﴿يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا، إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ، إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ. قَالَتْ الأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا؛ قُلْ: لَمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَكِنْ قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلْ الإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ، وَإِنْ تُطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لا يَلِتْكُمْ مِنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا، إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ﴾
“O you men! Surely, We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); surely Allah is Knowing, Aware. The dwellers of the desert say: We believe. Say: You do not believe but say, We submit; and faith has not yet entered into your hearts; and if you obey Allah and His Apostle, He will not diminish aught of your deeds; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (49:13-14)”
We created you from one man and one woman, that is, Adam and Eve. So you are not different from one another.
These differences, which are about branches and families are for recognition so that man, in social living and dealings with one another may not fall in doubts. When there is no proper recognition, it makes things difficult. So the distinction or variations, which God has made about tribes and sections etc. are for recognition, not for taking pride in them. The Arabs say: We are Arabs, where we and where the non-Arabs? Or the non-Arab retorts: We are non-Arabs, we are higher. Both are wrong.
﴿إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ﴾
“Surely, the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); (49:13)”
That which you are taking as measure or criterion, for example, being Arab or belonging to such and such tribe, all that is wrong. In fact, the true criterion is righteousness or piety.
Some commentators of Qur’an have shown another probability that “of a male and a female” refers to every person, not to all. Both are right as they mean Adam and Eve. However, more probable seems that “We created each and everyone of you from one father and one mother”. All of you are, from this angle, equal and like one another. There is no difference between you. To make it clearer: Be you an Arab or non-Arab, be a Lor or a Turk, a villager or a city-dweller.
Be whatever you like either a disbeliever or a believer, doubtlessly you have been ejected from passages of urine. Keep aside all pride and prejudice. One who has passed through this unclean path, how can he take pride in himself? Where is ‘my honor’, ‘my family’, ‘my relatives’, ‘my lineage’? Perhaps what the holy verse hints at is that one should never be proud. Just think from where you have arrived?
It is mentioned in Usul al-Kafi that Imam Zainul Abideen said, “Strange is a man who is proud and thinks oneself high and claims to be honorable and respectable whereas yesterday he was semen and tomorrow, when he dies, he is to be a foul-smelling corpse!”1
The late Haji Noori has, in the first part of Darus Salam, mentioned sixteen benefits of the dream. One of them is nocturnal emission. Another benefit is getting harmful substance out of the body, which keeps the physique safe, because, if it remains in the body it is likely to result in illness and trouble. When he awakes, he smells that foul odor which reminds him of his initial state. How strange! Was I like this in the beginning? Had it been so that a man may not have ejaculation and was the semen to reach the womb directly, without being shed out, he might have hardly looked at himself.
Almighty God, through His far-reaching wisdom and strategy, ordained it so that, sometimes, the semen should, unintentionally drop on man’s clothes so that you may remember your initial state of being. Leave aside all pride. The foul smell which you now smell is you yourself. Was it otherwise? At first he was a foul-smelling semen and at the end? Even if his grave is opened after a hundred years, nothing is seen except dust. Had it not become dust he would still be giving out terribly foul smell. What are you but a handful of dust? Finally only dust. The holy Imam says, “Fist semen and finally a corpse. Of what one is to take pride in?” Say: Wealth is ignorance. It is really so, wealth is indeed ignorance. If one reaches the truth he never takes pride in lineage, wealth and beauty.
O poor woman who is proud of your beauty! A single microbe of malaria can change your face. This beauty is borrowed or artificial. Do not be deceived. Look at its end. Pride in wealth and possessions is also same. However wealthy you may become, you will not be wealthier than Qarun. Many strong men could with much difficulty lift the keys of his treasure (not the treasure itself).
﴿إِنَّ قَارُونَ كَانَ مِنْ قَوْمِ مُوسَى فَبَغَى عَلَيْهِمْ، وَآتَيْنَاهُ مِنْ الْكُنُوزِ مَا إِنَّ مَفَاتِحَهُ لَتَنُوءُ بِالْعُصْبَةِ أُولِي الْقُوَّةِ﴾
“Surely, Qarun was of the people of Musa, but he rebelled against them, and We had given him of the treasures, so much so that his hoards of wealth would certainly weigh down a company of men possessed of great strength.”2
How vast what his treasure? What happened to Qarun’s wealth?
﴿فَخَسَفْنَا بِهِ وَبِدَارِهِ الأَرْضَ﴾
“Thus, We made the earth to swallow up him and his abode…”3
He went down in the earth himself along with the wealth as if it was nothing at all. Now what about the property about which you say that it is my property, it is my park, my machinery? Greatness of man is due to his God-worship and righteousness. If man reaches the station of God-worship and, in fact, becomes Abdullah (God’s servant) there is every grace in his wealth.
Such a grace, which will never end. O the one who wants to attain real grace; be a slave of God. This is grace, greatness and real honor. The pride of Ali bin Abi Talib was only that he was the slave of the Lord of the worlds. Slave and servant of God Almighty. No other state can ever be imagined to be higher than it. This is the capital of grace. The one who is more slave-like before God, greater is his grace and honor. God knows well where to give grace.
You do not know. In your imagination, wealth and property is the cause of grace or good luck whereas they are to vanish and end. Neither name nor fame or status. All this is playthings and vanities. Man’s grace and greatness is his piety and righteousness. That is why God informs you: O those who believe! Put aside all these things. Do the deeds which may make you righteous and which may take you nearer to your Lord.
It is written in the explanation of this holy verse that once they wanted to sell their slave. A customer arrived. The slave announced in a loud voice: Anyone who wants to buy me, may know that I have one condition. My condition is that I must be allowed to perform prayers five times day. I must be freed to perform my prayer behind the Prophet. At last a buyer accepted this condition and he bought the slave and allowed him to be free to perform all his five daily prayers behind the Prophet in the Prophet’s mosque. Days passed in this manner.
Then the Prophet did not see that slave in the mosque. So he inquired about him (It is desirable to inquire if a social man is not seen for some time) and was told, “O Messenger of Allah! That man is ill.” The Holy Prophet said, “I want to visit him (though a slave in those days and in that society was quite valueless).” But the Prophet looks at his interior. His exterior is that of a slave but internally he was a friend of God. So the Holy Prophet went to his place, sat at his side and talked nicely with him to make him happy.
Then after another two or three days, the Holy Prophet inquired about that slave’s health and was informed that he was on his deathbed. The Holy Prophet said, “Let us go to him.” So they went to that slave’s place and finally the slave died. The Holy Prophet did not entrust his dead body to anyone. The Prophet himself washed the body, covered him with shroud cloth, offered prayer on his body and then buried him. In short, he behaved in such a nice manner with that slave that some of the emigrants and helper companions of the Holy Prophet said: The Holy Prophet has done so much for a slave as he has not done even for us though we have served the religion so much and we are in the first rank in this matter. He has done so much for a black slave! The Prophet heard such talks. At that time Almighty Allah revealed this Holy verse and the Prophet recited it to them:
﴿يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا، إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ﴾
“O you men! Surely, We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty); (49:13)”
A slave or a slave girl are no different from freemen. White and black skins are equal in the sight of God.
The Holy Prophet told quite unequivocally in the sermon of the Farewell Hajj: Muslims have no distinctions. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a white over a black.4 Never look with contempt at one as he is a slave or a black man.
He is called Maula (slave). I have bought him, not created him. Have you created him? God has created him just as He has created you. The only thing you did is that you spent money and bought him. All this is a fabricated lie. It does not alter the facts. In fact there is no distinction between you, O Master! And him (this slave). O Lady! What is the difference between you and the maidservant working in your house as a matter of fact? Outwardly, you are wearing costly, new clothes whereas she wears old and cheaper ones. But you should look at the interior. In the sight of God, the criterion is something else. How many slaves and maidservants are dearer to God than the owners of these servants. This is the Day of Judgment, which raises the lower high and makes the high low.
Therefore it is better if we do not forget this verse of Qur’an. During our entire life we should not be proud, even compared to a disbeliever who says: I have faith. Faith means God-worship. It is all lowliness and humility. To say with pride: ‘I am God’s servant’ is not correct? It is not God-worship.
With a view to make Muslims remember, till the Day of Judgment, the said meaning and to make them understand that all are equal and that class distinctions are meaningless, the Prophet once went up the pulpit and announced the marriage of Safiya who was the daughter of his uncle Zubair bin Abdul Muttalib (she belonged to the noblest family of Quraish among the high ranking Bani Hashim) with black slave, Miqdad bin Aswad.
He did so that, till the doomsday, all may know that ‘his tribe’ and ‘my family’ etc. are vain thoughts; that only righteousness is the criterion. Give you daughter to anyone you like but see that, first of all, he has righteousness or not? Does he perform prayers regularly or not? Do not look at his family, name or fame. Even today you see that this looking at the interior is the problem. The problem of white and colored is still there. This is ignorance. These unfortunate ones do not have the light of Oneness of God, knowledge of God, the real knowledge and intelligence. The shining show of their lives must not dazzle your eyes nor their arts, sciences and industries.
These are not the signs of man’s humanity. Animals also compete with humans in arts and crafts. But this industry is not ever advancing and not moving towards perfection. Look at this honeycomb. In which college of engineering did these bees get training? Is the house (block of the honeycomb) bigger than a pea? Its length and width is almost same as that of a date seed. It has six sides, so clearly made. Are they holding a compass in their hands? Just find out an engineer who has graduated from an engineering college and who can with his fingers make such a block as the honeybees do, having two acute and two obtuse angles. They won’t be able to do it.
I would like you to know: These crafts are nothing that they can be made a criterion of humanity and civility. About today’s industry and workmanship, we hear that they know what is underground; that here is a stream of water and here is an oil well. Hud Hud (woodpecker) also knows. It is written in relevant books: Almighty God has granted an extraordinary sight to this bird. It can know where ground water is. Man knows this after a lot of study and with a number or means but this bird is able to know more and better without instruments. The real knowledge is other than these sciences and industries. It is sufficient to say about the ignorance of this community, which says that blacks have no right to participate in government and community affairs. Can any ignorance be higher than this! Why? For what offence? Because his skin is black. You, the one whose skin is white are a ruthless, inhumane and unjust oppressor. How are you higher than him? Is your wisdom greater than his? Is your knowledge and perfection more? Do you know the truth more? Are you having more divine virtues?
﴿إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ﴾
“…Surely, Allah is Knowing, Aware. (49:13)”
God knows everything. You are ignorant of the reality. You see only the exterior and then give such false judgments. God looks at the real thing and gives true news. He says: All of you are equal like one another – alike. The one who is more God-fearing, more pious and cleaner, more humble, more obedient to God is in truth, more graceful.
The summary of a narration noted in volume 3 of Bihar is that, on the Day of Judgment, a voice will be heard from the Source of Majesty: O People! You fixed ranks of grace and honor on lineage, race, wealth and beauty. We have also fixed righteousness the criterion of gracefulness and honor. You acted in the world on the basis of your own standards and took pride in the said race, wealth, name and fame. All of you acted on this basis.
What you did not do was to see who has righteousness for honoring him. Now today is the day on which I act according to My criteria. Then comes a voice: O Righteousness people! Get up. O those who were God’s servants indeed! Rise up as your grace is to be manifested this day. According to the narration, every one of such righteous people will intercede for communities as big as Rabeeah and Mazar (two largest tribes in Arabia).5 God will multiply their honor. One of the wisdoms behind intercession is the manifestation of the grace of the intercessor. Hence the intercession of Husain in the highest of all, which, we hope, will reach everyone.
We will speak about faith and Islam and the circumstances of the revelation of the holy verse afterwards. The tribe of Bani Asad, whose population was apparently big, got up, took up their means and arrived in Medina and remained there. Greedy Arabs arrived and said: We want to become Muslims. They accepted Islam and stayed in Medina. They filled up the city of Medina. A number of them struck tents outside Medina and lived there. Every morning and evening, they came to the mosque and stayed with the Prophet saying, “O Messenger of Allah! We are different from all other tribes. Others submitted under pressure after wars and we did not resort to fight but have arrived ourselves willingly to become Muslims. Everyone else had come alone but we have come with our women and children and our belongings. Please include us in sharing the war booty.”
This shows with what thinking they had become Muslims. In short, they created a sort of trouble for the Prophet. This verse, which I want to recite, refers to this group and so that all may know, till Judgment Day that what the Muslims who come later on and say: “There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” and offered prayer, have an apparent or outward faith. This expression of faith is only on the tongue. There is nothing in the heart. It is of no use after death. As it was related only to the tongue, it has vanished. Does a man not lose his tongue after his death? Everything else also which is merely on tongue goes away. But what is in the heart or soul stays forever.
﴿قَالَتْ الأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا﴾
“The dwellers of the desert say: We believe. (49:14)”
These Bedouin Arabs arrived in Medina and said: We are believers.
﴿قُلْ: لَمْ تُؤْمِنُوا﴾
“Say: You do not believe… (49:14)”
Say, you have not put faith. Is faith a joke? Is it merely on tongue or it is with devotions?
True Faith is a divine light hidden in the heart. When did they believe truly? Yes, they say: We have submitted. So there is a difference between Faith and Islam, (between faith and submission). Islam means apparent acceptance, that is when they are told: Say “I witness that there is no god except Allah and I witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”, they utter so and also say Judgment Day is truth. You must offer prayer, observe fasts in Ramadhan, and go for Hajj also if possible.
Surely they accepts all this. That is very good. This is Islam, which is like the skin. Its keeps the body clean and makes one eligible for marriage, inheritance, and protection of life, wealth, property and honor. It is allowed to give them daughters, and to take daughters from them in marriage. Even when he dies, his relatives inherit from his property and he also gets inheritance from others. These rules are related to the confession by tongue, even if he has no faith in the heart. But if he dies in this state or condition, he has no benefits in the Hereafter.
Woe if one becomes a Muslim due to some greed. It also happens sometimes that a young boy intends to marry a Muslim girl. She says: I will not marry you until you become a Muslim. The boy says: All right, I become a Muslim. He takes that girl too. This marriage is also valid. His Islam also is good for this job. But if death comes to him, it is not known what will happen. This Islam, which was for getting a girl will be accepted and admitted in the society of Muslims. But this not the faith for which the Holy Prophet had arrived. The faith desired by the Holy Prophet is that man’s heart should know Allah. His interior should have fear of God. He must be afraid of the accountability on Judgment Day. Only verbal utterance of the words: The Hour will arrive, no doubt therein,” is not enough.
He must, from his heart, believe in: “The questioning of Munkar and Nakeer in the grave is truth”. He must truly realize and know that dreadful things are ahead. Until this thing does not exist in one’s heart, hundreds of verbal utterances are of no use. This is Islam. But until there is true belief in Paradise, Paradise is not attainable. Faith in Paradise is different from Islam. Faith in Paradise means that the heart must long for the reward of Allah and strive to attain it in a serious way. O friend! If you have a strong desire to build a palace; you work for it with or without saying, “I want a palace.” The deep desire in your heart makes you work for your desired thing. But if he does not work for a thing he will not get it even if he calls for it a hundred times with his tongue.
If one says only with his tongue that Paradise is true, he does not go to Paradise. Hell is true. Does he escape from fire? What is required is belief in Paradise and hell in heart, not only on the tongue. In other words, on the tongue and in the heart, both. Islam means tongue. Faith means heart. God is present everywhere and sees everything. “He is with you wherever you may be.” This is Islam. Faith is that the heart should develop a condition whereby even in his house he says: God is present everywhere. If there is an opportunity of sinning and even if there is no deterrent. There is a fear in his heart, which says God is Omnipresent. A kind of light (Noor) is created in his heart whereby he sees that God is present everywhere.
The Arabs say: We have believed. Say: You have not yet believed. But say: We have accepted Islam. Faith has not yet entered your hearts. If faith has entered the heart it must show some signs. It is not possible that real faith be signless. Fear and hope are two solid pillars of faith. It is impossible that there is Faith in heart but man does not fear divine punishment. At a thought of sinning, he does not tremble due to what is to happen on Judgment Day. It is not possible for the faithful not be eager for divine reward and Paradise. He will run after every good for buying Paradise, for building Paradise, for making arrangements for the Hereafter. If you see one who has become cold and lazy, know for sure that faith has not entered his heart.
The same Arabs who said: We are believers, when the Holy Prophet called upon them to participate in the battle of Hudaibiyah they turned back. Those who said: ‘We are the faithful’ did not arrive. This shows that Jihad requires Faith. It also required spending money in the path of God and even sacrificing ones life. Unless the noble aim is not in one’s mind, how can he give his money? Anyone in whom you see that he finds it difficult to spend in the cause of God, know that his faith is weak. If he does not spend at all, then know that he has no faith at all.
Therefore, He says: If you obey the orders of Allah and His Prophet, He will not decrease anything from your reward. O Arabs! O Bedouins! O the ones who claimed to have faith! We also tell you that you still do not have sincere faith. If you do act according to faith sincerely, then you should obey the commands of God and His Prophet. Your reward will not only not be decreased but you will receive it multiplied.
If a man does anything, and if it is for the sake of anyone or anything other than God, then its reward is less as it is perishable. Any work which you do for getting its reward or recompense be it trade or any other job like farming, industry etc. every work which is other than a deed for God, its reward is less because everything is perishable. It lasts only upto the brink of the grave. You may do an extraordinary work for anyone, it will end at the time of death.
But if one works for the sake of Only One God, its reward will be full and perfect. It does not end with the arrival of death but death is the rising time of the reward of God. Now, pay attention to the meaning of this verse: O Arabs and non-Arabs! If you come and do the work for God, if your faith is in God, if your deed is for God, if your expense is for Allah “He will not diminish aught of your deeds.” You will get the reward without any cut or decrease in it. Not only this, Allah will also multiply and increase it. Here there is no decrease as it is forever.
Yazid followed Satan, desire, lust and greed. How long did its reward last? He remained for three years after Husain. He desired happiness and governance. This unfortunate fellow ruled for only three years. Thereafter he went to hell with his wretchedness.
Husain also did a deed or dealing, but with God. “He will not diminish aught of your deeds.” Allah also, for any reason, did not belittle his deed. He granted an unending and unlimited reward. Now Husain is Sultan (the king). O gentleman and ladies! You know that Husain is the king of the world of grave and the higher one. We must not forget. Forty years ago a noble gentleman from Shiraz said: We some youths of about 18 to 20, were holding discussion sessions. Once it was the turn of one of our friends whose father was Husaini. We went to his house for holding a mourning meeting for Imam Husain too. After sometime, this friend of ours fell ill and died. His death shook the ground beneath our feet. After sometime, I saw him in my dream. He looked very happy and pleased. I told him, “O my friend! You went away and made us grieve very much.” He replied, “Why do you grieve? I am at rest, in peace and pleasure. I am free from worldly anxieties and troubles. So you too should feel happy. You must also think of this eternal life, and should not worry as to why I died.”
I had heard, that if someone undertakes washing of a body of the deceased, it (the body) replies to any question, which is asked to it. I held his hand and said, “I will not release your hand until you tell me what all you went through after your death.” The body trembled and replied, “Please release me. It is not worth telling.” I said, “Then please tell me the gist of what you have understood so that I may also follow the things which you did not know in the world and have understood now.” He replied, “We did not know and recognized Husain in the world. We understood and knew here what a kingdom Husain is having here in the affairs of this eternal world.” It amounted to the same sentence, which I had spoken, that is, God’s reward is different from the reward of Satan, greed, desire and passion. Whoever deals with God is never in loss. His reward is both full and perfect. Of course it has ranks. Husain’s deal with God was different.