Appendix 6: Advice of Imam Ali to his son Imam Hasan
An advice of First Divine Light, Ali, (peace be on him) to his eldest son, Hassan, Second Divine Light.
I begin in the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
1. Praise be to God and His Prophet. I appreciated turning away from the world, directing to Eternity and this prevented me from thinking of others, barring my own soul. My designs have revealed unto me facts since I gave up anxiety of others, barring my own. They have turned me against my passion, opened to me facts of my passing away, shown me ways to self-sacrifice, wherein there is no wasteful act, such as sport and gossip, and wherein there is no falsehood.
2. I admonish you to entertain Divine Awe. Serve God, perpetuate your heart in Divine Contemplation, hold fast His Commands, enliven your heart with admonitions, reduce it by piety and sobriety, strengthen it with faith, make it compliant with remembrance to death, fix it for extinction, show worldly trials, frighten it with changes and attacks of times (i.e. Partition and Police Action of Hyderabad), advance facts of past nations, remind trials of your predecessors, think of their relics and see what they have done and how they have transformed and where they have marched and made their homes.
3. You will realize leaving friends and relations. They are secluded and shortly you will be one amongst them. Now improve yourself and do not make eternity slave to your world. Give up discussion on what you do not know, give up treading the path leading to misguidance, because it is better to overcome adversities than to undergo later pains of misguidance. You are to order virtue, prevent vice with hand and strength, avoid evil, within limits of your range, deny self, as required (when people will deride and persuade you to change your attitude), be steady against worldly attacks and stand pains of trials in life, in maintain truth, acquire religious law, control your passion against unlawful with patience, for the latter is an excellent virtue of character and in all affairs, seek Divine protection.
Make your wants sincere to God, for with Him lies power of gift and withhold. Desire immensely virtue, it is no use learning what does not bring good, give up every act, false or doubtful or misleading. Know, He who kills, enlivens, and He who brings in adversities, removes them, too. The world is for prosperity, adversity and rewards of eternity and on what we do not know is created by God.
4. You were created ignorant, obtained knowledge through Him and to Him should you devote your entire life. Remember, none gave better information regarding the Creator than the Prophet. Hence, adopt his instructions and ways and means, and admit your non-entity and your dependence. Pray for guidance, fear His wrath, displeasure, for he has commanded nothing but virtue, and has forbidden noting but vice. He who realized the world is of a group, which is informed of a field where there is no water and vegetation, he will think of evergreen gardens and will bear difficulties of journeys, distasteful food, to reach the said destination, nor will feel these pains or think of debts to spend on luxuries, and will not prefer any to drawing him nearer to the destination.
5. The man cheated by this world resembles a group living in prosperity and informed of famine stricken area, he will not approve of any suggestion to give up existing pleasures. he will not consider separation.
6. Make your judgment a balance to weight you against others. Choose for others what you choose for you. Do not tyrannize others as you would not like to be tyrannized. Oblige as you would others would unto you, find fault with self, as you would pick with others, be satisfied with others as you would others be satisfied with you. Do not speak what you do not know, talk of what you know, do not relate regarding any acts which you would dislike others would attribute to you. Remember pride prevents reproving and virtue, and is a disaster to reason. Try honestly in earning an honest penny and do not sit down out of pride, do not hoard up for posterity, ad when you attain your aim, kneel down before god and fear Him immensely. Know the path before you is lengthy, difficulties are tremendous and you cannot become independent by acquiring fruitful gardens of provisions, for futurity, and while carrying this provision, you should be lightly loaded (i.e. sinless). Do not carry beyond your strength and help the needy during your being prosperous.
7. Remember well to climb this mountain, it is best to be lightly loaded, everything lawful of the world shall have to be accounted for, and everything unlawful will bring in punishment. Therefore, be content with little of lawful in more than you bear. (This is “piety” of Divine Lights”), this world, lest you be detained (quarantine “wukoof” idleness will bring on misery, seek out places which lie beyond this hill, as after death, there is no forgiveness of sin, nor shall you revert.
8. Remember, God has commanded, “Pray for requisitions” and acceptance thereof. Hence, p ray for requisition and mercy. He has not forbidden penance on sin nor has He hastened punishment. He has not disgraced you; He has not closed against you the door of penance nor turned you hopeless against mercy. Rather, He has fixed a reward for avoiding commission of sins, He has counted your sin as a unit during accounting, and compensated reward ten times likewise. He has opened gates for turning away from sins when you cried at Him, and heard your cry. When you listen to Him He realized it, when you presented your desires, complained of your grievances, applied for removal of trials, prayed his assistance, prayed for merciful bounties, entirely under His control, viz increase in life restoration of health, extension in provisions, He handed over to you the keys of His treasures, and you prayed and He grand them all.
It is necessary therefore; you should not be disappointed at granting of prayers, if delayed because endowments depend on sincerity of intentions and many a time, delay results in increase of reward of the applicant and bounties become plentiful for the desirous. Many a time, turning you away from your desires is more advantageous to you and many a time granting requisition may result in destruction of your eternity. Hence, your requisition must be of a nature, fruits whereof shall last for you, and disaster whereof shall remain away, and not neither property can remain for neither you nor you for it. That is, separation is inevitable with frailty.
9. Know fully you are created for eternity and not for the world, for destruction and not for perpetuity, your creation is for death not for life in this world. You are present in frailty, you live where contentment should rule your wants, you are standing on a road leading to eternity, you are fated to death from which none can escape, nor even one who desires it. Thus, fear death, lest it may seize you while you are engaged in sins. You may be thinking of penance and death seizes you, when you will surely ruin yourself. Remember death immensely, of what shall suddenly fall upon you and shall meet you after death. Avoid greed of the world which you notice, lest you may be duped in it, for verily God has acquainted you with it, and even latter (world) has described itself to you. It has revealed its drawbacks.
10. Verily worldly people are barking dogs, are wild destructive animals, amongst which some bark at others, and rulers of the world devour those disgraced therein, the great of the world tyrannize the weak thereof. These are quadrupeds, a group whereof is hand and foot bound, is imprisoned and the other free. They have lost their senses and have ridden to march to unknown forests. These are wild animals entangled in dreadful forests, from which there is no escape, nor any guide to lead them, the world has tracked them to a blind alley. Their eyes are sewn y guiding angels. These are lost in misguidance and drowned in worldly pleasures. They have made the world their creator, and the world has commenced to play with them. They are engaged in its frailties’ and forgotten what is to follow. Casually lightening glistens the darkness, as though a traveller reached his destination. He who hastens is likely to meet his comrades. Know fully he who has camels going on for day and night is journeying, whereas, otherwise, he is delaying it. Know fully thirst of desires shall never be quenched, and you shall not avoid death.
11. You are on the road on which your predecessors were. Hence, delay worldly desires which lead to collection of property, for every one desirous, do not attain his aim, nor delaying it, remains disappointed. Keep pure your passion, for God has forced you against kneeling before anybody except Him. Where is the advantage in acquiring property by foul means? What is the opulence attained under extreme pains? If you are capable of having none between you and God, do so. You shall have your reward and share. Remember God’s minutest gift is by far superior to human extreme benefits, although all provisions are from Him, direct or otherwise.
12. Loss of your worldly acquisition owing to your silence is easier than loss sustained by talk on inquiry. Control your tongue, as it may involve you in creation of desires, leading to destruction. Bitters of disappointment are preferable to extenuation of hands to others. Engaging in work with self-respect and piety is better than acquiring riches with foul means. A man is a guard to his secrets, and an often time seeks what is destructive to him. The talkative always suffers. He, who undertakes, with sense and consideration, foresees. You keep company with the virtuous and by of them. Avoid evil society and unlawful earning, which is highly evil. Tyrannizing the weak and the aged (mother and father) is awful, when mild treatment likens harsh treatment, latter becomes middle course. Often times, medicine becomes disease and vice versa. Often time advice is sought from fools (their acts teach a lesson). Deny self-depending on desires for latter is capital of fools and wisdom demands recollection of experience and the best experience is what teaches you.
13. Hasten during leisure, lest latter turns into grief and anger, every seeker does not attain his aim nor every traveller returns. The greatest mischief is destruction or accompaniment to eternity, and to deny eternity. Every work has an end, possibly you attain shortly. Worldly industrialist or trader throws himself in destruction. Often, little property brings about plenty, due to excessive blessing. Treat the world and worldly people with consideration so long as they are obedient to you. Treat your brother affectionately. When he is indignant at you and turns against you, draw neat to him. When he distances you, treat him with gifts, when he miserly, when he behaves harshly treat him mildly, when he commits wrong, accept his excuse and forgive him.
Be a subordinate to him as though he is your master, specialize your advice for your religious brother, whether he takes it well or ill. Swallow your anger and wrath for I have not seen sweeter pewter than this. Considering the question of Eternity, he who behaves harshly with you, teat him mildly, for hem turn docile. Oblige your enemy for it results in success by means of friendship or with enmity is sweetest. Do not entirely cut off connection of your brother, this may ultimately draw him near to you. Prove him true, as he thinks well of you. Do not waste your brother’s rights.
14. See your wife and children do not ill-treat you. Do not turn to him who does not turn to you. It is better your yielding is not over-powered by your brother’s tyranny and his ills do not over-power your obligations. Let not his tyranny appear great to you for he has ruined himself and done you good, and it is not fair to do him ill, who has done you good.
15. Remember, provision has two sides: one you look out and the other looking out for you, which will come to you, even if you do not attempt it. What bad habits are to be importuning during poverty and tyrannizing during independence! Nothing in the world is profitable to you until it aims at improving your eternity. If you are sorry for what is lost (feel so from the eternal point of view). If it is worldly, as it is gone, what is contradicting is come will also pass away. Why be sorry for the transitory loss or think of gaining it? Worldly affairs like or unlike, resemble each other. Do not be like one whom advice does no good, until extreme pains reach him, for the wise accepts advice with manners and learning, while animals need caning.1
16. Avoid painful occurrences with fortitude and strength of certainty for he, who gave up the middle course, tyrannizes self. Everyone’s comrade is like in his relation for he speaks and praises well during absence as well. Poor is he who has no friend, often a stranger owing to friendship becomes a relation, and vice versa. He who has exceeded the limits, finds difficult to get on. To him, who is contented with his provision, it will be last. Strongest recommendation is what you have sought before you and God. He who does not sympathize with you is your enemy, and occasionally disappointment with him brings your aim, when you expect destruction of your eternity at his hand, for his association and complying with his evil desires, will lead you to hell.
Postpone evils for you can hurry at any time. Denying obligation to the ignorant and the ungrateful is equivalent to obliging the sensible grateful. He who is restive with the times, owing to property and children, will be deceived thereby. Before inquiring difficulties and pleasures of travel, ascertain good and evil of the companion. Before inquiring of the house ascertain the nature of neighbours. Avoid jokes and consulting women, their intentions are weak and idle. Enforce Pardah, as it is a guard to their chastity. Do not give them liberty undertake your work. Do not let them recommend strangers, fix responsibility on each. Respect and oblige your family for they are your shoulders.
- 1. Provision is a fixed allotment, legally fixed by God. If it is spend under consideration and lawful earning leads to longevity of life, and when earned illegally being subject to passion (reduces by so much from legal destiny) it is soon wasted, with reduction of life, thus sum total remaining the same as per “Law-he-Mahfue” varying as per varying tendency annually as per Law-he-Mahv. That which is given is virtues is a gift for others, at his hands, for his deservedness and which is dissipated in vices is unlawful, spent by the vicious under him. If out of it, goes to virtue, goes to extend life. P.S. Advice, though addressed to his son, who is also Divine Taught, refers for general education, alike may references in Divine Text although addressed to the prophet, really meant for the public at large.