Discourse 39: How to Keep Away from Doubtful Things and the Lower Desires (of the Soul)
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللٌّهِ : إِنَّمَا يُؤْتَى النَّاسُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ عَنْ إِحْدى مِنْ ثَلاَثَ: إِمَّا مِنْ شُبْهَةٍ فِي الدِّينِ ارْتَكَبُوهَا أَوْ شَهْوَةٍ لِلَذَّةٍ آثَرُوهَا أَوْ عَصَبِيَّةِ لَحْمَةٍ أَعْمَلُوهَا. فَإِذَا لاَحَتْ لَكُمْ شُبْهَةٌ فِي الدِّينِ فَاجْلُوهَا بِالْيَقِينِ، وَ إِذَا عُرِضَتْ لَكُمْ شَهْوَةٌ فَاقْمَعُوهَا بِالزُّهْدِ، وَ إِذَا عَنَّتْ لَكُمْ غَضْبَةٌ فَأَدُّوهَا بِالْعَفُوِ. إِنَّهُ يُنَادِي مُنَادٍ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مَنْ كَانَ لَهُ عَلى اللٌّهِِ أَجْراً فَلْيَقُمْ، فَلا يَقُومُ إِلاَّ الْعَافُونَ، أَلَمْ تَسْمَعُوا قَوْلَهُ تَعَالـى: فَمَنْ عَفَا وَ أَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللٌّهِ
The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “Surely when the Day of Judgement comes about, everyone will be grouped according to one of three deeds (and put into the hell fire): It may be due to the doubtful things of the faith which they performed; or it may be due to the desires of the lower self which had an effect on on; or it may be due to the prejudice which had been acted upon 1.
So then if any confusions or doubts come to you in matters of your religion, then remove them through certainty (of faith); and if your lower desires come upon you then stand up against them through asceticism; and if anger takes you over, then remove it through forgiveness. Surely the Caller will call out on the Day of Judgement that whoever has any rights upon Allah should stand up and take them back from Him. So then none except those who forgave others (in this world) will stand up - have you not heard the words of Allah, the Most High, “So he who forgives and makes correct the relations, his reward is with Allah.”2
In this tradition, the Noble Prophet (S) has explained to us the way to flee from the lower desires of the soul and doubtful things and has stated that these affairs are made clear through possessing certainty of the heart. In addition, the lower desires of the soul can be cut off through observing self-discipline. However as for the fire of discrimination - whichever form it may be - this must be cooled with the power of forgiveness, and it is due to the things which have been mentioned in this tradition that people will enter into the Hell Fire.
However, there are a group of people who are protected when in the presence of sins and are not dragged towards these sorts of deeds. For example, it is impossible to think that a true religious Scholar would - may Allah protect us - drink alcohol or gamble. However, a young individual who has been placed in a polluted environment in which these sins take place would quickly be attracted to these things.
In addition, those who have knowledge of the religion would not be pulled easily into doubtful issues, whereas this may not hold true for the “common people”. Sometimes, when the person wants to justify something, he searches through the verses of the Qur`an and the traditions and will try to find some ambiguous issue and then hold firm onto that - he will pre-judge something and bring forth proofs which are weaker than the a spider's web.
However, we must first see what Allah (SwT) and the Prophet (S) have truly said and must consider ourselves as students of the Qur`an - not teachers of the Qur`an!
Thus, it is for this reason that the Prophet (S) said that the source of people going to the hell fire are three things: following doubtful things, discrimination and adhering to lower desires of the soul.
In continuation of the tradition, the Prophet (S) has mentioned, “On the Day of Resurrection, a caller will proclaim that anyone who has any reward to claim from Allah (SwT) should stand up. At this point, only those people will stand up who - during the time of anger - had chosen the path of forgiveness and pardoned their brother in religion.”
After this, the Prophet (S) himself answers the question which was posed that, “Why do these people have a right on Allah?” The Prophet (S) states that, “Have you not heard this verse of the Qur`an which states:
فَمَنْ عَفَا وَ أَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللٌّهِِ
“So he who forgives and makes correct the relations, his reward is with Allah.”
Therefore, we too must strive to establish love between our fellow Muslims.
O' Allah! You have ordered us to forgive one another, however You are more worthy of forgiveness than we are, we have committed oppression upon our own souls, so please forgive us! !
- 1. The word “تعصب” (Ta`asub) and the word “عصبية” (`Asabiyyah) comes from the root word “عصب” in the meaning of tape or a connector which joins together thigns which became separated. Later on, these words were used for any sort of interaction or relation between people; however this word is usually used in the meaning of excessiveness in relations and is not a good term or word to use.
In the Islamic narrations, 'Ta`asub' has been introduced as a despicable ethical trait and has been severely discouraged to such a point that in a tradition from the Noble Prophet of Islam (S), we are told that:
مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِه حَبَّةٌ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ مِنْ عَصَبِيَّةٍ، بَعَثَهُ اللٌّهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ مَعَ أَعْرَابِ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ.
“The person who has even the weight of a mustard-seed of nationalism in his heart, Allah will raise him up on the Day of Judgement with the pre-Islamic desert `Arabs.”
In another tradition, this time from Imam Ja`far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq (as) we read that:
مَنْ تَعَصَّبَ اَوْ تُعُصِّبَ لَهُ، فَقَدْ خَلَعَ رِبْقَةَ الإِيْمَانِ مِنْ عُنُقِه.
“A person who shows discrimination or is discriminated against, surely has severed true faith from himself.”
From the Islamic narrations, we can deduce that it was Iblis who was the first creation to show discrimination. In the Khutbah known as al-Qasiah (Khutbah 192) in Nahj al-Balaghah, the Commander of the Faithful, `Ali b. Abi Talib (as) has mentioned in detail and completely clarifies the issue of nationalism and discrimination, and we will quote just an excerpt from it:
أَمٌّا إِبْليسُ، فَتَعَصَّبَ عَلى آدَمَ لاَِصْلِهِ وَ طَعَنَ عَلَيْهِ فِي خِلْقَتِه، فَقَالَ: أَنَا نَارِيٌّ وَ أَنْتَ طِينِيٌّ.
“As for Iblis, he showed bigotry over Adam due to his origin and challenged him in relation to his creation and said, “I am made form fire and you are made form Earth.”
The Imam (as) then continued:
فَإِنْ كَانَ لاَ بُدَّ مِنَ الْعَصَبِيَّةِ، فَلْيَكُنْ تَعَصُّبُكُمْ لِمَكَارِمِ الْخِصَالِ وَ مَحَامِدِ الأَفْعَالِ وَ مَحَاسِنِ الأُُمُورِ.
“So if you are compelled to show discrimination, then let your discrimination be due to righteous etiquette, characteristics and beautified (good) deeds.”
In this tradition we clearly see that firmly standing for that which is the truth is something good, and not only is this act not considered as discrimination, rather, it is through this act that the soul of a person is actually emptied from all the incorrect actions of the ignorant and filled with true faith. We read in a tradition from Imam `Ali b. al-Husain (as) that when this Imam was asked about bigotry, he replied:
أَلْعَصَبِيَّةُ الَّتِي يَأْثِمُ عَلَيْهَا صَاحِبُهَا، أَنْ يَرَى الرَّجُلُ شِرَارَ قَوْمِهِ خَيْراً مِنْ خِيَارِ قَوْمٍ آخِرِينَ. وَ لَيْسَ مِنَ الْعَصَبِيَّةِ أَنْ يُحِبَّ الرَّجُلُ قَوْمَهُ، وَلٌكِنْ مِنَ الْعَصَبِيَّةِ أَنْ يُعِينَ قَوْمَهُ عَلى الظُّلْمِ.
“That form of discrimination for which a person is considered as a sinner is when a person sees the worst of people in his nation as being better than the best people of another nation. Discrimination is not that a person loves those of his own nation, rather, discrimination is when one helps his own people in committing oppression.” (Tafsir-e-Namuna, vol. 15, pg. 354)
- 2. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 74, pg. 180