Q.66: Quran has challenged that you will not be able to bring even one verse like it. What do you say about Surah Wilayat regarding which it is claimed that since it was revealed in praise of Amirul Momineen (a.s.), they have removed it from Quran? Is it the word of Allah?
A: No doubt, the so-called Surah Wilayat is forged by some misled ignorant person and the one who committed this mischief has mixed some Quran verses with his home-made statements in a very awkward way making up about 25 verses and then named the collection as Surah Wilayat.
As regards the invalidation of this fictitious Surah, firstly the author of Faslul Khitab, after quoting it from Dabistanul Mazahib says:
Any Surah by this name is never found in any Shia books. One wonders how the author of Dabistanul Mazahib brought it and from where?"
Secondly: Anyone having sound sense can understand the fictitiousness of this Surah, because it bears no similarity with the style of Quran, its eloquence, harmony and diction. On the contrary it has a disgusting and ugly diction and wording.
Thirdly: This forged matter contains many grammatical errors, which anyone who knows Arabic grammar can find out easily. One of the clearest errors in it is the verse:
"And chosen from angels and appointed as believers, they are in his creation."
In this group of three phrases: firstly, they are totally unrelated with one another and their make up has nothing to do with one another and secondly, each phrase is a complete sentence but incomplete in sense.
About the first phrase, it can be asked: What is chosen from angels? In the second, what has been appointed as believers? In the third, to whom does the pronoun of 'they' points out? And
what does this incomplete sentence convey?
Another mistake is the sentence: "Like the one who is faithful to promise made to you. Verily I reward them with Paradise."
Here it should be asked: What is the like of faithful mentioned in the beginning of this sentence?
There are several mistakes in other verses as well and the framer of these sentences should be asked about the meaning of some key words and use of pronouns.
The late Aashtiyani (r.a.) writes in the margins of Rasail: "Doubtlessly this Surah is not from the Holy Quran, because anyone who knows Arabic grammar can bring its like easily. Also a scholar well versed with Arabic can never use such unrelated and meaningless words and sentences. Elocution and artistic language is much higher, it is just hotchpotch of words and does not make any sense and its beginning has no relevance with its end!''
Q.67: What is studied under the following sciences: Rational science (Maaqool), Textual science (Manqool), Principles of jurisprudence (UsooleFiqh), Rules and regulations (Qawaid), Jurisprudence (Fiqh), Scholasticism (Kalaam), Logic (Mantiq), Eloquence (Maaniye Bayaan) and Wisdom (Hikmat)?
Rational science (Maaqool): In this field rational judgments are discussed and the way of proving them is also pure reason.
Textual science (Manqool): In this science the subject of discussion are commands of Islamic Shariat through Quran and Prophetic Sunnah or traditions.
In other words, the former discusses reasonings whereas the latter studies the text of the Quran and Prophetic Sunnah or traditions.
Principles of jurisprudence (Usoole Fiqh): Fundamentals of Jurisprudence are studied under this science.
Rules and regulations (Qawaid): It deals with derivation of rules of jurisprudence. This is impossible without knowing rules of Shariat through four mediums: Quran, traditions, consensus and reason.
Jurisprudence (Fiqh): It is a science wherein overall commands of Islamic Shariat are discussed viz. obligations, prohibitions, recommendations, detestations and permissions on the basis of the above sources.
Scholasticism (Kalaam): In this science is studied the process of proving religious beliefs on the basis of reasonings and proofs to remove doubts and uncertainties. (Religious beliefs imply knowledge about God, His attributes, names and deeds and the knowledge of prophethood/messengership (Nubuwwat), leadership (Imamate), Hereafter (Maad) and their branches.
Logic (Mantiq): It is the science that teaches rules to protect thoughts from errors and doubts. In other words, logic is the criterion to discriminate correct from incorrect in all rational laws.
Eloquence (Maaniye Bayaan): It i s the science related to clarity and lucidity in speech.
Wisdom (Hik1mat): It is the knowledge and circumstances of all existing things: abstract, material, essence and variations and their kinds.
Q.68: It is said that on ninth Moharram Imam Husain (a.s.) and his honorable companions were under siege. Then how could Habib bin Mazahir and Muslim bin Awsaja (a.s.) join the Imam under the strict surveilance of the army?
In a narration from Princess Sakina (s.a.) it is mentioned that on Ashura eve, His Eminence, Husain (a.s.) gave a speech in which he informed about his own martyrdom as well as that of his companions. Some of his men left saying goodbye and some without it. This narration also does not prove their being under siege.
Moreover, if the departure of his men was without any hurdle, why did the Imam not send his family members who desired to go to Medina with them? Of course, his own going away could he construed as flight, but what prevented him from sending away his family members when he was certain his and his companions' martyrdom and captivity of his household?
A: As regards the arrival of Habib and Muslim, it is recorded in books of Kerbala tragedy that these two great personages escaped from Kufa with much difficulty. They hid in trenches during daytime and traveled at night perilously arriving in Kerbala on the seventh or eighth of Muharram.
As for going away of some companions of Imam (a.s.) during the night of Ashura is concerned, it does not conflict with their being under siege, because in a big and vast desert having some hills and depressions, fleeing of some of them individually - not together - in the darkness is possible. They could escape surreptiously and it was also possible for them to mix
up with the army of opponents and then escape.
But as regards why Imam Husain (a.s.) did not send his family members along with deserters:
Firstly: Taking the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) along to Kerbala was due to an exigency and an obligation that was later exposed by history and their capture.
Secondly: It is obvious that when fleeing of an individual was not easy, it would have been far more hazardous to be accompanied by women and children. They could have been caught en route.
We may also say: Even if it were possible and easy, Imam Husain (a.s.) who is full of self-respect, would have never considered it proper to send his family members with those who had no faith in his religion and who had no virtue like faithfulness, sincerity and loyalty.
Those who deserted the Holy Imam (a.s.) in Kerbala on the eve of Ashura were worldly minded materialists, weak in keeping the covenant, feeble in faith or faithless and that is why Princess Sakina (a.s.) says: When they left my holy father alone and went away in tens and twenties and when none but only seventy-one remained, I began to weep saying:
"O Allah, indeed they have betrayed us! So make them account for it and do not answer their supplications, make poverty dominate them and do not grant them the intercession of my grandfather on Judgment Day."
Q.69: How many types of relationships does the soul have with the body and how does it get detached from it in every stage?
A: Among relations of soul and body is the relation of nurturing. Lord Almighty has made soul as the nurturer. The meaning of nurturing is to carry something to its expected perfection. In other words, discretions of soul over the body are of two kinds:
First: Discretions which are natural, involuntaty and original like breathing and digestion.
Second: Voluntary functions like the perception of five senses and all other things, which the soul does in the body intentionally. In the state of dream, only the first kind remains, but not the second kind, however in death, both kinds of control and functions end.
Likewise, the soul, by the permission of Allah, carries away every part or organ of the body to perfection that is expected from it (organ).
Among all relations is relationship of determination (Ilaaqa Tadbeer) which means the mechanism of nourishment and growth and its branches include reproduction and understanding (intelligence) and the faculty of intention. All these are according to the direction of the soul with Allah's consent in such a manner that if a thorn or needle pricks a foot, man at once rushes to defend.
From the amazing things of the soul is that other engagements do not stop it from functioning in a matter. It goes on functioning simultaneously with hundreds of other engagements in a split second. For example, at one and the same time, the eye sees, the ear hears, the tongue talks, the nose smells, the mouth tastes, hand and feet move, the stomach digests and all go on without hindrance!
Then we have the relationship of rulership (llaaqa Hukumat), which means that soul is the ruler in the kingdom of body. All physical organs are subject to its command and they carry out its orders without any delay. When the soul wants, the tongue moves; the eye opens or closes depending on its intention to see or not to see. Of course when an organ falls ill, it fails to obey the soul and at the time of death all physical organs leave the soul's obedience.
Q.70: What kinds of dreams can be called true and which can be called as false or muddled dreams?
A: Dreams are of two kinds: divinely inspired (Rahmani)
and muddled dreams (Azghaasul Ahlaam).
Divinely inspired (Rahmani) are dreams from the Lord of the worlds; meanings are sent down to the soul during sleep. It also is of two types: One of them does not need any interpretation and it is when the matter is as shown in the dream. Another kind is when it requires interpretation. For example, milk is likened to something very good. Getting milk is interpreted as getting nourishment, because food is to the body just as knowledge is to the soul.
Muddled dreams (Azghaasul Ahlaam) are also of three kinds, because their aim is either satanic thoughts, to hurt and frighten the dreamer or lure him to indulge in evils prohibited by religion or thirdly it might reflect the thoughts already in the mind of the dreamer. For example, he fights in dream with one of his enemies.
It is also possible that such dreams are due to excessive mucus like yellow bile, black bile, phlegm or blood. For example, if the yellow bile is in excess, the dreamer sees yellow color or tastes bitter food or hears thunderbolt, because yellow bile is hot and bitter. If one has excessive black bile, he sees burning things or black colors or bitter food articles. If one has excessive phlegm his vision includes white colors, water, rain and ice. One, having excessive blood dreams of crimeson colors, sweet eatables and other joyful things.
The method of interpreting dreams is that first one should examine ones own condition. If one was dreaming in a state of moderation, it shows that it was not due to excessive fluids. Then he should think about his state before going to bed. If he finds that the dream is not connected with anything that was present before going to bed, one can be sure that it is a Rahmani dream.
As for knowing the interpretation of Rahmani dreams, one method is to refer to numerous traditions of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) in this regard, some of which are mentioned in Darus Salaam of late Haji Noori and also in Vol.14 of Biharul Anwar. Some of them suggest referring to verses of Quran. For example, if one dreams of proclaiming the call for prayer (Adhaan), it is a Rahmani dream and that the dreamer would perform Hajj in accordance with the wordings of the following verse:
وَأَذِّنْ فِي النَّاسِ بِالْحَجِّ
In case he is to be a righteous person it would in accordance with the meaning of the rope of covenant:
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ
Dry wood is interpreted as hypocrisy:
كَأَنَّهُمْ خُشُبٌ مُسَنَّدَةٌ
Stone is interpreted as the hardness of the heart:
Eating of carrion is interpreted as back-biting:
أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَنْ يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا
Dress and egg are interpreted as women:
هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَكُمْ
كَأَنَّهُنَّ بَيْضٌ مَكْنُونٌ
Some interpretations are based on names and their meanings. For example, one sees in dream someone named Rashid. This can be a hint to Rushd and Hidayat (goodness and guidance). If one's name is Saalim it can be a sign of safety and security.
Then there are interpretations based on reference to ethereal sphere (Aalame Malakoot) and realities, secrets and sciences of unseen. For example, if one sees himself dead it may be interpreted to mean a lengthy life, because worldly life with reference to life after death is in fact death. Due to dearth of what the soul likes and one's remaining enveloped in worldly engagements, the real life is life after death (which is endless).
Also for example, if one envisions that he is a bridegroom; it may be interpreted to mean that his death is near because, death for a faithful believer is his first marriage as mentioned in narrations that after questioning in grave a righteous believer is told: "Now go to sleep happily like a bride in her chamber."
It goes without saying that what has been mentioned above is by way of a general statement, which cannot be applied in each and every case except for one whom Almighty Allah has granted light (Noor) with which he sees and concludes; and this light is compared to instinct.
Q.71: What is the legal view regarding sneezing? Does it reaily merit delaying something if tlie person in question suddenly sneezes? Explain good omen (Tafaul) and bad omen (Tatayyur)?
A: Although it is popular belief that if a person happens to sneeze while performing a particular task, he or she must delay it for sometime in order to avoid its evil effects; nothing of this sort is mentioned in traditional reports. On the contrary, it is mentioned in some traditions that sneeze is evidence of veracity of ones statement. And if he or she sneezes twice, it would imply that the statement has been verified twice. It is also mentioned in traditions that sneeze of a patient is evidence of his recovery and that he will be safe from death for three or seven days. It i s narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) that sneezing is beneficial to the whole body with the condition that it should not be more than three times; if it exceeds this, it should be construed as illness.
As for Tafaul (good omen): It is when a person named Saalim, Nasrullah or Fathullah enters, it creates hope for success and health in one who takes it to be a good omen.
Tatayyur (bad omen) is contrary to it. That is taking a bad omen from seeing or hearing something. For example, suppose perching of an owl on the roof or to see someone with an unlucky appearance in the beginning of the day or the beginning of the journey. But with regard to this, traditional reports say that taking good omen (Tafaul) is recommended and taking a bad omen (Tatayyur) is detestable (Makruh). And the secret of goodness of taking a good omen is that man continues to repose hope in mercy and beneficence of Almighty Allah, and that is why the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said: The best deed of my Ummah is to hope for relief (Faraj) of Allah.1 On the contrary, taking a bad omen does not imply reposing hope in mercy of Almighty Allah; it is an evil anticipation and waiting for a calamity.
Since good omen (Tafaul) depends on mercy and beneficence of Almighty Allah, it is effective, because Allah does not disappoint anyone who reposes hope in Him. Therefore
He says: "I am near the good expectation of My believer servant." 2
But bad omen (Tatayyur) i s effective only when the concerned person accords importance to it and is more in anticipation of a calamity. If he does not pay any attention to it, and trusts his Lord, it will have no evil effect. Thus it i s narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) that: “The penalty of bad omen (Tatayyur) is to repose trust in Almighty Allah."3
In Al-Kafi , it is narrated from Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) that the effect of bad omen (Tatayyur) depends on circumstances of the concerned person. If he takes it lightly without paying undue importance to it and hopes in Almighty Allah, it will not have any evil effect. But if he
accords importance to i t, he wou ld definitely be involved in problems. 4
Q.72: In the blessed chapter of Surah Yasin, verse 60, there is a word of 'Ahad' (to charge) which consists of three guttural letters producing sharp sounds from the throat one after another. It seems to be against diction and literary eloquence. Please comment.
A : Among the conditions of eloquence of a word is that it should not have cacophony; that is it must not be difficult to pronounce; on the contrary it should be easy to utter. But the discernment of this condition is related to correct taste. It has nothing to do with outlets from which it comes out or with their nearness or distance from one another. It is possible for an eloquent word to be pronounced from adjacent outlets or even from one and same source and hence its pronunciation may be easy. On the other hand, it is also possible that outlets of the word may be different (for every letter) and yet its pronunciation may be easy.
Furthermore, right taste and good conscience testify that pronunciation of 'Ahad ' is not difficult at all. It can be voiced quite easily. In fact, in Arabic language, there is no other word having the meaning of Ahad ' (to charge), which is more eloquent than it.
Q.73: It is mentionetd in certain traditions thtat performance of some acts, prayers or supplications qualifies one for reward of a martyr, emancipating a slave or performing Jihad in way of Allah. Please explain how it is possible to earn a reward of one who has given up his life in the way of Allah?
A: Many traditions reported from Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and Holy Imams (a.s.) through Shia and Sunni channels speak of divine rewards earned through perfoming recommended acts, none of which can be denied or rejected. Therefore such reports encourage believers to perform more and more such acts and earn divine rewards and it is assured that they will become eligible for such rewards.
Especially, if one performs an act after having heard about the tradition that mentions its reward, even if Prophet or Imams have not made such a statement. Hence such persons gain rewards and salvation. But there are some who after hearing such reports consider them incredible; on the contrary even dare to reject them, even though thousands of authentic reports are recorded on this topic in Shia and Sunni books. Some even ridicule such reports due to their ignorance about their meaning. Therefore we mention some replies so that it may prevent them from such a course of action and that it may remove their ignorance to some extent.
First reply: According to traditions, rewards are of two kinds:
1- Earned reward
2- Preferential reward
Earned reward is that which Allah has specified for particular acts in accordance with His wisdom and whoever performs those actions becomes eligible for it.
Preferential reward is that which Allah bestows in addition to the fixed rewards of a particular act. It is so because:
وَاللَّهُ ذُو الْفَضْلِ الْعَظِيمِ
Thus after mentioning this point we say: It is possible that when traditions have come down for example that Almighty Allah will give the reward of a martyr to one who recites a particular prayer or supplication, it implies that the worshipper would be rewarded with the 'Earned reward' of the martyr and not its 'Preferential reward' and it is possible that the 'Preferential reward' of the martyr is much beyond that and which cannot even be imagined.
In other words, it can be said that by reciting a particular prayer, a person becomes eligible for the 'Earned reward' of a martyr and not for 'Preferent ial reward '. And it has come down in traditions that if a person performs a particular act, he would become eligible for reward of a hundred prophets, a hundred successors and a hundred angels. Thus it is possible that it implies that whenever that act is performed by a hundred prophets and successors, as much as they get the 'Earned reward ' for it, as much would be given to this person preferentially. For example, if it is mentioned in traditions that whoever performs two units of prayers tonight would be given 'Earned reward' of a hundred prophets. That is whenever a hundred prophets recite that prayer, the same quantum of reward will be given preferentially to him and not that he would be given the actual reward of the hundred prophets, who spent their lives in worship and propagation of faith.
Second reply: There is no doubt that the reward of every act depends on its acceptance and on sincerity with which it is performed.
وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ ۚوَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ
Moreover, there are different grades of sincerity, the first stage being that the act should not be a show off and hidden polytheism, which is definitely wrong, and one who performs it will not get any reward; on the contrary it will be considered a sin and make the doer eligible for divine punishment. It is because show off is a greater sin and is considered to be a kind of hidden polytheism.
The next stage of sincerity is that the doer should not have its rewards in view. On the contrary his intention should only be focused on gaining proximity to Almighty Allah, as narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that:
"A worship performed in fear of punishment is a worship of slaves and worship performed in greed of Paradise is worship of traders. The worship performed considering Almighty Allah deserving of worship is in fact a worship of free men (nobles)."
There are many other grades of sincerity as well, which will unduly prolong this discussion. Therefore after this preface, we say that it is possible there are many rewards, which are mentioned in traditional reports, which may be in accordance to the grades of sincerity. As much sincerity one has, as much he will become eligible for those rewards and it is not concealed from those who have insight that it is very difficult to scale the grades of sincerity and to become eligible for their rewards. It calls for fighting against carnal desires and is in need of divine assistance.
Thus all cannot gain all grades of sincerity, except for some very few persons. And if acts of people like us can reach even the first stage of sincerity and remain devoid of hidden polytheism, it can be hoped from Almighty Allah that He would bestow some rewards to us even though it is very difficult for people like us to reach those stages. It is so because as long as one expects praise and detests criticism, one cannot remain safe from sincerity. And if it so happens that if our worship acts are not considered as a part of our evils, we should be highly thankful for it.
Sayyid Ibne Tawus (r.a.) applies this to the second stage of sincerity as mentioned before. That is, he will get the reward of acts which are not performed in greed of i ts reward. Thus if you have seen in a particular tradition that if you perform an act, you will become eligible for rewards of a hundred martyrs, it is not surprising, because it definitely implies one who has grades of sincerity. And as mentioned before, no grade of sincerity can be obtained without fighting against the self or without self control. It is so because the martyr goes to the battlefield once and he is killed, but the lover of sincerity battles with his carnal desires, day and night and continues to confront the Satan all the time.
Therefore a tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) is mentioned in Al-Kafi that on return from a battle, he told his companions:
"Blessed be those who performed the lesser Jihad; but the Greater Jihad is pending for them."5
When people asked the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) what Greater Jihad is, he replied: "It is jihad against self."
Third reply: The reason such traditions are denied, because reciting such and such prayer or keeping such and such fast is done very easily. That is, it is accomplished in a short time, while Jihad and Hajj are difficult things. Therefore how can we compare such a supplication with being killed on the way of Allah?
Reply: It is only a mistaken notion, which results from ignorance about such supplications, prayers and other such worship acts. Because one has imagined only their face value and the ease with which they are performed, whereas the true value of those worship acts is not obvious. "The importance of every act depends on sincerity with which it is performed." Just as body is of no use without soul, in the same way worship without sincerity is valueless.
For example, if one performs two units of prayers, and only the body is involved in standing and bowing, and his tongue is busy in recitations; but his mind, throughout the prayer, is on something else. Thus that prayer will be without a soul. Even though it may keep him away from evils, it will not bring him near to Almighty Allah. Hence how can there be such rewards for this prayer?
In the same way, if one is only reciting a supplication verbally, it is of no use to him. Therefore if you have seen a tradition saying that reciting a particular supplication carries the reward of a martyr, it is definite that it is only when one recites it with sincerity; and it requires us to have certainty about ones helplessness. Also that one should be not repose hope in anyone except Almighty Allah that it is only He that can make it effective.
If a person is able to recite it in this way, he will indeed become like one who goes to fight Jihad in the way of Allah and sacrifices his life in it. And if one can gain a higher stage, i t is possible that he will earn a status higher than that of a martyr. That is when a martyr comes out to the battlefield to fight Jihad in the way of Allah, ignoring all material pleasures and focuses his attention on Almighty Allah; if the same condition develops in one reciting the supplication, there is no difference between him and a martyr.
If it is said: Even though in condition and reality both are equal, but the form the martyr’s act is indeed different and more difficult than the act of one who recites that prayer.
Its reply is that as mentioned in second reply, appearance of this condition is not easy and it cannot be obtained without fighting the self. As long as the person does not battle his self, how he would be able to obtain such conditions? ·
Whatever is mentioned on the topic of supplication its like is explained by Shaykh Ja'far Shustari (r.a.) in his Khasaisul Husainia in the explanation of the tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) on the excellence of performing Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.). The Messenger of A llah (s.a.w.s.) said:
"Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) is equal to ninety Hajjs and ninety Umrahs that I have performed."
The Shaykh says: Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) is equivalent to the Hajj of the Prophet perhaps because when the visitor performs the Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) with enthusiasm and love for the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), it is as if he has visited the Holy Kaaba. So when he comes to the holy grave, or he turns his attention to Imam Husain (a.s.) from afar, and performs the Ziyarat with a heavy heart, it is as if he has turned his attention to Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) and when he hears that Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) prolonged his prostration because Imam Husain (a.s.) climbed on his back, and as long as Imam Husain
(a.s.) did not dismount on his own. If at the time of performing the Ziyarat you continue to imagine that Imam Husain (a.s.) fell from his horse because of the hit of Salih Ibne Wahab, the accursed, and if you salute the Imam at that time, it would please him very much. It is just as if the Messenger of AlJah (s.a.w.s.) made an intention of visiting Imam Husain (a.s.). And since Imam Husain (a.s.) is better than the Holy Kaaba from ninety aspects (aspect about which we are unaware), that is why the reward of Ziyarat of Imam Husain (a.s.) has the reward of ninety Hajjs of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.).
The gist of Shaykh Ja'far Shustari's discussion is that if a person has same love for Imam Husain (a.s.) as the Prophet had, he would get the reward of the Hajj of Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.). Since we do not wish to prolong the discussion, we conclude at this point.
Q.74: Are tears also produced in the same way as other body moistures like saliva, nasal mucus and ear moisture? Or it is due to burning of heart or fever arising from it?
A: Moisture essential for sight is always present in the eyes and watering is caused by internal as well as external factors. They include heat of the heart that results in thoughts, feelings or sentiments, which are unpalatable and horrible; which make heart burn and hence tears run from eyes. It goes without saying that every faculty made to work expands gradually. Likewise, if a person falls in deep tragic thoughts, he begins to weep and the quantity of eye water also increases thereby and tears roll down the eyes. If it is due to fear of Allah or longing to meet Him or separation from His friends, it is the best means of well being and eternal happiness. Pray that may the Almighty Allah grant i t to us.
Q.75: What is the difference between hearing (Samaa) and hearing with attention (lstamaa)?
A: Samaa means hearing and the reaching of a sound to the ear of the hearer without intention or attention to it.
Istimaa means hearing or lending of ear with intention or desire and of following it. It is due to this that lstima of music is unlawful but its Samaa is not prohibited. There is no harm (sin) if music reaches the ears without one wanting to hear it. Also with regard to the hearing of verses of prostration, Islamic law says that if one had lstimaa, one must perform Sajdah, but if it was mere Samaa one may prostrate by way of precaution.
Q.76: Religious Penance is lawful. What is tlie difference between 'Religious Penance' and 'Satanic Penance'?
A: Religious Penance in a person should make an all out effort so that all his deeds are in accordance with divine commands and not a single act should be performed on the basis of selfish desires. In other words, Religious Penance is practiced i n order to gain control over the power of piety. Since piety has some grades, therefore Religious Penance is also an effort to gain those grades in order to become free of dangers.
In NahjulBalagha it is mentioned that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) wrote in a letter to Uthman bin Hunaif as follows:
"'My only aim and courage is my self, that I should train it for piety so that it remains safe from different punishments of the hereafter and this alone is the right path." 6
First grade: To perform all obligatory duties and to keep away from all prohibited things. That is one should endeavor not to leave any obligatory duty unfulfilled and that he acts in accordance with divine commands. Also that he should not commit any prohibited act. Moreover it is not concealed from people of insight that this is having more significance than bearing hardships in the path of penance and piety. For example one of the conditions of acceptance of deeds is sincerity of intention. Not only show off renders the deed invalid, it is a sinful act by itself. That is why it is very difficult to create sincerity in worship acts.
Allamah Majlisi writes in the commentary of Al- Kafi that as long as one likes praise and hates criticism, one is not safe from show off. Therefore to perform the worship as it should be performed is a difficult penance. That is why it is narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) in Usul Kafi that he said:
"Allah says: My slave does not gain My proximity except through the deed which I like most and which I have made incumbent on him." 7
It means that nothing earns divine proximity as much as the performance of an obligatory duty and in the same way forsaking prohibited acts is very difficult for the self for example forsaking lying, back biting, allegations etc. and it is difficult to continue to refrain from them.
Second grade: To subject the self to penance for the sake of piety. One should try to fulfill recommended deeds and avoid detestable things in such a way that not a single detestable act should be committed and not a single recommended act should be missed, especially emphasized recommended acts and whose omitting is denounced in traditions. Like congregational prayer, remaining awake at dawn, supererogatory daily prayers, especially Midnight Prayer and punctuality in prayers; and sincerity in all worship acts, especially prayers. As much effort one makes, as much would one become proximate to his Lord as mentioned by the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) at the conclusion of the above tradition that the Almighty Allah says:
"And indeed he does not earn My love except by performing the recommended acts till I love him. Thus when I love him, I become his ears with which he hears, and I become his eyes with which he sees, and I become his tongue with which he speaks; and I become his hands with which he gives and takes; and I become his legs with which he walks; and when he calls
Me, I harken to him and when he asks something from Me, I give it to him. "8
There are some senior personalities famous for avoiding all unlawful and detestable acts and all their deeds were either obligatory or recommended. Of them were Sayyid Ibne Tawus (r.a.), Abdullah Shustari, Shahid Thani and Muqaddas Ardibeli (r.a.). Scholars have narrated that these gentlemen did not even stretch their legs when sleeping and said that it was against good manners. In order to learn more about them and other scholars we can refer to Muntakhabut Tawarikh etc.
Third grade: Effort must be made to remove carelessness and inattention; and one must instead create an ability to remember the Alhnighty Allah and imagine oneself to be in His presence; and not to forget His eternality and presence at any stage. Also to keep from all that which leads to inattention about Him, so that one may reach the stage of understanding.
الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ وَالْأَرْضِ السَّمَاوَاتِ
Since this is prolonging the discussion too much, we would like to conclude this matter here. Though it is necessary to remind those who wish to obtain those grades that they must do all that is necessary, otherwise it would not be possible for them to reach those spiritual grades and the decorum of that penance is mentioned by Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) in the following tradition mentioned in the first volume of Biharul Anwar: 9
"Beware, do not eat that for which you have no desire, because it will create foolishness and unawareness and do not eat till you are hungry; when you eat, you must eat only that which is lawful (avoid unlawful foods). Mention the name of Allah at the time of eating and remember the tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) that he said: Man has not filled up any vessel worse than stomach. That is the more it is left empty, the better it is. If you are forced to eat, you must reserve a third of your stomach for food, a third for water and remaining to ease breathing."
It is narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.)' that he said:
I swear by Allah that barring His Destiny over which I have no control and which may mould my life as He wishes, I shall control myself that I shall be contented and happy if I get one piece of bread with a pinch of salt and that my mind will be dead to desires of pleasures, fame, power and glory. That is one must ensure that ones food is according to ones need and not more than that."10
Satanic Penance: It is that a person follows special rituals customary among those who act upon them and it is usually performed for material and unlawful aims. Of them is controlling of Jinns or to make the soul so strong as to accomplish extraordinary feats and all kinds of sorcery mentioned in the previous tradition and it was also mentioned that they commit such acts to gain proximity to Shaitan and even commit acts of disrespect with the Holy Quran etc. Or assure that they don't perform any good deed for forty days. They try to commit every unlawful act, like adultery; especially adultery with married women in the presence of their husbands.
It is also narrated that they even resort to shedding the blood of victims and they place the victim's blood in a special vessel and subsist solely on it for a period of time and even serve it to those who follow them in their acts.
Q.77: What is the difference between miser (Bakheel) and extremely miserly (Laeem) and so also between charitable (Kareem) and generous (Sakhee)?
A : Bakheel is one who spends his wealth only for himself, without giving anything to anyone else.
Laeem is one who neither eats h imself nor feeds anyone else. On the contrary this is to such an extent that he dislikes anyone giving anything to anybody.
It is mentioned in Biharul Anwar that once His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) gave five loads of dates (in charity). A fellow present there remarked: "Only one was enough for this man, five is too much."
His Eminence replied: "May Almighty Allah not create more people like you; I give something and you become stingy!"
Sakhee is one who takes benefit himself from his riches and also feeds others.
Kareem is one who does not spend his wealth on himself and feeds others without expecting any reward.
Q.78: Define and describe the following terms: traditional report (Riwayat), sources (Darayat), solitary report (Khabar Wahid), report quoted through three or more chains (Khabar Mustfeez), widely related (Mutawatir), correct chains (Sanad Sahih), good chain (Sanad Hasan), reliable traditional report (Riwayat Motabar).
A: Traditional report (Riwayat): It implies quoting a tradition.
Sources (Darayat): It implies understanding the meaning of
a tradition depending on its authenticity.
Solitary report (Khabar Wahid): It is that which has not reached to the stage of widely related (Tawatur), whether its narrator is one or more. It is of different kinds.
A report reported through three or more chains (Khabar Mustfeez): It is that which has more narrators in every stage. Most scholars are of the view that it denotes a report which has more than three reporters at every stage. Thus every report which is related by three or more chains is known as Mustafeez .
Widely related (Mutawatir): It denotes a tradition narrated by a group, which cannot fabricate traditions or make false statement; such that anyone who comes to know about that report becomes certain that it is correct.
Authentic chain (Sanad Sahih): It is the chain of reporters which goes upto an infallible and all its reporters are just and followers of Shia faith.
Good chain (Sanad Hasan): It is that chain which goes upto an infallible and all its reporters are from Shia faith and they have been praised. However their justice has not been proved.
Trustworthy report (Khabar Mauthiq): It is a traditional report whose chain of reporters goes upto an infallible and all its reporters are certified by companions. However one of their reporters is not a Shia.
Weak report (Khabar Zaeef): It is the report which does not fit any of the above definitions. It is also of a few types: Mauqoof It is that whose chain does not reach upto an infallible; on the contrary it reaches upto an associate of an infallible. Maqtoo: It is the second type of Khabar Zaeef; that is a report whose chain reaches upto the companions of companions (Tabiin). Tabiin are those who have not seen the Imam. on the contrary they had remained in the company of the companions of the Imams.
Covert report (Khabar Muzmir): It is a report in which the name of the Imam is not clarified.
Difficult report (Khabar Muzii): It is a report in which two or more of its reporters are unknown.
Incompletely transmitted report (Khabar Mursal): It 1s a report in which some or all of the reporters are omitted.
In addition to the above, there are many other kinds of reports mentioned in books of tradition sciences.
Q.79: What is the difference between jealousy (Hasad) and envy (Ghibta)?
A: When a person learns that the Almighty Allah has bestowed a person with a new blessing, he experiences either of the two conditions:
1- First type is that he is angry for the fact that he has received that bounty and he hopes that it would be taken away from him. Such a condition is known as jealousy (Hasad). That is to oppose anyone from getting any blessing and a hope that it is taken away from him.
2- The second type is that he is angry, because someone else has received some blessing and he is also not hoping that the person may lose his blessing. On the contrary he wants to have the same blessings. Such a condition is known as envy (Ghibta) in Arabic terminology.
Thus it is narrated from Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) that he said: A believer may feel envy (Ghibta) but he never feels jealousy (Hasad). On the contrary, the hypocrite feels jealousy (Hasad) and never envies (Ghibta).11
Jealousy (Hasad) is of four types:
In the first stage, the one who feels it (Hasad) desires that the blessing should be taken away even though it may not bring any benefit to him. It is the worst type of jealousy.
Another type is that in which he wants that blessing to be taken away from that person so that he may get it instead. For example a person is having a beautiful house or a pretty wife and another person wants to get hold of them somehow. Therefore, there is no doubt in the unlawfulness and evil of this type of jealousy.
Thus the Almighty Allah has said:
وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ
The third category of Hasad is that one aspires for that which others possess and which he is not having; but when he is unable to obtain that he wishes that the other person should also lose it. So that he also becomes like others. If this person is capable, he would do this himself.
The fourth category of Hasad is also somewhat l ike the third category. But that person, even though he is able to take away that blessing, he does not make an effort for it, because religion and reason stops him from that; on the contrary he is angry on himself. Thus there is hope for salvation of such a person. And his selfish desires are due to hi s own anger, and he is angry at his own condition, the forgiveness of Almighty Allah can come to his rescue. Therefore to gain more knowledge about the types and causes of Hasad one may refer to books of morals and ethics.
A point is worth mention with regard to Ghibta, which is ignored by most people. It is that a Ghibta which is lawful is that which does not reach to the level of Hasad. And mostly the danger from Ghibta is that because if someone tries to obtain the blessing that another person
is having, without desiring to snatch it from him, he will either get that blessing or not. If he does not reach it, sometimes his selfish desires make him want to feel that it should be taken away from him so that he may also become like others, because it is unbearable for him to see someone else taking precedence on him. Therefore this condition will make one imbued with the third and fourth kind of Hasad . And very few people are safe from this condition, except those who are bestowed with perfect ethics and whom the Almighty Allah has kept away from evil traits. Such persons do not raise objections against divine destiny.
Q.80: What is the difference between avoid (Audh) and to take refuge (Laudh)?
A: Both Audh and Laudh, according to dictionary meaning denote 'avoiding' or 'taking refuge’ and it is in the meaning of asking from a personality who can fulfill his needs; and one who may cure his pain and solve his problems. But from the aspect of usage that which is understood is that Audh is used when it had the five elements of seeing refuge (lstiaaza):
1- The Reality of lstiaaza: It is that the person realizes that he is surrounded by worldly and other worldly problems and is deprived of blessings of the world and hereafter and he is certain that he cannot remove even his most minor problem. He should have certainly that it is only Almighty Allah, Who can remove harms from him and there is no one more kind and generous than Him. Due to this, humility is created in him and he asks Almighty Allah to keep him safe from those calamities and to bless him in every way. Therefore he says: I seek refuge in Allah. It should also be clear that as far as a person cannot understand his true value as also his need and the true position and needlessness of the Lord, he has not understood the reality of lstiaaza.
Mustaeez: It is one who has understood the reality of
/stiaaza, so he becomes humble to his Lord and seeks His refuge.
Mustaaz Bih: It is Almighty Allah or means and channels which Almighty Allah has appointed for people to beseech through. That is Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (a.s.), who are the beautiful names of the Lord.
Mustaaz Minhu: It is one who seeks refuge of Allah from the Satan, from his selfish desires or from an evil man in a condition of helplessness.
Mustaaz Li ijlhi: It is that due to which a man is motivated to seek refuge of Allah from the evil of Satan or another evil person.
However, laudh is used when the four elements of lltijaa (taking refuge) come together: l – 1ltijaa (the taking of refuge) 2- Multaji (one who takes refuge) 3- Multaja llaih (one in whom refuge is taken) 4- Multaja Li Ijlihi (that from which refuge is taken).
After that, as we mentioned in Istiaaza12, the reality of taking refuge (lltija) will become
clear. But Multaji is one who is surrounded by problems. Multaji Ilaih is the Almighty Allah and Multaji Li Ijlihi is that which causes the condition of Iljtija. Like disobedience or sins that he has committed; to become aware of its punishment or to remember difficulties of the world and hereafter; or to remember about deprivation of the world and hereafter such that one beseeches his Lord to remain safe from all this.
In other words it can be said that when a sinner escapes and takes refuge with his Lord, he says: Audh and when he notices his own loss and deprivation he seeks refuge from the Almighty Allah and utters A-loodhu bika and Wa laa Alooza bi siwaaka (I seek Your help and I don 't seek the help of anyone other than You).
Q.81: When the A1mighty Allah completed His proof on Bani Israel and guided them through the miracles of Prophet Musa (a.s.), the act of Samiri in creating sound in the calf was a test of the community and it is also confirmed that a miracle should be performed by a righteous and a truthfuI person like Prophet Musa (a.s.). But the act of Samiri also seems to be a miracle. It is so because it was not possible for anyone else to perform it and people cannot know whether Samiri is true or false.
Why did the Almighty Allah make the mud below the hooves of the horse of Jibraeel (a.s.) so effective that it caused some people to deviate from monotheism? And how Samiri had the knowledge about the amazing properties of that mud?
A: This deed of Samiri was not extraordinary. On the contrary it was a craft, because it is possible to make a calf out of silver or gold and to make it to create life-like sounds and such an accomplishment is not impossible. There are many such examples in the world. For example alarm clocks that crow like cocks and other animals and pronounce different words. But the casting of the staff by Prophet Musa (a.s.) and its changing into a python without the use of a craft is beyond human capability.
But it is difficult for people to know whether Samiri was true or false. It is against common sense, because he claimed divinity for something, which was made by hand. The Holy Quran says:
وَلَا تَتَمَنَّوْا مَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ
But Jibraeel taking a human form and riding a horse on the day Firon drowned, and moving of the mud below his feet, alI these are possible matters. It is mentioned in traditional reports that Prophet Musa (a.s.) had informed about all this beforehand. Therefore on the day Firon drowned, Samiri saw the mud below the hooves of Jibraeel's horse moving. So he picked some of it and continued to boast about it till he crafted a gold calf and placed the mud inside and it immediately emitted a mooing sound.
Yes, the seeing of Jibraeel by Samiri, the moving of mud, his picking of the mud, his not being prevented from crafting a calf, the mud not becoming ineffective and the creation of sound in the calf: all this was lack of good sense (Taufeeq) for Bani Israel from Almighty
Allah for which they became eligible when they said to Prophet Musa (a.s.): Make for us a deity like those idolaters. It was indeed a very difficult test for them although they had seen the great signs of Almighty Allah through Prophet Musa (a.s.). Among them was splitting of the sea and drowning of Firon. In spite of that they followed a man like Samiri.
Q.82: Creation of Allah could never be defective, why should then a newborn be circumcised?!
A: The fetus and unborn child in the womb is fed through the navel (umbilical cord). The male and female sexual organs are absorbent. To prevent impurities and bJood from entering the nourishment of the fetus, the foreskin serves as a deterrent. After a male child is born, its foreskin becomes extra and there is also possibility of collection of microbes beneath it, which can cause diseases. That is why circumcision has been commanded. But female circumcision is only recommended, because with the passage of time, along with the growth of the body, the said skin is destroyed automatically.
- 1. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 52, Pg. 122
- 2. Biharuil Anwar, Vol. 70, Pg. 385
- 3. Raudatul Kofi, Vol. 8, Pg. 198
- 4. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 58, Pg. 310
- 5. Furu Kafi,Vol.1, Pg. 330
- 6. Nahjul Balagha , Letter 45
- 7. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 70, Pg. 22; Mahasin Barqi , Vol. 1 , Pg. 291
- 8. Biharul Anwar. Vol. 7, Pg. 22; Mahasin Barqi, Vol. I , Pg. 291
- 9. Vol.1, Pg. 126
- 10. Nahjul Balagha , Subhi Salih, Pg. 419, Letter 45.
- 11. Usul Kafi , Vol. 2, Pg. 307; Biharul Anwar, Vol. 73, Pg. 250
- 12. Recently the author's lstiaaza has been published which may be referred to by those who have interest.