Son, May Allah improves all your deeds, increase your life span and give you more ‘Taufiq’. As far as possible, reside at Najaf al-Ashraf because you are in neighbourhood of Amirul Mu’mineen (a.s) and Amirul Mu’mineen (a.s) takes special care of his nieghbours. He saves his nieghbours from evil deeds. This has been experienced in this age (Hijri 1324). It is related about Najaf and Kufa that any cruel oppressor who tries to destroy it, he himself will be destroyed.
(May Allah punish the present day tyrants for their cruel deeds and protect Najaf al-Ashraf. Insha Allah, the blood of Martyrs will not go in vain.)
In Najaf, there is the Ziarat of Amirul Mu’mineen (a.s). No sensible person can be unaware of the ‘Fazila’ of Ziarat and praying Salat (prayer) near the tomb1.
Residing at Najaf will save you from many sins. Here there are no allurements which, you find at other places like Iran, etc.
(Here, author has given the example of Iran. However now Iran has become Markaz al-Khair (center of virtues) while rulers of Najaf al-Ashraf have established centers to ruin the moral character. May Allah punish these tyrants for their sins and destroying the sanctity of the ‘Shrine’ - Jawadi).
If, for some reason, it is not possible to reside at Najaf al-Ashraf, then stay at some other sacred place expect Karbala’ because it is ‘Makruh’ to stay at Karbala’. Residing at Karbala’ makes a man cruel. His attention towards the tragedy of Karbala’ decrease which is a very big loss.
Son, if you can spend your life at some sacred place then don’t reside at any other place. If you are helpless, then search for such a place where virtuous people and Alims are residing. When staying at a sacred place, find some house near the shrine (Haram), so that you can always have the good fortune of Ziarat. If you are residing some where else, then reside in the central part of the city because central part is more protected from calamities.
Remember, if you can get a house on ownership or ‘Wakf’, don’t search for a rented house because your own house or wakf house is better than a rented grand mansion.
Before purchasing a house, inquire about the neighbours. Whenever I have not paid attention to this aspect, I have had bitter experience.
If you want to construct a house, don’t construct the whole house at a stretch but do it in stages. Also don’t demolish the whole house without valid reasons but do the necessary repair work so that there is no waste of money. Even if you have lots of wealth, don’t waste it on unnecessary show and splendour.
This world is not a place of permanent residence. Spend the rest of your money on improving your status in the next world by giving financial assistance to someone to repair his house, helping bachelors to get married and helping the needy etc.
If possible, stay in a spacious house, the speciousness of the house is the cause of good luck and ‘Barkat’ whether in this would or the hereafter2.
Son, adopt the middle courses in wearing clothes. Wear such clothes which can be worn both by the rich and the poor. If you are poor then you will be spending within your means and it will not be considered extravagance (Israf). If you are rich, then it will be considered as ‘zohad’ and ‘Taqwa’, and it will give some consolation to the poor. Remember, this world is a house of upheaval. It can turn upside down anytime. So adopt such behaviour that changes do not create embarrassment for you.
Don’t wear such clothes which exhibit your poverty or affluence. Both these extremes have been criticized in the tradition. Be careful about cleanliness and purity in clothes. This is appreciated by ‘Shari at’.
Keep good friends. A man is know by his friends. Beware, don’t keep the company of men of bad faith, sinners and bad character. Because man is influenced by his company. Amirul Mu’mineen (a.s) has pointed at it in his ‘Diwan al-mash-hoor’. Lookman Hakim had also advised his son to think before sitting in any company. Wherever you see discussion about Allah, sit there. If you are an alim, then people will benefit from you and if you are ignorant, then you will get the benefit of ‘ilm’. If Allah sends His blessings on them, you will also be included in His blessings3.
Hazrat Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s) has said that it is better to talk with an ‘Alim’ near a garbage heap than talking with an illiterate man sitting on a soft carpet.
The Holy Prophet (S) has said that Hawaris (companions) asked Hazrat Isa (a.s): In whose company should we sit? Hazrat Isa (a.s) replied: The company of those, whose presence remind you of Allah, whose talk increase your knowledge and whose action remind you of the hereafter4.
The Holy Prophet (S) has said:
Sitting in the company of a trustworthy person is better than one years deeds5.
Amirul Mu’mineen (a.s) has said: Beware, don’t keep the company of mean people. There is no hope of goodness from them.
Shaikh Sadooq (a.s) has said that: ‘Mean’ person means:
(1) One who is not aware what he is saying nor is he aware of what is being said about him. That man is ‘mean’.
(2) One who blows his own trumpet is called ‘mean’.
(3) One who does not get happiness by good behaviour nor he feels sorry by bad behaviour is called ‘mean’.
(4) A ‘mean’ person is one who claims leadership even through he has no qualifications.
Of course, if there is hope of their improvement by keeping company of such people and if their actions and thoughts are not going to influence you, then surely there is no harm in keeping their company. This is because it is not sufficient to control your ‘Nafs’ and save yourself from hell but it is also necessary to guide others to the right path. Therefore ‘Amr-bil-maaruf and ‘Nahi-aml-munkar’ had been made compulsory much emphasis has been laid on these, so that other could be guided towards the obedience of Allah and saved from the fire of hell.
Son, when you desire marriage, find a girl from a noble family because it is through her that your family will increase. She is like a model for your family. A child is always influenced by model and milk. Look out for good qualities- ‘Iman - Taqwa’ and also at her face and external appearance so that you are not attached towards some other woman and mutual love and affection is maintained.
The reason behind warning against marrying only for beauty, is that it should not be made the only criteria instead of religion and good character. This does not mean that you should not consider beauty at all. The same thing applies to wealth and riches, lest you place wealth in place of religion and character. If there is some rich lady who is religious-minded also, then there is no harm in marrying her.
On the contrary, there is the additional advantage that her wealth will be useful for your children. They can study religious ilm in peace and do all their work without any financial worries, But that is only possible, if both ‘religion’ and ‘noble family’ are their. Beware, don’t marry a woman who has recently acquired wealth. She will be proud of her wealth and she will consider you inferior to her. In the tradition, it is ‘Makruh’ to take loan from newly rich people. They have more ego and superiority complex. If however, you have to choose between a newly rich woman, then marry the poor woman.
Son, keep your wife, daughter and other household women in the confine of your house. Don’t allow them to go out unless it is necessary. They have very little understanding of good and evil. Therefore, they ruin both this world and hereafter by coming under the spell of some other woman.
Pay attention to the education and upbringing of your children. Teach them ‘Shariat’ and good manners. Don’t think that ‘still they are kids and they do not need any knowledge about Allah’s order’s. One, who has not been brought up properly from childhood, will be difficult to mould after he has grown up.
Teach ‘Deen’s Ehkam’ and ‘Shariat’ to your children because impressions made during childhood cannot be erased. After teaching them Qur’an al-Majid, let them read and learn from the books of
‘Mojizats’ (miracles), so that they not only get their ‘Aqida’ (beliefs) from their parents but they strengthen their beliefs with reason and logic.
Take maximum care that children do not go out of the house alone and they don’t play with other children. If they want to play, let them play in the house because they can be easily influenced by other children. It should not happen that they came under the influence of other. Even while studying, see to it, that your children do not stay in the company of others more than necessary.
Arrange religious discussions at such a place where some third person is present so that he may not learn mischief or ‘Shaytaniyat’ from his companion. I am writing all these from my personal experience. During my childhood, I had a companion, who was very well mannered and coming from a good family. Yet, because of him, I cultivated the habit of cigarette smoking, as a result of which, I am suffering till today, Whenever I decided to quit smoking, I suffered one illness or the other and till today I have not been able to quit smoking. In other words, I am suffering from the influence of companionship.
Beware, don’t spoil your children by giving them money. There are many disadvantages in it. Their hearts start loving wealth and afterwards craving for money cannot be erased from their hearts. In future, they will try to obtain money by any means. This is a bad example of character deficiency.
Son, whether you have a son or a daughter, don’t inculcate the habit of wearing costly dresses and eating high quality food, because, if circumstances are not helpful in future, they will be greatly inconvenienced. If you make them follow ‘middle-path’ then they will be happy in whatever they get. Also keep in mind to get them married as soon as they become ‘Baligh’. In this way, their ‘religion’ and ‘respect’ can be safe guarded and character deficiency will not arise. By doing this, don’t think of poverty or scarcity because Allah has already promised ‘Rizq’.
If you do not act on my orders, then I will consider you ‘Aaq’. My soul will be displeased with you.
If you are extremely poor then do ‘Muta’ so that you do not fall prey to sexual abuses.
Son, the essence of all these advices is that always think about religious and worldly problems. Do whatever is better according to Shariat. Always keep an eye on results so that Allah gives you ‘Taufiq’ to do good deeds and make your future better than your past.
7th Jamadi-ul-awwal 1324 Hijri - Abdullah Al-Mamkani