The Culture Of Ahl Al-Bayt
Morality of Ahl al-Bayt is a collection of their godly and human virtues towards their fellow human beings. On many occasions, the infidels, atheists, and pagans were attracted to Islam because they had been influenced by the morality of Islam represented by Ahl al-Bayt. Free from errors and vices, Ahl al-Bayt are the paragon of virtues for all human beings until the Day of Judgment.
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) reports:
Ali ibn Abi-Talib (a.s.) was tasked by the Holy Prophet to go to the market and purchase a shirt. He went to the market and purchased a shirt for twelve dirhams. The Holy Prophet asked, “How much did you pay for it?”
“Twelve dirhams”, said Imam Ali (a.s.).
“I do not like it so much! I would like to have a less expensive one. Is the seller ready to take it back, if so, please return it?, ” Holy Prophet (S) said to him
“I do not know, Allah’s Messenger,” replied Imam Ali (a.s.).
“Go and see whether he agrees to take it back or not,” asked the Holy Prophet (S)
Ali took the shirt alongwith him and returned to the market to ask the seller, “The Holy Prophet wants a shirt which is less expensive in price than this. Are you ready to pay back our money and take back the shirt?”
The seller accepted it; Ali took the money and returned to the Holy Prophet. Then they both went towards the market. On the way, the Holy Prophet saw a slave-girl crying.
“Why are you crying?” he asked.
“My master gave me four dirhams and sent me to the market for shopping. I do not know how I lost the money. At present, I am scared to go back home.”
The Holy Prophet gave her four dirhams from those twelve dirhams and said, “Buy what you want and go back home!” Then, he went to the market, purchased a shirt for four dirhams and put it on.
On his return, he saw a naked man; he immediately took off his shirt and gave it to him. He returned to the market and purchased another shirt for four dirhams. He put it on and took to the way towards his house. On the way, he saw the same slave-girl sitting, puzzled, embarrassed and perplexed.
“Why didn’t you go back home?” he asked.
“O Allah’s Messenger, it is too late. I am afraid they might beat me, for I have been slightly delayed.”
“Let us go together. Show me the way to your house! I will intercede for you with them so that they may not bother you.”
The Holy Prophet accompanied the slave-girl. As they reached the house, the girl said, “This is the house.”
The Holy Prophet said in a high voice from behind the door, “O people of the house, peace be upon you.” He did not get any reply. Thus he said again, yet there was no reply. For the third time, he saluted, and they replied, “O Allah’s Messenger, peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you.”
“Why did you not reply for the first time, didn't you hear my voice?”
“Of course, yes! We heard your voice the first time and came to know that it was you!”
“Then what was the reason for your delay?”
“O Allah’s Messenger! We love to hear your voice again and again. Your salaam is peace, blessing and grace for our house.”
“This slave-girl of yours was delayed. I came here to ask you not to pester her.”
“O Allah’s Messenger! Because of your gracious visit, this slave-girl is free from now on.”
The Holy Prophet said, “Thanks to Allah, how blessed these twelve Dirhams were; which became the dress of two naked persons and a slave-girl got her freedom.”1
Allah’s Messenger has been reported by Imam al-Baqir (a.s) to say:
خَمْسٌ لَسْتُ بِتَارِكِهِنَّ حَتَّى الْمَمَاتٍ: لِبَاسِي الصُّوفَ، وَرَكُوبِي الْحِمَارَ مُؤكِفَاً، وَأكْلِي مَعَ الْعَبِيدِ، وَخَصْفِي الْنَّعْلَ بالْيَدِ، وَتَسْلِيمِي عَلَى الصِّبْيَانِ سُنَّةَ مِنْ بَعْدِي.
I will not quit five habits until the moment of my death: wearing coarse clothes, riding a mule without packsaddle, eating with the slaves, weaving footwear with my own hands, and saluting children so that it will become a tradition after me.
Imam Musa (a.s) quoted Imam Ali (a.s) as saying, “Allah’s Messenger owed a few dinars to a Jew, so he asked for it. The Holy Prophet said, “I can't pay it now.” The Jew said, “I will not leave you until you have paid my money.” The Holy Prophet said, “Then I will sit beside you.” He sat beside that Jew for a long time during which he performed all his prayers.
The Holy Prophet’s companions made an attempt to intimidate him. Looking at them, the Holy Prophet asked, “What are you going to do with him?” They said, “O Allah's Messenger! A Jew is taking you a hostage like that!” The Holy Prophet said, “Allah has not commissioned me to do any injustice to non-Muslims.”
When the day came to an end, the Jew said, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His Messenger. I give away a portion of my wealth for the sake of Allah, O Messenger! I swear by Allah what I did to you was to see whether you are the same person described in the Torah. I have read your description in the Torah that Muhammad, son of Abdullah, will be born in Mecca; he will migrate to Medina. He is neither rough nor furious. He is neither foul-mouthed nor does he use indecent words. I testify to the oneness of Allah and your Prophethood. This is my wealth at your disposal. Spend it as Allah has commanded.”2
Reporting his father, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) says, “A needy came to the Holy Prophet asking for help. The Holy Prophet (S) asked, “Is there anyone here to give an interest-free loan?” A man from the Ansar rose up saying, “I have such a loan.” The Holy Prophet said, “Give four vessels of date to this man.” The man did so.
After sometime the man came to the Holy Prophet and asked for the repayment of his loan. The Holy Prophet (S) said, “We will pay it in the coming days.” The man came another time, hearing the same words. But when he came for the third time, the Holy Prophet smiled and said, “Is there anyone here to give an interest-free loan?” A man rose up saying, “O Allah's Messenger! I have it.” The Holy Prophet asked, “How much is that?” The man said, “As much as you wish!” The Holy Prophet said, “Give eight vessels of date to this man.” The man said, “You owe me only four vessels.” The Holy Prophet said, “The other four vessels are for you too.”3
Reporting his father, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) says, “During the time of the Holy Prophet, the needy had to spend nights in the mosque because they had no home. One evening, the Holy Prophet broke his fast with the needy in the mosque in a stone vessel. Since the food had been blessed by the Holy Prophet, thirty people ate from it and then took the rest of the food for their wives.”4
Quoting his forefathers, Imam al-Ridha reports: Allah’s Messenger said: An angel came to me saying, “O Muhammad! Your Lord has sent greetings to you saying - I will fill Mecca with gold if you wish so.” But the Holy Prophet raised his head toward the sky and said, “O Lord! I will eat my fill one day to praise You and remain hungry to beg you.”5
Ibn Abbas reports that the Holy Prophet would always sit on the earth; he would eat sitting on the earth; he would milk the sheep; and he would accept the slaves’ invitation to share barley bread on their tablecloth. 6
Among the homeless poor people who used to live in the mosque, there was a believer who was poor and indigent. He would follow Allah’s Messenger in praying and never lost congregational prayer. The Holy Prophet (S) had sympathy for him and closely watched his needs. The Holy Prophet (S) kept on saying, “O Sa’d, I will make you needless if I gain something.” A long time passed but the Holy Prophet did not gain anything. Hence, his sympathy for the man increased. Allah Almighty Who was watching this, sent Archangel Gabriel to him with two dirhams saying, “Allah is aware of your sorrow about Sa’d. Would you like to make him needless?” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Yes.” “Give these two dirhams to him to start a business.”
Taking the two dirhams, the Holy Prophet (S) left home for the mosque to perform his Noon Prayer where Sa’d waiting for him. He said, “Do you like business?” Sa’d said, “Yes, I do. But I do not have money.” The Holy Prophet gave the two dirhams to him and said, “Start a business with this and seek the Divine food.” After completing his prayer, the Holy Prophet said, “Go after business from now on, for I was very sorry for you”. Sa’d did so in a way that he bought goods for one dirham selling them for two dirhams or bought goods for two dirhams selling them for four dirhams.
In this way, he made a fortune and his business became brisk. He went so far as to find premises near the mosque and set up his business there. He became so engaged in his business that he no longer took heed of Bilal’s call for prayer and would not come to the mosque. One day, the Holy Prophet said to him, “O Sa’d! You are so much preoccupied with the world that you have failed to perform prayer with the Prophet! What has happened to your previous spirituality?” Sa’d said, “Shall I waste my property? I have no option! I have to sell my goods to people and receive the price and to purchase goods from people and pay for them!”
The Holy Prophet (S) thus became sadder for Sad than before when he was poor and indigent. At this time, Gabriel came to the Holy Prophet saying, “O Muhammad! Allah is aware of your sorrow for Sad. Which one do you like best, the former or the present condition?” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “The former conditions, for he is in a situation now that this world has ruined his hereafter.” Gabriel said, “Tell Sa’d to return the two dirhams you gave him. When he does so, he will be back to his former conditions.”
So the Holy Prophet (S) went to Sa’’d and told him affectionately, “O Sa’d! Don’t you want to return our two dirhams?” Sad said, “Yes, I will, along with two hundred dirhams!” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Only those two dirhams!” Sa’d gave the two dirhams back to the Holy Prophet and soon he lost what he had gained. Thus, he returned to the former situation.7
Quoting Imam Ali, Imam Musa reports:
The Holy Prophet was always benevolent and benefactor yet he was never appreciated by people. He was kind to Quraysh, Arabs and non-Arabs. We Ahl al-Bayt are the benefactors but our benefaction is not appreciated. The chosen believers too are like us.8
Reporting Imam al-Sadiq, Abu-Basir narrates:
Allah’s Messenger would always eat like a servant; sit on the earth like a servant and act upon the fact that he was a servant of Allah.9
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) has said: A Bedouin woman was passing by the Holy Prophet who was eating while sitting on the earth. She said, “O Muhammad! I swear by Allah that you eat and sit on the earth like a servant of Allah.” The Holy Prophet said, “Woe to you! Who is more deserving than me to be a servant of Allah?” The woman said, “Give a morsel of your food to me!” The Holy Prophet gave her a morsel. The woman said, “No, give me the morsel from your mouth!” The Holy Prophet brought out the morsel from his mouth and gave it to her. The woman never experienced any pain in life until she died.10
Hatam al-Ta’i was a noble, generous, and kind Arab. He would make food of a camel’s flesh every day to feed people. He was doing this whole-heartedly and with devotion. Nevertheless, he died before the advent of Islam. After Hatam, his son Adi succeeded him; he was as generous as his father. It is said that one day a man asked him for one hundred Dirhams. Adi said, “By Allah, this is nothing, ask for more!” When a poet eulogized him, Adi said, “Wait for me to give you a reward before you read the eulogy.”
In the 9th A.H., the Holy Prophet sent a group headed by Imam Ali to Ta’i tribe to invite them to Islam but they fought them and were defeated. Most of the Ta’i people were taken captives along with a considerable booty. Adi, a Christian by faith, escaped to Syria, leaving his sister Safanah among the captives. She stood up before the Holy Prophet and said, “O Allah’s Messenger! My father has passed away, my guardian who is my brother has escaped to Syria, so be gracious to me.” The Holy Prophet ordered to give here new clothes and send here respectfully to Syria.
Seeing this, Adi was surprised. When his sister told him about the Holy Prophet’s gracious behavior, Adi asked for an advisable act. The sister said, “You would better go to him, for it would be a source of pride for you to believe in him, should he be a prophet and it would be an honor for you should he be a king.” Adi moved quickly. He went to the mosque and introduced himself to the Holy Prophet who invited him to his house.
On the way home, an old woman came to the Holy Prophet and held him standing for a long time speaking of her needs. The Holy Prophet too was patiently listening to her! Adi said to himself, “This is not the attitude of the kings to speak with the needy in this manner.” When they reached home, the Holy Prophet made Adi sit on the mattress while he himself sat on the earth facing him. Adi said, “It is not good for me to sit on this mattress when you sit upon the ground.” The Holy Prophet said, “You are our guest!”
Then the Holy Prophet said, “Perhaps you look at the actual poverty and indigence of Muslims and our numerous enemies that you do not accept Islam. But this situation will not last long.” Hearing this, Adi willingly embraced Islam, defended Ahl al-Bayt after Allah’s Messenger and remained steadfast until the end of his life. He fought along with Imam Ali in the battles of Camel, Siffin and Nahrawan for the sake of Allah. In the Battle of Jamal (Camel), he lost one eye and three of his sons were martyred in the front of justice against injustice.11
Anas ibn Malik says: A Bedouin came to the Holy Prophet, took his cloak by hand and drew it in a way that its edge left an abrasion on the Holy Prophet’s neck. Then he said, “Order to bestow on me of Allah’s property which is with you!” The Holy Prophet smiled and ordered to give to him what he needed.”12
Whenever the Holy Prophet noticed the absence of a brother-in-faith for three days, he would inquire about him. He would pray for his people if they were not near by and would rush to visit them if they were ill.13
One day the Holy Prophet had a lot of guests at home. Jarir Ibn Abdullah entered the house but could not find a place to sit. So, he had to sit outside. Seeing this, the Holy Prophet spread his shirt for him to sit on. Jarir picked up the shirt, put it on his face and kissed it.
Salman says: I went to see the Holy Prophet who was leaning on a cushion. When he saw me, he offered his cushion to me saying: O Salman! Allah will have his mercy on a Muslim who offers a cushion for his brother-in-faith when he comes to visit him.14
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) said: When a foster sister came to see the Holy Prophet, he spread his cloak for her to sit on. He also started to speak to her with a smile on his lips. When she left, her brother came to the Holy Prophet but his behavior was quite different. When asked why they were not treated equally, the Holy Prophet said: I respected the sister more because she was more kind to her parents.15
When the Holy Prophet conquered Mecca with his strong army of twelve thousand soldiers, he treated people so kindly that they were all surprised. No one could believe that a victor could treat the defeated party in this way.
People of Mecca had gathered in the Sacred Mosque to see the leader of Muslims and Islam come out of Kabah and judge those who committed all kinds of persecution against him for thirteen years. However, after breaking the idols, the Holy Prophet came out of Kabah to address the people of Mecca as such, “O people! You were bad kinsmen and neighbors for me. You expelled me from my hometown and fought against me in an unmanly way. You did not spare any attempt to persecute my friends, my companions or me. You killed my uncle, Hamzah. You fought against Allah’s Messenger so I have the right to avenge myself on you. Based on this right, your men must be killed, your wives and children must be taken captive, your property must be seized by the conquerors, and your houses must be demolished. Yet I leave the judgment to you. What do you think?”
Suhayl ibn Amr, representing his people, said, “We speak good and think good. You are an honorable brother and an honorable nephew who has power over us.” These words impressed the tender-hearted Prophet in such a way that his eyes were filled with tears. People of Mecca started weeping. Then the Holy Prophet said, “I do the same thing as my brother Joseph did. There is no sin upon you today. May Allah forgive you; He is the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.”16
Sahl ibn Sa’d al-Saidi says: I made a cloak of black and white wool for the Holy Prophet and he liked it. While touching it, he asked, “What a good cloak this is!” A nomadic Arab who was present there said, “Give me this cloak!” The Holy Prophet immediately took it off and gave it to him.” 17
Abu-Sa’id Khargushi in his book, Sharaf al-Nabi writes: A needy companion of the Holy Prophet got married and asked him something. The Holy Prophet went to Aishah’s house saying, “Do we have anything to help this companion?” A’ishah said, “We have a bag with flour in it.” The Holy Prophet gave it to the companion while they had nothing for themselves.18
Ka’b ibn Zuhayr was an idolater who was steadfast in his idolatry until the conquest of Mecca. One of his indecent works was poem of reproach and satire about Allah’s Messenger. He and some other atheists who were extremely biased in their paganism and in committing horrible crimes against Islam were so detested that the Holy Prophet made Muslims dutybound to shed their blood upon the conquest of Mecca.
Hearing this, Ka’b ibn Zuhayr, with his poetic talent, composed an ode eulogizing the Holy Prophet and set out for Medina where he introduced himself to Abu-Bakr and beseechingly asked to take him to the Holy Prophet so that he might forgive him.
Abu-Bakr accepted his request and took to the Holy Prophet. He covered his face with his turban so that nobody would recognize him, said, “O Allah’s Messenger! This Arab man wishes to embrace Islam.” The Holy Prophet stretched out his hand and Ka’b pledged his allegiance, saying, “My father and mother are at your disposal, O Allah’s Messenger! This is the station of one who seeks refuge with you. I am Ka’b ibn Zuhayr.” He immediately recited the ode eulogizing the Holy Prophet. When he finished, the Holy Prophet rewarded him with his stripped cloth from Yemen, accepted his Islam and forgave him.
Abdullah ibn Ubay who was the chief of hypocrites in Medina and his friends did not spare any attempt to persecute the Holy Prophet and Muslims. They were spying in favor of the enemies of Islam and insisted on hypocrisies so much so that Quranic verses were revealed on their being deprived of Allah’s mercy and their punishment on the Judgment Day. Nevertheless, they did not stop their hypocrisy nor did they repent. When the Holy Prophet returned from Tabuk, Abdullah ibn Ubay fell sick and was close to death.
Based on the Quranic verse,
يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ
He brings forth the living from the dead (6:95) -
his son, a true and pure-hearted youth, was favored by the Holy Prophet and Muslims. Based on the Quranic verse,
..وَبِالْوَالِدَيْنِ إِحْسَانًا ..
And you shall do good to your parents (2:83) -
he would visit his father everyday as a religious duty. This good son of Ubay asked the Holy Prophet to visit his father to save the dignity of the family. Hence, the Holy Prophet too visited his father to preserve the dignity of a man who was a true believer.
Out of sympathy, the Holy Prophet said to Abdullah ibn Ubay, “I forbade you to make friends with the Jews but you did not accept it. Now is it not time to do away with the love of the enemies of Allah and depart for the hereafter?” In response, Abdullah said, “Asad ibn Hurarah was the enemy of Jews but this enmity was of no avail when he was on the verge of death. This is not the time to reproach me. I am on the verge of death. I would like you to perform prayer for my dead body and give me your shirt so that I will be buried with it.” The Holy Prophet gave his outer shirt to him generously.
But Abdullah said, “I want the shirt which has touched your holy body.” The Holy Prophet complied with his request and gave his under shirt to him. After Abdullah's death, the Holy Prophet condoled his son, attended the funeral service, prayed for him and in response to people’s protest said, “My shirt, prayer and pardon will not be of avail for him.” Following this manly and generous act, a thousand persons of the Khazraj embraced Islam."19
The Holy Prophet would visit his companions and inquire about their health in the same way that they would visit him and inquire about his health. He would bid them a fond farewell as they would bid him a fond farewell. He would hug them as they would hug him. He would kiss them
as they would kiss him saying, “My father and mother are at your disposal.”
If the Holy Prophet was invited to a party even at midnight, he would accept it. When he was riding, he would not allow anyone to be on foot at his service. If it were possible, he would make him ride with him; if not, he would say, “You go to the appointed place, I will come after you.” When he passed by children, he would salute them.20
It is reported that certain slaves from Bahrain came to the Holy Prophet making a line before him. There was a woman among them, who was crying. The Holy Prophet asked, “Why are you crying?” The woman answered, “I had a son sold to Banu-Abs”. The Holy Prophet asked, “Who sold him?” The woman said, “Abu-Usayd al-Ansari did.”
Furious, the Holy Prophet said to Abu-Usayd Ansari, “Get on the horse and return her son as you have sold him.” The man got on the horse and after some time returned him.21
The Holy Prophet said, “Whoever separates a mother and her children, Allah Almighty will separate him from his friends.” 22 The Holy Prophet has also said, “Never go to the nest of birds at night nor scaring them from their nests, for night is a time of rest for them.”
Ibn Abbas reports: One day, the Holy Prophet was sitting in the mosque along with his companions when a Bedouin entered carrying a sword and a lizard in his lap and shouting, “O Muhammad! You are a sorcerer as well as a liar!” The companions wanted to kill him but the Holy Prophet stopped them.
Turning to the Bedouin, he said, “O Arab brother! Who are you looking for?” The man said, "I am after Muhammad, the sorcerer and liar.” The Holy Prophet said, "I am Muhammad but I am neither sorcerer nor liar. Rather I am Allah’s Messenger.” The Bedouin said, “I swear by idols that were it not for your dignity I would have killed you with this sword. I swear by Lat that I will not believe you unless this lizard believes you.” The Holy Prophet said, “O lizard! Who am I?” The lizard said, “You are Allah’s Messenger.” With this, the heart of the Bedouin was illuminated with the light of faith so he truthfully testified to the oneness of Allah and the Prophethood of Muhammad. He further said, “O Allah's Messenger! When I entered this mosque there was no man more hostile than me to you and now there is no one loves you more than I do.”23
It is reported that one day the Holy Prophet along with one of his companions went to the desert of Medina. He saw an old woman at a well intending to draw water but she could not. The Holy Prophet went near her saying, “O Old Lady! Would you permit me to draw water for you?” She said,
إِنْ أَحْسَنْتُمْ أَحْسَنْتُمْ لِأَنْفُسِكُمْ
“If you do good, you will do good for your own souls (17:7)”
The Holy Prophet went to the well, drew up the bucket, filled her water-skin, put it on his shoulder and said to the woman, “Go ahead and show me the way to your tent.” The companion insisted that he should carry the water-skin but the Holy Prophet said, “I am more deserving than anyone else to carry the load of my nation.”
The old woman led the way and the Holy Prophet was followed her until they reached her tent. The Holy Prophet put down the water-skin and set out for Medina.
The old woman entered the tent saying to her children, “Get up and bring the water-skin in.” They asked, “O mother! How did you carry this heavy water-skin up to here?” She said, “A sweet-speaking young man carried it for me.” They asked, “Where did he go?” She said, “He went that way.” The children of the old woman went after the Holy Prophet. When they recognized him, they said, “Mother! This is the man you believe in and are eager to see.”
The old woman and her children ran after the Holy Prophet until they reached him and started kissing his hands. The old woman who was weeping said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I did not recognize you. Forgive me for being insolent to you. How can I apologize?” The Holy Prophet consoled her, prayed for her children and retuned them kindly.24
It is reported that one day, the Holy Prophet had fever and that day was the turn of being in Hafsah’s house. On that day, Aishah cooked barley soup for the Holy Prophet and a slave-girl took the pot to Hafsah’s house.
At the door, Hafsah said, “What is this?” The slave-girl said, “This is barley soup that Aishah has cooked for Allah’s Messenger.” Hafsah was very disturbed to hear this, saying, “Aishah has infringed my right. Can’t I cook barley soup? Is my love for the Holy Prophet any less than hers?” Then she took the pot from the slave-girl and threw it down so the pot broke and the barley soup spilled on the earth.
The Holy Prophet took a piece of the pot in which there was a little soup and ate it saying to the slave-girl, “If Aishah asks you whether the Prophet ate from it, say yes and do not tell her what you have seen or heard here so that there will be no cause of annoyance between them.”
It was after this event that the following verse was revealed,
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
And most surely you conform yourself to sublime morality. (68:4)
It is reported that when Mecca was conquered, Ikrimah, son of Abu-Jahl, escaped to Yemen. When he was informed that Allah’s Messenger would not blame anyone for his past faults and would not take him to task, he returned to Mecca and to the Sacred Mosque. Seeing him, the Holy Prophet rose up, spread his cloak for him and kissed him between the eyes. Ikrimah said, “I loved the Holy Prophet more than myself, my father, and my son.” Ikrimah became Muslim. He truly believed in Islam and was martyred in one of the battles.25
A Bedouin came to the Holy Prophet saying, “I have several camels for sale but I have no idea of their price in the market of Medina. I am afraid of being deceived by buyers. Would you come to the market with me giving your knowledge in this field?” The Holy Prophet said, “Bring the camels to me and present them one by one.” He did so and the Holy Prophet priced them each.
The Bedouin went to the market and sold the camels for the price the Holy Prophet had said. Coming back, he said, “You guided me and I made a huge profit. Now accept something from me and take of this money whatever you wish.” The Holy Prophet said, “I expect nothing.” The Bedouin said, “Accept a gift from me.” The Holy Prophet said, “I am not in need of anything.” The Bedouin insisted. The Holy Prophet said, “Now that you insist, bring me a female camel which gives milk provided that you have not separated it from her young.”26
The Holy Prophet and his companions were on a journey. When they alighted in a place, the Holy Prophet ordered them to slaughter a sheep. One of them said, “I will slaughter it.” The second said, “I will skin it.” The third said, “I will cook it.” The Holy Prophet said, “I will gather wood for making fire.” The companions said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Take no pains! We will gather wood for fire.” The Holy Prophet said, “I know you would; but Allah hates to see His servant enjoy a state of privilege among his friends and companions and distinguish between himself and the others.”27
It is reported that the Holy Prophet and Jabir ibn Abdullah were riding a camel belonging to the latter. Allah’s Messenger asked him to sell him the camel. Jabir said, “My father and mother are at your disposal! It is yours.” The Holy Prophet told Bilal to give the money to Jabir. Jabir said, “O Allah’s Messenger! To whom should I entrust the camel?” The Holy Prophet said, “May you enjoy the camel and its price and may Allah bless this transaction.”28
Imam Ali (a.s.) was once passing by date sellers when he saw a slave-girl crying. He asked the reason, and she said, “My master sent me with one dirham to buy dates. I bought the dates from this man and took them home. But my master did not like them. I have returned them but this man refuses to take them back.” Addressing the date seller, Imam Ali said, “O servant of Allah! This is a slave-girl having no authority of herself. Give back her one dirham and take back the dates.”
The date seller rose up and showed him a fist. People said, “What have you done? This is Amir al-Muminin.” The man turned pale and started to gasp out of fear. He took back the dates and returned the one dirham to her. He then said, “O Amir al- Muminin! Be pleased with me.” The Imam said, “The fact that you have amended your conduct has satisfied me. I am pleased only to see that you have given people their due right."29
Amir al-Muminin had sent an agent to arrest Labid ibn Utarad al-Tamimi for having uttered certain words. The agent passed by the alley of Banu- Asad where Nuaym ibn Dajajah al-Asadi captured Labid. When he was arrested, the Imam ordered a physical punishment. Nuaym said, “By Allah, to be with you is humiliation and separation from you is atheism!” The Imam said, “I pardon you. Allah says:
ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ السَّيِّئَةَ
“Repel evil by what is best (23:96)”.
As for your saying, ‘to be with you is humiliation’ it is something bad you have acquired; and as for ‘separation from you is atheism’ it is something good you have acquired. So tit for tat.”30
Amir al-Muminin (a.s.) once entered Mecca for some affairs. He saw a Bedouin clutching the curtain of Kabah and saying, “O Lord of the House! The House is Yours and the guest is Yours. Every host prepares certain means to receive his guest. Tonight, bless me by receiving me.” Addressing his friends, Imam Ali said, “Are you not listening to this Bedouin?” They said, “Yes, we are.” The Imam said, “Allah is too Great to return His guest empty-handed!”
On the second night, Imam Ali found the same man clutching the same pillar of Kabah saying, “O Almighty! There is no one mightier than You! By Your Honor! Honor me in a way no one knows how! I resort to you by the honor of Muhammad and the Family of Muhammad! Grant me something no one but You can grant and avert from me what none but You can avert!”
Amir al-Muminin said to his friends, “By Allah! These words are the chief name of Allah in Syriac. My beloved, Allah’s Messenger, has informed me that tonight this Arab has asked for Paradise from Allah and his prayer was granted and asked for the aversion of Hellfire, which was granted too!”
On the third night, Imam Ali (a.s) again saw him in the same place saying, “O Allah Who is not contained in a space and no space is devoid of Him! Give this Arab four thousand Dirhams as sustenance!” Imam Ali went forth saying, “O Arab! You asked Allah to host you, and He did; you wished Paradise; and it was granted to you; you asked for aversion of fire; and your prayer was granted; tonight, you are asking for four thousand dirhams?” The Arab said, "Who are you?” The Imam said, “I am Ali ibn Abu-Talib.” The Arab said, “By Allah! You are the one I desire and you can meet my need!” The Imam said, “O Bedouin! Ask for it.” The man said, "A thousand dirhams for dowry; a thousand for paying my debt; a thousand for purchasing a house; and a thousand for running the affairs of my life!” The Imam said, “You have been fair in asking for your needs. Whenever you left Mecca for Medina, ask for my house.”
The Arab stayed in Mecca for a week and then came to Medina looking for Amir al- Muminin, shouting, “Who will lead me to the house of the Leader of the believers?” Husayn ibn Ali who was then a child said, “I will lead you to his house. I am his son.” The Arab asked, “Who is your father?” Husayn said, “Amir al-Muminin, Ali ibn Abi-Talib is my father.” He asked, “Who is your mother?” Husayn said, “Fatimah al-Zahra, the doyenne of the women of the world is my mother.” He asked, “Who is your grandfather?” Husayn said, “Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib is my grandfather.” He asked, “Who is your grandmother?” Husayn said: “Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid is my grandmother.” He asked, “Who is your brother?” Husayn said, “Abu- Muhammad, Hasan ibn Ali, is my brother.” the Bedouin said, “You have got the whole world! Go to Amir al-Mu'minin and tell him that the Bedouin whose needs you had guaranteed to meet in Mecca is beside your house.”
Husayn entered the house saying, “O father! The Bedouin whose needs you have guaranteed to meet is at the door.” Addressing Fatimah, Imam Ali said, “Is there any food at home for this Bedouin?” Fatimah said, “No.” Hearing this, Imam Ali put on his clothes and went outside home saying, “Call Abu-Abdullah, Salman the Persian.” When Salman came, the Imam said, “O Abu-Abdullah! Put to sale the orchard whose trees the Holy Prophet planted!” Salman too sold the orchard for twelve thousand Dirhams. Imam Ali took the money and called for the Bedouin. Four thousand dirhams were given to him to meet his needs and forty dirhams for his expenses.
The news spread among the needy in Medina. They too came to Imam Ali. A man from the Ansar went to Fatimah’s house and informed her of the event. Fatimah said, “May Allah reward you for this news.” Ali was sitting there giving away handfuls of Dirhams to the needy so much so that there was nothing left for him."31
After the Battle of the Camel, Musa ibn Talhah was brought to Imam Ali who said, “Say three times: I seek forgiveness of Allah and I repent to Him.” Then he was set free. Addressing him, Imam Ali said, “Go wherever you wish and take for yourself whatever you find of horses and weapons in the camp. But fear Allah in your future life and stay at home.”32
Although Amir al-Muminin was aware of the situation in the realm of Muslims and paid special attention to the situation of the orphans, widows and the needy, he would sometimes act like an ordinary person to give lesson to rulers and to the community.
One day, he saw a woman carrying a water-skin on her back. He took the water-skin from her and placed it on his back. When he inquired about her situation, she said, “Ali ibn Abu-Talib sent my husband to the battle where he was killed. Now I am alone with my children and I have to work for others to make the ends meet.” Imam Ali returned home but had no peace of mind during the whole night. In the morning, he took a basket, put some meat, flour and dates in it and set out for the woman's house. Some friends suggested carrying the basket but the Imam said, “Who will carry the heavy load for me on the Judgment Day?” Reaching the woman's house, he knocked at the door.
“Who are you?”
“I am the man who brought the water-skin for you. Now I have brought some food for the children.”
“May Allah bless you and judge between us and Ali.”
She opened the door. Entering the house, he said, “I wish to do some good acts. Allow me either to knead the flour and bake it or to look after the children.” The woman said, “I will knead the flour.”
Imam Ali too cooked the meat and fed the children with his own hand saying to each child while putting morsel in his mouth, “My son, forgive Ali if he has failed in his duty towards you.” When the bread was ready, the woman said, “O servant of Allah! Put fire in the oven.” He did. When flames rose up, he brought his face near the fire and said, “Taste the heat of fire. It is the punishment for those who fail in their duty towards orphans and widows.”
By chance, a woman from the neighboring house came in. Recognizing him, she cried at the woman, “Woe to you, don't you recognize the man who is helping you? He is Amir al-Muminin!” The widow came forward and shamefacedly cried, “Curse and shame to me. I beg your pardon.” The Imam said, “No, I beg your pardon, for I failed in my duty towards you.”33
Imam Ali bought dates from the mart of Kufah putting them in a corner of his cloak. People rushed to him to carry the dates, but he refused, saying, “One who has a wife and children is more deserving of carrying them.”34
Zayd ibn Ali reports: Ali would walk bare-footed holding his sandals in his left hand on five occasions: Feast of fast-breaking (Eid al-Fitr), Feast of Sacrifices (Eid al-Adha), Fridays, on visiting the sick, and during funeral service. He would say, “These five occasions are the places of Allah and I would like to be bare-footed therein.”35
Amir al-Muminin would always walk by himself in the market, showing the way to those who had lost their way, helping those who were incapable, reciting the following Quranic verse to the shop-keepers while passing by them,
تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا ۚ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
As for that future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief and the good end is for those who guard against evil. (28:83)
Imam al-Sadiq has reported: Amir al-Muminin, once, was riding when his companions started following him on foot out of respect. At this moment, he turned to them saying, “Are you in need of something?” They said, “We would like to accompany you.” The Imam said, “Go back, for walking or running on foot along with a rider will be a cause of corruption for the rider and a cause of humiliation for those on foot.”36
During Imam Ali’s caliphate, Shurayh was the judge. The Imam came to the court with a Jew so that Shurayh will judge between them. The Imam said, “The cuirass which is in your hand is mine, for I have neither sold it nor have I given it as a present.” The Jew said, "The cuirass is mine and now it is in my hands." Shurayh asked the Imam to present a witness. Imam Ali said, “Qanbar (his servant) and Husayn testify that the cuirass is mine.” Shurayh said that the ‘sons’ testimonies for their fathers are not valid nor are those of servants, for they will witness in their favor. Imam Ali said, “Woe to you, Shurayh! You have certainly made several mistakes. Firstly, I am your leader and you obey Allah because you obey me and you know that what I say is not false. Secondly, you claimed that Qanbar and Husayn have witnessed in my favor. The punishment for this is to judge among the Jew for three days.”
The Imam sent the judge to a Jewish neighborhood to judge among them and then to come back to his place of work. When the Jew heard that although Ali had two witnesses but did not misuse his authority and the judge too passed a judgment against him, said, “This is truly the Leader of the believers.” Hence he became Muslim; he confessed that the cuirass belonged to Imam Ali, it had fallen off the Imam’s black and white camel during the Battle of Siffin and he had taken it for himself.37
Once, a complaint was lodged by a plaintiff before Umar ibn al-Khattab - the Caliph in those days. Both parties of litigation had to appear before the court and lay their complaints. The one against whom the complaint was lodged was Imam Ali (a.s). Convoking both parties, Umar went and sat down on the seat of judgment.
According to the Islamic law, both parties ought to station next to each other and the principle of equality before the Tribunal should be respected. Accordingly, the Caliph called out the plaintiff by name and beckoned him to stand up in a peculiar place before the judge. Then he turned to Ali and said, “O Abul-Hasan! Place yourself next to your plaintiff.” On hearing these words, Ali became apparently angry.
The caliph said, “O Ali, do you not want to stand next to your adversary?” Ali said, “No, that is not the reason for my anger; the reason is that you have not entirely respected the norms of justice, for you called me respectfully by my nickname Abul-Hasan but you called the other person by his ordinary name.” Umar hugged the Imam and kissed him between the eyes saying, “May my father be your ransom! Allah guided us with your mediation and brought us out of darkness into light through you.”38
After the Battle of the Camel, when Amir al-Muminin was about to leave Basrah for Kufah, he said, “O people of Basrah! Why are you displeased with me?” Referring to his shirt and cloak, the Imam said, “By Allah, I paid the price of this shirt and cloak through spinning. So why are you trying to find fault with me?” Referring to the purse, which he held in his hand, the Imam said, “By Allah! The money in this purse is from selling what I have produced in Medina. If there is anything with me more than this, I will be a traitor.”39
Being a child, some children of my age and I went to Rahbah one day. We saw Ali (a.s.) standing beside a pile of gold and silver coins, pushing the people backward from falling onto it. He, then, distributed the coins among them and took nothing home!
When I returned home, I said to my father, “Today I have seen the wisest and the most unwise person in my life.” My father asked, “Who is he?” I said, “He is Amir al-Muminin…” As I told him the whole story, my father said, “O son! You have seen the best man.”40
Qanbar, Imam Ali’s servant, asked his master to go to a room where he had hidden bags full of gold and silver vessels. The Imam asked, “What are these?” Qanbar said, “You always divide every thing among the people but I have reserved all these for you.” Imam Ali (a.s.) asked, “Would you like me to bring fire into my house?” He was angry, drew his sword and broke those vessels into pieces ordering him to divide them among the people. He further said, “O Gold and silver! Deceive anyone but me.”41
Fudhayl ibn al-Ja’d reports: The main reason that the Arabs did not support Imam Ali was the wealth. He never preferred an Arab to a non-Arab or an aristocrat to an ordinary man. He never made compromises with the chiefs of tribes or with the kings. This is why people abandoned Ali and joined Muawiyah.
Ali (a.s.) complained to Malik Ashtar about his companions, failure to support him and the fleeing of some of them to Muawiyah. Malik Ashtar too would say, “O Amir al-Muminin! Some people cannot tolerate your justice, for they are the people of the world! May Allah pave the way for your justice, oppress your enemies, disperse them, foil their plan and break their unity against you: Surely He is aware of what they do.”
In response, Ali (a.s.) said, “As for our just acts, Allah says:
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَنْ أَسَاءَ فَعَلَيْهَا ۗ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِظَلَّامٍ لِلْعَبِيدِ
Whoever does good, it is for his own soul, and whoever does evil, it is against it; and your Lord is not in the least unjust to the servants. (41: 46)
As for your opinion that justice is hard for them hence they abandoned us, Allah knows that they did not leave us for any injustice. They left us for worldly riches, which they will leave anyway and on the Judgment Day. They will be questioned whether they fought for the world or Allah! As for saying that we do not give to them from the public fund, we cannot give them more than what they deserve. Allah says:
كَمْ مِنْ فِئَةٍ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتْ فِئَةً كَثِيرَةً بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ
How often has a small party vanquished numerous hosts by Allah’s permission, and Allah is with the patient. (2:249).
Allah had commissioned Muhammad as a prophet with a small number of people around him but they increased in number and He honored them while they had been humiliated. If Allah wills, He will support us to remove our problems and sorrows. I approve of your union, which pleases Allah. You are the most benevolent and trustworthy of them with me, Allah willing.”42
One night Imam Ali (a.s.) entered the house of public fund for apportioning the funds. At this time, Talhah and Zubayr came to him. The Imam put out the torch before him and ordered to bring another torch from his house. They asked the reason. The Imam said, “The oil in that torch belonged to the public fund and it was not right to speak to you under its light.”43
Harun ibn Antarah reports while quoting his father: I went to the presence of Ali at Khawarnaq. He was wearing a coarse old garment shivering from cold. I said, “O Amir al-Muminin! You and Ahl al-Bayt, like others, have a share in the public fund. So why aren’t you using your share?” The Imam said, “By Allah, I do not take anything from the public fund. The garment I am wearing is the same I brought from Medina and I have no garment other than this.”44
Aqil ibn Abd al-Rahman reports: My aunt, wife of Aqil ibn Abi-Talib, came to see Ali in Kufah while he was sitting on a packsaddle. At this time, a wife of Ali, from Banu-Tamim, entered. I said, “Woe to you! Your house is full of goods and here Amir al-Muminin is sitting on a packsaddle!” She said, “Do not blame me! By Allah! He put everything which is unfamiliar to him in the public fund.”45
One day when Imam Ali (a.s.) was in the presence of the Holy Prophet, he was found wearing a worn-out garment. So Allah’s Messenger said, “What happened to the good garment I gave you?” Ali (a.s.) said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I saw one of your companions complaining about his own bareness and that of his wife. So I gave it away knowing that Allah will give me a better one.”46
Imam Ali (a.s) had four dirhams with him once. He divided them into four. He gave away one dirham for the sake of Allah by night and one dirham by day. He gave away the third dirham secretly and the fourth openly. The following holy verse was revealed on the same occasion,
الَّذِينَ يُنْفِقُونَ أَمْوَالَهُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ
As for those who spend their property by night and by day, secretly and openly, they shall have their reward from their Lord and they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve (2:74)
Ibn Abbas has commented on the above-mentioned story, saying about the following holy verse,
رِجَالٌ لَا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ ۙ يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالْأَبْصَارُ لِيَجْزِيَهُمُ اللَّهُ أَحْسَنَ مَا عَمِلُوا وَيَزِيدَهُمْ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ
Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about; That Allah may give them the best reward of what they have done, and give them more out of His grace; and Allah gives sustenance to whom He pleases without measure (24:37-38).
He says: The occasion of the revelation was that one day the Holy Prophet gave Ali three hundred dinars, which they had given to him as gift. Ali (a.s.) said: I took the money and said to myself by Allah, I will give such a charity with these dinars that Allah will accept. When I completed the night prayer with Allah’s Messenger, I took a hundred dinars and left the mosque. On my way, I came across a woman to whom I gave one hundred dinars. The following day, people said, “Ali has given charity to a corrupt woman!” It was a grant sorrow for me.
The night of that day, I performed the night prayer, took a hundred dinars in my hand, left the mosque and said to myself, “By Allah! I will give a charity, which will be accepted by my Lord. I saw a man and gave away the one hundred dinars to him.” The following day, the people of Medina said, “Ali has given away a hundred dinars to a thief.” Again a great sorrow came to me but said to myself, “By Allah! I will give a charity tonight that Allah will accept from me.”
So, I performed my night prayer with Allah’s Messenger and then left the mosque having a hundred dinars with me. I saw a man to whom I gave the money. The next day, the people Medina said, “Last night, Ali gave a hundred dinars to a rich man.” Again, a great sorrow came to me.
I went to Allah’s Messenger and told him the story. The Holy Prophet (S) said: O Ali! Gabriel says to you: Allah has accepted your charity and purified your acts: The one hundred Dinars you gave as charity was put at the disposal of a corrupt woman who repented to Allah and used the money as earnings for her living. She also intends to get married with this money.
The charity of the second night went to a thief who repented thereafter and used the money for running a business. The charity of the third night went to a rich man who had not paid alms for years. He went home and blamed himself saying, “How miser I am! This is Ali ibn Abu-Talib who gave away a hundred Dinars to me while he has nothing whereas I am a rich man who has not paid his obligatory alms!” So, he reckoned his alms and put it aside. It was for this reason that Allah revealed the above-mentioned verses.47
Both Shiite and Sunni scholars report: One day Ali was extremely hungry so he asked for food from Fatimah who said, “There is no food except the one I preferred to give to you than to myself as well as Hasan and Husayn two days ago.” Ali asked, “Why didn't you tell me to prepare a food for you?” Fatimah said, “O Abul-Hasan! I was ashamed to charge you with what is not in your power!”
Ali left the house, went to the Holy Prophet (S) and borrowed a dinar to buy food. On his way, he met al-Miqdad who said, “Whatever Allah wills (will come to pass)!” Ali gave his one dinar to him, went to mosque, lay down and went to sleep! Allah’s Messenger went to the mosque and found Ali in that position. Awakening him, the Holy Prophet asked, “What did you do?” Ali told him the story and then prayed with the Holy Prophet (S). When Allah’s Messenger completed his prayer, he asked, “O Abul Hasan! Do you have any food to share with you?” Ali kept quiet and gave no answer out of shame.
Allah revealed to the Holy Prophet (S) to have the dinner with Ali that night. So they both set out for Ali’s house. When they entered the house, Fatimah was engaged in prayer and behind her was a big bowl steaming. Fatimah brought that big bowl which was replete with food and placed it before her father and her husband. Ali asked. Where has this food come from? She said: From Allah’s Favor and Benevolence,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ
Surely, Allah gives to whom He pleases without measure (3:37)
The Holy Prophet (S) put his hand between the two shoulders of Ali saying, “O Ali! This is in lieu of your dinar.” Then he was choked with tears saying, “Thanks Allah that I have not died to see in my daughter what (Prophet) Zachariah saw in (Saint) Mary.”48
Imam Ali (a.s.) made his utmost effort not to enter battle so that no one would be killed. When he was informed in Medina that the leaders of the Camel Army have left Mecca for Basrah, he quickly left Medina to hold talks with them. He sent them a letter through Sasa’ah, a great man of Basrah.
In that letter, he gave them advice with the utmost degree of kindness and magnanimity. Once again, he sent Ibn Abbas to al-Zubayr to talk to him saying, “Do not go or speak to Talhah, for it will be useless. Speak to al-Zubayr who is softer. Tell him, your cousin says: In Hijaz you were my friend. How come you have become my enemy in Iraq?”
Then, he sent a letter to Talhah and al-Zubayr through Imran al-Khuza’i that read, “Though people may deny, but I did not go to people rather they came to me to pledge allegiance with me. Their allegiance with me was not out of fear, force or allurement. If your allegiance has not been out of fear, repent quickly and turn to Allah. You claim that I have killed Uthman! I leave the judgment to unbiased people. Anyone who is condemned should be punished. You two elderly men of Quraish! Stop behaving like this before this disgrace will be accompanied with Hellfire.”
When Imam Ali arrived in the land of Zaviah on his way to Basrah, he performed a four-Rakah prayer saying, “O Lord of heavens and what cast shadow on them! O Lord of the earths and what they have on shoulders! O Lord of the Great Throne! This is Basrah! I ask You to put the good of this people in my hand and I seek refuge in You from their evil. O Lord! These people have disobeyed me, rebelled against me and have broken allegiance with me. O Lord! Preserve the blood of Muslims and let not any blood be shed!”
When Ali was placed against the army of Basrah, he called, “O people! Do not make haste!” Then the Imam called Ibn Abbas ordering him to go to Talhah, al-Zubayr and Aishah and call them to Allah. Then Ammar ibn Yasir, the great companion and elderly man of truth, stood between the two armies, addressing the army of Basrah as such he said, “O people! It is not fair that you have kept your wives behind curtains while you have brought the Holy Prophet’s wife to be faced with arrows and swords.” Then he went to Aishah, asking, “What do you want?” Aishah said, “I am here to seek the revenge of Uthman!” Ammar said, “May Allah on this day kill the oppressor, perish the rebel and destroy falsehood.”
Then, addressing the army of Basrah he cried out, “O people! Do you know which of the two parties has had a hand in killing Uthman?” The arrows were coming towards Ammar. The answer was arrows! Ammar came to Ali saying, “O Amir al-Muminin: What are you waiting for? They have no goal but killing with arrows showered on the army of Ali. There has been no permission for battle yet!” Imam Ali (a.s) addressed his army as such, “Who is here to take this Quran to the people and call them to it? Whoever does this will be killed but I will guarantee his going to Paradise.” A young man by the name of Muslim rose up, saying, “O Amir al-Muminin: I will take the Quran to them and do what you said.” He took the Quran, went to the enemy and called them to the Quran. They pierced his body with spear. He fell on the ground and was martyred. Was killing with spear an answer to logic?
Ali told his army to be prepared for battle but not start it. Ibn Badil, a brave soldier, brought the dead body of his brother saying: O Amir al- Muminin! Until when should we wait? Should they kill us and we look on?” The dead body of another soldier was brought to Ali but he still did not give the permission to fight. He just said, “O Lord! You are the Witness.” Then, he turned to his army saying, “Have mercy on the people!” Then, he took off his armor, rode on the mule of the Holy Prophet, went to the battlefield and cried out, “O Zubayr! Come to me.” Al-Zubayr came to the field with full arms. Seeing that Ali called al- Zubayr to the field, Aishah said to herself, “Woe to me, my sister Asma - al Zubayr's wife - will became a widow!” When Aishah was told that Ali has come to the battlefield without arms, she calmed down.
In the battle field, Ali hugged al-Zubayr, saying, “Why have you rebelled against me?” Al-Zubayr said, “I have come to take the revenge of Uthman!” Ali said, “May God kill either of us who has had a hand in the killing of Uthman.” Then he spoke softly to him reminding him of Allah’s Messenger, who had said, “You will fight Ali and you will be the wrong party.” Al-Zubayr said, “I seek Allah's forgiveness. If I had not forgotten this word, I would not have rebelled.” The Imam said, “Zubayr! Now, go back.” Al-Zubayr said, “How can I go back? My going back would be considered as fear, a disgrace which cannot be washed away.”
The Imam said, “Go back before disgrace is accompanied with Hellfire.” Al-Zubayr went back and as soon as he intended to go out of the Army of the Camel, his son Abdullah cried out, “Where are you going?” Al-Zubayr said, “My Son! Ali reminded me of something I had forgotten.” The son said, “This is no the case, you are afraid of the swords of the Hashimites!” The father said, “No, I remembered what the time had made me forget. Are you blaming me for fear?” He took the spear and attacked the right wing of Ali’s army.
Then addressing his soldiers, Ali (a.s.) said, “Let no one fight him. Open the way for him. They have provoked him!” Al-Zubayr so attacked both sides of the army. No one fought him or resisted against him. Returning to his army he said to his son, “Does a timid man act like that?” Then he took his way and left.
Ali’s kindness towards the enemy made a hero of him in the battlefield. Did the Army of the Camel realize that what the Holy Prophet had foreseen was not particular to al-Zubayr alone but everyone who fought Ali would be a wrongdoer?
Again Ali came to the battlefield and called Talhah saying, “Why did you rebel against me?” Talhah claimed that he wanted to take the revenge of Uthman. Ali said, “May Allah kill either of us who has had a hand in killing Uthman. Haven’t you heard the words of the Holy Prophet saying: (O God) Befriend one who befriends Ali and bear enmity to one who bears enmity to Ali. Were you not the first man who swore allegiance with me and breached your allegiance? Allah says:
فَمَنْ نَكَثَ فَإِنَّمَا يَنْكُثُ عَلَىٰ نَفْسِهِ ۖ
Whoever breaks his faith, he breaks it only to the injury of his own soul (48:10)
Expressing his regret, Talhah said, “I seek Allah’s forgiveness.” He went back. Sensing that Talhah intends to leave the battlefield, Marwan ibn Hakam threw an arrow towards him. Talhah died immediately without having a chance to inform the people of Basrah of their treacherous and unjust act which he and al-Zubayr had planned.
Addressing his army, Ali (a.s.) said, “When you defeat the Army of the Camel, do not kill the wounded and the captives, nor follow the deserters, nor expose people’s private parts, nor cut anyone’s ears or noses, nor loot anyone’s property except what they leave in the battlefield.”
The enemy’s defeat was certain. Yet, no order of attack was issued. The Army of the Camel attacked the right wing of Ali’s army, pushing them back. It was at this moment that the order of attack was issued and the Army of the Camel suffered a disgraceful defeat, this is Ali’s kindness towards the enemy and his mercy on people in the battlefield. Does history remember a ruler to have behaved like this towards the rebels?
Siffin was a region by the river Euphrates. When the army of Ali (a.s.) reached it, he was told to block the army of Muawiyah from having access to the river, but Ali did not accept the idea. Muawiyah took advantage of this situation, seized all the ways leading to the river and blocked the army of Ali from having access to the river.
By his command, the army opened ways to the river. To retaliate, Imam Ali’s companions decided to block Muawiyah’s army from access to river, but again Ali did not permit. The Battle of Siffin lasted for eighteen months. The offensive by Ali’s army was started hoping that the Syrians would give up and less blood would be shed!
The best definition we can use in describing the Kharijites is that they were people afflicted with the disease of enmity with Ali (a.s.) and they did not stop this enmity until they had killed him. If we use the word disease here it is because enmity with anyone needs a reason. A person bears enmity to someone for personal reasons, for being jealous of that person’s position, for having been hurt or harmed by that person, for having experienced a tyranny, a family feud or religious differences. None of those reasons existed for those who were hostile to Ali. They simply could not see Ali alive and victorious.
These people were in the army of Ali (a.s.) in the Battle of Siffin but when he overcame the enemy, they drew their swords against him and deprived him of victory. They did not accept the intelligent arbiter Imam Ali (a.s.) had chosen and selected the arbiter who was Ali’s enemy! They were the enemies of Muawiyah too but unknowingly assisted him and compelled Ali to accept the mediation of the arbiters.
When the treachery of mediation became clear, they started to disagree with Ali (a.s.) so much so that they disrespected him in his presence and absence. Ali too had left them to themselves showing no reaction to what they said and did.
Ali’s friends who could not tolerate hearing their sarcastic and insulting remarks would often ask Ali to suppress and imprison them or check their activities. However, Ali would not agree, saying, “As long as they do not do anything against us, we will not harm them nor will we cut their stipend from the public fund. We will allow them to come to the mosque but if they kill anyone, we will retaliate.”
The inner disease of Kharijites was being intensified. Hence, they could not stay in Kufah, for they saw Ali there. So, they left it for Nahrawan. Still Ali let them act freely and had nothing to do with them. When he set out to suppress Muawiyah, he wrote a letter as such, “We are going to suppress your enemies, a common enemy; come long with us.” The Kharijites did not accept the offer and declared war against him! Still Ali (a.s.) did not go to them and set off for Syria. Ali was asked to put an end to the enmity of Kharijites first and then set out for Syria. It was not accepted and the order to move to Syria was issued.
Ali’s army was or the way to Syria when news reached that the Kharijites have become active, forcing people to curse Ali and anyone who does not comply with it, is killed. Ali headed for Nahrawan, the Kharijites base. He still refused to enter battle against them. So, he started to admonish and guide them. He managed to dissuade many of them from fighting though they refused to assist Ali in suppressing Muawiyah. Those Kharijites who were dissuaded to fight Ali (a.s.) returned to Kufah but remained Ali’s enemies.
Same people sowed the seeds of Kharijites in the history of Islam and the rest did not accept any option but fighting and preferred death to living with Ali. So they attacked Ali’s army with the motto of ‘we are going to Paradise’. Still no order of counterattack was issued until one of Al’s soldiers was killed. It was then that Imam Ali said, “It is now the right time to fight them."Ali’s army started its attack, which put the Kharijites to flight.49
Suwayd ibn Ghaflah reports: I went to see Imam Ali (a.s.) while he was in governor’s seat. A bowl of sour yoghurt was set before the Imam, the smell of which I could feel. A loaf of bread of barley the husk of which I could see was in his hand. The Imam was breaking the dry bread either with his hand or with his knee!
At this time, I said to Fidhah, his slave-girl who was standing by him, “Don’t you fear Allah for treating this old man as such? Don’t you sieve the barley flour?” Fidhdhah said, “He has asked me not to sieve the flour.”
Ali asked, “What are you talking about?” I told him the story. At this time, Ali (a.s.) said, “May my parents be ransom for the one for whom the flour was not sieved, nor did he ate fill bread of wheat for three straight days until he passed away.”50
Abu-Matar, one of the inhabitants of Basrah, reports: I was coming out of Kufah Mosque when suddenly a man called from behind, “Hold up your garment which makes it last longer and cut your hair short, if you are a Muslim.”
I followed him while he had covered himself with a cloak and held a lash in his hand, like a Bedouin, “Who is this man?” He said, “I find you a stranger in this city!” I said, “Yes, I am a man from Basrah.” He said, “This is Ali, the Leader of the believers.”
I followed him until he reached the neighborhood of Banu-Mohit, which was the market-place of camels. There, he said, “Sell but do not take oath, for it will destroy goods and blessing.” Then, he went to date sellers. There, he found a slave-girl crying. He asked the reason. She said, “This man sold me date for one dirham but my master did not like it and he does not take it back.” The Imam said, “Take back your date and give her back the one dirham, for she is a slave and has no authority.” He pushed the Imam back! I said, “Do you know this man?” He said, “No.” I said, “He is Ali ibn Abi-Talib, the Leader of the believers.”
The man took back the date and gave back her money. Then, the man said, “I hope you are pleased with me.” He said, “Now that you have given people’s right, I am pleased with you.” Then while passing through the date sellers, he said, “Give of these dates to the needy so that Allah will bless your business.”
Then he went to fishmongers telling them to be careful not to sell the fish, which has died in water! Then, he went to the market of canvas sellers and visited an old man selling canvas and said, “I want a shirt for three dirhams.” As soon as the man recognized him, he refused to sell anything to him. He went to another seller but since he too recognized the Imam, he did not buy from him until he came to a young man. He bought a shirt for three dirhams; he put it on while praying as such to Allah,
ألْحَمْدُ للَّهِ رَزَقِنِي مِنَ الرِّ يَاشِ مَا أتَجَمَّلُ بِهِ فِي الْنَّاسِ وَ أوَارِي بِهِ عَوْرَتِي.
Praise be to Allah who provided me with a good garment to adorn myself and to cover my private parts with.
He was asked whether these were his words or he had heard it from Allah’s Messenger. He said, “I heard from the Holy Prophet saying it while he was wearing a garment.”
Amidst this, the father of the young man arrived. He was told that his son had sold a shirt for three dirhams to Amir al-Muminin. Turning to his son, he asked, “Why did you charge more than two dirhams?” The father took the one dirham and came to Amir al-Muminin who was now sitting with Muslims at the gate of Rahbah, saying, “O Amir al-Muminin! Take this one dirham!” The Imam asked about the story of this dirham. The man said, “The price of the shirt was two Dirhams.” The Imam said, “He sold it with consent and I bought it with consent.”51
In the eighth year after Hijrah, Allah’s Messenger conquered Mecca. The House of Allah was purified from the filth of idols with Ali’s idol-breaking act. Allah’s Messenger sent groups to propagate Islam and to invite people to monotheism. He did not declare war. One of these persons was Khalid ibn Walid who was dispatched not as fighter but as propagator. On his way Khalid came to a tribe one of whom had killed his uncle in the pre-Islamic era and had looted whatever belonged to him.
When Khalid was alight near the water sources of Banu-Judhaymah, they took arms. Khalid said, “Put aside your arms, for people have become Muslims.” He had their hands tied and killed whomever he wished. When the news came to Allah’s Messenger, he raised his hands saying, “O Lord! I seek immunity from what Khalid has done!” Then, the Holy Prophet sent Ali with money to look into their affairs.
Ali gave them back whatever Khalid had taken from them. He paid the blood money for all and the extra money, which Ali had with him, was paid to them by the command of the Holy Prophet. When Ali came back, the Holy Prophet said that what he had done was good and right. In the words of Yaqubi, the Holy Prophet said, “What you have done is better than the red camels.” It was at this time of addressing Ali (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah said, “May my father and mother be your ransom.”52
Muawiyah asked Aqil to tell him the story of the blazing iron bar. Aqil said: Life had become extremely hard for me. I pleaded with my brother Ali but he took no heed of it. One day, I took my children in whose appearance poverty and indigence could be seen to visit Ali (a.s.). He said, “Come at night so that I will give you something.”
At night, when one of my sons was holding my hand led me to Ali, I said to my son, “Go and sit at a distance.” Having the expectation that Ali (a.s.) would be giving me a purse of money, I stretched out my hand. But what I touched was a blazing iron bar. I withdrew my hand with a loud cry. At this moment Ali said, “This is the iron bar blazed by the fire of the world. How will be our situation on the Judgment Day when we are fastened with the chains of Hell?” Then he recited this verse:
إِذِ الْأَغْلَالُ فِي أَعْنَاقِهِمْ وَالسَّلَاسِلُ يُسْحَبُونَ
When the fetters and the chains shall be on their necks; they shall be dragged (40:71)
Imam Ali (a.s.), commented, “You have no right on me except what Allah has made obligatory for you. Go back home!”
Muawiyah was extremely amazed and said, “Alas, alas! Women are barren to give birth to his peer.”53
Imam al-Sadiq has been reported by Muawiyah Ibn Ammar to say: If there were two options for Ali to do something for the sake of Allah, he would choose the harder. O people of Kufah, you all know that when he was ruling in this city, he used his income in Medina for living. He would put the roasted flour he ate in a bag and seal it not be mixed with anything else. Who was more pious than Ali in the world!54
Nadhr ibn Mansur has reported, as said by Aqabah ibn Alqamah: I went to Ali’s house in Kufah, finding before him a bowl of sour yoghurt which harmed me as well as several pieces of dry bread. I said, “O Amir al- Muminin! Are you eating such a food?” He said, “Allah’s Messenger ate from bread drier than this.” Referring to his garment, Ali (a.s.) said, “Allah’s Messenger would wear a garment with a more rough texture. If I do not follow his example, I fear not to join him.”55
In the Battle of the Camel, the soldiers who fought along with Imam Ali (a.s.) were twelve thousand in number. When the fighting came to an end with the defeat of the enemies, Amir al-Muminin had the public fund divided with each person having five hundred Dirhams as a share. Ali took the same amount of dirham for himself. Addressing the public fund, he said,
Deceive anyone but me.
After the division of the public funds, a man came about saying, “O Amir al Muminin! My heart was with you although I could no take part in the battle. Do me a favor by giving something to me.” The Imam gave his share to him, going back home empty-handed.”56
One day, Amir al-Muminin was in a gathering of his companions. While a biased man of Kharijites was present, the Imam was admonishing his friends. His heavenly words were so charming which impressed that blind- hearted man but because of his inner enmity to Ali, he impudently said, “May Allah kill him for his unbelief. How knowledgeable he is!”
Hearing such insolence, the companions of the Imam made an attempt to kill him but Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “Grant a respite; calm down; either curse against curse or pardon against sin.”57
An indigent man came to Imam Ali (a.s.) saying, “I am suffering from three diseases: body, poverty, and ignorance.” The Imam said, “O Arab brother! You should see a physician for your physical disease, a wise man for ignorance and a generous person for poverty.”
The Arab said, “You are a physician, a wise man, and a generous man at the same time.” Amir al-Muminin ordered three thousand dirhams to be given to him from the public fund and said, “Spend one thousand dirhams on your physical disease, one thousand dirhams on your poverty and one thousand dirhams on your ignorance”.58
When Amir al-Muminin ruled over the vast Islamic territories, he along with Qanbar (his servant) went to a draper, asking, “Do you have two shirts for five dirhams?” The young draper said, “Yes, but one is better than the other; one costs three dirhams and the other costs two dirhams.” Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “Bring both of them.”
When the young man brought the two shirts, the Imam said to Qanbar, “Take the shirt which costs three dirhams.” Qanbar said, “O Amir al-Muminin! You go up the pulpit and deliver sermons for people. You take the better one.” The Imam said, “Qanbar! You are young and have the desires of a young man. I am ashamed before Allah to count myself superior to you! I heard Allah’s Messenger saying: Whatever you wear, let your servant wear too and whatever you eat let your servants eat too.” Then, the Imam put on the shirt, which cost two dirhams realizing that the sleeves were too long so he said to the draper, “Cut the sleeve short a little bit.” He did so and said, “Let me fold it, old man!” The Imam said, “Let it be as it is. There is no time for such a thing.”59
Abd al-Rahman ibn Sulayman says reporting from Imam al-Sadiq (a.s): Amir al-Muminin sent a man to the desert of Kufah to collect alms, saying:
O servant of Allah! Fear Allah and do not prefer the world to the hereafter. Be careful about what I have entrusted you with. Guard Allah’s right until you reach such and such tribe. Place yourself in their region with out residing near their houses.
Then proceed towards them solemnly so as to be among them. Greet them and say: O servants of Allah! The friend of Allah has sent men to you to receive what is due to Allah from you. Is there anything due to Allah in your property to pay to the friend of Allah? If anyone them of answers negatively, say no more. If a rich man answers affirmatively, go with him, without intimidating him. Do not promise (of anything) but good to him until you reach his camels and cattle.
Do not go among them unless you are given permission, for most of them belong to him. Say to him: O servant of Allah! Will you permit me to go among them? If he says yes, do not go among the camels and the cattle like a rough man who has an upper hand. Divide them into two halves. Then let him choose the one he likes. Do not protest him for his choice. Divide the remaining into two. Keep on this division until what is due to Allah will remain and then collect it. If he asks you to cancel the division, accept it. Mix them altogether and so the same as you have done before until you collect of the camels and cattle what is due to God.
Then take for yourself an agent who is benevolent, Muslim, sympathetic, trustworthy and a safe keeper who does not treat them roughly. Therefore send to me immediately whatever you collect of each of the tribes to be put in a place Allah has commanded. If your emissary brings them here, advise him not to hide the young camel from its mother, nor milk it fully so as to harm the young camel, nor tire it by riding but to ride them equally, to take them to a place to drink water, not to push them from pasture to the plain road when they are having rest and at times it is hard for them, to make use of them softly so that Allah willing, they will come to us fat and fleshy, not tired out or exhausted so that they will be divided according to the Book of Allah and the tradition of Allah's Messenger.
This attitude will make your reward greater and is closer to your interest. Allah will look at them, you, your endeavor and sympathy with the one who has sent you and the ones who need the alms. Allah's Messenger has said: Allah favors an agent who does his best to obey his leader with sympathy.60
Imam al-Baqir has reported: One Day when Amir al-Muminin was returning home, found a woman waiting. Seeing him, she came near and said, “I am in trouble. My husband oppresses me. He has turned me out form the house and has threatened to beat me. If I go to him, he will beat me. I request you to do justice between us.” Amir al-Muminin said, “O Servant of Allah! It is too hot now. Wait until it cools down in the afternoon. Then I shall come with you and redress your grievances.” The woman said, “If I stay out too long, I am afraid it may increase his anger.”
For a moment he bowed his head and then raised it up saying to himself:
By Allah, one should not delay getting justice to the oppressed. The right of the oppressed should certainly be taken from the oppressor; and every fear should be taken out from her heart so that she maystand boldly before the oppressor and demand her right.
The Imam further asked where her house was and she told him. He accompanied her to her house, stood at the door and called out loudly, “O master of the house! Peace be upon you.” A young man came out. He was her husband. He did not recognize the Imam; he found that an old man of about sixty years had accompanied her and assumed that she had brought him for support and mediation, but he kept silent. At this moment Ali said, "This lady has a complaint against you. She says that you have done injustice to her and turned her out of the house. Besides you have threatened to beat her. I have come here to tell you to fear Allah and be kind to your wife.”
The man said, “In what way does it concern you if I have not treated my wife well? Yes, I had threatened to beat her, but now, since she has brought you to plead for her, I shall throw her into fire and burn her alive.”
Ali was disturbed by the impudence of the man. Drawing out his sword, he said, “I am admonishing you from bad deeds but you are replying me in such manner clearly saying to burn this woman in fire! Do you think there is no authority in this world?” His loud voice drew the attention of the passers by and a huge crowd gathered. Whoever came saluted him respectfully saying, “Peace be on you Amir al-Muminin.” When the rude young man realized as to whom he was talking, he trembled and supplicated, “O Amir al-Muminin! Forgive me. I confess my faults and promise that henceforth I shall obey my wife.” Ali turned to the woman and told her to go to the house and cautioned her not to behave in such a manner that her husband had to be angry again.61
Note: Some people die leaving no traces. Others leave an impact during their lifetime and are put into oblivion after their death. Others are influential throughout the time. Some people have a physical presence in history and they continue to live through their descendants, grandchildren, mausoleums, and such art works as those of Michaelangelo, which are immortal in the west. Others are immortal by their behavior. In religious literature, we call this immortal behavior tradition.
Still further, there are people who leave behind a heritage of spirituality and knowledge. Jesus Christ (a.s) and Aristotle are two examples respectively. To sum it up, some personalities have such an aptitude as to survive in history in any one of the three dimensions we have just discussed. Nevertheless, Lady Fatimah, the daughter of the Holy Prophet, had all the three dimensions of life assimilated in her.
Physically, Lady Fatimah (a.s.) has fifty million descendants. The Imams and the righteous men are her offspring. There is no woman who has had such a tangible presence in history.
In terms of mausoleums, it is something strange with Fatimah (a.s.). While famous personalities such as Sa’di, Hafidh, Avicenna, Shah Jahan and Nur Jahan in Taj Mahal keep a physical presence in the world though the mausoleums associated with them, Lady Fatimah (a.s.) though lacking a shrine, continues to exist physically in the world even after her death. This is really a paradox.
Fatimah’s physical presence is highlighted knowing that the Fatimid Dynasty founded a ruling system in Africa in her name. The immortal epic of Nasir Khosrow Alawi, ‘I am a Fatimid’ reflects the same physical presence. The Fatimid rulers in commemoration of Lady Fatimah al-Zahra founded the al-Azhar University, the most famous scientific-religious center of Sunni Muslims in Egypt.
In terms of knowledge, Lady Fatimah (a.s.) has had a dynamic presence too. Sulayman Kittani, a Lebanese Christian writer, Louis Massigngon, a French Orientalist, and Professor Henry Corbin are some of the famous personalities who have written books on the heritage of knowledge which Lady Fatimah has left behind.
As for model of behavior in history, we can say that this young woman who did not live more than eighteen years left behind such tradition of behavior about which Imam al-Mahdi has said:
وَ فِي إبْنَةِ رَسُول اللَّه ِ لِي أسْوَةٌ حَسَنَة.
There is a model for me in the daughter of Allah’s Messenger. 62
Sociologists believe that the reason behind crisis of the young generation in the third world is absence of a model for behavior. In this relation, Lady Fatimah serves as a model for all the youths, for she has a genuine personality with a halo of sanctity around her. What follows is a perspective of moral virtues and behavior of Lady Fatimah followed by the viewpoints of famous people.
Imam al-Sadiq has reported: One day, the Holy Prophet entered Fatimah’s house and found her wearing a coarse dress, grinding flour with her own hands, and breastfeeding her son. Seeing this situation, his eyes were full of tears. Turning to her, he said, “O my honorable daughter! Endure the hardships of this world so as to attain the sweetness of the Hereafter.” Fatimah answered, “I praise Allah for His blessings and thank Him for His favor.”63 At this time, the following verse was revealed:
وَلَسَوْفَ يُعْطِيكَ رَبُّكَ فَتَرْضَىٰ
And soon will your Lord give you so that you shall be well pleased. (93:5)
One day, Salman the Persian went to the door of Lady Fatimah’s house to carry out the Holy Prophet’s order of preparing food for a newly converted Muslim Arab. Hearing Salman’s request, Fatimah said, “I swear by Allah that Hasan and Husayn went to sleep with empty stomach. Nevertheless, I would not reject a good deed especially that it has turned to my house. Salman, take this dress of mine to Simon the Jew and buy for it three kilos of dates and three kilos of barley!”
Salman took the dress to Simon and told him the story. Simon’s eyes became tearful, saying, “This piety in this world is what (Prophet) Moses had foreseen in the Torah. Therefore, I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.”
After converting to Islam, he gave three kilos of dates and barley to Salman who took it to Fatimah. She ground the barley with her own hands, baked it and gave it to Salman. He said, “O daughter of Allah’s Messenger! Take some of this for Hasan and Husayn.” Fatimah answered, “I will not take anything from what I have given away in the way of Allah.”64
A woman went to the presence of Lady Fatimah saying, “I am an old and weak mother who makes a lot of mistakes in my prayer. I have been sent to you to know how to perform my prayer.” Lady Fatimah said, “Ask any questions you wish.” The woman asked ten questions all of which were answered by Lady Fatimah with a good mien.
However, the woman was ashamed of her many questions. She said, “I will not bother you any more!” Lady Fatimah said, “Ask any more questions.” In order to boost her morale, she said, “If a person is asked to carry a heavy load to a high place and he is given a hundred thousand dinars as reward, will he feel tired in view of that reward?” The woman said, “No.” Lady Fatimah (a.s) said, “I am rewarded by Allah more than that for every question which I answer. Hence, I never get tired. I heard Allah’s Messenger saying: On the Judgment Day, scholars will be in the presence of Allah and they will be rewarded to the extent of their knowledge and the efforts they have made for propagating Islam and guiding people."65
Lady Fatimah (a.s.) used to pray Almighty Allah at night and weep out of His fear so heavily that it would awaken his children. Imam Hasan says: One Friday night, I saw my mother standing in the altar while she was in bowing and prostration positions until the dawn, praying for everybody except herself! I said: “Mother! Why aren't you praying for yourself?” She said: “My dear son! Neighbor first!”
Lady Fatimah (a.s.) constantly reminded her children of Allah’s Messenger who considered children as bouquets of flowers. She would also send her children to him.66
The honorable daughter of the Holy Prophet had a strong intimacy with the Holy Quran. Salman reports: The Holy Prophet sent me to Fatimah’s house for doing something. I waited a little at the door until she saluted me. I heard her reciting the Holy Quran and grinding something without having someone to serve her.67
Jabir Ansari has reported: After performing the afternoon Prayer, the Holy Prophet sat in the altar of the mosque, speaking to people. At this time, an old Arab wearing threadbare clothes and unable to stand on his feet entered the mosque. Seeing him, the Holy Prophet consoled him and asked after his health. The old man said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I am hungry; I need food. I am naked; clothe me; I am indigent; give me something.”
The Holy Prophet said, “I have nothing to give you. But the one who shows you to a benefactor is like one who has done the good. Go to the house of one who loves Allah and the Prophet and Allah and Prophet love her too; one who prefers Allah to herself. Go to Fatimah’s house, which is in the neighborhood. O Bilal! Guide this man to there.” The old man went with Bilal. The old man stood near the door and in a loud voice and said,
أسْلأمُ عَلَيْكُم عَلَيْكُم يَا أهْلَ بَيتِ النُّبُوَّةِ، وَ مُخْتَلَفِ الْمَلأئِكَةِ، وَ مَهْبِطِ جِبْرَءِيلَ الرُّوحِ اللأمِينِ بِاتَّنْزِيلِ مِنْ عِنْدِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ.
Peace be upon you O Household of the Prophet! You are the seal of the Divine mission; unto you the angels turn from the presence of the Lord of the world.
Lady Fatimah answered from within the house, “Blessings and peace of Allah be upon you. May I know who you are and what you need?” The old man softly and gently said, “I am an old Arab. I am hungry and I do not have clothes and I am helpless. I went to your beloved father, Allah’s Messenger, and he sent me here.”
It had been three days she and her family had anything to eat. It was three days since hunger had struck her home. It was three days since water was the only food for them but for Fatimah it was not a matter of hesitation or doubt.
She had nothing but a small sheepskin which she used as a carpet and bedding for her beloved sons. She gathered it up and with an apology presented it to the old man, saying, “I hope Allah will give you better than this.” But the old man did not take it saying, “O daughter of the Prophet! What can I do with this? I am hungry!” Fatimah, looking astonished, glanced around the small house so that she could find something else. Suddenly she remembered the necklace that her cousin (Hamzah’s daughter) had given her. She quickly unfastened it and gave it to the old man; saying, “Sell it and I hope Allah will solve your Problem!” The old man took the necklace, blessed her and returned to the Prophet. The Prophet, upon hearing from the old man what had happened, said with tears in his eyes, “By all means your problems will be solved because the doyenne of the world women has blessed you with it.”
Ammar ibn Yasir, who had been watching, moved closer to the Prophet, saying, “O Allah’s Messenger! Will you give me permission to buy this necklace?” The Prophet said, “Ammar, whoever buys this necklace will be saved from Hellfire.” Ammar turned to the old man and asked, “How much will you sell this necklace for?” The old man replied, “I need money to buy clothes and food, and money for my journey so that I can go to my city. I will sell it for that much money.”
Ammar who had sold his share of booty from the Battle of Khaybar and had a little money said, “I will give you 20 dinars and 200 dirhams for this necklace.” The old man’s eyes shone with happiness. He said, “You are a generous man.” Ammar gave to him what he had promised.
The old man came to the Holy Prophet who asked him, “Are you satisfied now?” The man said, “Yes, may my parents be your ransom!” The Holy Prophet said, “So give a reward to Fatimah for what she has done for you.” The old man raised his hand in prayer saying, “O Allah! Bless Fatimah with what no one has so far seen or heard about!” Allah’s Messenger said Amen to the old man’s prayer, turned to his companions and said, “Allah has granted this to Fatimah in this world: I am her father and no one in the world is like me. Ali is her husband and had he not been there, there would be no suitable spouse for her. Hasan and Husayn are her sons who are the leaders of the youths of Paradise.”
The Holy Prophet, who was sitting with Miqdad, Ammar and Salman, said, “Should I say more about Fatimah?” They said, “Yes, Allah’s Messenger!” So he said, “Gabriel came to me saying: ‘When the soul of Fatimah is grasped and she is buried in her grave, two angels will ask her: Who is your Lord? She will say: Allah is my Lord. When she is asked who is your friend she will say: The one who is near my grave, Ali ibn Abu-Talib.’ Be aware that Allah has assigned a group of angels to protect her from above as well as from the right and left sides. They are with her in her lifetime and her grave, constantly saluting her, her father, her husband, and her children. So whoever visits my grave after my death has indeed visited me in my lifetime; whoever visits Fatimah has indeed visited me; whoever visits Ali ibn Abu-Talib has indeed visited Fatimah; whoever visits Hasan and Husayn has indeed visited Ali; and whoever visits the offspring of Hasan and Husayn has indeed visited the two Imams.”
Hearing this, Ammar took the necklace, perfumed it with scent, put it in an expensive cloth, called his slave and said, “Take this to the Prophet and after this you will belong to him.” The slave took the necklace to the Prophet and told him what Ammar had said. The Holy Prophet said, “Give my regards to Fatimah, give her the necklace and tell her that you are now in her custody.” Fatimah took the necklace in surprise and told the slave, “You are free in the way of Allah.” The slave started laughing and said, “I am surprised at the blessings of this necklace. It has satisfied a hungry person, clothed a naked person, fulfilled the needs of another, freed a slave and in the end returned to its owner.”68
Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin reports: Lady Fatimah had seven orchards, which she had been endowed from Banu-Hashim and Banul-Muttalib. She had appointed Ali (a.s.) and after him Hasan and Husayn as its custodians.
Quoting from Sharh al-Masabih, Zayn al-Arab says:
Fatimah was called Batul, which means “broken off”. There was no one was like her in virtue.
Quoting from al-Manaqib, al-Harawi says:
Fatimah was called Batul meaning “interrupted” because she was matchless.
Kamal al-Din Muhammad ibn Talhah al-Shafii has said:
Fatimah was endowed with virtues, which were particular to her. She enjoyed characters for which other honorable souls competed.
Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Dhahabi has said:
There are many reasons that Fatimah could be proud of. She was tolerant, benefactor, contented, and grateful.
The Lebanese Christian writer, Sulayman Kittani says:
Fatimah was chaste. She was the paragon of the Holy Prophet’s virtues, which had borne the fruit of a genius for morality and creativity. Her weak body was the vessel of her crystal soul so as to be effaced in the Source from which her father dawned.
Aishah has said:
I found no one superior to Fatimah except her father.
The Egyptian scholar, Bint al-Shati says:
Fatimah was the most beloved among the Holy Prophet’s daughters and the most similar to him in terms of temperament and constitution. Allah willed that only she would be subject to purification and the mother of all the Imams from the progeny of the Holy Prophet.
In his book, Nafahat min Sirat al-Sayyidah Zaynab (Fragrances from Lady Zaynab's Conducts), professor Ahmad Shams Basi points out:
Fatimah was the best among the world women and the doyenne of the women in the hereafter.
Dr. Ali Ibrahim Hasan has said:
Fatimah’s life is a unique page among the pages of history. We see here all the grandeur and magnitude. We stand before a personality that came into existence with a halo of wisdom and splendor around her; a wisdom the source of which cannot be found in philosophers’ books but the outcome of spiritual experiences and a splendor not coming from kings or wealth but coming from the very depth of her soul. Perhaps it was Fatimah’s unique grandeur that compelled Aishah to say: I found no one superior to Fatimah except her father.69
Quoting his grandfather, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) has reported: Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abu-Talib was the most pious, the most devoted and the best of the people of his time. When he was on Hajj, he would often walk on foot and on many occasions bare-footed to the Holy Mosque. He would cry or be fainted whenever he remembered death, grave, resurrection on the Judgment Day and crossing the Sirat. He would be writhing like a snake-bitten whenever he was reminded of heaven and hell. He would ask Allah for heaven and sought refuge in Allah from hell.70
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has reported: A man passed by Uthman ibn Affan who was sitting in the mosque asking for money. Uthman ordered five dirhams to be given to him. The man said to Uthman, “Guide me to one who can relieve my pain.”
Uthman asked him to go to those generous youths, indicating with his hand a place in mosque where Imam Hasan, Imam Husayn and Abdullah ibn Jafar were sitting. The man saluted them and asked for money. “Begging is not permissible save for three cases, blood money with compassion, debt with a broken heart and poverty which is intolerable. Which is your case?” The man said, “I am afflicted with one of them.” Imam Hasan ordered fifty dinars to be given to him. Imam Husayn too ordered forty-nine dinars to be given to him, and Abdullah ibn Jafar too ordered forty-eight dinars to be given to him.
After having received these Dinars, the man passed by Uthman once again. Uthman asked, “What did you do?” The man said, “I passed by you asking for money. You helped me only with five dinars and did not ask me any question either; but that generous young man having thick hair asked me something while giving me fifty dinars. The second one gave me forty nine Dinars and the third forty eight Dinars.” Uthman said, “Who can relieve your pain like these generous young men? They have appropriated knowledge and insight for themselves and have gathered wisdom and benevolence in them.”71
Imam Hasan’s humility was such that one day he was passing by some needy people sitting on the earth and eating pieces of bread. Seeing Imam Hasan, they said, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! Come and share the food with us!” Imam Hasan dismounted and said, “Allah does not like the arrogant.” He was engaged in eating with them. He invited them to his house a few day later, giving them food and clothes.72
A man came to the presence of Imam Hasan asking him to fulfill his needs. The Imam said, “Write down you needs and give it to us.” When he read his letter, he gave him twice the amount he had asked for. One of those present said, “How blessed this letter was!” The Imam said:
It was more blessed for us, for it placed us among the benefactors. Don’t you know that a good deed is one which is done without anyone ask for it? But what is given when it has been asked for is a low price against the honor of the needy person. Perhaps a needy person who has spent the night between fear and hope and has no idea of whether his needs will be accepted or rejected will receive little money against his being dishonored should you give him only to the extent of his need.73
A needy man once came to the presence of Imam Hasan who gave fifty thousand dirhams and five hundred dinars saying, “Bring someone to carry it for you.” When he brought a porter, the Imam gave his cloak to him saying, “This is the wage of one who carries it.”74
An Arab came to the presence of Imam Hasan, “Give him whatever savings we have.” They gave him twenty thousand dirhams. The Arab said, “My master! You did not give me permission to tell you my needs and recite a eulogy in praise of you.” The Imam composed a poem saying, “The fear of disgracing one who has needs urges us to give away before he expresses his needs.”75
One day, Imam Hasan saw a black slave having a loaf of bread in front of him. The slave would eat a morsel of bread and give a morsel to a dog near him. Imam Hasan asked, “What compels you to do so.” The slave said, “I am ashamed of eating myself and not giving the dog anything.” The Imam said, “Do not move from this place until I come back.” The Imam went to the master of the slave and purchased him together with the orchard he was working in. He set the slave free and gave him the orchard.76
Imam Husayn (a.s) is reported as saying:
I am sure that Allah’s Messenger believed that the best deed after prayer was to make a believer happy provided there is no sin involved.
A Bedouin arrived in Medina asking for the most generous man living there. They guided him to Imam Husayn. The Bedouin entered the mosque and found Imam Husayn praying. He stood in front of the Imam, reciting a poem with the following content, “Whoever knocks at the door of your house will not be desperate. You are the paragon of generosity. You are a haven. Your father put the unbelieving rebels to death. Were it not for your sake, our life would be a hell.”
Imam Husayn saluted the Bedouin, then said to Qanbar, “Is there any of Hijaz holdings left?” He said, “Yes, about four thousand Dinars.” The Imam said, “Bring it here, for he is more deserving of it than us.” Then, he took his cloak off his shoulders, wrapped the money in it and gave it to him, reciting a poem with the following content, “Take this holding from me and accept my apology. Know that I would like to be kind to you. If the reins of the rule were in our hands you would be showered with generosity; but the vicissitudes displace the affairs and presently we can give away only a little.”
The Arab took the holding from the Imam while his eyes were full of tears. The Imam said, “What I have given to you is a little.” The Arab answered, “The reason I am crying is that I wonder how the earth will eat this giving hand.”77
Imam Husayn (a.s.) went to visit Usamah ibn Zayd who had fallen sick. Usamah kept on saying, “What a sorrow!” The Imam asked, “Dear brother! What is sorrow for?” He said, “I owe sixty thousand dirhams.” The Imam said, “I promise to pay it.” He said, “I am afraid that I will die before my debt is paid.” Imam Husayn said, “I will pay it before your death.” He did so.78
In the events of Karbala, they found a scar on the shoulder of Imam Husayn. When Imam Zayn al-Abidin was asked about it, he said, “This is a mark left by the heavy leather bag replete with what the widows, orphans and the poor needed, which my father carried on his shoulders."79
Abd al-Rahman al-Salami taught Surah al-Fatihah to one of Imam Husayn’s sons. When the child recited before the Imam, he gave the teacher a thousand dinars as well as gifts. They objected to the Imam’s act, but he said, “What I have given to him cannot make up for what he has done.”80
There was an argument between Imam Husayn and his brother, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah. In a letter to Imam Husayn, Muhammad wrote, “Dear brother! Ali is my and your father. In this relation neither I am superior to you nor are you superior to me. Your mother is the daughter of the Holy Prophet. Should my mother possess all the gold of the world, she cannot be equal to your mother in terms of virtues. When you read the letter, come to me and seek my pleasure, for you are more deserving of good deeds than me. May peace and blessing of Allah be upon you.” After reading the letter, Imam Husayn went to his brother and there was no argument between them any more.81
On the day of Ashura (the tenth Muharram), Imam Husayn was told to submit to the rule of Yazid and pledge allegiance to him. The Imam replied:
وَاللَّهِ لأأعْطِيِكُم بِيَدِي إعْطَاءَ الذَّلِيلِ وَلا أفِرُ فَرَارَ الْبَعَبِيدِ.
By Allah! I will not put my hand in your hand like the abased people nor will I escape from the battlefield like slaves.
Raising his voice, the Imam added:
عِبَادَ اللَّهِ، إنِّي عُدْتُ بِرَبِّي وَرَبِّكُمْ مِنْ كُلِّ مُتَكَبِّرٍ لأ يُؤمِنُ بِيَوْمِ الْحسَابِ.
O servants of Allah! I seek refuge to my Lord and Your Lord from every arrogant person who does not believe in the Day of Reckoning.82
Anas reports: I was in the presence of Imam Husayn when his slave-girl entered the room presenting a bunch of basil as greeting. The Imam said, “You are free in the way of Allah!” I said to the Imam, “She presented an inexpensive bunch of basil to you and you set her free!” The Imam said, “Allah has taught us courtesy as such when He has said:
وَإِذَا حُيِّيتُمْ بِتَحِيَّةٍ فَحَيُّوا بِأَحْسَنَ مِنْهَا أَوْ رُدُّوهَاۗ
And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet with a better greeting than it or return it, surely Allah takes account of all things. (4:86)
Therefore, in this case, a better greeting was to set her free.
An Arab came to the presence of Imam Husayn saying, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! I have undertaken to pay blood money but I cannot afford it. I said to myself that I will ask it from the most generous man and I don’t find anyone more generous than Ahl al-Bayt.” The Imam said, “O Arab brother! I will ask you three questions. Should you answer one of them, I will give you a third of what you need. If you answer the second question, I will give you two-thirds of it and finally if you answer all the three questions, I will give to you all you need.”
The Arab said, "Will you – a man of knowledge and honor - ask questions from such a person as me?” The Imam said, “Yes, I heard my grandfather saying that everyone’s value is to the extent of his knowledge.” The Arab said, “All right, ask me your questions. I will answer if I can. Even if I can’t answer your questions, I will learn them from you.” The Imam asked, “What is the best deed?” The Arab said, “Belief in Allah.” The Imam asked, “What is salvation?” The Arab said, “Trust in Allah.” The Imam asked, “What is an ornament for men?” The Arab said, “Knowledge accompanied with forbearance.” The Imam said, “What if there were no forbearance?” The Arab said, “A wealth accompanied by generosity.” The Imam said, “What if there was no generosity?” The Arab said, “Indigence accompanied by patience.” The Imam said, “What if there was no patience?” The Arab said, “A thunderbolt coming down from heaven to burn such a person who deserves it.” The Imam smiled, gave him a purse of one thousand dinars as well as his ring with a gem worth two hundred dirhams saying, “O Arab! Give the one thousand dinars to your creditors and leave the ring for living expenditures.” The Arab took them reading the holy verse,
اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُۗ
Allah best knows where He places His message. (6:124)83
A relative of Imam Zayn al-Abidin who was standing beside him, raised his voice and started to abuse him. The Imam did not answer him until he went back to his house. At this moment, the Imam said to his companions, “Did you hear what this man said? I would like you to come with me to hear my response.” The Imam put on his shoes and set out with his companions saying to himself,
وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
…and those who restrain their anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of the good. (3:134)
When they reached the house of that man, the Imam introduced himself to the servant who conveyed it to his master. The man who seemed to be looking for trouble came out. He was sure that the Imam had come for retaliation; rather, the Imam said, “My brother! A few minutes ago, you were standing beside me and said such and such words against me. If I am the one whom you described, I will ask for Allah’s forgiveness; but if what you said about me is not true, may Allah forgive you.” The man kissed the Imam’s forehead, saying, “What I said about you is not true and it is more deserving of me.”84
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) has reported: One day, Imam Zayn al-Abidin was passing by the lepers while he was riding. The lepers who were eating invited the Imam to share food with them. The Imam said, “I am fasting; otherwise, I would sit with you.” When the Imam reached home, he had some food prepared, invited the lepers and ate with them.85
Husham ibn Ismail was appointed as ruler of Medina by Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan. One of the grandsons of Imam Ali (a.s) reports: Husham ibn Ismail was a bad neighbor who persecuted Imam Zayn al-Abidin greatly. When he was dismissed, he was brought to public with his hands tied, on the order of Walid ibn Abd al-Malik for retaliation. While he was under arrest near Marwan’s house, Imam Zayn al-Abidin passed by and greeted him. The Imam had already advised his companions not to offend Husham.86
There were families in Medina whose needs were fulfilled without knowing wherefrom. When Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn passed away, they found out that it was the Imam who had secretly helped them.
It is also reported: Imam Zayn al-Abidin would come out of house at nights with a purse full of dirhams and dinars. He would go from one door to another leaving some dirhams and dinars at the door of each house. Only when he had passed away, they found out that the benefactor had been Imam Zayn al-Abidin.87
Abu-Hamzah Thamali has reported: I saw Imam Zayn al-Abidin in prayer while his cloak was falling off his shoulders but he did not make any attempt to hold it until he completed his prayer. I asked about it. The Imam said, “Woe to you! Do you know before Whom was I standing? Prayer is not accepted save with full concentration and presence of heart.”
One of the slave-girls of Imam Zayn al-Abidin was pouring water on his hands while performing ablution when all of a sudden the ewer hit and hurt the Imam's face. The Imam raised his head towards her. The slave- girl said: Allah says, “Those who restrain their anger.” The Imam said, “I restrained my anger.” The slave-girl said, “…and pardon men.” The Imam said, “I pardoned you.” The slave-girl said, "…and Allah loves the doers of good.” The Imam said, “You are free in the way of Allah.”88
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) reported: There was a clown in Medina who would make people laugh. One day he said to himself, “This man (Imam Zayn al-Abidin) has made me helpless to make him laugh!” So, when the Imam was followed by two of his servants, he passed by the clown. Seeing the Imam, the clown walked behind him, drew his cloak and ran away. The Imam did not pay any attention to the clown but people went after him and took back the cloak. Addressing people, the Imam said, “Who is this man?” They said, “He is a making people of Medina laugh.” The Imam said, “Tell him there is a day for Allah in which idle people will suffer losses.”89
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) has reported: When he was passing away, Ali ibn al- Husayn said to his son, Imam al-Baqir, “I have gone on Hajj on this camel for twenty times and I have not given it a lash. Bury it when it dies so that it will not be eaten by wild animals, for Allah’s Messenger has said: Any camel which goes to Arafah for seven times, Allah will make it one of the blessings of Paradise and place blessing in its offspring.” When the camel of the Imam died, they buried it.90
When Ali ibn al-Husayn was fasting, he would have a sheep slaughtered, its meat cut into pieces and cooked. At sunset while he had not broken his fast, he would order to bring the bowls, fill them and take them to such and such houses until there was no more food in the pot. Then, they brought bread and date for the Imam to break his fast with.91
When dark overwhelmed Medina and people were at rest, Imam Zayn al-Abidin would come out of house to go to the needy people and divide among them the food which he carried in a bag on his shoulder while covering his face so that none would know him. On many occasions, he would stand waiting at the doors so that they would come and take their shares. When they saw him face to face, they would say: “He is the possessor of bag!”92
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) has reported: Imam Zayn al-Abidin was very fond of grapes. One day, they had brought fresh grapes to Medina. His wife bought some of them for him to break his fast with. When they brought them before him and he stretched out his hand to take some, a needy person knocked the door and asked for something. The Imam told his wife to take the grapes for the needy person. She said, “Some of it was enough for the needy person.” The Imam said, “No, By Allah; take all of it for him.” The next day, again they bought grapes for him but an indigent person came to the door and the Imam gave him all of the grapes. The third night, no needy came. So the Imam ate the grapes saying, “We did not lose anything in it, thanks to Allah.”93
Abdullah ibn Mubarak reports: When I was on Hajj to Mecca, I caught sight of a seven or eight year old child walking alongside a caravan of pilgrims with no provision with him. I went forward, saluted him and asked, “With whom did you cover the desert?” He said, “With the Beneficent Allah.” He looked great to me. I asked, “Where is your provision, my son?” He said, “My piety is my provision and my Lord is my goal.” He looked magnanimous. I asked, “Which lineage do you come from?” He said, “Abd al-Muttalib.”
“Which family?” I asked.
“Hashim”, he said.
“Which branch”, I asked.
“Ali – Fatimah”, he said.
“O my master! Have you composed a poem?” I asked.
“Yes, I have”, he said.
“Recite part of your poem,” I asked.
The Imam recited a poem with the following words:
We are those sent to the pond of Kawthar. We give water to some and repel others. None can attain salvation but through our mediation. One who loves us will not suffer losses and one who makes us happy will receive happiness from us and whoever harms us will be of low birth. One who usurps our right will be punished on the Judgment Day!
Then I lost sight of him until I came to Mecca. After I had completed my Hajj rituals and returned to al-Abtah, I saw a circle of people round someone. It was the same child with whom I spoke. I asked who he was. They said that he was Zayn al-Abidin.94
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has reported: My father sent his slave on mission but he delayed in fulfilling it. He lashed him with one stroke. The slave said, “O Ali ibn al-Husayn. You send me on a mission and hit me!” My father cried, saying, “My son! Go to the grave of the Holy Prophet, perform a two-unit prayer and say: O Lord: Forgive Ali ibn al-Husayn on the Judgment Day.” Then he said to the slave, “You are free in the way of Allah.”
Abu-Basir says: I said to the Imam, "May I be your ransom. It seems that setting a slave free is the atonement of hitting him!" But the Imam kept silent.95
Imam al-Ridha reports: Ali ibn al-Husayn hit his slave on one occasion. Being sorry, he entered home, took off his shirt and while giving a lash to his slave said, “Hit Ali ibn al-Husayn!” The slave refused to do and the Imam gave him fifty dinars.96
Imam Zayn al-Abidin has said, “You are the most benevolent man but you don’t eat from the same plate with your mother while she likes to.” The Imam said, “I don’t like to stretch my hand to reach a morsel which my mother has an eye on it hence being disowned by her.”
From that time on, he would put a cover on the plate of food when eating with his mother so he would put his hand under it and ate the food.97
Isa ibn Abdullah reports: Abdullah was on the verge of death. The creditors had gathered in his house claiming their dues. He said, “I don't have anything to pay you. Refer to either of my cousins, Ali ibn al-Husayn or Abdullah ibn Jafar to pay my debt to you.” The creditors said,
“Abdullah ibn Jafar is a man of long-term promise. He is negligent too. Ali ibn al-Husayn, though not wealthy, is truthful. Hence, he is a better option for us.” The news reached Imam Zayn al-Abidin. He said that he would undertake to pay the debt at harvest time, while he had no grain at all. When it was harvest time, Allah destined for him a certain amount of money with which he paid all the creditors’ claim.98
A man insulted Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.). His slaves made an attempt to attack him. The Imam said, “Let him go. What is hidden of us is more than what he is saying about me.” Addressing the same man, the Imam said, “Do you need anything?” The man was ashamed. The Imam gave his garment to him together with a thousand dirhams. The man said loudly, “I bear witness that you are the son of Allah’s Messenger.”99
Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.) reached a group of people who were talking behind his back. He stood near them saying, “If you are true about what you say, may Allah forgive me; and if you are lying, may Allah forgive you.”100
Imam Zayn al-Abidin had a few guests; he asked his servant to be quick in preparing the food. The servant hastily brought the iron grid on which the meat had been grilled but it fell off his hand on the head of the Imam's child who was on the ground and killed him. Addressing the servant who was shocked and trembling from fear, the Imam said, “You did not do it intentionally. Therefore, you are free in the way of Allah.” He then took part in the funeral service of his child.101
Imam Zayn al-Abidin had a needy cousin and the Imam would go to the door of his house as an unknown man giving him a few dinars. But the cousin would say, “Ali ibn al-Husayn does not observe ties of relationship towards me. May Allah not give him a good reward!”
The Imam heard what he was saying but forbore it and did not wish to reveal his identity.
When Imam Zayn al-Abidin passed away, his cousin, whose nightly assistance had been cut off, realized that it was Imam Zayn al-Abidin who fulfilled his needs. For this reason, he rushed to the Imam’s grave and wept bitterly.102
Muhammad ibn Munkadir reports: I never thought Ali ibn al-Husayn to leave an excellent successor after him until I saw his son, Muhammad. I wanted to give him a lesson, but he gave me one:
On a hot day, I went to Medina where I saw Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) leaning to work with his large frame with support of his two slaves. I said to my self, “A great man of Quraish working at this hour of day in search of the material world! I will certainly give him an advice.” I approached and saluted him. While he was gasping, he greeted me back. Sweat was pouring from his head and face because of hot weather. I said, “May Allah improve your affairs. A great man of Quraish seeking the world at this time of the day! What will happen if death overtakes you in this situation?”
Taking his hands off the shoulders of the two slaves and leaning against the wall, he said, "By Allah, if death overtakes me and I am in this situation, I will be in a state of obedience to Allah by which I can preserve my value from you and people. I am afraid of death only when I am committing a sin!” I said, “May Allah bless you! I intended to give you advice but you gave me advice.”103
Hasan ibn Kuthayr reports: I was complaining about indigence and unkindness of brothers-in-faith to Imam al-Baqir (a.s) who said, “A brother who is fond of you when you are rich, but cuts off his relations with you when you are in need, is a bad brother!” Then the Imam ordered his slave to give me a purse of seven hundred Dirhams, saying, “Spend this for the moment and inform me when it comes to and end.”104
The companions of Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) report: the Imam allowed us to give away between five hundred and six hundred thousand dirhams and he was never tired of giving gifts to brethren, emissaries and those who had set their hope on him.105
Imam Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn had the title of Baqir, that is to say ‘One who analyzes’. He was called Baqir al-Ulum meaning one who analyzes the knowledge. A Christian, in a mockery and ironic way playing on words of Baqir, misinterpreted to Baqara called him, “You are Baqara (cow)!” Without expressing any annoyance or anger, the Imam replied calmly, “No, I am not baqara but I am Baqir.” The Christian said, “You are the son of a lady-cook.” The Imam said in reply, “It was her job, which is not considered an insult or disgrace to her personality.” The Christian said, “Your mother was black, immodest and had an abusive tongue.” The Imam said, “If whatever you attribute to my mother is true, I pray Allah to forgive her and absolve her sins, and if it is a lie, may Allah forgive you for your lies and slander.”
Observing such a clemency from a person who had the authority to submit a non-Muslim to different persecutions was sufficient to provoke a revolution in the soul of the Christian and invite him towards Islam. Later on, he embraced Islam. 106
Salma, a slave-girl of Imam al-Baqir (a.s.), reports: the Imam’s brothers-in-faith would always come to visit him and the Imam too, received them with the best food, gave them a good garment and dinars. I said to the Imam, “You will become needy as a result of this generosity!” The Imam would say, “O Salma! Good deeds are but giving gifts to brothers-in-faith and praiseworthy deeds.” Imam al-Baqir would allow between five and six hundred thousand dirhams to be given away to brothers-in-faith. He would never get tired of associating with his brethren, saying, “Recognize the actuality of the friendship of your brothers-in-faith from the feelings you have in your hearth towards him.” He was never heard calling anybody with disgraceful names; he would rather call them with their best names.107
Hasan Zayyat of Basrah reports: My friend and I went to the presence of Imam al-Baqir while he was sitting in a well-decorated room with a purple mantle on his shoulder. He had trimmed his beard and blackened his eyes with kohl. I was full of questions. Realizing this, the Imam said, “Hasan! You and your friend may come to me tomorrow.” I said, “Very well, may I be your ransom!” The next day, we went to see him. He was sitting on a mat and wearing coarse clothes. He turned to my friend and said, “O brother of Basrah! When you came to me yesterday, I was in my wife's room. It was her turn. The room was hers as well as all the articles. She had made up herself for me and I had to make up myself for her. Don't give way to gloomy thought about me.” My friend said, “May I be your ransom. By Allah, something passed in my mind but Allah removed it now and I know that truth lies in what you said.”108
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) has reported: Any time an event saddened my father, he would gather women and children and then raise his hands in prayer and they would say Amen.109
A group of people went to the presence of Imam al-Baqir (a.s). This visit coincided with the illness of one of his children. They found him sad and restless. They said, “By Allah, if anything happens to him, we might see from him what we do not approve of.” It was not long time when they heard the Imam wailing. He came back to his friends with open face. They said to him, “May we be your ransom! We were afraid that if something happened we would see you more sorrowful.” The Imam said, "We would like to see one whom we love safe and sound but there is Allah’s decree, we will surrender to what He loves."110
Quoting Imam al-Sadiq (a.s), Ishaq ibn Ammar has reported: I was spreading my father’s bed and waiting for him to come. When he would go to his bed and sleep, then I would go to mine. One night, he was late. I went to the mosque to look for him. While all people had gone home, I found him alone in the mosque in prostration. I heard his lamentation, saying,
سُبْحَانَكَ أللَّهُمَّ رَبِّ حَقاً حَقاً. سَجَدْتُ لَكَ يا رَبِّ تَعَبُّداً وَرِقاً. ألْلَّهُمَّ إنَّ عَمَلِي ضَعِيفٌ فِضَاعِفهُ لِي. أللَّهُمَ قِنِي عَذَابَكَ يَوْمَ تَبْعَثُ عِبَادَكَ، وَتُبْ عَلَيَّ إنَّكَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ.
Glory be to You, O my Lord, with true glory! I am prostrating myself before You, O my God, worshipping and serving You! O Allah! My deed is weak; (please) double its reward. O Lord! Preserve me from Your punishment when You resurrect Your servants. Accept my repentance for You are the best Accepter of repentance and the most Merciful.111
Muawiyah ibn Wahab has reported: I was with Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) in Medina intending to go to the market. Suddenly, he fell into prostration. When he rose is head, I asked for the reason. He said, “I just remembered Allah’s blessings on me.” I said, “Near the market where people are going and coming?” The Imam said, “None saw me.”112
Mualla ibn Khunays has reported: At a drizzling night, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) left home to the shelter of Banu-Saidah. I followed him, but suddenly something dropped from his hand. He said, “In the name of Allah”. He then asked me to search for it with my hand and give it to him if I find it. I suddenly touched pieces of bread spreading on the earth. I gave to the Imam whatever I had found. Then I saw a bag full of bread in the Imam’s hand. I said, “Would you kindly permit me to carry them for you?” The Imam said, “No, it is I who must carry it. Nevertheless come along with me.” We reached the shelter of Banu-Saidah and came across a group of people who were asleep. The Imam hid one or two loaves under their clothes. When he helped the last person, we returned to our place. I said, “May I be your ransom! Do they know the truth?” The Imam said, “I would help them with salt if they knew it.”113
Abu Jafar Khathami has reported: Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) gave me a purse of gold coins and asked me to take it to such and such man of the Hashimites without telling him who had sent them. I gave the purse of gold coins to that man who said, “May Allah give a good reward to one who has sent it to me. He does it every year and I can live with it until next year, whereas Jafar al-Sadiq with all his wealth does no give me anything!”114
A traveler from among pilgrims who was in Medina fell into sleep. When he woke up, he thought his purse had been stolen. He searched for the purse and found Imam al-Sadiq, whom he did not know, praying. He caught the Imam accusing him of stealing his purse! The Imam asked, “What was in it?” He answered, “One thousand dinars.” Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) took him home and gave him a thousand dinars. When the man returned to his place, he found his purse. So he went back to the Imam’s house apologizing. But the Imam refused to accept the money, saying, “What I have lost will not return to me.” The man asked, “Who is this generous man.” They said, “He is Jafar al-Sadiq.” The man said, “This generosity is particular to him.”115
Ashja Salami came to the presence of Imam al-Sadiq finding him ill. He sat besides him asking about the cause of illness. The Imam said, "Quit asking about the cause of illness. What is your request?" Ashja composed a poem praying to Allah for the health of the Imam. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) asked to his servant, “Do you have anything on you?” He said, “Four hundred Dinars.” The man said, “Give it to Ashja.”
Sufyan al-Thawri came to the presence of Imam al-Sadiq (a.s) while the Imam was pale. He asked for the reason. The Imam said, “I always warned my household not to go on the rooftop. I entered home finding one of my slave-girls climbing the ladder while holding one of my children in her arms. As soon as she saw me, she started trembling out of fear and my child fell from her arms and died immediately. My paleness is not for the child but because of the fear that overwhelmed the slave-girl. I twice told her that she was not to blame. I then set her free in the way of Allah.”116
Al-Mufadhdhal ibn Qays reports: I went to the presence of Imam al-Sadiq, complaining to him about my situation and asking for prayer for me. The Imam asked his slave-girl to bring the purse, which came from Abu-Jafar. When she did, he said, “This purse has four hundred Dinars. Spend it on your needs.” I said, “May I be your ransom! By Allah, I did not intend to receive money. I had just come here to ask you to pray for me.” The Imam said, “I will pray for you; but from now on, do not disclose your poverty to people, for you will be abased.”117
Abdullah ibn Yafur reports: I found a guest with Imam al-Sadiq (a.s). The guest rose up to do something in his house. The Imam prohibited him from doing anything and he himself did what was supposed to be done. The Imam further said, “Allah’s Messenger has prohibited hosts from asking the guest to do anything.”118
Musmi ibn Abd al-Malik has reported: we were at Mina in the presence of Imam al-Sadiq and a group of Shiites. There were grapes before us and we were eating from them. A beggar appeared and demanded for help. The Imam picked up some grapes and wanted to give to him. The beggar refused it and said, “Give me money!” The Imam said, “Excuse me, I do not have money.” The beggar became disappointed and went away. After taking a few steps, the beggar regretted in making his decision and asked for the grapes to be given to him. The Imam did not give him the grapes.
A short time afterwards another beggar came asking for help. The Imam took a cluster of grapes and offered it to him. The beggar accepted it and said, “Praise belongs to the Lord of the worlds Who granted me my sustenance.” The Imam, hearing these words, ordered him to wait and gave him two handfuls of grapes. The beggar praised Allah for the second time. The Imam again told him to wait and not to leave. Then he turned towards one of his companions and asked, "How much money do you have with you?"
The man searched his pockets and found about twenty dirhams. He gave it to the beggar on the order of the Imam. For the third time, the beggar thanked Allah and said, “Praise only is due to Allah. O Allah, You are the Bestower of bounties and there is no associate for You.” Hearing these words, the Imam took off his garment and gave it to the beggar. Now the beggar changed his words and uttered some thankful words to the Imam and went away. We presumed that if the beggar had continued thanking and praising Allah in the same way as before, the Imam would have assisted him more.119
Abdullah ibn Yafur has reported: I heard Imam al-Sadiq, while raising his hands towards the sky, saying, “O Lord! Do not leave me even a moment to myself.” His eyes being tearful, the Imam turned to me and said, “O son of Yafur! Allah left (Prophet) Yunus, son of Matti (Matthew) less than a moment by himself and a calamity came about.” I said, “Did he go as far as being ungrateful to Allah?” The Imam said, “No, but dying in that situation would be perdition.”120
Qutaybah al-A’sha has reported: I went to the presence of Imam al-Sadiq to visit his ill son. I found the Imam sad and worried at the door. I asked, “May I be your ransom! How is the child?” Then Imam said, “By Allah! He is badly afflicted!” The Imam entered the house, stayed there for an hour and returned to us with shining face. It looked as though the sorrow had left Imam. I said hopefully to myself that may be the child had probably improved. So I said, “May I be your ransom! How is the child?” The Imam said, “He died!” I said, “May I be your ransom. When he was alive you were sad but now that he has died you are no sadder. How is it that?” The Imam said, “We, Ahl al-Bayt, are anxious before the calamity; but when Allah’s decree is passed, we are content with it and we are in a state of submission to Him.”121
Abu-Basir has quoted Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.): I was circumambulating the Kabah when my father passed by me. Observing that I was sweating and endeavoring in performing my prayer, he said to me, “My son Jafar! When Allah loves a servant, He rewards him with Paradise and accepts little acts from him.”122
Hafs ibn Aishah has reported: Imam al-Sadiq sent a slave on a mission. The slave was delayed for sometime. So the Imam went after him and found him sleeping. He sat near him and started to fan him. When the slave woke up, the Imam said, “You had no right to sleep at this hour. You should sleep at night and work for us during day.”123
Abu-Amr al-Shaybani has reported: I saw Imam al-Sadiq in coarse garment, with a spade in his hands working and sweating in his orchard. I said, “May I be your ransom! Give the spade to me to do it.” The Imam said, “I like to work hard for living under the sun.”124
Hannan ibn Shuayb has reported: We hired a group of people to work in the orchard of Imam al-Sadiq. When the work was finished, the Imam said to Mutib, “Pay the wage of workers before their sweat dry up.”125
Abu-Jafar Fazari has reported: Imam al-Sadiq called his servant, gave him a thousand dinars and said, “Be prepared for making a journey to Egypt for doing business, for our dependents have increased.” The servant prepared certain goods and set out for Egypt with the caravan of merchants. When they were near Egypt, they met a caravan leaving. They asked about the goods needed by people in Egypt, they said, “What you have is rare in Egypt.” So, they agreed to sell their goods with a good profit!
Having sold their goods, they returned to Medina and went to see Imam al-Sadiq. Having two purses of a thousand dinars each, the servant said, “May I be your ransom! One purse is the principal and the other is the profit”. Imam al-Sadiq said, “This is a huge profit! How did you sell the good?” The servant told the Imam the whole story. The Imam said, “Glory be to Allah! Did you collude to sell the goods with a high profit to Muslims?” Then he took one of the purses and said, “This is the principal money and I am not in need of its profit. Striking with a sword in a battlefield is easier than seeking what is lawful.”126
Imam Musa ibn Jafar al-Kadhim was the most pious, the most versed in jurisprudence and the most generous of the people of his time. It has been reported that he performed supererogatory prayers linking them to the Morning Prayer and then he was engaged in benedictions until dawn. He would fall in prostration without raising his head until noon. The Imam prayed a lot and repeated the following invocation:
أللهُمَّ إنِّي أسْألُكَ الرَّاحَة عِنْدَ الْمَوْتِ والْعَفْوَعِنْدَ الْحِسَابِ.
O Lord! I ask you ease at deathbed and forgiveness on the Day of Reckoning. The sin of Your servant is great but forgiveness is with You.
The Imam always cried out of fear of Allah so much so that his face became wet with tears. He would look into the affairs of his family and relatives more than anyone else and would appease the needy in Medina at night. He would always carry a basket of flour and dates as well as a purse of dirhams and dinars to give to them but no one knew where this favor came from.127
Muhammad ibn Abdullah Bakri has reported: I went to Medina to take a loan but no one offered me any. So I said to myself, “I better go to Imam Musa and tell him about my grievances.” Hence, I went to his plantation, which stood on the heights of the city. The Imam came to me along with his servant. He had a basket in his hand with pieces of meat, which I shared with him and then he asked me about my needs. I told him the story and we set out for his house. He went inside and after a few seconds, he came out giving me a purse of three hundred dinars. Being satisfied, I mounted the mule and left Medina.128
Mansur Dawaniqi (the Abbasid ruler) asked Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) to attend the Festival of Nowruz (New Day) to receive the gifts from all walks of life. The Imam answered, “The Nowruz Festival is a tradition for the Persians.” Mansur said, “I observe this festival as a policy for strengthening ties with the army. I ask you by God to attend this festival.” The commanders of the army came to the Imam, congratulated him on the occasion and presented him with gifts.
The servant of Mansur who was standing next to the Imam, counted the gifts one by one. At the end of the festival, an aged man came to the Imam saying, “O Son of daughter of Allah’s Messenger! I am a needy man who cannot present you with a gift. Instead, I have three lines of poem, which my grandfather has composed for your grandfather, Husayn ibn Ali. He thus recited the poem. Imam Musa said, “I accepted your gift. Please sit beside me. May Allah bless you.” Raising his hand towards the servant of Mansur, Imam Musa said, “Go to the Emir, inform him of the gifts and ask what he is going to do with all these gifts.” The servant did the mission, came back and said, “Mansur says: All the gifts belong to you. Do as you wish.” Imam Musa said to the old man, “Take all these gifts which is my grant to you.”129
Ibrahim ibn Abbas has reported: I never saw Imam al-Ridha say any unkind words to anyone or interrupt anyone. The Imam would never reject anyone whose needs he could fulfill nor would he ever stretch his legs before his companions. He never insulted his servant nor would he ever spit on the ground. He never laughed but smiled.
When he was sitting in a private place, he would have the tablecloth spread before him, making the slaves, housekeeper and servants sit with him to share the food. He slept few hours and kept vigil most of the time. He would fast the first day, midmonth and the last day of the month, saying, “Should you fast in this way, it is as if you are keeping fasting all the days.” He would give money as charity and did benevolent acts secretly. He would do most of his good deeds at night. None has seen his like in terms of virtues.130
Muammar ibn Khala has reported: When Imam al-Ridha (a.s.) wanted to eat, a big tray was brought before him and he would pick up from the best food which was on the table, put it on the big tray and sent it for the needy people. Then he recited the following verses,
فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ يَتِيمًا ذَا مَقْرَبَةٍ أَوْ مِسْكِينًا ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍ
But he would not attempt the uphill road. And what will make you comprehend what the uphill road is. (It is) the setting free of a slave; Or the giving of food in a day of hunger; to an orphan, having relationship; Or to the poor man lying in the dust. (90:11-16)
Then the Imam would say, “Allah knows that it is not easy for all human beings to set slaves free; hence, He has made feeding the needy a way for His servants to enter Paradise."131
A man from Balkh has reported: I was accompanying Imam al-Ridha in his journey to Khorasan. One day he asked for food and made all the black and white servants sit to share it with him. I said to him, “May I be your ransom! It would be better if there were a separate table for them.” The Imam said, “Say nothing. Allah is One, our father is one, our mother is one and the reward is for our deeds.”132
Al-Yasa ibn Hamzah has reported: I was in the presence of Imam al-Ridha (a.s) where a group of people asked him questions about what was lawful and unlawful. A tall man joined the gathering and said, "Peace be to you, O son of Allah’s Messenger! I am a devotee of yours and of your ancestors. I am returning from Hajj. I have lost my money and my provision. I have nothing on me to travel furthermore. Should you help me to reach my hometown, Allah has blessed me. When I reach my hometown, I will give as charity what you have given me; for I am not entitled to charity.”
Imam al-Ridha said, “May Allah bless you. Take a seat here." Then the Imam released the people and there were only the Imam, Sulayman Jafari, Khaythamah, the needy traveler and I. Then the Imam said, “Will you give me permission to enter the chamber?” He then turned to Sulayman Jafari and said, “Allah has improved your affair.” The Imam entered the room, closed the door and stretched his hand out of an opening saying, “Where is the man from Khorasan?” The man said, “I am here.” The Imam said, “Take this purse of two hundred dinars, spend it for your living costs, seek blessing of Allah, don’t give any charity and leave this house so that we will not see each other!”
When the traveler left, Sulayman said to the Imam, “May I be you ransom, you were both kind and generous. Why did you cover your face then?” The Imam said, “In order not to see humiliation and abasement in his face for having fulfilled his needs. Have you not heard this Hadith from Allah’s Messenger: ‘One who hides his good deed is like one who makes pilgrimage to Mecca for seventy times. One who reveals vices will be degraded and one who hides evil will be forgiven.’ Have you not heard the old saying: ‘When I go to him to fulfill my needs, I will return home while I have saved my face.’”133
Sulayman ibn Jafar has reported: I was with Imam al-Ridha for doing a task. I had the intention to go back home but the Imam asked me to stay with him that night. We set off for the Imam’s house but we arrived at sunset. On entering the house, Imam al-Ridha had a glance at his slaves who were busy building a stable with mud. He suddenly saw a black worker who was not his slave. When he asked about him, they said, “He is helping us and we will give him some money at the end.” The Imam asked, “Did you talk about his wage?” They said, “He is satisfied with what we will give him.”
Imam al-Ridha was upset on hearing this. I said, “May I be your ransom! Why are you so upset?” The Imam said, “Had I not prohibited you from employing people without first coming to agreement about their wage? Know that if a person works for you without his wage being fixed, if you give three times his wage, he will think that you have not paid his due wage, but if you fix his wage first and then pay it, he will appreciate your promise and even if you pay a little extra money to him he will become grateful."134
Abul-Salt al-Hawawi has reported: when Imam al-Ridha arrived in Nayshabur on a black and white mule, I was accompanying him and the scholars of Nayshabur had come to say welcome to the Imam. When he left to the neighborhood of Marbaeh, they took the rein of his mule saying, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! We ask you through the mediation of your purified forefathers, tell us a Hadith.” Imam al-Ridha who had a cloak of fur on, put his head out of the mule litter saying:
Quoting Allah’s Messenger, my father reported: Gabriel informed me of Allah saying. I am verily Allah; there are no god but Me. O My servants! Worship only Me and know that anyone of you who meets Me by bearing witness that there is no god but Allah wholeheartedly and with devotion has entered My fortress; and whoever enters My fortress will be immune from My chastisement.
They asked, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! What is devotion in the Oneness of Allah?” The Imam answered, “Obeying Allah, obeying Allah’s Messenger and obeying the Imamate of Ahl al-Bayt.”135
Bazanti has reported: I read a letter written by Imam al-Ridha to his son, Imam al-Jawad with the following content:
O Abu-Jafar! I was informed that they will take you out through the small gate which indicates their envy lest you might help people. I ask you through the right I have on you, to go and come through the big gate. When you mount, make sure to have dirhams and dinars with you. Give away whenever someone asks you for help. Do not give away less than fifty dinars. Should your aunts ask you for something, do not give away less than twenty-five Dinars. I wish that Allah will exalt you. Therefore, give away and be not afraid of indigence.136
Rayyan ibn Salt has reported: I was at the door of Imam al-Ridha’s house in Khorasan. I said to Muammar, “Do you dare to ask my master to give me one of his shirts and the dirhams which have been minted in his name?”
Muammar reported: I immediately went to the presence of Imam al-Ridha but before saying anything the Imam said, “O Muammar! Wouldn’t Rayyan like me to give him one of my shirts and some of the dirhams I have?” I said, “Glory be to Allah! This is exactly what he said at the door!” The Imam smiled and said, “Successful indeed is the believer. Tell him to come to me.” So we went to the presence of the Imam. I saluted him and he answered my salutation, asked for two of his shirts and gave them to me. When I rose up to leave, he put thirty Dirhams in my hand.137
Abu-Muhammad Ghaffari has reported: I had a heavy debt; so, I said to myself, “I have no option for paying off my debt except that of seeking help from my master Abu’l-Hasan Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha.”
So, I set off for the Imam’s house in the morning. When I reached there, I asked for permission to see the Imam, and when I entered the room, the Imam said, “Abu-Muhammad! I am aware of your need. We will pay off your debt.” When evening came, I was served the dinner and the Imam then said, “Will you stay with us or leave?” I said, “Master, should you fulfill my need, I prefer to leave.” Then the Imam gave me a handful of dinars. I bid him farewell and went to a place I could see the dinars. He said, “O Abu- Muhammad! They are fifty dinars; twenty-six are for paying off the dept, and twenty-four for the living expenditures.” The next morning when I looked at the Dinars precisely, I did not see that Dinar, yet it was not less than fifty Dinars either!138
Imam al-Jawad was unique in terms of knowledge, forbearance, eloquence, devotion and other moral virtues despite his being underage. He had a wonderful aptitude for answering scientific questions on the spot. Like his purified ancestors, Imam al-Jawad paid much attention to physical appearance and cleanliness.
A man of the tribe of Banu-Hanifah from the region of Bost and Sistan has reported: I came to know Imam al-Jawad when I was on my Hajj to Mecca. It was the beginning of the reign of al-Mutasim, the Abbasid ruler. We were sitting round a tablecloth and while some of the friends of the Abbasid ruler were also present, I said to the Imam, “May I be your ransom! Our governor has love for Ahl al-Bayt and I am charged to pay tax to him. Should you consider it advisable, kindly write to him to do me a favor by canceling the tax. To observe dissimulation aimed at preserving the life of the ruler of Sistan, Imam al-Jawad said, “I do not know him!”
I said, “May I be your ransom; as I have already said he is a devotee of Ahl al-Bayt and your writing to him will be useful for me.” Imam al-Jawad picked up a piece of paper and wrote, “In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. The holder of letter speaks well of you. What is left of your deeds is the good ones. So be kind to your brethren and know that you will be taken to task by Allah for an atom’s weight of your deeds.”
The letter holder reports: The news of the letter had reached the governor of the region, Husayn ibn Abdullah Naysaburi, before my arrival. So before I reached Sistan, he had come to the gate of city to welcome me. I gave him the letter. He kissed and put it on his eyes, saying, “What do you need?” I said, “I have been levied a tax which I cannot afford to pay.” He ordered the tax to be written off, saying, “As long as I am the governor of this region, don't pay tax.” He then asked about my dependents. I gave him the number of my dependents. So he ordered a regular pension to be given to me. After this event, I did not pay tax as long as I lived nor did he stop sending me gifts until he passed away.139
Ali ibn Jarir has reported: I was in the presence of Imam al-Jawad when a sheep of the house was missing. At this time, one of the neighbors was brought to the Imam on charge of theft. The Imam said, “Woe to you! Let him go. He has not stolen the sheep. The sheep is in such and such man’s house. Go and find it there.”
They went to the same house finding the sheep there. They arrested the owner of the house, tore his clothes into pieces and beat him up, but he took an oath that he had not stolen the sheep. They brought him to the Imam who asked, “Why have you oppressed him? The sheep had entered his house and this man was not aware of it.” Then the Imam appeased him and gave him an amount of money to make up for his clothes and beating.140
After the martyrdom of Imam al-Ridha (a.s), people kept on blaming Mamun, the Abbasid ruler. Wishing to acquit himself of the crime, he left Khorasan for Baghdad and wrote a letter to Imam al-Jawad (a.s) inviting him to Baghdad with much honor.
The Imam set off for Baghdad, but before seeing the Imam, Mamun went hunting. On his way, he came across a group of children who were standing on the way. Imam al-Jawad too was standing there. Observing the pomp of Mamun, the children dispersed off. However, the Imam did not move from his place! He was standing in his place with the utmost degree of calm and dignity until Mamun came near to him. He was amazed to see the child. Drawing the reins of the horse, Mamun asked, “Why did not you clear the way like other children?” The Imam replied, “O Caliph! The road was not narrow nor had I committed anything wrong to escape from you! I don’t think you will punish anyone without having committed anything wrong.” Mamun was even more surprised when he heard these words.
The boy’s beauty had attracted him so he asked, “What is your name, boy?” The Imam said, “My name is Muhammad.” He asked, “Who is your father?” The Imam said, “Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha.” When Mamun heard of the child’s descent, he was no more surprised and was ashamed of hearing the name of the Imam whom he had martyred! He sent greeting to the pure soul of the Imam and went away.
When he went back to wilderness, he caught sight of a francolin and let a falcon go after it. The falcon disappeared for sometime but when it returned, it had a small fish still living in its beak. Mamun was surprised to see it; he took the fish in his hand and returned to the same place where he had seen Imam al-Jawad. Again the children ran away but the Imam did not move from his place. Mamun said, “Muhammad: What is it in my hand?” Through inspiration, the Imam said, “Allah has created seas; clouds rise up from seas; small fish come up with clouds; kings falcons hunt them; the kings take them in their hands and test the Household of the Prophet!” Mamun was surprised more to hear this, saying, “You are truly the son of al-Ridha! Such wonderful acts are possible only by the son of that honorable man.”141
Mamun played every trick to make Imam al-Jawad as worldly and sensual as himself. However he failed in his plot until he gave her daughter in marriage to the Imam. On the wedding night, he ordered a hundred slave-girls who were the most beautiful to hold a chalice each in their hands to welcome the Imam in the bridal chamber with much pomp and glory. The slave-girls did as they had been ordered but Imam al-Jawad paid not attention to them.
Mamun had to call Mukhariq, a music performer who had a sweet voice and played violin. Mukhariq said to Mamun, “O Leader of the Faithful! If you wish al-Jawad to have a desire of the world, my voice will suffice it.” Mukhariq sat face to face with the Imam and started singing. He sang in a way that all the people of the house gathered round him. Then, he started playing violin. He did so for one hour but Imam al-Jawad looked neither at right side not left side. Finally the Imam raised his head saying, “Fear Allah, O you long-bearded man!” At this moment the violin fell from the hands of the music performer and he enjoyed it no more until he died.142
Kamal al-Din Shafii, a great Sunni scholar, about Imam al-Jawad writes: This (Imam Muhammad al-Jawad) Abu-Jafar is the second Muhammad. The first is Muhammad al-Baqir. He has a high-ranking position. He is renowned everywhere. His broad-mindedness and sweetness os speech have attracted everyone. He was destined to die young. He lived a short life but he was a source of benefits for all. Everyone who saw him bowed to him and benefited from his knowledge. He was a source of light, which illuminated everything. Both intellect and mind benefited from his knowledge.143
Abu-Hashim Jafari has reported: I was afflicted with a bad poverty; so, I went to Abul-Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad. When I sat in his presence, he asked, “Abu-Hashim! Which of the bounties of your Lord will you thank?” I could not speak nor did I know what answer to give to the Imam. He said,
رَزَقَكَ الإيمَانَ فَحَرَّمَ بَدَنَكَ عَلَى النَّارِ. وَ رَزَقَكَ الْعَافِيَةَ فأعَانَكَ عَلَى الطَّاعَةِ. وَ رَزَقَكَ الْقُنُوعَ فَصَانَكَ عَنِ التَّبَدُّلِ.
“Allah has given you faith as sustenance hence made your body immune from hellfire. He has also given you good health hence helped you to obey Him. And He has given you contentment as sustenance hence made you immune from unrestrained way of living.
O Abu-Hashim! I have started speaking to you with these words, for I had the impression that you were going to complain to me of One Who has given you all these blessings. Meanwhile I have ordered one hundred dinars to be given to you.”144
Fahham Mansuri reports while quoting his uncle,: One day Imam al-Hadi (a.s) said, “I was brought reluctantly to the city of Samarra (literally meaning one who sees it becomes happy). Now if they make me leave this city, I will do it reluctantly.” I said, “Why is that, my master?” The Imam said, “For its good climate, its sanitation and its little diseases.”145
A group of people from Isfahan including Abul-Abbas Ahmad ibn Nazar and Abu-Jafar Muhammad ibn Alawiah report: In Isfahan, there was a man of Shiite faith named Abd al-Rahman. He was asked, “Why in our time you have made belief in the Imamate of Ali al-Naqi (a.s) incumbent upon yourself?” He answered: I have seen something which made the Imam’s leadership obligatory to me: I dare to say I was a needy man and one year, the people of Isfahan sent me along with other persons to the court of al-Mutawakkil, the Abbasid ruler, to plead for justice.
We were in Mutawakkil’s court when the order to summon Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ridha was issued. I asked some of the persons present in the court who was this man. It was said that he was an Alawi and the heretics believe in his Imamate. Mutawakkil might have summoned to kill him. I decided not to leave this place to see what he looks like.
Finally, when the Imam came on a horse while people were standing on the two sides of the road, I was watching him. As soon as I saw him, I began to love him and said: May Allah relieve him from the evil of Mutawakkil. He was looking only at the mane of his horse without paying attention to his right or left side. I was also praying for him. When he was passing by me, he turned his holy face towards me and said, “Allah has answered your prayer, prolonged your life, and made your wealth and children abundant.” Hearing this, I trembled and fell down among my friends, they asked, “What happened?” I said, “Just a blessing and said no more.”
I then returned to Isfahan. Allah gave me such a fortune that in addition to what I have outside my house, I have assets worth several thousands of dirham at home. I am also blessed with ten children. I am now seventy and odd years, believing in the Imamate of that honorable Imam who knew what was in my mind and whose prayer Allah answered in relation to me.146
Abu Hashim Jafari has reported: A man from Samarra was afflicted with leprosy hence life had become hard for him. One day, he was complaining to Abu-Ali Fahri of his plight. Abu-Ali said, “Should you ask Abul-Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad ibn al-Ridha to pray for you, your disease will be healed.”
One day when the Imam was returning from Mutawakkil’s house, the leper who was sitting on the way rose up to get close to the Imam to ask him to pray for the healing of his disease. Before he could ask, the Imam said three times, “Go aside; Allah will restore your good health”, while pointing to him with his holy hand. Abu-Ali Fahri later saw the leper who had told him about his meeting with the Imam. Abu-Ali said, “The Imam had prayed for you before you asked him to do so. Be sure you will have your good health restored soon.” The leper went home. The night passed; and when it dawned there was no sign of leprosy on his body.147
Dawud ibn Qasim Jafari reports: I had gone to say farewell to the Imam in Samarra before going on Hajj. He came out with me and when he came to the end of the retaining wall, he descended and I descended too. The Imam drew a circle on the ground saying, “O uncle! Take what is inside this circle for spending during your Hajj.” I pounded on the earth with my fist and found a bar of gold containing two hundred misqals of gold.148
Muhammad ibn Talhah has reported: One day, Imam al-Hadi left Samarra for a village for an important case, which had come about. An Arab came to meet him. So, the man was told that the Imam had gone to such and such place. The Arab too went to that village to see him. The Imam asked, “What do you need?” He answered, “I am an Arab from Kufah who believes in the Imamate of your great grandfather, Ali ibn Abu-Talib. I have a heavy debt, which is hard to pay. I find no one but you to pay my debt.” The Imam said, “Be happy.”
The Imam received him as a guest, and in the morning said, “I will ask you something that you should not oppose!” The Arab said, “I will not oppose to what you do.” The Imam wrote a note in his own handwriting admitting that he owed the Arab a certain amount of money, which was more than the Arab’s debt. Then the Imam said, “Take this note and bring it to me in Samarra. There will be a group of people beside me. Show this note, speak harshly and demand your money.” The Arab agreed and left the Imam.
When the Imam reached Samarra, a group of the companions of the ruler were with him when the Arab arrived, showed the handwriting, demanded the money and spoke as the Imam had advised him. Imam al-Hadi spoke softly to him and promised to pay his debt. The story of Imam al-Hadi and the Arab reached Mutawakkil. He ordered to take thirty thousand Dirhams for Imam al-Hadi. When The Imam received the money, he did not touch it until the Arab came. Then the Imam said, “Take this money, pay your debt, spend the rest for your living expenditures and accept our apology.” The Arab said, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! By Allah! I expected only one third of this money but Allah knows where to place His message He took the money and left for home.”149
Ayyub ibn Nuh has reported: I wrote a letter to Imam al-Hadi saying, “My wife is pregnant. Pray to Allah to give me a son.” Imam al-Hadi wrote back, “When your son is born, name him Muhammad.” My wife gave birth to a son whom I named Muhammad.150
From among the letters sent by Imam Askari to Ali ibn Husayn ibn Babawayh of Qum, there is a letter in part of which special attention has been paid to him and to all Shiites, indicating that a true Shiite enjoys a high value for the infallible Imam. Parts of the letter read:
عَلَيْكَ بِالصَّبْرِ وَانْتِظَارِ الْفَرَجِ. قَالَ النَّبِيُّ: أفْضَلُ الأعْمَالِ إنْتِظَارُ الْفَرَجِ. وَلأ يَزَالُ شِيعَتُنَا فِي حُزْنِ حَتَّى يَظْهَرَ وَلَدِي اَلَّذِي بَشَّرَ بِهِ الَّبِيُّ يَمْلأُ الأرْضَ قِسْطاً وَعَدْلاً كَمَا مُلِئَتْ جَوْراً وَ ظُلْماً. فَاصْبِرْ يَا شَيخِي يَا أبَا الْحَسَنِ عَلِيُّ، وَأمُرْ جَمِيعَ شِيعَتِي بِالصَّبْرِ، فَإنَّ الأرْضَ لِلَّهِ يُورثُهَا مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ، وَالْعَاقِبَةٌ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ، وَالسَّللأمُ عَلَيْكَ وَ عَلَى جَمِيع شِيعَتِنَا وَ رحْمَةٌ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ، وَصَلَى اللَّه عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِه.
You have the duty to be patient and await the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi, for Allah’s Messenger has said: The best deed of my ummah is to await the reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi. Our followers are eagerly waiting for the reappearance of my son the news of whose coming the Holy Prophet has given in order to fill the world, which has been replete with injustice, with justice. O Dear Sheikh Abul-Hasan Ali, be patient and invite all Shiites to patience. Beyond doubt the earth belongs to Allah and He will give it as legacy to anyone of His servants that He wishes to and the good end belongs to those who guard against evil. Peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be on you and on all Shiites and peace of Allah be on Muhammad and his progeny.151
Hasan ibn Muhammad of Qum has reported: The great persons of Qum told me that Husayn ibn Hasan ibn Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Ismail ibn Jafar al-Sadiq openly drank wine in the city of Qum. One day I went to the door of Ahmad ibn Ishaq Ashari who was the head of charitable bequests in Qum, for a need. But he did not give him entry permission. So Husayn ibn Hasan sorrowfully returned home!
A few days later, Ahmad ibn Hasan set off for Mecca on Hajj. When he reached Samarra, he was denied permission to see Imam Hasan Askari! He cried for a long time until the Imam gave him permission to see him. After being received by the Imam, Ahmad said, “O son of Allah's Messenger! Why did you deny me permission to see you; while I am Shiite and your follower?” The Imam said, “Because you sent away our cousin from your house!” Ahmad started crying and took an oath that he had done so in order to forbid him from drinking wine. The Imam said, “You are right but you should have honored them because of his relation to us.”
When Ahmad returned from Mecca, the dignitaries of Qum came to see him and Husayn too was with them. When Ahmad saw Husayn, he rose up, welcomed and honored him and made him sit in a high place. Husayn ibn Hasan was surprised by this behavior; so, he asked Ahmad the reason for it. Ahmad ibn Ishaq told him what had happened between Imam Hasan Askari and him. Hearing this, Husayn ibn Hasan repented his evil deed, returned home, broke all the bottles of wine, became a pious man, and retired to mosque until death took his life and he was buried near the shrine of Fatimah Masumah.152
Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Ibrahim has reported: Earning a livelihood had become hard for us and indigence had overwhelmed us. My father told me to take him to the presence of Imam Hasan Askari for he had been described as a generous man. I said to my father, “Do you know him personally?” He said, “I do not know him nor have I seen him.”
On the way, my father said, “How good it will be if he orders five hundred dirhams to be given to us, two hundred for clothes, two hundred for flour and one hundred for living expenditures.” I said to myself, “I wish he would give me three hundred dirhams so that I would buy a horse for one hundred dirhams, I would spend one hundred for living costs and I would buy clothes for one hundred and then I would go to the region of Jabal.” When we reached the door of the house of Imam, his slave came towards us saying, “Ali ibn Ibrahim and his son Muhammad may enter.” When we entered the room and saluted him, the Imam said to my father, “What kept you from coming to visit us?” My father said, “My master! I was ashamed of seeing you in this position.”
When we came out of the house, the Imam’s servant gave him a purse saying, “This is five hundred dirhams, two hundred dirhams for clothes, two hundred dirhams for flour and one hundred dirhams for living expenditures.” He gave me a purse to me too, saying, “This is three hundred Dirhams, one hundred Dirhams for buying a horse, one hundred Dirhams for clothes, and one hundred for living costs. Don't go to Jabal rather go to Surrah in Iraq.”153
The Imams of Ahl al-Bayt (a.s), due to restrictions imposed on them from every side, had no chance to fully reveal their capacities. The Imam of the Time, may Allah expedite his reappearance, will have a chance to reveal his multi-dimensional capacity as foreseen by the Holy Prophet and the Imam’s of Ahl al-Bayt. Therefore, his behavior, conduct and temperament have a dimension wider than those of the other Imams.
In most narrations, we read that the time of Imam al-Mahdi will be replete with bloodshed and killing. In certain narrations, it has even been pointed out that Allah will remove love for the enemies from the heart of Imam al-Mahdi so much so that people will say,
...لَيْسَ هَذَا مِنْ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، لَو كَانَ مِنْ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ لِرَحِمَ!
This is not from the Household of Muhammad. Were he from the Household of Muhammad, he would have some mercy.154
However, one must note that when Imam al-Mahdi reappears, the world will be in the enemies’ hand and they will strongly resist him. In this connection, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:
إنَّ قَائِمَنَا إذَا قَامَ اسْتَقَبَلَ مِنْ جَهَلَةِ النَّاسِ أشَدَّ مِمَّا اسْتَقْبَلَهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ مِنْ جُهَّالِ الجَاهِلِيَّةِ.
When our Imam rises up, he will find people more ignorant than that of the time before Allah’s Messenger.
In this case, Imam al-Mahdi will have no option other than resorting to war and a revolutionary decisiveness. When the resistance of the sworn enemy is broken, justice, welfare, peace and security will prevail everywhere. What follows are narrations showing the morality and corrective character of Imam al-Mahdi in relation to the world and man at large:
Looking at Husayn, Imam Ali said:
إنَّ ابْنِي هَذَا سَيِّدٌ كَمَا سَمَّاهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ سِّداً. وَسَيُخْرِجُ اللَّهُ مِنْ صُلْبِهِ رَجُلاً بِاسْمِ نَبِيِّكُم، يُشبْبِهُهُ فِي الْخَلْقِ وَالْخُلْقِ.
This son of mine is a master as the Holy Prophet has called him a master and from his issue will come a man who has the same name as the Messenger of Allah and resembling to him in creation and character.155
Abdullah ibn Ata reports: I asked Imam al-Sadiq about the character of Imam al-Mahdi, and the Imam said:
يَصْنَعَ مَا صَنَعَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ
He will do what the Holy Prophet did.156
Quoting Allah’s Messenger, Ibn Abbas has reported:
التَّاسِعُ مِنْهُمْ، قَائِمُ أهْلِ بَيْتتِي وَ مَهْدِيُّ أمَّتِي، أشْبِهُ النًّاسِ بِي فِي شَمَائِلِهِ وَ أقْوَالِهِ وَأفْعَالهِ.
The ninth of them, the support of my Household and al-Mahdi of my ummah is the most similar to me in appearance, speech and deed.157
Abu-Muhammad Hasan ibn Ali Askari (a.s) was quoted by Ahmad ibn Ishaq ibn Sa’d as saying:
ألْحَمْدُ لِلًّهِ الَّذِي لَمْ يُخْرِ جْنِي مِنَ الدُّنْيَا حَتَّى أرَانِي اْلْخَلَفَ مِنْ بَعدي، أشْبَهَ النَّاسِ بِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ خَلْقاً وَ خُلْقا.ً
I praise Allah that before I die He has shown me my successor who is the most similar to Allah’s Messenger in appearance, speech and deed.158
Quoting Qatadah, Kab al-Ahbar has reported:
ألْمَهْدِيُّ خَيْرُ النَّاسِ...مَحْجُوبُ الْخَلأئِقِ.
Al-Mahdi is the best of the people… the most beloved of people.159
Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (a.s) was asked, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! Who is the support of you Ahl al-Bayt?” The Imam said:
الرَّابِعُ مِنْ وُلْدي ...يُطَهِّرُ اللَّهُ بِهِ الأرْضَ مِنْ كُلِّ جَوْرٍ... فَإذَا خَرَجَ أشْرَقَتِ الأرْضُ بِنُورِهِ، وَوُضِع مِيزَانُ الْعَدْلِ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فَلأ يَظْلِمُ أحَدٌ أحَداً.
It is the fourth of my sons. Through him, Allah will remove injustice from the Earth. When he reappears, the earth will be illuminated with his heavenly light. He will dispense justice among people so much so that no one will do any injustice to others.160
Quoting his father, Ali ibn Aqabah has reported:
إذَا قَامَ الْقَائِم،ُ حَكَمَ بِالْعَدْلِ وَارْتَفَعَ فِي أيَّامِهِ الْجُورْ...وَرَدَّ كُلَّ حَقٍّ إلَى أهْلِهِ.
When Al-Mahdi rises up, he will rule with justice; there will be no injustice in his time and he will restore justice to its owner.161
Quoting Allah’s Messenger, Imam Ali has expressly said:
آخِرُهُمْ إسْمُهُ عَلَى اسْمِي. يَخْرُجُ فَيَمْلأُ الأرْضَ عَدْلاً كَمَ مُلِئَتْ جَوْراً وَظُلْما
The last of them (i.e. the Imams) has my names. He will reappear and fill the earth with justice when it is replete with injustice.162
Quoting Allah’s Messenger, Imam Ali has reported:
...وَمُنَادٍ يُنَادِي:هَذا الْمَهْدِيُّ خَلِيفَةٌ اللَّهِ فَاتَّبِعُوهُ. يَمْلأُ الأرْضَ قِسْطاً وَعَدْلاً كَمَا مُلِئَتْ جَوراً وَ ظُلْماً. وَذَلِكَ عِنْدَمَا يَصِيرُ الدُّنْيَا هَرَجاً وَ مَرَجاً، وَ يَغَارُ بَعْضُهُم عَلَى بَعْضِ؛ فَلأ الْكَبِيرُ يَرْحَمُ الصَّغِيرَ وَلأ القَوِيُ يَرْحَمُ الَّعِيفَ، فَحِينَئِذٍ يَأذَنُ اللَّهُ لَهُ بِالْخُرُوجِ.
The herald will call: This is al-Mahdi, Allah’s caliph. Follow him. He will make the earth replete with justice when it is filled with injustice. Allah will permit him to reappear at a time when chaos will overwhelm the world - some will attack the others by night, the grown-ups will have no mercy on the small ones, nor will the powerful be kind to the weak. 163
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has reported:
أوَّلُ مَا يُظْهِرُ الْقَائِمُ مِنَ الْعَدْلِ أنْ يُنَادِي مُنَادِيَهُ أنْ يُسَلِّمَ صَاحِبِ الْفَرِيضَةٍ الْحَجَرَ الأسْوَدَ وَ الطَّوَافَّ.
The first sign of al-Mahdi's justice is that a herald on his behalf will call: One who is performing minor Hajj should give his place to one on whom major Hajj is incumbent.164
There are a hundred and twenty narrations on how al-Mahdi will make the earth replete with justice.
Imam Ali (a.s.) has reported:
وَلَوْ قَدْ قَامَ قَائِمُنَا...لَذَهَبَتِ الشَّحْنَاءُ مِنْ قُلُوبِ الْعِبَادِ
When our support rises up, enmity will leave the people’s hearts.165
Imam al-Baqir (a.s) has reported:
فَيَبْعَثُ الثَّهلاثَمِائَةٍ وَالبِضْعَةَ رَجُلاً إلَى الآفَاقِ كُلِّهَا...حَتَّى تَخْرُجَ الْعَجُوزُ مِنْ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبَ فَلا يَنْهَاهَا أحَدٌ.
When three hundred and odd companions of the Imam rule across the world, a feeble old woman in the east will set off for the west in peace and security.166
Quoting his father, Ali ibn Aqabah has reported:
إذَا قَامَ الْقَائِمُ ... أُمِّنَتْ بِهِ السُّبُلُ
Should the Rising Imam rise up, all roads will become safe.167
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has reported:
مَنْ أدْرَكَ قَائِمِ أهْلِ بِيتِي مِنْ ذِي عَاهَةٍ بَرَأ وَمِنْ ذِي عَاهَةٍ وَمِنْ ذِي عَاهَةٍ بَرَأ وَمِنْ ذِي ضَعَفٍ قَوِيَ.
Should those who have been hurt see the support of the Ahl al- Bayt, they will be relieved; and the feeble ones who see him will become powerful.168
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has reported:
إنْ قَامَ قَائِمُنَا ...يَطْلُبُ الرَّجُلُ مِنْكُمْ مَنْ يَصِلُهُ بِمَالِهِ وَيَأخُذُ مِنْ زَكَاتِهِ فَلأ يُجَدُ أحَدٌ يَقبَلُ مِنْهُ ذَالِكَ. إسْتَغْنَى النَّاسُ بِمَا رَزَقَهُمُ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ.
Should our support (al-Mahdi) rise up, a man from among you will look for a needy person to help him and to take alms from what is incumbent to him; but he will not be able to find such a person to accept it from him; and people will become independent due to what Allah has given them out of His grace.169
Quoting the Holy Prophet, Imam Ali has reported:
يَاتِيهِ الرَّجُلُ وَالْمَالُ كُدْسٌ فَيَقُولُ؛ خُدْ.
Everyone will go to him with wealth accumulated beside him and will ask al-Mahdi, “Grant something to me.” And he will say, “Take whatever you wish.”170
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has reported:
إذَا ظَهَرَ الْقَائِمُ...يُعْطِي النَّاسَ عَطَايَا مَرَّتَينِ فِي السَّنَةِ وَ يَرْزُقُهُمْ فِي الشَّهْرِ رِزْقُهُمْ فِي السَّنَةِ وَيَرِّزُقُهُمْ فِي الشَّهَرِ رِزْقَيْنِ وَيُسَوِّي بِيْنَ النَّاسِ حَتَى لأتَرى مُحْتَاجاً إلَى الزَّكَاةِ. وَ يَجِيءُ أصْحَابُ الزَّكَاةِ بِزَكَاتِهِم ْ إلَى الْمَحَاوِيجِ مِنْ شِيعَتِهِ فَلأ يَقْبَلُونَهَا . فَيُصِرُّونَهَا وَيَدُورُونَ فِي دُورِهِمْ فَيَخْرُجُونَ إلَيْهِمْ فَيَقُولُونَ: لأحَاجَةَ فِي دَرَاهِكُم!
When the Rising Imam reappears, he will give away to people twice a year and he will provide people with sustenance twice a month equally so that you will not find anyone in need of alms. The alms-payer will come to the needy followers of al-Mahdi but the needy will not accept his alms. The alms-money will be put in a purse to be taken to the houses of the Shiites, who will come out of their houses, addressing them: We are not in need of your money!
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has further reported:
وَيَجْتَمِعُ إلَيْهِ أمْوَالُ أهْلُ الدُّنْيَا كُلِّهَا مِنْ بَطَنِ الأرضِ وَظَهْرِهَا، فَيُقَالُ لِلنَّاسِ: تَعَالَو إلَي مَا قَطَعْتُمْ فِيهِ الأرْحَامَ فِيهِ الدَّمَ الْحَرَامَ وَ رَكَبْتُمْ فِيهِ المَحَارِمِ، فَيُعْطِهِ أحَدٌ قَبْلَهُ.
All the people’s wealth, both inside and outside the earth will be accumulated for al-Mahdi and then they will be said: Come to what for which you became merciless and shed the blood unlawfully and for which committed sins. Here, Imam al-Mahdi will award to people such a grant that no one has ever awarded.
The Holy Prophet has said:
يَكُونُ فِي آخِرِ الزَّمَانِ خَلِفَةٌ يُعْطي الْمَالَ وَلا يَعِدُّه عَدّاً.
At the end of the world, there will be a caliph who will divide the wealth without counting them.171
Allah’s Messenger (S) has also said:
وَ يَمْلأُ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَ أُمَّةِ مُحَمَّدٍ غَنِىً.
At the time of al-Mahdi, Allah will make the hearts of the community of Muhammad free from want.172
Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (a.s.) has said:
(ألْمَهْدِيُّ) يَكُونُ رَحْمَةً لِلمؤْمِنِينَ وَعَذَاباً عَلَى الْكَافِفرِينَ.
Al-Mahdi is a source of mercy for believers and punishment for the unbelievers.173
Imam Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.) has said:
إذَا قَامَ قَائِمُنَا أذْهَبَ اللَّهُ عَنْ شِيعَتِنَا الْعَهَةَ.
When the Rising Imam rises up, Allah will remove all harms from the Shiites.174
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has said:
(نْ قَامَ قَائِمُونَا) يُوسَعُ اللَّهُ عَلَى شِيعَتِنَا، وَلَو لأ مَا يُدْرِكُهُمْ مِنَ السَعَادَةِ لَبَغَوْا.
At the time of al-Mahdi, Allah will improve the situation of the Shiites, for if they are not happy, they will rebel.175
Imam Ali ibn al-Husayn (a.s.) has said:
إذَا قَامَ الْقَائِمُ أذْهَبَ اللَّهُ عَنْ كُلِّ مُؤْمِنٍ الْعَاهَةَ وَ رَدَّ إلَيهِ قُوَّتَهُ.
When our support rises up, he will remove harms from believers and restore them their power.176
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:
إذَا قَامَ الْقَائِمُ جَاءَتِ الْمُزَامَلْةٌ؛ وَ يَأتِي الرَّجُلُ إلَى كِيسِ أخِيهِ فَيَأخُذُ حَاجَتَهُ لأيَمْنَعُهُ.
When our support rises up, the era of concord will come about and every person takes what he needs from the purse of his brother without being prevented.177
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has also said:
لَمَّا أسْرِي بِي أوْحَى إلَيِ رَبِّي...وَ بِهِ (الْمَهْدِيِّ) أنْتَقِمُ مِنْ أعْدَائِ وَهُوَ رَاحَةٌ لأِوْلِيَائ، وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَشْفِي قُلُوبَ شِيعَتِك مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ وَالْجَاحِدِينَ وَالكَافِرِينَ.
During the Night of Ascension, Allah said to Holy Prophet (S) about al-Mahdi: I will take revenge from enemies through him. He is the source of tranquility for My friends and it is he who will calm the Shiites from experiencing of revenge of oppressors and unbelievers.178
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:
إذَا قَامَ قَائِمُنَ وَضَعَ يَدَهُ عَلَي رُؤوسِ الْعِبَادِ، فَجَمَعَ بِهِ عُقُولَهُمْ، وَأكْمَلَ بِهِ أخْلأقَهُمْ.
When our support rises up, he puts his hand on the heads of the servants whereby he promotes their wisdom and morality.179
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:
إذَا قَائِمَنَا إذَا قَامَ مَدَّ اللَّهُ لِشِيعَتِنَا فِي أسْمَاعِهِمْ وَأبْصَارِهِمْ حَتَّي لأيَكُونَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَبَينَ الْقَائِمِ بَرِيدٌ؛ يُكَلِّمُهُمْ فَيَسْمَعُونَ وَ يَنْظُرُونَ إلَيْهِ.
When our support rises up, Allah will strengthen the Shiites’ vision and hearing where by there is no need for a link between them and the standing Imam. He will speak to them while they listen to and look at him.180
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has also said:
ألْعِلْمُ سَبْعَةَ وَ عِشْرُونَ حَرْفاً. فَجَمِيعُ مَا جأءَتْ بِهِ الرُّسُلُ حَرْفَانِ. فَلَمْ يَعْرِفِرالنَّاسُ حَتَى الْيَوْمَ غَيْرَ الْحَرْفَينِ فَإذَارقَامَ قَائِمُنَا أخْرَجَ الْخَمَسَةَ وَالْعِشْرِينَ حَرْفاً فَبَثَهَا فِي النَّاسِ وَ ضَمَّ إلَيهَا الْحَرْفَيْنِ حَتَّى يَبُثَّهَا سَبْعَةَ وَ عِشْرِينَ حَرْفاً.
Knowledge has twenty-seven parts. What the prophets have brought are two parts and people do not know more than these two parts to date. When our support rises up, he will bring with him the other twenty-five parts and spread the m among people so that they will become twenty-seven parts all together.181
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:
إنَّ دَوْلَتَنَا آخِرُ الدَّولِ. وَلَمْ يَبْقَ أهْلُ بَيتٍ لَهُم دَوْلَةٌ لأ مَلَكوا إلأ مَلَكُوا قَبْلَنَا، لِئَلأ يَقُولُوا إذَا رَأوا وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِين سِيرَتَنَا: إذَا مَلَكْنَا سِرْنَالابِمِثْلِ سِيرَةِ هَئُلأءِ! وَهُوَا قَوْلُ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى:
Our rule is the last one. No dynasty will come after our rule lest they will say if the rule were ours we would act like them. This is the meaning of Allah’s saying:
The good end is for those who guard against evil.182
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:
Should you survive as to see him, when you look at him, say:
أسَّلأمُ عَلَيْكُمْ أهْلَ بَيْتِ الرَّحْمَةِ وَنُّبُوَّةِ وَمَعْدِنَ الْعِلْمِ وَمَوضِعِ الِّسَالَةِ السَّلأمُ عَلَيكَ يَا بَقِّيَّةَ اللَّهِ فِي أرْضِهِ.
Peace be upon you, O people of the House of the Prophet and of Mercy, source of knowledge, and seat of Divine Mission. Peace be upon you, O Allah’s Reminder on the earth.
Self-sacrifice and preferring others interests above their own is an inherent feature of Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.). It can be seen in the life of each of them so much so that they helped both those who were and those who were not entitled to it. The Holy Prophet has said:
إنَّا لَنُعطِي َيْرَ الْمُسْتَحِقِّ حَذَراً مِنْ رَدٍرالْمُسْتَحِقِّ.
We give away to all out of fear of rejecting a needy person.183
Abu Tamzah Thamali says: I heard Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.) saying to his slave-girl, “Feed any needy person who passes by my house.” At this time, I said to the Imam, “But everyone who wants something and stretches out his hand is not needy.” The Imam said,
أخَافُ أنْ يَكُونَ بَعْضُ مَنْ يَسْألُنَا مُحِقاً فَلا نُطْعِمُهُ، وَنَرُدُّهُ، فَيَنْزِلُ بِنَا أهْلَ البَيْتِ مَا نَزَلَ بِيَعْقُوبَ.
“I fear to reject the one who asks for help as a needy and we fail to feed him. Then it may happen to us Ahl al-Bayt, what had happened to Prophet Jacob.”184
Ahl al-Bayt’s self-sacrifice was such that they sometimes gave away whatever they had in the way of Allah.
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said,
إنَّ الْحَسَنَ بْنَ عَلِيٍّ قَاسَمَ رَبَّهُ ثلأثَ مَرَّاتٍ حَتَّى نَعْلاً وَنَعْلاً وَثَوْباً وَ ثَوباً وَدِينَاراً وَدِينَاراً.
“Hasan ibn Ali gave away his shoes, garments and dinars in the way of Allah.”185
Hasan Basri says: One day, Imam Husayn (a.s.) approached his orchard to find his slave sitting and eating some bread. He sat under a palm-tree closely observing him. The slave threw a piece of bread for a dog nearby for every piece of bread, which he ate himself. At the end, he thanked Allah saying, “O Allah, bless me and my master as You blessed his parents. You are the best of the Merciful.”
At this time, Imam Husayn rose up and called him by name. The slave who was frightened rose up and said, “My master! O master of all believers! I did not notice you. Forgive me.” The Imam said, “You should forgive me, for I entered the orchard without permission!” The slave said, “Are you saying this because of your excellence, magnanimity and generosity?” The Imam said, “I saw you feeding the dog while you were eating yourself. Why?” The slave said, “My master, while I was eating, the dog was looking at me and I was ashamed of its look. Besides, it is the dog, which guards your orchard and I am your slave. We both live on what you give us.”
Imam Husayn started crying and said, “You are free in the way of Allah and I give away one thousand dinars to you!” The slave said, “Even if you set me free, I would like to work in your orchard.” The Imam said, “One must practice what one preaches. I entered the orchard without your permission and I am now giving it away to you with whatever in it.” The slave said, “If you have given away this orchard to me, I too will give it to your followers.”186
It is noteworthy that Ahl al-Bayt did not cease to give away even under the hardest conditions. In this connection, they have related: When a needy person heard that a community had gathered in the desert of Ninawa on the Day of Ashura, he set off for that place. Seeing him, Imam Husayn asked about his situation. The man said, “I am a needy man and I have heard that a large group of people have gathered here. I said to my self perhaps they might give me something.” The Imam said, “Stand here and do not go away.” The Imam went to his camp and wrapped in a cloth what the man needed and gave it to him. The man became happy and went away!
Ubaydullah ibn al-Hurr al-Jufi was a moody person who was for justice at one moment and for injustice at another. Sometimes, he was neutral too! Although he was from Iraq, he rushed to help Muawiyah in the Battle of Siffin. He was at the service of Ahl al-Bayt’s archenemy that is Muawiyah throughout the battle and fought against Imam Ali (a.s.). Thinking that he could not live in Iraq any longer, Ubaydullah went to Syria along with Muawiyah after the end of the battle.
There was a rumor in Iraq that Ubaydullah ibn al-Turr had been killed in the battle. Hence, his wife married Ikrimah ibn al-Khabis. Hearing this news, Ubaydullah who was very fond of his wife decided to return to the city of Kufah to make his wife divorce her new husband. Muawiyah warned him against going to Kufah, saying, “If you go there, you will be killed by Ali’s sword!” Yet, he answered, “I have no fear of going there, for I am going towards justice. Ali’s morality is different from yours. He is heavenly and will dispense justice.”
So, Ubaydullah came to Kufah. First, he went to see the new husband of his wife but the man refused to divorce her. Ubaydullah, who could not resist him, went to Kufah Mosque to see Ali (a.s.). He found a large group of people surrounding Imam Ali and lodged his complaint. Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “Aren't you the same person who helped Muawiyah against me in the Battle of Siffin and drew sword against believers?” He answered “I have not come here to be questioned rather I have come here to find a solution. Return my wife to me.”
Imam Ali ordered to his servant to bring the husband of the woman. He called on him to divorce his wife so that she will marry her first husband. The man said, “My wife is pregnant.” Imam Ali ordered a house to be hired and the woman was transferred there. A nurse too was hired at the cost of Amir al-Muminin to take care of her until the time of delivery so that she will later marry her first husband after observing all the legal procedures.187
Forgiving offences and ignoring unkindness of others was an act of manliness for the Ahl al-Bayt. Allah’s Messenger has said:
مُرُوءَتُنَا أهلَ الْبَيتِ الْعَفْوُ عَمَّنْ ظَلَمَنَا وَإعْطَاءُ مَنْ حَرَمَنَا.
The manliness of us, Ahl al-Bayt, means to forgive one who has done injustice to us and to give to one who has withheld from us.
Ahl al-Bayt did not utter this truth just verbally. They always practiced it. Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has reported: A Jew woman poisoned a piece of meat and brought it to the Holy Prophet (S) so as to kill him. When her plot was divulged, the Holy Prophet interrogated her, “What made you to do this?” She said, “I said to myself that this meat will not harm him if he is Allah’s Messenger and will rid people of his rule if he is a king.” Hearing this, the Holy Prophet pardoned her.188
Ibn Abil-Hadid, in Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, describing Imam Ali, has said: He was the most tolerant in forgiving the offenders and the most forgiving towards the guilty ones. The truth of this claim is proved in the Battle of the Camel when he defeated Marwan ibn Hakam, the most hostile enemy, but forgave him.189
Allah’s Messenger ordered an offender to be arrested to punish him. The fugitive offender tried to hide himself in one house then another to escape punishment. He kept himself from being seen by the people for sometime but it was hard to continue with this act. One day, he was looking through a small window when he saw Hasan and Husayn (a.s.) passing by. He opened the door, came out, put them on his shoulder and set out for the Prophet’s Mosque. When he entered the mosque, the Holy Prophet was on the pulpit. So he loudly said, “O Allah’s Messenger! I ask you by these two honorable persons to forgive me.” The Holy Prophet forgave him with kindness and tolerance.190
A person who was in the presence of Imam Ali in Basrah asked him, “What is the punishment of a person who enters battle against Allah?” The Imam said, “Banishment, amputation of hand or foot, or execution, based on the Quranic order.” He asked, “If this person is Harithah ibn Zayd, what will be the order?” The Imam said, “He is subject to the same order.” He said, “O Amir al-Muminin! Harithah had come to ask you for forgiveness!” The Imam said, “Let him come here.” When Harithah entered, he fell to Imam Ali’s feet, but the Imam took his arms and said, “Rise up! Allah has forgiven you.”191
Humbleness is an outstanding feature in the lives of Ahl al-Bayt.
Ibn Masud reports: A person came to the presence of Allah’s Messenger and when he started to speak, he was trembling. The Holy Prophet (S) said,
هَوِّنْ عَلَيْكَ! فَلَسْتُ بِمَلِكٍ.
“Calm down; I am not a king.”192
Another person reports: A group of people and I went to the presence of the Holy Prophet (S) and said, “You are our master.” The Holy Prophet said,
السَّيِّدُ اللَّهُ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالى.
“Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, is the Master.”193
Abu-Basir reports: Imam al-Sadiq went to the public bath whose owner said, “Let me evacuate the public bath for you!” Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said,
لأ حَاجَةَ لِي فِي ذَالِكَ. ألْمُؤمِنُ أخَفُّ مِنْ ذَالِكَ.
“No, it is not necessary. The pious believer does not bother for those things.”194
It is also reported that Imam al-Ridha (a.s.) went to a public bath. A person who had not recognized him said, “O gentleman! Rub me with this flannel!” Imam al-Ridha (a.s.) did so. At this time people who were in the bath introduced Imam al-Ridha to him, the man became ashamed; he made an apology and an attempted to draw himself aside. However the Imam calmed him with his words and kept on rubbing him with the flannel!195
Humility is like a seed, which when sown in the earth will bear abundant fruits. With their humility, the Ahl al-Bayt made the realm of obedience come to fuition. Some of these fruits are knowledge, awareness and vision. They have been chosen as leaders of guidance until the Judgment Day because of their in-depth insight into the truth of universe. Hence, all should be aware that to take lead ahead of them will cause perdition and to ignore them will cause bewilderment. The Holy Prophet has said:
فَلأ تَسْبِقُوهُمْ فَتَهْلِكُو، وَلأ تُعَلَّمُوهُمْ فَهُمْ أعْلَمُ مِنْكُمْ.
Do not take lead ahead of my Ahl al-Bayt, for you will come to perdition nor do your teach them, for they are more knowledgeable than you.196
He has also said:
فإنَّهُمْ أحْلَمُكُمْ صِغَاراً وَ أعْلَمَكُمْ كِبَاراً. لأيُدْخِلُونَكُمْ فِي ضَلألَةٍ وَلأ يُخْرِجُونَكُمْ مِنْ هُدىً.
Be aware that Ahl al-Bayt are the wisest in childhood and the most knowledgeable in their maturity. They will never misguide you nor will they take you out of true guidance.197
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said to Salamah ibn Kuhayl and Hakam ibn Utaybah:
شَرِّقَا وَ غَرِّبَا، فَلأ تَجِدَانِ عِلْماً صَحِيحاً إلأ شَيْئاً خَرَجَ مِنْ عِنْدِنَا أهْلَ الْبَيْتِ.
You will never attain sound knowledge neither in the east nor in the west but with us, Ahl al-Bayt. 198
The Imam has also said:
نَحُنْ خزَّانُ عِلْمِ اللَّهِ.
We, the Ahl al-Bayt, are treasures of Divine knowledge.199
Imam Husayn has said:
مَا نَدْرِي مَا يَنْقِمُ النَّاسُ مِنَّا! إنَّا لَبَيْتُ الرَّحْمَةِ وَ شَجَرَةُ النُّبُوَّةِ وَ مَعْدِنُ الْعِلْمِ.
We do not know why people harbor enmity against us while we are from the House of mercy, the tree of Prophethood and the source of knowledge.200
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) reports: When it was noontime, Ali ibn Husayn performed his prayer and then was engaged in invocations and greeted the Holy Prophet (S) and Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.) as follows:
أللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ: شَجَرَةِ النُبُوَّةِ وَ مَوْضِعِ الرِّسَالَةِ وَمُخْتَلَفِ الْمَلأئِكَةِ وَ مَعْدِنِ الْعِلْمِ وَأهْلِ بَيْتِ الْوَحْيِ.
O Allah; Send greetings on Muhammad and on the descendents of Muhammad, the evergreen tree of Prophethood, the destination of the Divine messages, the academy where angels came to learn and know, the depository of wisdom, and the household of Divine Revelation.
Ahl al-Bayt’s culture is the most perfect moral, ideological, socio- political, educational and scientific culture, a large section of which has been compiled by the believing Shiite narrators. Such books as al-Kafi, Man-La-Yahdhuruhu-l-Faqih, Tahdhib al-Ahkam, al-Istibsar, Basair al- Darajat, al-Mahasin by al-Barqi, al-Amali by Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi, al-Khisal, Jami al-Akhbar, Ilal al-Sharai, al-Wafi, al-Shafi, Nur al-Thaqalayn, Bihar al-Anwar, Wasail al-Shiah, Mustadrak al-Wasail, al-Awalim, al-Mahajjah al-Baydha…. etc. contain narratives on the culture of Ahl al-Bayt, the practice of which will ensure good life in this world and the hereafter, as well as Allahss pleasure and the eternal Paradise. The Holy Prophet has said:
مَا خُلِقْتُمَ لِلْفَنَاءِ، بَلْ خُلِقْتُمْ لِلْبَقَاءِ. وَإنَّمَا تُنْقَلُونَ مِنْ دَارِ.
You were not born for extinction, rather for survival. With death, you are only displaced; that is you are transferred from one house to another house.201
He has also said:
إنَّ أخْوَفَ مَا أخَافُ عَلَى أمَّتِي الْهَوَى وَطُولُ الأمَلِ.
I fear two things for my ummah: carnal and far-away desires.202
He has also said:
عِزُّ الْمُؤْمِنِ اسْتِغْنَاؤُهُ عَنِ النَّاسِ، وَفِي الْقِنَاعَةِ الْحُرِّيَةٌ وَالْعِزُّ.
A believer’s honor lies in his independence from people and his freedom and honor lie in contentment.203
Imam Ali (a.s.) has said:
الْمَرْءُ يُوزَنُ بِقَولِهِ وَيُقَوَّمُ بِفِعْلِهِ؛فَقُلْ مَا تَرْجَحُ زِنَتُهُ، وَافْعَلْ مَا تَجِلُّ قِيمَتُهُ.
Man is evaluated by his words and assessed by his deeds. Therefore, say what makes your words weighty and act in such away that makes your behavior valuable.204
He has also said:
تَحَلَّوا بالأخْذِ بالْفَضْلِ وَالْكَفِّ عَنِ الْبَغْيِ وَالعَمَلِ بالْحَقِّ وَالإنْصَافِ مِنَ النَّفْسِ.
Adorn yourself with moral virtues and avoid tyranny. Behave justly and be fair to all.
He further says:
يَنْبَغِي لِلْعَاقِلِ أنْ يَحْتَرِسَ مِنْ سُكْرِ المَالِ وَسُكْرِ الْقُدْرَةِ وَسُكْرِ الْعِلْمِ وَسُكْرِ المَدْحِ وَسُكْرِ الشَّبَابِ؛ فَإنَّ لِكُلِّ ذَلِكَ رِيَاحاً خَبِيثَةَ تَسْلُبُ الْعَقْلَ وَ تَسْتَخِفُّ الوَقَارَ.
Man should preserve himself from being intoxicated with wealth, power, knowledge, praise, flattery and youth, for each of these intoxications are poisoned winds which obliterates wisdom and reduces a man’s dignity.205
Lady Fatimah (a.s) has said:
إنِّي أحِبُّ مِنْ دُنْيَاكُمْ ثَلأثاً: الإنْفَاقَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ، وَتِلأوَةَ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ، وَالنَّظَرَ إلَى وَجْهِ أبِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ.
I love three things of your world: giving away in the way of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah, and looking at the face of my father - Allah’s Messenger.206
Imam Hasan (a.s.) was asked the meaning of magnanimity; he replied:
شُحُّ الرَّجُلِ عَلَى دِينِهِ، وَ إصْلأحُهُ، وَقِيَامُهُ بالْحُقُوقِ.
Zeal for faith, rectification of wealth, observation of Allah's and people's rights, as well as manliness and fairness.207
Addressing Imam Husayn (a.s.), a man said, “I am a sinner. I cannot refrain from committing sin. Give me an advice.” The Imam said:
إفْعَلْ خَمْسَة أشْيَاءَ وَأذْنِبْ مَا شِءتَ. فأوَّلُ ذَلِكَ: لأ تَأكُلْ رِذْقِ اللَّهِ وَأذنِبْ مَا شِئْتَ. وَالثَانِي: أخْرُجْ مِنْ وِلأيَةِ اللَّهِ وأذْنِبْ مَا شِئْتَ. وَالثَلِثُ: أطْلُبْ مَوْضِعاً لأيَرَاكَ اللهُ وَأذْنِبْ مَا شِئتَ. وَالرَّابِعُ: إذَا جَاءَ مَلَكُ لِيَقْبِضَ رُوحَكَ فَادْفَعْهُ عَنْ نَفْسِكَ وَأذْنِبْ مَا شِئْتَ. وَالْخَامِسُ: إذَامَالِكٌ فِي النَّارِ فَلأ تَدْخُلْ فِي النَّارِ وَأذْنِبْ مَا شِئْتَ.
Do five things and then commit any sin you wish: Firstly, do not eat sustenance given by Allah and then commit any sin you wish. Secondly, come out of the guardianship of Allah and then commit any sin you wish. Thirdly, go to a place where Allah cannot see you and then commit any sin you wish. Fourthly, when the Angel of Death comes to take your life, escape from him and commit any sin you wish. Fifthly, when the gatekeeper of the Hell intends to throw you into it, do not enter and then commit any sin you wish.208
Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.) has said:
وَأمَّا حَقُّ وَلَدِكَ فَتَعْلَمَ أنَّهُ مِنْكَ وَمُضَافٌ إلَيكَ فِي عَاجِلِ الدُنْيَا بِخَيرِهِ وَشَرِّهِ، وَأنَّكَ مَسْئولٌ عَمَّا ولِّيِتَهُ مِنْ حُسْنِ الأدَب وَالدِّلالَةِ عَلَى رَبِه وَالْمَعُونَةِ لَهُ عَلَى طَاعَتِهِ فِي نَفْسِهِ، فَمُثابٌ عَلى ذَلِكَ وَ مُعَاقَبٌ، فَاعْمَلْ فِي أمْرِهِ عَمَلَ الْمُتَزَيِّنِ بِحُسْنِ أثرِهِ عَلَيهِ فِي عَاجِلِ الدُّنْيَا، الْمُعْذِرِ إلَى رَبهِ فِيمَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ بِحُسْنِ الْقِيَامِ عَلَيهِ وَالأخْذُ لَهُ مِنْهُ.
The right of your child is that you should know that he is from you and will be ascribed to you, through both his good and his evil, in the immediate affairs of this world. You are responsible for what has been entrusted to you, such as educating him in good conduct, pointing him in the direction of his Lord, and helping him to obey Him. So, act towards him with the action of one who knows that he will be rewarded for good doing toward him and punished for evildoing.209
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has said:
إنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لِلشَّرِّ أقْفَلاً، وَجَعَلَ مَفَاتِيحَ تَلْكَ الأقْفَالِ الشَّرَابَ. وَالْكَذِبُ شَرٌّ مِنَ الشَّرَابِ.
Allah has set locks for evil things so as to protect men from their harms. Wine, this intoxicating liquid, is the key to all evil things. Telling lie is worse than drinking wine.210
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) says:
إنَّ مُدْمِنَ الْخَمْرِ كَعَابِدِ وَثَنٍ؛ وَتُورِثُهُ الإرْتِعَاشَ وَتَهْدِمُ مُرُوئَتَهُ وَ تَحْمِلُهُ عَلَى التَّجَسُّرِ عَلَى الْمَحَارِمِ مِنْ سَفْكِ الدِّمَاءِ وَرُكُوبِ الزِّنَا.
A habitual drunkard is as an idolater. One who always drinks wine will be afflicted with palsy and his morality will diminish. Drinking wine makes man so bold in committing sin that he will not refuse to shed blood nor engage in adultery.211
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:
إحْذَرْ مِنَ النَّاسِ ثَلأثَةً: الْخَائِنَ وَالظَّلُومَ وَالَّمَّامَ؛ لأنَّ مَنْ خَانَ خَانَكَ، وَمَنْ ظَلَمَ لَكَ سَيَظْلِمُكَ، وَمَنْ نَمَّ إلَيْكَ سَيَنِمُّ عَلَيْكَ.
Avoid three groups of people when associating with and making friends: traitor, oppressor, and talebearer. One who commits treason in your interest one day will commit treason against you another day. One who oppresses another for your sake will oppress you soon. One who tells tales to you about others will tell tales to others about you soon.212
Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s) passed by a dark-colored man. He saluted him, sat beside him, spoke to him for a while and expressed his readiness to meet his needs. Some people who were watching this scene, said, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! Do you associate with this person and ask about his needs?” The Imam said:
عَبْدٌ مِنْ عَبِيدِ اللَّهِ وَأخٌ فِي كِتَاب اللَّهِ وَ جَارٌ فِي بِلأدِ اللَّهِ. خَيْرُ الآبَاءِ آدَمُ وَأفْضَلُ الأدْيَانِ الإسْلأمُ.
He is one of the servants of Allah and based on the Holy Quran, he is our brother-in-faith and our neighbor in the cities of Allah. Adam who is the best father and Islam, which is the best religion, have linked us to him.213
Imam al-Ridha (a.s.) has said:
وَلْيَكُنْ نَفَقَتُكَ عَلَى نَفْسِكَ وَعِيَالِكَ قَصْداً.
Be moderate in your expenditures on yourself and your family.214
Imam al-Jawad (a.s.) has said:
مَنْ أطَاعَ هَوَاهُ أعْطَى عَدُوَّهُ مُنَاهُ.
One who obeys his carnal desires has realized the desires of his enemy.215
Imam al-Hadi (a.s.) has said:
إذَا كَانَ زَمَانٌ الْعَدْلُ فِيهِ أغْلَبُ مِنَ الْجَورِ، فَحَرَامٌ أنْ يُظَنَّ بِأحَدٍ سُوءاً حَتَّى يُعْلَمَ ذَلِكَ مِنْهُ. وَإذَا كَانَ زَمَانٌ الْجَوْرِ، أغْلَبُ مِنَ الِّعَدْلِ، فَلَيْسَ لأِحَدٍ أنْ يَظُنَّ بِأحَدٍ خَيْراً مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ ذَلِكَ مِنهُ.
When justice prevails in a society rather than injustice, it is unlawful to be suspicious of any person unless he commits an evil act. But when injustice prevails in society, it is not good to be optimistic about anyone unless his good act is witnessed.216
The Holy Prophet has said:
Parents will be rewarded greatly by Allah. They say, “Our Lord! What is all this favor for? Our good deeds are not worthy of such a reward.” They will be replied, “All this reward is for teaching the Holy Quran to your children and for making them aware of Islamic culture.”217
Beyond doubt, understanding the Holy Quran does not depend solely on knowing the meaning of the Arabic words or on being familiar with the Arabic literature. Were it so, Allah would not have introduced in His Book the people of the Reminder, who are Ahl al-Bayt according to the narrations related by both Shiite and Sunni Muslims, as the teachers of the Holy Quran.
Considering that Allah has introduced teacher for the Holy Quran, understanding the main parts of this Book which according to Imam Ali contain “Its permission and prohibitions, its obligations and discretion, its repealing injunctions and the repealed ones, its permissible matters and compulsory ones, its permissible and the general ones, its clear and obscure ones” is not a layman’s job.218
People from all walks of life, whether academicians or theologians, intellectuals or non-intellectuals, scholars or laymen, mystics or philosophers need to refer to valid narrations and reports by Allah’s Messenger and Ahl al-Bayt so as to enter the profound sea of the Holy Quran. They have to board the ship of their knowledge in order to find the truth.
Should they choose a path other than this, they will have to impose their own findings on the Quranic verses as the meaning of this Divine Book; hence they will inflict irreparable damage on themselves and on Muslims by doing so.
Commenting on the Holy Quran, Allah’s Messenger has said:
ظَاهِرُهُ أنِيقُ وَبَاطِنُهُ عَمِيقٌ. لأتُحْصَى عَجَائِبُهُ وَلأتَبْلَى غَرَائِبُهُ.
It has a well-arranged and well-decorated appearance and it has a profound inward aspect. Its marvels cannot be counted and its wonders will never get old.219
How can we possibly understand the Holy Quran when Allah’s Messenger describes it as such? Only those should speak of the interpretation of the Holy Quran who are firmly rooted in knowledge as described by the Divine Book itself. According to valid and genuine narrations, those firmly rooted in knowledge are no one but the Holy Prophet and his purified Ahl al-Bayt. Should the implicit verses of the Holy Quran be interpreted and the interpretation accepted without seeking help from Ahl al-Bayt, it would certainly lead man to atheism and perdition. These verses must be interpreted by those firmly rooted in knowledge and literal meaning must be avoided.
As for the interpretation of abrogating and abrogated, dependent and independents as well as general and particular verses, it should be done by Ahl al-Bayt. Any personal interpretation of the Quranic verses will make man afflicted with an irreparable loss. As an example, we read the following in the Holy Quran,
يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ
The hand of Allah is above their hands. (48:10)
Hand does not mean a physical hand rather it means ‘Power’. Should we take hand as the real hand, we have thought of Allah as having a body, which is an evident blasphemy. Therefore, the interpretation of the above-mentioned verse is: the power of Allah is above all powers.
Another example is 17:72 of the Quran:
وَمَنْ كَانَ فِي هَٰذِهِ أَعْمَىٰ فَهُوَ فِي الْآخِرَةِ أَعْمَىٰ وَأَضَلُّ سَبِيلًا
And whoever is blind in this world, he shall also be blind in the hereafter; and more erring from the way.(17:72)
If we take the literal meaning of ‘blind’, we have to believe that those believers who stood at a high rank in terms of faith and good deeds and were favored by the Prophets and the Imams are deprived of seeing the scenes in Paradise - a belief that does not conform with 43:71 of the Quran:
وَفِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِيهِ الْأَنْفُسُ وَتَلَذُّ الْأَعْيُنُ
Therein shall be what their souls yearn after and wherein eyes shall delight (43:71)
Therefore, we should give in to the Ahl al-Bayt’s interpretation of the word, which is ‘blind-hearted’ not ‘physically blind’.
Thus, we realize that the implicit verses need an interpretation not based on the appearance and the literal meaning of the word but it must be interpreted in another way. This is exactly what Allah has entrusted to those firmly rooted in knowledge:
وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ
None knows its interpretation except Allah and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge. (3:7)
Those who are firmly rooted in knowledge are those who enjoy a firm and true knowledge in which there is no change. It is knowledge that Allah has caused to shine in the hearts of His servants; namely, the Prophets and the Imams. In this relation, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:
نَحْنُ الرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ وَ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُ تَاوِيلَهُ.
We are firmly rooted in knowledge and we know how to interpret the Holy Quran.220
Truly the only knowledge, which is not subject to change and is different from the knowledge of all scientists and scholars, is the knowledge of the Prophets and the Imams, which is fixed until the Resurrection Day. This is so because their knowledge is Divine and based on intuition; that is to see the truth with the eyes of the heart. Beyond doubt such hearts never make an error in realizing the truths and in finding the manifest and hidden secrets of the universe.
Ahl al-Bayt were extremely active in all aspects of life for the good of this world and the Hereafter and did not give up the struggle. Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has said:
لأتَكْسَلُوا فِي طَلَبِ مَعَايشِكُمْ، فَإنَّ آبَاءَنَا كَانُوا يَرْكُضُونَ فِيهَا وَ يَطْلُبُونَهَا.
Do not be lazy in earning a living, for our forefathers were running after it while seeking it.
Amir al-Muminin, Imam Ali has reported: Once in Medina, I became very hungry and to find a job, I went to the vicinity of Medina when I saw a woman gathering a lump of clay to be mixed with water. I went to her and agreed that for each bucket of water, she would give me a date. Hence, I filled sixteen buckets with water in a way my hands were blistered. I washed my hands and went to the woman and said: “See the blisters in the palms of my hands!” The woman gave me sixteen dates and I went to see the Holy Prophet to whom I told the story and he shared the dates with me.221
Abdullah ibn Hasan says:
وَاللَّهِ، أعْتَقَ عَلِيٌّ ألْفَ أهْلِ بَيْتٍ بِمَا مَجَلَتْ يَدَاهُ وَ عَرَقَ جَبِينُهُ.
By Allah (I swear), Ali set free one thousand slaves in the way of Allah with the wage he had earned with blisters in the palms of his hand and the sweat of forehead.222
Abd al-Ala says:
On a hot day of summer, I met Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) who was working hard. I said, “May I be your ransom! You have a high rank before Allah; why are you giving yourself so much trouble?” The Imam said,
يَا عَبْدَا الأعَلَى! خَرَجْتُ فِي طَلَبِ الرِّزْقِ لأسْتَغْنِيَ عَن مِثْلِكَ.
“O Abd al-Ala! I have come out seeking my daily bread so as to be independent of your like.”223
Ali ibn Hamzah says: I saw Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.) working on a farmland. While his two feet were soaked with sweat, I said, “May I be your ransom! Where are your men?” He said, “One who was better than my father and me worked with his hands on this farmland.” I asked who he was. The Imam replied, “Allah’s Messenger, Amir al-Muminin and my forefathers who worked with their hands. This is the duty of the Prophets, Messengers, their successors and the righteous ones.”224
Ahl al-Bayt, in addition to working hard for earning a living, were working hard for the Hereafter so much so that no one could be their equal in terms of praying and spirituality. They encouraged their followers to pray and act piously; they considered salvation in the Hereafter contingent on submission to Allah and prayer and bewared them of desiring for salvation without having piety and fear of Allah.
Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) has been quoted by Jabir al-Jufi to say:
يَا جَابِرُ، أيكْتَفِي مَنِ أتَّخَذَ التّشَيُّعِ أنْ يَقُولَ بِحُبِّنَا أهْلَ الْبَيْتِ؟ فَوَ اللَّهِ مَا شِيعَتُنَا إلأمَنِ إتَّى اللَّهَ وَ أطَاعَهُ. وَمَا كَانُو يُعَرَفُونَ إلأ بِالتَّوَاضُعِ وَالتَّخَشُّعِ وَأداءِ الأمَانَةِ وَكَثَرَةِ ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ، وَالصَّوْمُ وَالصَّلأةِ، وَالْبِرِّ بِالْوَالِدَيْنِ، وَتَّعَهُّدِ لِلْجِيرَانِ مِنَ الفُقَرَاءِ وَأهْلِ الْمَسْكَنَةِ وَالْغَارِ مِينَ وَالأيْتَامِ، وَصِدْقِ الْحَدِيثِ، وَتِلأوَةِ الْقُرْآنِ، وَكَفِّ الألْسُنِ عَنِ النَّاسِ إلأ مِنْ خَيْرٍ، وَ كَانُوا أمَنَاءَ عَشَائِرِهِمْ فِي الأشْيَاءِ.
O Jabir, do you think that it is sufficient for those who claim being Shia to say that they cherish us; the Prophet’s Household? By Allah I swear, our Shia are only those who fear and obey Allah. Their signs are modesty, submission, fulfillment of the trusts, very much reference to Allah, fasting, offering prayers, piety to (their) parents, aiding the neighbors especially the poor, the destitute, the indebted, and the orphans, truth, reciting the Quran, and avoiding mentioning people except for praising. In addition, they are the most trustful of the people of their tribes.
I said, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! Today, we do not know anyone who is having all these features.” The Imam said:
يَا جَابِرُ، لأتَدْهَبَنَّ بِكَ الْمَذَاهِبُ! حَسَبُ الرَّجُلُ أنْ يَقُولَ أُحِبُّ عَلِيَّاً صَلَوَاتُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَأتَولأه؟ فَلَوْ قَالَ إنِّي أُحِبُّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ آلِهِ، وَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ خَيرٌ مِنْ عَلِيٍّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلأمُ ثُمَّ لأيَتَّبِعُ سِيرَتَهُ وَلأ يَعْمَلُ بِسُنَّتِهِ مَا نَفَعَهُ حُبُّهُ إيَّاهُ شَيْئاً، فَاتَّقُواللَّهَ وَاعْمَلُو الِمَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ. لَيْسَ بَيْنَ وَبَينَ أحَدٍ قَرَابَةٌ. أحَبُّ الْعِبَادِ إلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ وَ أكْرَمُهُمْ عَلَيْهِ أثْقَاهُمْ لَهُ وَأعْمَلُهُم لَهُ وَأعمَلُهُمْ بِطَاعَتِهِ. يَاجَابِرُ، مَا يَتَقَرَّبُ الْعَبْدُ إلَى اللَّهِ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى إلأ بِالطَّاعَةِ. مَا مَعَنَا بَرَاءَةٌ مِنَ النَّارِ، وَلأ عَلَى اللَّهِ لأِحَدٍ مِنْكُمْ حُجَّةٌّ. مَنْ كَانَ للَّه مُطِيعاً فَهُوَ لَنَا وَلِيٌ، وَمَنْ كَانَ للَّهِ عَاصِياً فَهُوَ لَنَا عَدُوٌّ، وَلأتُنَالُ وِئلأيَتُنَا إلأ بِالْعَمَلِ وَالْوَرَعِ.
No, Jabir. Do not misunderstand the matter. Is it enough for a man to claim that he loves and follows Ali? If he claims that he loves the Prophet (S), who is preferable to Ali (a.s.), but he does not follow his traditions and does not act upon his instructions, his claim will be definitely useless. Hence, you should fear Allah and work for the cause of obtaining that which He has in possession. There is no relation between Allah and anybody. The most favorable and honorable servants of Allah are the most fearing and pious.
O Jabir, the only means through which a servant seeks to gain Allah’s favor is obedience to Him. We - the Prophet's Household - do not carry a patent for saving from Hell. Likewise, none of you has a claim against Allah. He who obeys Allah is only our disciple and whoever disobeys Him is our enemy. The loyalty to us cannot be gained except by means of diligent work and piety.225
Addressing Fudhayl, Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said:
بَلِّغْ مَنْ لَقِيتَ مِنْ مَوَالِينَا عَنَّا السَّلأمَ وَ قُلْ لَهُمْ: إنِّي لأ أغْنِي عَنْكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئاً إلأبِوَرَعٍ. فَاخْفَظُوا ألْسِنَتَكُمْ وَكُفُّوا أيْدِيَكُمْ. وَعَلَيْكُمْ. وَ عَلَيْكُمْ بِاصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلأةِ، إنَّ اللَّهَ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ.
Send greetings to our friends and say: We cannot remove Allah’s chastisement unless you adopt piety. Therefore, hold your tongues, cease to commit any sin, be patient and perform prayer, for Allah is with the patient.226
Imam al-Sadiq has said:
مَعَاشِرِ الشِّيعَةِ! كُونُو الَنَا زَيْناً وَلأ تَكُونُوا عَليْنَا شَيئاً. قُولُو الِلنَّاسِ حُسْناً، وَاحْفَظُوا ألْسِنَتَكُمْ وَكُفُّوهَا عَنِ الْفُضُولِ وَ قَبِيحِ الْقَولِ.
O Shiite community! Be an ornament for us! Do not do anything indecent! Speak to men good words! Hold your tongues! Avoid being talkative and using a foul language.227
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) further says:
يَابْنَ جُنْدَبٍ! بَلِّغْ شِيعَتَنَا وَ قُلْ لَهُم: لأتَدْهَبَنَّ بِكُم ااْمَذَاهِبُ!فَوَ اللَّهِ لأ تُنَالُ وَ لأيَتُنَا إلأبِالْوَرَعِ وَالإجْتِهَادِ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَ مُوَاسَاةِ الإخْوَانِ فِي اللَّهِ وَاَيسَ مِنْ شِيعَتَنَا مَنْ يَظْلِمُ النَّاسَ.
O son of Jundab! Convey our message to our followers and say to them: Let not other trends mislead you, for, by Allah, our friendship cannot be attained save by piety and hard work in the world as well as sympathy with brothers-in-faith. One who oppresses people is not our follower.228
Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) say: Committing sins and indecent acts are features of our enemies. Our followers avoid such things. The Shiites are neither usurers nor usurpers; they are neither adulterers nor thieves; they are neither traitors nor breakers of promise; they are neither oppressors nor deniers of people's rights; they are neither tormentors of their wives nor tormentors of their children, they neither break anyone's heart nor slander people.
What Ahl al-Bayt taught people specially their followers who believed in Allah, giving people their due rights, practicing according to the Holy Quran, following the Holy Prophet, obeying his rightful successors and keeping away from all sins. Addressing Abd al-Adhim al-Tasani, Imam al-Ridha (a.s.) has said:
أبْلِغْ عَنِّي أوْلِيَائِي السَّلأمَ وَقُلْ لَهُمْ أنْ لأ يَجْعَلُوا للشَّيْطَانِ عَلَى أنْفُسِهِمْ سَبِيلاً. وَ مُرُهُم بِاصِّدْقِ فِي الحَدِيثِ وَأدَاءِ الأمَانَةٍ. وَالْمُرْهُمْ بِالسُّكُوتِ وَ تَرَكِ الْجِدَالِ فِيمَا لأيُعْنِيهِم وَإقْبَالِ بَعْضِهِمْ عَلَى بَعْضِ وَالْمُزَاوَرَةِ، فَإنَّ ذَلِكَ قُرْبَةٌ، وَلأ يَشْغَلُوا أنْفُسَهُم بِتَمْزِيقِ بَعْضِهِم بَعْضاً.
Convey my greetings to my friends and say to them: Expel Satan from yourselves. Be honest and truthful. Avoid idle talks and keep silent. Visit each other most often. By this, you can attain nearness to me. Avoid dispersion and don't vex others.229
Ahl al-Bayt have always warned their followers against committing sin and oppression, saying:
وَإيَّاكُمْ وَمَعَاصِيَ اللَّهِ أنْ تَرَكَبوهَا، فَإنَّهُ مَنِ إنْتَهَكَ مَاصِيَ اللَّهِ فَرَكِبَهَا فَقَدْ أبْلَغَ فِي السأءَةِ إلَى نَفْسِهِ.
Beware of sins, for whoever commits sin will be unjust to himself.
The only way to avoid loss and perdition is to follow Ahl al-Bayt, which entails Allah’s pleasure, Ahl al-Bayt’s intercession as well as happiness in this world and the hereafter.
In a letter to the Shiite community, Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) has given important guidelines on ideological, moral and social issues as well as family life, peaceful coexistence in this world and issues related to the hereafter the excerpts of which are as follow:
وَاعْلَمُوا أنّهُ لَيْسَ يُغْنِي عَنَّكُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ أحَدٌ مِنْ خَلْقِهِ شَيْئاً؛ لأ مَلَكٌ مُقَرَّبٌ وَلأ نَبِيٌّ مُرْسَلٌ وَلإ مَنْ دُونَ ذَلِكَ. فَمَنْ سَرَّهُ أنْ تَنْفَعَهُ شَفَاعَةٌ الشَّافِعِينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ فَلْيَطْلُبْ إلَى اللَّهِ أنْ يَرْضَى عَنْهُ. وَاعْلَمُوا أنَّ أحَداً مِنْ خَلْقِ اللَّهِ لَمْ يُىصِبْ رِضَا اللَّهِ إلأ بِطَاعَتِهِ وَ طَا عَةِ رَسُولِهِ وَ طَاعَةِ اللَّهِ، وُلأةِ أمْرِهِ مِنْ آلِ مُحَمَّدٍ، صَلْوَاتُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِمْ. وَمَعْصِيَتُهُم مِنْ مَعْصِيَةِ اللَّهِ، وَ لَمْ يُنْكِرْ فَضْلاً عَظَمَ أو صَغُرَ.
Know that none of the Allah’s creatures including Archangels and Prophets can remove an iota of Allah’s punishment from you. Therefore, anyone who wishes to benefit from the Intercessors’ mediation should ask Allah to be pleased with him. Be it known to you that none of Allah’s creatures won His pleasure save by obedience to Him, His Messenger and the Imams from the Household of Prophet Muhammad. Disobedience to them is as disobedience to Allah; hence, their virtues should not be denied.230
- 1. Al-Khisal: 271/1, H. 13
- 2. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: 465, H. 6
- 3. Qurb al-Isnad: 44
- 4. Qurb al-Isnad: 69
- 5. Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha: 30/2, H. 36
- 6. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi: 393, H. 866
- 7. Al-Kafi: 312/5, H. 38
- 8. Ilal al-Shara'u: 187.
- 9. Al-Mahasin: 456/2, H. 386
- 10. Al-Mahasin: 457/2, H. 388
- 11. Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d; 4
- 12. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 17
- 13. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 19
- 14. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 21
- 15. Kitab Al-Zuhd: 34, H. 88
- 16. Al-Kafi: 225/4, H. 3
- 17. Nasikh al-Tawarikh: 584/2
- 18. Sharaf al-Nabi: 69
- 19. Nasikh al-Tawarikh: 234/3
- 20. Sharaf al-Nabi: 67
- 21. Daa’im al-Islam: 60/2, H. 162
- 22. Awali al-La'ali: 249/2, H. 20
- 23. Manhaj al-Sadiqin: 370/9
- 24. Manhaj al-Sadiqin: 370/9
- 25. Manhaj al-Sadiqin: 371/9
- 26. Sharaf al-Nabi: 75
- 27. Sharaf al-Nabi: 79
- 28. Sharaf al-Nabi: 68
- 29. Al-Manaqib: 1112/2
- 30. Al-Kafi: 268/7, H. 40
- 31. Al-Amali: 467, H. 10
- 32. Al-Manaqib: 114/2
- 33. Al-Manaqib: 115/2
- 34. Bihar al-Anwar, 54/41, H. 1
- 35. Al-Manaqib: 104/2
- 36. Al-Mahasin: 629/2, 12, H. 104
- 37. Hilyat al-Awliya: 139/4
- 38. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah: 65/17
- 39. Al-Manaqib: 98/2
- 40. Al-Gharat: 35/1
- 41. Al-Gharat: 36/1
- 42. Al-Gharat: 46/1
- 43. Ihqaq al-Haqq; 539/8
- 44. Kashf al-Ghummah: 173/1
- 45. Al-Manaqib: 97/2
- 46. The Path of Ali: 42
- 47. Al-Manaqib: 74/2
- 48. Al-Manaqib: 76/2
- 49. The path of Ali: 53
- 50. Kashf al-Yaqin: 86
- 51. Kashf al-Ghummah: 163/1
- 52. Al-Sirah al-Nabawiyyah: 430/2
- 53. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah: 253/11
- 54. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah: 201/2
- 55. Al-Gharat: 55/1
- 56. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah: 249/1
- 57. Nahj al-Balaghah: 880, Maxim, 412
- 58. Jami al-Akhbar: 138
- 59. Al-Gharat: 65/1
- 60. Al-Gharat: 75/1
- 61. Al-Manaqib: 106/2
- 62. Bihar al-Anwar: 178/53, Chapter: 314, T 9
- 63. Al-Manaqib: 342/3.
- 64. Rayahin al-Shariah: 130/1
- 65. Al-Mahajjah al-Bayda: 30/1
- 66. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal: 236/1
- 67. Bihar al-Anwar: 46/43
- 68. Bisharat al-Mustafa: 137
- 69. Quoted from Alam al-Nisa by Ali Muhammad Ali Dakhil
- 70. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: 178, H. 8
- 71. al-Khisal: 135/1, H. 149
- 72. Al-Manaqib: 23/4
- 73. Sulh al-Hasan 42-43
- 74. Al-Manaqib: 16/4
- 75. Al-Manaqib: 16/4
- 76. Bihar al-Anwar: 352/43, Chapter: 16, H. 29
- 77. Al-Manaqib: 66/4
- 78. Al-Manaqib: 65/4
- 79. Al-Manaqib: 66/4
- 80. Al-Manaqib: 66/4
- 81. Al-Manaqib: 66/4
- 82. Al-Manaqib: 66/4
- 83. Jami al-Akhbar: 137, Chapter: 96
- 84. Kitab al-Irshad by Shaykh al-Mufid 145/2
- 85. Al-Kafi, 132/2, H. 8
- 86. Kitab al-Irshad by Shaykh al-Mufid: 147/2
- 87. Ilal al-Shara’i: 231/1, H. 8
- 88. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: 201, H. 12
- 89. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Saduq: 220, H. 6
- 90. Thawab al-Amal wa-Iqab al-Amal: 50
- 91. Al-Kafi: 68/4; H. 3
- 92. Al-Manaqib: 163/4
- 93. Al-Manaqib: 154/4
- 94. Al-Manaqib: 155/4
- 95. Bihar al-Anwar: 92/46, Chapter: 5, H. 79
- 96. Kitab Al-Zuhd: 45, Chapter: 7, H. 119
- 97. Al-Manaqib: 162/4
- 98. Al-Kafi: 97/5, T 7
- 99. Al-Manaqib: 157/2
- 100. al-Khisal: 517/2, H. 4
- 101. Kashf al-Ghummah: 80/2
- 102. Kashf al-Ghummah: 106/2
- 103. Al-Kafi: 73/5, T 1
- 104. Al-Irshad by al-Mufid: 166/2
- 105. Al-Irshad by al-Mufid: 167/2
- 106. Al-Manaqib: 207/4
- 107. Kashf al-Ghummah: 118/2
- 108. Al-Kafi: 448/6, H. 13
- 109. Al-Kafi: 487/2, H. 3
- 110. Al-Kafi: 226/3, H. 14
- 111. Al-Kafi: 323/3, H. 9
- 112. Basa’ir al-Darajat: 495, H. 2
- 113. Al-Kafi: 8/4, H. 3
- 114. Al-Manaqib: 273/4
- 115. Al-Manaqib: 274/4
- 116. Al-udad al-Qawiyyah: 155
- 117. Rijal al-Kashshi: 184
- 118. Al-Kafi: 283, H. 1
- 119. Al-Kafi, 49/4, H. 12
- 120. Al-Kafi: 581/2, H. 15
- 121. Al-Kafi: 225/3, H. 11
- 122. Al-Kafi: 86/2, H. 4
- 123. Al-Kafi: 87/8, H. 50
- 124. Al-Kafi: 76/5, H. 13
- 125. Al-Kafi: 289/5, H. 3
- 126. Al-Kafi: 161/5, H. 1
- 127. Al-Kharaij wa’l-Jaraih, 896/2
- 128. Kitab al-Irshad: 232/2
- 129. Al-Manaqib: 319/4
- 130. Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha: 184/2, Chapter: 44
- 131. Al-Kafi: 52/4, H. 12
- 132. Al-Kafi: 230/8, H. 296
- 133. Al-Kafi: 23/4, H. 3
- 134. Al-Kafi: 288/5, H. 1
- 135. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi, 588, H. 1220
- 136. Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha: 812, Chapter: 30, H. 20
- 137. Qurb al-Isnad: 148
- 138. Uyun Akhbar al-Ridha, 218/2
- 139. Al-Kafi: 5/111, H. 6
- 140. Bihar al-Anwar, 47/50, H. 22
- 141. Bihar al-Anwar: 91/5, Chapter: 5, H. 6
- 142. Bihar al-Anwar: 61/50, Chapter: 26, H. 37
- 143. Matalib al-Saul fi Manaqib Al al-Rasul: 140
- 144. Man-la-Yahduruhul-Faqih 401/4, H. 5863
- 145. Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi: 281, H. 545
- 146. Al-Kharaij wal-Jaraih: 392/1, 11
- 147. Al-Kharaij wal-Jaraih: 399/1, 11
- 148. Al-Manaqib: 409/4
- 149. Kashf al-Ghummah: 374/2
- 150. Kashf al-Ghummah: 385/2
- 151. Al-Manaqib: 425/4
- 152. Bihar al-Anwar, 323/50, Chapter: 4, H. 17
- 153. Al-Kafi: 506/1, H. 3
- 154. Bihar al-Anwar: 354/52, H. 13
- 155. Bihar al-Anwar: 39/51, H. 20
- 156. Bihar al-Anwar: 352/52, H. 108
- 157. Bihar al-Anwar: 379/52, H. 187
- 158. Kamal al-Din: 118/2.
- 159. Aqd al-Durar fi Akhbar al-Muntadhar: 152
- 160. Kamal al-Din: 371/2, Chapter: 35, H. 5
- 161. Al-Irshad by al-Mufid: 384/2
- 162. Bihar al-Anwar: 379/52, Chapter: 27, H. 186
- 163. Bihar al-Anwar: 380/52, H. 182
- 164. Al-Kafi: 427/4, H. 1
- 165. Al-Khisal: 626/2, H. 10
- 166. Bihar al-Anwar: 341/5, H. 91
- 167. Al-Irshad by al-Mufid: 384/2
- 168. Bihar al-Anwar: 335/52, H. 68
- 169. Al-Irshad by al-Mufid: 386/2
- 170. Bihar al-Anwar: 379/52, H. 186
- 171. Aqd al-Durar fi Akhbar al-Muntadhar: 161
- 172. Ibid
- 173. Kamal al-Din: 376/2, H. 7
- 174. Bihar al-Anwar: 317/52, Chapter: 22, H. 12
- 175. Bihar al-Anwar: 341/52, Chapter: 27, H. 91
- 176. Bihar al-Anwar: 364/52, Chapter: 27, H. 138
- 177. Al-Ikhtisas: 26
- 178. Kamal al-Din: 251/1, H. 2
- 179. Bihar al-Anwar: 336/52, chapter: 27, H. 71
- 180. Bihar al-Anwar: 336/52, Chapter: 27, H. 72
- 181. Bihar al-Anwar: 336/52, Chapter: 27, H. 73
- 182. Al-Irshad by al-Mufid: 384/2
- 183. Uddat al-Dai: 101
- 184. Ilal al-Sharau: 45/1, Chapter: 41, H. 1
- 185. Tahdhib al-Ahkam: 11/5, H. 29
- 186. Maqtal al-Husayn: 153/1
- 187. Al-Kamil: 287/4
- 188. Tuhaf al-Uqul: 38
- 189. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah: 22/1
- 190. Bihar al-Anwar: 318/43, Chapter: 13, H. 2
- 191. Fiqh al-Quran: 368/1
- 192. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 16
- 193. Sunan Abi-Dawud, 254/4
- 194. Al-Kafi: 503/6, H. 37
- 195. Al-Manaqib: 362/4
- 196. Al-Kafi: 294/1, H. 3
- 197. Bihar al-Anwar 23:144
- 198. Al-Kafi: 399/1, H. 3
- 199. Al-Kafi: 192/1, H. 3
- 200. Nuzhat al-Nadhir: 85
- 201. Bihar al-Anwar: 78/58
- 202. Al-Khisal: 51/1, H. 62
- 203. Waram Collection: 169/1
- 204. Ghurar al-Hikam: 317
- 205. Ghurar al-Hikam: 66
- 206. Musnad Fatimah al-Zahra
- 207. Tuhaf al-Uqul: 235
- 208. Jami al-Akhbar: 130
- 209. Man-La-Yahdhuruhul-Faqih: 621/2, H. 3214
- 210. Al-Kafi: 338/2, H. 3
- 211. Al-Amali, H. 1
- 212. Tuhaf al-Uqul: 315
- 213. Tuhaf al-Uqul: 413
- 214. Fiqh al-Ridha: 254, 37
- 215. Alam al-Din: 309
- 216. Alam al-Din: 312
- 217. Tafsir al-Imam al-Askari: 449, H. 297
- 218. Nahj al-Balaghah: 52, First Sermon
- 219. Al-Kafi: 298/2, H. 2
- 220. Al-Kafi: 213/1, H. 1
- 221. Man-La-Yahdhuruhul-Faqih: 157/3, H. 3575
- 222. Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal: 286/1
- 223. Al-Gharat: 91/1
- 224. Al-Kafi: 75/5, H. 10
- 225. Al-Kafi: 74/2, H. 3
- 226. Daa’im al-Islam: 133/1
- 227. Al-Amali: 400, H. 17
- 228. Tuhaf al-Uqul: 303
- 229. Al-Ikhtisas: 247
- 230. Al-Kafi: 11/8, H. 1