The Gospel of the Shi'ah of 'Ali ('a)
There is a peculiarly close relation between Prophet Jesus ('a) and Imam 'Ali ('a). Prophet Muhammad (S) himself is reported to have pointed this out:
It is reported that Imam 'Ali ('a) said, “The Messenger of Allah called me and said, 'O 'Ali! Verily, there is a similarity between you and Jesus the son of Mary ('a). The Christians love him so much that they put him in a position that was not for him; and the Jews hate him so much that they even slandered his mother.' And 'Ali ('a) said, 'Two [groups of] men will be ruined because of me, he who goes to extremes in love of me for what I do not have and he who hates me with a hatred that makes him slander me.”1
In addition, Imam 'Ali ('a), like Prophet Muhammad (S), is reported to have referred to Jesus ('a) as “My brother Jesus”2. Both Jesus ('a) and Imam 'Ali ('a) are the charismatic standard bearers for the esoteric dimension of religion; both were rejected by those who interpreted religion in a narrowly legalistic fashion and both were deified by extremists among their ‘would be’ supporters.
Those who would restrict religion to its outward expressions open the way to the exploitation of religion for worldly gain, because it is the spiritual dimension of religion that supports the kind of heartfelt dedication needed for the nourishment of moral fiber. This is a theme that figures prominently in the Christian gospels, particularly in the Messiah's condemnation of the scholars of Jewish law, the Pharisees and it recurs in the conflict between Imam 'Ali ('a) and his opponents.
Both Jesus ('a) and Imam 'Ali ('a) enjoin the proper observance of religious law while they reject empty literalism and the immorality it fosters. The condemnation of the misuse of religious knowledge for worldly gain is condemned by Imam 'Ali ('a) when he mentions how it was condemned by Jesus ('a):
It is reported that the Commander of the Faithful ('a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary ('a) said, 'The dinar is the illness of religion and the scholar (al-'alim) is the physician of religion. So if you see that the physician brings illness upon himself, distrust him and know that he is not to advise others.”3
Another prominent feature of the esoteric dimension of religion is the emphasis on supererogatory devotions. The importance of spiritual discipline is emphasized by Imam 'Ali ('a) when he describes the austerities of Jesus ('a):
It is reported that Imam 'Ali ('a) said in one of his sermons: “If you like, I will tell you about Jesus the son of Mary ('a). He used a stone as his pillow, wore coarse clothing and ate rough food. His stew was hunger and his lamp in the night was the moon. His shade in the winter was the east of the earth and its west. His fruit and his basil were what grow from the earth for the cattle. He had no wife to try him, and no son to grieve him. He had no wealth to distract him, nor greed to abase him. He had no mount to ride but his feet and none were his servants but his own two hands.”4
On the other hand, neither Jesus ('a) nor Imam 'Ali ('a) advocated dower asceticism, as is indicated in the following narration:
Imam 'Ali ('a) said, “John the son of Zachariah ('a) cried and did not laugh and Jesus the son of Mary ('a) laughed and cried; and what Jesus did was more excellent than what John did.”5
All of this is an indication of how narrations in Shi'i collections pertaining to the divine message given to Jesus ('a), the Injil (Gospel), will also help us to understand Imam 'Ali ('a) and the special divine friendship, wilayah, bestowed upon him and Jesus ('a). What follows is the English translation of a selection of such narrations, beginning with a couple of reports attributed to Imam 'Ali ('a).
It is reported that Imam 'Ali ('a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary ('a) said, 'Blessed is he whose silence is contemplation (fikr), the sight of whom is an admonition, whose house suffices him, who cries over his mistakes and from whose hand and tongue people are safe.”6
Sayings of the form, “Blessed is (are)...”, said to have been spoken by Jesus ('a) are called beatitudes and they form an important part of the Sermon on the Mount. More narrations from the Household of the Prophet (S) pertaining to this event will be found below, but note that in the following report it is Imam 'Ali ('a) who teaches the importance of true spiritual devotion in the form of beatitude.
It is reported that Nuf al-Bukali said, “I spent a night with the Commander of the Faithful, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib ('a) and I saw that he often left his room to go outside and look at the sky. Once when he came back in, as usual, he said to me, 'Are you asleep or awake?' I said, 'I am indeed awake, O Commander of the Faithful! From the beginning of the night I have been watching you to see what you are doing.'
He said, 'O Nuf, blessed are the ascetics in this world those who yearn for the other world, the people who spread Allah's earth beneath them [to sleep on], who lean against its dust, whose motto is his book, whose maxim is supplicating to him, whose perfume is water, and who take the world on loan in the way of Christ. Verily, Allah, the exalted, revealed to Jesus, “O Jesus! Keep to the first way, keep to the manner of the messengers, say to your people, O brother of the warner’s, 'Do not enter any of my houses except with pure hearts, clean hands and lowered eyes. I will not hear the prayer of any who supplicate to me if any of my servants is oppressed by him and I will not answer the prayer of any who has not fulfilled any of my rights over him.”7
The exalted rank of Jesus ('a) is indicated in the following reports from the words of Imam 'Ali ('a):
Al-Shami asked the Commander of the Faithful ('a) “Which of the Prophets were created by Allah circumcised?” He said, “Allah created Adam ('a) circumcised, Seth ('a) was born circumcised and Enoch, Noah, Shem the son of Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, Lot, Ishmael, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, may the blessings of Allah be with all of them.”8
Among the questions of al-Shami is that he asked the Commander of the Faithful ('a) about the six Prophets who had special names. He said, “Yushi' ibn Nun was Dhu al-Kifl, Ya'qub ibn Ishaq was Isra'il, Khizr was Hilqiya, Yunus was Dhu al-Non, Jesus was the Messiah and Muhammad was Ahmad, may the blessings of Allah be with all of them.”9
Al-Shami asked the Commander of the Faithful ('a) about the six creatures that were never in a womb. He said, “Adam and Eve, the ram of Abraham, the snake of Moses, the she-camel of Salih and the bat that Jesus the son of Mary made and then it flew by the permission of Allah.”10
Imam 'Ali ('a) is reported to narrate an ayah of the divine revelation given to Jesus ('a) in the following:
“...O Allah! Verily I beseech you by the ayah by whom you commanded your servant Jesus the son of Mary ('a) to call you, then you answered him, and he revived the dead, cured the blind and the leper with your permission and by your revelation he told of mysteries with your grace, kindness and mercy. Praise be to you, Lord of the heavens and the earth, Lord of the worlds. His is the dominion in the heavens and the earth. He is the Magnificent, the Wise. Come between us and our enemies and help us against them, O our Master and Lord.”11
Further information about the divine revelation given to Jesus is reported in Kulayni's al-Kafi12, where it is written that 'Ali ibn Asbat narrated the following from the household of the Prophet, peace be with them, from among the admonitions of Allah, the exalted and sublime, given to Jesus (a):
O Jesus! I am your Lord and the Lord of your father. My name is one and I am the one, the Unique in having created everything. All things have been made by me and all return to me.
O Jesus! You are the Messiah by my command and you create from clay what has a shape like a bird by my permission; you revive the dead by my word, so be one who beseeches me and one who fears me, and apart from me seek no sanctuary except toward me.
O Jesus! I charged you in tenderness to you through mercy until you became worthy of my friendship (walayah) because you sought my pleasure and so you were blessed when old and you were blessed when young wherever you were. I bear witness that you are my servant and son of my handmaid. Let me into your soul as your foremost regard and make the remembrance of me the means to your return, and draw near to me through the supererogatory deeds. Trust in me that I may suffice for you and do not trust in any other than me so that I abandon you.
O Jesus! Be patient with affliction and be content with destiny, and be as one with whom I have been pleased in the way I am pleased with you because what pleases me is obedience without sin.
O Jesus! Enliven the remembrance of me by your tongue and let there be love for me in your heart.
O Jesus! Wake up at the hours of neglecting and give your decisions for my sake with subtle wisdom.
O Jesus! Be one who beseeches and fears me, and let your heart die in awe of me.
O Jesus! Be vigilant through the night seeking my pleasure and thirst through your day, for the day when you are in need of me.
O Jesus! Compete with others by doing good as hard as you can so that you will be well known for good wherever you go.
O Jesus! Judge among my servants though my counsel and establish my justice for I have brought down to you a cure for breasts against satanic disease.
O Jesus! Do not associate with anyone infatuated [with the world].
O Jesus! Indeed I say that no creature believed in me without becoming humble to me nor became humble to me without seeking my requital; so bear witness that such a one is secure from my punishment unless he changes or alters my norm (sunnah).
O Jesus, son of the virgin lady! Weep for yourself with the weeping of one who bade goodbye to his home, deserted this world and left it to the worldly, so that he became one beseeching what is with his God.
O Jesus! In addition to this, be someone who speaks mildly, who offers salaams vigorously and who keeps awake while the eyes of the pious sleep in order to beware of the day of the return; severe earthquakes and the terrors of the resurrection day when neither household nor wealth nor offspring shall profit one.
O Jesus! Adorn your eyes with a touch of sadness when the vain (i.e., foolish) laugh.
O Jesus! Be one of those who humble themselves and are patient, for if you attain that of which the patient have been promised, you are most fortunate.
O Jesus! Day by day abandon this world and taste that which has lost its taste, for truly I tell you, you live to an appointed hour and an appointed day so pass through this world by what is sufficient for your survival and be content with coarse food and rough dress after you have seen what your destiny is to be; what you have spent and wasted is recorded.
O Jesus! You are responsible, so be merciful toward the weak just as I am merciful toward you and do not be cruel to the orphan.
O Jesus! Weep over yourself in seclusion; let your feet regularly make for the places where prayers are performed and let me hear the sweetest melody of the words you say in remembrance of me. Verily, what I have done for you is good.
O Jesus! How many nations I have caused to perish for the sins they had committed and from which I have preserved you.
O Jesus! Minister to the weak and turn your weary eyes toward the sky and ask your needs from me, for I am near to you, and do not call upon me except as one who pleads with me and whose concern is a single concern. Then, when you call on me in this way I will answer you.
O Jesus! I am not content that the world should be the reward of those who were near you nor as a chastisement for those you would punish.
O Jesus! You perish and I remain and your provision is from me. The term appointed for you is with me and to me is your return, and with me is your reckoning. So ask from me and do not ask from any other, so that your supplication may be suitable and I will answer it.
O Jesus! How numerous are the people and how few are the number of the patient. The trees are numerous but those that are good among them are few. Do not be deceived by the beauty of a tree until you taste its fruit.
O Jesus! Do not be deceived by he who rebels against me by sin. He eats what I have provided for him but he serves another. Then he calls on me in his sorrow and I answer him. Then he returns to what he had been doing. Does he rebel against me or does he seek my wrath? By me, I have sworn I will take him with a taking from which he cannot be delivered and other than me he can find no shelter. Where will he escape from my heaven and earth?
O Jesus! Say to the unjust from the children of Israel, do not call upon me while you are involved in unlawful dealings and there are idols in your houses, for I have resolved that I will respond to them who call upon me and my response to their calls will be curses upon them lasting until they disperse.
O Jesus! How long must I wait and hope for good from people while they are heedless and reluctant to return? The words which emitted from their mouths do not correspond to what is in their hearts; they subject themselves to my loathing while seeking the love of the believers by [feigning] drawing near to me.
O Jesus! Let your tongue say the same in secret and in the open, and let your heart and your vision be in accord with that. Turn your heart and your tongue entirely away from the forbidden and withhold your eyes from anything in which there is no good. How many a beholder there has been whose look planted in their hearts a lust and threw them into the pit of destruction.
O Jesus! Be merciful with great mercy and behave in such a way that you wish others to treat you, and increase your remembrance of death, departing from your household. Avoid wasting your time, for wasting time corrupts one and do not be heedless, for he who is heedless of me is far away from me. Remember me by doing righteous acts so that I will remember you.
O Jesus! Turn toward me after sinning and remind those who are penitent of me. Believe in me and seek nearness to the believers by me, and bid them to call upon me with you. Beware of the call of the wronged one, for I have resolved to open a gate in the heavens to accept it and to answer him, even if later.
O Jesus! Know that evil ones infect others and the companions of evil cause others to perish, know those to whom you are near and choose for yourselves brothers from the believers.
O Jesus! Turn toward me, for no sin is too great for me to forgive and I am the most merciful of the merciful. Work for yourself in the period before your death before your heirs may fail to do it for you and worship me for a day that is equal to a thousand years of what you reckon in which I repay for the good many times over, and evil deeds will corrupt one who performs them, so prepare the way for yourself throughout the period appointed for you.
Compete with others to do whatever is righteous, for how many an assembly there have been from which people rose and were then granted sanctuary from the fire.
O Jesus! Restrain yourself from being involved in this mortal life that comes to an end and follow in the footsteps of those who have lived before you. Call them and speak to them in confidence. Do you feel their presence? Take your advice from them and know that soon you will join them.
O Jesus! Tell him who rebels against me by offense and who would compromise [his religion], that he should await my punishment and expect my destruction of him; soon he will be cut off with the destroyed ones. O son of Mary! Blessed are you, that you take your manners from your God, who shows tenderness toward you mercifully, who first bestowed blessings from him generously, and he aids you in difficulties. Do not offend, O Jesus! For offenses are not lawful for you. I have made a covenant with you as I made a covenant with those who were before you and I am a witness of that.
O Jesus! I have honored no creature as I have my religion and I have not blessed [any creature] with the like of my mercy [for my religion].
O Jesus! Cleanse with water of what is exterior to you and cure by good deeds what is interior to you, for surely you are returning to me.
O Jesus! That with which I have blessed you is by grace without pollution, but when I sought from you the loan of your soul, you were stingy, so you will be of those who are destroyed.
O Jesus! Adorn yourself with religion and love of the needy, and walk through the earth modestly. Perform the prayers at any place, for all of them are [ritually] clean.
O Jesus! Be prepared, for whatever is coming is near, and recite my book while you are [ritually] clean and make me hear from you a sad voice.
O Jesus! There is no good in pleasure that does not continue and in a life, for the one who lives it, that fades away.
O son of Mary! If only your eyes could see that which is furnished as a reward for my righteous friends, your heart would melt and your soul would depart longing for it, for there is no abode like that of the other world; where the good live as neighbors and the cherubim enter it among them, and they are safe from the fear of the day of resurrection. It is an abode in which blessings do not change and they are not lost.
O son of Mary! Vie with others for [that abode], for it is the hope of the hopeful, being such a good sight. Blessed are you, O son of Mary, if you work for it and you are with your fathers, Adam and Abraham in the Garden and bliss, you seek no alternative to it and no change in it. I do this for the God-way.
O Jesus! Flee toward me with those who flee from a fair having a dreadful blaze and a fire having chains and shackles into which no gentle wind enters and from which no gloom ever goes, with sectors like those of the dark night and he who is delivered from it will have attained a great achievement; those who perish will never be delivered from it. It is the abode of tyrants, the wrongdoing oppressors, all who are rudely obstinate and all who are proud boasters.
O Jesus! It is an evil abode for those who rely on it and an evil place to stay, the abode of the oppressors. I warn you of yourself, so be aware of me.
O Jesus! Wherever you are, be observant of me, and bear witness that it is I who created you, that you are my servant and that I formed you and conveyed you to the earth.
O Jesus! It is not proper for there to be two tongues in one mouth nor two hearts in one breast, and likewise for minds.
O Jesus! Do not be awake while sinning; do not be aware while wasting time. Wean yourself from destructive lusts and put away every lust that puts you far from me. Know that to me you are a trusted apostle, so be careful of me. Know that your world will give you back to me, and I will take you knowledgably, so abase yourself when you remember me. Humble your heart when you remember me. Be awake beside the sleep of the negligent.
O Jesus! This is my advice to you and my admonition to you, so take it from me and I am the Lord of the worlds.
O Jesus! When my servant is patient for my sake, the reward for his work is from me, and I am beside him when he calls on me, and I am sufficient in avenging those who disobey me. Where will the oppressors go to escape from me?
O Jesus! Make your speech wholesome, and wherever you are, be both learned and a learner.
O Jesus! Send good deeds to me, so that they will be remembered by me for you, and grasp my advice. Verily, in it there is a cure for hearts.
O Jesus! Do not feel safe when you devise your plans from my plans and do not forget, when alone in the world, the remembrance of me.
O Jesus! By returning to me, take account of yourself, so the reward may be deserved of those who work. They are given their compensation and I am the best of the givers.
O Jesus! You were created by my word, Mary gave birth to you at my command that I sent to her by my spirit, the trusted Gabriel of my angels, until you grew up as one alive and walking and all of this was in my foreknowledge.
O Jesus! Zachariah is in the position of a father to you and as a guardian to your mother. When he went to her in the prayer niche then he found with her provisions. John is like you among my creatures. I granted him to his mother when she was old when she did not have the strength for it. By this, I wanted my sovereignty to appear to her, and my power to appear in you. The most beloved of you by me is the most obedient to me and the most intense of you in fear of me.
O Jesus! Wake up and do not despair of my mercy and glorify me with those who glorify me and with wholesome speech hallow me.
O Jesus! How can the servants disbelieve in me when their forelocks are in my fist and their changes take place on my earth? They are ignorant of my blessings and they are supporters of my enemy and so the disbelievers are perishing.
O Jesus! Indeed, this world is a foul prison and the fair seeming in it is, as you see, that over which the tyrants slaughter one another. Beware, the world and all of its blessings will come to an end and it has but few blessings.
O Jesus! Seek me when you go to bed and you will find me; call upon me while you love me and I am the most hearing of the hearers; I answer the callers when they call upon me.
O Jesus! Fear me and make my servants fear me. Happily the sinners may abstain from what they do because of it, so they do not perish unless they knowingly [do it].
O Jesus! Be afraid of me as you fear predators and death you will meet. I have created all of them, so of me alone be afraid.
O Jesus! Verily, mine is the kingdom and it is in my hand, and I am the King. If you obey me, I will make you enter my Garden in the neighborhood of the righteous.
O Jesus! If I am angry with you, the pleasure of those who are pleased with you will not benefit you and if I am pleased with you, the anger of those who are angry with you will not harm you.
O Jesus! Remember me to yourself, and I will remember you to myself. Remember me among your people, and I will remember you among a people better than the children of Adam.
O Jesus! Call upon me with the call of one who is drowning, afflicted, for whom there is none to aid.
O Jesus! Do not swear by me falsely, so that my throne shakes with anger. The world is short lived, but is long on hope and with me is a realm better than what you gather.
O Jesus! What will you do when I take out for you a book that speaks in truth, while you witness it, of the secrets you have hidden and the deeds you have done?
O Jesus! Say to the unjust of the children of Israel: You wash your faces and soil your hearts. Are you deceived about me or would you be audacious toward me. For the worldly you use perfumes, but to me your stomachs are like a putrid corpse as though you were a dead people.
O Jesus! Say to them: Draw back your hands13 from illicit gain, and stop your ears from listening to curses, and come near to me by your hearts for your appearance does not appeal to me.
O Jesus! Rejoice in the good deed, for it pleases Me, and weep over the evil deed, for it is a disgrace, and that which you do not like to be done unto you, do not do unto others, and if one slaps your right cheek, offer him the left one, and draw near to Me by your efforts through love, and ignore the ignorant.
O Jesus! Be humble toward the doers of good deeds and take part with them in such deeds, and be witnesses to them, and say to the unjust of the Children of Israel: O friends of evil, and those who keep company with it! If you do not comply with the prohibitions, I will transform you into apes and swine.
O Jesus! Say to the unjust of the Children of Israel that wisdom weeps in fear of me, while you [Children of Israel] leave laughing. Has there come to you a reprieve, or is there with you a guarantee against my chastisement or that you will not be subject to my punishment? I swear by myself, that I will abandon you as an example for those who remain.
Thus I charge you, O son of Mary, that you bring news to the Children of Israel of the Master of the messengers and my beloved, who is Ahmad, having a red camel and a face like the moon, who is a shining light, a pure heart, courageous, venerably modest.
Verily, he is a mercy to the worlds and master of the children of Adam on the day of his meeting me, the most honored of the foremost and the last of the messengers from me, an Arab, a trustworthy person, one committed to my religion, one patient for my sake and one who struggles by his hand against the idolaters for the defense of my religion. Order them to affirm him, believe in him, follow him and help him.
Jesus ('a) said: Who is it that I should please? Then, pleasure is for you. He said: He is Muhammad the Messenger of Allah (S) to the people, all of them. In station, he is nearer to me than they; in intercession, he is more ready than they; blessed be he as Prophet, and blessed be his community (ummah) if they meet me on his path.
The inhabitants of the earth praise him, and the inhabitants of the heavens ask for his forgiveness. He is the trustworthy, the blessed, the wholesome and salutary, better than others with me. He will be at the end of time. When he arrives, the spouts of the heavens are loosed, and the earth puts forth its blossoms, so that they see the benediction. I will bless them by that upon which he puts his hand. He has many wives and few children. He is an inhabitant of Bakkah [Mecca] the place of the foundations of Abraham.
O Jesus! His religion is upright (hanafiyyah), and his qiblah is Yemenite, and he is of My party, and I am with him, so blessed be he, then blessed be him. The Kawthar is for him, and the greatest position in the gardens of Eden. He lives most honored of all who have ever lived, taken as a martyr, for whom is a fountain greater than the distance from Bakkah to the place of the rising of the sun, full of wine untouched, in which there are dishes like the constellations of the sky, and stars like the clods of the earth, agreeable, in which is every sort of wine and the flavors of every fruit in the Garden.
Whoever drinks a drink from it will never thirst. It is apportioned for him and I have preferred him by a period of time between you and him. His secrets agree with what is apparent from him, and his words with his actions. He does not command the people, unless he first begins to practice it. His religion is a struggle in hardship and in comfort. The cities will obey him, and the ruler of Rome will humble himself before him following the religion of Abraham. He will mention the Name of God at meals, and bid peace, and he will pray while the people sleep.
For him each day there will be five prayers in succession. His call to prayer will be like the call to muster troops. He will open his prayer with 'Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest)' and end it with salutations of peace. He will put his feet in line in prayer as the angel’s place their feet in line, and his heart and head will be humbled for me. Light Is In his breast and truth is on his tongue. He is in the right, wherever he is.
First an orphan, wandering for a time regarding what he wills for him, his eyes sleep but his heart does not, interceding is only for him, and his community will reach the [Final] hour, and my hand will be above their hands, whoever breaks [his pledge with the Prophet (S)], breaks [it] against himself, and whoever is loyal to his pledge, I will be loyal to him [awarding to him] the Garden. So command the oppressors of the Children of Israel not to obliterate his books and not to distort his tradition and to offer peace to him. Surely, there is a noble station for him.
O Jesus! Whatever brings you near to me, I have guided you to it, and all that takes you far from me, and I have prohibited it for you. So, seek what is for your own sake.
O Jesus! Surely this world is sweet, and surely I have employed you in it, so keep aside from you all from which I have warned you, and take from it all that I have given to you in forgiveness.
O Jesus! Look into your deeds with the look of a mistaken sinful servant, and do not look into the works of others from the position of Lord. Be without attachment to [this world], and do not long for it so that it causes you hardship.
O Jesus! Reason about and contemplate and look into the regions of the earth as to what has been the outcome of the oppressors.
O Jesus! All of My attributes are counsel for you and all of my speech to you is the Truth; I am the plain Truth. So, in truth I say: If you disobey me after I informed you, there is no protector nor helper for you but me.
O Jesus! Humble your heart in meekness and look at those who are lower than you and do not look at those who are above you. Know that at the head of every mistake and sin is the love of this world. So, do not love it, for I do not love it either.
O Jesus! Make wholesome your heart for me and remember me much in solitude, and know that my pleasure is in your fawning, love me, in an animated and not in a lifeless manner.
O Jesus! Do not make anything my partner, and be wary on account of me, and do not be deceived by health, so delight in you. Surely, this world is like a passing shadow, and what comes from it is like what goes from it. So compete in your struggle for righteousness, and be with truth wherever it is, even if you will be cut or burned by fire. So, do not deny me after knowledge. So, do not be of the ignorant. A thing is surely with things [of its own sort].
O Jesus! Pour forth tears from your eyes for me and humble your heart for me.
O Jesus! Call on me for help in hard conditions. I am He who helps those who are upset and who answers the destitute. I am the most merciful of the merciful.
Further reports about the divine revelation given to Jesus ('a) are as follows:
The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “Allah, the Exalted, may His greatness be glorified, revealed to Jesus ('a): 'Make a serious effort regarding my affairs, and do not give up. I made you without a male as a sign for the worlds. Tell the people to believe in me and in My Apostle, the unschooled, whose ancestors are of Mubarakah, and she is with your mother in heaven. Tuba is for he who hears his word and is contemporary with him.' Jesus said, 'O my Lord! What is Tuba? He said, 'It is a tree in heaven under which is a fountain from which those who drink will never again thirst.' Jesus said, 'Quench me with a drink of it.' He said, 'No, Jesus. It is forbidden to the Prophets until that Prophet drinks from it. And that heaven is forbidden to all communities until the community of that Prophet enters it.”14
The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “...O Abu Dhar! Verily, Allah, the Exalted, revealed to my brother, Jesus, 'O Jesus! Do not love this world, for I do not love it. Love the other world, for it alone is the realm of the return.’”15
Verily Jesus ('a) passed by a grave, and he saw the angels of punishment chastise a dead person.
When Jesus ('a) had finished his business and passed by the grave [again] he saw the angels of mercy. Levels of light were with them. He was surprised at that, and called upon Allah about this. Allah revealed to him, “O Jesus! This servant was a sinner, and left his wife when she was pregnant. Then she bore and raised his child. When the child got older, she gave him to the charge of the scribes. They instructed him to say, 'In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate,' so I was ashamed to chastise my servant with my fire in the bowels of the earth while his child was remembering my name on the surface of the earth.”16
With regard to the ministry and teachings of Jesus ('a) the narrations from the household of the Prophet (S) are also copious. As in the Christian gospels, the Shi'i narrations make frequent mention of miraculous cures at the hands of Jesus ('a), such as the following:
It is reported that Jesus ('a) passed by a man who was blind, a leper, paralytic, both of whose sides were paralyzed and whose flesh had fallen off from leprosy, he was saying,
“Praise be to Allah Who has preserved me from that with which He has tried many of his creatures.” Jesus ('a) said to him, “O you! From what calamity have you been preserved?” He said, “O Spirit of Allah! I am better than one who has not been given what Allah has placed in my heart of his knowledge.” Jesus ('a) said to him, “You speak truly. Reach out your hand.” Then, when he took his hand, he came to have the most beautiful face of any of the people, and his form became better than the others. Allah took away all that had been [wrong] with him. Then he became the companion of Jesus ('a) and he worshipped with him.17
There are also frequent references in the Shi'i narrations to the moral teachings of Jesus ('a), among which the following is a poignant rejection of racial and national bias:
A man asked Jesus the son of Mary ('a), “Which people is the best?” He [Jesus ('a)] took two handfuls of earth and said, “Which of these is the best? The people are created from earth, so the most honorable of them is the most God-wary.”18
The miracle of the loaves and fishes that is reported in the Christian gospels is also reported in Shi'i traditions to have been mentioned by the Prophet (S):
The Prophet (S) said, “Verily, Allah sent down a spread to Jesus ('a) and blessed him with a flat loaf of bread and fishes, so four thousand seven hundred people ate of it and were sated.”19
The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “O servants of Allah! Verily, when the people of Jesus asked him to have Allah bring down a spread from heaven, Allah said, 'I will send it down to you, then whoever of you disbelieves after that, I will punish as I will not punish any other being.' Then He sent it down to them, and all of them who disbelieved after that, Allah transformed into a pig, monkey, bear, cat, or in the form of some birds, animals of the land or sea. So, they were transformed into four hundred forms.”20
Here is a rather extended report given in the book Tuhaf al-Uqul, although without any proper isnad (chain of narrators), that includes a large number of beatitudes:
Advice of the Messiah, peace be with him, in the gospel and other places:
Blessed are those who love and respect one another, for they shall receive mercy on the resurrection day.
Blessed are the peacemakers among the people, for they will be brought nigh unto him on the resurrection day.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall meet Allah on the resurrection day.
Blessed are those who humble themselves in this world, for they shall inherit the thrones of sovereignty (manabir al-mulk).
Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be glad.
Blessed are they who bear hunger and thirst submissively, for their thirst will be quenched.
Blessed are they who do righteous deeds, for they shall be called the chosen of Allah.
Blessed are they who are abused for their purity, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you are envied and abused, and every evil and false word is told about you, then be glad and happy, for verily, your wage is plentiful in heaven.
And he [Jesus] said:
O bad servants! You blame the people on the basis of suspicion and you do not blame yourself for what is certain!
O servants of the world! You love it when things are said about you which are not true of you and when people point you out.
O servants of the world! You shave your heads and shorten your shirts and cast your heads down [to feign humility], but you do not pull out the hatred from your hearts.
O servants of the world! Your likeness is like that of the high tombs, their exteriors cause admiration in those who look at them, and their interiors are the bones of the dead, full of misdeeds.
O servants of the world! Your likeness is only like that of a lamp which shines for the people and burns itself.
O children of Israel! Fill the sessions of the scholars even if you must go on your knees, Allah will enliven the dead hearts by the light of wisdom, as he enlivens the dead earth by the heavy downpour of rain.
O children of Israel! Shortness of speech is a great wisdom, so you should be silent; verily it is a good meekness and a decrease of your burden and a lightening of your sins. So strengthen the door of knowledge. Verily, its door is patience. Allah hates one who laughs too much at that which is not funny and who frequently goes to bad deeds. He loves the governor who is like a shepherd who does not neglect his flocks. So beware of Allah in secret as you are aware of the people in public. And know the word of wisdom is that sought by the believer. So, go after it before it rises away, and its rising away is the passing away of its narrators.
O you who have knowledge! Pay homage to those of knowledge for their knowledge and leave contention with them, and belittle the ignorant for their ignorance but do not reject them, rather bring them near and teach them.
O you who have knowledge! Know that every blessing for which you fail to give thanks is like an evil deed for which you will be taken to task.
O you who have knowledge! There are worries about which you do not know when they will come over you, so prepare yourselves before they suddenly arrive.
Jesus ('a) said to his companions:
Tell me, if one passed by his brother and saw that his private parts were exposed from his clothing, would he further expose them or would he cover them again? They said: Yes, he would cover what had been exposed. He said: Not at all, you would remove the covering. Then they understood that it was an allegory he has given for them. They said: O Spirit of Allah! How is that? There is a man among you who has come to know of a private matter of his brother, but has not covered it.
In truth I say to you: I teach you that you may learn, and I do not teach you that you may be vain. You will never reach what you want unless you abandon that which you desire. And you will not win what you wish unless by patience with that which you dislike.
Beware of looking! It sows desire in the heart, and suffices as a temptation. Blessed are those whose vision has been placed in their hearts and whose hearts have not been placed in the vision of their eyes. Do not look at the faults of the people as if you were their lord but look at their faults as if you were their servant. There are two kinds of men among people: the afflicted and the healthy. So, care for the afflicted, and praise Allah for health.
O children of Israel! Are you not ashamed before Allah? Not one of you would drink something until you made it free of any speck of dirt, but you are not disturbed at the acquisition of something prohibited though it be the size of an elephant. Have you not heard what has been said to you in the Torah? “Visit your relations and recompense them.” And I say to you: “Visit those who have cut themselves off from you, and give to those who would not help you, and do good to those who have done evil to you, and offer greetings of peace to those who curse you. And be fair with those who have shown enmity to you.
Forgive those who have oppressed you, as you like to be forgiven for your misdeeds. So, take admonition from Allah's forgiveness of you. Do you not see that his sun shines on the good and the bad among you and His rain falls on the righteous and the evil doer among you. If you do not like any but those who like you and you do good to none but those who do good to you and you recompense none but those who give to you, then what distinction do you have over others?
Verily, this is what fools do, with whom there is no virtue and no intelligence. However, if you want to be loved by Allah, and chosen by Allah, then do good to those who do evil to you, forgive those who have oppressed you, and greet with peace those who have turned away from you. Listen to what I say, keep my testament and observe my covenant so that you may be learned and have understanding.
In truth I say to you verily your hearts are where your treasures are, because of this the people love their wealth, and they themselves long for it-so put your treasures in the sky, where moths will not eat it and thieves will not obtain it.
In truth I say to you, verily a servant is incapable of serving two lords. Inevitably he will prefer one of them to the other, no matter how he tries. Likewise, you cannot join together love for Allah and love for the world.
In truth I say to you, verily the worst of people is the man who is a scholar and prefers the world to his knowledge, then he loves it, pursues it and strives for it, to such an extent that, if he were able to put the people into a state of confusion, he would do it. What does the expanse of the light of the sun profit a blind man who does not see it? Likewise, the knowledge of that scholar is of no profit to him, for he does not put it into practice.
How plentiful is the fruit of the tree, but not all of it is of benefit or eaten. And how plentiful are the scholars, but not all of them benefit from their knowledge. And how wide is the earth, but not all of it is inhabited. And how many speakers there are, but not all of what they say is acceptable as true. So, keep away from lying scholars, who wear woolen clothes, who bend their heads down toward the earth and so belie their sins, they look from under their eyebrows, like wolves. Their speech is contrary to their deeds. Is the grape reaped from the thorn, or the fig from the bitter gourd? Likewise the speech of a lying scholar has no effect but vanity. Not all who speak are true.
In truth I say to you, the plant grows in soft ground, not in rock, and likewise wisdom thrives in the heart of the humble, and it does not thrive in the heart of the arrogant oppressor. Did you not know that whoever raises his head to the ceiling breaks it, and whoever lowers his head beneath the ceiling is shaded by it and it protects him, and likewise, whoever does not humble himself to Allah, He debases him, and whoever humbles himself to Allah, He elevates him.
Indeed, it is not always the case that honey will be safe in any pouch (of hide), and likewise the hearts are not always such that wisdom thrives in them. While the skin is not torn, dried out nor has become malodorous, it may be a vessel for honey, and likewise the hearts, while they are not torn by desires, fooled by greed nor hardened by pleasures, they may be vessels for wisdom.
In truth I say to you, surely fire does not occur in a single house, but it spreads from house to house, until many houses are burnt, unless the first house is reached and it is destroyed to its pillars. Then the fire finds no place to burn. Likewise the first oppressor, if his hand is stopped, no one will be found after him to be an unjust leader for others to follow, just as if the fire finds no wood or boards in the first house, it will not bum anything.
In truth I say to you, whoever looks at a snake that intends to strike his brother and does not warn him until it kills him, he will not be secure from partnership in his murder. Likewise, whoever looks at his brother doing something wrong, and does not warn him of its consequences until it encompasses him, he will not be secure from partnership in his sin. Whoever has the power to change an oppressor but does not change him, he is like an agent [of oppression].
How can the oppressor be frightened when he is safe among you and he is neither prohibited, nor changed, nor are his hands restrained? Why should the oppressors then give up? How should they not become arrogant? It is enough that one of you says, 'I shall not oppress, but whoever wants to oppress, go ahead,' and he sees oppression but does not change it. If it were as you say, why are you punished with the oppressors, though you do not commit their deeds, when the chastisement descends upon them in this world?
Woe unto you, O servants of evil! How can you hope that Allah may secure you from the terror of the day of resurrection, when you are afraid to obey Allah because you fear people, and you obey them in disobedience to him, and you keep your promises to them contrary to his covenant?
In truth I say to you: Allah will not make secure from the terror of that day those who take servants as lords aside from Him.
Woe unto you, O servants of evil! For the sake of this base world and ruinous lusts you give up the realm of heaven and you forget the horror of the day of resurrection.
Woe unto you, O servants of this world! For the sake of evanescent boons and life that will be cut off, you run away from Allah, and you dislike the encounter with Him. So how is Allah to love the encounter with you while you dislike the encounter with him? Allah only loves the encounter with those who love the encounter with him, and he dislikes the encounter of those who dislike the encounter with him.
How can you imagine that you are the friends of Allah to the exclusion of other people, while you run away from death and you take refuge in this world. Of what benefit to the dead are the good scent of camphor and the whiteness of his shroud, and all of them are in the earth. Likewise, the joy of this world that is adored for you is of no benefit to you, and all of that is to pass away and cease. Of what benefit to you is the purity of your bodies and the cleanliness of your complexions when you are headed for death, and in the dust you will be forgotten, and you will be immersed in the darkness of the grave.
Woe unto you, servants of this world, you carry a lamp in the light of the sun while its light is enough for you. You have given up seeking illumination by it in the darkness and it is for the sake of this that it has been made subservient to you. Likewise you seek illumination by the light of knowledge for the affairs of the world, while these have been guaranteed for you, and you have abandoned seeking illumination for the affairs of the other world, while it has been given to you for this.
You say that the other world is real, while you prepare this world [for yourselves]. You say that death is real, but you run away from it. You say that Allah hears and sees, but you do not fear His reckoning of you. How can one who hears you trust you. One who unknowingly lies is more excused than one who knowingly lies, while lying is not excused at all.
In truth I say unto you, just as an animal which is not captured and tamed becomes hardened and its character is changed, so too when hearts are not softened by the remembrance of death and the effort of worship they become hard and tough. Of what benefit for a dark house is a lamp placed above its roof, while its interior is dismal and dark? Likewise, it is of no benefit to you that the light of knowledge be in your mouth while your interior is dismal and destitute. So hurry to your dark houses and illuminate them.
Likewise, hurry to your hard hearts with wisdom before errors overcome it, then they will be harder than stone. How can one carry a heavy load if he does not seek help with carrying it? Or how can the burdens of sin be put down by one who does not ask the pardon of Allah for them? Or how can clothes be purified by one who does not wash them? And how can one get clear of wrongs who does not bury them? Or how can one be saved from drowning in the sea if he crosses it without a ship? And how can one be saved from the trials of this world if he does not treat them with seriousness and struggle?
And how can one reach one's destination if he travels without a guide? And how can one arrive at the Garden if he does not see the signs of religion? And how can one achieve the pleasure of Allah if he does not obey Him? And how can one see the flaw of one's face if he does not look in the mirror? And how can one perfect the love of his friend if he does not grant him some of what he has. And how can one perfect the love of his Lord if he does not lend Him some of that with which he has been provided?
In truth I say to you, verily just as the sea does not become any less if a ship sinks in it and the ship does not harm the sea at all, likewise you do not lessen Allah at all by your sins, and you do not harm him, but you harm and lessen your own self, and just as the multitude of those who go about in the light of the sun does not lessen it, but they thrive and live, likewise, the multitude of what he gives you and provides for you does not lessen Him, but you thrive by his providence and by Him you live. He increases [His providence] for those who thank him, he is Grateful, all knowing.
Woe unto you, O evil paid laborer, you take the wage and eat what is provided for you, and you wear the clothing and you build the houses and you spoil the work of he who hired you. Soon the one who hired you for this work will call you, then he will look at the work that you spoiled, then he will bring down for you what humiliates you and he will order that your necks be pulled out from their roots, and he will order that your arms be cut off at their joints. Then he will order that your bodies be pulled along on your bellies to the middle of the road, so that you may be a lesson for the pious and a warning for the unjust.
Woe unto you, O evil scholars, do not tell yourselves that your appointed times will be delayed so that death will not come down upon you. Soon it will come down upon you, enter upon you and cause you to emigrate. Then, from now on put his call in your ears, and from now on grieve over yourselves, and from now on cry over your mistakes, and from now on make preparations and take your supplies and hurry to the repentance of your Lord.
In truth I say to you, verily, just as the sick look at good food and are not pleased by it, due to the intensity of their pain, likewise the worldly person is not pleased with worship and he does not find its sweetness, due to his love of wealth. And just as the sick are pleased by the description of the medicine by the learned doctor in which there is hope of a cure, then when the doctor reminds them of the bitterness of the medicine and its taste, this clouds their view of the cure, likewise the worldly people are pleased with the delights of the world and the variety in it, then when they remember the suddenness of death, this clouds their view of these delights and spoils them.
In truth I say to you, verily all the people see the stars but the only ones who are guided by them are those who know their courses and stations, and likewise, you learn wisdom, but only those who put it into practice are guided by it.
Woe unto you, O servants of this world! Thresh the wheat and make it good and grind it fine to savor its taste so the eating of it delights you. Likewise, purify your faith to savor its sweetness so its fruits may benefit you.
In truth I say to you, if you find a lamp that bums oil in a dark night, you seek light by it, and the smell of the oil does not prevent you from this. Likewise, it is suitable for you that you obtain wisdom from those in whom you find it, and his evil desires do not prevent you from this.
Woe unto you, O servants of this world! Your reasoning is not like that of the wise, your understanding is not like that of the patient, your knowing is not like that of the scholars; and you are not like the pious servants, and not like the noble free men. Soon this world will pull you out by your roots, and turn you on your faces, and cast you on your noses. Then your mistakes will take you by the forelocks, and your knowledge will push you from behind, until they surrender you to the King, the reckoner, naked and alone, and he will punish you for your bad deeds.
Woe unto you, O servants of this world! You have not been given power over all people except by knowledge, then you threw it away and you did not put it into practice, and you turned toward the world, and by it you judge, and you prepare yourselves for it, and you prefer it and make it prosper, and how long will you last for this world? And for God you do not do anything in it.
In truth I say to you: you will not attain the dignity of the other world except by leaving what you love. So, do not wait until tomorrow for repentance. Before tomorrow there is a day and a night and during them the decree of Allah comes and goes.
In truth I say to you: Indeed you small wrongs and their being made to seem little are plots of Iblis. He makes them seem little to you and he makes them small in your eye; then they accumulate and increase and surround you.
In truth I say to you: To extol by lying and to boast of the purity of one's religiosity is at the head of notorious evil, and verily, love of this world is the head of every wrong.
In truth I say to you: there is nothing that does more to bring one to nobility in the other world and does more to help one with the occurrences of the world than constant prayer, and there is nothing nearer to the Merciful than it, so do this constantly and increase it. And every righteous work draws one nigh unto Allah, so prayer is the nearest to him, and is most preferred by him.
In truth I say to you: Surely, every work of an oppressed one who is not helped in word, in action, or in resentment, he is a great one in the kingdom of heaven. Who of you has seen light whose name is darkness or darkness whose name is light? Likewise being a believer and being a disbeliever cannot be gathered in a servant, and he cannot prefer this world while yearning for the other world. Does the sower of barley reap wheat, or does the sower of wheat reap barley? Likewise, every servant reaps in the other world what he has sown, and he will be compensated for what he has wrought.
In truth I say to you: Surely the people are two sorts with regard to wisdom. One makes it firm by his word, and spoils it by his bad work, and one makes it firm by his word and confirms it by his work. What a difference between them! Blessed are those who are scholars in their actions, and woe to those who are scholars [merely] in their words.
In truth I say to you: He who does not purify his sowings of weeds, they multiply in it until they take over and spoil them, and likewise he who does not expel the love for this world from his heart, it takes over his heart until he does not find the taste of love for the other world.
Woe unto you, O servants of this world! Take to the mosques of your Lord as prisons for your bodies, and make your hearts houses of piety, and do not make your heart a refuge for desires.
In truth I say to you: the most impatient of you with troubles, is he who has the most intense love of this world, and the most patient of you with troubles is the most disinterested with the world.
Woe unto you, O evil scholars! Were you not dead, then he revived you? Then when he revived you, you died. Woe unto you! Were you not unlettered, then he taught you? Then when he taught you, you forgot. Woe unto you! Were you not empty, then Allah made you understand? Then when you were made to understand, you became ignorant. Woe unto you! Were you not astray, then he guided you? Then when he guided you, you went astray. Woe unto you! Were you not blind and he made you see? Then when he made you see, you became blind.
Woe unto you! Were you not deaf, then he made you hear? Then when he made you hear, you became deaf. Woe unto you! Were you not dumb, then he made you speak? Then when he made you speak, you became dumb. Woe unto you! Did you not seek an opening, then when the opening was made for you, you retreated to [the ways of] your forefathers? Woe unto you! Were you not humbled and he made you honored? Then when you were honored you subjugated, transgressed and disobeyed.
Woe unto you! Were you not oppressed in the earth, fearing that people would snatch you away, and then he helped and supported you? Then when he helped you, you became arrogant and overbearing. Then alas to you because of your humiliation on the day of resurrection, how it will make you negligible and small.
Alas to you, O evil scholars! You do the deeds of infidels, and you have the hope of inheritors, and you have the assurance of the secure, but the order of Allah is not as you wish and choose, rather you have children for death, and you build and make habitable for destruction, and you make preparations for your legacy. Alas to you, O evil scholars! You do the deeds of infidels, and you have the hope of inheritors, and you have the assurance of the secure, but the order of Allah is not as you wish and choose, rather you have children for death, and you build and make habitable for destruction, and you make preparations for your legacy.
In truth I say to you: Verily Moses ('a) used to command you: Do not swear by Allah truly or falsely, but say no or yes.
O children of Israel! For you are the vegetables of the fields and barley bread, and I prohibit wheat bread for you, for I fear you will not establish thanksgiving for it.
In truth I say to you, surely the people are well off or afflicted. So, praise Allah for being well off, and have mercy on those who are troubled.
In truth I say to you, for every bad word you say, you will be given its answer on the day of resurrection.
O evil servants! When one of you brings close a sacrificial [animal] to slaughter, then he is reminded that his brother has something against him, then he should leave his sacrifice and go to his brother and make him satisfied, then he should return to his sacrifice and slaughter it.
O evil servants! If a shirt is taken from one of you, then give your cloak with it. And whoever is slapped on his cheek, He should let his other cheek [be slapped]. And whoever is subjected to one mile, let him go another mile with him.
In truth I say to you, of what benefit is it for the body that its exterior is sound and its interior rotten. And of what benefit is it to you that your bodies be pleasing to you, while your hearts are rotten. And of what benefit is it to you if you purify your skins but your hearts are unclean.
In truth I say to you, do not be like a sieve that expels good flour and retains the waste. Likewise, you expel wisdom from your mouths, and hatred remains in your breasts.
In truth I say to you, begin with evil and abandon it, then seek good. It will benefit you. If you gather good with evil, the good will not benefit you.
In truth I say to you, one who wades in a stream, inevitably water will reach his clothes, even if he makes an effort that it does not reach them. Likewise, he who loves the world will not be saved from wrongdoing.
In truth I say to you, blessed are they who spend the night in prayer, they are those who will inherit perpetual light, because they stood on their feet in the darkness of the night in their places of prayer; they implore their Lord in hope that He may save them from affliction tomorrow.
In truth I say to you, the world was created as a farm, in it the servants sow the sweet and the bitter, evil and good. The good has a beneficial outcome on the day of reckoning, and evil has trouble and wretchedness on the day of harvesting.
In truth I say to you, the wise will be compared to the ignorant, and the ignorant will be compared to his desires. I commend you to seal your mouths with silence so that nothing may go out of them that is not permitted for you.
In truth I say to you, you will not attain that for which you hope unless by being patient with what you detest, and you will not obtain what you will unless by abandoning what you desire.
In truth I say to you, O servants of this world! How can one attain the other world, who does not reduce his lust for this world and does not cut off his yearning for it.
In truth I say to you, O servants of this world! You do not love this world, and you do not hope for the other world. If you did love this world, you would honor the work by which you attain it, and if you did want the other world, you would perform the deeds of one who hopes for it.
In truth I say to you, O servants of this world! One of you hates his companion on the basis of suspicion, and does not hate himself on the basis of certainty.
In truth I say to you, one of you becomes angry when one of your faults is mentioned to you, while it is true; but you delight when you are praised for what is not in you.
In truth I say to you, the spirits of the Satan’s do not live as long in anything as they live in your hearts. Allah has given you this world only that you act in it for the other world. He has not given it to you that you become too occupied in it for the other world. He has expanded it for you only that you know that he has helped you to worship by it, and He has not helped you to sin by it. He has commanded you in it only to obey him, and he has not commanded you in it to disobey him. He helps you in it only for what is lawful, and he does not make lawful for you what is unlawful. He has spread it for you only that you may have relations with one another, and he has not spread it that you cut off relations from one another.
In truth I say to you, wages are coveted, but none attains them but those who work for them.
In truth I say to you, a tree does not become perfect unless by good fruit; and likewise, religion does not become perfect unless by avoidance of the unlawful.
In truth I say to you, the farm does not become right except by water and soil; likewise faith does not become right except by knowledge and action.
In truth I say to you, water extinguishes fire; likewise clemency extinguishes anger.
In truth I say to you, water and fire cannot be put together in a bowl; likewise, understanding and blindness cannot be put together in one heart.
In truth I say to you, there is no rain without a cloud; likewise, there is no action pleasing to the Lord without a pure heart.
In truth I say to you, surely the sun is the light of all things, and surely wisdom is the light of every heart, and God-wariness is the head of every wisdom, and truth is the gate to every good, and the mercy of Allah is the gate to every truth, and the keys to it are prayer and supplication and action. How can a gate be opened without a key.
In truth I say to you, a wise man does not plant a tree unless he is pleased with it, and he does not ride on a horse unless he is pleased with it; likewise, the knowing believer does not do a deed unless it is pleasing to his Lord.
In truth I say to you, verily, polishing makes a sword right and makes it shine; likewise wisdom in the heart polishes it and makes it shine, and in the heart of the wise it is like water in the dead earth. It revives his heart like water revives the dead earth, and in the heart of the wise it is like light in the darkness, he walks by it among the people.
In truth I say to you, carrying stones from the tops of mountains is better than saying something to someone who does not understand what you say, like one who puts a stone in water to soften it, like one who prepares food for the people of the graves.
Blessed is he who refrains from excessive speech, because he fears the wrath of his Lord. And he does not narrate a narration unless he understands it, and he does not envy someone for his speech until his action becomes clear for him,
Blessed is he who learns from the learned that of which he is ignorant, and who teaches the ignorant of what he knows.
Blessed is he who honors the scholars for their knowledge, and who abandons disputing with them, and who takes lightly the ignorant for their ignorance, and does not drive them away, but brings them close and teaches them.
In truth I say to you, o group of disciples, surely today, you are like the alive among the people who are dead, so do not die with the death of those alive.21
It is appropriate to conclude this selection with a prayer of Jesus ('a) said to have been narrated by the Prophet Muhammad (s) and the members of his household, peace be with them all.
Among the supplications mentioned are those of Jesus that we reported with our chain of narrators to Sa'id ibn Hibatullah al-Rawandi, may Allah have mercy on him, from the book, Qasas al-Anbiya' (Stories of the Prophets), with a chain of narrators to Imam al-Sadiq ('a) from his forefathers, peace be with them, that the Prophet (S), may the blessings of Allah be with him, said, “When the Jews gathered before Jesus ('a) to kill him, as they imagined, Gabriel ('a) came to him and covered him with his wing. Then Jesus looked at him carefully.
There was writing within Gabriel and it was: 'O Allah! I call you by your most mighty name, al-Wahid (the One), and I call you, O Allah, by your name, al-Samad (the Everlasting Refuge), and I call you, O Allah, by your single name, al-Azim (the Majestic), and I call you, O Allah, by your exalted name, al-Kabir (the Great), by which all your pillars stand firm, remove the troubles I have morning and night.' When Jesus ('a) called him by this, Allah revealed to Gabriel, 'Raise him to me.”'
Then the Messenger of Allah, may the blessing of Allah be with him, said, “O children of 'Abd al-Mutallib! Beseech your Lord by these words. By Allah, in whose hand is my soul! No servant has called upon him with these words without the throne being moved, and without Allah saying to the angels, 'Bear witness that I, verily, answered him for these words and gave him what he asked in the transient world and in the term of the hereafter.”' Then he said to his companions, “Beseech [Allah] by these words and do not delay [His] answer.”22
- 1. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 35, pp. 318-319, no. 14
- 2. Imam 'Ali ('a) is reported to have referred to Jesus ('a) as “my brother” in Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 14, p. 320, no. 26, and the Prophet (S) is reported to have referred to him ('a) in this way in Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 14, p. 321, no. 27 and Mustadrak al- Wasa'i1, 12, 39.
- 3. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 14, p. 319, no. 14
- 4. Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon 158
- 5. al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 665, no. 20
- 6. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 14, p. 319, no. 23
- 7. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 70, p. 316, no. 22
- 8. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 15, p. 296, no. 32
- 9. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 16, p. 90, no. 22
- 10. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 11, p. 385, no. 9
- 11. Bihar al-Anwar, 87, 17
- 12. Kulayni, Muhammad ibn Ya'qub, al-Kafi, vol. 8, pp. 131 -141.
- 13. Literally, “Clip your fingernails from illicit gain.”
- 14. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 14, p. 323, no. 34
- 15. Mustadrak al- Wasai'l, 12, 3 9, 11
- 16. Majmu'ah a1-Akhbar fi Nafa'is al-Athar 146
- 17. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 8, 153-154
- 18. Mqjmu'ah al-Akhbar fi Nafa'is al-Athar 106
- 19. Bihar al-Anwar, 14, 249, 37
- 20. Bihar al-Anwar, 14, 235, 8
- 21. Tuhaf al-'Uqul, 501-513
- 22. Bihar al-Anwar 95, 175