Discourse 28: The True Shi’a

دَخَلَ رَجُلٌ عَلى مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ الرِّضَا وَ هُوَ مَسْرُورٌ فَقَالَ: مَا لِي أَرَاكَ مَسْرُوراً؟ قَالَ: يَا بْنَ رَسُولِ اللٌّه سَمِعْتُ أَبَاكَ يَقُولَ: أَحَقُّ يَوْمَ بِأَنَّ يَسِّرُ الْعَبْدَ فِيهِ يَوْمٌ: يَرْزُقُهُ اللٌّهُ صَدَقَاتِ وَ مُبَرَّاتِ وَ مُدَّخَلاَتِ مِنْ إِخْوَانِ لَهُ مُؤْمِنِينَ فَإِنَّهُ قَصَدَنِي الْيَوْمَ عَشْرَةَ مِنْ إِخْوَانِي الْفُقُرَآءِ لَهُمْ عَيَالاَتٌ فَقَصَدُونِي مِنْ بَلَدِ كَذَا وَ كَذَا فَأَعْطَيْتُ كُلَّ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهُمْ فَلِهٌذَا سُرُورِي.

فَقَالَ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَلِـيِّ لِعُمْرِي إِنَّكَ حَقِيقٌ بِأَنَّ تَسِرُّ إِنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ أَحْبَطَتْهُ أَوْ لَمْ تَحْبَطْهُ فِيمَا بَعْدَ. فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ: فَكَيْفَ أَحْبَطَتْهُ وَ أَنَا مِنْ شِيعَتِكُمْ الْمُخْلِصُ؟ قَاَل: هَاهَ قَدْ أَبْطَلَتْ بِرِّكَ بِإِخْوَانِكَ وَ صَدَقَاتِكَ. قَالَ: وَ كَيْفَ ذَاكَ يَابْنَ رَسُولِ اللٌّهِ؟ قَالَ لَهُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عَلِـيِّ: إِقْرَأْ قَوْلِ اللٌّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لاَ تُبْطِلُوا صَدَقَاتِكُمْ بِا لْمَنِّ وَ الأََذى. قَالَ يَا بْنَ رَسُولِ اللٌّهِ مَا مَنَنْتَ عَلى الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ تَصَدَّقَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ! قَالَ لَهُ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَلِـيٍّ: إِنَّ اللٌّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِنَّـمَا قَالَ لاَ تُبْطِلُوا صَدَقَاتِكْمُ بِالْمَنِّ وَ الأَذى وَلَمْ يَقُلْ بِالْمَنِّ عَلى مَنْ تَتَصَدَّقُونَ عَلَيْهِ وَ بِالأَذى لِـمَنْ تَتَصَدَّقُونَ عَلَيْهِ وَ هُوَ كُلِّ أَذى إِفْتَرى أَذَاكَ الْقَوْمَ الَّذِينَ تَصَدَّقَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ أَعْظَمُ أَمْ أَذَاكَ لِحِفْظَتِكَ وَ مَلاَئِكَةُ اللٌّهِ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ مَوَالِيكَ أَمْ أَذَاكَ لَنَا؟ فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ: بَلْ هٌذَا يَابْنَ رَسُوِل اللٌّهِ. فَقَالَ: لَقَدْ آذَيْتَنِـي و آذَيْتَهُمْ وَ أَبْطَلَتْ صَدَقَتِكَ قَالَ: لِمَاذَا؟

قَالَ: وَ كَيْفَ أَحَبَّبْتَهُ وَ أَنَا مِنْ شِيعَتِكُمُ الْخَلَّّصُ؟ ثُمَّ قَالَ: وَيْحَكَ أَتَدْرِي مَنْ شِيعَتِنَا الْخلّص؟ قَالَ: لاَ. قَالَ: فَإِنَّ شِيعَتُنَا الْخلّص حِزْبِيلُ الْمُؤْمِنُ مُؤْمِنُ آلِ فِرْعَونَ وَ صَاحِبُ يَسِ الَّذِي قَالَ اللٌّهُ تَعَالـى وَ جَآءَ مِنْ أَقْصى الْمَدِينَةِ رَجُلٌ يَسْعى وَ سَلْمَانَ وَ أَبُوذَرَّ وَ الْمِقْدَادَ وَ عَمَّارَ سَوِّيَتْ نَفْسَكَ بِهٌؤُلاَءِ أَمَّا آذِيتَ بِهٌذَا الْمَلاَئِكَةِ وَ آذِيتَنَا؟ فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ: أَسْتَغْفِرُ اللٌّهُ وَ أَتُوبُ إِلَيهِ وَ كَيْفَ أَقُولُ؟ قَالَ قُلْ: أَنَا مِنْ مَوَالِيكَ وَ مُحِبِّيكَ وَ مُعَادِي أَعْدَائِكَ وَ مَوَالِـي أَوْلِيَائِكَ. قَالَ: فَكَذٌلِكَ أَقُولُ فَكَذٌلِكَ أَنَا يَا ابْنَ رَسَولِ اللٌّهِ وَ قَدْ تَبَّتْ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ الَّذِي أَنْكَرْتَهُ وَ أَنْكَرْتَهُ الْمَلاَئِكَةَ فَمَا أَنْكَرْتُمْ ذٌلِكَ إِلاَّ لإِنْكَارِ اللٌّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ. فَقَالَ مُحَمَّدُ بنُ عَلِـيٍّ: أَلآنَ قَدْ عَادَتْ إِلَيْكَ مَثُوبَاتِ صَدَقَاتِكَ وَ زَالَ عَنْهَا الأَحْبَاطِ.

The text of this tradition itself is a lesson for us and it shows us that in Islam, physically helping others is something very important. This is something which we too must give importance to and encourage other people towards. This is also one of the things which removes the adversities in people’s lives and if done while on the spiritual path, would permit one to reach Allah (SwT).

However in this tradition, the Imam wishes to spiritually awaken his students and point them to an even more important issue. It is for this reason that he told his companion that they should not make their charity null and void through laying an obligation upon and harassing those who whom they have helped.

The companion told the Imam that he neither lays an obligation nor does he harass the person whom he helps to which the Imam replied, “Harassing the person (whom you have helped) does not only relate to the person whom you have assisted (materially). Rather you have actually harassed the Angels of Allah (SwT) and us (the Ahl al-Bayt) as well.”

This companion asked, “How is it that I have harassed you (the Ahl al-Bayt) and the Angels of Allah (SwT) where as I am one of your sincere Shi’a (followers)?”

The Imam replied, “This claim of yours that you are one of our sincere Shi’a has made all of your actions void since the true, sincere Shi’a are only the true believer from amongst the people of Pharaoh (as mentioned in the Qur’an), the true believer mentioned in Surah Yasin, Salman, Abu Dharr, Miqdad and ‘Ammar. The true believer from amongst the people of Pharaoh had true faith in Musa (‘a) however was forced to hide it [and this is one of the proofs for the permissibility of Taqiyyah.

In this verse of the Qur’an, the man spoke to the oppressors and said to them, “Why are you dealing with Musa in such a harsh manner? Maybe he is speaking the truth. If he is lying, then his lies are on his own record of deeds and if he is speaking the truth, then why do you need to deal with him such? According to the principal of deflecting danger (from yourselves), deal with him in the way of ‘probability’ (that he may be truthful in his words).”

Since these people of Fir’awn did not pay any attention to these words from this man, he said, (Surely I entrust all of our affairs to Allah.) At this point, these oppressors drew up plans to kill this believer, however Allah (SwT) protected him - (So then Allah protected him from their evil plots…)]

At this point, the Imam (‘a) said, “This is our Shi’a (true follower) who was alone and isolated amongst the enemies however stood firm as a mountain.

The other true believer was the one mentioned in Surah Yasin: (And came a man to them from the furthest part of the city, running to them…) [The history of revelation of this verse is in relation to two individuals form amongst the Messengers of Allah (SwT) whose names were Shim’awn and Yuhna who lived in the city of Antakiyah (the country previously known as Shamat which is present day Turkey) and who began their propagation work there.

The Surah continues on and says, (When We sent to them two (Messengers)) and these Messengers were ordered to guide the people towards Allah (SwT) and to command them to refrain from idol worship, however they were not triumphant in this endeavour of theirs (since the people did not listen to them). The verse continues and says: “So then We strengthened them with a third (Messenger) (36:14).

Even with this third person sent, they still were not able to dissuade their people from the worship of the idols. At this point, we read that: “And came a man to them from the furthest part of the city, running to them” (36:20). Thus, it was at this point that Allah (SwT) send habib Najjar, however he was stoned to death and became a martyr in the way of Allah (SwT).

In continuation of the tradition, the Imam said, “Do you compare yourself to people like this?”

Obviously the goal of the Imam in saying this was to train the person and it is for this reason that when this companion heard these words, he said, “I ask forgiveness (for the claims I have made).” and then said to the Imam, “Please tell me, now what should I do?”

The Imam replied to him, “Say: I am from amongst your friends and lovers and of those who has hatred for your enemies and…”

The Imam then said, “Now, your reward (for your previous acts) has returned back to you and you have been compensated.” [It should be noted that amongst the traditions, it is something very rare to see a tradition in which one’s Divinely granted rewards are given back after they have been considered null and void.]

This tradition shows us that to claim to be a follower (a Shi’a) is an easy thing and to truly be a Shi’a is something very difficult.

We pray that we are able to spiritually build ourselves and that we are also able to guide others to this path.1

  • 1. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 65, pg. 159.