﴿إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ، وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ. يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا: لا يَسْخَرْ قَومٌ مِنْ قَوْمٍ عَسَى أَنْ يَكُونُوا خَيْراً مِنْهُمْ، وَلا نِسَاءٌ مِنْ نِسَاءٍ عَسَى أَنْ يَكُنَّ خَيْراً مِنْهُنَّ، وَلا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ﴾
“The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren and be careful of (your duty to) Allah that mercy may be had on you. O you who believe! Let not (one) people laugh at (another) people perchance they may be better than they, nor let women (laugh) at (other) women, perchance they may be better than they; and do not find fault with your own people. (49:10-11)”
Man is in need of unity, co-operation and joining of hearts for securing of safety in this worldly life and for success in the Hereafter. If man wants that is worldly life and should pass with happiness and comfort, it is not possible by his own self alone. He needs a house, a wife/husband, clothing and food and also a carpet or a floor. This cannot be secured from one person. Therefore, he is obliged to co-operate with one another. If people become one hearted and in one direction their lives pass with ease and nicety. Man and wife should be sympathetic with one another, so also a seller and a buyer both must have a co-operative integrity. If a happy life is desired, one must never trouble another due to selfishness. No one should play any trick with anybody. One must never fear another. This peaceful life is for this world.
Meaning: Paradise is where nobody troubles anyone.
But as regards the Hereafter, Faith, Piety and good deeds too cannot be acted upon solitarily. One cannot improve his Hereafter by sitting in a far off corner and remaining away from the world, the Faithful, the Religious brotherhood. How can Faith be obtained in this way? Faith is not a thing, which can be proud in someone’s throat. One must, sufficiently, sit with a scholar, have contacts with the Faithful, so that the light of Faith and knowledge may benefit him. This cannot be attained by remaining aloof and alone.
It is mentioned in Usul al-Kafi that some people praised, before Imam Sadiq someone saying, “This person never comes out of his house. He forever and at all times remains busy in remembering God and the Hereafter.” The holy Imam asked, “This one who sits in a lonely corner, how does he improve his religious behavior without seeing anybody?” These gentlemen do not attend Mosque for years. They never see a scholar; they do not read books. How do they inculcate Faith?
If there is anything, it is following collective discipline. It is not a thing, which can be taken to grave with oneself. Faith in heart has to be earned with effort. A faith, which is obtained after research and study and through knowledge, brings light (Noor) in one’s heart. This is with regard to the origin or foundation of Faith.
Every man always has Satans around him. They do not leave him to the lucky and successful. They put doubts and hesitations in his heart in order to shake his Faith. Such doubts are both about deeds and beliefs. The author of Urwathul Wuthqa has very rightly said that these Satans insert doubts at least about the appropriateness of the prayer leader so that one may not offer the prayer in congregation. So long as a believer is alone, Satan wins over him but if he is accompanied by another believer he becomes strong. It is a popular saying that is you break a stick once and then, after putting the two broken pieces one upon another, again try to break, it becomes difficult as the two became one. Their strength has also doubled.
So long as a believer remains alone, Satan is able to pressurize him. He puts more and more pressure on him until he takes away his Faith. The Satan does not leave man until he makes him deprived. But if one Faithful person acquired true friendship with another true believer and makes spiritual unity, Satan is not able to create doubts in their hearts. Some persons become doubtful about Cleanliness, doubtful in recitation. Such things are due to loneliness. But if a believer befriends another believer properly and they become one hearted, then Satan cannot defeat them. There is a narration that our Shias do not fall in doubts that is; they are joined with us. The one who joined with Ja’far, who becomes united with another believer than Satan has no power to play mischief with them. Satan waits for a disagreement or dispute between the two. Satan makes efforts to separate them. All the endeavor of Satan is for not allowing two Believers to join with one another. Satan tries his utmost to create rift between the two, by pouring a doubt in one’s heart. Anything, which is against one’s liking, is the net of Satan. Then Satan fans the fire of dispute and disagreement to make the two brothers separate.
It is mentioned in Usul al-Kafi that the Imam says, “The Satan remains happy as long as a believer is separate and away from another believer. When the two brothers join together, Satan shrieks and falls down on earth.”
Who is the man who makes Satan shriek? He is the one who suppresses his own desires and passions. If such a faithful man, with a true heart and on the basis of truth and as per the Command of Allah, joins with a perfect Muslim, Satan and his doubts fail. Man is very much in need of a spiritual friend, especially at the time of his death.
The last Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said that when one is about to die, he sees the faces of those with whom he had remained connected during his worldly life.1 If he had good friends he observes good faces. Otherwise he sees ugly faces. Woe unto you if you were a friend of a bad fellow. Woe unto you if you had friendship with a Satan. At your last moments that Satan appears before you. You face only misleading temptations. If you had a spiritual friend, his spiritualism helps you at the time of your death. Man requires much help (at the time of his death), which is provided by a spiritual friendship, which continues in the other worlds also after death. As I told you yesterday, a permanent friend is for this purpose. Such a friend strengthens your religion and faith. The number of such persons was always less and it is lesser in the present times, such spiritual persons who have no personal desires and passions, friend who joins with you for God’s sake. Only God can grant us that.
The happiness and in this world and success in the Hereafter is, as I have said earlier, based on the joining (unity) of hearts. That is why, God Almighty, because of His Far-reaching Wisdom, through the mouths of His Prophets and Imams, commanded us to observe all those things, which are effective for the purpose of unity of hearts. Likewise prohibited and banned are all those matters, which create disinterest and dislike and hatred and separation of hearts so that the Muslims may not become disintegrated and both of their world and the Hereafter may not be destroyed. For example, at present, really speaking the lives of Muslims is not very different from the lives of the deniers. They are in adversity and so are we too due to disunion and discord.
No two hearts are united. You can see. Two twelver Imami Shias are observing the same prayer, fast and piety. Yet they are not at good terms with one another.
There is a strange disunity because of self-interests and selfishness. Their life is totally like the life a denier. They are being hit by deniers! For so many times it has been said how three million Israelis have overpowered two hundred million Muslim Arabs! Why so? Here I must cry out that the lives of Muslims are just like the lives of non-Muslims. As their world is like theirs, I am afraid their Hereafter too will be like theirs. Moreover the deniers have power and strength but the unlucky Muslims do not have even that. It shows how will be their life in the Hereafter!
Come out of self-seeking attitude. Take from Islam that which makes hearts united. Beginning from Salam greeting upto friendship (brotherhood in faith) and self-sacrifice. Do not give up these virtues. Whenever you meet any Muslim, greet him with Salam. What for is this Salam? The Arabic word Salam is based on the root letters Sa La Ma. It is a prayer or supplication. Salamun Alaikum means: I seek your safety and security from Almighty Allah. May you always be in peace. The Salam, which we recite during prayers, is: Peace be upon us and upon the righteous servants. Peace be upon you and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. How is it? Do you know its manners and discipline? Whenever you recite “Peace be upon us and upon the righteous servants,” you must think of (and pray for) all Faithful men and women.
When you say: Peace be upon upon you. (As salaamu alaikum), if it be before a group pray for the entire congregation. If you are not in a congregation but are praying prayer alone, then you think of Kiraaman Kaatibeen (the angles who keep everyone’s account of deeds) and all the Messengers and Prophets. All wish peace for one another from the depths of hearts, which then become united. Hundreds, thus wish safety of all, especially the leader of the congregation prayer. While concluding the prayer, the first Salam makes you think towards your right and the second towards the left. There must be unity. There must be integration of hearts. Thus the aim of everyone becomes one. Personal interest (selfishness) is driven out. You wish safety of each and every Muslim. Your only goal and aspiration is that no Muslim should experience trouble anywhere in the world.
After this Salam, there is compliment. If one, in the meeting sneezes, it is recommended that a Faithful must pray and compliment him saying: Yarhamukallaah (May Allah have mercy on you) and the former also replies saying: Yaghfirullaahu (May Allah forgive you). Sneezing is a blessing. It makes one’s head light, which is a kind of safety for the brain. Due to this sneezing, man feels a sort of relief. It is also mentioned in one of the narration that the Master of the Age said that sneezing secures a man’s life for three days. Perhaps it means that it may protect the brain from apoplexy causing a sudden death. Some have taken it to mean patience, which is not correct. Truly sneezing is a blessing.
While associating with Muslims, give importance to cheerfulness, nicety of nature, love and good manners. Create amity and affection for one another. How graceful it is to host a believer can be imagined from the words of Imam Sadiq that: If the entire world turns into a morsel and if I put it into the mouth of a believer, I will think it insufficient and feel that I have not done anything.
Islam has prohibited all those things, which cause hatred in hearts. It has prohibited everything, which distances one human from another. Rather, Islam has made it unlawful to cause grief to the heart of a Faithful, because it makes one close to and joining with Satan. We have told about this before. One of the prohibited matters, which cause disintegration and dispute and grief is mocking and derision. It is mentioned in the Holy verse under discussion: O Believers! O those who believe in Qur’an! And O those who say: The hour of reckoning is to arrive! We are addressing you, not Jews or Christians.
They have no belief or faith. It is you who say that Qur’an is truth, Judgment Day is true and Muhammad is true. O believer! We tell you that to mock and to make fun of a Muslim is unlawful. Such derision causes disunity, which, as its consequence, drives you away from God’s mercy. Woe unto the distancing which Satan brings between two of you. The men must not mock men, nor women should mock women. Arabic word ‘Istihzaa’ means to degrade or to make one lower. You utter a kind of word, which makes the other party degraded. It will be better if, here, I tell you some narrations in this connection.
Safiya, the wife of the Holy Prophet was the daughter of one of the nobles among the Jews, namely, Huyy Ibn Akhtab. After the Khyber fort was won by the hands of Amirul Momineen, Huyy was finally killed. This daughter of him had the honor of becoming a wife of the Holy Prophet. She herself had volunteered for this honor, which she was fortunate to get. Ever since Safiya entered the Holy home of the Holy Prophet.
Ayesha and Hafsa used to taunt this poor lady telling her: O Jew! Your father was a Jew. This poor lady who had lost her father, was feeling happiness in the Holy House due to this honor, the two women wanted to sting her with taunts. They were mocking Safiya. So she made a complaint to the Holy Prophet. The Holy Prophet too became very sad and he told Safiya, “Why did you not reply: My father is Haroon as he was from the progeny of Prophet Haroon; that my grand uncle is Musa bin Imran and my husband is the Holy Prophet Muhammad Mustafa?” This example is regarding mocking and giving insulting titles.
Here is a believer, a faithful Muslim. Why do you mock him? Giving such titles is unlawful – You are as your father and mother were. Allah says: Do not mock and humiliate others as it is prohibited: O the one who mocks others! What do you know about a believer? May the one whom you are mocking is better than you in the sight of God. You look only at the outer side. What do you know, what is hidden inside? How many people are there who are not being considered worth any value by others on account of their outward appearance. Yet they are precious in the Sight of Allah. They are valuable in the view of God Almighty. How many people are there who sit on the ground, who do not have more than a pair of clothing and yet, in the sight of God, they are honorable, respectable, having ranks and whose prayer is acceptable to Almighty Allah.
I remember one, the late Abdul Ghaffar, who lived in this very city of Shiraz about eighty or ninety years ago. He was in army uniform. Nobody knew about him. He used to live in a solitary room of Madressah Khan Shiraz.
None knew that he had acquired miraculous powers. He succeeded in praying behind Master of the Age. The only person who knew about this gentleman in Shiraz was the late Shaykh Mahdi Kajuri. This great man knew western sciences also. People knew him, as a scholar of western sciences, but only after it was too late, that is, only after his death. (Some old and aged gentlemen told me). This Shaykh comes to this Madressah Khan and says: O Muslims! Do you know what a precious pearl was this man (the late Abdul Ghaffar) and then tells them a little about his noble life and miraculous power?
Even today, his grave is seen there in the old graveyard of Shiraz. It is a place where God answers people’s prayers. Apparently there are writings of the late Shaykh Kajuri so that the faithful may go there and request Almighty Allah to fulfill their needs. It is written there: It is being witnessed that this gentleman was fortunate to see and perform prayer behind Imam Mahdi. This great and noble man had much recognition of Allah, even though, outwardly he used to wear army uniform and nobody recognized him.
I would like to give you an example.
How do you know? Maybe the one whom you are mocking and at whom you are looking with contempt is one of the friends of Almighty Allah? What do I know? Woe unto you if the one whom you mock is a friend of God. You mocked him or her without knowing and recognizing. Be, therefore, warned. Woe unto you if you offend a friend of God.
You say: Where is the friend of God? What do I know? None except God recognizes His friend. It is a hidden matter. Man should respect everyone. He must never mock anyone. He must never insult anybody. There is no open criterion, for example, the priestly turban. Even wonderful piety too is not the measure. The very first limit Piety is sufficient. I do not know who was it? If someone gives pain to the heart of a friend of God, he has, as if, given a challenge to fight with God. He is hated by God. There are many narrations to show this.2
Now I recite the last verse and deduce therefrom: Anyone who does not repent is an oppressor. The last verse is a good tiding and an invitation for repentance. Come let us act upon it. O Muslims! O those who have, during their lifetime, committed these sins. We said: Do not mock a believer. But you disobeyed this Command. Who is there among you who did not do such sins? Who feels assured that he never mocked or ridiculed a Faithful, has not given a degrading title to anyone.
Now, if it is so then make repentance and say: O Lord! For the sake of the reverence of the holy month of Ramadhan, have mercy on my tongue as I have through it, committed sins of every sort. Kindly make me pure. Secondly, make those also pleased with me whose rights I ignored. How do I know? Tomorrow, on the Day of Judgment, someone comes to me and holds me by my neck, saying: Do you remember, at such and such time, at such and such place, you had made a fun of me? My Lord! For the sake of Your Greatness, if I have, during my life, insulted any believer, please forgive me and also make that believer pleased with me. Allah is bountiful. His treasure it full and overflowing. If you did not repent, you are an oppressor. The gate of Forgiveness is wide open.
What is the fault of a donor if a beggar is lazy? Everyone or anyone who does not repent is an oppressor. Now, come. If you remember, recall it. If you do not remember, God does know it as it is in your scroll of deeds. O My Lord! Please pardon the sin of mine whereby I, with this tongue to mine, trampled any right of any believer, insulted any faithful, kindly forgive me. Let us come out of oppression and recite Dua Tawbah along with Zainul Abideen. Imam says: O My Lord! For whatever I have done against Your wish or for whatever has been the cause of the declination of my friendship with You, for whatever utterance my tongue has made which You did not like, I seek Your Forgiveness.
The Holy Prophet has said, “Anyone who insults another believer or mocks any faithful is hated by Almighty Allah.” I do not know what God will do with those who did such things with Husain, who mocked him and who shouted, “O Husain! Look at the water of river Euphrates. How its silvery waves are swelling. But we will not allow a single drop of it to reach your throat.”