Hadith Unwan al-Basri

Translator(s): 


Hadith Unwan al-Basri
حدیث عنوان البصری

In the Name of Allah

Instruction of Imam Sadiq (as) for the wayfarers towards Allah
Translated by Ali Alsamail
Source: Bihar Al-Anwar, vol.1 p.226

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Al-Sheikhul Baha’i (may the mercy of Allah be upon him) has narrated in his Kashkul:

روى الشيخ البهائي (رحمه الله) في كشكوله:

Al-Sheikh Shamsul Din Muhammad ibn Makki said: ‘I have transcribed from the writings of Sheikh Ahmad al-Farahani, (may the Mercy of Allah be upon him), who narrated from Unwan al-Basri, an elderly man of 94 years, who said: “For a number of years, I frequently visited Malik ibn Anas, and so when Ja’far al-Sadiq (as) came to Madina, I also visited him frequently as I wished to learn from him in the same way I learned from Malik.

قال الشيخ شمس الدين محمد بن مكي: نقلت من خط الشيخ احمد الفراهاني رحمه الله:

عن عنوان البصري وكان شيخا كبيرا قد اتى عليه اربعون وتسعون سنة قال كنت اختلف الى مالك بن انس سنين فلما قدم جعفر الصادق (ع) المدينة اختلفت اليه واحببت ان آخذ عنه كما اخذت عن مالك.

One day Ja’far Al- Sadiq (as) said to me: ‘People demand much from me, however I also have many important rituals to perform. Therefore please do not distract me from my rituals, rather go to Malik and continue to visit and learn from him.’

فقال لي يوما إني رجل مطلوب ومع ذلك لي اوراد في كل ساعة من آناء الليل والنهار فلا تشغلني عن وردي وخذ عن مالك واختلف اليه كما كنت تختلف اليه.

‘I was disappointed by this. I left Ja’far Al-Sadiq and said to myself: ‘If he had seen any good in me he would not have prevented me from visiting and learning from him.’ So I entered the Mosque of the Messenger (S) and sent my greetings to him. I returned to the shrine and prayed two rak’at there, asking: ‘O Allah, O Allah, make the heart of Ja’far (as) kind towards me and bless me with his knowledge through which I will be guided to Your Straight Path’.  

فاغتممت من ذلك وخرجت من عنده وقلت في نفسي لو تفرس فيّ خيرا لما زجرني عن الاختلاف اليه والاخذ عنه فدخلت مسجد الرسول (ص) وسلّمت عليه ثم رجعت من الغد الى الروضة وصلّيت فيها ركعتين وقلت اسألك يا الله يا الله ان تعطف على قلب جعفر وترزقني من علمه ما اهتدي به الي صراطك المستقيم

I returned straight to my house not visiting Malik ibn Anas, despondent from what my heart had tasted from the love of Ja’far. I did not leave my house except for the obligatory prayers, until I could stand it no longer. It was after the Afternoon Prayer that I put on my clothes, sandals and set out to see Imam Ja’far.

ورجعت الى داري مغتما ولم اختلف الى مالك بن انس لما اُشرب قلبي من حبّ جعفر. فما خرجت من داري الاّ الى الصلاة المكتوبة حتى عيل صبري. فلما ضاق صدري تنعلت وترديت وقصدت جعفرا وكان بعد ما صليت العصر.

When I reached the door of his house I asked for permission to enter. His servant came out and asked: ‘What is your need?’ I answered: ‘Greeting the honorable one’. He said: ‘He is standing in his place of prayer’. So I sat near his door. It was not long before the servant came to me saying: ‘Enter with the blessing of Allah’.

فلما حضرت باب داره استأذنت عليه فخرج خادم له فقال ما حاجتك؟ فقلت: السلام على الشريف. فقال هو قائم في مصلاه فجلست بحذاء بابه فما لبث الا يسيرا اذ خرج خادم فقال ادخل على بركة الله.

I entered, relayed my greetings to Ja’far Al-Sadiq (as) which he returned. He (as) then said: ‘Please be seated. May Allah forgive you.’ I sat and he was silent for a long time. Then he (as) raised his head and said: ‘What are you known as?’ ‘Abu Abdullah,’ (the father of the slave of God) I replied. He (as) said: ‘May Allah affirm your name and give you success. O Abu Abdullah, what is your need?’ I said: ‘I asked Allah to make your heart kind towards me and to bless me with knowledge from you. I hope that Allah, the Exalted, has answered my request with regards to the honorable one (as).’

فدخلت وسلّمت عليه فردّ السلام وقال اجلس غفر الله لك. فجلست فاطرق مليا ثم رفع راسه وقال: ابو من؟ قلت: أبو عبد الله. قال: ثبّت الله كنيتك ووفّقك يا أبا عبد الله! ما مسألتك؟ فقلت: سألت الله ان يعطف قلبك عليّ ويرزقني من علمك وأرجو انّ الله تعالي اجابني في الشريف ما سألته.

The Imam (as) said: ‘O Abu Abdullah! Knowledge is not obtained by learning. Rather, it is a light which enters the heart of whoever Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, wishes to guide. So if you want knowledge, first find in yourself the reality of slavery. Seek knowledge by utilizing it and ask Allah to make you understand, then He will make you understand.’

فقال (عليه السلام): يا أبا عبد الله ليس العلم بالتعلم انما هو نور يقع في قلب من يريد الله تبارك وتعالى ان يهديه فان اردت العلم فاطلب اوّلا في نفسك حقيقة العبودية. اطلب العلم باستعماله واستفهم الله يفهمك.

I said: ‘O honorable one, what is the reality of slavery?’

قلت: يا شريف! ما حقيقة العبودية؟

He (as) said: ‘Reality of slavery has three strands:

Firstly, a slave does not see ownership for himself of the things that Allah has entrusted to him, because slaves do not possess ownership. Slaves see wealth as that of Allah and place it wherever He has commanded them to.

Secondly a slave does not plan his own affairs, being entirely occupied with what Allah, the Exalted has planned.

Thirdly, he is entirely occupied with what Allah, the Exalted, has commanded him to do and prohibited him from doing.

قال (عليه السلام):

ثلاثة اشياء: ان لا يرى العبد لنفسه فيما خوّله الله ملكا لان العبيد لا يكون لهم ملك يرون المال مال الله يضعونه حيث امرهم الله به، ولا يدبّر العبد لنفسه تدبيرا، وجملة اشتغاله فيما امر الله تعالى به ونهاه عنه.

So if a slave does not see any ownership for himself of that which Allah has entrusted to him, it would be easy for him to spend only in the way that Allah, the Exalted, has commanded him to spend, and if a slave leaves the management of his self to his Manager then the afflictions of this world become easy on him, and if a slave occupies himself with what Allah, the Exalted, commanded him to do and prohibited him from doing he will not have the free time to engage in futile debate and boasting with people.

فاذا لم ير العبد لنفسه فيما خوّله الله تعالى ملكا هان عليه الانفاق فيما امره الله تعالى ان ينفق فيه وإذا فوّض العبد تدبير نفسه على مدبّره هان عليه مصائب الدنيا وإذا اشتغل العبد بما امره الله تعالى ونهاه لا يتفرغ منهما الى المراء والمباهاة مع الناس.

So if Allah honors the slave with these three, the world, Iblis and all creation would become low in the eyes of the slave and he would not yearn after this world, its wealth or personal pride. He would not seek what people have, for glory or superiority (amongst them) and would not leave his days to pass away in vain. This is the first stage of piety. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, said:

فاذا أكرم الله العبد بهذه الثلاثة هان عليه الدنيا وابليس والخلق ولا يطلب الدنيا تكاثرا وتفاخرا ولا يطلب ما عند الناس عزا وعلوا ولا يدع ايامه باطلا. فهذا اول درجه التقي. قال الله تبارك وتعالى:

‘(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).

"تلك الدار الآخرة نجعلها للذين لا يريدون علوا في الارض ولا فسادا والعاقبة للمتقين".

I said: ‘O Abu Abdullah, advise me further on this matter. He (as) said: ‘There are nine things to advise for those seeking the path to Allah, the Exalted and I ask Allah to guide you in putting this advice into practice. Three of them are with regards to self- asceticism, three of them are with regards to forbearance and three of them are with regards to knowledge. Maintain them and guard against taking them lightly.’’

قلت يا ابا عبد الله: اوصني. قال (عليه السلام):

اوصيك بتسعة اشياء فإنها وصية لمريدي الطريق الي الله تعالي والله اسال ان يوفقك لاستعماله، ثلاثة منها في رياضة النفس وثلاثة منها في الحلم وثلاثة منها في العلم فاحفظها واياك والتهاون بها.

Unwan said: ‘so I gave him my full attention, and he (as) continued:

قال عنوان: ففرغت قلبي له.

Regarding the self-asceticism, be wary of eating that which you do not crave for because this leads to stupidity and imbecility. Do not eat unless you are hungry and if you eat, eat that which is halal, mentioning the name of Allah, and remember the narration of the Messenger (S) where he says: ‘No human has filled a cavity worse than his stomach. Let him leave a third for his food, a third for his drink, and a third for the air he breathes.’

فقال (ع): اما اللواتي في الرياضة: فإياك ان تأكل مالا تشتهيه فانه يورث الحماقة والبله ولا تأكل الا عند الجوع وإذا اكلت فكل حلالا وسم الله واذكر حديث الرسول (ص)‌: ما ملاء آدمي وعاء شرا من بطنه فان كان ولابد فثلث لطعامه وثلث لشرابه وثلث لنفسه.

With regards to forbearance; if someone says to you ‘if you say one thing (of insult to me), you will hear ten things’ you should say to him: ‘if you say ten (insulting) things, you will not hear even one from me’. If someone swears at you, say to him: ‘if you are truthful in what you say then I ask Allah to forgive me, and if you are lying in what you say, then I ask Allah to forgive you’. Finally, if someone promises you obscene language then promise him advice and care.

وامّا اللواتي في الحلم: فمن قال لك ان قلت واحده سمعت عشرا. فقل ان قلت عشرا لم تسمع واحده. ومن شتمك فقل له ان كنت صادقا فيما تقول فأسال الله ان يغفر لي وان كنت كاذبا فيما تقول فأسأل الله ان يغفر لك. ومن وعدك بالخنى فعده بالنصيحة والرعاء.

With regards to knowledge, ask the scholars that which you do not know, and avoid asking them if it will cause embarrassment or trial. Be wary of acting on your own opinion and take precaution in all matters that you can find a way (for precaution). Avoid giving religious edicts just as you would avoid a lion, and do not make your neck a bridge for people. (Don’t carry the burden of people’s sins)

واما اللواتي في العلم: فاسأل العلماء ما جهلت، واياك ان تسألهم تعنتا وتجربة واياك ان تعمل برأيك شيئا وخذ بالاحتياط في جميع ما تجد اليه سبيلا واهرب من الفتيا هربك من الاسد ولا تجعل رقبتك للناس جسرا.

Now that I have advised you, you may leave O Abdullah! And don’t interrupt my rituals, for I am a man covetous regarding my spiritual self. May peace be upon the one who follows True Guidance’.’’

قم عني يا أبا عبد الله فقد نصحت لك ولا تفسد عليّ وردي فاني أمرئ ضنين بنفسي والسلام على من اتبع الهدى.

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