Part 25: Quranic Expressions denote to the Holy Imams
‘Maa-e-Maeen’ (Flowing water), ‘Be-ar-e-Motala’ (Deserted well), ‘Qasr-e-Mushayyad’(high palace), ‘Sahab, ‘Barish’, and ‘Favakeh’ and all those apparent things which give benefits refer to the Pure Imams (a.s.), their sciences and blessings
There are many verses in this regard.
قُلْ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَصْبَحَ مَاؤُكُمْ غَوْرًا فَمَنْ يَأْتِيكُمْ بِمَاءٍ مَعِينٍ.
Say: Have you considered if your water should go down, who is it then that will bring you flowing water? (Surah Mulk 67 :30)
There is a tradition from Ali Ibne Ibrahim that this means if your Imam goes in concealment who is there who can bring an Imam similar to the original one?
There is also a tradition from Imam Ridha (a.s.) that he said in the explanation of this verse that your water from your Lord is at your door and the Holy Imams are the doors of Allah towards you whom Allah has opened for His creatures and the flowing water refers to the knowledge of Imam.
Shaykh Tusi in Ghaibat narrates from Imam Moosa Kazim on the explanation of this verse that he said: If you do not find your Imam, he goes into occultation and you do not see him, then what will you do?
Ibne Mahyar has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that if your Imam goes into occultation because of your bad deeds who will bring a new Imam for you?
There are many traditions on this topic. Water denotes knowledge, as water is necessary for the life of the body and in the same way the Shias have got knowledge from their Imam and it is for keeping the soul alive, because they have the trait of doing good and water is necessary for a brief life on the earth and knowledge is necessary for the everlasting life of the hereafter. And the inner meaning of the verse is not against the outer one and both are applicable, because Quran has seven interiors rather seventy interiors (meanings).
وَأَلَّوْ اسْتَقَامُوا عَلَى الطَّرِيقَةِ لَأَسْقَيْنَاهُمْ مَاءً غَدَقًا.
And that if they should keep to the (right) way, We would certainly give them to drink of abundant water. (Surah Jinn 72:16)
It means if they had remained steadfast on the right path, and strayed to the path of misguidance We would have made them drink a lot of water. There is a tradition from Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) in Kafi and Manaqib that had they had remained steadfast on the Wilayat of Ali Ibne Abi Talib and his successors and on their love and had a firm faith in their Imamate, We would have filled their hearts with the pure faith. The inner meaning of this verse is also as mentioned.
فَكَأَيِّنْ مِنْ قَرْيَةٍ أَهْلَكْنَاهَا وَهِيَ ظَالِمَةٌ فَهِيَ خَاوِيَةٌ عَلَى عُرُوشِهَا وَبِئْرٍ مُعَطَّلَةٍ وَقَصْرٍ مَشِيدٍ.
So how many a town did We destroy while it was unjust, so it was fallen down upon its roofs, and (how many a) deserted well and palace (Qasr) raised high. (Surah Haj 22:45)
Most commentators say that it is the well located at the foot of the mountain, Hadaramaut. And ‘Qasr’ refers to the palace on the top of that mountain; and they were built by the people of Hanzala Ibne Safwan who were the surviving people from the nation of Prophet Saleh (a.s.). When Hanzala killed their Prophet, Allah destroyed them, and the well and the palace became deserted.1
Ibne Babawayh from authentic chains has narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that the deserted well refers to the silent Imam, whose right has been usurped and due to fear of opposition he was unable to declare his Imamate; whosoever desires can gain wisdom from that well and benefit himself. The ‘palace’ refers to the speaking Imam, who can speak without dissimulation (Taqaiyyah) and fear and can openly declare his Imamate and that Imam is in occultation who does not speak and whose time of Imamate has not come. The speaking Imam is the one who has appeared.
Also according to another tradition the ‘palace raised high’ refers to Ali (a.s.) and the ‘deserted well’ is Fatima (s.a.) and her children and the Imams who are away from rulership and kingship and their right was snatched away.
In Manaqib it is narrated from the Holy Prophet (S) that both ‘the palace raised high’ and ‘the deserted well’ refer to Amirul Momineen (a.s.).2
وَالْبَلَدُ الطَّيِّبُ يَخْرُجُ نَبَاتُهُ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِ وَالَّذِي خَبُثَ لَا يَخْرُجُ إِلَّا نَكِدًا كَذَلِكَ نُصَرِّفُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَشْكُرُونَ.
And as for the good land, its Vegetation springs forth (abundantly) by the permission of its Lord, and (as for) that which is inferior (its herbage) comes forth but scantily, thus do we repeat the communications for a people who give thanks. (Surah Araf 7:58)
It is narrated by Ali Ibne Ibrahim that ‘the good land’ is a metaphor for the Imams, whose knowledge is effortlessly gained from the Almighty Allah and ‘inferior land’ denotes their enemies, whose knowledge is dirty and invalid and if a little knowledge of theirs reaches the people that also does not benefit.
Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated from Ibne Abbas that Allah has given these as similes of a believer and a disbeliever. Though all land is of one kind, some are pure as they become soft due to rain and good vegetation grows from them and production is also more from them and some are salty and rocky on which nothing grows and if something grows, it carries no benefit. In the same way the heart is made of flesh and blood, but some hearts become soft due to good advice and some are hard, which do not accept any advice. That is those whose hearts becomes soft due to the remembrance of Allah, should thank Allah.3
إِنَّ اللَّهَ فَالِقُ الْحَبِّ وَالنَّوَى يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنْ الْمَيِّتِ وَمُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتِ مِنْ الْحَيِّ ذَلِكُمْ اللَّهُ فَأَنَّا تُؤْفَكُونَ. فَالِقُ الْإِصْبَاحِ وَجَعَلَ اللَّيْلَ سَكَنًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ حُسْبَانًا ذَلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ.
Surely Allah causes the grain and the stone to germinate, He brings forth the living from the dead and He is the bringer froth of the dead from the living, that is Allah, how are you then turned away. (Surah Anam 6:96)
It is narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that ‘grain’ refers to the believer whom Allah takes as His friend and ‘stone’ refers to the unbeliever who is far from everything.
According to another tradition the germinating of seeds refers to the manifestation of the knowledge of the Holy Imams and ‘stone’ denotes those from whom knowledge is away.
According another tradition ‘grain’ refers to the original clay (Teenat) of the believer, in whom His love has been created and ‘stone’ refers to the Teenat of an unbeliever. Allah brings life from the dead one means that the Teenat differentiates an unbeliever from the believer and according to another tradition He brings the believer out from the ‘loins’ of an unbeliever.
I have given the implicit explanation in Biharul Anwar.
وَأَصْحَابُ الْيَمِينِ مَا أَصْحَابُ الْيَمِينِ. فِي سِدْرٍ مَخْضُودٍ. وَطَلْحٍ مَنْضُودٍ. وَظِلٍّ مَمْدُودٍ. وَمَاءٍ مَسْكُوبٍ. وَفَاكِهَةٍ كَثِيرَةٍ. لَا مَقْطُوعَةٍ وَلَا مَمْنُوعَةٍ. وَفُرُشٍ مَرْفُوعَةٍ.
And the companions of the right hand, how happy are the companions of the right hand. Amid thorn less lote-trees and banana-trees (with fruits) one above another. And extended shade, and water flowing constantly, And abundant fruit, Neither intercepted nor forbidden, and exalted thrones. (Surah Waqiah 56:27-36)
There is a tradition in Basairud Darajat from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that all these refer to Imam (a.s.) and their sciences that benefit the people.4
بِِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَانِ الرَّحِيمِ. وَالتِّينِ وَالزَّيْتُونِ. وَطُورِ سِينِينَ. وَهَذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ. لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ. ثُمَّ رَدَدْنَاهُ أَسْفَلَ سَافِلِينَ. إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ فَلَهُمْ أَجْرٌ غَيْرُ مَمْنُونٍ. فَمَا يُكَذِّبُكَ بَعْدُ بِالدِّينِ. أَلَيْسَ اللَّهُ بِأَحْكَمِ الْحَاكِمِينَ.
I swear by the fig and the olive, And mount Sinai, And this city made secure, Certainly We created man in the best make.
Then We render him the lowest of the low. Except those who believe and do good, so they shall have a reward never to be cut off. Then who can give you the lie after (this) about the judgment? Is not Allah the best of the Judges (Surah Tin 95:1-8)
Commentators have said that Almighty Allah took the oath of Figs and Olive because Fig is a pure fruit which gets digested soon and it is medicinal too and has many uses and Olive is a fruit which is used to make stew and it is a beneficial fruit.
Some have said that they are the names of two mountains.
And mount Sinai,
It is the mountain on which Prophet Moosa prayed.
And this city made secure,
It means the exalted Mecca.
Certainly We created man in the best make.
It means that We have created human beings implicitly and explicitly in the best way.
Except those who believe and do good, so they shall have a reward never to be cut off.
Then who can give you the lie after (this) about the judgment?
Strange things are narrated in the explanation of this Surah.
Ali Ibne Ibrahim narrates ‘Fig’ refers to the Holy Prophet (S) and ‘olive’ refers to Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and ‘Mt. Sinai’ refers to Imams Hasan and Husain (a.s.) and in this Surah ‘man’ refers to the first unjust (caliph) who would go into the lowest compartment of Hell.
‘Except those who believe..’ refers to Amirul Momineen (a.s.). ‘so they shall have a reward never to be cut off.’ means that Allah does not show the obligation of the reward that He bestows. Thus Allah asks the Prophet what all the people deny in the matter of religion? — it means about the Imamate of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
Ibne Mahyar has through many sources narrated that ‘Fig’ refers to Hasan (a.s.) and ‘olive’ refers to Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and ‘the city made secure’ refers to the Holy Prophet (S) because one who follows the Prophet (S) becomes fearless of the punishment of Allah. ‘Certainly We created man in the best make.’ refers to the first tyrant (caliph), from whom Allah had taken the oath of His Lordship, the Messengership of Muhammad (S) and the Imamate of his vicegerents, so he apparently accepted those things, but afterwards he usurped the right of the Aale Muhammad and did whatever injustice he liked upon them. So Allah has put him in the lowest section of Hell.
Except those who believe and do good, so they shall have a reward never to be cut off.
These denote Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and his Shias.
Then who can give you the lie after (this) about the judgment?
The Hazrat said that the verse was revealed in this way and ‘judgement’ refers to the Wilayat of Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
There is a tradition in Khisal that ‘fig’ refers to Medina and ‘olive’ refers to Baitul Muqaddas and ‘Mt. Sinai’ is Kufa and ‘city made secure’ refers to Mecca.5
- 1. For details refer to Hayatul Qulub, Volume 1
- 2. The writer says: On the basis explanations recorded in traditions it is possible that the destruction of the town refers to their spiritual destruction, their misguidance and deviation as they have derived any benefit from the Silent Imam and the Talking Imam. These explanations are based on the points stated earlier. The spiritual life is compared to the apparent life and spiritual benefits are compared to the physical benefits. Since all details are provided in Biharul Anwar it is not possible to repeat them here.
- 3. The writer says: From explanations recorded in traditions it is possible that it is an indication towards good or bad; that a person with good ‘teenat’ accepts the sciences of divine recognition and accepts Allah’s graces in life, while those having a bad ‘teenat’ get only ignorance and evil. They cannot benefit from the divine grace and the guidance of Allah.
- 4. The writer says: These explanations are deep and it is possible that it may be that Paradise of the believers depends upon the manifested Paradise, which would be bestowed by the Almighty in the hereafter. Rather in this world too there is a spiritual Paradise for them due to the blessings of the Holy Imams (a.s.) and they bestow the shade of sympathy, help and intercession over the heads of the Shias, and due to the spring of their knowledge and sciences the souls of the believers become alive and the abundance of fruits are their different types of wisdoms and recognition which are never ending and there is no restriction for the Shias regarding them. ‘And exalted thrones’ refers to their good manners and ethics, from which they acquire good manners and happiness, and in the hereafter also their physical and spiritual joy would increase as explained in Ainul Hayat and other books.
- 5. The writer says: On the basis of explanations recorded in traditions the word ‘teen’ (figs) refers to Imam Hasan (a.s.) because the fig is the most delicious fruit and another tradition says that the fig is the fruit of Paradise and it has many benefits and Imam Hasan (a.s.) is created from the fruit of Paradise. It is the knowledge and wisdom of the Prophet that reaches the world and increases the spirit of the Shias. The olive denotes Imam Husain (a.s.) because it has many good qualities. Fine oil is obtained from it that cures physical pains. In the same way Imam Husain is the nearest one to Allah (the most loved person) and his knowledge imparts strength to the hearts of the believers and due to the Holy light of his Imamate which reached his children and due to the Holy light of his children all the near proximate ones of Allah get guidance. It is mentioned in the explanation of the verse of Noor that Allah has compared his Holy light to the olive and the ‘mountain’ refers to Amirul Momineen (a.s.) due to many reasons. The first reason is that the merits of Imam Ali (a.s.) and his Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) were revealed to Moosa (a.s.) on this mountain as mentioned in many traditions.
The second reason is that Hazrat Moosa was having an exalted status and was steadfast in religious affairs and in magnanimity he was firm like a mountain. Thus on the day of his martyrdom Hazrat Khizr (a.s.) addressed him: You were like a mountain in the matter of religion— strong and firm and even the wind could not move it. In the same way he was firm in belief in times of great calamities.
The third reason is that as mountains are pegs of the earth that hold it firm and do not allow it to shake, in the same way as long as Amirul Momineen (a.s.) or his descendants, the Holy Imams (a.s.), are present on the earth, it would remain firm due to their blessings. As mentioned in many traditions if the Imam is not there on the earth for a fraction of a second, it would surely get destroyed. Shia and Sunni scholars narrate that the Prophet (S) said: Ali is the peg of this earth due to which it is firm and steady.
The fourth reason is that the Prophet (S) is the place where the holy lights are revealed, as it was the Mt. Sina.
The fifth reason is that the two sons of the Holy Prophet (S) are the example of fig and olive. As the father so are the sons born through him, and these two fruits grow best on mountains.
The ‘secure city’ denotes the Prophet (S) for many reasons.
Firstly, the Prophet (S) was a resident of Mecca and the holiness of that place is due to his presence.
Secondly the Prophet (S) compared to other prophets is like Mecca having superiority over other cities.
Thirdly, one who brought faith on the Holy Prophet (S) and his progeny entered the Wilayat (Mastership) of the holy sanctuary and became fearless from the misguidance of this world and punishment of the hereafter, in the same way as a person enters Mecca becomes fearless about the problems and difficulties of this world and if he enters with faith he would be saved from difficulties of both the worlds. The Holy Prophet (S) said: I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its door. Now all the explanations of those traditions, which I had given earlier, can be understood easily. But ‘Insan’ denotes ‘na-naas’, and it is possible it is for the first one. The reason for its revelation may that the verse is general or because he was the most unjust one to enter the lowest position in Hell and the basis for the evil of all his followers. Just as ‘those who believe’ denotes Ali (a.s.) because he was the most perfect among believers and his faith excelled over others. In this case the exception would be dropped. The plural is used for respect or it includes all other Holy Imams (a.s.). Allah knows best.