Chapter 5: Man is Weak
O Brother who is too indifferent to reform himself, ignorant of his own reality! You, poor soul, have two facets and considerations:
One of them concerns your own self, you as you are. To this facet have both your vision and observation been absent. From this facet, you are a diminishing and perishing person of no value or worth; nobody is concerned about you; you are nothing!
As for your other facet, you are tied to the Divine might; you are the manifestation of the Greatness of the Lord; you are a creature made by this Great Creator, the most Exalted One, the most Great. From this facet, you are tied to all the world starting from the `Arsh and ending with the earth, from the seventh high heavens to the seventh lowest earth, in addition to what is between the east and the west and all parts of the earth.
So, if you are good to your own soul, you do well to the whole world and vice versa1. If this confuses you, there is a likeness for you under the `Arsh which does similarly to what you do. If you do something ugly, Allah puts a shield on your likeness lest you should be scandalized by those around the `Arsh. And if you do something good, Allah manifests it for them. This is the meaning of this statement:
‘O One Who manifests what is beautiful and covers what is ugly’ reported by our mentor, al-Bahai, in his Muftah where he quotes Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying, ‘Each and every believer has a likeness in the `Arsh. If he is busy bowing, prostrating and the like, his likeness does the same. It is then that the angels see him, pray and seek forgiveness for him. And if the servant is busy committing an act of disobedience, Allah lowers down a curtain on his likeness so that the angels may not see it.’ (Muftih al-Falah, p. 156).
Also, there is no doubt that your daily deeds, every morning and evening, are displayed before the Prophet (‘s) and before the Imams (‘a), especially the Imam of the Time (‘a), may Allah hasten his reappearance, who is Waliyy al-Amr. Anything good in these deeds pleases them, so much so that one of them has said, ‘By Allah! The Messenger of Allah (‘a) is more pleased when a believer does his brother a favor than the one in need of the favor’ (Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 156).
There is no doubt that the Prophet (‘s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) are the pillars and the corners of the world while the whole world, including the angels and others, are their subjects. Whoever pleases the sultan of the world pleases all the subjects on account of pleasing the sultan and the sultanate, so the whole world supplicates to such a benevolent servant saying, ‘May Allah please you just as you pleased us!’
And if he commits a wrongdoing, he displeases the Prophet (‘s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (‘a); therefore, the trees will dry, the fruits will spoil, the rain will stop falling and prices will keep rising.
So, O wretch! The impact of your act of obedience or disobedience on the whole world has become clear to you, in addition particularly to the angels assigned for you. Add to this what we have already pointed out above regarding the effect of obedience and disobedience on one’s offspring and on the offspring of the offspring, and so on.
Contrariwise, the benefit encompasses all the bygone believers as well as those still living who recite this supplication: ‘Lord! Forgive the believing men and women,’ so much so that it has been reported that all the believing men and women intercede for the person who thus supplicates and say, ‘This is the one who used to seek forgiveness for us!’ (Al-Wasa’il, Vol. 4, p. 151).
It is reported that everyone in the heavens and on earth seeks forgiveness for the scholar, including the fish in the ocean (Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 34). The most Praised One has said,
‘Those who bear the throne (of Allah) and those near to Him glorify and praise their Lord. They believe in Him and implore His forgiveness for those who believe’ (Qur’an, 40:7).
It is well known that if one is a famous mujtahid, those in the east and in the west benefit from emulating him, finding his books and compilations useful, and so are his means of guiding them when alive and even after his demise.
Thus, it becomes clear to you how you can bear an impact on the whole world from the second facet in you, from your being tied to the Holy One, the manifestation of His Greatness; so, how do you justify, O wretch, your indifference and lack of concern when you turn to the other facet whereby you are nothing at all?!
Surely our master, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), has said the truth when he said (the following verses of poetry):
If you neglect yourself, your Lord does not neglect you; Allah Almighty has said,
‘Does man think that he will be left uncontrolled (without a purpose)? (Qur’an, 75:36).
Wake up, then, from your indifference, and pay attention to the second facet whereby you become a human being; thus did your Lord call upon you to do. If you regard yourself among the wretched folks, being distant from any chance for happiness, be informed, poor soul, that Allah effaces whatever He pleases and so does He fix, and with Him is the Mother Book.
Beware lest you should be a devil in a human form. Be informed that if you choose this for yourself, you will have lost the opportunity of earning the Divine Care, corrupted the whole world on account of your own corruption, cast grief in the hearts of the prophets and the messengers, the angels near to Allah and all those in the heavens and on earth. The earth complains from your walking on its surface, and the heavens complains from shading you.
It has been reported that the earth complains to Allah for forty mornings about one who is not circumcised and who urinates on it (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 101, p. 110), one of the deeds held in contempt; so, what is wrong with you?!
As a whole, you, O wretch, become an enemy of Allah. All those who live in the domain of Allah are your foes2. They seek permission to have their revenge against you. So, how can you have the might that can withstand them all, the insignificant weakling that you are? Who will shelter you if you duel with Him and fight Him?! Surely there is no escape route for you except one leading to Him:
‘Then hasten (at once) to Allah: I am a plain warner to you from Him!’ (Qur’an, 51:50).
Anyone who is afraid of anyone flees away from the latter except one who is afraid of Allah: he flees to Him. If you flee to Him, the most Exalted and Great that He is, listen to what Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) has narrated from his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (‘a) who quotes Allah Almighty saying,
‘Whenever I look at the heart of one of My servants and come to see how he loves to be sincere in his obedience to Me, seeking My Pleasure, I undertake to reform him and to guide him.’ (Al-Jawahir al-Saniyyah, p. 133).
The Prophet (‘s) has quoted Allah Almighty as saying,
‘Once I come to know that My servant is concerned about Me, I direct his desire to ask Me and to plead to Me. If My servant is as such, and if he inclines to be off-guard, I stop him from losing his guard. Such are My true servants. Such are the true heroes, those who, if I want to penalize all the residents of the earth, I spare them all the penalty for the sake of such heroes.’ (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 90, p. 162).
Look carefully into this tradition and see how it concludes with Allah sparing all the people of the earth from the penalty and the perdition only because of the presence of such servants of His. Their mere presence is a blessing to the whole world. It safeguards everyone from annihilation.
As a whole, everything in this world is interconnected with each other, and it is like the one individual: If pain afflicts one of his parts, all other parts will feel the pain as well. If the same pain is removed from that single part, the pain will be removed from all the others.
One hadith states that if a servant praises Allah, he will be included in the supplication of all other participants in the congregational prayer service because the latter say,
‘Allah listens to those who praise Him.’ (Al-Wasa’il, Vol. 4, p. 2).
So look and see how such a servant is connected to all others in the world who pray: Their supplication includes him in theirs by virtue of one single statement... Likewise, if one does something good, and if he does it well, he will be included in the supplication of the Prophet (‘s) who has said,
‘May Allah have mercy on one who does something and does it well.’ (Kanz al-`Ummal, p. 9128).
There is no doubt that the supplication of the Prophet (‘s) is answered, and one who is included in the mercy of Allah (‘a) is saved from perdition.
There are some in our time who wish they had lived during the time of the Prophet (‘s) so that, perhaps, they could have been included in one of his supplications, imagining that such an opportunity had passed and cannot be compensated.
This assumption is wrong. Their being included in the supplication of the Prophet (‘s), and such a supplication reaching them in our time, is quite easy: Just as we said, if one does something well, he will be included in the Prophet’s supplication for mercy. And if one fasts one day during the month of Sha`ban, for example, he, too, becomes included in the supplication of the Prophet (‘s) wherein he says,
‘Sha`ban is my month; may Allah have mercy on anyone who assists me to undertake my month.’ (Al-Wasa’il, Vol. 10, p. 492).
The Prophet (‘s) is far from depriving the people of this time of the blessings of his honorable supplication. Rather, he has made many honorable supplications for many different occasions. Whoever wishes to include himself in any of such supplications, he will then be included in such a supplication which is sure to be answered [upon his recitation thereof].
Look at yourself, Brother, and see how he has touched you with his mercy by including you under such honorable supplications which paved for you the path to be included in them. When you are indifferent and absent-minded, you wish to include yourself under foul titles; the whole world will then supplicate against you. Anyone who causes a believer to grieve actually grieves the Messenger of Allah (‘a), then Ali, (‘a) then al-Hasan (‘a), then al-Husain (‘a), then the rest of the Imams (‘a), then the whole world, causing the world to shout against him in one voice:
‘May Allah cause you to grieve just as you grieved us!’ (Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 90).
So, Brother, you are very important, very significant, and you are between two of your facets in all your conditions and circumstances: You may either seek Allah or turn away from Him3. If you turn to Him, He will turn to you, too. And if you turn away from Him, He, too, will turn away from you. As a result, everything else will turn away from you as well. You are helplessly positioned between this and that.
O One Who turns to those who turn to Him, granting them His kindness out of His favor! We plead to You to grant us success to acquire what obligates Your continuous turning to us! Do cultivate our conduct, O most Merciful One of all those who are merciful! And Allah surely blesses Muhammad (‘s), the best of His creation, and blesses his righteous and purified Progeny (‘a).
- 1. This statement, despite its brevity, reveals the secret of the truth about the impact of some righteous servants of Allah on certain matters and with the permission of Allah Almighty. This cannot be denied due to its quite frequent occurrence and to the transmitted incidents in the past and in the present in its regard. If a servant of Allah is loved by his Master, all the affairs of such a servant will be dear to Him, including his wishes and pleas. Allah Almighty, because of the intensity of His love for him, makes His Divine will in agreement with the will of such a servant of His which necessitates a positive response, barring obstacles. It is from here that Allah Almighty has permitted the bringing of the dead to life, a most unusual thing, attributed to Christ with His own permission. This is the equation which removes the amazement about super-natural events in all accurately reported incidents.
- 2. This, indeed, is a frightening fact and is not the childbirth of one’s imagination. Everything in existence, with the exception of mankind, is by nature subservient to Allah. It is well known that one who becomes the exception from the movement of obedience is an enemy of the Lord of the Worlds Whose army is made up of the hosts of the heavens and of the earth. Are not the hosts there to do anything but follow the orders of their Commander?! Thereupon, if the disobedient ones remain in safety and security, it is so due to the interference of the Compassionate Lord Who stops His hosts from seeking revenge against His foes. The fire of Hell and how it encircles the unbelievers is nothing but a manifestation of the Lord’s hosts, for He has permitted this fire to seek revenge, hence it inquires: ‘Are there any more (to torment)?’
- 3. This meaning is one of those, if absorbed by a servant as it should be, which can cause a radical change in one’s life. The soul may entice one to procrastinate because the Divine torment in the Hereafter is put off, but how can one ignore it when the Almighty turns away from him at the time when he commits an act of disobedience? Our Imam, al-Sajjsd (‘a), said the following to his wife when her son fell into a well while the Imam (‘a) was absorbed in his prayers, ‘If I turn away from Him, He will turn away from me; so, who do you think has more mercy on His slave than Him?.’ (Dal’ail al-Imamah, p. 198).
This is an obvious fact for particular people, that is, a servant suffers a pain greater than anything physical when his Lord turns away from him.