we looked up in the abundant traditions and news and we found, for all Muslims who understand from Allah, them (traditions) not free from two meanings; either truth that is to be followed or falsehood that is to be avoided. The nation has agreed unanimously with no disagreement between them that the Qur'an is the truth that has no doubt in it for Muslims of all sects.
Their agreement is the proof of the Book and that they are right and guided due to the saying of the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and on his progeny), “My nation does not agree on deviation.” He told that what the entire nation agreed on is truth when no group disagrees with another.
The Qur'an is the truth that there is no difference between them (Muslims) in its revelation and truthfulness. So when the Qur'an witnesses the truthfulness of some news but a group of the nation denies it, they should acknowledge it as a necessity, for basically the nation has agreed unanimously on the truthfulness of the Qur'an, and if they deny, this requires them to be out of the (Muslim) nation…’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) says in this passage that Muslims must refer to the Qur'an, which falsehood shall not approach from before it nor from behind it, in the matters they disagree on and see that which agrees with the Qur'an is the truth and that which contradicts it is falsehood. Whoever believes this falsehood will be out of Islam.
He added, ‘The first news that is proved, witnessed, and confirmed by the Book is the saying of the messenger of Allah (SwT), ‘I leave to you the two weighty things; the Book of Allah and my household. You shall not go astray as long as you keep to them. They shall not separate until they shall come to me at the pond (in Paradise).’ We found the evidences of this tradition in the Book of Allah where Allah said,
Only Allah is your Vali and His Messenger and those who believe, those who keep up prayers and pay the poor-rate while they bow. And whoever takes Allah and His messenger and those who believe for a guardian, then surely the party of Allah are they that shall be triumphant. 93
All Muslim sects narrated traditions that Amir’ul- Mu’minin (a.s.) had given his ring as charity while he was bowing in prayer and Allah praised him for that and revealed this verse. We found the messenger of Allah (SwT) saying, ‘whoever I was his guardian, ‘Ali is to be his guardian’ and (addressing Imam ‘Ali), ‘you are to me as was Aaron to Moses but there will be no prophet after me’ and, ‘‘Ali repays my debts, carries out my promises, and he is my caliph over you after me’…
The tradition indicated clearly the caliphate of Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) after the Prophet (S) and that there was no one worthier of the Prophet (S) than Imam ‘Ali (a.s.), the pioneer of intellectual and civilizational development in the earth.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) added, ‘The first tradition, from which these traditions were derived, is a true tradition that all Muslims have agreed on with no disagreement among them. It also conforms to the Book.
When the Book witnesses the truthfulness of these traditions besides other evidences, then the nation has to acknowledge them as a necessity, for their evidences are clear in the Qur'an and they conform to the Qur'an and the Qur'an conforms to them. Moreover, the truth of these traditions were transmitted from the messenger of Allah (SwT) through the truthful (infallible Imams) and narrated by known, reliable people.
Therefore, following these traditions is obligatory on every believing man and believing woman, and no one deviates except the obstinate. That is because the sayings of the messenger of Allah (SwT) and his progeny are connected with the sayings of Allah, as in this verse,
Surely (as for) those who speak evil things of Allah and His Messenger, Allah has cursed them in this world and the hereafter, and He has prepared for them a chastisement bringing disgrace.94
We found the like of this verse in this saying of the messenger of Allah (SwT), ‘He, who harms ‘Ali, harms me, and who harms me harms Allah, and whoever harms Allah is about to be revenged on (by Allah)’95 and his saying, ‘He, who loves ‘Ali, loves me, and who loves me, loves Allah’96, and, ‘…in bani Wulay’ah…I will send to them a man who is like myself.
He loves Allah and His messenger and Allah and His messenger love him. O ‘Ali, get ready to march to them!’, and his saying on the day of Khaybar, ‘Tomorrow, I will send to them a man who loves Allah and His messenger, and Allah and His messenger love him. He is brave and not a runaway. He shall not come back until he shall conquer by the will of Allah.’97
The messenger of Allah (SwT) confirmed the conquer before the marching. The companions of the messenger of Allah looked forward to that, but on the next day, the messenger of Allah (SwT) sent for ‘Ali and sent him at the head of the army. He singled him out with this virtue and called him “brave and not a runaway”. Allah called him “a lover of Allah and His messenger” and informed that Allah and His messenger loved him.
We just introduced this explanation as evidence and confirmation to what we want to say about the matter of “compulsion and free will” and “the matter between the two matters”. We ask Allah for help and assistance and on Him we rely in all our affairs. We begin with the saying of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.), ‘It is neither compulsion nor free will but it is a position between the two positions.
It is the soundness of creation, freedom, enough time, equipment, and the cause that provokes a doer towards his doing.’ These are five things with which Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) grouped the items of virtue. If someone lacks one of these items, obligations are not required from him. Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) informed of the necessary thing that people must know and the Book confirmed it. The clear verses of the Qur'an and the messenger of Allah proved it.
The messenger of Allah and his progeny do not exceed by their sayings the limits of the Qur'an. If traditions conform to the Qur'an and agree with its proofs, following them is obligatory and no one violates them except the people of intransigence.
When we pondered on the saying of as-Sadiq about “the position between the two positions” and his denying of “compulsion and free will”, we found the Book proving and confirming his saying, besides that there was another saying by him confirming the first one. Once, as-Sadiq was asked, ‘Has Allah forced His people to commit sins?’ He said, ‘He (Allah) is more just than this.’ It was said to him, ‘Has He, then, completely authorized them to do that (commit sins)?’ He said, ‘Allah is mightier and more omnipotent over them than this.’
It was narrated that he said, ‘People, in fate, are of three kinds; one claims that people are authorized to do as they like and thus he deems Allah weak in His authority, and this one will perish. The other one claims that Allah forces people into sins and charges them with what they are unable to do, and this one mistakes Allah and he will perish.
And one claims that Allah charges people with what they are able to do and does not charge them with what they are unable to do, so when this one does good, he thanks Allah and when he does wrong, he asks Allah to forgive him and this is a true Muslim.’
As-Sadiq (a.s.) told that he, who believed in “compulsion” or “free will”, opposed the truth. I have already explained “compulsion” and “free will” and that whoever believed in them is wrong, and therefore the truth is “the position between the two positions”…’
I give example on each topic to explain the meaning for requesters and make research easier. These examples are confirmed by the Qur’anic verses and proved true by men of understanding. We ask Allah for success and perfection.
‘As for “compulsion”, it is the belief of those who claim that Allah forces people into committing sins and disobediences and then He punishes them for that. Whoever believes in this concept wrongs Allah, falsifies Him and denies His saying,
And your Lord does not deal unjustly with anyone 98
This is due to what your two hands have sent before, and Allah is not in the least unjust to the servants 99
Surely Allah does not do any injustice to men, but men are unjust to themselves 100
besides many other verses regarding this. He, who claims he is forced into disobedience, ascribes his sins to Allah and considers Allah as unjust in punishing him.
Whoever considers Allah as unjust denies His Book, and whoever denies His Book must be an unbeliever due to the consensus of the nation. The example of this is like the example of a man having a slave, who neither possesses himself nor does he have any property at all. The lord knows this about his slave; nevertheless, he orders the slave to go to the market to bring him something but without giving him the price of that thing.
The lord knows well that that something has an owner that no one can take that thing from him except after paying the price. The lord of the slave considers himself as just, fair, wise, and free from any kind of injustice.
He threatens his slave with punishment if he does not bring him that thing, though he knows well that no one can take that thing except after paying its price and the slave does not have the price. When the slave comes back to his lord unsuccessfully, his lord becomes angry at him and punishes him.
If the lord is just and fair in his judgment, he should not punish his slave; otherwise, he shall be considered as unjust and oppressive, and if he does not punish his slave, he shall contradict himself and be a liar for he has threatened his slave with punishment. So lying and oppression contradict justice and wisdom. High Exalted is He above what they say!
‘Whoever believes in “compulsion” or in what leads to “compulsion” considers Allah as unjust and oppressive if He punishes those whom He forces into committing sins. Whoever claims that Allah forces His people into their doings must say that Allah should not punish them and whoever claims that Allah does not punish sinners denies Allah when He says,
Yea, whoever earns evil and his sins beset him on every side, these are the inmates of the fire; in it they shall abide) 101 and, ((As for) those who swallow the property of the orphans unjustly, surely they only swallow fire into their bellies and they shall enter burning fire 102
(As for) those who disbelieve in Our communications, We shall make them enter fire; so oft as their skins are thoroughly burned, We will change them for other skins, that they may taste the chastisement; surely Allah is Mighty, Wise 103
and many other sayings in different verses. Thus, whoever denies the threat of Allah must be an unbeliever and be one of those about whom Allah has said,
Do you then believe in a part of the Book and disbelieve in the other? What then is the reward of such among you who do this but disgrace in the life of this world, and on the day of resurrection they shall be sent back to the most grievous chastisement, and Allah is not at all heedless of what you do.104
We say that Allah the Almighty rewards people for their doings and punishes them for their doings that they do with their will and ability He has given to them. He has enjoined them to do some things and forbidden them from doing some other things. He says in His Book,
Whoever brings a good deed, he shall have ten like it, and whoever brings an evil deed, he shall be recompensed only with the like of it, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly 105
On the day that every soul shall find present what it has done of good and what it has done of evil, it shall wish that between it and that (evil) there were a long duration of time; and Allah makes you to be cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and Allah is Compassionate to the servants 106
This day every soul shall be rewarded for what it has earned; no injustice (shall be done) this day. 107
These clear verses refute “compulsion” and deny whoever believes in it. There are many other verses like these ones but we do not mention them in order not to expatiate. We pray to Allah for success.
‘As for the concept of “free will”, which Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) refuted, it is the concept of saying that Allah the Almighty has authorized His people to choose His enjoinments and prohibitions and He neglected them. The infallible Imams of the Prophet’s progeny say that if Allah has authorized people and neglected them, then he must be pleased with what they choose and they deserve reward for that and should not be punished for sins they commit if indeed there is negligence.
This belief (of free will) has two meanings; the first is that people have defeated Allah and forced Him, willingly or unwillingly, to accept their choices; and this shows that He is weak, or He has failed to make them worship Him through the enjoinments and prohibitions according to His will, whether they wanted or not, and therefore, He authorized them to choose His enjoinments and prohibitions according to their wills when He failed to make them worship according to His will, and so He gave them the option in choosing faith or unfaith.
It is like a man who buys a slave to serve him, acknowledge his favor, submit to his lordship, follow his orders, and refrain from his prohibitions. The lord of the slave claims he is mighty and wise. The lord orders his slave to do things and forbids him from doing other things. He promises the slave of great rewards if he follows his orders and threatens him with severe punishments if he disobeys. The slave contradicts the will of his lord and does not submit to his orders and prohibitions.
Whatever the lord orders or forbids the slave to do or not to do, the slave does not obey but follows his own will and tendency and not his lord’s. The lord is not able to make the slave act according to his will, and so he lets him free to choose by his own will and tendency and accepts whatever he does. One day, the lord sends the slave to do something for him. The slave carries out that thing according to his tendency and not to his lord’s.
When he comes back, the lord finds that the slave has done unlike what he (the lord) wants. He says to him, ‘Why did you do unlike what I have asked you to do?’ The slave says, ‘I depended on your authorization to me and did as I liked.’ An authorized one is free in his doing; therefore, “free will” is impossible for people towards their Lord…’
Free will is the belief that Allah has left His people free to do as they like and that Allah has no relation in people’s doings. The Imam (a.s.) refuted this belief with clear proofs and said it was impossible. He added,‘It is, due to that, that the lord of the slave is either able to make the slave follow his orders and refrain from his prohibitions according to his will and not to the slave’s will, and to give him ability as much as that which he orders him to do and forbids him from. If he orders him to do something and forbids from doing another thing, he should tell him the reward and punishment for each.
He should warn him against his punishment and encourage him towards his reward so that the slave will know the power of his lord through the power the lord has given to the slave himself that makes him able to follow his orders, refrain from his prohibitions, approve his encouragement, and keep off his warning. Thus, the lord will be just and fair to the slave and his excuse in pardoning and warning will be clear.
Then, if the slave follows his lord’s orders, he shall be rewarded by him, and if he does not refrain from his prohibitions, he shall be punished. The second meaning is that the lord is unable to punish the slave and make him follow his orders and so he lets the slave free to do good or bad, to obey or disobey. This inability disproves might and deity and makes “enjoining of the right and forbidding from the wrong” vain. It contradicts the Holy Book where Allah says,
And He does not like ungratefulness in His servants; and if you are grateful, He likes it in you 108
be careful of (your duty to) Allah with the care which is due to Him, and do not die unless you are Muslims109
And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should serve Me. I seek no livelihood from them, nor do I ask that they should feed Me110
And serve Allah and do not associate any thing with Him111
Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not turn back from Him while you hear112.
He, who claims that Allah has entrusted His orders and prohibitions to His people, describes Allah as unable and consequently He must accept all that which His people do whether good or bad. This one also denies the orders, prohibitions, warnings and threatening of Allah. When one claims that Allah has entrusted all that to man, it means that man is free to believe or disbelieve and he shall not be blamed for his decision. He, who believes in “free will” in this meaning, denies the orders, prohibitions, warning, and threatening of Allah and he is one of those who are included in this verse,
Do you then believe in a part of the Book and disbelieve in the other? What then is the reward of such among you as do this but disgrace in the life of this world, and on the day of resurrection they shall be sent back to the most grievous chastisement, and Allah is not at all heedless of what you do.113
Allah is too far above that which the people of “free will” believe in…’
After refuting the concepts of “compulsion” and “free will”, Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) proved the concept of “the matter between the two matters” which was the theory of the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). He said, ‘But we say: Allah the Almighty created people by His power and gave them the ability of obeying Him. He ordered them to do what He wanted and forbade them from what He wanted.
He accepted from them their obedience to His orders and He was pleased by it, and He prohibited them from disobeying Him, dispraised the disobeyers, and punished them for that. Allah has the choice of enjoining His people on doing some things that He is pleased with and forbidding them from other things that He hates. He punishes for disobediences due to the ability he has given to His people by which they can obey Him and avoid His prohibitions because He is just, fair, wise, and has clear excuses.
He chooses from among His people as He wills to inform of His mission and authority over people. He chose Muhammad (a.s.) and sent him with His mission to His creation, but some unbelievers from (Muhammad’s) people said out of envy and haughtiness,
Why was not this Qu’ran revealed to a man of importance in the two towns.114
They were Umayyah bin Abussalt and Abu Mas’oud ath-Thaqafi. But Allah refuted their sayings and thoughts when revealing,
Will they distribute the mercy of your Lord? We distribute among them their livelihood in the life of this world, and We have exalted some of them above others in degrees, that some of them may take others in subjection; and the mercy of your Lord is better than what they amass.115
‘Therefore, He enjoined on what He liked, and forbade from what He disliked. He would reward whoever obeyed Him and would punish whoever disobeyed Him. If Allah entrusted His affairs to His people, He would permit Quraysh116 to choose Umayyah bin Abussalt or Abu Mas’oud ath-Thaqafi for they were preferred by Quraysh to Muhammad (S).
When Allah disciplined the believers by saying,
And it behooves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, 117
He did not allow them to choose according to their desires, and He did not accept from them except to follow His orders and avoid His prohibitions that had been informed by those, whom He had chosen (as prophets). He, who obeyed Him, was guided, and he, who disobeyed Him, deviated and went astray and would not be excused because he had the ability to obey Allah’s orders and avoid His prohibitions; therefore, Allah prevented a disobeyer from His reward and He would punish him instead…’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) proved in the previous paragraphs the theory of “the matter between the two matters” that the Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) believed in. This concept was established on a firm basis of understanding, intellect, and logic. Grand Ayatollah al-Khoei, in his studies on Usul, proved the matter.
He said, ‘The matter is not a matter of worship, but the medium way, by which the problem of “compulsion and free will” can be solved, is limited to it. Deeds of people depend on two sides; the first is their lives, abilities, knowledge, and the like, and the second is their wills and doings. The first side is from Allah and connected to His Eternal Being and is submissive to Him. It is the very connection and submission itself and not something with this connection and submission. In this light, if Allah the Almighty stops that for a moment, surely life will stop…
The second side is from people. Supposing the existence of the first side, it is connected with the second one in its essence and branched with it naturally. Hence, no deed comes from man except by the correlation of these two sides. But, if one side prevails, no deed is achieved. On this base, it is true to ascribe deeds to Allah and to man. To explain this point, we give examples to show the difference of the concepts of “compulsion” and “free will” from the theory of the Twelver Shi’a. A deed of man comes in three kinds:
First, the deed that comes without man’s will and choice; as when we suppose that there is someone with a trembling hand who is unable to control his hand. If his master ties a sword in his trembling hand, supposing that there is someone lying beside him, though this man knows that when the sword slips from his hand and falls on that sleeping person, it will kill him, naturally this deed is not from his will and choice.
Reasonable people see that he is not responsible for this deed and he is not to be blamed for it. The one, who is responsible and to be blamed for that, is the one who ties the sword to that man’s hand. This is the theme of the theory of “compulsion”.
Second, the deeds that come from man by his will, choice, and independency with no need to resort to any other than him; it is like when we suppose that a master gives a sword to a free person who is free to do what he wants and able to move his hand freely.
In this case, if this person commits a murder in the outside, he himself will be responsible for that murder and not the giver of the sword, though the giver of the sword knows that giving the sword to that person leads to a murder, and besides that, he can take the sword from that person whenever he wants; nevertheless, the murder cannot be imputed to the giver of the sword but to that person who was free in moving his hand with no external influence. This is the theme of the theory of “free will”.
Third, the deeds that come from man by his choice and power, though he is not independent by himself but in need of other than him, so that if the aid of that other one stops at any time, his deeds will stop definitely; as an example we suppose that the master has a paralyzed slave that is unable to move. The master connects an electric current to the slave’s body to arouse power in his muscles and make him able to move and act.
The master holds the control of the electric current, which gives power to the slave’s body at all time, with his hand that if he cuts the current for a moment, the power will be cut from the slave’s body and he becomes unable to move.
On this base, if the master connects that power to the slave’s body and the slave goes by his will and kills someone where the master knows what the slave does, in this case this deed is imputed to both of them; to the slave because he is able to or not to do that deed as he wills after power is connected to his body, and to the master because he gives power to the slave even at the time of committing that murder though he is able to cut that power from the slave at any time he wants. This is the theme and fact of the theory of “the matter between the two matters”…’118
We come back again to the tradition of Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). He says, ‘The matter between the two matters is neither “compulsion” nor “free will”. It is this what Amir’ul- Mu’minin (a.s.) told Abayah bin Rub’iy al-Asadi about when he asked him about the ability by which man could stand up, sit down, and act. Amir’ul- Mu’minin (a.s.) said to Abayah, ‘You asked about ability.
Do you have it without Allah or with Allah?’ Abayah kept silent and did not know what to say. Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, ‘If you say that you have it with Allah, I will kill you, and if you say that you have it without Allah, I will kill you.’ Abayah said, ‘Then what shall I say, O Amir’ul- Mu’minin?’
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, ‘You say that you have it by Allah Who has it without you. If He makes you possess it, it is from his favor, and if He deprives you of it, it is from His trial for you. He is the Possessor of what He makes you possess, and He is the Powerful over what He gives you power in. Do you not hear people asking (Allah) for ability and power when they say: there is no ability and power save in Allah (la hawla wela quwwata illabillah)?’
Abayah said, ‘O Amir’ul- Mu’minin, what does it mean?’ Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, ‘There is no ability to keep away from disobediences save by the preservation of Allah, and we have no power to obey Allah save by the assistance of Allah.’ Abayah jumped and kissed Imam ‘Ali’s hands and feet.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) added, ‘It is narrated from Amir’ul- Mu’minin (a.s.) that one day Najda came to him asking about how to know Allah. He asked, ‘O Amir’ul- Mu’minin, with what you have known your Lord?’ Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, ‘With the thinking that has empowered me and the mind that has led me.’ Najda said, ‘Are you molded into that? (i.e., Is this thinking forced upon you)’ Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, ‘If I am molded into that, I shall not be praised for good deeds and blamed for bad deeds, and so a good doer shall deserve blame more than a wrongdoer.
I know that Allah is Eternal, Everlasting and anything other than Him is transient and mortal. The Eternal, Everlasting One is not like a transient creature.’ Najda said, ‘I see you have become wise.’ Amir’ul- Mu’minin (a.s.) said, ‘I am free to choose. If I commit a bad deed instead of good deed, I shall be punished for it.’
It is also related that Amir’ul- Mu’minin (a.s.) said to a man who asked him after coming back from Sham, ‘O Amir’ul- Mu’minin, tell us about our marching to Sham! Is it by the fate of Allah?’ Amir’ul- Mu’minin (a.s.) said, ‘O sheikh (old man), yes. You do not ascend up a hill or descend a valley unless it is by the will and fate of Allah.’ The old man said, ‘I expect the reward of my efforts from Allah O Amir’ul- Mu’minin.’
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) explained fate by saying, ‘O sheikh, wait! Allah has rewarded you for your marching as you march, for your resting as you rest, and for your going back as you go back. You may think it is inevitable fate and inescapable doom. If it is so, then reward and punishment, enjoining and forbidding, scolding, warning and threatening will be void, and a bad doer shall not be blamed and a good doer shall not be rewarded.
A good doer shall be worthier of being blamed than a guilty one, and a guilty one shall be worthier of reward than a good doer. This opinion is of idolaters, enemies of Allah, fatalists, and the magi. O sheikh, Allah the Almighty has charged His people but given them the option to do or not to do, and forbidden them as warning.
He gives much for a little. He is not disobeyed out of defeat and He is not obeyed by force. He has not created the heavens, the earth, and what is between them in vain. That is the opinion of those who disbelieve, and woe unto those who disbelieve from the Fire…’ The old man got up, kissed Imam ‘Ali’s head, and recited some verses of poetry praising him.
‘Amir’ul- Mu’minin proved what complied with the Book and he denied “compulsion” and “free will” and showed that whoever believed in them denied the Book of Allah and was unbeliever. We seek the protection of Allah from deviation and disbelief. We believe neither in compulsion nor in free will, but we believe in “the matter between the two matters” that is the trial of the ability which Allah has given to us in order to worship Him with it as the Book witnessed and the pure Imams of the Prophet’s progeny (peace be upon them) believed in…’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) gave an example by saying, ‘The example of the trial of ability is like the example of a man who possesses a slave and he has a lot of money. He wants to try his slave though he knows what his slave shall do. He gives the slave some of his money and agrees on certain conditions with him. He orders him to spend the money on some things and forbids him from other things that he (the master) does not like. He orders him to avoid them and not to spend from his money on those things, though money is spent in both sides.
The slave spends some money in obeying the master and seeking his pleasure, and some in the way he has forbidden. The master houses the slave in a temporary house and informs him that he shall not live in this house forever but he shall live in another house, which the master will take him to, where there shall be eternal reward and eternal punishment.
If the slave spends the money in the way that the master has ordered him to do, he shall be rewarded with the eternal reward as his master has promised to reward him in the other house that he will take him to, and if he spends the money in the way that his master has forbidden him from, he shall be punished with eternal punishment in the eternal house. The master determines a limit for that. It is the abiding in the first house.
When the limit is reached, the master changes the slave and the money, though he is still the owner of the slave and money in all times but he has promised that he shall not deprive the slave of that money as long as he lives in that house until he completes his abiding in it. The master fulfils the desires of the slave because justice, loyalty, fairness, and wisdom are from the qualities of the master.
If the slave spends that money in the way he is ordered to, the master shall carry out his promise to him by rewarding him with eternal bliss in an everlasting house, and if he spends the money in the way he is forbidden from and contradicts the orders of his master, he shall be punished with the eternal punishment that the master has warned him of.
Doing so, the master is not unjust to the slave because he has pre-informed him that he will carry out his promise and threat to him. It is for this reason that the master is described as mighty and omnipotent. The master is Allah the Almighty, the slave is man, money is the vast power of Allah, the trial is the showing of wisdom and might, the temporary (transient) house is the worldly life, the sum of money that the master has given to the slave is the ability that man has, and the way Allah has ordered the money to be spent in is the ability of following the prophets and acknowledging what they have brought from Allah the Almighty.
The ways Allah has forbidden are the ways of Iblis, the promise of the eternal bliss is the Paradise, the transient house is this life, and the other house is the everlasting house that is the afterlife. The moderate concept between “compulsion” and “free will” is the trial and test of the ability that the slave has been given. It is explained in the five examples which Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) has mentioned that they have had all virtues. I shall interpret them using proofs from the Qur'an and reason, insha’Allah.’
This example presented by Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) is clear that man has full control over his will and choice. When man obeys Allah, he obeys Him out of his satisfaction and choice and he is not forced into it, and when he disobeys his Lord, he does so by his will and choice too. On the basis of this choice, the concept of “the matter between the two matters” is based, which is the concept that has been adopted by the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) added, ‘As for the saying of as-Sadiq (a.s.), it means the perfection of man’s morals, the perfection of senses, constancy of mind, discernment, and eloquence. Allah says,
And surely We have honored the children of Adam, and We carry them in the land and the sea, and We have given them of the good things, and We have made them to excel by an appropriate excellence over most of those whom We have created. 119
Allah informs that He has preferred man to all His creatures of animals, beasts, sea creatures, birds, and all living creatures by virtue of reason and speaking. Allah says,
Certainly We created man in the best make,120 and,
O man ! what has beguiled you from your Lord, the Gracious one, Who created you, then fashioned you, then proportioned you, into whatever form He pleased He constituted you,121
and in many other verses.
The first blessing of Allah for man is the soundness of his mind and his preference to all creatures with the perfection of his mind and the faculty of speaking. Every living creature in the earth is independent in its senses and complete in its being, but man is preferred by the faculty of speaking to all other sensitive creatures. It is for this faculty of speaking that Allah has made man prevail over all creatures. Man is the commander while other creatures are submissive to him. Allah says,
Thus has He made them subservient to you, that you may magnify Allah because He has guided you aright 122
And He it is Who has made the sea subservient that you may eat fresh flesh from it and bring forth from it ornaments which you wear 123
And He created the cattle for you; you have in them warm clothing and (many) advantages, and of them do you eat. And there is beauty in them for you when you drive them back (to home), and when you send them forth (to pasture). And they carry your heavy loads to regions which you could not reach but with distress of the souls. 124
For that, Allah invited man to follow His orders and obey Him by preferring him through straightening his shape and giving him the faculty of speaking and knowledge after giving him the ability of carrying out what He has ordered him to do. Allah says,
Therefore be careful of (your duty to) Allah as much as you can, and hear and obey 125
Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability, 126
Allah does not lay on any soul a burden except to the extent to which He has granted it, 127
and in many other verses. If Allah deprives man of one of his senses, He exempts him from his duty by that sense. Allah says,
No blame is there upon the blind nor any blame upon the lame nor any blame upon the sick. 128
Allah has exempted these persons from jihad and all duties that they cannot do. Rather, He has imposed on wealthy people to offer the hajj and pay the zakat for they have the ability of that. Allah has not imposed the hajj and zakat on poor people. He says,
And pilgrimage to the House is incumbent upon men for the sake of Allah, (upon) everyone who is able to undertake the journey to it), 129 and, (Those who put away their wives (by saying they are as their mothers) and afterward would go back on that which they have said, (the penalty) in that case (is) the freeing of a slave…and for him who is unable to do so (the penance is) the feeding of sixty needy ones. 130
This proves that Allah has not imposed on His people what is beyond the ability He has given to them, nor forbidden them from what they have no ability to refrain from. This is the soundness of creation.
‘And as for his saying “clearing the way”, it means that there is no watch over man that prevents him from carrying out what Allah has ordered him to do. It is due to the saying of Allah about the disabled who are not free to act as Allah says,
Except the feeble among men, and the women, and the children, who are unable to devise a plan and are not shown a way. 131
He informs that a disabled one is not given a way and so he is not to be blamed if his heart is full of faith.
‘As for the time limit, it is the age of man where he is required to seek knowledge, from the time he comes of age until death. He, who dies while seeking the truth and does not get perfection, shall be to good. Allah says,
and whoever goes forth from his house emigrating to Allah and His Messenger, and then death overtakes him, his reward is indeed with Allah.132
‘Equipment are wealth and power by which man is be able to follow the commands of Allah. Allah says,
There is no way (of blame) against the doers of good.133
Do you not see that Allah has accepted the excuse of those who have no further money to spend, but imposed on the people who have enough money and riding camels (or horses) 134 to go to the hajj and jihad? He has also accepted the excuse of the poor and imposed to them a share from the wealth of the rich. He has said,
(Alms are) for the poor who are confined in the way of Allah.135
Allah has exempted them and has not charged them with what they are unable to do.
‘As for his saying “the provoking cause”, it is the intention that leads man to all his deeds. The sense of this intention is in the heart (mind). Whoever does a thing without intending it by his heart (sincerely) it shall not be accepted from him. Allah does not accept from man any deed except those with sincere intentions, and therefore He has said about hypocrites,
They say with their mouths what is not in their hearts, and Allah is best aware of what they conceal. 136
Then Allah revealed to His messenger (a.s.) a blame on the believer,
O you who believe! why do you say that which you do not do.137
If man says something and believes in it, his true intention makes him prove his saying by acting upon it, and if he does not believe in his saying, the truth of his saying shall not appear. Allah has accepted the true intention even if the action does not comply with the intention because of something that may prevent the person from achieving so, as Allah says,
…except he who is compelled while his heart is still content with faith 138 and
Allah does not punish you for what is vain in your oaths, but He will punish you for what your hearts have earned.139
The Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet (S) show that the heart is the possessor of all senses and it confirms their doings, and nothing invalidates what the heart confirms. This is the explanation of the five examples mentioned by as-Sadiq (a.s.) which determine “the position between the two positions”. The two positions are “compulsion” and “free will”. If these five items are found in a man, it is obligatory on him to do as Allah and His messengers have ordered, and if that man lacks one of these items, he is exempted from the doing concerning that item.
‘As for the proofs in the Holy Qur'an on the “trying according to ability” which means the concept of “the matter between the two matters”, are many, such as these holy verses:
And verily We shall try you till We know those of you who strive hard (for the sake of Allah) and the patient, and till We test your record), 140
And those who deny Our revelations, We draw them near (to destruction) step by step from whence they know not),141
Do men think that they will be left alone on saying, We believe, and not be tried),142
And certainly We tried Sulaiman),143
And in the story of Prophet Moses:
(He said: So surely We have tried your people after you, and the Samiri has led them astray),144
And the saying of Moses:
It is naught but Thy trial).145
These verses are compared one to another and they confirm one another.
As for the verses of affliction which mean “trying”, they are also many such as:
but that He might try you in what He gave you),146
then He turned you away from them that He might try you),147
We have tried them as We tried the people of the Garden),148
Who created death and life that He may try you; which of you is best in deeds),149
And when his Lord tried Ibrahim with certain words), 150
and if Allah had pleased He would certainly have exacted what is due from them, but that He may try some of you by means of others).151
‘These verses and many others like them prove the “trying”. Allah the Almighty has not created the creatures in vain, nor has He ignored them, nor has He showed His wisdom for play. He has said:
What! did you then think that We had created you in vain and that you shall not be returned to Us? 152
If someone says, ‘Did Allah not know what His people would do so that He tried them?’ We say, ‘Yes, He knows what they shall do before they do. He says:
and if they were sent back, they would certainly go back to that which they were forbidden).153
Allah tries people to show them His justice and that He does not torture them except by a certain excuse and after committing their deeds. Allah says:
And had We destroyed them with chastisement before this, they would certainly have said: O our Lord, why didst Thou not send to us a messenger, for then we should have followed Thy communications before that we met disgrace and shame, 154
and We never punish until we have sent a messenger, 155
(We sent) messengers as the givers of good news and as warners, so that people should not have a plea against Allah after the (coming of) messengers. 156
So the trial of Allah is on the ability that He has given to man and this is the concept of “the matter between the two matters”. About this the Qur'an spoke and the traditions of the infallible Imams (a.s.) confirmed.
‘If someone says: What is the argument in this saying of Allah
Surely Allah makes err whom He pleases and guides aright whom He pleases,157
and in other verses like it? It is said: the metaphor in all these verses has two meanings; one is that Allah tells about His might that He is able to guide whomever He pleases and misguide whomever He pleases, and if He forces them into one of these two ways, neither reward nor punishment they would deserve, and the second is the “informing” like in this verse:
And as to Thamud, We gave them guidance, but they chose error above guidance.158
It means that Allah has showed them the right way. If He had forced them into guidance, they would not be able to go astray. It is not right that, whenever an allegorical verse is mentioned, that it be used as an argument agaisnt the clear verses which we have been ordered to follow. Allah says:
(He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are allegorical. Then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity, they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation),159
…give good news to My servants who listen to the word, then follow the best of it; those are they whom Allah has guided, and those who are the men of understanding).160
The best of the word means the clearest and most decisive.
‘May Allah make us successful in saying and doing to what He likes and pleases, and may He keep us away from His disobedience by His favor and grace. Much praise be to Allah as He deserves, and His blessings be on Muhammad and on His good progeny. Allah is sufficient for us and most excellent is the Protector.’161
This is the end of the wonderful letter of Imam al-Hadi (a.s) in which he refuted the illusions of the Ash’arites and the Mu’tazilites and proved with irrefutable proofs the concept of “the matter between the two matters” which the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) believed in.
The supplications of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) form a wonderful part of the Islamic heritage. They had established the bases of behaviors and morals and the spiritual elements of personality. They included important, political documentation that showed the extent of persecution and oppression the Islamic nation faced during those ages under the rule of the Umayyads and the Abbasids who spared no effort in oppressing people and using them as tools to serve the rulers and their retinues. Besides that, these supplications showed the reliance and devotedness of the Imams to Allah, and that they believed with their hearts, feelings, and passions.
When Imam al-Hadi (a.s) suffered a distress or he wanted some need to be satisfied, he prayed to Allah with this du’a. Narrators said that before reciting this du’a Imam al-Hadi (a.s) fasted on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, performed a ghusl in the morning of Friday, paid charity to a poor person, offered a four rak’ah prayer, and then he spread his palms towards the heaven and invoked sincerely by reciting,
“O Allah, praise be to You with the best praise that You deserve, the most pleHasant praise to You, the most appropriate praise to You, the most beloved praise to You. Praise be to You as You deserve, and as You accepted for Yourself, and as those, whose praise You accepted, praised You from all Your creation.
Praise be to you as your prophets, messengers, and angels praised you with, and as fits Your glory, highness, and greatness. Praise be to You that tongues are unable to express, and speech stops before reaching its end. Praise be to You that is not less than Your contentment, and that is better than every praise.
‘O Allah, praise be to You in joy and trouble, ease and distress, soundness and illness, years and ages. Praise be to You for Your favors and blessings to me. Praise be to You for what You have gifted me, tried me, healed me, provided me with livelihood, given me what I need, preferred me, honored me, dignified me, and guided me to Your religion; a praise that no describer can describe and no speaker can suffice.
‘O Allah, praise be to You for Your kindness to me, and Your favors on me, and Your preferring me to other than me. Praise be to You for Your adjusting my creation, and for Your educating me well as a favor from You and not for a precedent good from me. O my Lord, then which blessings have you not given me? And which gratitude is not required from me to you? I am satisfied with your kindness, and you suffice me from among all creation.
‘O my Lord, You are the Bestower upon me, the Beneficent, the Gracious, the Beautiful, the Lord of glory and honor, and of great favors and blessings, so praise be to You for all that. O my Lord, You did not disappoint me in any distress, did not betray me for any guilt, and did not expose me for any concealed sin. Your blessings are continuous on me in every difficulty and ease. You have always done me good and pardoned me.
‘O Allah, make me enjoy my hearing, sight, and organs and all that which the earth has for me. O Allah, my first need I ask You for, and my wish I request from You, and make it the means before my request, and I come nearer to You by it, is the sending of blessing on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad.
And I ask You to send blessings on him and on them as the best blessings that You have commanded Your people to send on them, and as the best of that which any of Your people has ever asked You for, and as You are responsible for them until the Day of Resurrection. O Allah, send blessing on them inasmuch as all those who have sent blessings on them, inasmuch as all those who shall send blessings on them; a continuous blessing with the means, exaltedness, and virtue, and send blessings on Your prophets, messengers, and Your good slaves, and send blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and send much peace on them!
‘O Allah, and Your generosity is that You do not disappoint whoever asks You for something, and looks forward to what You have, and You dislike whoever does not ask You, and no one is so other than You. O my Lord, my greed for Your mercy and forgiveness, and my trust in Your kindness and favor has led me to call on You, yearn for You, and offer my need before You.
I have presented before my request, the aiming at You by the means of Your Prophet, who had brought the truth from You, and brought Your light and straight path by which You have guided the people, and by whose light You have enlivened the earth, and whom You have endowed with the highest dignity, and honored with the shahada, and sent him after a cessation of the messengers.
O Allah, I believe in his secret and openness, and in the secret of his progeny whom You had kept uncleanness away from and purified a thorough purifying…O Allah, do not cut ties between me and them in this life and in the afterlife and accept my deeds by them!
‘O Allah, You had guided Your people to Yourself when You said,
And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me, so they should answer My call and believe in Me that they may walk in the right way,162
O my servants, who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful),163
And Noah did certainly call upon Us, and best of answerers are We.164
O Lord, yes! The best of the called upon are you, the best of lords are You, and the best of answerers are You! You say,
Say: Call upon Allah or call upon the Beneficent; whichever you call upon, His are the best names,165
and I call upon You, O Allah, by Your names which if You are called upon by, You respond, and if You are asked by, You give. I call upon you suppliantly, humbly with the call of one whom inadvertence has taken away and neediness has exhausted. I call upon you with the call of one who has given up, confessed his guilt, and hoped for your great pardon, and wide reward.
‘O Allah, if You have singled out someone, who followed what You have ordered him and acted as You have created him for, with Your mercy, he would not reach that except by You and Your assistance. O Allah…to you my Master is my preparing, hoping for your prizes and gifts. I ask you to send blessings on Muhammad and on the progeny of Muhammad and to satisfy my request and need…
‘O You, the most generous of givers, the best of the beneficent, send blessings on Muhammad and on the progeny of Muhammad, and whoever from Your people wants to harm me disconcert his heart, refute his tongue, blind his sight, curb his head, make him busy with himself, and make me safe from him by Your might and power!
O Allah, do not make it the last time to me that I call upon You suppliantly, and if You do, then forgive me all my faults with forgiveness that does not leave behind a single guilt. Make my call among the responded calls, my deed among the accepted deeds near you, and my speech among that which comes up to You of good deeds, and make me be with Your Prophet and chosen, and the Imams, peace be upon them all. By them I beseech you, and by them I yearn to you.
Respond to my call O the most Merciful of the merciful, and forgive me my slips.’ Then Imam al-Hadi (a.s) asked for his need and went down into prostration and said,
“There is no god but Allah the Forbearing, the Generous. There is no god but Allah the Most High, the Great. Glory be to Allah the Lord of the seven heavens, the lord of the seven earths, and the Lord of the Great Throne.
O Allah, I resort to your pardon from your punishment and to your contentment from your wrath and to you from you. I cannot reach your praise, or the gratitude you deserve. You are as you have praised yourself. Make my life a growth for me in every goodness and my death a relief to me from every evil. Make the delight of my eyes in your obedience. O my Trust and Hope, do not burn my face in Fire after my prostration to you my Master.
With no favor from me on You, You have the favor upon me, so pity my weakness and delicate skin, and relieve me from the distresses of this life and of the afterlife, and favor me with the company of the Prophet (a.s) and his progeny (peace be upon them) in the high ranks in Paradise…
O You the Light of light, the Manager of affairs, Generous, Glorious, One, Unique, Eternal, Who neither begot nor was begotten, and there is none comparable to You, O You Who are so, and no one is so other than You, O You Whom there is no god in the high heavens or in the low earth other than You, O You Who honor every humble one, and humble every mighty one, by Your glory and loftiness I have lost my patience, so send blessings on Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad and relieve me…!’
When he went to bed or awoke from sleep, he recited this du’a:
“There is no god but Allah the Alive, the Eternal, and He has power over all things. Glory be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds and the Deity of the messengers. Glory be to Allah, the Lord of the seven heavens and all that which they have, and the Lord of the seven earths and all that which they have, the Lord of the Great Throne, and peace be on the messengers, and praise be to Allah the Lord of the worlds.”
“O You, my supply, my hope and reliance, my resort and support, O You the One and Unique, O You, Who “say: He, Allah, is One”, O Allah, I ask You by those like whom You have not created in Your creation, to have blessing on them…”
“O You Who are mighty in Your might, Who are the mightiest in Your might, make me mighty from Your might, assist me with Your help, keep away from me the evil suggestion of the Devils, defend me by Your defense, protect me by Your protection, and make me from the good people of Your creation, O You One, Unique, Eternal!’
“O You the most hearing of hearers, the most perceptive of seers, the best of lookers, the promptest of accounters, the Most Merciful of the merciful, the wisest of judges, have blessing on Muhammad and on the progeny of Muhammad, and increase my livelihood, prolong my old, favor me with Your mercy, make me from those who defend Your religion and do not replace me by other than me…!’166
Imam al-Hadi (a.s) communed Allah the Almighty in the darkness of night with a suppliant heart and peaceful soul. It was narrated that he said in his communes:
1. “O my Lord, a guilty has come, and a poor has sought; do not disappoint his effort! Have mercy on him, and forgive his faults.’167
2. “My Lord, bless Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad, and have mercy on me when my trace will disappear from this life and my mention will be removed among people, and I shall be forgotten as those who had been forgotten. My Lord, I have become old, my skin has become delicate, my bones have become thin, time has affected me, my death has approached me, my days have elapsed, my lusts have gone but my guilt remained! O my Lord, have mercy on me when my shape will change!”168
3. “O my Lord, thoughts of thinkers went astray, sights of seers fell short, descriptions of describers dissipated, sayings of fabricators vanished before the wonders of Your affair, or the reach to Your highness, for You are in the unreachable place, and no eye can fall upon You with a glance or expression. How far, and how far! O You the First, the Only, the Unique! You have exalted in highness with the glory of greatness, and risen up beyond every bottom and end with the omnipotence of pride.”169
A collection of wonderful Ziyarahs 170 were transmitted from Imam al-Hadi (a.s) by which he visited his pure fathers, the infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s). These ziyarahs are full of arguments on the right of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) in the Islamic caliphate. They also include important documentations of their achievements, morals, virtues, and qualities.
Az-Ziyarah al-Jami’ah is the most famous and important ziyarah of the infallible Imams (a.s). It is very widespread among the Shi’a and all followers of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s) who have memorized it. They recite it on Fridays as a visit to the pure Imams (a.s). It has been published hundreds of times in different editions and we think there is no need to mention it here for it is very well-known and widespread among Muslims.
The Day of al-Ghadir is one of the most important occasions for the Twelver Shi’a who consider it as an Eid where the Prophet (a.s) had appointed Imam ‘Ali (a.s) as the caliph over Muslims after him. The Shi’a visited and still visit the holy shrine of Imam ‘Ali (a.s) on the Day of al-Ghadir every year to confirm their guardianship and allegiance to him.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s) visited the holy shrine of his grandfather Imam ‘Ali (a.s) in the year when al-Mu’tasim, the Abbasid caliph, brought him from Medina to Sammarra’.171 Imam al-Hadi (a.s) visited his grandfather Amir’ul- Mu’minin with this wonderful ziyarah in which he mentioned the virtues of Imam ‘Ali (a.s) and the political and social problems he suffered at that age. We mention here some passages from the ziyarah:
“…And you were the first one who believed in Allah and offered prayer to Him, fought in His way, and did well in the house of polytheism where the earth was full of deviation and Satan was worshipped openly.
You had the memorable situations, famous occasions, and great days; the Day (battle) of Badr and the Day of al-Ahzab
When the eyes turned dull, and the hearts rose up to the throats, and you began to think diverse thoughts of Allah. There the believers were tried and they were shaken with severe shaking, and when the hypocrites, and those in whose hearts was a disease, were saying: Allah and His messenger promised us naught but delusion, and when a party of them said: O people of Yathrib, there is no place to stand for you here, therefore go back, and a party of them asked permission of the prophet, saying: Surely our houses are exposed; and they were not exposed; they only desired to fly away 172
and Allah said:
And when the believers saw the allies, they said: This is what Allah and His Messenger promised us, and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth; and it only increased them in faith and submission.173
Then you killed their Amr 174 and defeated their parties:
And Allah turned back the unbelievers in their rage; they did not obtain any advantage, and Allah sufficed the believers in fighting; and Allah is Strong, Mighty 175
And on the Day of Uhud:
When you climbed (the hill) and paid no heed to anyone, while the messenger, in your rear, was calling you (to fight), 176
but you drove away the polytheists from the Prophet (a.s) on the right and on the left until Allah drove them from it (war) fearfully and gave victory by you to the (disappointers), and on the Day of Hunayn as Allah said:
When your great numbers made you vain, but they availed you nothing and the earth became strait to you notwithstanding its spaciousness, then you turned back retreating. Then Allah sent down His tranquility upon His Messenger and upon the believers.177
And the believers were you and your companions…And on the Day of Khaybar when Allah showed the weakness of the hypocrites and cut the roots of the unbelievers- praise be to Allah the Lord of the worlds.
And certainly they had made a covenant with Allah before, that they would not turn (their) backs; and Allah's covenant shall be inquired of. 178
And you participated with the Prophet (S) in all his wars and battles holding the banner before him, and beating with the sword in front of him. Then for your well-known resolution and insight on affairs, he made you the emir in the battles and there was no emir over you.
In your sleeping in the bed (of the Prophet)179 you were like the slaughtered (Prophet Ishmael) Peace be upon him, that you responded as he responded, and you obeyed as he obeyed patiently hoping for the reward when his father said to him,
O my son! surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said: O my father, do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones, 180
and so were you when the Prophet (a.s) ordered you to sleep in his bed to save him by your self and you hurried to respond obediently and to expose your self to killing, and so Allah thanked your obedience and showed your good deed by saying,
And among men is he who sells himself to seek the pleasure of Allah.181
I witness that you contradicted desires, allied with piety, suppressed anger, pardoned people, became angry when Allah was disobeyed, became pleased when Allah is obeyed, carried out what you were entrusted with, kept what you were confided, achieved what you were charged with, and waited for what you were promised, and I witness that you did not avoid (some people) out of humbleness, nor refrained from your right (in the caliphate) with grief, nor abstained from confronting the extorters of your right out of subservience, nor you showed satisfaction unlike the satisfaction of Allah out of flattering, nor you became weak after what you faced for the sake of Allah, nor you weakened or gave up the demanding of your right and lay in wait. God forbid! You were not so, but if you were wronged, you were content with your Lord and entrusted your affairs to Him.
You did not mind misfortunes, and did not weaken at distresses, and did not abstain from fighting against falseness…It was you who said: neither do the masses of people around me increase my glory, nor does their separation from me cause me loneliness even if all people betray me…
Allah the Almighty responded to His prophet’s call concerning you,182 and then He ordered him to announce that he entrusted you with the affair (caliphate) of his nation as glorification to you, declaring your proof, and refuting the falsehood and fabricated excuses. When he feared sedition from the dissolute and feared for you from the hypocrites, the Lord of the worlds revealed to him,
O Messenger, deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people. 183
He burdened himself with journey, stopped at the hot desert, and made his speech. He called out and made everyone hear, and asked them, ‘Have I informed?’ They said, ‘By Allah, yes!’ He said, ‘O Allah, bear witness!’ Then he said, ‘Am I not worthier of Muslims than themselves to them?’ They said, ‘Yes, you are.’
Then, he took your hand and said, ‘Whoever his guardian I am, here is ‘Ali to be his guardian. O Allah, support whoever supports him, be enemy to whoever shows enmity towards him, help whoever helps him, and disappoint whoever disappoints him!’ They did not believe in what Allah had revealed to His prophet concerning you except a few, and most of them did not add save perdition…!
Then was your ordeal on the Day of Siffin when the copies of the Qur'an were raised trickily and cunningly. Suspicion appeared, the truth was known, but supposition was followed. It was like the ordeal of Aaron when Moses made him the emir over his people but they separated from him and left him alone while Aaron calling out,
O my people! you are only tried by it, and surely your Lord is the Beneficent Allah, therefore follow me and obey my order. They said: We will by no means cease to keep to its worship until Musa returns to us.184
So were you when the copies of the Qur'an were raised and you said: ‘O people, you are tried by it and deceived.’ But they disobeyed and objected to you and called for the two judges. You, before Allah, exempted yourself from their doing and made Allah the judge over them. When the truth shone, and their abominable doing was refuted, they confessed their fault and deviation from the truth, and after that they disagreed.
Then, they forced you to accept the arbitration which you denied and prohibited but they liked. They permitted their guilt that they committed. You were on insight and guidance and they were in deviation and blindness.
They still insisted on hypocrisy and were still in error until Allah made them taste the evil results of their doing and He killed from them by your sword who opposed you and became wretched and lost, and gave life by your argument to whoever followed the guidance and was happy. The blessings of Allah be on you everywhere and everywhen. Neither can a praiser cover your description, nor can a dispraiser encompass your virtues…’
In some traditions Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) told his companions some stories of the prophets.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) related a dialogue between Prophet Noah (a.s.) and Iblis. He said, ‘One day, Iblis came to Noah and said to him, ‘You have done me a great favor. Trust in me and I shall not betray you.’ Noah became angry. Allah revealed to him to let Iblis speak out. Noah said to Iblis, ‘Speak out!’ Iblis said, ‘If we find the son of Adam stingy, envious, arrogant, or rash, we (the Devils) snatch him as the snatching of a ball.
If all these morals gather in him, we call him a mutinous devil.’ Noah said, ‘What is the great favor I have done to you?’ Iblis said, ‘You invoked Allah against the people of the earth and sent them to Hell, and so I was free. Without your invoking against them, I would be busy with them for a long time.’185
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) related, “Moses said, O my Lord, what is the reward of one who avoids treason out of being shy of You?’
Allah the Almighty said, ‘He shall be safe on the Day of Resurrection.’
Moses said, ‘What is the reward of one who loves the people of your obedience?’
Allah the Almighty said, ‘I will save his body from My Fire.’
Moses said, ‘What is the reward of one who kills a believer intentionally?’
Allah the Almighty said, ‘I will not look at him on the Day of Resurrection and I will not pardon his sin.’
Moses said, ‘My Lord, what is the reward of one who refrains from harming people and helps them instead?’
Allah the Almighty said, ‘On the Day of Resurrection, Fire will say to him: I have no way over you.’186 Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) told such stories to his companions to be examples for them on good morals and manners.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) narrated to his companions, ‘If one of you gives (charity) with his right hand, let him conceal that from his left hand, and if he prays, let him conceal that.’
Allah the Almighty loves that when a believer gives charity or does good, he is to keep it secret and not to announce or spread it among people lest he shall lose the reward, for he has to seek the reward from Allah.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) talked to his companions about some important Islamic events that happened at the first Islamic age. One of them was the killing of the martyr Qanbar, Imam ‘Ali’s servant, at the hand of the tyrant al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf ath-Thaqafi.187
He said,‘Qanbar came in to al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf who shouted at him, ‘What service did you offer to ‘Ali bin Abu Talib?’
Qanbar said, ‘I helped him in performing ablution.’
Al-Hajjaj said, ‘What did he say when he finished his ablution?’
Qanbar said, ‘He recited this Qur’anic verse:
But when they neglected that with which they had been admonished, We opened for them the doors of all things, until when they rejoiced in what they were given We seized them suddenly; then lo! they were in utter despair. So the roots of the people who were unjust were cut off; and all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.188
Al-Hajjaj said, ‘I think he meant us?!’
Qanbar said, ‘Yes, he did.’
Al-Hajjaj said to Qanbar, ‘What do you do if I behead you?’
Qanbar said, ‘Then I shall be happy and you shall be wretched.’
The tyrant ordered his men to behead this good man and he was killed.’189
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) praised the innumerable favors the Prophet (S) and Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) did the nation. He said, ‘From glorifying Allah is the preferring of the two fathers of religion Muhammad and ‘Ali to the fathers of kinship, and from being indifferent to the loftiness of Allah is to prefer the fathers of kinship to the fathers of religion; Muhammad and ‘Ali…’190
He also said, ‘If the two fathers of religion Muhammad and ‘Ali are not glorified to one more than his fathers of kinship, one shall have no value near Allah.’191
The Prophet (S) and his guardian Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) have had rights on the nation more than the rights of fathers. By them Allah has taken people out of the life of ignorance, meanness, and wretchedness to the life of Islam that is full of honor, glory, and dignity.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) talked about the virtue of the ulama’ during the time of the occultation of his grandson Imam al-Mahdi (a.s.). He said, ‘If, after the occultation of Imam al-Mahdi, there will be no ulama’ who will invite and guide to him, defend his religion with clear proofs, and save the weak faithful from the traps of Iblis and his followers and from the traps of the enemies of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), no one remains unless he will apostate from the religion of Allah, but it is they who will hold the hearts of the weak of the Shi’a as a shipper when holding the rudder of his ship. Those are the best of people near Allah.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) talked about patience and the great reward the patient shall get from their Lord. Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali narrated, “I heard Abul Hasan saying, ‘On the Day of Resurrection, a caller will call out: where are the patient? Some people will get up. Then, a caller will call out: where are the discerning? Some people will get up. The patient are those who are patient with the performing of the obligations, and the discerning are those who are discerning in refraining from sins.’192
Islam resisted all bad habits and traditions of the pre-Islamic era. From those habits that Islam resisted was the pessimism at days which the pre-Islamic society believed in. It neither brought good nor did it save from evil, for all things were determined by Allah the Creator of the universe and Giver of life.
Al-Hasan bin Mas’oud 193 said, “One day, I went to Abul Hasan ‘Ali bin Muhammad (a.s.) after my finger was scratched, and a rider knocked against my shoulder, and I went into a crowd that some of my clothes were torn. I said: may Allah save me from your evil O day! How ill-omened you are!’
Abul Hasan (a.s.) said to me, ‘O Hasan, you say so though you frequent us! You throw your guilt on that which is guiltless!’
I recovered my senses, understood my mistake, and said: I ask Allah to forgive me.’
Abul Hasan (a.s.) said, ‘O Hasan, what is the guilt of days that you are pessimistic at when you are punished for your deeds on them?’
I said, ‘I always ask Allah for forgiveness. It is my repentance O son of the messenger of Allah.’
He said, ‘By Allah, it does not benefit you. Allah punishes you for blaming days which have no guilt in what you blame them for. O Hasan, do you know that it is Allah Who rewards and punishes for deeds whether sooner or later?’
I said, ‘O yes, my master.’
He said, ‘Do not give days a role in the judgment of Allah!’
I said, ‘O yes, my master.”194
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) confirmed what the Prophet (S) had announced in one of his traditions that it was not from Islam that a Muslim be pessimistic, but he must have a strong will and determination in doing everything except sins.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) invited to cleanness and prettification. He said, ‘Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty and prettification, and He hates misery and miserable ones. Allah the Almighty likes, when He gives a blessing to His slave, to see the effects of that blessing appear on him.’ He was asked, ‘How is that?’ He said, ‘To clean his dress, make his smell good, order his house, and sweep the yard. Even a lamp lit before sunset takes poverty away and increases livelihood.’195
Sayyid bin Tawus narrated that Muhammad bin Harun al-Jallab said, ‘I said to my master ‘Ali bin Muhammad al-Hadi (a.s.): we narrated from your fathers that a time would come where there would be nothing rarer than a friendly brother or gaining a lawful dirham (well-gotten money).’ He said, ‘O Muhammad, a friendly brother is available, but you are in a time where there is nothing rarer than a well-gotten dirham and a loyal, faithful brother.’196
The rarity of well-gotten money results from the impiety in gaining and the greediness to get money in any way. As for a friendly brother who seeks his own benefits, he is available everywhere and everywhen, but as for a god-fearing brother who keeps his brother away from committing sin and takes him to do good, he is rare at all times.
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was asked, ‘Why do these Muslims hate death?’ He said, ‘Because they ignore it, and therefore, they hate it. If they knew it and were from the devotees of Allah, they would surely love it and know that the afterlife would be better than the worldly life.’ Then Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) turned to his companions and said, ‘Why do a child and an insane refrain from drug that recovers their bodies and relieves them from pain?’
They said, ‘Because they ignore the benefit of drug.’
He said, ‘I swear by Him who had sent Muhammad with the truth as prophet, whoever prepares himself to death, it would be better for him than this curative drug. If they know what bliss death gets to, they will love it and call for it more than a sane, determined man when calling for drug to cure his diseases and get safety.’197
In another tradition it was related that one day Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) visited a sick companion and saw him cry fearing from death. He said to him, ‘O Abdullah (slave of Allah), you fear from death because you do not know it. If you become dirty and filthy, and you suffer from this dirt and filth that cause you sores and mange, and then you know that washing in the bathroom will relieve all that, do you not want to go to the bathroom and remove all that from you, or you hate to do that and you let filth, sores, and mange on you?’
The sick man said, ‘O yes, son of the messenger of Allah, may Allah have blessing and peace on you and your household.’
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘Death is that bathroom. It is the last thing remaining for you to wash your guilt and purify you from your sins. If you come to it and be its neighbor, you shall be free from every distress, grief, and pain, and shall get to every happiness and delight.’ The sick man was calm. He submitted to death and pleased with the fate of Allah.198
Ahmad bin Hilal asked Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) about true repentance and he replied to him, ‘that the inward and the outward are to be the same and better.’199
Abdul Adhim al-Hasani narrated that he heard Abul Hasan ‘Ali bin Muhammad al-Hadi (a.s.) saying, ‘The meaning of “rajeem-accursed” that Satan is described with is that he is stoned with curse, and rejected from every place of good. No faithful mentions him unless he curses him. In the eternal knowledge of Allah that when Imam al-Mahdi (al-Qa’im) (a.s.) will reappears, every believer at his time will stone Satan as he had been stoned with curse before.’200
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said, ‘Mob are the killers of the prophets…Allah was not pleased with them when He compared them to the livestock and said,
but they are worse. 201
Mobs are those groups of people who have no social or religious understanding. It is they whom tyrannical powers push to kill prophets and reformers throughout history.
A collection of precious words was narrated from Imam al-Hadi (a.s.). These words are from the wonderful intellectual treasures in Islam, in which Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) has discussed different educational, moral, and psychological issues. Here are some of his words:
1. “Better than good is its doer, better than favor is its sayer, and more preferable than knowledge is its follower.’
2. He said to one of his servants, ‘Blame so-and-so (friendly) and say to him: if Allah wants good for someone, He made him be pleased when he is blamed.’
3. “He, who asks for more than his merit, is worthier of deprivation.”
4. “The rightness of one, who ignores dignity, is his lowness.”
5. “Patience is to possess yourself and control your anger when you are able to show it.”
6. “People (run their affairs) in this life with money and in the afterlife with deeds.”
7. “Whoever is pleased with himself, many are those who are displeased at him.”
8. “Fates show you what you do not imagine.”
9. “The evilest of misfortune is bad morals.”
10. “Wealth is the littleness of wishing and the satisfaction with what suffices you, poverty is greediness and despair, and lowness is following the little and looking forward to insignificants.’
11. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) was asked about resolution and he said, ‘It is to see your opportunity and hurry to achieve it as possible as you can.’
12. “The rider of a reluctant horse is a captive of himself.” He, who walks in crooked ways, is led by his fancy that throws him into the abyss of misfortunes.
13. “An ignorant one is a captive of his tongue.’
14. “Disputing destroys old friendship, and unties firm knots. The least of it is that it leads to hatred which is the first cause of the rupture of relations.”
15. “Blaming is the key to haughtiness, though it is better than spite.”
16. One of Imam al-Hadi’s companions exaggerated in praising the Imam who said to him, ‘Much flattery attacks discernment. If you are trusted by your brother, turn from flattery to good will.”
17. “Misfortune for the patient is one, and for the impatient is two.”
18. “Envy eradicates good deeds, and pride brings detestation.”
19. “Self-conceit turns one away from seeking knowledge and leads him to ignorance.”
20. “Stinginess is the worst of morals, and greediness is a bad nature.”
21. “Associating with the wicked shows the wickedness of one who associates with them.”
22. “The denying of blessings is a sign of ungratefulness and a cause for changing (of blessings).”
23. “Importunity takes peacefulness away and leads to regret.”
24. “Mockery is the joking of the foolish and the craft of the ignorant.”
25. “Undutifulness (to parents) lessens offspring and leads to meanness.”
26. “Sleeplessness makes sleep more pleHasant, and hunger makes food more delicious.”
27. “Think of your death between your family where no physician shall defend you and no friend shall benefit you!”
28. “Think of the regrets of wasting to be more determined!”
29. “A niggard and a wise man do not rest.”
30. “There is no cure for corrupted natures.”
31. “He, who cannot prevent, cannot give.”
32. “Worse than evil is its doer and more horrible than horror is an adventurer into it.”
33. “Beware of envy for it harms you and not your enemy.”
34. “In a time where justice is more than oppression, it is unlawful to suspect anyone before being certain of that which is suspected of, and in a time where oppression is more than justice, one should not trust in anyone except after being certain of him.”
35. Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) said to al-Mutawakkil (the Abbasid caliph), “Do not expect good will from one whom you have offended, or loyalty from one whom you have betrayed, or sincerity from one whom you have suspected, because the hearts of others towards you are like your heart towards them.”
36. “Retain blessings by being good neighbor to them (by spending them in the right way and helping people through charities), expect more by being grateful to Allah for them, and know that soul is very willing to what it is given and very unwilling to what it is prevented from, so carry it on a sumpter that does not slow.”
37. “Ignorance and niggardliness are the worst of morals.”
38. “Good appearance is apparent beauty and good mind is hidden beauty.”
39. “It is from inadvertence to Allah that one keeps on disobedience and wishes forgiveness from Allah.”
40. “If people walked in a vast valley, I would walk in a valley of a man who worshipped Allah alone sincerely.”
41. “The anger at one, over whom you have authority, is meanness.”
42. “A grateful one is happier with gratitude than with the blessing that requires gratitude, because blessings are enjoyment and gratitude is a blessing.”
43. “Allah made the worldly life a place of trying and the afterlife a place of reward. He made the misfortunes of the worldly life as a means for the reward of the afterlife, and the reward of the afterlife as a compensation for the misfortunes of the worldly life.”
44. “An understanding oppressor is about to take attentions away from his oppression through his understanding, and a foolish just man is about to put out the light of his justice through his foolishness.”
45. “Whoever shows you his sincere love you are to show him your obedience.”
46. “Do not feel safe from the evil of one who despises himself.”
47. “The world is a market in which some people gain and others lose.”
48. “Think of your death among your family where no physician shall save you and no lover shall benefit you.”202