Jesus through Shiite Narrations

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Categorized collection of hadith (narrations) on Prophet Jesus (a) from the Shia books of Hadith. Topics include: His childhood, characteristics, the disciples, children of Israel, the Gospel, supplications to God among others.

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Preface

What is offered here is a fairly comprehensive selection of the narrations pertaining to Jesus (‘a) said to have been reported by the Shi‘i Imams, peace be with them. It is generally admitted that not everything reported in this literature is correct, and the science of hadith has been developed by Muslim scholars precisely for the purpose of sorting through the narrations and evaluating their strength. No attempt has been made in what follows to select only ahadith considered reliable.

The narrations selected provide an overview of what various reporters of ahadith have claimed that the Imams have said about Jesus (‘a). At the same time, we cannot claim that our selection exhausts all such narrations. Sometimes we have found several reports that differ only in some insignificant details, in which case we have generally selected the most complete form of the report.

Also omitted are reports in which Jesus is mentioned only incidentally, although where such incidental mention seemed interesting to us, we have provided the excerpt from the hadith. The isnad, or chains of transmission that accompany the reports, have been omitted from the English translations since they would only be of use to those who have fluency in Arabic.

It is rather disheartening to find that so much misunderstanding remains between Christians and Muslims in the world today. Hopefully the collection presented here will be seen by Christians as a gift from the Shi‘ah to show the reverence they have for Jesus (‘a). The vision of Jesus (‘a) to be found here is different from that of Christianity, and the difference is bound to lead some to respond negatively, “No. The Christ we know is not like that.”

We are not concerned to argue here for the veracity of the vision of Christ presented. Of course Christians will deny what conflicts with their beliefs. However, it is hoped that the reader will be able to bracket the question of what reports about Jesus (‘a) are best considered factual, because this question depends on the standards used for such evaluations, whether doctrinal, historical or otherwise.

According to our faith, as Shi‘ah, the overall picture of Christ presented below is true, although questions may be raised about particular narrations or details thereof. This is how we think of Christ. It is a different way of thinking about him from what is familiar to Christians. However, it is by no means disrespectful, and it offers a way to understand the more general religious vision of Islam, particularly Shi‘ia Islam.

It is up to our readers to choose to respond by focusing on differences and rejecting what is contrary to their beliefs, or to find how much we have in common and on this basis to search for what is of value in the Muslim’s view, even where it differs from what one is prepared to accept.

We expect that our readers will include English speaking Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’ia, as well as Christians. To them we offer this collection as an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with Islamic teachings about Jesus, and hope that it will inspire better relations between Muslims and Christians. Even as we stand fast in our own faith, we should be prepared to deepen our appreciation of the commitment of Christians to follow the teachings of one held in such high esteem in the Qur’an and ahadith.

In the glorious Qur’an, in a passage describing the annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus (‘a) is described as a Word from God:

O Mary! Verily Allah gives you the glad tidings of a Word from Him; his name is the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, prominent in this world and in the Hereafter of those near [to God]. (3:44)

The context in which this ayah was revealed was one of interreligious encounter. It is said that the Christians of Najran sent a delegation to the Prophet of Islam (S) at Mecca to question him about the teachings of Islam concerning Jesus (‘a), and that God revealed the above and other ayat of Surah Al-i ‘Imran in response. The response is not merely a denial of Christian teachings, although the divinity of Christ is clearly rejected, but an affirmation of much believed by Christians, as well, even the designation of Christ as logos:

O People of the Book! Do not transgress in your religion, and do not say of Allah but the Truth. Verily, the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, is only an apostle of Allah and His Word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a Spirit from Him. (4:171)

So, in addition to being called the Word of God, Jesus (‘a) is also called the Spirit of God, and in some of the narrations reported in the Shi‘i tradition, this title is used.

Of course, the interpretation of the logos in Christian theology differs markedly from the interpretation of the kalimah by Muslim scholars. For the Christian, according to the Gospel of John, the Word was God and the Word became flesh. For the Muslim, on the other hand, the Word is creature, even while it is the creative principle, for it is in God’s utterance of the word “Be!” that creation takes place.

To call Christ the Word of Allah is not to deify him, but to verify his status as prophet. Because of his high status as prophet, Jesus (‘a) becomes a complete manifestation of God, one who conveys the message of God, one who can speak on behalf of God, and thus, the Word of God.

Jesus (‘a) becomes the Word of God not because of an incarnation whereby his flesh becomes divine, but because his spirit is refined to such an extent that it becomes a mirror whereby divinity comes to be known. The temple is holy not because of any inherent sanctity in the structure, but because it is the place of the worship of God.

The differences between Islamic and Christian thinking about Jesus (‘a) are as important as they are subtle. Both accept the virgin birth, although it is ironic that a growing number of liberal Christians have come to have doubts about this miracle while Muslims remain steadfast! Among the other miracles attributed to Jesus (‘a) in the Glorious Qur’an are the revival of the dead and the creation of a bird from clay, but all of the miracles performed by Jesus (‘a) are expressly by the permission of Allah.

Just as in the miracle of his birth, Jesus (‘a) came into the world by a human mother and divine spirit, so too, his miracles are performed as human actions with divine permission. In this regard the error of the Christians is explained by the great Sufi theoretician, Ibn al-‘Arabi, as follows:

This matter has led certain people to speak of incarnation and to say that, in reviving the dead, he is God. Therefore, since they conceal God, Who in reality revives the dead, in the human form of Jesus, He has said,

They are concealers [unbelievers] who say that God is the Messiah, son of Mary.(5:72)1

The point is that Muslims can find God in Jesus (‘a) without deifying him, and furthermore that deifying Jesus (‘a) is really an obstacle to their finding God in Jesus (‘a), for deification is an obstacle to searching in Jesus (‘a) for anything beyond him.

One of the central questions of Christian theology is: “Who was Jesus Christ?” The formulation of answers to this question is called Christology. In this area of theology, Christians have debated the significance of the historical Jesus as opposed to the picture of Jesus presented in the traditions of the Christian Churches and the Biblical understanding of Jesus.

The time has come for Muslims to begin work in this area, as well. Through the development of an Islamic Christology we can come to a better understanding of Islam as contrasted with Christianity, and Islam in consonance with Christianity, too. Indeed, the first steps in this direction are laid out for us in the Qur’an itself, in the verses mentioned above and others.

Contemporary work toward an Islamic Christology is scarce. Christian authors have tended to stress the salvific function of Jesus (‘a) which seems to have no place in Islam, which leads to questions of religious pluralism when Christians ask one another whether Christ (‘a) can be the savior of Muslims and others who are not Christians.

Christians should be reminded that Muslims accept Jesus (‘a) as savior, along with all the other prophets, for the prophetic function is to save humanity from the scourge of sin by conveying the message of guidance revealed by God. The important difference between Islam and Christianity here is not over the issue of whether Jesus (‘a) saves, but how he saves. Islam denies that salvation is through redemption resulting from the crucifixion, and instead turns its attention to the instruction provided in the life of the prophets (‘a).

Christian scholarship on Jesus as presented in Islam tends to ignore hadith and focus on the Qur’an. Often the research is polemical as authors attempt to support an interpretation of the Qur’an that is more in keeping with Christian than Islamic doctrine. A general review and introduction to this work may be found in Neal Robinson’s Christ in Islam and Christianity.22

Muslims, on the other hand, have tended to produce their own polemical works showing how much of what is in the Bible is consistent with the Islamic view of Christ (‘a) as prophet rather than as a person of the Trinity.3 Ahmad Deedat’s work along these lines has attracted much attention.

More profound insights into the differences between Islam and other faiths, including Christianity, may be found in the writings of Frithjof Schuon, Shaykh ‘Isa Nur al-Din Ahmad, who presents the beginnings of a genuine Christology from a Sufi perspective in his Islam and the Perennial Philosophy.4

In his The Muslim Jesus : Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature, Tarif Khalidi has collected Islamic references to Jesus from the eighth to the 18th centuries, including mystical works, historical texts about prophets and saints and selections from the hadith and Qur’an.5 As Khalidi notes, these writings, form the largest body of texts relating to Jesus in any non-Christian literature.

These days there is much discussion of dialogue between different faith communities. Conferences have been held for this purpose in the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as in Africa, Europe and the United States.

Perhaps one of the best ways Christians can find common ground for discussion with Muslims is to become familiar with the portrait of Jesus (‘a) presented in Islamic sources, the most important of which are the Qur’an and ahadith, and for the latter, no matter what one’s religious orientation, it must be admitted that the narrations handed down through the Household of the Prophet (S) deserve careful attention.

For those of us who have the honour of being counted among the Shi‘ah, the importance of what has been related by the Ahl al-Bayt weighs especially heavily, as it should, according to the famous hadith al-thaqalayn, in which the Prophet (S),in the last year of his life, is reported to have said:

Verily, I am leaving with you two weighty things (thaqalayn): the Book of Allah and my kindred, my household, for indeed, the two of them will never separate until they return to me by the Pond [of Kauthar on the Last Day].

Perhaps some Christians will be dismissive of what is said of Jesus (‘a) in the Islamic narrations because the main debate about contemporary Christology among Christians is whether research about the historical Jesus (‘a)is relevant to religion, or whether knowledge of Jesus (‘a)requires attention to the role he plays in the Church and in theology.

The Islamic narrations, coming centuries after the life of Christ (‘a)(and in some cases more than a century after the life of Muhammad (S)) will likely be dismissed by liberal Christians in pursuit of a portrait of Jesus (‘a) based on the standards of historical research currently accepted in the West. The neo-orthodox Christian claims that the Savoir is not to be found in history, but in the Church, so it will not be surprising if he displays no interest in what Islam has to say about Christ (‘a).

However, the Christian may find that the Islamic perspective illuminates a middle ground between the historian’s emphasis on the natural and the ecclesiastical emphasis on the supernatural. The humanity of Jesus (‘a) is evident in the narrations of the Shi‘ah, but it is a humanity transformed, a perfected humanity, and as such there is no denying its supernatural dimension.

The Muslim always seems to appear as a stranger to the Christian, but perhaps it is from the stranger that the Christian can best come to know his savoir. The crucifix has hung in the Church for so long that it becomes difficult for the Christian to find significance there.

The attraction of the quest for the historical Jesus is that it provides a fresh look at the subject, even if that quest is marred by naturalistic presumptions inimical to the religious outlook. By trying to see Jesus (‘a)as the Muslim sees him, the Christian may find his savoir come to life, lifted up to God in his own inner life rather than crucified.6

If we have given reason for Christians to study the narrations of the Shi‘ah about Jesus (‘a), the question of the value of such study for Muslims remains. Some might wonder why, when we have the Qur’an and sunnah, we should be especially interested in Jesus (‘a).

To begin with, Jesus (‘a), along with the prophets Noah, Abraham, Moses, Peace be with them, and Muhammad (S) has a special status in Islam as one of the greatest prophets, the ulu’ al-‘azm, the prophets who brought the divine law.

What was revealed to the last of them is a confirmation of what was revealed to the others. The truth of the revelation is not to be found in its particularity but in its universality, and we come to understand this best when we understand the teachings of all the prophets (‘a). Is this not why so much attention is given to the previous prophets in the Qur’an?

All of the prophets (‘a) have brought a gospel of love, love of God and love of neighbour and love even for the meanest of His creatures. So, in the reports narrated below we find Jesus (‘a) giving some of his food to the creatures of the sea.

At the same time, however, this love is not to be confused with a sentimentalism which would prevent the execution of the divine law. Jesus (‘a) found fault with the Pharisees not because of their regard for the exterior forms of religion, but because of their disregard for its interior forms, that is, because of their hypocrisy.7

The Words of the Spirit of Allah reported in the selections that follow are primarily concerned with morals. These are Christian morals and at the same time Islamic morals. Today Christendom is in a state of moral upheaval. Peculiarly modern ideas of what is right and wrong have found their way into the theologians’ understandings of ethics.

Significant areas of agreement are difficult to find. The simple morality taught by Jesus (‘a) and which continues to be emphasized in Islam resonates in the narrations of the Shi‘ah. While excessive asceticism is forbidden, we are to turn, like Jesus (‘a), away from the world to find refuge in God.

From the following narrations we not only become reacquainted with the moral teachings of Jesus (‘a) and with his character, but we also discover what the dear friends of Allah, the Household of the Prophet (S) found it important to transmit about him, and thereby we get a glimpse into their moral teachings and characters, too.

  • 1. Ibn al-‘Arabi, The Bezels of Wisdom (Fusus al-Hikam), tr. R. W. J. Austin (Lahore: Suhail, 1988), p. 177.
  • 2. Neal Robinson, Christ in Islam and Christianity (Albany: SUNY, 1991), ch. 2. This work also contains an excellent survey of how Muslim historians and apologists have approached issues pertaining to Christ and Christianity, and an examination of various exegeses of the Qur’an on the verses about Jesus.
  • 3. For example, see Ahmed Deedat, Was Jesus Crucified? (Chicago: Kazi, 1992).
  • 4. Frithjof Schuon, Islam and the Perennial Philosophy (Lahore: Suhail, 1985).
  • 5. Tarif Khalidi, the Muslim Jesus: Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003).
  • 6. We are reminded by the glorious Qur’an: “Recall when God said: ‘O Jesus, I will take you away and lift you up to Me.’”. (3:54)
  • 7. Cf. Matt. 23:25.

Sources

Bihar al-Anwar is a collection of ahadith in Arabic written by Mawla Muhammad Baqir ibn Muhammad Taqi, known as Majlisi the Second, or simply ‘Allamah Majlisi (A.H. 1037-1110). He is one of the most prolific Shi‘i writers, and was Shaykh al-Islam during the Safavid period. He authored thirteen books in Arabic and fifty-three in Farsi. His largest and most important work is Bihar al-Anwar al-Jami‘ah li-Durar Akhbar al-A’immah al-Athar.

This is the most comprehensive of all collections of Shi‘i ahadith, and it includes almost all ahadith attributed to the Prophet (S) through Shi‘i chains of transmission, almost all of the ahadith qudsi (narrations of the words of God revealed to the Prophet (S) not included in the Qur’an) and other narrations attributed to the Imams.

One of the features of this work is that ‘Allamah Majlisi went to great pains to separate his own views from the transmission of the ahadith. It took him thirty-six years to compile the work, from A.H. 1070 to A.H. 1106, with the cooperation of other scholars of the day and students.

In the first volume, he identifies his sources, and later in the same volume he evaluates their reliability. His sources include close to four hundred titles, among which are sixteen works of Shaykh Saduq, sixteen works of Shaykh Tusi, eighteen works of Shaykh Mufid, twelve works of Sayyid Murtada, twelve works of Shahid Awwal, twenty-one works of Sayyid ibn Tawus, twenty-three works of ‘Allamah Hilli and twelve works of Shahid Thani.

He also made use of ninety works by Sunni authors for correcting the words of the narrations or determining their meanings, and he mentions each of these sources by name in his introduction. There are three extant editions that have been published of Bihar, one is a lithograph print in twenty-five volumes, known as the old edition. The second is that of Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyyah, Tehran, Bazar Sultani, in one hundred ten volumes (no date), known as the new edition.

In the Terhan edition, volumes 54, 55 and 56 contain a table of contents. The third edition is really just a reprint of the Tehran edition published by Mu’assasah al-Wafa’ of Beirut. In the Beirut edition, the contents have been moved to volumes 108, 109 and 110, and a volume 0 was added in which there is an introduction to the author and the authors of his sources.1 We have used the new edition published in Tehran.

Tuhaf al-‘Uqul fi Ma Ja’a min al-Hikam wa al-Mawa‘iz ‘an Al al-Rasul by Abu Muhammad Hasan ibn ‘Ali ibn Husayn ibn Shu‘bah Harrani Halabi is one of the most well known collections of Shi‘i narrations. The author was a contemporary of Shaykh Saduq and died in A.H. 381. Shaykh Mufid reports narrations from him, and he, in turn, reports traditions from Shaykh Abu ‘Ali Muhammad ibn Hammam, who died in A.H. 336.

The book contains narrations from the Prophet (S) followed by narrations of the first eleven Imams in order. After this, there are four more parts to the book: (1) the whispered counsel (munajat) of God to Moses; (2) the whispered counsel of God to Jesus (‘a); (3) the advice of the Messiah in the gospel and other places; and (4) advice of Mufaddal ibn ‘Umar, one of the companions of Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) to the Shi‘ah. In the introduction to this work, Ibn Shu‘bah writes:

I did not mention the chains of transmission in order to reduce the volume of the book and keep it short. Most of the narrations in this book are ones I have heard. Most of them pertain to manners and wisdom which testify to their own validity and the correctness of their attribution.

Scholars in this field consider the work to be reliable and refer to it in support of their opinions about ahadith and fiqh. The book was first published in A.H. 1303 in Iran, and later in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran.2 The edition we have used is that of Qom: Mu’assasah al-Nashr al-Islami, A.H. 1416.

The narrations we have translated from Tuhaf al-‘Uqul are given without mention of a chain of transmission, although there is an indication in this work that they are reported by Imam Musa ibn Ja‘far al-Kadhim (‘a).3 Part of the narration may also be found in al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 319, attributed to Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a).

Al-Kafi is one of the four most authoritative sources of Shi‘i narrations. It was written by Muhammad ibn Ya‘qub ibn Ishaq al-Kulayni al-Razi (d. A.H. 328) and contains six thousand narrations divided into thirty-four sections. It took twenty years to write during the minor occultation of the twelfth Imam. It has been published in eight volumes in Tehran by Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyyah.

We have used the 1362/1983 edition. The whispered counsel of God to Jesus (‘a) translated below from al-Kafi, Vol. 8, 131-141, may also be found in Tuhaf al-‘Uqul, p. 496, without mention of the name of the Imam from whom it was narrated, and in Al-Amali of Shaykh Saduq it is narrated from Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a).

Another of the “four books” of Shi‘i narrations containing reports about Jesus (‘a) is Tahdhib al-Ahkam by Shaykh al-Ta’ifah Abu Ja‘far Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali al-Tusi (b. A.H. 385, d. A.H. 460). There are said to have been four hundred small books of Shi‘i narrations extant during the author’s lifetime, known as Usul al-Arba‘ah Mi’ah, and the author claims to have compiled this collection from these.

This book is a commentary on Al-Muqni‘ah of Shaykh Mufid, a work of jurisprudence containing references to ahadith. The edition of the Tahdhib al-Ahkam we have used is that of Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyyah, no date.

Mustadrak al-Wasa’il wa Mustanbat al-Masa’il by Hajj Mirza Husayn Nuri al-Tabarsi ibn Muhammad Taqi (A.H. 1254-1320) contains more than twenty-three thousand narrations and has been published in Qom by Mu’assasah Al al-Baytu li Ihya’ al-Turath,first edition published in A.H. 1408.

This is considered one of the four most important collections of Shi‘i ahadith of the modern period, that is, after the eleventh/seventeenth century, the others being Al-Wafi by Fayd Kashani, Bihar al-Anwar by ‘Allamah Majlisi andWasa’il al-Shi‘ah by Shaykh Hurr al-‘Amili. It was written in order to complete the narrations not included in the Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah.4

Muhammad Legenhausen

The Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute, Qom
Muharram 1425/March 2004

  • 1. This information is given in the article “Bihar al-Anwar” by Baha’ al-Din Khoramshahi in Dayirah al-Ma‘arif Tashshayyu‘, Vol. 3, (Tehran: Mu’assasah Dayirah al-Ma‘arif Tashshayyu‘, 1371/1992), p. 91-98.
  • 2. See the article “Tuhaf al-‘Uqul” by Sayyid Mahdi Ha’iri in Dayirah al-Ma‘arif Tashshayyu‘, Vol. 4, (Tehran: Mu’assasah Dayirah al-Ma‘arif Tashshayyu‘, 1373/1994), p. 169.
  • 3. Tuhaf al-‘Uqul, p. 392.
  • 4. I would like to express my gratitude to ‘Abbas Husayni for assitance in the translation of some of the ahadithand to Muntazar Qaim for his guidance in the translation of all of them. Thanks also are due to Prof. Tofighi, Hadi Yusufi Gharavi for their Suggestions. We are also grateful to the Imam Khoemini Education and Research Institute for providing the opportunity for this work.

Introduction

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) has always been revered and held in high esteem among Christians and Muslims, but there are differences as well as common points.

Those who are familiar with the character of Christ, whether Muslim or Christian, will find many such points by reading this book. Prior to the publication of this collection, the valuable book of Tarif Khalidi, The Muslim Jesus, Sayings and Stories in Islamic Literature, has introduced Jesus as understood mostly through narrations found in the collections of Sunni Muslims.

Today, the present book, Jesus through Shi‘ite Narrations, introduces Jesus from the perspective of the Imams of the Household of the Prophet, peace be with them.

According to Shi‘ite narrations, ‘Imran and Hannah were the parents of Mary; and Allah revealed to Imran: “I will grant you a boy, blessed, who will cure the blind and the leper and who will raise the dead by My permission.” When Mary was born Hannah said: “O my Lord! Verily I have delivered a female,” and when Mary grew up, the angels said to her,

O Mary! Verily Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds. (3:42)

Then the Sure Spirit (al-Ruh al-Amin) came down at noon on a Friday and said to her:

I am but a messenger come from your Lord, to give you a boy most pure. (19:19)

Then he blew into her breast and she became pregnant with Jesus. When Jesus, the spirit of Allah and His word, was born, on the night of the twenty-fifth of the twelfth lunar month, Dhul Hijjah, Mary said:

Oh! Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten in oblivion (19:23)

Then Allah opened the tongue of Jesus and he said:

Verily, I am a servant of Allah. He has given me the Book, and has made me a prophet, and has made me blessed wherever I may be. And He has enjoined on me prayer and charity (zakah) as long as I live. (19:30-31)

Allah made his speech as an exoneration of his mother.

That night Iblis (the devil) went to the East and West in search of him. Then he found him in a room of a convent, with the angels surrounding him. He tried to get close to him. The angels shouted, “Get away!” He said to them, “Who is his father?”

They answered, “His case is like that of Adam.” Iblis said, “Verily, I will mislead four fifths of the people by him.” Allah, the mighty and magnificent, only wanted to make his affair as a sign and mark for it to be known by this that He has power over all things.

Jesus stood as an authority (hujjah) when he was three years old. When he reached seven years he spoke as a prophet and messenger, while he received revelation from Allah, the Exalted. When Allah commissioned him, He bestowed upon him light, knowledge and wisdom, and the knowledge of all the prophets before him, and He added to this the Gospel.

He commissioned him to Jerusalem (Bayt al-Maqdis) for the children of Israel to invite them to His book and wisdom and to faith in Allah and His prophet. According to Shi‘ite belief, if one denies Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), but confesses to all the other prophets, he is still not considered a believer.

Jesus was noble, a worshipper, an ascetic, an itinerant, possessor of splendor, was loving to all the believers and excellent in his conduct with others. His ring was engraved with two sayings he took from the Gospel, “Blessed is the servant because of whom Allah is remembered, and woe unto the servant because of whom Allah is forgotten.”

His shariah (law) included tawhid (divine unity), ikhlas (purity), the dismissal of peers [for Allah], and the liberal uprightness of human nature. He made lawful what is pure in it, and prohibited what is filthy, and He removes from them their burdens and the shackles that were upon them.1 His law included the prayer, alms, and also restricting marriage to one woman, for the sake of women’s affairs.

Admonitions and parables were sent down to him in the Injil, but there was no law of retaliation (qisas) in it nor precepts of retribution (ahkam al-hudud), and no obligations for inheritance. What was sent down to him was a mitigation of what was sent down to Moses in the Torah. Jesus commanded those with him who were believers and followed him that they believe in the law of the Torah, the laws of all prophets and the Injil.”

The Christians differed among themselves about Jesus (‘a). Some of them said, the Eternal, the Mighty and Magnificent, is united with Christ, His son. But the Eternal does not become non-eternal by this creature who is Jesus, and Jesus does not become eternal by the Eternal who is Allah.

His people split into three sects: a sect of believers, and they were the disciples, a sect of his enemies, and they were the Jews, and a sect that exaggerated about him, and they left the faith. The apostles were twelve men and they were his followers and helpers. When Jesus (‘a) asked, “Who are my helpers for Allah?” The disciples said, “We will be the helpers of Allah.”2So, they were called Nasara because of their help to the religion of Allah.

Jesus lived for thirty-three years; he was not killed nor crucified, but it was made to appear so to the Christians. On the night of the twenty-first of Ramadan he was raised while there were nine thousands three hundred thirteen angles with him. He was raised from the earth alive and his soul was taken between heaven and earth, then he was raised to heaven and his soul was returned to him.

He will come down to the world before the Resurrection day with the twelfth Imam of the Household of the Prophet, and invite the people to Allah.

In the resurrection will come a man in a group and the angels will be around him with wings outspread and the light will be in front of them. Then the people of the Garden will crane their necks toward him and say, ‘Who is this who is thus allowed by Allah?’ The angels will say, ‘This is the spirit of Allah and His word! This is Jesus the son of Mary!’

Jesus once said about himself, “I sleep while I have nothing and I rise while I have nothing, and yet there is no one on earth more wealthy than I,” and he said another time, “I began the morning with my Lord, the Blessed and Supreme, above me and the fire (of hell) before me and death in pursuit of me. I have not obtained that for which I wished and I cannot keep away the things I hate. So who of the poor is poorer than I?”

Jesus (‘a) passed by a man who was blind, leprous and paralytic, and Jesus heard him giving thanks and saying, “Praise be to Allah Who has protected me from the trials with which He afflicts the majority of men.”

Jesus (‘a) said, “What trial remains which has not been visited upon you?” He said, “He protected me from a trial which is the greatest of trials, and that is disbelief.” Then Jesus (‘a) touched him, and Allah cured him from his illnesses and beautified his face. Then he became a companion of Jesus (‘a) and worshipped with him.

These two stories about him suffice to show his humility. He served a meal to the Apostles, and when they had eaten it, he himself washed them, and another time he stood up and washed their feet. They said, “It would have been more proper for us to have done this, O Spirit of Allah.”

He said, “Verily, it is more fitting for one with knowledge to serve the people. Indeed, I humbled myself only so that you may humble yourselves among the people after me even as I have humbled myself among you.”

The conversations of Jesus (‘a) with the Disciples are very interesting. They asked him, “O spirit of Allah, so with whom should we keep company?” He said, “He the sight of whom reminds you of Allah, his speech increases your knowledge and his action makes you desirous of the other world.”

And a man asked Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), “Which people is the best?” He took two handfuls of earth and said, “Which of these is the best? The people are created from earth, so the most honourable of them is the most God-wary.”

God also introduced Himself to Jesus, He described His endless mercy to him, and He gave him necessary instructions.

Once He said to him, “O Jesus! I do not forget those who forget Me, so how could I forget those who remember Me! I am not stingy with those who disobey Me, so how could I be stingy with those who obey Me.” And he said another time, “Be to the people like the earth below in meekness, like the flowing water in generosity, and like the sun and the moon in mercy, which shine on the good and sinner alike.”

The advice attributed to Jesus in Shi‘ite narrations is full of wisdom, guidance and direction. Among the advice he gives in order to improve relations among people is: “That which is not loved by you for someone to do to you, do not do that to others, and if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him your left cheek also.”

The Shi‘ah believe that the Bible as it exists today has been distorted, but that despite this, much of what it contains is consistent with the spirit of the teachings of Jesus (‘a), and this is confirmed by many of the narrations attributed to the Imams, peace be with them. An example of this is that Jesus (‘a) said:

“In truth I say to you, whoever looks at a snake that intends to strike his brother and does not warn him until it kills him, he will not be secure from partnership in his murder. Likewise, whoever looks at his brother doing something wrong, and does not warn him of its consequences until it encompasses him, he will not be secure from partnership in his sin.”

The narrations presented here have been selected from more than one hundred twenty books of Shi‘ite narrations. It has been arranged into nine parts. In the first part, about the life of Jesus (‘a), we find a few narrations that conflict with each other. Some of the chains of narration through which the narrations are reported are weak.

At the end of the eighth part there are four narrations reported to be from the Gospel, but we do not know from which Gospel they have been reported. The last narration in this book is about the respect given to Jesus by the Christians of one thousand three hundred sixty-four years ago. This narration has several ambiguities. On the other hand, the contents of parts two through eight are considered firm and are beautiful.

Mostly, the Muslim and Christian beliefs are consistent with each other here. We do not believe in the divinity of Jesus (‘a), but we do believe that he was inseparable from God. They have an attraction in such a way that they have an effect on the hearts of those ready to receive them, and increase love for Jesus (‘a).

We would like to thank our readers and solicit their assistance if they find any errors in the text or its translation. 314

Mahdi Muntazir Qa’im
Muharram 1425/March 2004

  • 1. See (7:157).
  • 2. See (61:14).
  • 3. The work of collecting, sorting, editing and translating these narrations into English, began ten years ago. It has been completed with the help of some of my teachers and friends. Prof. Muhammad Hadi Yusufi Gharavi reviewed the Arabic text of the narrations. Hajj Muhammad Legenhausen was the main translator of the narrations into English. Sayyid Muhammad Nasihatkon helped with the Arabic vocalization marks. Muhammad Javad Najafi and ‘Abd al-Karim Ansari also have a share in helping with this project. Likewise, my wife also showed much patience with this work. I thank all of them. I would especially like to thank the Center for Shi‘ite Studies, in whose library a portion of this work was carried out. I hope it may be accepted by Allah, and I offer the blessings for it to those who have a right over us, especially my parents and brothers. Wa salam.

The Birth of Jesus

1. It is reported that Abu Basir said, “I asked Abu Ja‘far (‘a) about ‘Imran, whether he was a prophet. He said, ‘Yes. He was a prophet and an apostle to his people. And Hannah, the wife of ‘Imran and Hananah, the wife of Zachariah were sisters.

Mary was born to ‘Imran from Hannah, and John (‘a) was born to Zachariah from Hananah. Mary gave birth to Jesus (‘a) and Jesus (‘a) was the son of the daughter of John’s aunt. John (‘a)was the son of the aunt of Mary. And the aunt of one’s mother is like one’s aunt.”1

2. It is reported that Ya‘qub ibn Ja‘far ibn Ibrahim said, “I was close to Abu al-Hasan Musa (‘a) when a Christian came to him. We were at ‘Uraid. The Christian said to him, ‘I came to you from a far land and have had a difficult journey. I have been asking my Lord for thirty years to guide me to the best religion and the best servants and the most knowledgeable of them.

In a dream someone came to me and described a man for me who was in the upper regions of Damascus. I went until I reached him. Then I spoke with him. He said, “I am the most knowledgeable among the people of my religion, but there is one who is more knowledgeable than I.”

I said, “Guide me to the one who is more knowledgeable than you. I do not care how long the journey; a long distance is not too far for me. I have read the Gospels, all of them, the Psalms of David, and I have read four books of the Torah, and I have read the Qur’an outwardly, until I learned all of it.”

Then the scholar said to me, “If you want to study about Christianity, I am the most knowledgeable person among the Arabs and non-Arabs. If you want to study about Judaism, Bati ibn Shurahbil al-Samiri is the most knowledgeable of men today.

If you want knowledge of Islam, knowledge of the Torah and knowledge of the Gospel and the Psalms, and the book of Hud, and all of what has been sent down to every prophet in your time and the times of others… I will guide you to him, so go to him, even if you have to walk...”

Abu Ibrahim [Imam Musa Kadhim (‘a)] said to him, “I will inform you of something that only a few people know who have read the books. Tell me what is the name of the mother of Mary, and the day on which Mary was breathed into, and what hour of the day, and on what day Mary gave birth to Jesus (‘a) and what hour of the day?” The Christian said, “I do not know.”

Abu Ibrahim said, “As for the mother of Mary, her name was Mirtha, in Arabic, Wahibah (gift). As for the day on which Mary conceived, it was Friday at noon, and that was the day that the Ruh al-Amin (the trustworthy spirit) came down, and there is no festival better than this for Muslims.

Allah, the Blessed and Almighty, magnified it, and Muhammad (S) magnified it and He ordered that it should be a holiday, and it was Friday. As for the day on which Mary was born, it was Tuesday, at four thirty in the afternoon. And do you know what was the river beside which Mary gave birth to Jesus (‘a)?” He said, “No.” He said, “It was the Euphrates, and beside it were date palms and grape vines. There is nothing like the grapes and date palms near the Euphrates…”2

3. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “If we tell you something about one of us, but you do not find it so, but it is so of his child or grandchild, then do not deny what we said. Verily, Allah revealed to Imran, ‘I will grant you a boy, blessed, who will cure the blind and the leper and who will raise the dead by My permission.

And I will set him as an Apostle to the Children of Israel.’ Then he related this to his wife Hannah, the mother of Mary. When she became pregnant with Mary, she thought that her burden was a boy. When she delivered a female, she said, ‘O my Lord! Verily I have delivered a female, and the male is not like the female, for a girl will not be a prophet.’ Allah said:

And Allah knows better what has been delivered (3:36)

When Allah granted Jesus (‘a) to Mary, it was he of whom Allah had given glad tidings to Imran and had promised him.

So, if we tell you something about one of us, but it is in his child or grandchild, do not deny it. When Mary became grown, she went into the cloister (mihrab) and put a covering over herself so no one saw her. Zachariah came to her in the cloister, and found that she had summer fruit in the winter and winter fruit in the summer.

He said to her, ‘Whence to you is this?’ She said, ‘It is from Allah. Verily Allah provides for whomsoever He wants without measure.’ When the angels said:

O Mary! Verily Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds (3:42)

He said that Mary was twice chosen. The first choosing was her selection [with glad tidings given to Imran], but the second was that she became pregnant without a man. So, she was chosen over all the women of the world.”3

4. It is reported that Isma‘il al-Ju‘fi said that Abu Ja‘far said, “When the wife of ‘Imran vowed that what was in her womb would be dedicated, [and what was meant was that he would be] dedicated to the mosque, when he was delivered he would enter the mosque and never leave, (then when Mary was born, [her mother] said,

My Lord! I have delivered a female. And Allah knows best what she delivered. And the male is not like the female, and I have named her Mary, and I commend her to Your protection from the cast off Satan and also her offspring. (3:36)

Then the prophets cast lots and the lot fell to Zachariah, and he was the husband of her sister and her custodian, and she was brought to the mosque. When she matured to when a woman menstruates, she was the most beautiful of women, and when she prayed, the cloister became bright by her light.

Then Zachariah entered and found that before her there was winter fruit in the summer and summer fruit in the winter. Then he said:

From whence is this?’ She said, ‘It is from Allah. (3:37)

Because of this, Zachariah prayed to his Lord,

And verily I fear my kindred after me, and my wife is barren.(19:5)

and so on with what Allah mentioned of the story of Zachariah and John.”4

5. Layth ibn Sa‘d said, “I said to Ka‘b, who was with Mu‘awiyah, ‘How would you describe the birth of the Prophet (S)? Do you see any excellence in his progeny?’ Then Ka‘b turned to Mu‘awiyah, to see what he wanted.

Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, put [these words] on his tongue, ‘O Abu Ishaq, may Allah have mercy on you, say whatever you know!’ Ka‘b said, ‘I have read seventy-two books all of which were sent from heaven, and I have read the entire scripture of Daniel. In all of them I have found mention of the birth of the Prophet and his progeny.

The name of the Prophet is also known there. No prophet was born with angels being sent down, except Jesus and Ahmad, may the blessings of Allah be with them both. The covering of heaven was not drawn for any woman except Mary and Aminah, the mother of Ahmad. Angels guarded no pregnant women except Mary, the mother of the Messiah, and Aminah, the mother of Ahmad (S)….’”5

6. It is reported that Imam Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to al-Mukari, “…Do you not know that, verily, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, revealed to ‘Imran, ‘I will grant you a boy,’ but He granted him Mary and He granted Jesus to Mary. So, Jesus is from Mary and Mary is from Jesus. Jesus and Mary are a single thing. I am from my father and my father from me. I and my father are a single thing.”6

7. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “By Allah! In the Qur’an Allah related Jesus the son of Mary to Abraham (‘a) from his mother’s side.” Then he recited this verse,

and of his [Abraham’s] descendants David and Solomon and Job and Joseph and Aaron, and thus do We reward those who do good./ And Zachariah and John and Jesus and Elias, everyone was of the good. (6:84-85)7

8. Abu Basir said, “I said to Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a), ‘Why did Allah create Jesus without any father and created the other people by fathers and mothers?’ He said, ‘So that the people would know all of His power and its perfection, and so that they would know that He has power to create a creature without a male. Likewise, He has power to create one without a male or female, and He, the Mighty and Magnificent, did that so it would be known that He has power over all things.”8

9. Salman al-Farsi reported that when the Prophet died, the catholicos came… He said to ‘Ali the son of Abu Talib, “This is true. Inform me about what your prophet said about the Christ and his being a creature. How did he confirm the creation for him and reject the divinity from him and made necessary imperfection for him?”

The Commander of the Faithful said, “He confirmed the creation for him by his destiny and shape, that is necessary for him, changing from one state to another, increase and decrease that are not separated from him. He did not reject his prophethood, infallibility, perfection and confirmation. It is revealed from Allah that Jesus is like Adam whom Allah created him from clay, then said to him, ‘Be.’ So he was.’…”9

10. Al-Ahwal said, “I asked Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) about the spirit that was in Adam (‘a) [mentioned in the ayah] in which Allah says,

When I straightened him and blew in him from My sprit.Qur’an (15:29 and 38:72)

He answered, ‘This is a created sprit and the sprit that was in Jesus was created.’”10

11. Hamran ibn A‘yan said, “I asked Abu Ja‘far about what Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, said, and about the spirit from Him. He said: ‘It is something created that Allah created with His wisdom in Adam and Jesus.”11

12. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Verily, Mary bore Jesus for nine hours, each hour of which was a month.”12

13. Abu Muhammad al-Hasan ibn-‘Ali al-Thani (the second) said, “Al-Husayn was born in al-Madinah Tuesday, five days before Jamadi al-’Ula, three years after al-Hijrah. His mother became pregnant with al-Husayn fifteen nights after his birthday and she was pregnant during six months and then she bore him. And no baby was born in six months exept him and Jesus the son of Mary.13

14. Shami asked the Commander of the Faithful about the six creatures that were never in a womb. He said, “Adam and Eve, the ram of Abraham, the snake of Moses, the she-camel of Salih and the bat that Jesus the son of Mary made and then it flew by the permission of Allah.”14

15. It is reported that Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “When Christ was born, Allah kept his birth secret, and hid him, for Mary, when she bore him, she withdrew to a remote place. (19:22) Then Zachariah and her aunt came searching for her, until they came upon her when she put down what was in her belly and said,

Oh! Would that I had died before this, and had been forgotten in oblivion (19:23)

Then Allah, may his remembrance be exalted, opened the tongue of Jesus to excuse his mother and to manifest her authority. When he appeared calamities and persecution had become intense against the children of Israel, and the tyrants and oppressors fell upon them, until the affair of Christ as reported by Allah took place...”15

16. It is reported that Wahab al-Yamani said: “A Jew asked the Prophet this question: ‘O Muhammad! Were you, according to the Mother of the Book, a prophet before you were created?’ He answered, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘And were these, your faithful companions, with you before they were created?’

He answered, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘What was the matter with you that you did not speak wisdom when you came out of your mother’s belly, like Jesus the son of Mary spoke, as you claim, while you were a prophet before that?’

The Prophet (S) answered, ‘Verily, my affair was not like the affair of Jesus (‘a). Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, created Jesus the son of Mary of a mother without any father, just as He created Adam without a father or mother.

And if Jesus (‘a) did not speak wisdom when he came out of his mother’s belly, there would not have been any excuse for his mother before the people, because she had brought him without a father, and the people would take her as they do those women who had married [outside the law]. So, Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, made his speech as an excuse for his mother.’”16

17. Al-Shami asked the Commander of the Faithful, “Which of the prophets were created by Allah circumcised?” He said, “Allah created Adam (‘a) circumcised, and Seth (‘a) was born circumcised, and Idris, Noah, Sam ibn Nuh, Abraham, David, Solomon, Lot, Ismael, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, may the blessings of Allah be with all of them.”17

18. It is reported that Hasan ibn ‘Ali al-Washsha’ said, “I was with my father and I was a youth, and we spent the night with Imam Al-Ridha’ (‘a). It was the night of the twenty-fifth of Dhu al-Qa‘dah and he said to my father, ‘On the night of the twenty-fifth of Dhu al-Qa‘dah Abraham was born and on it Jesus the son of Mary was born, and on it the earth beneath the Ka‘bah became broadened. Whoever fasts of that day, it is as if he were to fast for sixty months.”18

19. It is reported that Imam Baqir (‘a) said, “When the Commander of the Faithful was returning from battle with the Kharajites he came upon a monk in a monastery. He said, ‘O monk! May I come down?’ The monk said to him, ‘Do not come down here with your troops.’ He said, ‘Why not?’ He said, ‘Because no one should come down here except a prophet or the successor of a prophet along with his troops who fight in the way of Allah. We have read this in our books...’

He continued, ‘I have found your characteristics in the Gospel, and that you will come down in the land of Buratha, the house of Mary, the place of Jesus.’ The Commander of the Faithful said, ‘Stop! Do not say anything to us.’ Then he went to a spot and he said, ‘Stamp your feet here.’ And he himself did this. A spring gushed up from there. He said, ‘This is the fountain of Mary, to where she was led. Dig here seventeen cubits.’

A white rock was discovered. He said, ‘Mary put Jesus down from her shoulder onto this rock, and there she prayed.’ Then the Commander of the Faithful placed the rock somewhere and prayed beside it. He stayed there for four days and said his prayers there in their complete form. The tents of the troops were placed around it within earshot. Then he said, ‘The land of Buratha is here, the house of Mary. This is a holy place at which the prophets prayed.’”19

20. Mufaddal reported in a lengthy narration from Al-Sadiq (‘a), “Then Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) took a breath and said, ‘O Mufaddal! The places on the earth boasted among themselves,…

Allah revealed, “… It [Karbala] is a blessed place from which Moses was called from a bush, it is a hill where Mary and Christ found refuge, at which there is a river where the head of Husayn was washed and where Mary washed Jesus (‘a), and where Mary washed herself after giving birth to Jesus. It is the best place from which the Apostle of Allah (S) ascended when he was absent, and for our Shi‘ah there are blessings until the appearance of the Qa’im (‘a).’”20

21. The Prophet (S) said, “When a woman gives birth, the first thing she should eat is a sweet fresh half-ripe date (rutab) or a ripe date (tamr). If there were anything better than this, Allah, the Exalted, would have given it to Mary when Jesus (‘a) was born.”21

22. It is reported that (for hardship with labor) Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “After the bismillah it should be written, ‘Mary bore Jesus.

He it is Who created you from dust, then from a life-germ, then from a clot, then He brings you forth as a babe, then that you may reach your full strength, then that you may be old (40:67);

Verily, with difficulty is ease/ Verily with difficulty is ease (94:5-6);

and may the blessings of Allah be with Muhammad and his progeny and may He offer him greetings of peace.22

23. Al-Baqir (‘a) said, “Verily, it was announced to Mary [that she would bear] Jesus. She was in the sanctuary when the Sure Spirit (al-Ruhr al-Amino) became like a sound human. She said, ‘I take refuge in the Merciful from you, if you are God-wary.’ He said, ‘I am but a messenger come from your Lord, to give you a boy most pure.’ Then he blew into her breast and she became pregnant with Jesus. But he did not stay until she bore [the child]…

Ibis came that night and it was said to him that a child had been born that night, and that there was no idol on the earth that did not fall on its face. Ibis went to the East and West in search of him. Then he found him in a room of a convent. The angels surrounded him. He tried to get close to him. The angels shouted, “Get away!” He said to them, “Who is his father?” They said, “His case is like that of Adam.” Ibis said, “Verily, I will mislead four fifths of the people by him.”23

24. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “The devil, may Allah curse him, used to pass through the seven heavens. When Jesus was born, he was barred from three heavens....”24

25. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “The Prophet (S) prohibited Muslims from having four names:25 Abu ‘Isa (father of Jesus), Abu al-Hakim (father of the Governor), Abu Mali (father of the King), and Abu al-Qassim (father of Qassim) if his first name is Muhammad26.” 27

26. It is reported that the Prophet (S) said, “Between Moses and David there were five hundred years, and between David and Jesus, one thousand one hundred years.”28

27. Abu al-Rabi‘ reported that Nafi‘ said, “O Muhammad bin ‘Ail! I have read the Torah, the Gospel and the Psalms and the Furqan, and I have learned what is permitted and forbidden in them. I have come to ask you a question that none can answer but a prophet, the successor of a prophet or the progeny of a prophet.”

Then Abu Ja‘far raised his head and said, “Ask whatever is on your mind.” He said, “Inform me how many years were between Jesus and Muhammad?” He said, “Should I inform you according to what I say, or according to what you say?” He said, “Inform me of both.” He said, “According to what I say, there were five hundred years, but according to what you say, there were six hundred....”29

28. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Between Jesus and Muhammad there were five hundred years, of which two hundred fifty were without any prophet or any manifest teacher (‘alim zahir).” [The narrator said,] I said, “What were they?” He said, “They clung to the religion of Jesus (‘a).” I said, “What were they?” He said, “Believers.” Then he said, “The earth is never without a teacher (‘alim) in it.”30

29. Ya‘qub ibn Shu‘ayb said “I said to Abu-‘Abd-Allah (‘a), ‘What do you say about a group whose leader has died?” He said to me, “Do not you read the Book of Allah (Qur’an):

Why should not a company from every party of them go forth that they may acquire understanding in religion, and that they may warn their people when they return unto them so that they may be cautious?” (9:122)

I said “May I be your sacrifice! Then what should those who are waiting do until the scholars come back?” He said to me, “Did you not know that there were two hundred fifty years between Muhammad and Jesus (may Allah bless both of them)? During this time some groups died believing the religion of Jesus expecting the religion of Muhammad, and Allah gave them their wages twice.”31

30. It is reported that Abu al-Hasan Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said: “…And all of the eleven Imams after the prophet were killed, some by the sword, the Commander of the Faithful and Husayn, peace be with them, and the rest by poison. The tyrants of their times killed every one of them, and indeed this was done to them, truly, not like anything the extremists (ghulah) or the delegators (mufawidah), may Allah curse them.

They say, ‘They (the Imams) were not really killed, and it was only a likeness of their affair that appeared to them.’ So, they lied, may the wrath of Allah be upon them.

Indeed, the affair of none of the prophets of Allah and His authorities, peace be with them, appeared doubtful to the people, except the affair of Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) alone, for he was raised from the earth alive and his soul was taken between heaven and earth, then he was raised to heaven and his soul was returned to him, and that is what the saying of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, is about:

When Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take you to Me, and I will raise you to Me (3:55)

And Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, said, narrating the speech of Jesus on the Resurrection Day,

And I was a witness over them, so long as I was among them, but when You took me to Yourself, You were Yourself the watcher over them. You Yourself are witness over everything (5:117)

And since it is permitted that all of the prophets and His messengers and authorities after Adam (‘a) were born of fathers and mothers, but among them Jesus was born without any father, it will be permitted that his affair appeared doubtful to the people, but not the affairs of the other prophets and authorities, peace be with them.

Likewise, it was permitted for him to be born without a father, but not the others. Allah, the mighty and magnificent, only wanted to make his affair as a sign and mark for it to be known by this that He has power over all things.’”32

31. It is narrated that Yasir al-Khadim said: “I heard [Imam] Al-Ridha’ (‘a) say, ‘The most terrifying events for creatures are three: the day one is born and comes out of his mother’s belly and sees the world, the day he dies and sees the afterlife and its people, and the day he is raised and sees laws he did not see in this world, and Allah made John secure in these three events and protected him from fear, and He said,

Peace be with him the day he was born and the day he dies and the day he is raised to life (19:15)

And Jesus the son of Mary made himself secure in these three events, and he said,

Peace be with me the day I was born and the day I die and the day I am raised to life (19:33).’”33

  • 1. Bihar, 14, 202, 14
  • 2. Kafi, 1, 478, 4
  • 3. Bihar, 14, 199, 8
  • 4. Bihar, 14, 204, 18
  • 5. Bihar, 15, 261, 12
  • 6. Faqih, 3, 155, 3564
  • 7. Bihar, 93, 243, 8
  • 8. Bihar, 14, 218, 23
  • 9. Khara’ij Wa al-Jara’ih, 2, 554
  • 10. Kafi, 1, 133, 1
  • 11. Bihar, 4, 12, 4
  • 12. Kafi 8, 332, 516
  • 13. Dala’il al-Imama, 71
  • 14. Bihar, 11, 385, 9
  • 15. Bihar, 14, 213, 10
  • 16. Bihar, 14, 215, 16
  • 17. Bihar, 15, 296, 32
  • 18. Faqih, 2, 89, 1814
  • 19. Bihar, 33, 438, 645
  • 20. Bihar, 53, 1-11
  • 21. Bihar, 59, 295
  • 22. Micah, 159
  • 23. Bihar, 14, 215, 14
  • 24. Bihar, 15, 257, 9
  • 25. The kind of name mentioned here is the qunya, which is used as a term of respect and takes the form ‘father of…’, ‘son of…’, ‘mother of…’, etc.
  • 26. No one is permitted to have the name Muhammad Abu al-Qasim because these are the first names and qunya of the Prophet (S).
  • 27. Bihar, 16, 401
  • 28. Bihar, 13, 363, 1
  • 29. Kafi, 8, 120, 93
  • 30. Bihar, 23, 33, 54
  • 31. Bihar, 27, 298, 10
  • 32. Bihar, 25, 117
  • 33. Bihar, 14, 246, 26

The Childhood of Jesus

1. It is reported that Abu Ja‘far [Imam Baqir (‘a)] said: “When Jesus the son of Mary was born, when he was one day old he was like a two month old boy. When he was seven months old, his mother took his hand and brought him to a school and sat him before a teacher. The teacher said to him, “Say: ‘In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.’” Jesus said, “In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.”

The teacher said to him, “Say abjad.”1 Jesus raised his head and said, “Do you know what is abjad?” The teacher raised the lash to hit him. Jesus said, “O my teacher! Do not hit me if you know it, and if not, ask me so that I may explain it.” He said, “Explain it to me.” Jesus said, “As for the alif, it is a blessing (ala’) of Allah, and the ba is the bliss (bahjah) of Allah, and the jim is the beauty (jamal) of Allah, and the dal is the religion (din) of Allah.

Hawwaz: the ha is the terror (hawl) of hell, and the waw is ‘Woe (wayl) to the people of the fire,’ and the za is the moaning (zafir) of hell. Hutti: The sins are forgiven (huttat) of those who ask the forgiveness of Allah. Kaliman: The speech (kalam) of Allah, there is no one who can change His words.Sa‘afis: Measure for measure (sa‘) and wages for wages. Qarashat: He will gather them (qarashahum) and resurrect them.” Then the teacher said, “O woman! Take your son’s hand, indeed he already knows, and he has no need of a teacher.”2

2. Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Verily, Jesus the son of Mary, used to cry intensely, so that Mary was at wits end regarding his profuse crying. He said to her, ‘Get some of the bark of that tree, make a tonic from it and feed me with it.’ When he drank it, he cried intensely. Mary said, ‘What sort of prescription did you give me?’ He said, ‘O my mother! Knowledge of prophethood and weakness of childhood.’”3

  • 1. An old Semitic sequence of letters, called abjad, is used in Hebrew and Arabic in which each letter is used to represent a number in addition to its vocal value
  • 2. Bihar, 14, 286, 8
  • 3. Bihar 14, 254, 47

The Prophethood of Jesus

1. It is reported that Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “…Follow the Apostle of Allah, and confess to what has been sent down from Allah, and follow the signs of guidance, for they are the signs of trustworthiness and God-wariness; and know that if one denies Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), but confesses to all the prophets but him, he does not believe...”1

2. The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “Verily, Gabriel brought down a book to me in which there was information about the kings before me, and information about the prophets and apostles who were commissioned before I was:… Ashbakh ibn Ashjan was a king called al-Kays who ruled for two hundred sixty-six years.

In the fifty-first year of his rule Allah commissioned Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) and bestowed upon him light, knowledge and wisdom, and the knowledge of all the prophets before him, and He added to this the Gospel. He commissioned him to Jerusalem (Bayt al-Maqdis) for the children of Israel to invite them to the divine book and wisdom and to faith in Allah and the prophet. Most of them turned away from him rebelliously and disbelieving.

When they failed to believe, Jesus called his Lord and was adamant, and some of them were transformed into devils to show them a sign from which they could take a lesson; but this did not increase in them anything but rebellion and disbelief.

So, Jesus came to Jerusalem, invited them and encouraged them to what is near to Allah for thirty-three years, until the Jews sought him and (afterward) claimed to have punished him and buried him alive. Some of them claimed to have killed him and to have crucified him. Allah did not let them gain sovereignty over him, but it was a mistake they made.

They were not able to chastise him or bury him, and they could not kill him or crucify him, because of the saying of Allah, the mighty and magnificent,

I am going to take you away and lift you up unto Me and purify you of those who disbelieve (3:55)

So, they were not able to kill him or crucify him, for if they had been able to do so, this would belie His saying,

Allah raised him up unto Himself(4:158),

after Allah took him. When Allah wanted to raise him, He revealed to him to entrust the light of Allah, His wisdom and the knowledge of His book to Simon ibn Hamun al-Safa, his successor among the believers. So, he did this....”2

3.Safwan ibn Yahya said, “I said to Imam Al-Ridha’ (‘a), ‘We used to ask you [about the Imam after you], before Allah had granted you Abu Ja‘far, and you used to say, “Allah will grant me a son.” Now, Allah has given him to you. Our eyes have been brightened! May Allah never show us the day [of your sorrow]! But if it should happen, whom should we follow?’

He pointed with his hand toward Abu Ja‘far, who was standing before him. Then I said, ‘May I be your sacrifice! This boy is only three years old.’ He said, ‘That does not matter. Jesus stood as an authority (hujjah) when he was three years old.”3

4. Before his son (Muhammad al-Taqi) was born, Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “By Allah, He will make from me something by which the truth and its followers are proven, and He will destroy by it what is wrong and its followers,” then al-Taqi (‘a) was born after a year. Then he said, “This is Abu Ja‘far. I put him in my seat, and I set him in my place.

We are the Folk of the Household whose children inherit from their elders exactly.” It was said to him, “This son is only three years old.” He said, “It does not harm him. Jesus stood as an authority (hujjah) when he was less than three years old.”4

5. It is reported that [Imam] Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “Verily Allah, the Exalted, authorized Jesus (‘a) when he was two years old.”5

6. Abu al-Hasan (‘a) said, “…On the Resurrection day there will be four people from among the first ones and four people from among the last ones on the Throne of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent. As for the four of the first, they are Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus and the last are Muhammad, ‘Ali, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be with them.”6

7. Abu Dharr, may Allah have mercy upon him, said, “The Apostle of Allah was sitting in the mosque alone when I entered it. So I took advantage of his solitude and said, “… O Apostle of Allah! How many prophets were there?” He said, “One hundred twenty-four thousand.” I said, “How many apostles were there?” “Three hundred and thirteen all together.”

I said, “Who was the first prophet?” He said, “Adam.” I said, “Was he an apostle among the prophets?” He replied, “Yes, Allah created him by His hand and blew into him from His spirit.” Then he (S) continued, “O Abu Dharr these four prophets among the prophets are Siryani: Adam, Seth, Ukhnukh, that is, Idris, who was the first person to write with a pen, and Noah, peace be with them. And four of them are Arab: Hud, Salih, Shu‘ayb and your prophet Muhammad.

The first prophet from the children of Israel was Moses and the last of them was Jesus, and six hundred prophets were between them.” I said, “O the Apostle of Allah! How many books did Allah send?” He replied “One hundred and four books. He sent fifty scrolls to Seth, thirty scrolls to Idris, and twenty scrolls to Abraham. And He sent the Torah, Bible, Psalms and Furqan.”7

8. Ja‘far ibn Muhammad said, “Gabriel remained forty days and did not descend to the Prophet. He said, “O my Lord my yearning for your Prophet has become intense, allow me.”

Allah the Exalted revealed to him, “O Gabriel descend to My friend and My Prophet, then give him My greetings of peace, and inform him that I have distinguished him with prophethood and made him surpass all the prophets, and give my greetings of peace to his successor and inform him that I have distinguished him with succession and made him surpass all the successors.”

Gabriel descended to the Prophet and said, “…O Muhammad! Whoever followed Seth would be saved by Seth, Seth was saved by Adam and Adam was saved by Allah.

Whoever followed Shem would been saved by Shem, Shem was saved by Noah and Noah wad saved by Allah. Whoever followed Asif would be saved by Asif, and Asif was saved by Solomon. Whoever followed Yusha‘ would be saved by Yusha‘, and Yusha‘would be saved by Moses, and Moses was saved by Allah.

Whoever followed Simon would be saved by Simon, and Simon would be saved by Jesus, and Jesus was saved by Allah. Whoever followed ‘Ali would be saved by ‘Ali and ‘Ali would be saved by you, and you are saved by Allah. Verily, all things are by Allah. Verily, the angels and guardians are honoured among all the angels for being in the company of ‘Ali.” He said, “Then ‘Ali (‘a) sat down while hearing the speech of Gabriel (‘a), although he did not see him.8

9. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Allah did not raise a messenger without there being two devils concurrent who caused him suffering and tempted him, and misled the people after him. As for the five Possessors of Determination (Ulu al-‘Azm) of the messengers, they are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace and blessings be with them.

As for the companions of Noah, they were Faytifus and Khiram. For Abraham there were Makil and Radham. For Moses, there were Samiri and Mar‘aqiba. For Jesus, there were Bulus and Marisa. And for Muhammad, there were Habtar and Zuraiq.”9

10. It is reported that Ibn Abu Ya‘fur said, “I heard Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) say, ‘The chiefs of the prophets and apostles are five and they are the possessors of constancy among the apostles, and they are the axis about which [the other prophets] turn: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace be with him and his descendants and all of the prophets.10

11. Among the questions of Shami is that he asked the Commander of the Faithful about the six prophets who had [special] names. He said, “Yusha‘ ibn Nun was Dhu al-Kifl, Ya‘qub ibn Ishaq was Isra’il, Khidr was Hilqiya, Yunus was Dhu al-Nun, Jesus was the Messiah and Muhammad was Ahmad, may the blessings of Allah be with all of them.”11

12. It is reported that [Imam] Baqir (‘a) said, “Allah sent Jesus especially to the children of Israel, and his prophecy was in Jerusalem, and after him there were twelve apostles.”12

13 Sufyan ibn ‘Uyaynah reported that Mujahid narrated this saying of the Prophet (S), “There are four antecedents [who are the first followers of the prophets.] Yusha‘ to Moses, Sahib Yasin to Jesus and ‘Ali to the Prophet (S).”13

14. Al-Husayn ibn al-Khalid narrated that Abu al-Hasan Al-Ridha’ said, “It was engraved on the ring of Adam, ‘There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.’” He continued until he said, “Then Noah engraved on his ring, ‘There is no god but Allah, one thousand times. O my Lord! Reform me.’”

He continued until he said, “And Allah sent a ring to Abraham on which there were these six letters, ‘There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah. There is no power and nostrength save in God. I entrust my work to Allah. I lean on Allah. Allah is sufficient for me.’ Then Allah, may His Magnificence be magnified, revealed to him ‘Wear this ring. I will change the fire into coldness and peace.’

And the ring of Moses was engraved with these two letters, that he took them from Torah, ‘Have patience, you will be given wages. Tell the truth, you will be saved.’ The ring of Solomon was engraved with two letters he took, ‘Glory is to Him Who put the bridle on the Jinn by His words.’

The ring of Jesus was engraved with two letters he took from the Gospel, ‘Blessed is the servant because of whom Allah is remembered, and woe unto the servant because of whom Allah is forgotten.’ The ring of Muhammad was engraved with ‘There is no god but Allah. Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.’”14

  • 1. Bihar, 23, 96, 3
  • 2. Bihar, 14, 515, 4
  • 3. Kafi, 1, 321, 10
  • 4. Khara’ij Wa al-Jara’ih, 2, 899
  • 5. Bihar, 14, 257, 54
  • 6. Tahdhib, 6, 84, 3
  • 7. Khisal, 2, 524
  • 8. Tafsir Furat al-Kufi, 378
  • 9. Bihar, 13, 212, 5
  • 10. Kafi, 1, 175, 3
  • 11. Bihar, 16, 90, 22
  • 12. Bihar, 14, 250
  • 13. Sirat al-Mustaqim, 3, 158
  • 14. Wasa’il al-Shi‘ah, 5, 101, 6041

The Characteristics of Jesus

1. The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “I saw Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Moses was a tall man, and his hair was hanging down, like the men of the Zut, and like the men of the Shanu’ah.1 Jesus was a ruddy faced man with curly hair and medium height.” Then he was silent. They said to him, “O Apostle of Allah! What about Abraham?” He said, “Look at your companion [me].”2

2. Aminah [the mother of the Prophet] said, “When the birth of the Apostle of Allah became near I would hear a sound, ‘Bring Muhammad (S) around the East and West and show him to the jinn, people, birds and wild animals and give him the clarity of Adam, the tenderness of Noah, the loveliness of Abraham, the tongue of Isma‘il, the perfection of Joseph, the good news of Ya‘qub, the voice of David, the asceticism of John and the nobility of Jesus.’ Then he appeared [i.e., the Prophet (S) was born]. So, I faced him....”3

3. The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “Everyone who wants to look at Adam in his knowledge, Noah in his piety, Abraham in his perseverance (hilm), Moses in his awe and Jesus in his worship should look at ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.”4

4. It is reported from Abu al-Hamra’ that the Prophet (S) said, “Everyone who wants to look at Adam in his dignity, Moses in the intensity of his grip,5 and Jesus in his asceticism, should look at the one coming.” Then ‘Ali (‘a) came.6

5. It is reported that Abu Dharrr al-Ghifari said, “One day we were before the Apostle of Allah (S) when he stood, bowed, and prostrated in thanks to Allah, the Exalted.

Then he said, ‘O Jundab! Whoever wants to look at Adam in his knowledge, Noah in his understanding, Abraham in his friendship, Moses in his intimate prayers, and Jesus in his journeying, Job in his patience and calamity, look at the man coming who is like the sun and the moon in radiance, and stars shining bright, whose heart is bravest of all people, and whose hand is more generous, so that may the curse of Allah, the angels and the people be upon those who hate him.’ He said, ‘The people turned to see who was coming when ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) came.”7

6. Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Gabriel was near the Prophet at the right side of him, then the Commander of the Faithful came. Gabriel laughed and said, ‘… O Muhammad! If you yearn for the face of Jesus and his worship, the asceticism of John and his obedience, the inheritnce of Solomon and his generosity, look at the face of ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib.’ Then Allah the Exalted sent:

And when the example of the son of Mary is given, they laughed and exclaimed their surprise) (43:57),

that is, the son of Mary is like ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib and ‘Ali is like Jesus.8

7. When a comparison was made before the Apostle of Allah, in his loudest voice he said, “O servants of Allah! Whoever wants to look at Adam in his majesty, to look at Seth in his wisdom, to look at Idris in his nobility and dignity, to look at Noah in his thanks to his Lord and his worship, to look at Abraham in his friendship and loyalty, to look at Moses in his hatred to every enemy of Allah and his opposing them, and to look at Jesus in his love of every believer and his good relations, look at ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, here.”9

8. The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “He who wants to look at the asceticism of Jesus the son of Mary, look at Abu Dharr.”10

9. It is reported that the Apostle of Allah said, “The imams after me are twelve, the number of the months of the year, and from us is the Mahdi of this community who will have the awesomeness of Moses, the magnificence of Jesus, the judgment of David and the patience of Job.”11

10. Zayd al-Kunasi said, “I heard that Abu Ja‘far would say, ‘In the Sahib hadha al-’amr [the twelfth Imam] there is an attribute (sunnah) of Joseph, an attribute of Moses, an attribute of Jesus and an attribute of Muhammad. As though his likeness to Joseph is that his brothers acknowledge him as a leader and address him while they do not know him. His likeness to Moses is that he is fearful. His likeness to Jesus is journeying and his likeness to Muhammad is the sword12.’”13

11. Sa‘id ibn Jubayr reported, “I heard the saying of ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn, ‘There are many attributes (sunnah) of six prophets in our al-Qaim: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Job and Muhammad. As for the attribute from Noah, it is long life, from Abraham, it is having a hidden birth and being separated from the people, from Moses, it is fear and absence, from Jesus, it is the disagreement of people about him, from Job, it is release after suffering and from Muhammad (S), it is going out with the sword. 14

12. Jabir reported that Abu Ja‘far (‘a) said, “Verily the Lord, the blessed and almighty, says, ‘Enter into heaven by my mercy, save yourselves from the Fire by my pardon and divide the heaven according to your deeds. By My glory! I will send you down in the everlasting and noble dwelling.’

When they enter it they will become like Adam with his height…, like Jesus, with the youth of thirty- three years, like Muhammad with the Arabic language, like Joseph, with a beautiful figure shining with light, and like Job, with a heart of purity from hatred.”15

13. Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “…Then Noah took the Ark (of the covenant) and buried it in al-Ghari, the part of the mountain on which Allah talked with Moses, on which He sanctified Jesus, on which He took Abraham as a friend, took Muhammad as a beloved, and made it a dwelling for the prophets….”16

14. Among the intimate conversations between Allah and Moses ibn Imran is, “O Moses! I recommend to you as One Who is kind and compassionate to you Ibn Batul, Jesus the son of Mary, who has a donkey and a burnoose, olive oil and olives and a prayer niche.”17

15. The Prophet (S) said, “Whoever says the prayer of Tuesday night with thirty rak‘a and in each rak‘a he reads Sura Hamd and the verse al-Kursi one time and Sura Tawhid seven times, Allah will give him the reward of Job, the patient, John the son of Zachariah and Jesus the son of Mary….”18

  • 1. The Zut are a tribe from India, with wide faces with little facial hair, and the Shanwah are like the Qahtaniyah of the Arabs. -Majlisi
  • 2. Bihar 12, 10, 24
  • 3. Bihar, 15, 272, 17
  • 4. Bihar, 39, 39
  • 5. Compare the language in (85:12).
  • 6. Bihar, 40, 78
  • 7. Bihar, 39, 38, 9
  • 8. Bihar, 35, 47
  • 9. Tafsir al-Imam al-‘Askari, 498
  • 10. Bihar, 22, 343
  • 11. Bihar, 36, 303, 141
  • 12. The sword is used as a symbol of authority, not as a symbol of war or violence
  • 13. Dala’il al-Imamah, 291
  • 14. Al-Sirat al-Mustaqim, 2, 238
  • 15. Bihar, 8, 218, 207
  • 16. Jami‘ al-Akhbar, 21
  • 17. Bihar 13, 332, 13
  • 18. Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, 6, 370, 7014

The Religion of Jesus

1. Al-Sadiq (‘a) said about

…He has enjoined on me prayer and the poor-rate so long as I live (19:31)

that by the “poor-rate” what is meant is zakah al-ru’us,1 because not all people have wealth, but the fitrah is [to be paid] by the poor and the rich, the little and the big.2

2. It is reported that there was retaliation in the revealed law of Moses and blood money was necessary in the revealed law of Jesus. So the true and tolerant religion [Islam] came down permitting both of them.3

3. It is reported in true narrations that getting married without limit [to the number of wives] was permitted in the revealed law of Moses for the sake of men’s affairs; and in the revealed law of Jesus only one was permitted for the sake of women’s affairs. So this revealed law [of Islam] came for the sake of both.4

4. It is reported that Abu al-Hasan Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “Every prophet who was in the time of Moses (‘a) and after him had the revealed law of Moses and his rites and followed his Book until the time of Jesus (‘a). And every prophet who was in the time of Jesus and after him had the rites of Jesus and his revealed law and followed his Book until the time of our Prophet Muhammad (S).

Then these five prophets who possessed resolution (ulu al-‘azm) are the most noble prophets and apostles, peace be upon them. And the revealed law of Muhammad will not be abrogated until the Resurrection Day and there will be no prophet after him until the Resurrection Day.5

5. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd-Allah narrated from his fathers, in order, until the Commander of the Faithful peace be upon all of them, that one day the people of five religions, the Jews, the Christians, the Naturalists (dahriyah), the Dualists and the ‘Arab Idolaters gathered before the Apostle of Allah.

The Jews said, “We say, ‘Ezra is the son of Allah.’ O Muhammad! We came to you to see what you say. If you follow us, we were right prior to you and better than you, and if you oppose us, we will argue with you.”

The Christians said, “We say, ‘Verily Jesus is the son of Allah who united with Him.’ We came to you to see what you say. If you follow us, we were right prior to you and better than you, and if you oppose us we will argue with you.” The Naturalists said, “We say, ‘There is no begining of things and they are everlasting.’ We came to you to see what you say.

If you follow us, we were right prior to you and better than you, and if you oppose us we will argue with you.” The Dualists said, “We say, ‘Verily the light and the darkness are the administrators.’ We came to you to see what you say. If you follow us, we were right prior to you and better than you, and if you oppose us we will argue with you.”

The ‘Arab Idolaters said, “We say, ‘Verily our idols are gods.’ We came to you to see what you say. If you follow us, we were right prior to you and better than you, and if you oppose us we will argue with you.”

The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “I believe in God alone. There is no partner for Him, and I deny every god but Him.” Then he said to them, “Verily Allah the Exalted raised me for all of the people as a bearer of good news, a warner and as an authority for the inhabitants of the world, and Allah will turn the deceptions of those who deceive in His religion back on them.”…

Then he faced the Christians and said to them, “You said that the Eternal is united with Christ, His son. What do you mean by this saying? Do you want to say that the Eternal became non-eternal by this creature who is Jesus, or that the non-eternal, who is Jesus, became eternal by the Eternal who is Allah, or your saying, ‘He united with him’ means that ‘He distinguished him by nobility while He did not ennoble anyone but him.’

If you mean that the Eternal, the Exalted, became non-eternal, you are wrong. For it is impossible for the eternal to change and become non-eternal, and if you mean that the non-eternal became eternal you are wrong for it is impossible too for the non-eternal to change to the eternal, and if you mean that He united with him whereby He distinguished him and chose him among His other servants, you confess to the originality of Jesus and everything that is united with him for his own sake.

Because if Jesus is non-created and Allah is united with him and changed him to the best creature before Him, Jesus and Him would have been non-eternal, and this is opposite to what you said in the beginning.”

The Christians said, “O Muhammad! Allah the Exalted manifested some strange things by the hand of Jesus, so He took him as His son for the sake of nobility.” The Apostle of Allah said, “You heard what I said to the Jews about what you said.” Then he repeated all of that. They said nothing except one of them who said, “O Muhammad! Do not you say, ‘Abraham is khalil Allah (the friend of Allah)?’ So when you say this why do you reject our saying, ‘Jesus is the son of Allah.’”

The Apostle of Allah said, “These are not alike for khalil Allah is taken from khallah or khullah and the meaning of khallah is poverty and neediness. He was a friend of his Lord and needy of Him, chastely, abstemiously and independently separated from all but Him.

Because when they wanted to throw him into the fire and to cast him with a catapult, Allah, the Exalted, raised Gabriel and said to him, ‘Catch My servant!’ Gabriel came to him, met him in the air, and said, ‘Commission me for what happened to you, for Allah the Exalted raised me to help you.’ He said, ‘But Allah is sufficient for me and He is the best Trustee (wakil). I ask no one but Him and there is no need for me unless of Him.’

Then He named him His friend (khalil), that means His poor and needy, and who is separated from all but Him. When the meaning of khalil is taken from need (khullah) and he is needy (takhalal) of Him and knows His secrets that no one else knows, it means that he knows Him and His affairs. And it does not cause the likeness of Allah to him.

Do not you see that if he did not separate from all but Him, he would not have been His friend, and if he did not know His secrets he would not have been His friend. One’s father is he of whom one is born, even if his father slanders him and sends him far away, for the meaning of being born of him remains. Then if it is necessary for you to compare Jesus with Abraham and say Jesus is His son for He said, ‘Abraham is My friend,’ it is necessary for you to say, ‘Moses is His son,’ For his miracles were no less than the miracles of Jesus. So you should say ‘Moses is His son too.’

And it is permitted for you to say, ‘He is his shaykh, master, uncle, chief and commander,’ in the meaning that I said it to the Jews.” Then some of the Christians said, “According to the revealed books Jesus said, ‘I go to my father.’” The Apostle of Allah said, “If you do according to that book, you should say, ‘All of the people that He addressed were His sons as Jesus was his son.’ For according to that book, Jesus said, ‘I go to Him who is my father and yours.’

Then something that is in that book makes invalid what you think, that only Jesus is His son because he was so distinguished. For you said, ‘Jesus is His son because He, the Exalted, distinguished him by that which He did not distinguish the others.’ But you know that Jesus was chosen for something that this group was not chosen for, and Jesus said to this group, ‘I go to Him who is my father and yours.’

So it is wrong that only Jesus is chosen. For this is proven for you [that Jesus is not distinguished as His son] by the saying of Jesus to those who were not so distinguished. You narrated the words of Jesus but you interpreted it wrongly. For when he said, ‘my father and yours’ he wanted to say something you do not say and impute. What do you know?

Perhaps it was in his mind, ‘I go to Adam and Noah. Allah raises me to them and gathers me with them. Adam is my father and your father, and Noah is likewise.’ But he did not mean anything but this meaning.” The Christians became silent; then they said, “We did not see a disputant or an opponent like what we saw today, and we will think about our affairs….”6

6. Imam al-‘Askari reported that about the verse,

“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces toward the East and the West, but righteousness is this, that one should believe in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book and the prophets, give away wealth out of love for him to the near of kin, the orphans, the needy, the wayfarer, beggars and for the emancipation of captives, keep up the prayers and pay the poor-rate…” (2:177)

‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn (‘a) said, “The Apostle of Allah favored ‘Ali (‘a) and informed [his people] about his majesty before his Lord, the Mighty and Magnificent, and revealed the favor for his followers and the helpers of his calling and rebuked the Jews and Christians for their disbelief and their concealing the mention of Muhammad, ‘Ali and their descendents, peace be with them, about their being favored and good deeds.

Then the Jews and Christians became proud [thinking themselves better]. The Jews said, “We prayed to this our qiblah many prayers. There are some people among us who stay awake nights with praying to this qiblah which is the qiblah of Moses; and Allah commanded us about it.”

The Christians said, “We prayed to this our qiblah many prayers. There are some people among us who stay awake nights with praying to this qiblah which is the qiblah of Jesus; and Allah commanded us about it.” Each of these two sects said, “Do you think that our Lord makes invalid our numerous works and our prayers to our qiblah, because we do not follow the desire of Muhammad for himself and his brother?”

Then Allah the Exalted, sent, “O Muhammad! Say, ‘Righteousness is not the obedience by which you reach heaven and merit forgiveness and sanctity. In your prayers you turn your faces to the East, O Christians! And to the West, O Jews! But you oppose the command of Allah and you are angry with the friend (wali) of Allah.

But righteous is he who believes in Allah, in His being one, alone and unique, impermeable (Samad); Who makes whom He wants great, makes honor for whom He wants, makes despicable and humble whom He wants—no one can refute His order and none can reprove His judgement. Also righteous is he who believes in the Last Day, the Resurrection Day.”7

7. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Verily, Allah, the blessed and exalted, gave to Muhammad the laws of Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus: tawhid (divine unity), ikhlas (purity), the dismissal of peers [for Allah], the liberal uprightness of human nature, there is no monasticism and no mendicancy, what is pure is made lawful and what is filthy is prohibited, and He removes from them their burdens and the shackles that were upon them.8

So, He made known his excellence with this. Then He made obligatory for him the prayer, alms, fasting, the pilgrimage, enjoining the good, prohibiting evil, the allowable (halal) and the forbidden (haram), the laws of inheritance, the penal laws, the obligations, jihad in the way of Allah, and He added the minor ablution, He made him excellent by the opening of the Book,9 the closing part of surah Baqarah, and the detailed suwar,10.

He made lawful for him the spoils of war and booty, He aided him with fear [in the hearts of his enemies], He made the earth for prostration and made it purifying, He sent him universally, to the white and the black, the jinn and the humans, and He gave him the jizyah (poll tax for non-Muslims), and taking the pagans as captives and releasing them. Then He made it his duty what was not the duty of any of the other prophets, He sent him a sword from heaven without a scabbard, and it was said to him,

Fight in the way of Allah, and you are not obliged for anyone but yourself.” (4:84)11

8. It is reported that Sama‘ah ibn Mahran said that he asked Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) about the saying of Allah, the mighty and magnificent,

‘So, bear with patience as did those who had resolution (Ulu al-‘azm)’ (46:35).

He said, “Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (S).” I said, “How did they become those who had resolution?”

He said, “Because Noah was raised as a prophet with a book and a divine law, and all who came after Noah held to his book, law and his way until Abraham (‘a) came with a scripture and resolution, and he was obliged to leave the book of Noah without disbelieving in it.

Then each of the prophets who came after Abraham held to the law of Abraham and his way and his scripture, until Moses came with the Torah and his law and way and resolution and he was obliged to leave the [previous] scripture. Then each of the prophets who came after Moses (‘a) held to the Torah and his law and way, until the Messiah came with the Gospel and resolution, and he had to leave the law of Moses and his way.

Then each of the prophets who came after the Messiah held to his law and way, until Muhammad (S) came and brought the Qur’an and his law and way, and his permissions (halal) are permitted until the Resurrection Day and his prohibitions (haram) are prohibited until the Resurrection Day. So, it is they who are those who had resolution.”12

9. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah said that when Christians of Najran came to the Apostle of Allah, they arrived at the time of their prayer, so they started to sing with a bell and prayed. Their chiefs were al-Ahtam, al-‘Aqib and al-Sayyid. The companions of the Apostle of Allah said, “O Apostle of Allah! This? In your mosque!?”

He said, “Leave them alone.” When they finished they approached the Apostle of Allah and said, “To what do you invite us?” He said, “To bear witness that there is no god except Allah and that I am the Apostle of Allah and that Jesus is a created servant. He eats drinks and defecates.” They said, “So who is his father?”

Then a revelation descended to the Apostle of Allah, and it said, “Ask them what they say about Adam. Was he a created servant who ate, drank, spoke and married.” Then the Prophet asked them this. They answered, “Yes.” He asked, “Then who is his father?” They were silent. Then Allah sent down,

Truly the likeness of Jesus in the sight of Allah is as Adam’s likeness; He created him of dust, then He said to him, ‘Be,’ and he was. The Truth is from Your Lord, so do not be of the doubters. And whoever disputes with you after the knowledge that has come to you, say: ‘Come now. Let us call our sons and your sons, our wives and your wives, our selves and your selves; then let us humbly pray and place the curse of Allah upon the liars. (3:59-61)

Then the Prophet said, “So let us curse one another. If I am truthful the curse will be sent down upon you and if I am lying the curse will be sent down upon me.” They said, “You are fair.”

Then they agreed upon the mutual cursing. When they returned to their homes, their chiefs, al-Sayyid, al-‘Aqib and al-Ahtam, said, “If he would curse us with his people, then we will curse him, for he is not a prophet; but if he would curse us specifically with his household, then we will not curse him, for surely he would not stand up against his household unless he were sincere.”

When morning came, they came to the Apostle of Allah, and with him was the Commander of the Faithful, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn, peace be with them. The Christians said, “Who are they?” It was said to them, “That is his uncle’s son, and his trustee, his son-in-law, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, and that is his daughter, Fatimah, and those are his grandsons, Hasan and Husayn.” Then they parted, and they said to the Apostle of Allah (S) “We are satisfied with you, so pardon us from the mutual cursing.” Then the Apostle of Allah compromised with them for the jizyah and they left.13

10. It is reported that when a delegation from Najran came, the Prophet (S) invited their chiefs, al-‘Aqib and al-Tayyib, to Islam. They said, “We became Muslims before you.” He said, “You lie. Love of the cross and drinking wine prevent you from it.” Then he called them to curse one another. They promised him that they would come tomorrow morning.

The Prophet (S) came the next morning while he took the hand of ‘Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and Fatima. They said, “He came with his immediate family. They trust in their religion.” So they refrained from cursing each other. The Prophet (S) said, “If they had done it, fire would have been showered on them in the desert.”14

11. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Between David and Jesus the son of Mary there were four hundred years. The religion of Jesus was tawhid (divine unity), ikhlas (purity) and what Noah, Abraham and Moses, peace be with them, had bidden. The Injil (gospel) was sent down to him.

The pledge that was taken from the other prophets was also taken from Jesus, and it was made law for him in the book to establish prayer with religion, enjoining the good and prohibiting evil, forbidding what was forbidden, and allowing what was allowed. Admonitions and parables were sent down to him in the Injil, but there was no law of retribution in it nor precepts of retribution (ahkam al-hudud), and no obligations for inheritance.

What was sent down to him was an alleviation of what was sent down to Moses in the Torah. This is in the saying of Allah in which Jesus the son of Mary said to the Children of Israel,

[and to make lawful to you certain things that before were forbidden to you] (3:50).

Jesus commanded those with him who were believers and followed him that they believe in the law of the Torah and Injil.”15

12. It is reported that Abu Ja‘far (‘a) said, “…then Allah commissioned Jesus to witness that there is no god but Allah and to recite what was brought to him from Allah, and He made for him a law and a method.

Then the Saturday, which they previously had been commanded to strictly observe, was abrogated, and generally the path and customs that had been practiced that were brought by Moses. Then, one who does not follow the path of Jesus, Allah will cast him into the fire, although what all the prophets brought is not to associate anything with Allah.”16

13. Ibn ‘Abbas said, “A group of the scholars of Jews came to ‘Umar when he was Caliph of the Muslims… Then ‘Ali said to [the chief of them], ‘Ask.’ He said, ‘Inform me about a group from early times who died and after three hundred-nine years Allah revived them.

What was their story?’ ‘Ali (‘a) started and wanted to read Sura al-Kahf. The scholar said, ‘How much we have heard of your Qur’an! If you know them, inform us about their story, names, number, the name of their dog, cave, king and the name of their city.’

‘Ali (‘a) said, ‘There is no power and no strength save in Allah, the High, the Great. O Jewish brother! Muhammad reported to me that there was a city, named Aqsus, on the territory of Rum and it had a pure king. Their king died. So they differed in their words [among each other].

A king, from the kings of Persia, named Daqyanus, heard of their differences and turned with one hundred thousand persons and entered the city of Aqsus. Then he took it as a part of the realm of his country and made a palace in it, one parasang by one parasang. In the palace there was a hall that was a thousand cubits in length by a thousand in width in polished marble.

In that hall there were four thousand golden columns, one thousand golden chandeliers, for each of which was a chain of silver, and lit with scented oil. There were eighty windows in the Eastern wall, and in the Western wall it was the same. When the sun rose, in lit the hall, and there was sunlight in the hall wherever the sun went. In the hall was a golden throne that was forty by eighty cubits whose legs were silver studded with jewels, and on it were small cushions.

On the right of the throne there were eighty chairs of gold decorated with green chrysolite. There the Batariqah sat. At the left there were eighty silver chairs decorated with red rubies, on which sat the Haraqilah. Then the king ascended the throne and placed the throne on his head.’

The Jew started and said, ‘What was his crown made of?’ Imam ‘Ali (‘a) said, ‘Golden mesh with seven pillars on each of which was a white pearl that shone like a light shining in a dark night. There were fifty youths of the Haraqilah with shirts of red brocade and skirts of green brocade. They wore crowns, bangles and anklets.

They had golden scepters and stood at the head of the king. He took six young man as ministers and stood three of them at his right and three of them at his left.’ The Jew said, ‘What were their names?’

‘Ali (‘a) said, ‘The names of those who were at his right were Tamlikha, Maksalmina and Mishilina, and the names of those who were at his left were Mirnus, Dirnus and Shadharrius. He consulted them about all his affairs. Every day he held court in the yard of his house with the Batariqah at his right and the Haraqilah at his left. Three boys were at the hand of one of them serving a golden goblet with powdered musk, and at the hand of another was a silver goblet full of rose water.

On the hand of another was a white bird with a red beak. Whenever the king looked at the bird, he would call it, and it would fly until it fell into the goblet of rose water, in which it drenched itself. Then it would fall into the goblet of musk, which would stick to its feathers and wings. Then the king would call it again, and it would fly onto the crown of the king, and what was on its feathers and wings would fall onto the head of the king.

When the king saw this, he would exult and pride himself. Then he would claim Lordship for himself to the exclusion of Allah and call his people to it. So he gave, granted and clothed everyone who obeyed him in this. He killed everyone who did not swear allegiance to him.

So all of them answered him. He held a celebration for them every year. One day, at a feast, the people of Batariqah were at his right and the people of Haraqilah were at his left. Suddenly, a Bitriq came to him and informed him that an army from Persia had overcome him. So he became sad for it as his crown fell from his head.

One of those three who were at his right was called Tamlikha and was a young man. He said to himself, ‘If Daqyanus is God, as he thinks, he should not become sad, should not fear, urinate, deficate or sleep.

These deeds are not the deeds of God. Those six young people were in the house of one of them every day and that day were in the house of Tamlikha. He prepared pure food for them. Then he said to them, ‘O brothers! There is something in my heart that has kept me from eating, drinking and sleeping.’

They said, ‘What is that? O Tamlikha!’ He said, ‘I thought about this sky for a long time and said to myself, “Who raised its ceiling without any support and without any bond above it? Who placed the sun and the moon in it as two luminous signs? Who adorned it with stars?” Then I thought about the earth for a long time and I said, “Who spread it over the back of the brimming sea? Who has kept down the earth with mountains so that it does not move all over?”

Then I thought about myself for a long time: “Who brought me out as a foetus from the belly of my mother? Who fed me and who raised me? Verily, there is a creator and a director other than the king Daqyus. He is not anyone but the King of kings and the Almighty of the heavens.”’

Then that group fell at his feet, kissed them and said, ‘Allah guided us from going astray by your guidance, so show us the way.’ Tamlikha jumped, sold some dates from his garden for three thousand dirhams and put them in his bag. They rode their horses and went out of the city. When they went three miles, Tamlikha said to them, ‘O brothers! The dwelling of the other world came and the kingdom of this world went. Go down from your horses and walk by foot. Allah may put relief and escape for you.’

They went down from their horses and walked for seven farsangs that day, until their feet bled. A shepherd met them. They said, “O shepherd! Do you have any milk or water?” The shepherd said, “I have whatever you want, but I see that your faces are those of princes. I suspect that you have fled from King Daqyus.” They said, “O shepherd! It is not permitted for us to lie. If we tell you the truth, will we be safe from you?”

Then they told him their story. The shepherd fell at their feet and kissed them, and he said, “O people! In my heart I realized what you realized in your hearts. Give me time to return these beasts to their owners and join you. They waited for him. He returned the beasts and hurried back. The dog followed.’ The Jew stood and said, ‘O ‘Ali! What was the name of the dog, and what was its color?’

‘Ali (‘a) said, ‘There is no power and no strength save in Allah, the High, the Great. The color of the dog was between white and black, more toward black. The name of the dog was Qitmir. When the youths looked at the dog, some of them said, “We are afraid that the barking will reveal us.” So they threw stones at it. Allah, the Exalted, magnificent is His remembrance, made the dog speak: ‘Let me be, so I can protect you from your enemies.’

The shepherd constantly guided them until he brought them up a mountain. Then he brought them down to a cave called al-Wasid. At the entrance to the cave there were springs and fruit trees. They ate the fruit and drank the water, and the night covered them. They took refuge in the cave, and the dog lied down to sleep at the entrance of the cave, and stretched out its paws.

Then Allah, the Exalted, revealed to the angel of death to take their spirits, and for each of the men Allah appointed two angels to turn them from right to left and from left to right. The Allah, the Mighty and Exalted, revealed to the keepers of the sun so it inclined from their cave toward the right and passed them by on the left.17

When Daqyus, the king, came back from his celebration, he asked about them. He was informed that they had left the city out of fear. He mounted a horse with eighty thousand others, and they constantly searched for any trace of them, until they ascended and arrived at their cave. When they looked at them, they saw that they were asleep.

The king said, ‘If I had wanted to chastise them, I would not have chastised them more than they have chastised themselves. Bring the builders.’ They dammed the entrance of the cave with lime and stone. The king said to his companions, ‘Tell them to ask their God Who is in heaven to save them and to get them out of here.’

‘Ali (‘a) continued, “O Jewish brothers! They stayed there for three hundred nine years. When Allah wanted to revive them, he commanded the angel Israfil to breathe the spirit into them. He breathed. Then they stood up from their sleep.

When the sun rose, some of them said, we neglected our worship the God of heaven during the night. They stood and the water of the spring had sunken, and the trees had withered. Some of them said, ‘How strange is our affair! Like this sunken spring that had been full, and these trees that have withered in a single night.’ They were hungry. They said,

Now send one of you with this coin of yours to the city. Then let him see which of them has purest food; so let him bring you provision from it, and let him behave with gentleness, and by no means make your case known to anyone. (18:19)

Tamlikha said, ‘No one but I will go for your needs. O shepherd! Give me your clothes.’ So the shepherd gave his clothes to him and he set out for the city. He saw places that he did not know and roads with which he was unfamiliar, until he reached the gate of the city, where there was a green flag on which was written, “There is no god but Allah, and Jesus is the Apostle of Allah.”

He looked at the flag and rubbed his eyes and said, “Am I dreaming?” Then he entered the city until he came to the market. He came to a baker and said, “O baker! What is the name of this city of yours?” He said, “Aqsus.” He said, “And what is the name of your king?” He said, “‘Abd al-Rahman.”

He said, “Give me food for this money.” The baker started in surprise at the weight and size of the dirham.’ The Jew stood up and said, ‘O ‘Ali (‘a)! What was the weight of a dirham.’ He (‘a) said, ‘The weight of every dirham was that of ten and two thirds dirhams.’ ‘Ali (‘a) continued, “Then the baker said, ‘O you! Have you found a treasure?’ Tamlikha said, ‘This is the money I made selling dates three days ago, and then I left this city to escape worshipping King Daqyus.’

The baker took his hand and brought him to the king. The king said, ‘What is the story of this youth?’ The baker said, ‘He is a man who found a treasure.’ The king said, ‘O youth! Do not be afraid, for our prophet, Jesus (‘a), commanded us only to take a fifth of what is found of treasure. So, give us a fifth of it and go in peace.’ Tamlikha said, ‘O king! Look at my affair. I did not find a treasure. I am a man of this city.’ The king said, ‘You are of its people?’

He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Does anyone here know you?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘My name is Tamlikha.’ He said, ‘There is no such name among the names of our times.’ The king said, ‘Do you have a house in this city?’ He said, ‘Yes. O king! Mount and come with me.’ The king mounted and so did his people with him. Tamlikha brought them to the highest building in the city. He said, ‘This is my house.’

He knocked on the door. An elderly man came out, whose eyebrows covered his eyes because of his age, and said, ‘What do you want?’ The king said, “This young man brought us something strange. He thinks that this is his house.” The old man said to him, “Who are you?” He said, “I am Tamlikha son of Qustikin.” The old man fell at his feet and kissed them, and said, “He is my grandfather, by the Lord of the Ka‘bah. O king! These six are those who escaped out of fear of King Daqyus.”

The king came down from his horse and carried Tamlikha on his shoulders, and the people started kissing his hands and feet. He said, “O Tamlikha! What have your companions done?” He informed him of the cave. In those days there was in the city a muslim king and a Jewish king. Both mounted with their companions.

When they got close to the cave, Tamlikha said, “I am afraid that my companions will hear the sound of the hooves of the horses and suspect that King Daqyus is coming after them. Give me time to go ahead and inform them.” The people waited and Tamlikha went ahead until he entered the cave. When they looked at him and gathered around him and said, “Praise Allah Who delivered you from Daqyus.” Tamlikha said, “Leave off this talk of Daqyus.”

He said,

How long have you tarried? They said, We have tarried for a day or a part of a day. (18:19)

Tamlikha said, “You have tarried three hundred nine years, and Daqyus has died, and centuries have passed. Allah raised a prophet called the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary (‘a). Allah made him ascend. The king came to our side and the people with him.” They said, “O Tamlikha! Do you want to make a trial by us for the people?” Tamlikha said, “So, what do you want?” They said, “Pray to Allah, Whose remembrance is glorious, and we will pray with you that our souls will be taken.”

They raised their hands. Then Allah commanded that their souls be taken. Then Allah covered the door of the cave from the people. The two kings came and circled about the door of the cave for seven days without finding it. The muslim King said, “They died with our religion. I will build a mosque over the door of the cave.”

The Jew said, “No! Rather they died with my religion. I will build a synagogue over the door of the cave.” Then they fought. The muslim won, and built a mosque over it.’ O Jew! Does this agree with what is in your Torah?” The Jew said, “You have not added or subtracted a letter, and I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and His apostle.”18

14. It is reported that Safwan the son of Yahya, the companion of al-Sabiri said: “Abu Qurrah, the companion of al-Jathiliq, asked me to bring him to Al-Ridha’ (‘a). Then I asked him for permission. He said, ‘Bring him to me.’ Then, when he came to him, Abu Qarah kissed the carpet and said, ‘This is our duty, according to our religion, that we must do for the nobles of our time.’

Then Abu Qarah said to him, ‘May Allah help you. What would you say about a sect that claimed something, and another sect bore witness that it was right?’ He answered, ‘The claim is in their favor.’ He said, ‘ [What about] another sect that claims something but finds no witnesses for it but themselves?’ He answered, ‘There is nothing in their favor.’ He said, ‘So we, ourselves, claim that Jesus is the spirit of Allah and His word, and the Muslims agree with us about this.

But the Muslims claim that Muhammad is the prophet, while we do not follow them in this. That on which we agree is better than that about which we differ.’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, ‘What is your name?’ He answered, ‘Yuhanna.’ He said, ‘O Yuhanna! We believe in Jesus, the spirit of Allah and His word, who believed in Muhammad and gave tidings of him and acknowledged that he was His servant and subject.

So, if Jesus, the spirit of Allah and His word, as you hold, is not one who believed in Muhammad, and gave tiding of him, and who acknowledged that he is the servant of Allah and that He is the Lord, then we are acquitted of him. So, on what do we agree?’ Then he stood up and said to Safwan the son of Yahya, ‘Stand up! We did not get anything out of this meeting.’”19

15. Ishaq ibn ‘Ammar said: “I asked Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) about what Allah, the blessed and exalted, said,

and aforetime they used to pray for victory against those who disbelieved, but when there came to them (the Prophet) that which they did not recognize, they disbelieved in him, (2:89)

He answered, ‘There was a group between Muhammad (S) and Jesus (‘a) that used to threaten disbelievers with a prophet and they used to say, “Verily a prophet will appear and will break your idols and will do with you this and that,” but when the Prophet of Allah appeared, they disbelieved him.’”20

16. Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Nufali said, “When ‘Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha’ (‘a) came before Ma’mun the later commanded Fadl ibn Sahl to gather the scholars (ashab al-maqalat) such as the Catholicos (Jathaliq), the Exilarch (Ra’s al-Jalut), the chiefs of the Sabeans, Hirbidh al-Akbar, the Zoroastrians, Nastas al-Rumi and the theologians so as to hear his words and their words. Fadl ibn Sahl gathered them and informed Ma‘mun of their gathering.

Ma‘mun said, ‘Bring them before me.’ He did it. Ma‘mun welcomed them; then he said to them, ‘I gathered you here for the good, and I would like you to debate with my cousin from Madinah who has come before me. Come here early tomorrow morning, and let not one of you be remiss.’ They said, ‘We hear and we obey, O Commander of the Faithful! We will be here early tomorrow morning, God willing.’…

The next morning, Fadl ibn Sahl came and said to Al-Ridha’ (‘a), ‘May I be your sacrifice. Your cousin is waiting for you. The people have gathered. What is your view about coming before him?’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, ‘You precede me, and I will come to you, God willing.’ Then he made ablutions (wudu’) as though for prayer, and he drank some barley water (sharbah sawiq) and we also drank some.

Then he left, and we left with him, until we entered before Ma‘mun. All at once it was crowded, and Muhammad ibn Ja‘far was among the Talibiyyin, the Hashimiyyin and the Quwwad. When Al-Ridha’ (‘a) entered, Ma‘mun stood up, and Muhammad ibn Ja‘far and all the Hashimiyyin. They waited until Al-Ridha’ (‘a) sat with Ma‘mun and ordered them to sit. Then they sat, and Ma‘mun faced him and spoke with him for an hour.

Then Ma‘mun turned toward the Catholicos and said, ‘O Catholicos! This is my cousin, ‘Ali ibn Musa ibn Ja‘far, who is a descendent of Fatimah the daughter of our Prophet and ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may they both be blessed. So, I would like you to speak with him and debate fairly.’

The Catholicos said, ‘O Commander of the Faithful! How can I debate with someone who relies upon a book that I deny and a prophet in whom I have no faith?’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, ‘O Christian! If I debate against you by your Gospel, will you concede?’

The Catholicos said, ‘Can I reject what is spoken in the Gospel? Yes, by God, I will concede even if I do not like it.’Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, ‘Ask whatever comes to your mind, and understand the answer.’ The Catholicos said, ‘What do you say about the prophethood of Jesus and his book? Do you deny them?’

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘I confess the prophethood of Jesus and his book, and the glad tidings to his community to which the Apostles also confessed. And I disbelieve in the prophethood of any Jesus who did not confess the prophethood of Muhammad (S) and in his book and who did not give glad tidings of him to his community.’

The Catholicos said, ‘Is it not the case that you consider the judgment oftwo just witnesses decisive?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ The Catholicos said, ‘Then bring two witnesses for the prophethood of Muhammad from a nation other than yours who are not denied by the Christians, and ask us for the like from other than our nation.’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘Now you are being fair, O Christian! Do you not accept from me the earlier just ones who were with the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary?’

The Catholicos said, ‘Who is that just one? Tell me his name?’ He said, ‘What do you say about John Daylami?’ He said, ‘Very well! You have mentioned the most beloved person to the Messiah.’ He (‘a) said, ‘I swear to you, does the Gospel not say that John said, “The Messiah informed me of the religion of Muhammad the Arab, and he gave me glad tidings of him, that he would come after him; then I gave glad tidings of him to the Apostles, so believe in him.”?’

The Catholicos said, ‘John mentioned this from the Messiah and he gave glad tidings about the prophethood of a man and about his folk and his trustee. But he did not specify when this would be, and he did not name these people for us so that we could recognize them.’

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘If we bring someone who reads the Gospel and he recites for you the mention of Muhammad and his folk and his community, will you believe in him?’ He said, ‘Surely.’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to Nastas al-Rumi, ‘How is your memory of the third scripture of the Gospel?’ He said, ‘I do not remember it.’

Then he turned to the chief of al-Jalut and said, ‘Do you not read the Gospel?’ He said, ‘Yes, by my soul.’ He said, ‘Start the third scripture for me. If the mention of Muhammad and his folk and his community is in it, bear witness to it for me, and if it is not there, then do not bear witness for me.’ Then he recited the scripture until when he arrived at the mention of the Prophet (S) he stopped.

Then he said, ‘O Christian! I ask you by the right of the Messiah and his mother, did you know that I know the Gospel?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ Then he recited for us the mention of Muhammad, his folk and his community.

Then he said, ‘What do you say, O Christian? This is the speech of Jesus the son of Mary. If you belie what is said in the Gospel then you belie Moses and Jesus, peace be with them, and when you deny this mention, it is obligatory for you to be killed, because you would be a disbeliever in your Lord, your prophet and your book.’

The Catholicos said, ‘I will not deny what is clear for me in the Gospel. I will confess to it.’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘Bear witness to what he has confessed.’ Then he said, ‘O Catholicos! Ask whatever comes to your mind.’

The Catholicos said, ‘Inform me about the Apostles of Jesus the son of Mary. How many were they? And how many were the scholars of the Gospel?’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘You have come to one who is well informed. As for the Apostles, they were twelve men, and the most noble and knowledgeable of them was Luke.

As for the Christian scholars, they were three men: John the Great of Ajj,21 John of Qirqisa and John Daylami of Zijar, and it is he who mentions the Prophet (S), and mentions his folk and his community, and it is he who brought the glad tidings of him to the community of Jesus and to the Children of Israel.’

Then he said to him, ‘O Christian! Verily, we do indeed, by Allah, believe in Jesus who believed in Muhammad (S) and we do not resent anything about your Jesus except his weakness and the small amount that he fasted and prayed.’ The Catholicos said, ‘By Allah! You spoiled your knowledge and weakened your affair.

I imagined nothing less than that you were the most knowledgeable of the folk of Islam.’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘How is that?’ The Catholicos said, ‘Because of what you said about Jesus being weak and having little fasting and prayer, while Jesus never broke his fast and slept through not a single night; he was constantly fasting and holding vigils.’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘So, for whom did he fast and pray?’

Then the Catholicos was dumbfounded and stopped speaking. Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘O Christian! I want to ask you about a problem.’ He said, ‘Ask. If I know anything about it, I will answer you.’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘Why did you deny that Jesus raised the dead by the permission of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent?’ The Catholicos said, ‘I denied it because whoever raises the dead and cures the blind and the leper is the lord deserving to be worshipped.’

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘Elisha also did things like Jesus did: walked on the water, raised the dead and cured the blind and the leper, but his community did not take him to be the Lord, and not one of them worshipped him instead of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent. And the prophet Ezekiel also did things like what Jesus the son of Mary did, for he raised thirty-five thousand men after they had been dead for sixty years.’

Then he turned to the Exilarch and said to him, ‘O Exilarch! Do you find in the Torah what there is about the youths of the Children of Israel who were exiled by Nebuchadnezzar when they revolted in Jerusalem and then he sent them to Babylon? Then Allah, the Exalted, sent one to them and Allah revived them. This is in the Torah. None of you deny this unless he is a disbeliever.’

The Exilarch said, ‘We heard this and know about it.’ He said, ‘You spoke the truth.’ Then he said, ‘O Jew! Consider the scripture of the Torah.’ Then he (‘a) recited some verses of the Torah. The Jew started at his recitation and was surprised. Then he faced the Christian and said, ‘O Christian! Did this take place before Jesus or was Jesus before that?’ He said, ‘No. They were before him.’

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, ‘Once the Quraysh gathered before the Apostle of Allah (S) and asked him to raise their dead for them. He had ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) accompany them, then he said to him, ‘Go to al-Jubbanah and call that clan by their names, those about whom they had asked, with your loudest voice: O so-and-so! O so-and-so! And O so-and-so! Muhammad the Apostle of Allah says to you, “Rise, by the permission of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent.”’ Then they rose and wiped the dust from their heads.

The Quraysh received them and asked how they were. Then they told them that Muhammad (S) had been raised as a prophet. They said, ‘We would love to see him and to believe in him.’ He cured the blind, the leper and the insane. The beasts, birds, genies and devils spoke to him, but we did not take him as a Lord instead of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent. We do not deny the virtues of any of them.

So, when you take Jesus as Lord, it becomes allowable to take Elijah and Ezekiel as Lords, because both of them did things like what Jesus did, such as raising the dead, etc... Verily, there was a tribe of the Children of Israel who fled their town because of plague and fear of death, and they were thousands, but in a single hour Allah made them die.22

The people from that town set up an enclosure for them, and they [the dead] were always in it, until their bones rotted and decayed. Then one of the prophets of the Children of Israel passed them, and wondered about them and the great quantity of their rotted bones.

So, Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, revealed to him, ‘Would you like Me to revive them for you and warn them?’ He said, ‘Yes, O my Lord!’ Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, revealed to him that he should call them. He said, ‘O you rotted bones! Rise, by the permission of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent!’ Then they rose living, all of them. They wiped the dust from their heads.

Then, Abraham, the friend of the Merciful, when he took the birds and cut them up, then put a portion of them on each mountain, then called them and they went toward him with effort.23 Then there was Moses of ‘Imran and seventy of his chosen companions who went with him toward a mountain, and said to him, ‘You have seen Allah, glory be to Him, so show Him to us as you saw Him.’24

He said to them, ‘Verily, I did not see Him.’ They said, ‘We will not believe in you until we see Allah openly. Then they were struck by lightning. They burned, to the last of them, and Moses remained alone. He said, ‘O my Lord! Verily, I chose seventy men of the Children of Israel. I brought them here, but return alone.

So, how is my people to affirm what I report to them? If you wanted, you could have destroyed them before and me. Would You destroy us because of what the fools among us did?’ Then Allah revived them after their death. Everything I have mentioned to you, you cannot deny, for the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms, the Qur’an have spoken of it.

If everyone who raises the dead, cures the blind, the leper and the insane is to be taken as a Lord, instead of Allah, then take all of these as Lords. What do say, O Christian?’ The Catholicos said, ‘It is as you say, and there is no god but Allah.’

Then he (‘a) turned to the Exilarch and said, “O Jew! Listen to me, for I want to ask you about ten verses which descended to Moses ibn ‘Imran. Do you find this written in the Torah about Muhammad and his community: ‘When the last community comes following the rider of the camel, and they glorify the Lord very earnestly with a new glorification in new synagogues.

Then let the Children of Israel seek refuge with them and their king so that their hearts may be assured. Verily, there are swords in their hands by which they obtain revenge against the disbelieving communities in the regions of the earth.’?” Do you find anything like this written in the Torah?”

The Exilarch said, “Yes. We find the like of this.” Then he said to the Catholicos, “O Christian! How is your knowledge of the book Sha‘ya?” He said, “I know it word for word.” Then he said to him, “Are you familiar with these words from it: ‘O people! Verily I saw a figure riding a donkey clothed in a garb of light, and I saw the rider of a camel whose radiance is like the radiance of the moon.’?” They both said, “Certainly Sha‘ya said this.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “O Christian! Do you know the saying of Jesus in the Gospel: ‘Verily, I am going to your Lord and my Lord, and the paraclete (barqalita) is coming, he who will testify for me truly, even as I testify for him. And he will interpret all things for you, and he is the one who will reveal the sins of the nations, and he will break the pillar of disbelief.’?” The Catholicos said, “You have not mentioned anything from the Gospel that we do not confess.”

He said, “Do you find this set in the Gospel, O Catholicos?” He said, “Yes.” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “O Catholicos! Will you not inform me about the first Gospel, when it was lost, with whom was it found? And who compiled this Gospel for you?” He said, “We did not lose it, except for one day, and when we found it, it was like new, and it was brought out by John and Matthew.”

Then Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, “How little is your knowledge of the mystery25 of the Gospel and its scholars! If it is as you imagine, then why are there differences about the Gospel? And verily, there are differences about the Gospel that is in your hands today. If it were the original testament, you would not differ about it. But I will offer you knowledge about it.

Know that when the original Gospel was lost, the Christians gathered around their scholars and said to them, ‘Jesus the son of Mary was killed, the Gospel has been lost, and you are scholars, so what is in your possession?’ Luke and Mark said to them, ‘Verily, the Gospel is within our breasts, and we will bring it out scripture by scripture for everyone, so do not worry about it. Do not empty the synagogues.

So, we will soon recite for every one of you scripture by scripture until it is all collected.’ Luke, Mark, John and Matthew sat down and compiled this Gospel for you after you had lost the original Gospel. These four persons were students of the first students. Did you know this?”

The Catholicos said, “I did not know this, but now I know it. The extent of your knowledge of the Gospel has become clear to me. I heard something to the truth of which my heart testifies, so I want to increase my understanding.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, “What do you think about that to which they all testify?” He said, “It is allowed; they are the scholars of the Gospel. Everything to which they testify is true.” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to Ma‘mun and to his folk and others with him present, “Bear witness to this.” They said, “We bear witness.”

Then he said to the Catholicos, “By the truth of the son and his mother, do you know that Matthew says, ‘Verily the Messiah is the son of David son of Abraham son of Isaac son of Jacob son of Yahuda son of Hadrun,’ and that Mark, regarding the lineage of Jesus the son of Mary says, ‘Verily, he is the word of Allah, He made it incarnate in the body of a man; so it became man,’ and that Luke says, ‘Verily, Jesus the son of Mary and his mother were two persons of flesh and blood, and the holy spirit entered into them,’ and then you say that Jesus testifies about himself, ‘In truth I say to you, O company of disciples, verily, no one ascends to heaven unless he descends from it, except the rider of the camel, the seal of the prophets. Verily, he ascends to heaven and then descends from it.’? What do you say about this saying?”

The Catholicos said, “That is the saying of Jesus; we do not deny it.” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “So, what do you say about the testimony of Luke, Mark and Matthew about Jesus and what they have attributed to him?” The Catholicos said, “They lied about Jesus.” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “O people! Did he not just say that they were pure and testify that they were scholars of the Gospel, and that their word is the truth?”

The Catholicos said, “O scholar of the Muslims! I would like you to pardon me for this about them.” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “We have done it. Ask, O Christian, whatever comes to your mind!”

The Catholicos said, “Let someone other than me ask you. Nay! By the truth of the Messiah! I never imagined that a scholar like you was among the Muslims.” Then Al-Ridha’ (‘a) turned to the Exilarch and said to him, “Will you question me or shall I question you?”

He said, “I would question you, and I will not accept any argument from you unless it is from the Torah, the Gospel, the Psalms of David or from what is in the scriptures of Abraham and Moses.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “Do not accept any argument from me unless it is spoken of in the Torah by the tongue of Moses ibn ‘Imran, the Gospel by the tongue of Jesus the son of Mary or the Psalms by the tongue of David.”

The Exilarch said, “How do you prove that Muhammad was a prophet?” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “Moses ibn ‘Imran, Jesus the son of Mary and David the Steward of Allah, the mighty and magnificent, on earth bore witness to it.” So he said to him, “Prove the saying of Moses ibn ‘Imran.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “Do you know, O Jew, that Moses ibn ‘Imran left a will for the Children of Israel in which he said to them, ‘Verily, there will soon come to you a prophet from among your brethren, so affirm him and listen to him.’ Do you know any brethren of the Children of Israel other than the offspring of Isma‘il, if you know of the kinship of Israel and Isma‘il, and the relation between them from Abraham?”

The Exilarch said, “That is the saying of Moses; we do not deny it.” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, “Has there come to you from the brethren of the Children of Israel any prophet other than Muhammad?” He said, “No.” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “Is this not correct according to you?”

He said, “Yes, but I would like you to show the correctness of this matter from the Torah.” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, “Do you deny that the Torah says to you, ‘Light came from Mount Sinai, and that it radiates to us from Mount Sa‘ir, and it has appeared to us from Mount Faran.’?” The Exilarch said, “I know these words, but I do not know the interpretation of them.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “I will inform you of it. As for its saying, ‘Light came from Mount Sinai,’ that is the revelation of Allah, the blessed and exalted, which He sent down to Moses at Mount Sinai; as for His saying, ‘and that it radiates to us from Mount Sa‘ir,’ it is the mountain at which Allah, the mighty and magnificent, sent revelation to Jesus the son of Mary when he was on it; and as for His saying, ‘and it has appeared to us from Mount Faran,’ this is one of the mountains of Mecca which is one day’s journey from Mecca.

The prophet Sha‘ya says in the Torah, what you and your companions also say, ‘I saw two riders for whom the earth became illuminated, one of them on a donkey and the other on a camel.’ Who is the rider on the donkey and who is the rider of the camel?” The Exilarch said, “I do not know those two, so inform me of them.” He (‘a) said, “The rider of the donkey is Jesus, and the rider of the camel is Muhammad. Do you deny that this is from the Torah?” He said, “No, I do not deny it.”

Then Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “Do you know the prophet Habakkuk?” He said, “Yes. I know of him.” He (‘a) said, “He said, and this is narrated in your book, ‘Allah brought down speech on Mount Faran, and the heavens were filled with the glorification of Muhammad and his community. His horse carries him over water as it carries him over land.

He will bring a new book to us after the ruin of the holy house [the temple in Jerusalem].’ What is meant by this book is the Qur’an. Do you know this and believe in it?” The Exilarch said, “Habakkuk the prophet has said this and we do not deny what he said.” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “In his Psalms, David said, and you recite it, “O God! Send one to revive the tradition after it has languished.’ Do you know a prophet other than Muhammad who has revived the tradition after it languished?”

The Exilarch said, “This is the saying of David. We know it and do not deny it, however, what is meant by this is Jesus, and his day was the period of languishing.” Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, “You are ignorant. Verily, Jesus did not oppose the tradition, but he was in agreement with the tradition of the Torah, until Allah raised him to Himself.

It is written in the Gospel, ‘Verily, the son of the good woman will leave, and the paraclete will come after him, and he will lighten the burden, and he will interpret everything for you, and he will bear witness for me as I bear witness for him. I have brought parables for you, and he will bring for you exegesis.’ Do you believe in this from the Gospel?” He said, “Yes. I do not deny it.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, “O Exilarch (Ra’s al-Jalut)! I ask you about your prophet Moses ibn ‘Imran.” He said, “Ask!” He (‘a) said, “What proof do you have that Moses was a prophet?” The Jew said, “Verily, he brought that which had not been brought by any prophet before him.”

He said to him, “Like what?” He said, “Like the splitting of the sea, changing his staff into [a serpent] running, hitting the rock so that fountains sprung from the cleft, bringing out his hand white for the observers, and signs for the like of which people have no power.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, “You spoke truly that the proof of his being a prophet was that he brought that for the like of which people have no power. Is it not the case that it becomes obligatory for you to affirm whoever claims to be a prophet then brings the like of that for which people have no power?” He said, “No. Because there was no one like Moses in station before his Lord, and nearness to Him; and it is not obligatory for us to admit the prophethood of one who claims it unless he bring signs like what he brought.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “So, how do you admit that there were prophets prior to Moses, while they did not split the sea, and did not cleft the rock so that twelve fountains sprung from it, and they did not bring out their hands as Moses brought his hand out white, and they did not change staves into running serpents.” The Jew said to him, “I will indeed inform you that when one brings a sign the like of which people have no power to bring, even if they are not what Moses brought or are other than what he brought, it becomes obligatory to affirm him.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “O Exilarch (Ra’s al-Jalut)! So, what prevents you from admitting [to the prophethood of] Jesus the son of Mary, while he revived the dead, cured the blind and the leper, and created of clay what had the form of birds, then blew into them and they became birds by the permission of Allah?” The Exilarch said, “It is said that he did this, but we did not witness it.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “Tell me, did you witness the signs that Moses brought? Is it not the case that narrations from the trusted companions of Moses conveyed that he did these things?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “Then likewise, successively confirmed reports (akhbar mutawattir) have come to you about what Jesus the son of Mary did. So how is it that you affirm Moses but you do not affirm Jesus?” He gave no answer.

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “And likewise the affair of Muhammad (S) and what he brought, and the affair of every prophet commissioned by Allah. Among the signs Muhammad (S) had was that he was an orphan, poor, a shepherd and a wage laborer who did not study any book and who was not taught by any teacher, yet brought the Qur’an in which there are the stories of the prophets and reports of them letter by letter, and reports of those who have gone before, and the peoples who will remain until the day of resurrection.

He reported about their secrets and what they had done in their houses, and he brought unaccountably many signs.” The Exilarch said, “According to us, neither the reports about Jesus nor the reports about Muhammad are correct, and it is not permitted for us to affirm these two by what is incorrect.”

Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “So, the witnesses who testified for Jesus and Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be with them both, are not valid?” He gave no answer.26

  • 1. There are two kinds of zakah or poor-rate. One is based upon a person’s wealth, and is not imposed upon the poor. The other is given at the end of Ramadan by believers who are not so poor that they are eligible to receive alms, regardless of wealth.
  • 2. Tafsir Al-Qummi, 2, 50
  • 3. ‘Awali al-La’ali, 1, 387
  • 4. ‘Awali al-La’ali, 1, 446
  • 5. ‘Ilal al-Shara’i, 1, 122
  • 6. Tafsir al-Imam al-‘Askari, 530-535, 323
  • 7. Tafsir al-Imam al- ‘Askari, 589
  • 8. See (7:157).
  • 9. That is, the opening surah of the Qur’an.
  • 10. The detailed suras, mufadhdhal, are considered by some to be those from surah Muhammad to the end, but there are other opinions among scholars as to which suras are to be included under this heading.
  • 11. Bihar, 16, 330, 26
  • 12. Kafi, 2, 17, 2
  • 13. Bihar, 21, 340, 5
  • 14. Bihar, 21, 341, 6
  • 15. Bihar, 14, 234, 4
  • 16. Kafi, 2, 29
  • 17. See Qur’an 18:17
  • 18. Bihar, 14, 411- 419, 1
  • 19. Bihar, 10, 30,341
  • 20. Kafi, 8, 310, 482
  • 21. Some say that what is meant here is Akh in Basra.
  • 22. See Qur’an, (2:243).
  • 23. See Qur’an (2:260).
  • 24. See Qur’an, (7:155).
  • 25. In another text, instead of mystery (sirr) there is traditions (sunan).
  • 26. Bihar, 10, 299-310, 1

The Successor of Jesus

1. One of the companions of the Commander of the Faithful said that some of his companions said, “O Commander of the Faithful! The executor of Moses showed the signs to his companions after Moses and the executor of Jesus showed the signs to his companions after Jesus. So, will you not show us?”

He said, ‘You do not remain [in your belief.]’ They insisted on it and said, ‘O Commander of the Faithful!’ Then he took the hands of nine persons among them and took them out toward the houses of Hajars until he overlooked a salt marsh. Then he spoke slowly and said to his hand, ‘Disclose what you have covered.’

Then every thing in the Heaven that has been described by Allah, was before their eyes with its gladness and beauty. Then four of them came back and said, ‘Magic! Magic!’ One of them remained [in his belief], as Allah wills, and sat somewhere (in an assembly) and reported some of it. So the people gathered around him and brought him to the Commander of the Faithful.”1

2. Al-Mufaddal ibn ‘Umar said, “Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said to me, ‘On the Resurrection Day four days hurry to Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, like the bride who hurries to her quarters of the tent, al-Fitr, al-’Adha, al-Jum‘ah (Friday) and Ghadir Khum. Ghadir Khum is between al-Fitr and al-’Adha. Friday is like the moon among the stars.

Allah puts the cherubim, the prophets of Allah who are apostles, the chosen executors and the friends of Allah on Ghadir Khum. On that day, the master of the angels is Gabriel (‘a), the master of the prophets is Muhammad, the master of the executors is the Commander of the Faithful and the masters of the friends of Allah are Salman, Abu Dharr, al-Miqdad and ‘Ammar. These days bring them into heaven just as the shepherd brings his sheep to the water and grassland.’ I said to him, ‘O my master! Do you order me to fast on it?’

He answered, ‘Yes, By Allah. Yes, By Allah. Yes, By Allah. Verily it is the day on which Allah accepted the repentance of Adam (‘a) and he abstained on it to thank Allah. It is the day on which Allah, the Exalted, saved Abraham (‘a) from the fire and he abstained on it to thank Allah, the Exalted. It is the day on which Moses established Harun (‘a) like a flag, and he abstained on it to thank Allah, the Exalted. It is the day on which Jesus (‘a) revealed his executor Simon al-Safa and he abstained on it to thank Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent.

It is the day on which the Apostle of Allah established ‘Ali like a flag for the people and revealed his favor and his being the executor, and he abstained on it to thank Allah, the Blessed and Exalted. It is the day of fasting, vigil, feeding [the poor], and visiting with the brothers, and in it there are the satisfaction of al-Rahman and the dislike of Satan.’”2

3. Ibn ‘Abbassaid, “When Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, sent the verse,

‘…And fullfill My covenant, so I will fullfill your covenant.’ (2, 40)

the Apostle of Allah said, ‘By Allah, Adam made a covenant with his people concerning his son, Seth and went out from this world, but his people did not fulfill it. Noah made a covenant with his people concerning his executor, Sam and went out from this world, but his people did not fulfill it. Abraham made a covenant with his people concerning his executor, Isma‘il and went out from this world, but his people did not fulfill it.

Moses made a covenant with his people concerning his executor, Yusha‘ ibn Nun and went out from this world, but his people did not fulfill it. Jesus the son of Mary made a covenant with his people concerning his executor Simon ibn Hamun al-Safa and was raised to heaven, but his people did not fulfill it.

Also I will separate from you soon and will leave you. I have made a covenant with my community concerning ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, but they will continue with the rites of the previous communities in opposing my executor and disobeying him….’”3

4. It is reported that Qays, the servant of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a) said, “Once when ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, was near the mountain at Siffin, the time for the evening prayers came. So, he went farther away and called for the prayers. When he finished the call to prayer, a man appeared from near the mountain with grey hair and beard, and a bright white face.

He said, ‘Peace be with you, O Commander of the Faithful, and mercy and blessings from Allah! Welcome to the successor of the last of the prophets, leader of the ones with bright, brilliant faces, magnanimous and protected, excellent and one who has the reward of the truthful, master of all the successors!’

So, the Commander of the Faithful said, ‘And peace be with you. How are you?’

He replied, ‘I am well, waiting for the holy spirit. I do not know of any name that is greater in the estimation of Allah, His Name is Mighty and Magnificent, at the time of an ordeal than yours, nor of any who has earned more rewards than you, nor of anyone who has an elevated place higher than yours. Put up with all that your face, O my brother, until you meet the beloved.

Verily, I have witnessed whatever happened to our companions in the past at the hands of the children of Israel. They cut them apart with the saw and carried them over the bier.’ And then pointing towards the people of Syria, he said, ‘And if these poor, ugly faces knew what chastisement and exemplary punishment awaited them for fighting against you, they would withdraw.; And then pointing to the people of Iraq, he said, ‘And if these bright faces knew that award awaited them for having obeyed you, they would love to be cut by scissors. And peace and His mercy and blessings be with you.’

Then he disappeared. At that time, Ammar ibn Yasir, ‘Abdul Haytham ibn al-Tihan, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Samit, Khuzayma ibn Thabit and Hashim al-Marqal, among a group of his followers, having heard what the man had said, stood up and said, ‘O Commander of the Faithful! Who was that man?’ The Commander of the Faithful said, ‘He is Simon, the successor of Jesus (‘a). Allah sent him to me to give me solace for this confrontation with His enemies.’ They said, ‘May our parents be your ransom! By Allah! We will help you the way we helped the Apostle of Allah (S), and none from the Muhajirin nor Ansar shall desert you, except the unfortunate one.’ Then the Commander of the Faithful said some kind words to them.”4

5. Imam Baqir (‘a) said, “Verily, Allah sent Muhammad (S) to the genies and the people, and after him He put twelve exectutors (wasiy). Some of them have gone and some remain. Each executor put a way (sunnah) into practice, and the executors after Muhammad (S) followed the way of the executors of Jesus, who were also twelve, and the Commander of the Faithful followed the way of the Messiah.”5

6. Musa ibn Ja‘far narrated from his fathers, peace be with them, that ‘Ali (‘a) said to Salman, “Will you not inform us about the beginning of your matter?” He said, “I am from Shiraz and I was a dear boy to my father. I was with him in a cloister on one of their festival days. Then one in it called, ‘I testify that there is no god but Allah, Jesus is the Spirit of Allah and Muhammad is the beloved of Allah.’ Then the loveliness of him entered into my flesh and blood.

My father said, ‘Why do you not prostrate for the rise of the sun?’ I argued with him until he became silent. When I came back to my house I saw a book hung below the ceiling. I said to my mother, ‘What is this book?’ She said, ‘O Ruzbih! When we returned from our festival, we saw this book that was hung. So do not approach that place. If not, your father will kill you.’ I implored her until the darkness of night came and my father and mother went to sleep.

Then I stood and took the book. Written in it was, ‘In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. This is a covenant from Allah to Adam that He will create from his loins a prophet, who will be named ‘Muhammad.’ He will command noble virtue and prohibit the worship of idols. O Ruzbih! Go to the executor of the executor of Jesus and be at his service. He will guide you to your aim.’ Then I lost my consciousness.

My parents understood and put me in a well and said, ‘Do not come back, otherwise we will kill you.’ I said, ‘Do to me what you want. The love of Muhammad will not go from my breast.’

I did not know Arabic, but Allah taught me on that day. They sent small loaves of bread to me. I spent a long time in the well, and I raised my hands to the sky and said, ‘O My Lord! You evoked the love of Muhammad and his executor in me. By the right of his means, may You hasten my emergence.’

Then one who wore white clothes came to me and said, ‘O Ruzbih! Stand up.’ Then he took my hand and brought me to the cloister. I went up to it. The monk said, ‘Are you Ruzbih?’ I answered, ‘Yes.’ I stayed near him two years and served him. When he was in the throes of death, he directed me to a monk in Antioch and gave me a tablet on which the attributes of Muhammad were written.

When I came to the monk of Antioch and went up to his cloister, he said, ‘Are you Ruzbih?’ I answered, ‘Yes.’ He welcomed me and I served him for two years, too. He informed me of the attributes of Muhammad and his executor.

When he was in the throes of death, he said to me, ‘O Ruzbih! The raising of Muhammad is near.’ After his death, I went out with a group to Hijaz and served them. Once they killed a sheep with a blow, roasted it, prepared wine and said to me, ‘Eat and drink.’ I refused. They wanted to kill me. I said, ‘Do not kill me. I confess that I will be a servant to you.’

Then they bought me to a Jew. He asked me about my story. I told him the matter from the beginning to the end. He said, ‘I hate you and Muhammad.’ and brought me out of his house. There was much sand near the door of his house. He said, ‘If you do not transfer all of this sand from here to there, I will kill you.’ I began to carry it during the night.

When I became tired, although I had moved but a little of it, I would say, ‘O My Lord! You evoked the love of Muhammad and his executor in me. By the right of his means, give me rest from this.’ So Allah raised a wind by which the sand moved from its place to the place that the Jew had said. In the morning the Jew said to me, ‘You are a witch. I will bring you out of this village for you cannot destroy us.’

He brought me out and sold me to a good woman. She loved me. She put me in a garden for her and said, ‘Eat, grant and give alms from it.’ One day when I was in the garden, I saw that seven groups were coming and a cloud was shading them and went with them. I said, ‘Verily there is a prophet among them.’”6

  • 1. Al-Ikhtisas, 326
  • 2. Al-’Iqbal, 466
  • 3. Ma‘ani al-Akhbar, 373
  • 4. Amali, 1, 104-106, 5
  • 5. Kafi, 1, 532, 10
  • 6. Al-Khara’ij wa al-Jara’ih, 3, 1078, 1081

The Disciples of Jesus

1. It is reported that al-Baqir (‘a) said, “Verily, Allah sent Jesus only to the Children of Israel and his prophecy was at the Sacred House [Jerusalem], and after him there were twelve apostles.”1

2. It is reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “I said, ‘O Apostle of Allah! How many imams will there be after you?’ He said, ‘The number of the disciples of Jesus, the number of tribes of Moses, the number of the chief tans of the children of Israel.’ I said, ‘O Apostle of Allah! How many were they?’ He said, ‘They were twelve, and the imams after me will be twelve....’”2

3. It is reported that ‘Ali ibn al-Hasan ibn Fadal reported that his father said, “I said to Al-Ridha’ (‘a), ‘Why were the disciples (hawariyin) called hawariyin?’ He said, ‘According to the people, they were called hawariyin because they were bleachers who used to clean clothes from filth by washing, and this name is derived from hawari (bleached) bread, but according to us they are called hawariyin because they were pure in themselves and purified others from the filth of sin by sermons and remembrance.’

Then it was asked, ‘Why the Christians (Nasara) were called Nasara?’ He said, ‘Because they were from a village named Nasirah among the towns of Syria. Mary and Jesus settled in it after they returned from Egypt.’”3

4. Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Verily the disciples of Jesus (‘a) were his followers, and our followers are our disciples. The disciples of Jesus were not more obedient than our disciples are to us. Jesus (‘a) said to the disciples, ‘Who are my helpers for Allah?’

The disciples said, ‘We will be the helpers of Allah.’4 By Allah, they did not help him from the Jews and they did not fight with them for him, but our followers, by Allah, always have helped us since Allah, may His remembrance be magnified, took [the soul of] the Apostle of Allah, and they have fought for us, have been burned and tormented and frightened away in the cities. May Allah give them the best reward for us.”5

5. Anas ibn Malik said, “I asked the Apostle of Allah (S) about the disciples of Jesus. He said, ‘They were those chosen by him as best, and they were twelve who were unmarried and quick to help Allah and His Apostle. There was neither pride in them nor weakness nor doubt.

They helped him with vision, influence, seriousness and suffering.’ I said, ‘So, who are your disciples, O Apostle of Allah?’ He said, ‘The leaders (imams) after me who are twelve from the loins of ‘Ali and Fatimah. They are my disciples and the helpers of my religion, may peace be granted to them from Allah.’”6

6. Mufaddal reported in a lengthy narration that he said to Al-Sadiq (‘a), “O my guardian and master! Why are the people of Moses called Yahud (Jews)?” He said, “Because of the saying of Allah, the mighty and magnificent,

‘Verily, we turn (hudna) unto You’ (7:156),

that is, ‘we seek Your guidance.’” He said, “What about the Nasara (Christians)?” He said, “Because of the saying of Jesus (‘a),

‘Who will be my helpers in the way of Allah?’ The disciples said, ‘We are the helpers (ansar) of Allah. We believe in Allah and bear witness that we are ones who submit.’ (3:52)

So, they were called Nasara because of their help to the religion of Allah.”7

7. It was said to Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a), “Why is it that the companions of Jesus (‘a) walked on water, while it was not this way with the companions of Muhammad (S)?” He said, “Verily, the companions of Jesus were saved the trouble of livelihood, but the latter were tested by livelihood.”8

8. It is reported that Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “When Jesus (‘a) wanted to wish farewell to his disciples, he called them together and order them to be for weak creatures and he prohibited them from despots. Then he sent two of them to Antioch. They arrived on the day of a festival.

They found the people there had uncovered idols and were worshipping them. They hurried toward them violently. They were put in irons and thrown into prison. When Simon found out about this, he went to Antioch and visited them in the prison. He said, ‘Did I not prohibit you from despots?’

Then he left them, and sat with the weak people. He began gradually to discuss matters with them. Then the weak spoke of these things with those who were stronger, while they kept it a most confidential secret. Their words kept ascending until they finally reached the king. He asked, ‘Since when has this man been in my kingdom?’ They said, ‘For two months.’ He said, ‘Bring him to me.’ They brought him.

When the king saw Simon, he felt love for him. He said, ‘I will not sit, unless he is beside me.’ Later after having had a frightening dream, he asked Simon about it. Simon gave a good answer that gladdened the king. Later he had another terrifying dream. Simon interpreted it in such manner that the king’s happiness increased.

They conversed thus until Simon came to have influence over the king. Then he said, ‘Verily, there are two men in your jail who insulted you.’ The king said, ‘Yes.’ Simon said, ‘Bring them to me.’ When they were brought to Simon, he asked, ‘What is the god you worship?’ They said, ‘Allah.’ He said, ‘When you ask Him for something, does He hear you, and does He answer you when you pray to Him?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ Simon said, ‘I want to ask you something to gain assurance from you about this.’

They said, ‘Ask.’ He said, ‘Does He cure the leper?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Bring a leper.’ He said, ‘Ask Him to cure this leper.’ They laid hands upon him and he was cured. Simon said, ‘I, also, can do the like of what you have done.’ Then he said, ‘Bring another.’ Simon laid hands on the leper and he was cured. Another mark remains; if you answer this I will believe in your God.’ They said, ‘What is it?’

He said, ‘Can you revive the dead?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ Then Simon faced the king and asked, ‘Do you have a dead person who’s passing has been hard for you?’ He said, ‘Yes. My son.’Simon said, ‘Bring us to his grave.’ Then he said, ‘They have put themselves at risk for you.’

Then they turned to the grave and raised their hands [in prayer], as did Simon, then suddenly the grave cracked open and the youth stood up. He faced his father who said to him, ‘How are you?’ He said, ‘I was dead, and terrified, when I understood there to be three persons standing before Allah with their hands raised in prayer to Him.

They prayed that He revive me. They were those two and he.’ Simon said, ‘I am a believer in your God.’ The king said, ‘O Simon, I believe in Him in Whom you have come to believe.’ The viziers of the king said, ‘And we believe in Him in Whom our master has come to believe.’ The weak always followed the strong. In Antioch none remained who did not believe.”9

9. Abu Hamzah al-Thumali said that he asked Imam Baqir (‘a) about the exegesis of the ayah,

And set out to them an example of the people of the town, when the messengers came to it. When We sent to them two, the rejected both of them, then We strengthened them with a third, so they said: Surely we are messengers to you. (36:13-14).

He said, “Allah commissioned two men to go to the people of Antioch. They brought things that were unfamiliar to those people, so the people were coarse with them, arrested them and imprisoned them in the house of idols. So, Allah commissioned a third. He entered the town, and said, ‘Lead me to the gate of the king.’ When he stood before the gate of the king, he said, ‘I am a man who has worshiped in the deserts of the earth, and I would like to worship the God of the king.’

His speech reached the king, who said, ‘Bring him into the house of the gods.’ They brought him in it, and he remained there a year, with his two companions, to whom he said, ‘In this way we transfer a people from one religion to another, not by bungling. Why were you not friendly?’ Then he said to them, ‘Do not admit to knowing me.’

Then he was brought before the king. The king said to him, ‘It has reached me that you have been worshipping my god. You will always be my brother, so ask me for what you need.’ He said, ‘I need nothing, O king! But I saw two men there in the house of the gods, so, how is it with them?’ The king said, ‘Those two are men who came here, misled people from my religion, and invited them to a heavenly God.’

He said, ‘O king! What a beautiful debate! If they prove right, we will follow them, and if we prove right, they will enter our religion with us. So, whatever is for us is for them, and whatever is against us is against them.’ The king sent for those two.

When they came before him, their companion said to them, ‘What do you have for us?’ They said, ‘We came to invite to the worship of Allah, Who created the heavens and earth, Who creates what He wills in the wombs, Who forms as He wills, Who grows the trees and fruits and Who sends rain from the sky.’

He said to them, ‘This God of yours, to Whom and to Whose worship you invite, if we bring to you a blind person, can He restore him to health?’ They said, ‘If we ask Him to do it, He will do it, if He wants.’ He said, ‘O king! Bring a blind person who has never seen.’ One such person was brought. He said to them, ‘Supplicate your God to restore his sight.’

They stood up and prayed two prostrations (raq‘atayn). All at once, the eyes of the blind man opened, and he looked to the sky. Simon said, ‘O king! Bring another blind person to me.’ One was brought. Simon prayed one prostration (sajdah), then he lifted his head and all at once the blind person was seeing. He said, ‘O king! A proof for a proof! Bring a cripple.’

One was brought. He said the same [sort of thing as was previously mentioned to them about the blind person]. They prayed and supplicated Allah. All at once the cripple straightened his legs, stood and walked. He said, ‘O king! Bring another cripple to me.’ One was brought. He did the same [thing that he did in the case of the blind person]. The cripple got up. He said, ‘O king! They brought two proofs, and we have brought the like of both of them. One thing remains. If they do this, I will enter their religion with them.’

Then he said, ‘O king! Word has reached me that the king had an only son, and that he died. If their God revives him, I will enter their religion with them.’ The king said to him, ‘And I with you, too.’ Then Simon said to them, ‘One thing remains. The son of the king has died, so, supplicate your God to revive him.’ They fell to prostrate themselves to Allah.

They lengthened their prostration (sajdah). Then they raised their heads and said to the kind, ‘Send someone to the grave of your son, and you will find that he has been raised from his grave, God willing.’

The people went out to look. They found him to have come out of his grave, wiping the dust from his head. They brought him to the king. He recognized his son and said to him, ‘How are you, my son?’ He said, ‘I was dead. Then I saw two men before my Lord, in prostration, supplicating Him that I be revived. Then He revived me.’ He said, ‘O my son! Would you recognize them if you saw them?’ He said, ‘Yes.’

He brought the people out to a field. One by one they passed him, and the father told his son, ‘Look.’ The son said, ‘No. No.’ Then, after many had passed, the king had one of them pass, and the son said, ‘This is one of them,’ and he pointed to him. Then many passed by, until he saw the companion of the other. The son said, ‘This is the other one.’

The prophet who was the companion of those two men said, ‘As for me, I believe in your God. I know that what you have brought is the truth.’ The king said, ‘I, also, believe in your God.’ Then all the people of his kingdom believed.10

10. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Between David and Jesus (‘a) there were four hundred eighty years. There descended to Jesus admonitions, parables and sanctions in the Gospel. There was no retaliation nor commands for punishments, nor obligatory inheritance.

There descended upon him a lightening of what was descended upon Moses (‘a) in the Torah, and this is what He said, reporting the words of Jesus to the Children of Israel,

Likewise confirming the truth of the Torah that is before me, and to make lawful to you certain things that were forbidden unto you. (3:50).

And Jesus ordered those who were with him, who followed him and who were believers to believe in the law of the Torah and the laws of all the prophets and the Gospel.” And he [Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a)] said, “Jesus (‘a) waited for seven or eight years, then he informed them [the people] of what they ate and what they stored in their houses.

And he stood up among them, and made the dead to live, and cured the born blind and the leper, and he taught them the Torah. Then Allah descended the Gospel upon him when He wanted to bring an authority for them.

And he [Jesus (‘a)] sent a man to Rome. All he treated were cured of their illnesses, and he cured the born blind and the leper, until it was mentioned to the king there. So, he was brought to him. He [the king] said, ‘Do you make well the born blind and the leper?’ He said,‘Yes.’

He said, ‘Bring a youth who has no eyes and has never seen anything.’ He took two hazelnuts and looked at them sharply, then he put them in his eye sockets, and prayed. At once he became seeing. The king sat him next to himself, and said, ‘Be with me, and do not leave my city.’ He conferred upon him the best positions.

Then the Messiah sent another, and taught him something for reviving the dead. He entered Rome, and said, ‘I am more knowledgeable than the physician of the king.’ This was mentioned to the king. He said, ‘Kill him.’ The [first] physician said, ‘Do not do it. Bring him. If you find him to be in error, you will kill him. In that case, you would have authority to do so.’

He was brought to him. He said, ‘I revive the dead.’ The king mounted and so did the people and they went to the grave of the son of the king who had recently died. The apostle of the Messiah prayed, and the first apostle who was the physician of the king said, ‘Amen.’ The grave split open and the son of the king emerged. Then he came walking until he sat in the lap of his father.

Then he said, ‘O my son! Who revived you?’ Then he looked and said, ‘This one and that one.’ Then they stood and said, ‘We are messengers to you from the Messiah. You had not listened to his messengers. You even ordered them to be killed when they came to you.’ Then he obeyed and glorified the affair of the Messiah until the enemies of Allah said what they said about him and the Jews belied him and wanted to kill him.11

11. It is reported that Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) raised John the son of Zachariah among twelve apostles to teach the people and to prohibit them from marrying their sisters’ daughters. The king of those people was attracted to the daughter of his sister and he wanted to marry her.

When her mother was informed that John had prohibited this kind of marriage, she brought her daughter adorned to the king. When the king saw her, he asked her what she desired. She said, “I want you to slaughter John the son of Zachariah.” He said, “Ask me for something else.” She said, “I will not ask you for anything but this.”

When she refused him, he sent for a basin and sent for John. Then he slaughtered him. A drop of his blood fell at once to the earth and the stain of it remained until Bukht Nassar reigned over them. Then an old man of the children of Israel came to him and guided him to that blood. Bukht Nassar decided to kill the children of Israel because of that blood until the stain would be obliterated. So he killed seventy thousand for this in one year until it was obliterated.12

12. Abu Ja‘far (‘a) said, “The foremost13 are four: the murdered son of Adam, the foremost of the community of Moses, who was a believer among the Pharaoh’s people, the foremost of the community of Jesus, who was Habib the carpenter, and the foremost of the community of Muhammad, who was ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (‘a).”14

  • 1. Bihar, 14, 250, 40
  • 2. Bihar, 36, 285, 107
  • 3. Bihar, 14, 273, 2
  • 4. See (61:14)
  • 5. Kafi, 8, 268, 396
  • 6. Bihar, 36, 310, 149
  • 7. Bihar, 53, 5
  • 8. Kafi, 5, 71, 3
  • 9. Bihar, 14, 252
  • 10. Bihar 14, 240-242, 20
  • 11. Bihar, 14, 251, 43
  • 12. Bihar, 14, 182, 24
  • 13. See (56:10)
  • 14. Bihar, 66, 156

The Episode of the Bell

1. It is reported that al-Harith al-A‘war said, “I was travelling with the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (‘a) in Hirah when we came upon a monk who was ringing a church bell.

‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (‘a) said, ‘O Harith! Do you know what this church bell is saying?’ I said, ‘Allah, His Apostle and the son of the uncle of His Apostle know better.’ He said, ‘It strikes the metaphor of this world and its destruction and it says, “There is no god but Allah, really, really, truly, truly. Surly this world has beguiled us, has occupied us, has made itself alluring to us.

O son of this world! Take your time! Take your time! Ring, ring. O son of this world! Gather, gather. The world is annihilated moment by moment. No day passes us without a pillar falling. We have ruined the everlasting house and we made our homes in a transitory realm. We do not know how much we have fallen short in it until we die.’1

Harith said, ‘O Commander of the Faithful! Do the Christians know this?’ He said, ‘If they knew it, they would not have taken Christ as a god other than Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent.’

Harith said, ‘Then I went to the monk and said to him, “By the right of Christ over you! Ring the church bell in the way that you do.”

Then he started ringing it, and I said word for word [what Imam ‘Ali had told him] to ‘until we die.’ Then the monk said, ‘By the right of your Prophet over you! Who informed you of this?’ I said, ‘That man who was with me yesterday.’

He said, ‘Is that man kin to the Prophet?’ I said, ‘He is the son of his uncle.’ He said, ‘By the right of your Prophet! Did he hear this from your prophet?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ Then he became a Muslim. Then he said to me, ‘By Allah! I found in the Torah that at the end of the prophets there is a prophet who interprets what the church bell says.’”2

  • 1. This interpretation of the sound of the church bell is in a rhymed sing-song rhythm.
  • 2. Bihar, 14, 334, 1

The Children of Israel

1. Their Food

The Prophet (S) said, “Verily, Allah sent down a spread to Jesus (‘a) and blessed him with a flat loaf of bread and fishes, so four thousand seven hundred people ate of it and were sated.”1

The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “O servants of Allah! Verily, when the people of Jesus asked him to have Allah bring down a spread from heaven, Allah said,

I will send it down to you, then whoever of you disbelieves after that, I will punish as I will not punish any other being.(5:115)

Then He sent it down to them, and all of them who disbelieved after that, Allah transformed into a pig, monkey, bear, cat, or in the form of some birds, animals of the land or sea. So, they were transformed into four hundred forms.”2

It is reported that Abu al-Hasan said, “Verily, the swine among the people of Jesus (‘a) asked for a table spread to come down. Then they did not believe. So, Allah transformed them into swine.”3

2. Their Denial

1. ’Anas ibn Malik said, “The Apostle of Allah (S) said, ‘Verily the children of Israel split into seventy-one sects after Jesus. Seventy sects perished and one sect was saved. My community will split into seventy-two sects. Seventy-one sects will perish and one of them will be saved.’ They said, ‘O Apostle of Allah! What is that sect?’ He said, ‘The community, the community, the community.’”4

2 Muhammad ibn Ja‘far said, “Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) narrated to us from his fathers, peace be with them, ‘I heard from ‘Ali that he said to the chief of the Jews, ‘How many sects did you split into?’ He said, ‘So and so many sects.’ ‘Ali (‘a) said, ‘You lie.’

Then he faced the people and said, ‘By Allah! If the seat [of government] is returned to me, I will judge among the people of the Torah by their Torah, among the people of the Gospel by their Gospel and between the people of the Qur’an by their Qur’an.

The Jews split into seventy-one sects, seventy of them will be in the Fire. One of them will be saved and will be in heaven and it is the sect that followed Yusha‘ ibn Nun, the executor of Moses. The Christians split into seventy-two sects. Seventy-one of them will be in the Fire and one of them will be in heaven, and it is the sect that followed Simon, the executor of Jesus.

And this community will split into seventy-three sects. Seventy-two of them will be in the Fire. One of them will be in heaven, and it is the sect that follows the executor of Muhammad.’

Then he beat his breast with his hand and said, ‘Thirteen sects, among the seventy-three sects, will accept my kindness and love, but one of them will be in heaven. It is the middle rite, and the twelve sects will be in the Fire.’”5

3. Imam ‘Ali (‘a) said, “O Kumayl! Neither the Christians denied Allah, the Exalted, nor the Jews, and they did not refuse Moses or Jesus, but they increased, decreased, perverted and misled. So they were cursed and hated, and did not repent or accept.

O Kumayl! Our father Adam (‘a) was born neither as a Jew nor a Christian, and he was not His son, but he was hanif (upright) and Muslim. He did not do something that was obligatory, so what happened, until Allah accepted a sacrifice for him.”6

4. Mughayrah narrated from Abu ‘Abd Allah, and he from his father, and he from his grandfather, peace be with them, that he said, “The transformed among the children of Adam are thirteen kinds: monkey, swine and… As for the monkeys, they were a group that came down to a town near the beach of the sea, acted unlawfully on Saturday and fished. So Allah, the Exalted, transformed them into monkeys.

As for the swine, they were a group among the children of Israel that Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) cursed. So Allah, the Exalted, transformed them into swine.”7

5. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Moses told his people something that they could not bear, so they exiled him to Egypt. They fought with Moses, and he with them, and he killed them. Jesus told his people something that they could not bear, so they exiled him to Takrit. They fought with Jesus, and he with them, and he killed them. This is the saying of Allah, the mighty and magnificent,

So a party of the children of Israel believed and another party disbelieved; then We aided those who believed against their enemy, and they triumphed over them. (61:14).8

6 It is reported that when this verse descended,

And there is not one of the followers of the Book but most certainly believes in this before his death, and on the day of resurrection he (Jesus) shall be a witness against them.(4:159),

Abu ‘Abd Allah Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “There are none who remain in rejection of what has descended about Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) but disbelievers.”9

7. Ja‘far ibn Muhammad reported from his father (‘a) that the Apostle of Allah (S) said, “O ‘Ali! There is a likeness between Jesus the son of Mary and you. Allah [the Exalted] said,

And there is not one of the followers of the Book but most certainly believes in this before his death, and on the day of resurrection he (Jesus) shall be a witness against them.(4:159).

O, ‘Ali! Nobody who slanders Jesus dies unless he believes in him before his death and tells the truth about him, when it is no use for him at all. And you are like him. Your enemy does not die until he sees you near his death. When he sees you, you will be angry and sad for him. Then he will confess the truth about you, will say the truth about you and will confess your walayah,10 while it is no use for him at all.”11

8. Al-Imam al-’Askari (‘a) said, “Allah, the Exalted, blamed the Jews and faulted their disbelieving in Muhammad… He said,

Evil is that for which they have sold their souls—that they should deny what Allah has revealed, and there is a disgraceful punishment for the unbelievers, so they have made themselves deserving of wrath upon wrath. (2:90)

That is, they came back while the wrath of Allah was upon them after another wrath. The first wrath, when they falsified Jesus the son of Mary and the second, when they falsified Muhammad...”12

3. Their Extremism

1. ‘Ali (‘a) said, “Verily Jesus the son of Mary is a servant and a creature. They took him as a Lord,

but they forgot a portion of what they were reminded of” (5:14).13

2. Some of our companions have reported that Ja‘far ibn Waqid and some of the companions of Abu al-Khattab were mentioned, and someone that he had often seen ibn Waqid, who said,

“He it is who is God in the heavens and the earth” (43:84),

He is the Imam.” Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “No, by Allah! May I never be under one roof with him. They are worse than the Jews, the Christians, the Magians, and the pagans! By Allah! Their belittling Allah never belittles His greatness a bit. What the Jews said about him was on Ezra’s mind, and for this his name was erased from prophethood.

By Allah! If Jesus had confessed to what the Christians said about him, Allah would have left deafness to him until the Resurrection Day. By Allah! If I were to confess to what the people of Kufa say about me, the earth would swallow me. I am nothing but a servant, a slave, who has no power to harm or benefit.”14

3. It is reported that ‘Ali (‘a) said, “The Apostle of Allah said, ‘The example of you in my community is as the example of Christ Jesus the son of Mary. His people split into three sects: a sect of believers, and they were the disciples, a sect of his enemies, and they were the Jews, and a sect that exaggerated about him, and they left the faith.

And verily, my community will split into three sects on account of you. One sect is your Shi‘ah, and they are the believers; one sect is your enemy, they are the doubters; and one sect are those who exaggerate about you, and they are the deniers. O ‘Ali! You are in heaven, and your Shi‘ah, and the lovers of your Shi‘ah. And your enemy and the exaggerator are in the fire.’”15

4. It is reported that Hasan ibn al-Juhm said, “One day, I was present at a session with Ma’mun, and ‘Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha’ (‘a) was beside him. Jurists and theologians of various sects were gathered, and some of them questioned him (‘a)...

Ma’mun said to him, ‘O Abu al-Hasan! I have heard that there is a group that exaggerates and goes beyond the bounds about you.’ Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said to him, ‘My father, Musa ibn Ja‘far reported from his father Ja‘far ibn Muhammad, from his father Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, from his father, ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn, from his father, al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali, from his father, ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, that the Apostle of Allah said, “Do not exalt me above what is my right, Allah, the blessed and exalted, took me as a servant before He took me as a prophet. Allah, the blessed and exalted, says,

It is not for a man that Allah should give him the Book and Judgment and apostleship and yet he should say to people, “Be worshippers of me besides God;” but rather, “Be lordly that you teach the Book and what you read” And nor would he enjoin you that your should take the Angels and the Apostles for lords. What! Would he enjoin you with disbelief after you submitted?. (3:79-80)”

And ‘Ali (‘a) said, “Two will be destroyed because of me, although it is not my fault: The exorbitant lovers and the extreme haters.” We absolve ourselves from those who exaggerate about us, so that they exalt us above what is our position, just as Jesus the son of Mary absolved himself from the Christians. Allah, the mighty and magnificent, said,

And when Allah will say, ‘O Jesus son of Mary! Did you say to men, “Take me and my mother for two gods besides Allah?” He will say, “Glory be to You! It did not befit me that I should say what I had no right to say; if I had said it, You would indeed have known it; You know what is in my soul, and I do not know what is in your soul. Surely, You are the great Knower of the occult./ I did not say to them aught save what You did enjoin me with: to serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord, and I was a witness of them so long as I was among them, but when You caused me to die, You were the watcher over them, and You are the witness of all things. (5:116-117).

And He, the mighty and magnificent, said,

The Messiah does by no means disdain that he should be a servant of Allah, nor do the angels who are near to Him, and whoever disdains His service and is proud, He will gather them all together to Himself. (4:172).

And He, the mighty and magnificent, said,

The Messiah, son of Mary, is only an apostle; apostles before him have indeed passed away; and his mother was a truthful woman. They both used to eat food. See how We make the communications clear to them, then behold, how they are turned away. (5:75).

The meaning of this is that these two persons defecated, so whoever claims that the prophets were Lords, or who claims that the Imams are Lords or prophets, or who claims that those who are not Imams are Imams, we absolve ourselves from them in this world and in the other world....’”16

5. The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said, “O Allah! I absolve myself of the exaggerators, just as Jesus the son of Mary absolved himself from the Christians. O Allah! Abandon them forever and do not help any of them.”17

6. It is reported that [Imam] ‘Ali (‘a) said, “The Messenger of Allah called me and said, ‘O ‘Ali! Verily, there is a similarity between you and Jesus the son of Mary. The Christians love him so much that they put him in a position that was not for him; and the Jews hate him so much that they even slandered his mother.’

And [Imam] ‘Ali (‘a) said, ‘Two [groups of] men will be ruined because of me, he who goes to extremes in love of me for what I do not have and he who hates me with a hatred that makes him slander me.’”18

7. It is reported that Abu Basir said, “One day the Apostle of Allah (S) was sitting among us when the Commander of the Faithful came. The Apostle of Allah (S) said to him, ‘Indeed, you are similar to Jesus the son of Mary.

If it were not the case that some groups from my community would say about you what the Christians have said about Jesus the son of Mary, I would speak about you in a way that you would not pass by any group without them taking the dust from your footprints in hopes of a blessing.’

Two Arabs, al-Mughirah ibn Shu‘bah and a group from the Quraysh that was with them became angry. They said, ‘He was not satisfied to make a comparison for his cousin with anyone but Jesus the son of Mary.’ Then Allah sent down to His prophet,

And when a comparison is made with the son of Mary, your people raise a clamor at it/ And they say, ‘Are our gods better or is he? They do not set it forth to you save by way of disputations; nay, they are a contentious people./ He was naught but a servant on whom We bestowed favor, and We made him an example for the children of Israel./ And if We please, We could make among you angels to be successors in the land. (43:57-60)

Then Harith ibn ‘Amr al-Fahri became angry and said, ‘O Allah! If this is the truth from You, that the Bani Hashim will be successors like one Caesar after another, then rain stones down upon us or chastise us with a painful torment. Then Allah sent down to the Prophet what they had said (8:32), and this verse was sent down,

But Allah was not going to chastise them while you were among them, nor is Allah going to chastise them while yet they ask for forgiveness. (8:33).

Then the Prophet said to him, ‘O son of ‘Amr! Either repent or get out of here!’ He said, ‘O Muhammad! Give something from what you have for those who are not of the Quraysh. The Banu Hashim have taken the nobility of the Arabs and non-Arabs.’ The Prophet said to him, ‘It is not up to me. It is up to Allah, the blessed and exalted.’...”19

4. Their Monasticism

1. It is reported that the Apostle of Allah (S) said, “…O Abu Dharr! Allah sent Jesus with monasticism but I was sent with simple uprightness, and women and perfume are beloved by me, and prayer was made the delight of my eyes....”20

2. Ibn Mas‘ud said, “I was behind the Apostle of Allah on a donkey when he said, ‘O son of Umm ‘Abd! Do you know how the Children of Israel established monasticism?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Apostle know better.’ He said, ‘Tyrants dominated them after Jesus (‘a) who rebelled against Allah. Then they became enraged at the people of faith and fought with them. They defeated the people of faith three times. Only a few of them remained.

They said, “If we appear, they will annihilate us, and no one will remain for the religion to invite people to it. So, come. Let us scatter over the earth until Allah commissions the prophet promised by Jesus (‘a) (that is, Muhammad (S)).”

So they scattered into the mountains and initiated monasticism. Some of them clung to their religion and some disbelieved.’ Then he recited this verse,

As for monasticism, they invented it themselves; We did not prescribe for them anything but seeking the pleasure of Allah, and this they observed not as they ought to have observed it. And we gave to those of them who believed their due recompense; but many of them are transgressors. (57:27).

Then he said, ‘O son of Umm ‘Abd! Do you know what the monasticism of my community is?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Apostle know better.’ He said, ‘Hijrah (migration), jihad, prayer, fasting, hajj and ‘umrah (the major and minor pilgrimages).’”21

  • 1. Bihar, 14, 249, 37
  • 2. Bihar, 14, 235, 8
  • 3. Bihar, 14, 236, 10
  • 4. Al-Khisal, 2, 584
  • 5. Bihar, 28, 4, 5
  • 6. Bisharah al-Mustafa li Shi‘ah al-Murtada, 29
  • 7. ‘Ilal al-Shara’i‘, 2, 487
  • 8. Bihar 14, 279, 11
  • 9. Tafsir Furat al-Kufi, 115
  • 10. The term wilayah means “authority” or “guardianship”; and walayah is used for love of the Ahl al-Bayt, devotion to them, obedience to their commands and holding them as models in morals and practice. See the explanation of Asaf A. A. Fyzee in his A Shi‘ite Creed (Tehran: WOFIS, 1982), 149.
  • 11. Tafsir Furat al-Kufi, 116
  • 12. Tafsir al-Imam al-‘Askari, 402
  • 13. Tafsir Al-Qummi, 1 164
  • 14. Bihar, 25, 295, 53
  • 15. Bihar, 25, 264, 4
  • 16. Bihar, 25, 134, 6
  • 17. Bihar, 25, 266, 7
  • 18. Bihar, 35, 319, 13
  • 19. Kafi 8, 57, 18
  • 20. Bihar, 79, 233, 58
  • 21. Bihar, 65, 320

His Ascension

1. Jabir al-Ansari reported that the Prophet (S) taught ‘Ali and Fatimah this prayer, and said to them, “When a misfortune descends upon you or you are afraid of a king’s injustice or something is lost, you should perform a good ablution, say a prayer with two rak‘at, raise your hands to heaven and say,

‘O Knower of the hidden and the secrets! O Obeyed One! O Most Knowing! O Allah! O Allah! O Allah! O Vanquisher of the parties against Muhammad (S)! O Outwitter of Pharaoh for Moses! O Savior of Jesus from the hands of the unjust! O, Deliverer of the people of Noah from drowning! O, Compassionate for the tears of Ya‘qub! O Remover of the Difficulties of Job! O Savior of Jonah from the darkness! O Doer of every good! O Guider to every good! O Shower of every good! O Commander to every good! O Creator of the good! O Good-doer! You are Allah. I want from You what you know I want, and You are Omniscient of all that is hidden. I ask you to bless Muhammad and his descendants.’

Then ask your need, both of you. It will be answered, God willing.”1

2. (A part of the psalm “Mashlul” is:) “O He who returned Joseph to Ya‘qub! O He who removed the harm from Job! O He who forgave the sin of David! O He who raised Jesus the son of Mary and saved him from the hands of the Jews! O He who answered the calling of Yunus in the darkness! O He who chose Moses by the Words! …”2

3. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “… as for the occultation of Jesus, the Jews and the Christians are agreed that he was killed, so Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, belied them by His saying,

They did not kill nor crucify him, but it appeared to them so (4:157).

Likewise, the occultation of al-Qa’im (‘a), then the community will deny it.”3

4. I asked him [Imam] about the nights of the month of Ramadan in which ghusl [major ritual ablution] is recommended. Then he said, “The nineteenth, the twenty-first and the twenty-third.” And he continued, “On the night of the nineteenth, it is written who will go on the hajj, and every wise affair will be distributed in it.

On the night of the twenty-first, Jesus (‘a) was raised and the executor of Moses was taken in it, and the Commander of the Faithful was taken in it….”4

5. It is reported that Habib ibn ‘Amr said, “When the Commander of the Faithful passed away, Hasan (‘a) stood and spoke. He said, ‘O you people! On this night Jesus the son of Mary was raised.’”5

6. It is reported that Abu Ja‘far (‘a) said, “On the night when ‘Ali (‘a) was murdered no stone was lifted from the face of the earth unless beneath it was found pure fresh blood, until the first break of dawn. It was the same on the night Yusha‘ ibn Nunu, and it was the same on the night when Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) was raised, and it was the same on the night when Husayn (‘a) was murdered.”6

7. ‘Amr ibn Sa‘id said, “A man who was from al-Madinah came on the night of ‘al-Furqan’, [the night in which right and wrong were distinguished] when Muslims and polytheists were ready to fight each [at Badr] and said, ‘This night is the night of the seventeenth of Ramadan.’

Then I came to Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) and said to him what he had said. He said, ‘He who was from al-Madinah denied it. You want the night that the Commander of the Faithful received a blow. He received a blow on the night of the nineteenth of Ramadan nineteen, and it is the night in which Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) was raised.’”7

8. It is reported that in response to questions put to him by his son, Zayd, Imam Sajjad (‘a) said, “O my boy! Certainly the Ka‘abah is the house of Allah, and whoever makes the pilgrimage to the house of Allah, intends to come before Allah, and the mosques are the houses of Allah, and whoever tries to get to them, tries to get to and intends to come before Allah, and one who prays, as long as he is praying, stands before Allah, the mighty and magnificent.

Verily, Allah, the blessed and exalted, has spots in the heavens, so whoever is elevated to one of these spots is elevated to Him. Have you not heard that Allah, the mighty and magnificent, says that the angels and the spirit are elevated to Him. And Allah, the mighty and magnificent, says, in the story of Jesus the son of Mary (‘a),

Nay, Allah took him up to Himself. (4:158),

and Allah, the mighty and magnificent, says,

To Him the good words ascend, and He elevates the good deeds to Himself. (35:10).8

9. Abu Basir said, “I heard from Abu Ja‘far al-Baqir (‘a), ‘The Sahib hadha al-’amr [the twelfth Imam] is similar to four prophets. He is similar to Moses, Jesus, Joseph and Muhammad (S).’ I said, ‘What is his similarity to Moses?’ He said, ‘Fearing and waiting.’9 I said, ‘What is his similarity to Jesus?’ He said, ‘It was said of him what was said of Jesus.’10 I said, ‘What is his similarity to Joseph?’

He said, ‘Prison and absence.’11 I said, ‘What is his similarity to Muhammad?’ He said, ‘When he takes his stand, he will follow the way of the Apostle of Allah, except that he will explain the legacy of Muhammad, and for eight months his sword will flash while there is disorder until he satisfies Allah.’ I said, ‘How will he know when Allah is satisfied?’ He said, ‘Allah will cast mercy into his heart.’”12

10. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “Nine thousand three hundred thirteen angels will descend to the Qa’im, and they are the ones who were with Jesus when Allah raised him to Himself.”13

11. It is reported that Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said, “When the Jews wanted to kill Jesus, he called upon Allah by our truth,14 then He saved him from being murdered and raised him.”15

12. It is related in the tafsir attributed to Imam Hasan ‘Askari that regarding the verse,

and We strengthened him with the holy spirit (2:87)

he said, “He is Gabriel, and this was when Allah raised him through a hole in his house to heaven, and He cast his likeness on the one who had desired to kill him, so he was killed instead of him.”16

13. Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “It is as if I were looking at al-Qa’im (‘a) outside of Najaf mounted on a horse… When he raises the flag of the Apostle of Allah (S) thirteen thousand and thirteen angels come down to him each of whom looks to him, and they are those who were with Noah on the ark, and they were with Abraham when he was cast into the fire, and they were with Jesus at his ascension....17

14. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “It is as though I were looking at the Qa’im outside Najaf. He is mounted on a black and white horse with a white forehead. Then he hastens his horse, so there will be no one in any city who will not think that he is with them in their city.

When he unfurls the standard of the Apostle of Allah (S) thirteen thousand thirteen angels will descend, all waiting for the Qa’im (‘a), and they are the angels who were with Noah (‘a) in the ark, and they were with Abraham (‘a), the friend of God, when he was cast into the fire, and they were with Jesus (‘a) when he was raised, and four thousand three hundred thirteen distinguished of these angels in ranks were present on the day of the battle of Badr, and four thousand came down wanting to fight with Husayn ibn ‘Ali (‘a), but he did not allow them, so they ascended to ask permission, after receiving which they came back down, but Husayn had been killed.

So they remain separated, dust covered and weeping by the grave of Husayn (‘a) until the Resurrection Day. Between the grave of Husayn and heaven is a passage of angels.”18

15. It is reported that Abu al-Hasan Al-Ridha’ (‘a) said: “…And all of the [eleven] Imams after the prophet were killed, some by the sword, the Commander of the Faithful and Husayn, peace be with them, and the rest by poison. The tyrants of their times killed every one of them, and indeed this was done to them, truly, not like anything the extremists (ghulah) or the delegators (mufawidah), may Allah curse them. They say, ‘They (the Imams) were not really killed, and it was only a likeness of their affair that appeared to them.’

So, they lied, may the wrath of Allah be upon them. Indeed, the affair of none of the prophets of Allah and His authorities, peace be with them, appeared doubtful to the people, except the affair of Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) alone, for he was raised from the earth alive and his soul was taken between heaven and earth, then he was raised to heaven and his soul was returned to him, and that is what the saying of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, is about:

When Allah said: “O Jesus! I will take you to Me, and I will raise you to Me (3:55),

and Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, said, narrating the speech of Jesus on the Resurrection Day,

And I was a witness over them, so long as I was among them, but when You took me to Yourself, You were Yourself the watcher over them. You Yourself are witness over everything. (5:117)

… And since it is permitted that all of the prophets and His messengers and authorities after Adam (‘a) were born of fathers and mothers, but among them Jesus was born without any father, it will be permitted that his affair appeared doubtful to the people, but not the affairs of the other prophets and authorities, peace be with them.

Likewise, it was permitted for him to be born without a father, but not the others. Allah, the mighty and magnificent, only wanted to make his affair as a sign and mark for it to be known by this that He has power over all things.’”19

16. It is reported that during his final pilgrimage, the Apostle of Allah said, “…And Jesus the son of Mary remained among his people for forty years.”20

17. It is reported, “Hujjat ibn al-Hasan (‘a) in his qunut21 prayed, ‘…And I supplicate You with the supplication of Jesus Your spirit when he supplicated You and You saved him from his enemies and You raised him to Yourself....’”22

18. Abu Ja‘far (‘a) said, “Verily, Jesus (‘a) invited his companions [to come] the night when Allah would raise him to Himself. So, they were gathered before him at evening, and they were twelve men.

He brought them into a house, then he came out to them from a fountain in a corner of the house while the water was flowing from his head, and he said, ‘Verily, Allah revealed to me that He will raise me to Him now, and He will free me from the Jews. Which of you will bear my semblance, then be killed and crucified and be with me at my level?’

A youth among them said, ‘I, O Spirit of Allah!’ He said, ‘So, you are he.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Beware! Among you there is one who will disbelieve in me before twelve men become disbelievers.’ A man among them said, ‘I am he. O prophet of Allah!’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you feel it in yourself, you are he.’ Then Jesus (‘a) said to them, ‘Beware! After me you will divide into three sects.

Two sects will blaspheme Allah and they will be in the Fire, and one sect will follow Sham‘un, be true to Allah, and they will be in the Garden. Then Allah raised Jesus from the corner of the house, while they were looking at him.”

Then Abu Ja‘far (‘a) continued, “Verily, the Jews came seeking Jesus that night, and took the man about whom Jesus (‘a) had said that he would disbelieve in him before twelve men became disbelievers. And they took the youth upon whom the semblance of Jesus had been cast. Then he was killed and crucified. And the one about whom Jesus (‘a) had said that he would disbelieve in him before twelve men became disbelievers disbelieved.”23

19. Abu Ja‘far al-Baqir (‘a) said, “When the Apostle of Allah (S) ascended to heaven, he ascended on a ruby red couch crowned by green emeralds borne by angels... When he ascended to the seventh heaven Jesus (‘a) met him, offered him greetings of peace, and asked him about ‘Ali (‘a).

He said to him, I appointed him as a successor in my community (ummah). He said, “You appointed a good successor. Know that verily Allah made the angels obey him.” Then Moses (‘a) and the prophets, one by one, met him and he spoke with them. They told him the same thing that Jesus (‘a) said....”24

20. Hisham ibn Salim reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Gabriel, Mika’il and Israfil brought al-Buraq to the Apostle of Allah. The Apostle of Allah [about his ascension to the Heaven] said, ‘… Gabriel brought me down [from al-Buraq] and said, ‘Recite the prayer.’ I prayed. He said, ‘Do you know where you prayed?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘You prayed at a pure [town] and your pilgrimage will be to it.’

Then I rode [on al-Buraq] and we went [to] where Allah willed. Then he said to me, ‘Come down and recite the prayer.’ I came down and prayed. He said, ‘Do you know where you prayed?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘You prayed at Tur Sayna, where Moses spoke with Allah.’ Then I rode and we went where Allah willed. Then he said to me, ‘Come down and recite the prayer.’ I came down and prayed. He said, ‘Do you know where you prayed?’

I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘You prayed at Bethlehem, in the district of Jerusalem (Bayt al-Muqaddas), where Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) was born.’ Then I rode and we went until we arrived at Jerusalem (Bayt al-Muqaddas.) Then I tied al-Buraq by the link by which the prophets tied it, and entered the Mosque while Gabriel was with me.

We found Abraham, Moses and Jesus, among the prophets gathered by the permission of Allah… Then I was raised to the second heaven. There were two men, like each other in it. I said, ‘O Gabriel! Who are these?’ He said to me, ‘The cousins John and Jesus the son of Mary.’

Then I greeted them and they greeted me. I asked God’s forgiveness for them. They asked God’s forgiveness for me too, and said, ‘Welcome righteous brother and righteous prophet!’ The angels in that heaven were similar to the angels in the first heaven and they were humble. Allah created their faces as He wanted. All of them glorified and praised Him with different voices.”25

  • 1. Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, 8, 214, 9286
  • 2. Al-Misbah, 262
  • 3. Bihar, 51, 220, 9
  • 4. Tahdhib al-Ahkam, 4, 196
  • 5. Bihar, 14, 335, 1
  • 6. Bihar, 14, 336, 4
  • 7. Tafsir al-‘Ayyashi, 2, 64, 68
  • 8. Faqih, 1, 198, 603
  • 9. See (28:21).
  • 10. That is, that he had been killed.
  • 11. There is in another narration: “As for Jesus, it that is said that he died, but he did not die. As for Joseph, it is absence from his people so that he does not know them and they do not know him.” Taqrib al-Ma‘arif, 190
  • 12. Bihar, 52, 347, 97
  • 13. Bihar, 14, 339, 15
  • 14. That is, Jesus swore by the truth of the Imams, seeking intercession through them.
  • 15. Bihar, 14, 339, 14
  • 16. Bihar, 14, 338, 10
  • 17. Bihar, 19, 305, 47
  • 18. Bihar, 52, 325, 40
  • 19. Bihar, 25, 117
  • 20. Bihar, 37, 184, 69
  • 21. A part of the formal prayer of Islam in which personal supplications are made.
  • 22. Bihar, 82, 233
  • 23. Bihar 14, 336, 6
  • 24. Bihar, 18, 303, 7
  • 25. Tafsir Al-Qummi, 2, 3-8

His Second Coming

1. Shahr ibn Hawshab said, “Al-Hajjaj said to me, ‘There is a verse in the Book of Allah that has wearied me.’ I said, ‘O Commander! Which verse is it?’ He said, ‘His saying,

‘And there is not one of the followers of the Book but most certainly believes in this before his death, and on the day of resurrection he (Jesus) shall be a witness against them. (4:159)’

By Allah! I command a Jew and a Christian to be beheaded, then I look at them with my own eyes, but I do not see them moving their lips when they die.’ I said, ‘May Allah reform the Commander! It is not as you have interpreted it.’ He said, ‘How is it?’

I said, ‘Verily, Jesus will descend to the world before the Resurrection Day, then the people of the Jewish nation or Christian nation will not remain [on the earth] unless they believe in him before their death and will pray behind al-Mahdi.’ He said, ‘Woe unto you! Where did you bring it from?’ I said, ‘Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (‘a) narrated it to me.’ He said, ‘By Allah! You brought it from a pure spring.’”1

2. The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “Good news for you. [He repeated it three times.] … How can the community of which I am the first perish? There are twelve persons after me who are felicitous and possess understanding and Christ Jesus the son of Mary is at the end of them. But between them, the children of confusion will perish. They are not from me and I am not from them.”2

3. The Apostle of Allah said, “How can a community perish when I am at the beginning of it, Jesus the son of Mary will be at the end of it and al-Mahdi will be in the middle of it.”3

4. Hudhayfah ibn ’Usayd al-Ghifari said, “We sat in the shadow of a wall in al-Madinah and the Apostle of Allah (S) was in a room. Then he appeared over us and said, ‘What are you doing?’ We said, ‘We are talking.’ He said, ‘About what?’ We said, ‘About the Resurrection Day (al-Sa‘ah).’

He said, ‘You will not see the Resurrection Day until you see ten signs before it, sunrise from the West, al-Dajjal and the beast of the earth, three lunar eclipses on the earth, one in the East, one in the West and one in the Arabian Peninsula and the emergence of Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) …”4

5. Abu al-Qasim al-Ta’i said, “I asked ‘Ali ibn Musa Al-Ridha’ about he who will fight with us. He said, “He who will fight with the companion of Jesus the son of Mary.”5

6. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary is the Spirit of Allah and His Word. He was thirty-three years old in the world. Then Allah raised him to heaven. He will descend to the earth and it is he who will kill the Antichrist (Dajjal.)”6

7. Abu Ja‘far (‘a) about the verse

O you who believe! Be helpers of Allah, as Jesus the son of Mary said to his disciples, ‘Who will be my helpers in the cause of Allah?’ The disciples said, We are the helpers of Allah. So, a party of the children of Israel believed and another party disbelieved. Then We aided those who believed against their enemy, and they became uppermost (61:14)

said, “The group that became disbelievers was the group that killed and crucified one who was similar to Jesus (‘a). The group that became believers was the group [one of whose members] accepted the one who was like Jesus so that he would not be killed. Then the group that killed and crucified him was killed. This is [the explanation of] His saying,

Then We aided those who believed against their enemy, and they became uppermost.(61:14)7

8. It is reported that Jesus will say to al-Mahdi, “I was raised as a minister not as a commander.”8

9. Hudhayfah reported that the Prophet (S) said, “Al-Mahdi will turn his face to Jesus when he descends as if water were dropping from his hair, and will say to him, ‘Go ahead and say the prayer.’ Jesus will say, ‘The prayer has been set up only for you.’ So, Jesus will pray behind a man who is among my sons.”9

10 It is reported that Ka‘b said, “Jesus will descend from heaven. Then the Jews and Christians will come to him and say, ‘We are your people.’ He will say, ‘You lie. The emigrants, the rest of the people of battles, are my people.’

Then Jesus will come to the place that the Muslims are gathered and find their Caliph10 is praying with them, who will say to him, ‘O Christ! Pray in front of us.’ He will say, ‘But you pray with your people. I have been raised as a minister, not as a commander.’11

11. The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “…The leader of the people on that day will be a righteous man. It will be said that he prays the morning prayer. When he says “Allah Akbar” and begins to pray, Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) will descend. When the righteous man sees him, he will know him, return and walk back. Then Jesus (‘a) will come, put his hand between his shoulders and say, ‘Pray. The prayer has been set up for you.’ Then Jesus will pray behind him and say, ‘Open the door.’ Then they will open the door.”12

12. It is reported that, “Jesus (‘a) will descend, wearing two saffron colored robes.” According to another tradition, “Jesus the son of Mary will descend to a hill of the Sacred Earth that is named Ithbani [or Ithbayt]. Two yellow dresses are on him and the hair of his head is anointed and there is a lance (arm) in his hand by which he kills Dajjal.

He comes to Jerusalem while the people pray the afternoon prayer and Imam is in front of them. Imam comes back, but Jesus prefers him and prays behind him according to the revealed law of Muhammad. Then he will kill the swine, break the crosses, destroy the churches and temples and kill the Christians unless they believe in him.”13

13. Tha‘labi mentioned in his Tafsir with its own chain of transmission regarding “Ha mim ‘ayn sin qaf,14Al-sin is the gleam of Mahdi and al-qaf is the power of Jesus (‘a) when he descends, kills the Christians15 and ruins the churches.”16

14. It is reported that the Prophet (S) said, “Among my progeny is the Mahdi. When he emerges, Jesus the son of Mary will descend to help him, then Jesus will send him ahead and pray behind him.”17

15. It is reported from Abu ‘Abd Allah from his fathers that Hasan the son of ‘Ali (‘a) said when disputing with the king of Byzantium, “The life of Jesus in the world was thirty-three years. Then Allah raised him to heaven and he will descend to the earth in Damascus, and it is he who will kill the Antichrist (Dajjal).”18

16. Khaythama reported that Abu Ja‘far said, “…O Khaythama! There will come a time for the people when they will not know who is Allah and His unity until Dajjal appears and Jesus the son of Mary, may peace and blessings be with both of them, descends from the sky, and Allah will kill Dajjal by his hands and a man that is from our House will pray with the people. Do you not know that Jesus will pray behind us, although he is a prophet? Beware that we are better than him.”19

  • 1. Tafsir Al-Qummi, 1, 158
  • 2. Khisal, 2, 476
  • 3. Dala’il al-Imamah, 234
  • 4. Bihar, 6, 304, 3
  • 5. Sahifah Al-Ridha’, 89
  • 6. Tafsir Al-Qummi, 2, 271
  • 7. Tafsir Al-Qummi, 2, 366
  • 8. Sirat al-Mustaqim, 2, 220
  • 9. Sirat al-Mustaqim, 2, 257
  • 10. In the literal meaning of successor to the Prophet (S)
  • 11. Sirat al-Mustaqim, 3, 92
  • 12. ‘Umdah, 429
  • 13. ‘Umdah, 430
  • 14. Letters with which some of the suwar of the Qur’an begin.
  • 15. That is, given the previous hadith, those who refuse to believe in him.
  • 16. Tara’if, 1, 176
  • 17. Bihar, 14, 349
  • 18. Bihar, 14, 247, 27
  • 19. Bihar, 24, 328, 46

On the Resurrection

1. Regarding the Garden, the Prophet (S) said, “…then a man will come out with a group and the angels will be around him with wings outspread and the light will be in front of them. Then the people of the Garden will crane their necks toward him and say, ‘Who is this who is thus allowed by Allah?’ The angels will say, ‘This is the spirit of Allah and His word! This is Jesus the son of Mary!’”1

2. It is reported that Sama‘ah asked Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) about the intercession of the Prophet (S) on the Resurrection Day. He answered, “The people will be [as it were] bridled by perspiration on the Resurrection Day and say, ‘Bring us to Adam, he will intercede for us before our Lord.’

Then they will come to Adam and say, ‘O Adam! Intercede for us before your Lord.’ He will say, ‘I have done a sin and a mistake. So Noah is the one you must have.’ They will come to Noah, but he will send them to the next prophet, and every prophet will send them to the next until they will terminate at Jesus. He will say, ‘Muhammad the Apostle of Allah is the one you must have.’ They will present themselves to him and will ask him.’ He will say, ‘Be free.’

Then he will bring them to the door of heaven and will go to meet them from the Door of Mercy and he will fall to the ground in prostration and remain as long as Allah wills. Then Allah will say, ‘Raise your head and intercede, you will be answered and ask, you will be given.’ It is His saying,

‘Maybe your Lord will raise you to a position of glory.’ (17:79)2

3. It is reported that Abu al-Hasan Musa (‘a) said, “…On the Resurrection Day there will be four of the first and four of the last on the throne of the Merciful. As for the four of the first, they will be Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. As for the four of the last, they will be Muhammad, ‘Ali, Hasan and Husayn, may Allah bless them.”3

4. It is reported that Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Whoever reads Surah Maryam frequently will receive something that helps him in his soul, property and children before his death. He will be from the people of Jesus (‘a) and will be given the kingdom of Solomon the son of David on the Last Day.”4

5. Abu Ja‘far (‘a) said, “Whoever reads Surah Maryam, he will receive something that helps him in his soul, his property and children before his death. He will be from the people of Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) and will be given the like of the kingdom of Solomon the son of David in this world on the Last Day.”5

  • 1. Ikhtisas, 1, 355
  • 2. Tafsir Al-Qummi, 2, 25
  • 3. Kafi, 4, 585, 4
  • 4. Misbah, 1, 441
  • 5. A‘lam al-Din, 371

Jesus in his own words

1. Yazid al-Kunasi said, “I asked Abu Ja‘far [Imam Baqir], ‘Was Jesus the son of Mary the authority from Allah for the people of his time when he spoke from the cradle?’ He said, ‘He was on that day a prophet, an authority from Allah, but not a messenger. Did you not hear his saying when he said,

Verily, I am a servant of Allah. He has given me the Book, and has made me a prophet, and has made me blessed wherever I may be. And He has enjoined on me prayer and charity (zakah) as long as I live. (19:30-31)

I said, “Then was he an authority of Allah for Zachariah (‘a) on that day in those circumstances while he was in the cradle?” He said, “Jesus was a sign for the people in those circumstances and mercy from Allah for Mary when he spoke, and he spoke up for her, and he was a prophet and an authority from Allah for those who heard his speech in those circumstances. Then he was quiet, and he did not speak until two years had passed.

And Zachariah (‘a) was the authority from Allah after the silence of Jesus for two years. Then Zachariah died. John, his son, inherited the Book and wisdom from him, while he was a small child. Have you not heard what He, the Mighty and Majestic, has said,

O John! Hold the Book fast, and We granted him wisdom while yet a child. (19:12)

When Jesus reached seven years he spoke as a prophet and messenger, while he received revelation from Allah, the Exalted.

So, Jesus was the authority for John and all the people. O Abu Khalid [Yazid]! The earth cannot endure even for a single day without an authority from Allah for all people, from the day that Allah created Adam (‘a) and settled him on earth.”1

2. Jesus (‘a) said, “O group of apostles! I have thrown the world down on its face for you. So, after me, do not pick it up again, for among the vile things of this world is that Allah is rebelled against in it, and among the vile things of this world is that the roots of all evil are in the love of this world.”2

3. Jesus (‘a) said, “Verily, I threw this world on its face for you and you sat on its back. Then none contend with you but kings and women. As for kings, do not contend with them for this world, then they will not bother you when you abandon their world. As for women, then beware of them by fasting and praying.”3

4. Jesus (‘a) said, “I am the one who threw the world on its face and sat on its back. There is no child for me to die, and no house to be destroyed.”4

5. Regarding [the ayah of the Qur’an]:

And I inform you of what you eat and of what you store in your houses (3:49),

Imam al-Baqir (‘a) said, “Surely, Jesus (‘a) used to say to the children of Israel, ‘Indeed I am the Apostle of Allah to you, and I create something like the form of a bird for you out of clay, and I blow into it, then it becomes a bird by the permission of Allah, and I cure the born blind and the leper.’

They said, ‘We see what you do as nothing but sorcery. So, show us a sign that we may know that you are true.’ He said, ‘Tell me, if I inform you of what you eat and of what you store in your houses, of what you have eaten in your houses before you left them and of what you stored for night, will you know that I am true?’

They said, ‘Yes.’ Then he said to some of the men, ‘You ate this and that, and you drank this and that, and you put up this and that.’ Then some accepted him and believed, and some disbelieved. That was a sign for them if they were believers.”5

6. Jesus (‘a) said, “My servant is my hands and my mount is my feet; my bed is the earth and my pillow, a stone; my blanket in the winter is the east of the earth and my lamp in the night is the moon; my stew is hunger and my motto is fear; my clothing is wool and my fruit and my basil is what grows from the earth for the wild beasts and cattle.

I sleep while I have nothing and I rise while I have nothing, and yet there is no one on earth more wealthy than I.”6

7. It is reported that Abu ‘Abd Allah (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) among his sayings to the children of Israel said, ‘I entered into the morning among you while my stew has been hunger, my food has been something that grows from the earth for the wild animals and beasts, my lamp has been the moon, my carpet has been the earth and my pillow has been stone.

There is no house for me that may be ruined, no property which may be destroyed, no child who may die and no wife who may become sad. I enter into the morning while there is nothing for me and enter into the night while there is nothing for me, and I am the most wealthy person among the children of Adam.”7

8. One of the Imams is reported to have said, “It was said to Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), ‘How did you begin the morning, O Spirit of Allah?’ He said, ‘I began the morning with my Lord, the Blessed and Supreme, above me and the fire (of hell) before me and death in pursuit of me. I have not obtained that for which I wished and I cannot keep away the things I hate. So who of the poor is more poor than I?’”8

  • 1. Kafi, 1, 382, 1
  • 2. Majmu‘ah Warram, 1, 129
  • 3. Bihar, 14, 327
  • 4. Majmu‘ah Warram, 2, 16
  • 5. Bihar 14, 246, 25
  • 6. Bihar, 14, 239, 17
  • 7. Bihar, 14, 321, 29
  • 8. Bihar, 14, 322, 31

The Supplications of Jesus

1. It is reported that one was imprisoned by the Banu ’Umayya. He saw Jesus (‘a) in a dream. Jesus taught him some words. So Allah, the Exalted, released him from it the rest of his day. Here are those words: “There is no god but Allah, the King, the Plain Truth.”1

2. ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Mughira said, “The righteous servant Ibrahim Musa ibn Ja‘far al-Kadhim (‘a) passed by a crying woman at Mina and her children were around her crying. A cow of theirs died before. Al-Kadhim (‘a) came near to her and said, ‘O servant woman of Allah! What makes you cry?’ She said, ‘O servant of Allah! I have a young girl, [and] orphans.

We had a cow that was my livelihood and that of my household. It died and I remained with my children and we have no remedy.’ He said, ‘O servant woman of Allah! Do you want me to make it alive?’ She was inspired, then she said, ‘Yes.’ Al-Kadhim (‘a) went aside and prayed two rak‘a, then he raised his hands, turned his right hand and moved his two lips.

Then he stood, passed by the cow and kicked the cow or hit it with his foot. Then it stood up on the ground. When the woman looked at the cow and saw that it stood, she shouted and said, ‘Jesus the son of Mary! By the Lord of al-Ka‘ba! Then he (‘a) mixed with the people and left.”2

3. It is reported that (for hardship with labor,) it should be written for her what is reported from Jesus (‘a), “O Creator of the soul from the soul, Director of the soul from the soul and Savior of the soul from the soul! Save her.”3

4. It is reported that the Prophet said, “Whoever reads Sura Saff, Jesus (‘a) will pray for him and ask God’s forgiveness for him in the world and he will be his companion on the Resurrection Day.”4

5. It is reported that when Jesus (‘a) called Him by this psalm, Allah, the Exalted, raised him to Him and saved him from the Jews. It is: “O Allah! I call You by Your name, the Majestic (al-‘Azim), the One (al-Wahid) and Most Mighty (al-A‘azz).

I call you by Your name, the Everlasting Refuge (al-Samad). I call You, O Allah! By Your name, the Majestic (al-‘Azim) and single (al-Watr). I call You, O Allah! By Your name, the Great (al-Kabir) and Exalted (al-Muta‘al), by which all Your pillars were firmly set, may peace be with Muhammad and his progeny and remove the troubles I have morning and night.”5

6. Among the supplications narrated from Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) is: “O Allah! You are the deity of all who are in heaven and the deity of all on the earth. There is no deity in them other than You, and You are the All-wise for all in heaven and the All-wise for all on the earth. There is no All-wise in them other than You.

And you are the King of all in heaven and all on the earth. There is no King in them other than You. Your power in heaven is like Your power on the earth. And Your sovereignty in heaven is like Your sovereignty on the earth. I ask you by Your All-generous Name and Your radiant face and Your eternal kingdom, do such and such for me.”6

7. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “In the Gospel Jesus (‘a) says, ‘O Allah! Bestow upon me a flat loaf of barley bread in the morning and a flat loaf of barley bread in the evening, and do not bestow more than this upon me that I become rebellious.’”7

8. Among the supplications mentioned are those of Jesus that we reported with our chain of narrators to Sa‘id ibn Hibah Allah al-Rawandi, may Allah have mercy on him, from the book, Qisas al-Anbiya’ (Stories of the Prophets), with a chain of narrators to Al-Sadiq (‘a) from his fathers, peace be with them, that the Prophet (S) said, “When the Jews gathered before Jesus (‘a) to kill him, as they imagined, Gabriel (‘a) came to him and covered him with his wing. Then Jesus looked at him carefully.

There was writing within Gabriel and it was: ‘O Allah! I call You by Your most mighty name, al-Wahid (the One), and I call You, O Allah, by Your name, al-Samad (the Everlasting Refuge), and I call You, O Allah, by Your single name, al-‘Azim (the Majestic), and I call You, O Allah, by Your exalted name, al-Kabir (the Great), by which all Your pillars stand firm, remove the troubles I have morning and night.’

When Jesus (‘a) called him by this, Allah revealed to Gabriel, ‘Raise him to me.’” Then the Messenger of Allah, may the blessing of Allah be with him, said, “O Children of ‘Abd al-Muttalib! Beseech your Lord by these words. By Allah, in Whose hand is my soul!

No servant has called upon Him by them without the throne being moved, and without Allah saying to the angels, ‘Bear witness that I, verily, answered him by these words and gave him what he asked in the transient world and in the term of the hereafter.’” Then he said to his companions, “Beseech by it and do not postpone the answering.”8

9. This is the psalm of Jesus by another narration, “The prophet saw this psalm within Gabriel, then he taught it to ‘Ali and al-‘Abbas and said, ‘O ‘Ali! O the best one among Banu Hashim! O the children of ‘Abd al-Muttalib! Ask your Lord by these words.

By One, that my soul is in His hand, every believer calls [Him] by these words sincerely, the Throne, the seven heavens and the earths will tremble for it and Allah, the Exalted, says to His angels, ‘Testify. I answered the caller by these words and gave him his request in this world and the other world.’” Some [of the narrators] thought that this psalm is the psalm by which Jesus the son of Mary called Him.

It is this psalm: ‘O Allah! I take refuge in your name, the Unique (al-Wahid), the One (al-Ahad) and Most Mighty (al-A‘azz). I take refuge in your name, the One (al-Ahad), the Everlasting Refuge (al-Samad).I take refuge in Your name, O Allah, the Majestic (al-‘Azim) and Single (al-Watr). I take refuge, O Allah, in Your name, the Great (al-Kabir) and Exalted (al-Muta‘al), by which all Your pillars have been set firm, remove the troubles I have morning and night.’”9

10. This is one of the psalms of Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) by another narration: “O Creator of the soul from the soul, Director of the soul from the soul and Deliverer of the soul from the soul! Release us and deliver us from our trouble.”10

11. Among these supplications is the supplication of Asif, the minister of Solomon son of Davidu, about which it is narrated that by it he brought the throne of Bilqis,11 and that by it Jesus (‘a) revived the dead. It is, “O Allah! I beseech You by this that You are Allah; there is no god but You, the Alive, the Self-subsisting, the Pure, the Purifying, the Light of the heavens and the earths (and according to some narrations, this last phrase is ‘the Lord of the heavens and the earths’), Knower of the invisible and visible, the Great and Exalted, the Compassionate, the Beneficent, Lord of Majesty and Honor, I beseech You [by these words] to do (this or that) for me.”12

12. The Commander of the Faithful sought refuge in Allah every day through this prayer, known as khislah, “I seek refuge in Allah, the Hearing and Knowing from Satan the cursed… O Allah! Verily I beseech You by the ayah by which You commanded your servant Jesus the son of Mary to call You, then you answered him, and he revived the dead, cured the blind and the leper with Your permission, and by Your revelation he told of mysteries with Your grace, kindness and mercy.

Praise be to You, Lord of the heavens and the earth, Lord of the worlds. His is the dominion in the heavens and the earth. He is the Magnificent, the Wise. Come between us and our enemies and help us against them, O our Master and Lord.”13

13. It is reported that a man complained to Jesus (‘a) about his debts. Jesus (‘a) said to him, “Say: ‘O God, Who takes away grief, removes sadness, disposes of sorrow, answers the prayers of the needy! O Merciful of this world and the other world and the Compassionate of them! You are Merciful to me and Merciful to all things! So, be Merciful to me, with a mercy that will make me needless of the mercy of others than You, and by that mercy let my debts be paid.”14

14. It is reported that Gabriel brought these five psalms to Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) as a gift of Allah, the Exalted, to supplicate by them during the first ten days of Dhu al-Hajja:

“(1) I witness that there is no god but Allah alone, there is no partner for Him, the kingdom is for Him, praise be to Him, the good is in His hand and He is Almighty over everything.

(2) I witness that there is no god but Allah Alone and Everlasting; there is no partner for Him. He did not take any wife or child.

(3) I witness that there is no god but Allah Alone and Everlasting, there is no partner for Him, who did not beget and was not begotten and no one is equal to Him.

(4) I witness that there is no god but Allah alone, there is no partner for Him, the kingdom is for Him, praise be to Him, He makes alive and makes dead, He is alive and does not die, the good is in His hand and He is Almighty over everything.

(5) Allah is sufficient and enough for me. Allah hears whoever calls him. After Allah there is no end. I bear witness to Allah by what He claimed for Himself. He is exempt from those who disassociate from Him. The Last and the First is for Him.”15

  • 1. Misbah, 179
  • 2. Da‘avat, 70
  • 3. Misbah, 159
  • 4. Misbah, 447
  • 5. Misbah, 299
  • 6. Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah, 6, 187
  • 7. Bihar, 14, 326, 39
  • 8. Bihar 92, 175
  • 9. Bihar, 92, 176
  • 10. Bihar, 92, 176
  • 11. The Queen of Sheba
  • 12. Bihar, 92, 175
  • 13. Bihar, 84, 17
  • 14. Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, 13, 289, 15379
  • 15. Mafatih al-Jinan, 251

The Conduct of Jesus

1. Imam ‘Ali (‘a) said, “John the son of Zachariah (‘a) cried and did not laugh, and Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) laughed and cried; and what Jesus did was more excellent than what John did.”1

2. Abu Ja‘far (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary and John the son of Zakariyya, peace be with our prophet, his progeny and them, went out to the desert. They heard the sound of a wild animal. Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, ‘O how wonderful! What is this sound?’ John said, ‘This is the sound of a wild animal who is giving birth.’ Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, ‘Come down easily, easily, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted.’”2

3. It is said that a man accompanied Jesus the son of Mary and said that he would go with him. They continued along until they came to a river. They sat and started to eat. They had three loaves of bread. They ate two of them and one remained. Jesus went to the river, drank some water and returned. He did not find the third loaf.

He asked the man who had taken that loaf. He said that he did not know. They continued until they came to a doe followed by two fawns. Jesus beckoned one of the fawns, killed it, roasted it and they ate it. Then Jesus addressed the fawn [that had been eaten,] saying, “Live!” It came to life and went. Then Jesus said to the other man, “By the God Who has shown you this miracle, who took that loaf of bread?” He said that he did not know.

They continued until they reached a lake. Jesus took the hand of the man and led him over the water. When they reached the other side, Jesus said, “By the One Who has shown you this miracle, who took that loaf of bread?” He said that he did not know. They continued until they reached a desert. They sat down.

Jesus gathered some sand or dust and said, “By the permission of Allah, be gold!” It became gold. He divided it into three portions. He said, “One third is for me, one third for you, and one third for whoever took that loaf of bread.” The man said, “Alright, I took that loaf of bread.” Jesus said, “Then all of this gold is yours.” Then he left him.

The man encountered two other men in the desert. They wanted to take his gold and kill him. He said, “Let us divide the gold into three portions.” They sent one of them to the village to buy food. The one who went said to himself, “Why should I let them have portions of this wealth? I shall put some poison into the food, and kill them.” So, he poisoned the food. The other two said, “Why should we give a third of this wealth to him.

When he comes back, let us kill him, and divide the rest of the wealth between us.” When he returned, they attacked him and killed him. Then they ate the food and died. The wealth remained in the desert with the three dead men beside it. Jesus passed them and saw the situation. He said to his disciples, “This is the world, so beware of it!”3

4. It is reported that Al-Sadiq Ja‘far ibn Muhammad (‘a) reported that Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) turned to some needs, and three of his companions were with him. He passed by three golden bricks on the road. Jesus (‘a) said to his companions, “Verily, these kill people.” Then he went. One of them said, “I have a need.” So, he returned. Then another of them said, “I have a need.” So, he returned. Then the other one said, “I have a need.” So, he returned.

All three persons gathered around the gold. Two of them said to the other, “Buy some food for us.” He went to buy food for them; then he put some poison in it to kill them, so that he would not have to share the gold with them. And the other two said, “When he comes we will kill him so that we do not have to share the gold with him.”

So, when he came, they stood up to him and killed him. Then they ate the food. So, they died. Then Jesus (‘a) returned to them while they were lifeless around [the gold]. He lent life to them by the permission of Allah, may His remembrance be exalted, and said, “Did I not tell you that this kills people?!”4

5. Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah al-Ansari said, “‘Ali (‘a) prayed with us as a leader at Buratha after his coming from fighting with Shurat [al-Khawarij] and we were about one hundred thousand men. Then a Christian came down from his monastery and said, ‘Who is the chief of this army? We said, ‘He is.’ He came to him, greeted to him and said, ‘O my master, you are a prophet?’ He said, ‘No, my master, the Prophet died.’

He said, ‘Are you the executor of the prophet?’ He said, ‘Yes. Why did you ask about this?’ He said, ‘I established this monastery here for the sake of this place, Buratha. I read the revealed books and found that no one prays at this place with this community but a prophet or the executer of a prophet. I came to become a Muslim.’

Then he accepted Islam, and with us he left for Kufa. ‘Ali (‘a) asked him, ‘So, who prayed there?’ He said, ‘Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) and his mother prayed there.’ ‘Ali (‘a) said to him, ‘Should I tell you who prayed there?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘Al-Khalil [Abraham].’”5

6. Jesus (‘a) said, “I saw a stone upon which was written, ‘Turn me over,’ then I turned it over, then I saw written on it, ‘He who does not act according to what he knows will not be blessed in his search for what he does not know and what he knows will come back against him.’”6

7. I heard Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) say, “Fear Allah and do not envy each other. Roving through the countries was a sacred law prescribed for Jesus the son of Mary (‘a). So, he went out to do some roving and with him among his companions was a short man and he was very much attached to Jesus (‘a).

So, when Jesus wound up at the sea, he said, “In the Name of Allah”, with a level of certainty in him to walk on the surface of the water. Then, when he looked at Jesus (‘a), the short man said, “In the Name of Allah”, with a level of certainty in him to walk on the water. And he caught up with Jesus (‘a). Then he became conceited and said, ‘This is Jesus, the Spirit of Allah who goes on the water and I go on the water, too, so what is his excellence over me?”

Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Then he was immersed in the water and he called for help. Then he [Jesus] brought him out and said to him, ‘What did you say, O short man?’ He said, ‘I said, “This is the Spirit of Allah who goes on the water and I go on the water, and a pride with this entered into me.”’

Jesus (‘a) said to him, “Verily you placed yourself in the position in which Allah should be placed, so Allah became angry with you for what you said. So turn to Allah, the Almighty and Glorious, in repentance for what you said.” Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “The man returned and came back to the position in which Allah had placed him. So fear Allah and do not envy others.”7

8. Ibn al-Sikkit said to Abu al-Hasan (‘a), “Why did Allah raise Moses ibn ‘Imran (‘a) as a prophet by his staff and his white hand and the magicians, and He raised Jesus (‘a)by healing, and He raised Muhammad (peace and blessings be with him and his progeny and all the prophets) by speech and the sermon?”

Abu al-Hasan said, “Verily, when Allah raised Moses (‘a) sorcery dominated the people of that time, so he brought to them from Allah the like of which they could not bring, and that by which he invalidated their sorcery, and by this he proved his authority over them.

And verily, Allah raised Jesus (‘a)in a time when chronic illness appeared and the people were in need of medicine, so he brought from Allah the like of which they did not have, and that by which he lent life to the dead, and he cured the born blind and the leper by the permission of Allah, and by this he proved his authority over them.

And verily Allah raised Muhammad (S) during a time when the sermon and the word8dominated among the people of that time so he brought them from Allah advice and precepts which refuted their sayings, and by this he proved his authority over them.” Then Ibn Sikkit said, “By Allah, I have never seen anyone like you!”9

9. It is said that Jesus (‘a) was sitting with his companions when a man passed him. He said either, “He is dead,” or “He will die.” They lingered until he returned carrying a bundle of firewood. One of the companions said, “O Spirit of Allah! You told us that he was dead! We see him alive.” Jesus (‘a) said, “Put down your bundle.” He put it down and opened it.

All of a sudden [they saw that] there was a large black snake with a rock in its mouth. Jesus (‘a) said to him, “What did you do today?” He said, “O Spirit of Allah and His Word! I had two loaves of bread, when a beggar passed me, so, I gave him one.”10

10. Abu Basir said, “I heard from Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a), ‘Jesus, the Spirit of Allah (‘a), passed by a noisy group. He said, “What is the matter with them?” It was said, “O Spirit of Allah! This is the night for so-and-so daughter of so-and-so to go to so-and-so son of so-and-so [for the wedding night].” He said, “Today they make noise, but tomorrow they will cry.” A speaker from among them said, “Why, O Apostle of Allah?” He said, “This is the night for [her] their friend to die.” Then said those who accepted what he said, “Allah is true and His Apostle is true.”

The hypocrites said, “How much closer tomorrow is!” Then when they entered into the morning, they came and they found her in her condition that nothing had happened to her. Then they said, “O Spirit of Allah! She about whom you informed us yesterday that she would die has not died.” Then Jesus, peace be with our Prophet and with his folk and with him [i.e. Jesus], said, “Allah does what He wants, so bring us to her.”

They went racing each other until they knocked on the door. Then her husband came out. Then Jesus (‘a) said to him, “Ask permission for me to enter before your wife.” Then he [her husband] entered before her and informed her that the Spirit of Allah and His Word was at the door and a group with him. He [her husband] said [to Jesus (‘a)], “She is stupefied.”

Then he [Jesus] entered before her and said to her, “What did you do on this night of yours?” She said, “I did not do anything, except what I was doing in the past. There was a beggar who came to us every Thursday night and we were giving him what supported him until the next Thursday night, and he came to me last night and I was busy with something and my family was busy. Then he called out and no one answered him.

Then he called out but no one answered until he called out repeatedly. Then when I heard what he said I stood concealed to give to him what we had been giving to him.” He [Jesus (‘a)] said to her, “Step aside from your seat.” All at once there was a viper like the trunk of a tree beneath her dress which had clenched its tail in its teeth. He [Jesus (‘a)] said, “Because of what you did, this turned away from you.”’”11

11. Abu al-Layth said in his interpretation of the Qur’an, “The people asked Jesus (‘a) in ridicule, ‘Create a bat for us, and put a spirit in it, if you are one of the truthful.’ Then he took some clay and made a bat and breathed into it. Then it suddenly flew between the sky and the earth. The clay was put in order and breathed into by Jesus, but the creation was by Allah, the Supreme. And it is said that they asked for the creation of a bat because it is more wonderful than the rest of creation.”12

12. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) was asked, “Did Jesus the son of Mary enliven someone after his death, so that he was eating and had a daily living, continued his life for a term and had a child?” He said, “Yes, he had a friend who was a brother in Allah to him. And when Jesus passed by he would go down to him. And Jesus (‘a) would spend a while with him. Then he would leave with salutations of Peace unto him. Then his mother came out to him [Jesus].

Then she said to him, ‘He died, O Apostle of Allah!’ He said to her, ‘Would you like to see him?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ He said to her, ‘I will come to you tomorrow to enliven him, with the permission of Allah.’ When the morrow arrived he came and said to her, ‘Accompany me to his grave.’ So they went to his grave. Jesus (‘a) stopped, then called on Allah.

Then the grave opened and her son came out alive. Then when his mother saw him and he saw her, they cried. Jesus (‘a) had mercy on them and said to him, ‘Would you like to remain with your mother in the world?’

He said, ‘O Apostle of Allah! With eating and a daily living and a term, or without a term and no daily living and no eating?’ Then Jesus (‘a) said to him, ‘But with a daily living and eating and a term you will live for twenty years, marry and father a child.’ He said, ‘Yes, in that case.’” [Imam Al-Sadiq] said, “Then Jesus (‘a) returned him to his mother and he lived for twenty years, married and fathered a child.”13

13. It is reported that Jesus (‘a) passed by a man who was blind, leprous and paralytic, and Jesus heard him giving thanks and saying, “Praise be to Allah Who has protected me from the trials with which He afflicts the majority of men.”

Jesus (‘a) said, “What trial remains which has not been visited upon you?” He said, “He protected me from a trial which is the greatest of trials, and that is disbelief.” Then Jesus (‘a) touched him, and Allah cured him from his illnesses and beautified his face. Then he became a companion of Jesus (‘a) and worshipped with him.14

14. It is reported that Jesus (‘a) passed by a man who was blind, a leper, paralytic, both of whose sides were paralyzed, and whose flesh had fallen off from leprosy, and he was saying, “Praise be to Allah Who has preserved me from that with which He has tried many of His creatures.”

Jesus (‘a) said to him, “O you! From what calamity have you been preserved?” He said, “O Spirit of Allah! I am better than one who has not been given what Allah has placed in my heart of His knowledge.” Jesus (‘a) said to him, “You speak truly. Reach out your hand.”

Then, when he took his hand, he came to have the most beautiful face of any of the people, and his form became better than the others. Allah took away all that had been [wrong] with him. Then he became the companion of Jesus (‘a) and he worshipped with him.15

15. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdu-Allah [Imam Al-Sadiq] (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) passed by a village whose inhabitants, birds and animals had died. Then he said, ‘They died not but by His wrath, and had they died individually, they would have buried each other.’

The disciples said, ‘O Spirit of Allah and His Word! Call upon Allah to give them life for us, so they may inform us about their deeds, so we may avoid them.’ Jesus (‘a) called upon his Lord. Then it was proclaimed from the sky, ‘Call them!’ Then Jesus (‘a) stood in the night near the earth and said, ‘O dwellers of this village!’ Then an answerer from among them answered him, ‘Here I am, O Spirit of Allah and His Word!’ He said, ‘Woe unto you! What were your deeds?’

He said, ‘Worshipping the idol (al-Taghut) and loving the world with little fear and much desire, and negligence, trifling and playing.’ He said, ‘How was your love for the world?’ He said, ‘Like the loving of the baby for its mother. When it approached us we would be glad and would be made happy, and when it turned away from us, we would cry and it would make us sad.’ He said, ‘How was your worshipping of the idol?’ He said, ‘The obedience of the insubordinate.’

He said, ‘How was the end of your work?’ He said, ‘We slept at night healthy and entered into the morning in al-hawah (a burning abyss).’ He said, ‘And what is al-hawah?’ He said, ‘Sijjin (a prison).’ He said, ‘And what is sijjin?’ He said, ‘Mountains of burning stones upon us until the Day of Resurrection.’ He said, ‘What did you say and what was said to you?’ He said, ‘We said, “Return us to the world so we may abstain from it.”

It was said to us, “You lie.”’ He [Jesus (‘a)] ‘Woe unto you! How is it that one from among them did not speak to me except for you.’ He said, ‘O Spirit of Allah! They are bridled by rough strong angels with a bit made from fire, while although I was among them, I was not one of them. Then when the chastisement came down, it extended to me along with them.

So, I am hanging by a hair at the brink of hell. I do not know whether I will fall headlong into it or I will be saved from it.’ Then Jesus (‘a) turned to the Apostles and said, ‘O Friends of Allah (Awliya Allah)! Eating dry bread with crushed salt and sleeping on a dunghill is a great good with health in this world and in the next.’”16

16. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a)] said, “Verily, Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) came to the tomb of John the son of Zachariah (‘a) and he asked his Lord to revive him. Then he called him, and he answered him and he came out from the grave and said to him, ‘What do you want from me?’ And he said to him, ‘I want you to be friends with me as you were in this world.’

Then he said to him, ‘O Jesus! The heat of death has not yet subsided, and you want me to return to the world and the heat of death would return to me.’ So he [Jesus] left him, and he returned to his grave.”17

17. It is reported that a woman from Canaan brought her invalid son to Jesus (‘a). She said, “O Prophet of Allah! This my son is an invalid. Call on Allah for him.” He said, “That which I have been commanded is only the healing of the invalids of the Children of Israel.”

She said, “O Spirit of Allah! Verily the dogs receive the remnants from the tables of their masters after the meal, so, avail us of that which may benefit us of your wisdom.” Then he supplicated Allah, the Supreme, asking for permission. Then He gave His permission, and he made him well.18

18. Al-Imam al-’Askari (‘a) said, “Jesus (‘a) revived the dead. Was it not a miracle? Was it a miracle for the dead or for Jesus? Did he not create [something] like a bird from clay and it became a bird by the permission of Allah? Was it a miracle for the bird or for Jesus? Some people became monkeys. Was it not a miracle? Was it a miracle for monkeys or for the prophet of that time? …”19

19. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said: “Verily, when Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) passed along the shore of a sea, he threw a piece of his bread into the water. Then some of the disciples said: ‘O Spirit of Allah and His Word! Why did you do this when that was your food.’ He said, ‘I did this in order that some animal among the animals of the sea may eat it, and the reward of Allah for this is great.’”20

20. [Imam] Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Verily, a man came to Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), and said to him, ‘O Spirit of Allah! I have committed fornication, [or adultery, sex between a man and woman not married to each other, in Arabic: zina’] so purify me.’ Then Jesus ordered the people to be called so that none should be left behind for the purification of so-and-so.

Then when the people had been gathered together and the man had entered into a hole, so as to be stoned, the man called out, ‘Anyone for whom Allah has a punishment should not punish me.’ Then all the people left except for John and Jesus, peace be with them.

Then John (‘a)approached him and said to him, ‘O sinner! Advise me!’ Then he said to him, ‘Do not remove the distance between your self and your desires or you will fall.’ John (‘a)said, ‘Say more.’ He said, ‘Verily, do not humiliate the wrong-doer for a fault.’ John (‘a)said, ‘Say more.’ He said, ‘Do not become angry.’ John (‘a)said, ‘That is enough for me.’”21

21. It is reported that one day the rain and thunder became severe for Jesus (‘a) so that he sought some place of shelter. Then a tent was set up for him in the distance, so he came to it. All at once, (he saw) there was a woman in it, so he turned from it. Suddenly, he saw a cave in a mountain, then he came to it. Then, all at once (he saw) there was a lion in it.

So he rested his hand against it (the cave), and said, “My God! For everything there is a shelter, but You put no shelter for me.” Then Allah, the Supreme, revealed to him, “Your shelter is in the abode of My Mercy. By My Greatness, on the Resurrection Day, verily, I will marry you to a hundred houris created by My hand, and verily for your wedding I will provide food for four thousand years, each day of which is like the lifetime of the entire world.

And I will command a crier to cry out, ‘Where are the ascetics of the world? Be present at the wedding of the ascetic Jesus the son of Mary.’”22

22. It is reported that Imam ‘Ali (‘a) said in one of his sermons: “If you like, I will tell you about Jesus the son of Mary (‘a). He used a stone as his pillow, wore course clothing and ate rough food. His stew was hunger and his lamp in the night was the moon.

His shade in the winter was the east of the earth and its west. His fruit and his basil is that which grows from the earth for the cattle. He had no wife to try him, and no son to grieve him. He had no wealth to distract him, nor greed to abase him. His mount was his feet and his servant was his hands.”23

23. Jesus (‘a) served a meal to the Apostles, and when they had eaten it, he himself washed them. They said, “O Spirit of Allah! It would have been more proper for us to wash you!” He said, “I did this only that you would do this for those whom you teach.”24

24. Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, “O assembly of Apostles! I have a request of you. Fulfill it for me.” They said, “Your request is fulfilled, O Spirit of Allah!” Then he stood up and washed their feet.

They said, “It would have been more proper for us to have done this, O Spirit of Allah!” Then he said, “Verily, it is more fitting for one with knowledge to serve the people. Indeed, I humbled myself only so that you may humble yourselves among the people after me, even as I have humbled myself among you.” Then Jesus (‘a) said, “Wisdom is developed by humility, not by pride, and likewise plants only grow in soft soil, not in stone.”25

25. Among the miracles of the Prophet (S) is that when he went to the battle of Tabuk, twenty-five thousand Muslims, not counting servants, accompanied him. On their way they passed a mountain along the length of which there was a trickle of water, not flowing water. They said, ‘How strange, that this mountain has such a trickle of water!’ He (S) told them that the mountain was weeping. They said, ‘A mountain that cries?’

He said, ‘Would you like to know about it.’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He (S) said, ‘O mountain! Why are you weeping?’ The mountain answered in eloquent (fasih) language that the crowd heard, ‘O Apostle of Allah! Jesus the son of Mary passed me while reciting this verse, “A fire whose fuel is men and stones.”

From that day I have been weeping in fear that I may be among those stones.’ He (S) said, ‘Stop crying. You are not of them. They are stones of sulfur.’ Suddenly, the trickle of the mountain dried up until nothing of it or its wetness was visible.26

26. Mufaddal ibn ‘Umar said, “I said to Abu ‘Abdullah, ‘Who washed Fatimah’s [corpse], peace be with her?’ He said, ‘That was the Commander of the Faithful.’ This, which he said, was shocking to me. Then he said to me, ‘It seems that you are vexed by what I have informed you.’ Then I said, ‘It is so, may I be your sacrifice!’

He said to me, ‘Do not be vexed, for she was a righteous woman (Siddiqah) who could not be washed by any but a righteous man. Do you not know that no one washed [the corpse of] Mary but Jesus (‘a)…’”27

27. Anas reported that the Prophet (S) said, “The food of Jesus (‘a) was broad beans, until his ascension. Jesus (‘a) never ate anything changed by fire, until his ascension.”28

28. It is reported that Jesus placed his head on a stone when going to sleep, then he threw it away after Iblis (the devil) appeared to him and said, “You have come to desire the world!”29

29. Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “Verily Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, made His greatest name from seventy-three letters. Then He gave Adam twenty-five letters of them, and He gave Noah twenty-five letters of them, and He gave Abraham eight letters of them, and He gave Moses four letters of them, and He gave Jesus two letters of them.

So, he revived the dead by them, and cured the born blind and the leper. And He gave Muhammad seventy-two letters and He kept a letter, so that it would not be known what is in Himself, and He knows what is in the souls of the servants.”30

  • 1. Kafi, 2 665 20
  • 2. Tibb al-A’imma, 98
  • 3. Majmu‘ah Warram, 1, 179
  • 4. Bihar 14, 284, 5
  • 5. Faqih, 1, 232, 698
  • 6. Bihar, 2, 32, 24
  • 7. Kafi, 2, 306, 3
  • 8. Ibn Sikkit inserts the parenthetical remark here, “and I think he said, ‘poetry’”
  • 9. Kafi, 1, 24, 20
  • 10. Bihar, 93, 135
  • 11. Bihar, 14, 245, 22
  • 12. Bihar, 61, 322
  • 13. Bihar, 14, 234, 3
  • 14. Bihar, 68, 33
  • 15. Bihar, 79, 153
  • 16. Kafi, 2, 318, 11
  • 17. Kafi, 3, 260, 37
  • 18. Bihar, 14, 253, 45
  • 19. Tafsir al-Imam al-‘Askari, 319
  • 20. Kafi, 4, 9, 3
  • 21. Faqih, 4, 33, 5019
  • 22. Bihar, 14, 328, 52
  • 23. Nahj al-Balagha, 1, 227
  • 24. Bihar, 14, 326, 42
  • 25. Kafi, 1, 37, 6
  • 26. Bihar 17, 364, 5
  • 27. Kafi, 3, 159, 13
  • 28. Bihar, 63, 266, 5
  • 29. Majmu‘a Warram, 1, 152
  • 30. Bihar, 4, 211, 5

The Conversations of Jesus

1. Jesus (‘a) said to the disciples, “Be satisfied with a little of the world, while your religion is safe, likewise the people of this world are satisfied with a little of the religion, while their world is safe; love Allah by being far from them, and make Allah satisfied by being angry with them.”

The disciples said, “O spirit of Allah, so with whom should we keep company?” He said, “He the sight of whom reminds you of Allah, his speech increases your knowledge and his action makes you desirous of the other world.”1

2. It is reported that Abu Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a)] said, “The Apostle of Allah, may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be with him and with his progeny, said, ‘The Apostles said to Jesus (‘a) ‘O Spirit of Allah! With whom should we keep company?’ He said, ‘He the sight of whom reminds you of Allah, the speech of whom increases your knowledge, and the works of whom make you desirous of the other world.’”2

3. The disciples complained to Jesus the son of Mary about the disrespect of the people for them and their hating them. He said, “Be patient. Likewise the believers are hated among the people. The example of them is like the example of wheat. How sweet is its taste and how numerous are its enemies.”3

4. It is reported that the disciples were the followers of Jesus. Whenever they were hungry they said, “O Spirit of Allah! We are hungry.” Then Jesus would hit his hands on the ground, whether smooth or hilly, and he would bring out two loaves of bread for each of them. Whenever they were thirsty they said, “O Spirit of Allah! We are thirsty.”

Then Jesus would hit his hands on the ground, and brought out water and they drank from it. They asked, “O Spirit of Allah! Who is better than we? Whenever we want we are given food, and whenever we want water is given to us. We have faith in you and follow you.” Jesus (‘a) said, “Better than you are those who work with their hands and eat from what they earn.” After that the disciples washed clothes by the stream and ate from their wages for it.”4

5. Jesus (‘a) was asked about the best of people. He said, “One whose speech is the mention of Allah, whose silence is contemplation, and whose vision is admonition5.” 6

6. A man asked Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), “Which people is the best?” He took two handfuls of earth and said, “Which of these is the best? The people are created from earth, so the most honorable of them is the most God-wary.”7

7. Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “It was said to Jesus son of Mary (‘a), ‘What is the matter with you that you do not get married?’ Then he said, ‘What have I to do with getting married?’ They said, ‘[A child] will be born for you.’ He said, ‘What have I to do with children? If they live, they will be a trial for us, and if they die, they will grieve us.’”8

8. It has been reported that Abu Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq] said, “Verily, Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, ‘I treated the sick, then I healed them by the permission of Allah, and I cured those born blind and the lepers by the permission of Allah, and I treated the dead and revived them by the permission of Allah, and I treated the fool, but I could not correct him.’

Then it was said, ‘O Spirit of Allah! What is a fool?’ He said, ‘He is one who is admirable in his own view to himself, he who considers all of merit to be for him and not against him, and who finds all rights to be for himself and does not find against himself any right. Such is the fool for whom there is no trick to cure him.’”9

9. Muhammad ibn Muslim narrated from either Imam Baqir (‘a) or Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) that when he was asked, “We see one with whom there is worship, endeavor and humility, but he does not speak the truth. Does it benefit him at all?” He said, “O Abu Muhammad! The example of the Ahl al-Bayt is like that of a family that lived among the Children of Israel. None of them ever prayed for forty nights without his prayer being answered.

But a man of that family prayed for forty nights, then he supplicated and his prayer was not answered. Then he came before Jesus (‘a) and complained about what had happened, and he asked Jesus to pray for him. Jesus made ablutions and prayed. Then he supplicated Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent. Allah revealed to him, ‘O Jesus! Verily, My servant came to Me from a door other than that by which he should approach Me.

Verily he supplicated Me and in his heart there was doubt about you. If he supplicated Me until his neck broke and his fingers were bruised, I would not answer him.’ Jesus turned to him and said, ‘When you supplicate your Lord, do you have doubt about His prophet?’ He said, ‘O Spirit of Allah and His Word! By Allah, it was as you say. Supplicate Allah that He remove the doubt.’ So, Jesus supplicated for him, and Allah turned to him and accepted it from him, and he became like one of his family.”10

10. Verily, Jesus (‘a) passed by three people. Their bodies had become thin and their colors had changed. Then he said, “What has brought you to what I see?” They said, “Fear of the Fire.” He said, “It is the duty of Allah to give security to those who fear Him.” Then he passed from them to three other men.

He was surprised to find them even thinner and more changed. Then he said, “What has brought you to what I see?” They said, “Yearning for the Garden.” He said, “It is the duty of Allah to give to him who has hope in Him.” Then he passed to three others. He was surprised to find them even thinner and their faces were shining like mirrors.

Then he said, “What has brought you to what I see?” They said, “Love of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent.” Three times, he said, “You are those who are close to Allah.”11

11. The disciples asked Jesus (‘a), “Indicate to us a work by which we may enter the Garden.” He said, “Do not speak at all.” They said, “We cannot do that.” He said, “So, do not speak except what is good.”12

12. A man said to Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), “O good teacher, indicate to me a work by which I may enter the Garden.” Then he said to him, “Beware of Allah secretly and openly, and do good to your parents.”13

13. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “The disciples of Jesus complained to him about what was met to them by the people. Then he said, verily, in the world the believers are always disturbed.”14

14. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “The disciples complained to Jesus the son of Mary about what was thrown at them by the people. He said, ‘Verily the believers always are hated among the people, like the wheat, how sweet is its taste and how many its enemies are!’”15

15. It is said that Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) was sitting and an old man was working with a small shovel tilling the earth. Jesus (‘a) said, “O Allah! Extract his desire from him.” The old man put down the small shovel and slept for an hour. Then Jesus (‘a) said, “O Allah! Return the desire to him.”

Then he stood up and began to work. Jesus (‘a) asked him about it. He said, “When I was working I said to myself, ‘How long will you work, being that you are an old man?’ Then I put down the small shovel and slept. Then I said to myself, ‘By Allah! You have no alternative but to live as long as you remain.’ Then I stood up with my small shovel.”16

16. It was said to Jesus (‘a), “[Would it not be better] if you got a house?” He said: “The remains which are left from those before us are enough for us.”17

17. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq] said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) sent two of his companions on an errand. Then one of them returned thin and afflicted and the other like iron and fat. He said to the one who was thin, ‘What did this to you, that I see you this way?’ He said, ‘The fear of Allah.’ And he said to the other who was fat, ‘What did this to you, that I see you this way?’ He said, ‘A good opinion of Allah.’”18

18. Jesus (‘a) said to his companions, “Accord great regard for the thing which is not eaten by the fire.” They said, “What is that?” He said, “That which is good.”19

19. It is reported that Jesus (‘a) found fault with property and said, “It has three characteristics.” It was said, “And what are they, O Spirit of Allah!” He said, “One acquires it illegitimately, and if it is acquired legitimately, it keeps one from one’s duties, and if one performs one’s duties, its improvement busies one rather than worship of one’s Lord.”20

20. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq] said, “Iblis21 said to Jesus the son of Mary, ‘Does your Lord have the power to put the earth into an egg without reducing the size of the earth or enlarging the egg?’ Then Jesus (‘a) said, ‘Woe unto you, for weakness is not attributed to Allah. Who is more powerful than He Who makes the earth subtle and makes the egg great?’22

21. It is reported that Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Iblis came to Jesus (‘a), then he said, ‘Do you not claim that you can revive the dead?’ Jesus said, ‘Yes.’ Iblis said, ‘Then throw yourself down from the top of the wall.’

Then Jesus said, ‘Woe unto you! Verily the servant does not try his Lord.’ And Iblis said, ‘O Jesus! Can your Lord put the earth in an egg while the egg remains in its form?’ Then he said, ‘Verily Allah, the Supreme, is not proscribed by impotence, but what you said cannot be.’” (i.e., it is impossible in itself, like the gathering of two opposites. 23) 24

22. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq] said, “The disciples said to Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), ‘O teacher of the good! Teach us what is the most severe of things.’ Then he said, ‘The most severe of things is the wrath of Allah.’ They said, ‘Then what prevents the wrath of Allah?’ He said, ‘That you not be wrathful.’ They said, ‘What is the source of wrath?’ He said, ‘Pride, haughtiness and contempt for the people.’”25

23. Jesus (‘a) met Iblis who was driving five donkeys. Loads were upon them. Jesus (‘a) asked him about the loads. Iblis said, “They are for trade, and I am looking for buyers.” Jesus (‘a) said, “What is the trade?” Iblis said, “One of them is injustice?” He (‘a) asked, “Who buys it?” He said, “Rulers. And the second is pride.”

He asked, “Who buys it?” He said, “Village chiefs. And the third is envy.” He (‘a) asked, “Who buys it?” He said, “The scholars. And the fourth is treason.” He (‘a) asked, “Who buys it?” He said, “Those who work for merchants. And the fifth is trickery.” He (‘a) said, “Who buys it?” He said, “Women.”26

24. It is reported that Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) passed by a group of people who were crying. He asked why they were crying. It was said to him that they were crying for their sins. He said, ‘They should pray about them and they will be forgiven.’”27

25. Jesus (‘a) passed by a group crying. He said, “What is the matter with them crying?” To him it was said, “For their sins.” He said, “They should abandon them, so their sins will be forgiven.”28

26. The Messenger of Allah (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said to John the son of Zachariah, ‘If what is said of you that which is true of you, then know that it was a sin which you committed, so ask the forgiveness of Allah for it, and if what is said of you is not true of you, then know that for this a good deed will be recorded for you, so do not weary yourself over it.’”29

27. Jesus (‘a) said to a worshipper, “What do you do?” He answered, “I worship.” He (‘a) said, “Then who provides for you?” He said, “My brother.” He (‘a) said, “Your brother is more of a worshipper than you are!”30

28. It was said to Jesus (‘a), “Who trained you?” He said, “No one trained me. I saw the ugliness of ignorance and, so, I avoided it.”31

29. It is reported that Jesus (‘a) passed by a carcass with his disciples. Then the disciples said, “How putrid the smell of this dog is!” Then Jesus (‘a) said, “How intense is the whiteness of his teeth!”32

30. Jesus (‘a) passed by a grave whose occupant was being chastised. Then he passed it the following year when he was not being chastised. He said, “O Lord! I passed through this town last year and he was being chastised, and I passed through it this year while he is not being chastised.”

Then Allah revealed to him, “O Spirit of Allah! Verily one of his children matured and cleared some way and sheltered an orphan. Then I forgave him for the deeds of his child.”33

31. The Messenger of Allah said, “My brother Jesus (‘a) passed through a city when the teeth of its inhabitants were falling out and their faces were swollen. Then they complained to him. He said, ‘When you sleep, you close your mouths; then the air that is in your chests boils up until it reaches the mouth; then there is no place for it to exit and it comes back to the roots of the teeth and contaminates the face. So when you sleep, you should open your lips, and make this a habit for yourselves. They did this and the (sickness) left them.’”34

32. The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “My brother Jesus (‘a) passed through a city [whose inhabitants] had yellow faces and blue eyes.35 They cried out to him and complained of their illness. He said, ‘It's treatment is with you. When you want to eat meat, you cook it without washing it. Nothing leaves this world without having an impurity. Then they washed their meat and their illness went away.’”36

33. The Prophet (S) said, “Jesus, my brother, passed through a city when [he suddenly realized that] worms were in its fruits. [The people of the city] complained to him about this problem. He said, ‘You have the cure for this [problem], but you do not know it.

You are a folk who when you plant trees you pour soil on them then you pour the water, but this is not proper. It is proper that you pour the water on the roots of the trees, then pour the soil so that the worm does not infect it.’ Then they started doing as he described and [the problem] went away.”37

34. It is narrated that ‘Ali (‘a) said: “My brother Jesus passed through a city in which a man and a woman were shouting at one another. He said, ‘What’s the matter with you?’ The man said, ‘O Prophet of Allah! This is my wife, and she is not bad, she is good, but I would like to separate from her. He said, ‘Inform me, anyway, what is the matter with her.’ He said, ‘Her face is aged while she is not old.’

He said to her, ‘O woman! Would you like to regain the freshness of your face?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ He said to her, ‘When you eat, take care not to eat your fill, because when the food fills you to your chest and is greater than the amount [proper], the freshness of the face is lost.’ Then she did it, and the freshness of her face came back.38

35. It has been reported that Abu Abd Allah [Imam Al-Sadiq] said, “The world took the form, for Jesus (‘a), of a woman whose eyes were blue. Then he said to her, ‘How many have you married?’ She said, ‘Very many.’ He said, ‘Then did they all divorce you?’ She said, ‘No, but I killed all of them.’ He said, ‘Then woe be to the rest of your husbands! How they fail to learn from the example of the past ones!’”39

36. It is reported that Abu Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a)] said, “The Apostle of Allah, may the Peace and Blessings of Allah be with him and with his progeny, said, ‘The Apostles said to Jesus (‘a), “O Spirit of Allah! With whom should we keep company?” He said, “He the sight of whom reminds you of Allah, the speech of whom increases your knowledge, and the works of whom make you desirous of the other world.”’”40

37. It has been reported by Mujahid from Ibn ‘Abbas from the Apostle of Allah (S), “Verily, Jesus (‘a) passed a city which had come to ruin and whose foundations had collapsed. He said to some of his disciples, ‘Do you know what it is saying?’ One said, ‘No.’ Jesus (‘a) said, ‘It says, “Verily, the true promise of my Lord has come.

My rivers have dried up, though once they were full; my trees have withered, though once they were in bloom; my castles are in ruins and my residents have died. Then, oh, these are their bones within me, and their property that was gained lawfully along with their ill-gotten gains are in my belly, and the inheritance of the heavens and the earth is only for Allah.”’”41

38. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “The Apostles met with Jesus (‘a) and said to him, ‘O teacher of the good! Guide us!’ He said to them, ‘Verily Moses the interlocutor of Allah commanded you not to swear by Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, falsely, and I command you not to swear by Allah falsely or truly.’ They said, ‘O Spirit of Allah! Guide us more!’

Then he said, ‘Verily Moses the prophet of Allah commanded you not to commit adultery, and I command you not to talk to yourselves about adultery, let alone to commit adultery. Verily one who talks to himself about adultery is like one who sets fire to a room that is decorated so the smoke damages the decor, even though the room is not burnt.’”42

39. It was said to Jesus (‘a), “Teach us a deed for which Allah will love us.” He said, “Detest the world and Allah will love you.”43

40. ‘Abdullah ibn Maghfal said, “The Apostle of Allah (S) said, ‘Verily, Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, “O group of disciples! The congregational prayer!” Then the disciples came out ready for worship, and their stomachs were empty, their eyes sunken and their color yellow. Jesus brought them to an open ground and he went on top of a hill and praised Allah and lauded Him.

Then he started to recite signs of Allah and His wisdom for them. He said, “O group of disciples! Listen to what I tell you! I find in the book sent down of Allah evident things that have been sent down by Allah in the Gospel, so act according to them!” They said, “O Spirit of Allah! What are they?” He said, “He created the night for three qualities, and He created the day for seven qualities.

Whoever passes the night and day without having these qualities, the night and day will be against him on the day of resurrection. He created the night for you to rest your tired tendons that have toiled during the day, and for you to ask forgiveness for the sins you have committed during the day, and not to return to them, and to stand obedient with the obedience of the patient.

So, in one third you sleep, in one third you stand and in one third you are humble before your Lord. It is for this that the night was created.

He created the day for the performance of the obligatory ritual prayer about which you will be asked and for which you are answerable, and for being nice to your parents, and for toiling to earn a living for the day, and for visiting the friends of Allah so that Allah will spread His mercy for you, and for participating in funeral processions so that you will change and Allah will forgive you, and to command doing what is good and to prohibit doing what is bad, which is the apex of faith and the establishing of religion, and to struggle in the way of Allah so that you may visit Abraham the friend of the Merciful in his own place, and whoever passes the night and day without having these qualities, the night and day will be against him on the day of resurrection before the Almighty King.”’”44

41. Fayd ibn al-Mukhtar said, “I heard Abu ‘Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq] say, ‘When al-ma’idah [the table spread] was sent down to Jesus (‘a) he said to the Apostles, “Do not eat from it until I give you permission.” Then one of them ate from it.

Then some of the Apostles said, “O Spirit of Allah! So-and-so ate from it!” Then Jesus (‘a) said to him, “Did you eat from it?” He said to him, “No.” Then the Apostles said, “Yes! By Allah! O Spirit of Allah! He ate from it!” Then Jesus said to him [who had thus spoken], “Affirm your brother and deny your eye.”’45

42. Abu ‘Ali Muhammad ibn Hammam said, “On the ring of Abu Ja‘far al-Saman, may Allah be pleased with him, [were the words]: ‘There is no god but Allah, the King, the Evident Truth.’ I asked him about it.

He said, ‘Abu Muhammad, I mean, Imam Hasan al-‘Askari?, reported to me from his fathers that they said, “Fatimah, peace be with her, had a ring of silver and agate. Before she died she gave it to al-Hasan (‘a), and before he died he gave it to al-Husayn (‘a). Al-Husayn (‘a) said, ‘I wanted to engrave something on it. Then I dreamed of the Messiah Jesus the son of Mary, peace be with our Prophet and his descendents and him [Jesus].’

I said to him, ‘O Spirit of Allah! What should I engrave on this my ring?’ He said, ‘Engrave on it, “There is no god but Allah, the King, the Evident Truth,” for this is at the beginning of the Torah and at the end of the Gospel.’”’”46

43. Ahmad ibn Sahl said, “I heard from Abu Farwah al-Ansari, who was a traveler, ‘Jesus (‘a) said, “O company of disciples! In truth I say to you, verily the people say that a building is based on its foundation, and I do not say such things to you.” They said, “Then, what do you say, O Spirit of Allah?” He said, “In truth I say to you, verily the final stone the worker sets is the foundation.” Abu Farwah said, “Surely he meant the end of a task.”’”47

44. Muhammad ibn ‘Ali ibn Hatim al-Nufili reported, “…Abu al-Husayn Muhammad ibn Bahr al-Shaybani reported that… [Malikah] said: ‘O you incapable ignorant person with regard to the children of the prophets! Listen to me, and empty your heart [to accept what I say]. I am Malikah, the daughter of Yashu‘a the son of Ceasar, the king of Rum, and my mother is of the descendants of the Apostles, reaching to the successor of Christ, Sham‘un (Simon, Peter).

I will tell you something very strange. Verily, my grandfather, Ceasar wanted to marry me to the son of his brother when I was a thirteen year old girl… Then I dreamt, during that night, as if Christ and Sham‘un and a few of the Apostles gathered in the castle of my grandfather, and they erected a pulpit that was so tall as to reach into the sky, on which my grandfather placed his throne. Muhammad (S) entered before them with a youth and a few of his descendents. Christ rose and embraced him.

Then he [Muhammad (S)] said, “O Spirit of Allah! I have come to you to ask your successor, Sham‘un, for the hand of his daughter, Malikah, for my boy there.” He then indicated Abu Muhammad with his hand, who wrote this letter [instructing the servant to purchase Malikah, who had been taken captive]. Then Christ looked at Sham‘un and said to him, “It is a blessing [literally, nobility has come to you]. Become family with the family of the Apostle of Allah (S).” Sham‘un said, “It is done!”

Then Muhammad (S) ascended the pulpit, read a sermon and married me [to the youth, Imam ‘Askari (‘a)], and Christ (‘a), the children of Muhammad (S) and the Apostles were witnesses to it. When I woke up from my sleep, I was afraid to tell this dream to my father and grandfather, for fear they might kill me.

So, I kept it to myself, a secret, and did not reveal it to them. My breast was struck with love for Abu Muhammad, until I could neither eat nor drink. I became weak, thin, and very sick.…’ Then Abu al-Hasan (‘a) said, ‘Then she became the wife of Abu Muhammad and the mother of the Qa’im [the twelfth Imam].’”48

  • 1. ‘Uddat ul-Da’i, 121
  • 2. Kafi, 1, 39, 3
  • 3. Majmu‘a Warram, 2, 114
  • 4. Bihar, 70, 11
  • 5. That is, he takes a lesson from what he sees.
  • 6. Majmu‘ah Warram, 1, 250
  • 7. Majmu‘ah al-Akhbar fi Nafa’is al-Athar, 106
  • 8. Faqih, 3, 558, 4916
  • 9. Bihar, 14, 323
  • 10. Kafi, 2, 400, 9
  • 11. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, 10, 156
  • 12. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, 10, 137
  • 13. Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, 15, 175, 17911
  • 14. Bihar, 78, 194
  • 15. Mishkat al-Anwar, 286
  • 16. Bihar, 14, 329, 57
  • 17. Bihar, 14, 327, 51
  • 18. Bihar, 67, 400
  • 19. Bihar, 14, 330, 65
  • 20. Bihar, 14, 329, 59
  • 21. The devil who tempted Adam and Eve. Cf. Qur'an 2:34; 7:11; 15:31; 38:74.
  • 22. Bihar, 4, 142, 9
  • 23. The parenthetical comment is Majlisi’s
  • 24. Bihar, 14, 271, 3
  • 25. Bihar, 14, 287, 9
  • 26. Bihar, 61, 196
  • 27. Bihar, 6, 20, 7
  • 28. Majmu‘a Warram, 2, 114
  • 29. Bihar, 14, 287
  • 30. Majmu‘a Warram, 1, 65
  • 31. Bihar, 14, 326, 44
  • 32. Bihar, 14, 327, 46
  • 33. Kafi, 6, 3, 12
  • 34. Bihar, 14, 321, 28
  • 35. A blue tinge to the eyes was a sign of blindness (cataracts?). Cf. Qur’an 20:102.
  • 36. Bihar, 14, 321, 27
  • 37. Bihar, 14, 321, 26
  • 38. Bihar, 14, 320, 25
  • 39. Bihar, 14, 330, 66
  • 40. Kafi, 1, 39, 3
  • 41. Adab al-Nafs, 1, 122)
  • 42. Kafi, 5, 542, 7
  • 43. Majmu‘a Warram, 1, 134
  • 44. Bihar, 55, 207, 38
  • 45. Bihar, 14, 235, 7
  • 46. Ghayba, 297
  • 47. Bihar, 68, 364, 54
  • 48. Kamal al-Din, 2, 417-424.

God’s Words to Jesus

1. Allah revealed to Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), “O Jesus! I do not forget those who forget Me, so how could I forget those who remember Me! I am not stingy with those who disobey Me, so how could I be stingy with those who obey Me.”1

2. Allah, the Exalted, revealed to Jesus (‘a), “O Jesus the son of the virgin, al-Batul! Cry over yourselves, like one who says his last good-bye to his family, loathes the world, abandons it to its people, and who has come to desire what is near his God.”2

3. It is reported that among what was revealed to Jesus (‘a) is: “Do not be deceived by those who are disobedient to Me, who eat what I provide for them, but worship other than Me, then they call Me when they are worried, so I answer them, then they go back to what they did.

Do they disobey Me or want to anger Me? [I swear] by Myself! I will take them in such a way that there is no deliverance from it and there is no refuge but Me. Where can they flee from My sky and My earth?”3

4. ‘Abdullah ibn al-Walid said, “Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said to me, ‘What do the followers say about Jesus, Moses and the Commander of the Faithful, peace be with them?’ I said, ‘They say, “Verily Jesus and Moses are better than the Commander of the Faithful.”’ He said, ‘Do they think that he knew every thing that the Apostle of Allah knew?’

I said, ‘Yes, but they do not prefer anyone over the possessors of determination (Ulu al-‘Azm) among the apostles.’ Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, ‘Argue with them by the Book of Allah.’ I said, ‘From which place of it?’ He said, ‘Allah, the Exalted, said to Moses,

We wrote in the tablets some knowledge of everything for him. (7:145)

He did not write everything for Moses. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, said to Jesus,

I will explain for you something that you differ about. (43:63)

And Allah, the Exalted, said to Muhammad,

We brought you as a witness over them and revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything.(16:89)4

5. It is reported that Sayyid said that among the ahadith from the Imams he saw, “Allah, the Exalted, ordered Adam to pray toward the West, and Noah to pray toward the East, and Abraham to gather them, and this is the Ka‘abah.

When Moses was commissioned, He ordered him to revive the religion of Adam. When Jesus was commissioned, He ordered him to revive the religion of Noah. When Muhammad was commissioned, He ordered him to revive the religion of Abraham.”5

6. It is reported that Allah, the mighty and magnificent, revealed to Jesus the son of Mary, “Let him who considers Me slow in providence beware of My wrath, so that I open a door to this world against him.”6

7. It is reported that one of the Imams, peace be with them, said, “The Messiah said: ‘Allah, the blessed and exalted says, “My believing servant is saddened if I turn the world away from him, and that is what is most loved by Me, and that is what is most near to Me; and he is gladdened if I am open handed with him in this world, and that is what is most hated by Me, and that is what is furthest from Me.’”7

8. The Apostle of Allah (S) said, “…O Abu Dharr! Verily, Allah revealed to my brother Jesus, ‘O Jesus! Do not love the world! Verily I do not love it. And love the otherworld, for it alone is the realm of the Resurrection.’”8

9. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq] said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) ascended clad in wool spun by Mary, woven by Mary and sewn by Mary. When he was brought up to heaven it was called, ‘O Jesus! Cast off from yourself the finery of the world.’”9

10. I asked Abu ‘Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq] about the best thing by which the servant may draw near to his Lord and what is most beloved by Allah, the Almighty and Glorious. He said, “I know of nothing, after knowledge (ma‘rifah), better than the ritual prayer (Salah). Do you not see that the good servant Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said:

And He enjoined on me the ritual prayer (Salah) and the alms tax (zakah) for as long as I live.” (19,31)10

11. Allah revealed to Jesus, “O Jesus! Humble your heart for me … let me hear from you a sad sound.”11

12. Allah revealed to Jesus (‘a), “Be to the people like the earth below in meakness, like the flowing water in generosity, and like the sun and the moon in mercy, which shine on the good and sinner alike.”12

13. Allah revealed to Jesus (‘a), “O Jesus! Grant me the tears of your eyes, and the humility of your heart, and stand beside the tombs of the dead, and call to them aloud that you may be advised by them, and say, ‘I will join you with those who join you.’”13

14. A Christian catholicos (jathiliq) met with Masab ibn Zubayr (an amir) and spoke words that angered him. He [Masab] raised a cane against him, then left him until his anger subsided. He [the catholicos] said, “If the amir permits me, I would report to him something revealed by Allah to Christ.”

He (Masab) turned his attention to him, and he (the catholicos) said, “Verily, Allah revealed to Christ, ‘It is not fitting for a sultan to become angry, for he commands and is obeyed, and it is not fitting for him to be hasty, for nothing eludes him, and it is not fitting for him to be unjust, for injustice is repulsed by him.’” Then Masab became embarrassed and was pleased with him.14

15. Allah said to Jesus, “O Jesus! Verily I have granted unto you the poor and mercy upon them. You love them and they love you. They are satisfied with you as a leader and guide and you are satisfied with them as companions and followers. These are two of My characteristics. Whoever meets Me with these [characteristics] meets Me with the most pure of deeds which are most beloved by Me.”15

16. Verily Allah revealed to Jesus, “Then indeed be warned! Otherwise you should be ashamed before Me to warn [preach to] the people.”16

17. It is reported that Nuf al-Bukali said, “I spent a night with the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib (‘a). I saw that he often left his room to go outside and look at the sky. Once when he came back in, as usual, he said to me, ‘Are you asleep or awake?’

I said, ‘I am indeed awake, O Commander of the Faithful! From the beginning of the night I have been watching you to see what you are doing.’ He said, ‘O Nuf! Blessed are the ascetics in this world, those who yearn for the other world, the people who spread Allah’s earth beneath them [to sleep on], who lean against its dust, whose motto is His book, whose maxim is supplicating Him, whose perfume is water, and who take the world on loan in the way of Christ.

Verily, Allah, the Exalted, revealed to Jesus, “O Jesus! Keep to the first way, keep to the manner of the messengers, say to your people, O brother of the warners, ‘Do not enter any of My houses except with pure hearts, clean hands and lowered eyes. I will not hear the prayer of any who supplicate Me if any of My servants is oppressed by him. And I will not answer the prayer of any who has not fulfilled any of My rights over him.’”’”17

18. Allah revealed to Jesus, “Say to the Children of Israel, ‘Do not enter any of my houses unless with lowered eyes and clean hands.’ And inform them that verily, I will not answer the prayer of any of them while any of my creation is oppressed by them...”18

19. Allah said to Jesus (‘a), “O Jesus! Your tongue must be a single tongue in secret and in public, and likewise your heart. Verily, I warn you of your self, and I suffice as the All-aware.19 It is not proper for there to be two tongues in a single mouth, nor two swords in a single scabbard, nor two hearts in a single breast, and likewise two minds.”20

20. Allah, the Great and Almighty, said to Jesus (‘a), “O Jesus! Remember me within yourself and I will remember you within myself, and remember me publicly and I will remember you publicly in a public better than that of the people. O Jesus! Soften your heart for me and remember me much in solitude, and know that my pleasure is in your shuddering [literally wagging the tail, taken as an indication of fear or being driven in an animal] for me, and be alive in that and be not dead.”21

21. Allah the Supreme revealed to Jesus, “When I give you a blessing, receive it with humility, [and] I will complete it for you.”22

22. Among the words revealed to Jesus is, “O Jesus! Humble yourself to those who do good, participate with them in it, be witness over them and say to the unjust of the children of Israel, ‘O companions of evil and participants in it! If you do not accept the prohibition, I will transform you into monkeys and swine.’”23

23. It is reported in a long tradition that Muhammad al-Munkadir narrated from his father that he said, “When al-Sayyid and al-‘Aqib, the two bishops of Najran, with seventy persons arrived mounted [at Madina], they came to the Prophet and I was with them… Al-‘Aqib said [to his companion,] ‘Did you not read the fourth al-Misbah from which were revealed to Christ, ‘Say to the children of Jerusalem, ‘How ignorant you are! You perfume yourselves with perfume, to be perfumed with the people of this world and with your people, but your interiors are dead corpses to Me...’”24

24. [Imam] Ja‘far reported that his father (‘a) said, “Najashi the king of Habashah [Ethiopia] sent for Ja‘far the son of Abi Talib and his companions. Then they arrived before him while he was sitting in the dust in his house with worn garments.... Ja‘far ibn Abi Talib said to him, “O pious king!

What is the matter with me, that I see you sitting in the dust in these worn garments?” He said, “O Ja‘far! We find among that which has been revealed by Allah, the Supreme, to Jesus (‘a) is, ‘Verily, among the rights of Allah over His servants is that they should make themselves humble before Allah when He makes them blessed.’25

So, when Allah showed favor by His prophet Muhammad (S), I showed this humility to Allah.” He [Imam Ja‘far] said, “When that news reached the Prophet (S), he said to his companions, ‘Verily, giving alms increases abundance, so give alms and Allah will have mercy on you, and humility increases one’s elevation, so be humble and Allah will elevate, and forgiveness increases glory, so forgive and Allah will grant you glory.’”26

25. Verily Jesus (‘a) passed by a grave, and he saw the angels of punishment chastise a dead person. When Jesus (‘a) had finished his business and passed by the grave [again], he saw the angels of mercy. Levels of light were with them. He was surprised at that, and called upon Allah about this.

Allah revealed to him, “O Jesus! This servant was a sinner, and left his wife when she was pregnant. Then she bore and raised his child. When the child got older, she gave him to the charge of the scribes. They instructed him to say, ‘In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate,’ so I was ashamed to chastise My servant with My fire in the bowels of the earth while his child was remembering my name on the surface of the earth.”27

26. The Apostle of Allah (S)said, “Allah, the Exalted, may His greatness be glorified, revealed to Jesus (‘a), ‘Make a serious effort regarding My affairs, and do not give up. I made you without a male as a sign for the worlds. Tell the people to believe in Me and in My Apostle, the unlettered, whose ancestors are blessed, and she is with your mother in heaven. Tuba28 is for he who hears his word is contemporary with him.’ Jesus said, ‘O my Lord! What is Tuba?’

He said, ‘It is a tree in heaven under which is a fountain from which those who drink will never again thirst.’ Jesus said, ‘Quench me with a drink of it.’ He said, ‘No, Jesus. It is forbidden to the prophets until that prophet drinks from it. And that heaven is forbidden to all communities until the community of that prophet enters it.’”29

27. Imam Ja‘far Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Among the things which Allah, the Blessed and Supreme, exhorted Jesus (‘a) was, ‘O Jesus! I am your Lord, and the Lord of your fathers. My Name is the One, and I am unique and alone in the creation of all things. All things are my work, and all My creations shall return to Me.’”30

28. ‘Ali ibn Asbat has reported from the Household of the Prophet, peace be with them, this from among the admonitions of Allah, the Exalted and Sublime, given to Jesus (‘a):

“O Jesus! I am your Lord and the Lord of your father. My name is One and I am the One, the Unique in having created everything. All things have been made by Me and all return to Me.

O Jesus! You are the Messiah by My command, and you create from clay what has a shape like a bird by My permission, and you revive the dead by My word, so be one who beseeches Me and one who fears Me, and apart from Me seek no sanctuary except toward Me.

O Jesus! I charged you in tenderness to you though mercy until you became worthy of my friendship (wilayah) because you sought My pleasure and so you were blessed when old and you were blessed when young wherever you were.

I bear witness that you are My servant, son of my handmaid. Let Me into your soul as your foremost regard, and make the remembrance of Me the means to your return, and draw near to Me through the supererogatory deeds. And trust in Me that I may suffice for you and do not trust in any other than Me so that I abandon you.

O Jesus! Be patient with calamities and be content with the decree. Be in such a way that I will be happy with you, because what pleases Me is obedience without sin.

O Jesus! Enliven the remembrance of Me by your tongue, and let there be love for Me in your heart.

O Jesus! Wake up at the hours of neglecting and give your decisions for my sake with subtle wisdom.

O Jesus! Be one who beseeches and fears Me, and let your heart die of awe of Me.

O Jesus! Be vigilant through the night seeking My pleasure, and thirst through your day for the day when you are in need of Me.

O Jesus! Compete with others by doing good as hard as you can so that you will be well known for good wherever you go.

O Jesus! Judge among my servants though My counsel and establish My justice for I have brought down to you a cure for breasts against satanic disease.

O Jesus! Do not associate with anyone infatuated [with the world].

O Jesus! Indeed I say, no creature believed in Me without becoming humble to Me nor became humble to Me without seeking My requital; so bear witness that such a one is secure from My punishment unless he changes or alters my norm (sunnah).

O Jesus, son of the Virgin Lady! Weep for yourself with the weeping of one who bade goodbye to his home, deserted this world and left it to the worldly so that he became one beseeching what is with his God.

O Jesus! In addition to this, be someone who speaks mildly, who offers salaams vigorously, and who keeps awake while the eyes of the pious sleep in order to beware of the Day of the Return and severe earthquakes and the terrors of the Resurrection Day when neither household nor wealth nor offspring shall profit one.

O Jesus! Adorn your eyes with a touch of sadness when the vain (i.e., foolish) laugh.

O Jesus! Be one of those who humble themselves and are patient, for if you attain that of which the patient have been promised, you are most fortunate.

O Jesus! Day by day abandon this world and taste that which has lost its taste, for truly I tell you; you live to an appointed hour and an appointed day, so pass through this world by what is sufficient for your survival and be content with coarse food and rough dress after you have seen what your destiny is to be, and what you have spent and wasted is recorded.

O Jesus! You are responsible, so be merciful toward the weak, just as I am merciful toward you, and do not be cruel to the orphan.

O Jesus! Weep over yourself in seclusion; let your feet regularly make for the places where prayers are performed, and let me hear the sweetest melody of the words you say in remembrance of Me. Verily, what I have done for you is good.

O Jesus! How many nations I have caused to perish for the sins they had committed and from which I have preserved you.

“O Jesus! Minister to the weak and turn your weary eyes toward the sky and ask your needs from Me, for I am near to you, and do not call upon Me except as one who pleads with Me and whose concern is a single concern. Then, when you call on Me in this way, I will answer you.

“O Jesus! I am not content that the world should be the reward of those who were near you nor as a chastisement for those you would punish.

O Jesus! You perish and I remain, and your provision is from Me. The term appointed for you is with Me, and to Me is your return and with Me is your reckoning. So ask from me and do not ask from any other, so that your supplication may be suitable and I will answer it.

O Jesus! How numerous are the people and how few is the number of the patient. The trees are numerous, but those that are good among them are few. Do not be deceived by the beauty of a tree until you taste its fruit.

O Jesus! Do not be deceived by he who rebels against me by sin. He eats what I have provided for him but he serves another. Then he calls on Me in his sorrow, and I answer him.

Then he returns to what he had been doing. Does he rebel against Me or does he seek My wrath? By Me, I have sworn I will take him with a taking from which he cannot be delivered and other than Me he can find no shelter. Where will he escape from My heaven and earth?

O Jesus! Say to the unjust from the children of Israel, do not call upon Me while you are involved in unlawful dealings and there are idols in your houses, for I have resolved that I will respond to them who call upon Me, and my response to their calls will be curses upon them lasting until they disperse.

O Jesus! How long must I wait and hope for good from people while they are heedless and reluctant to return? The words which emitted from their mouths do not do not correspond to what is in their hearts, they subject themselves to my loathing, while seeking the love of the believers by [feigning] drawing near to Me.

O Jesus! Let your tongue say the same in secret and in the open, and let your heart and your vision be in accord with that. Turn your heart and your tongue entirely away from the forbidden, and withhold your eyes from anything in which there is no good. How many a beholder there has been whose look planted in their hearts a lust and threw them into the pit of destruction.

O Jesus! Be merciful with great mercy, and behave in such a way that you wish others to treat you, and increase your remembrance of death, and departing from your household, and avoid wasting your time, for wasting time corrupts one, and do not be heedless, for he who is heedless of Me is far away from Me. And remember Me by doing righteous acts so that I will remember you.

O Jesus! Turn toward Me after sinning, and remind those who are penitent of Me. Believe in Me and seek nearness to the believers by Me, and bid them to call upon Me with you, and beware of the call of the wronged one, for I have resolved to open a gate in the heavens to accept it and to answer him, even if later.

O Jesus! Know that evil ones infect others and the companions of evil cause others to perish, and know those to whom you are near, and choose for yourselves brothers from the believers.

O Jesus! Turn toward Me, for no sin is too great for Me to forgive, and I am the most Merciful of the Merciful.

Work for yourself in the period before your death before your heirs may fail to do it for you, and worship Me for a day that is equal to a thousand years of what you reckon in which I repay for the good many times over, and evil deeds will corrupt one who performs them, so prepare the way for yourself throughout the period appointed for you, and compete with others to do whatever is righteous, for how many an assembly there have been from which people rose and were then granted sanctuary from the Fire.

O Jesus! Restrain yourself from being involved in this mortal life which comes to an end, and follow in the footsteps of those who have lived before you. Call them and speak to them in confidence. Do you feel their presence? Take your advice from them, and know that soon you will join them.

O Jesus! Tell him who rebels against Me by offense and who would compromise [his religion], that he should await My punishment and expect My destruction of him, soon he will be cut off with the destroyed ones.

O son of Mary! Blessed are you, that you take your manners from your God, Who shows tenderness toward you mercifully, Who first bestowed blessings from Him generously, and He aids you in difficulties. Do not offend, O Jesus! For offenses are not lawful for you. I have made a covenant with you as I made a covenant with those who were before you, and I am a witness of that.

O Jesus! I have honored no creature as I have My religion, and I have not blessed [any creature] with the like of My mercy [for My religion].

O Jesus! I have honored nothing in creation like My religion, and I have bestowed nothing on it like My mercy.

O Jesus! Wash your exterior by water and your interior by good deeds, for verily you are returning to Me. Get ready, for that which is coming is near; and let me hear from you a sad sound.

O Jesus! That with which I have blessed you by grace without pollution, and I sought from you a loan for your soul, then you were stingy, so you will be of those who are destroyed.

O Jesus! Adorn yourself with religion and love of the needy, and walk through the earth modestly. And perform the prayers at any place, for all of them are [ritually] clean.

O Jesus! Be prepared, for whatever is coming is near, and recite My book while you are [ritually] clean, and make Me hear from you a sad voice.

O Jesus! There is no good in pleasure that does not continue, and in a life, for the one who lives it, that fades away.

O son of Mary! If only your eyes could see that which is furnished as a reward for My righteous friends, your heart would melt and your soul would depart longing for it, for there is no abode like that of the other world, where the good live as neighbors, and the cherubim enter it among them, and they are safe from the fear of the day of resurrection. It is an abode in which blessings do not change and they are not lost.

O son of Mary! Vie with others for [that abode], for it is the hope of the hopeful, being such a good sight. Blessed are you, O son of Mary, if you work for it, and you are with your fathers, Adam and Ibrahim in the Garden and bliss, you seek no alternative to it and no change in it. I do this for the God-wary.

O Jesus! Flee toward Me with those who flee from a fire having a dreadful blaze and a fire having chains and shackles into which no gentle wind enters and from which no gloom ever goes, with sectors like those of the dark night, and he who is delivered from it will have attained a great achievement, and those who perish will never be delivered from it. It is the abode of tyrants, the wrongdoing oppressors, all who are rudely obstinate and all who are proud boasters.

O Jesus! It is an evil abode for those who rely on it, and evil place to stay, the abode of the oppressors. I warn you of yourself. So, be aware of Me.

O Jesus! Wherever you are, be observant of Me, and bear witness that it is I who created you, that you are My servant and that I formed you and conveyed you to the earth.

O Jesus! It is not proper for there to be two tongues in one mouth nor two hearts in one breast, and likewise for minds.

O Jesus! Do not be awake while sinning, do not be aware while wasting time. Wean yourself from destructive lusts and put away every lust that puts you far from Me. Know that to Me you are a trusted apostle, so be careful of Me. Know that your world will give you back to Me, and I will take you knowledgably, so abase yourself when you remember Me. Humble your heart when you remember Me. Be awake beside the sleep of the negligent.

O Jesus! This is My advice to you and My admonition to you, so take it from Me and I am the Lord of the worlds.

O Jesus! When My servant is patient for My sake, the reward for his work is from Me, and I am beside him when he calls on Me, and I am sufficient in avenging those who disobey Me. Where will the oppressors go to escape from Me?

O Jesus! Make your speech wholesome, and wherever you are, be both learned and a learner.

O Jesus! Send good deeds to Me, so that they will be remembered by Me for you, and grasp My advice. Verily, in it there is a cure for hearts.

O Jesus! Do not feel safe when you devise your plans from My plans, and do not forget, when alone in the world, the remembrance of Me.

O Jesus! By returning to Me, take account of yourself, so the reward may be deserved of those who work. They are given their compensation and I am the best of the givers.

O Jesus! You were created by My word, Mary gave birth to you at My command that I sent to her by My spirit, the trusted Gabriel of My angels, until you grew up as one alive and walking, and all of this was in My foreknowledge.

O Jesus! Zacharias is in the position of a father to you and as a guardian to your mother. When he went to her in the prayer niche then he found with her provisions. John is like you among My creatures. I granted him to his mother when she was old when she did not have the strength for it. By this, I wanted My sovereignty to appear to her, and My power to appear in you. The most beloved of you by Me is the most obedient to me and the most intense of you in fear of Me.

O Jesus! Wake up and do not despair of My mercy and glorify Me with those who glorify Me and with wholesome speech hallow Me.

O Jesus! How can the servants disbelieve in Me when their forelocks are in My fist and their changes take place on My earth? They are ignorant of My blessings and they are supporters of My enemy, and so the disbelievers are perishing.

O Jesus! Indeed, this world is a foul prison, and the fair seeming in it is, as you see, that over which the tyrants slaughter one another. Beware, the world and all of its blessings will come to an end, and it has but few blessings.

O Jesus! Seek Me when you go to bed, and you will find Me; and call upon me while you love Me, and I am the most hearing of the hearers; I answer the callers when they call upon Me.

O Jesus! Fear Me and make My servants fear Me. Happily the sinners may abstain from what they do because of it, so they do not perish unless they knowingly [do it].

O Jesus! Be afraid of Me as you fear predators and death you will meet. I have created all of them, so of Me alone, be afraid.

O Jesus! Verily, Mine is the kingdom and it is in My hand, and I am the King. If you obey Me, I will make you enter My Garden in the neighborhood of the righteous.

O Jesus! If I am angry with you, the pleasure of those who are pleased with you will not benefit you, and if I am pleased with you, the anger of those who are angry with you will not harm you.

O Jesus! Remember Me to yourself, and I will remember you to Myself. Remember Me among your people, and I will remember you among a people better than the children of Adam.

O Jesus! Call upon Me with the call of one who is drowning, afflicted, for whom there is none to aid.

O Jesus! Do not swear by Me falsely, so that My Throne shakes with anger. The world is short lived, but is long on hope, and with Me is a realm better than what you gather.

O Jesus! What will you do when I take out for you a book that speaks in truth, while you witness it, of the secrets you have hidden, and the deeds you have done.

O Jesus! Say to the unjust of the Children of Israel: You wash your faces and soil your hearts. Are you deceived about me, or would you be audacious toward me. For the worldly you use perfumes, but to me your stomachs are like putrid corpse, as though you were a dead people.

O Jesus! Say to them, “Draw back your hands31 from illicit gain, and stop your ears from listening to curses, and come near to me by your hearts for your appearance does not appeal to me.

O Jesus! Rejoice in the good deed, for it pleases Me, and weep over the evil deed, for it is a disgrace, and that which you do not like to be done unto you, do not do unto others, and if one slaps your right cheek, offer him the left one, and draw near to Me by your efforts through love, and ignore the ignorant.

O Jesus! Be humble toward the doers of good deeds and take part with them in such deeds, and be witnesses to them, and say to the unjust of the Children of Israel, “O friends of evil, and those who keep company with it! If you do not comply with the prohibitions, I will transform you into apes and swine.

O Jesus! Say to the unjust of the Children of Israel that wisdom32 weeps in fear of Me, while you [Children of Israel] leave laughing. Has there come to you a reprieve, or is there with you a guarantee against My chastisement, or that you will not be subject to My punishment? I swear by Myself, that I will abandon you as an example for those who remain.

Thus I charge you, O son of Mary, that you bring news to the Children of Israel of the Master of the messengers and My beloved, who is Ahmad, having a red camel and a face like the moon, who is a shining light, a pure heart, courageous, venerably modest.

Verily, he is a mercy to the worlds, and master of the children of Adam on the day of his meeting Me, the most honored of the foremost,33 and the latest of the messengers from Me, an Arab, a trustworthy person, one committed to My religion, one patient for My sake and one who struggles by his hand against the idolaters for the defense of My religion.

Order them to affirm him, believe in him, follow him and help him. Jesus (‘a) said, “Who is it that I should please? Then, pleasure is for You. He said, “He is Muhammad the Messenger of Allah (S) to the people, all of them.

In station, he is nearer to Me than they; in intercession, he is more ready than they; blessed be he as prophet, and blessed be his community (ummah) if they meet Me on his path. The inhabitants of the earth praise him, and the inhabitants of the heavens ask for his forgiveness. He is the trustworthy, the blessed, the wholesome and salutary, better than others with Me. He will be at the end of time.

When he arrives, the spouts of the heavens are loosed, and the earth puts forth its blossoms, so that they see the benediction. I will bless them by that upon which he puts his hand. He has many wives and few children. He is an inhabitant of Bakkah [Mecca] the place of the foundations of Abraham.

O Jesus! His religion is upright (Hanifiyyah), and his qiblah is Yemenite,34 and he is of My party, and I am with him, so blessed be he, then blessed be him. The Kawthar35 is for him, and the greatest position in the gardens of Eden.

He lives most honored of all who have ever lived, taken as a martyr, for whom is a fountain greater than the distance from Bakkah to the place of the rising of the sun, full of wine untouched, in which there are dishes like the constellations of the sky, and stars like the clouds of the earth, agreeable, in which is every sort of wine and the flavors of every fruit in the Garden. Whoever drinks a drink from it will never thirst.

It is apportioned for him, and I have preferred him by a period of time between you and him. His secrets agree with what is apparent from him, and his words with his actions. He does not command the people, unless he first begins to practice it. His religion is a struggle in hardship and in comfort. The cities will obey him, and the ruler of Rome will humble himself before him following the religion of Abraham.

He will mention the Name of God at meals, and bid peace, and he will pray while the people sleep. For him each day there will be five prayers in succession. His call to prayer will be like the call to muster troops. He will open his prayer with ‘Allahu akbar (God is the greatest)’ and end it with salutations of peace. He will put his feet in line in prayer as the angels place their feet in line, and his heart and head will be humbled for Me.

Light is in his breast and truth is on his tongue. And he is in the right, wherever he is. First an orphan, wandering for a time regarding what He wills for him, his eyes sleep but his heart does not, interceding is only for him, and his community will reach the [Final] Hour,36 and My hand will be above their hands, whoever breaks [his pledge with the Prophet (S)], breaks [it] against himself, and whoever is loyal to his pledge, I will be loyal to him [awarding to him] the Garden.

So command the oppressors of the Children of Israel not to obliterate his books and not to distort his tradition and to offer peace to him. Surely, there is a noble station for him.

O Jesus! Whatever brings you near to Me, I have guided you to it, and all that takes you far from Me, I have prohibited it for you. So, seek what is for your own sake.

O Jesus! Surely this world is sweet, and surely I have employed you in it, so keep aside from you all from which I have warned you, and take from it all that I have given to you in forgiveness.

O Jesus! Look into your deeds with the look of a mistaken sinful servant, and do not look into the works of others from the position of Lord. Be without attachment to [this world], and do not long for it so that it causes you hardship.

O Jesus! Reason about and contemplate and look into the regions of the earth as to what has been the outcome of the oppressors.

O Jesus! All of My attributes are counsel for you, and all of My speech to you is the Truth, and I am the plain Truth. So, in truth I say, “If you disobey me after I informed you, there is no protector nor helper for you but Me.

O Jesus! Humble your heart in meekness and look at those who are lower than you and do not look at those who are above you. And know that at the head of every mistake and sin is the love of this world. So, do not love it, for I do not love it either.

O Jesus! Make wholesome your heart for Me and remember Me much in solitude, and know that My pleasure is in your fawning love Me, in an animated and not in a lifeless manner.

O Jesus! Do not make anything My partner, and be wary on account of Me, and do not be deceived by health, so delight in yourself. Surely, this world is like a passing shadow, and what comes from it is like what goes from it.

So compete in your struggle for righteousness, and be with truth wherever it is, even if you will be cut or burned by fire. So, do not deny me after knowledge. So, do not be of the ignorant. A thing is surely with things [of its own sort].

O Jesus! Pour forth tears from your eyes for Me, and humble your heart for Me.

O Jesus! Call on Me for help in hard conditions. I am He Who helps those who are upset, and Who answers the destitute. And I am the most merciful of the merciful.”37

  • 1. Jami‘ al-Akhbar, 1, 180
  • 2. ‘Uddat ul-Da’i, 169
  • 3. 'Uddat ul-Da’i, 212
  • 4. Basa’ir al-Darajat, 227
  • 5. Bihar, 81, 57, 9
  • 6. Bihar, 100, 21, 16
  • 7. Tuhaf al-‘Uqul, 1, 513
  • 8. Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, 12, 39, 13456
  • 9. Bihar, 14, 338, 9
  • 10. Kafi, 3, 264, 1
  • 11. Bihar, 90, 341
  • 12. Bihar, 14, 3
  • 13. Bihar, 79, 178
  • 14. Adab al-Nafs, 2, 69
  • 15. Bihar, 69, 55
  • 16. Irshad al-Qulub, 1, 112
  • 17. Bihar, 67, 316
  • 18. Bihar, 90, 373
  • 19. Cf. Qur’an 17:17; 25:58.
  • 20. Kafi, 2, 343, 3
  • 21. Kafi, 2, 502, 3
  • 22. Bihar, 14, 328, 56
  • 23. Kafi, 8, 138, 103
  • 24. Bihar, 21, 350, 20
  • 25. According to another report by the same narrator: “Verily Jesus the son of Mary became more humble whenever God’s blessings were granted him.”
  • 26. Bihar, 18, 418
  • 27. Majmu‘ah al-Akhbar fi Nafa’is al-Athar ,146
  • 28. The phrase Tuba ‘alay is translated as “Blessed are those,” or “Happy are those,” in the Arabic version of the beatitudes.
  • 29. Bihar, 14, 323, 33
  • 30. Bihar, 14, 289, 13
  • 31. Literally, “Clip your fingernails from illicit gain.”
  • 32. Those who are wise.
  • 33. The foremost are the first to have believed in God.
  • 34. The portion of the Arabian peninsula including Mecca and Yemen was referred to as Yemenite.
  • 35. The term kawthar has several meanings. Literally it means ‘abundant [good]’, and in many ahadith it is used in reference to Hadrah Fatimah, peace be with her. It is also considered the name of a fountain in heaven.
  • 36. This indicates that he will be the final prophet.
  • 37. Kafi, 8, 131-141, 103

The Preaching of Jesus

1. Jesus (‘a) said, “Whoever is content with the destiny of Allah, it is as if his works are in accord with the gospel.”1

2. Jesus (‘a) said, “Sleeping on a mat and eating barely bread for seeking paradise is expeditious.”2

3. The Prophet said, “Jesus (‘a) said, ‘We bring what is revealed for you, but as for the interpretation, it will be brought by the Paraclete (farqiliT) at the end of time.’”3

4. Ja‘far ibn Muhammad narrated from his fathers, in order, that ‘Ali the son of Abu Talib (‘a) said, “One day, the Apostle of Allah was among us on the mountain of Tahama, and Muslims were around him. Then an old man with a staff in his hand came.

The Apostle of Allah looked at him and said, ‘One with the walk, voice and pride of a jinn has come.’ He greeted him and the Apostle of Allah returned the greeting and said, ‘Who are you?’ He said, ‘I am Hama the son of al-Him the son of Laqis the son of Iblis.’ The Apostle of Allah said, ‘Glory be to Allah, glory be to Allah, there is no one between you and Iblis unless two fathers!’ He said, ‘… And I met Moses the son of ‘Imran.

He said to me, ‘When you meet Jesus the son of Mary, greet him.’ I met Jesus the son of Mary and greeted him. He said to me, ‘When you meet Muhammad, greet him.’ So I greet you O the Apostle of Allah from Jesus the son of Mary.’ The Apostle of Allah said, ‘Glory be to Allah. May Allah bless Jesus as long as the world remains.’”4

5. Imam ‘Ali (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, ‘Verily the evil doer is infectious, and the associate of the wicked is brought down. So beware of those with whom you associate.’”5

6. I heard Imam Al-Ridha’ (‘a) say, “Jesus the son of Mary, may Allah bless him, said to the apostles, ‘O Children of Israel! Do not grieve over what you lose of this world, just as the people of this world do not grieve over what they lose of their religion, when they gain this world of theirs.’”6

7. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary, peace be with our Prophet and his progeny and with him, said, ‘Woe unto the evil scholars! How the fire inflames them!’”7

8. And he (Jesus (‘a)) said, “How long will you be advised without taking any advice? Certainly you have become a burden to the advisors.”8

9. It is reported from Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) from his father that he said, “Jesus (‘a) used to say, ‘Regarding the fright which you do not know when you will encounter [i.e. death], what prevents you from preparing for it before it comes upon you suddenly?’”9

10. Imam Ja`far (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, ‘He who lies much looses his worth.’”10

11. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah, [Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a)] said, “The Messiah used to say: ‘He who often becomes upset, his body becomes sick; he whose character is bad, his self becomes his torment; he who often talks, often stumbles; he who often lies, he loses his worth; he who quarrels with men, he loses his manliness.’”11

12. It is reported that the Commander of the Faithful [Imam ‘Ali (‘a)] said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, ‘The dinar is the illness of religion, and the scholar (al-‘alim) is the physician of religion. So if you see that the physician brings illness upon himself, distrust him, and know that he is not to advise others.’”12

13. It is reported that Ali ibn al-Husayn [Imam Sajjad (‘a)] said, “The Messiah said to his Apostles, ‘Verily, this world is merely a bridge, so cross over it, and do not become preoccupied with it.’”13

14. It is reported that Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary, peace be with them, said to some of his companions, ‘That which is not loved by you for someone to do to you, do not do that to others, and if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him your left cheek also.’”14

15. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a)] said that Jesus (‘a) said, “The affairs of this world and those of the other world have gotten hard. But the affairs of this world are hard because there is nothing of this world at which you may grasp that some sinner has not grabbed first, while the affairs of the other world are hard because you do not find helpers to help you toward it.”15

16. The Messiah said to the Apostles, “Verily, the eating of barley bread and the drinking of plain water today in this world is for he who would enter heaven tomorrow.”16

17. Jesus (‘a) is reported to have said, “One of the evils of this world is that Allah, the Supreme, is disobeyed in it, and the other world will not be reached except by relinquishing this one.”17

18. Jesus (‘a) is reported to have said, “How can one be of the people of knowledge if the next world is shown to him while he remains involved in this world, and what harms him is more desirable to him than what benefits him?”18

19. It is reported by Mufaddal, one of the companions of Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) from the Imam (‘a) in a long hadith, that he said, “Jesus the son of Mary, Peace be with our Prophet and with him, used to spend some time with the disciples and advise them, and he used to say, ‘He does not know me, who knows not his soul, and he who does not know the soul between his two sides, does not know the soul between my two sides.

And he who knows his soul which is between his sides, he knows me. And he who knows me knows He Who sent me.’”19

20. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah [Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a)] said, “Jesus the son of Mary, may the blessings of Allah be with him, said, ‘You work for the sake of this world while it is not by work that you are provided for in it. And you do not work for the sake of the next world, while it is only by work that you will be provided for in it.

Woe be unto you, evil scholars (‘ulama)! You take payments and waste works. The backer20 comes close to accepting his work, and the people come close to leaving the narrowness of this world for the darkness of the grave. How can one be knowledgeable who is on the way to the next world and nevertheless is going after this world, and he likes the things that harm him more than the things that benefit him?’”21

21. It is reported that Jesus (‘a) said, “Woe unto you, evil scholars (‘ulama)! You take payments and waste works. The Master of the work comes close to search for his work, and you come close to leaving this wide world for the darkness of the grave and its narrowness.

He prohibited you from sins, likewise He ordered you to fast and say prayers. How can one be a scholar who is angry with His livelihood and debases His Dignity, while he knows that it is from the knowledge and the power of Allah? How can one be a scholar, who accuses Allah regarding what He has destined for him, so he is not satisfied with what reaches him!?

How can one be a scholar, who prefers this world to the other world, turns to this world and likes the things that harm him more than the things that benefit him!? How can one be a scholar who seeks words (kalam) in order to report them, but does not seek to put them into practice?’”22

22. Jesus (‘a) said, “How can some one benefit himself while he trades himself for all that is in this world, then he abandons the inheritance which he has traded to others and destroys himself? But blessed be the man who purifies himself and prefers his soul to everything of this world.”23

23. Jesus (‘a) said, “Woe to the companion of the world! How he dies and leaves it, and how he relies on it and it deceives him, and how he trusts it and it forsakes him! Woe unto those who are deceived! How that which is repugnant encompasses them and that which is beloved separates from them! And that which is promised will come to them. And woe to those whose endeavors are only for the world and error. How he will be disgraced before Allah tomorrow!”24

24. Verily, Jesus (‘a) said, “Why do you come to me clothed in the clothing of monks while your hearts are those of ferocious wolves? You should be clothed in the clothing of kings, and soften your hearts with fear.”25

25. Jesus (‘a) said, “Who would build a house on the waves of the sea? This world is that house, so you should not take it as a dwelling.”26

26. Jesus (‘a) said, “The love of this world and the next cannot be aligned in the heart of a believer, like water and fire in a single vessel.”27

27. Jesus (‘a) said, “Blessed is he who abandons the present desire for the absent promise.”28

28. And Jesus (‘a) was saying, “O assembly of Apostles, love Allahby hatred of the disobedient, and approach Allah by distancing [yourselves] from them, and request His contentment by their discontentment.”29

29. Jesus (‘a) said, “O group of Apostles! How many lamps the wind has put out, and how many worshippers pride has corrupted!”30

7.30. Jesus (‘a) said, “Never stare at that which is not for you. If you restrain your eyes, you will never commit adultery; and if you are able to avoid looking at the garments of women who are not permitted for you, then do so.”31

31. It is reported that Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said: “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a)said, When one of you sits in his house, he should have clothes on. Verily, Allah has allotted modesty for you, just as He has allotted your sustenance.”32

32. I heard Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) say: “Christ (‘a) said to his disciples: ‘If you are my lovers and my brothers, you must accustom yourself to the enmity and hatred of the people, otherwise you will not be my brothers. I teach you this that you may learn it; I do not teach you so that you may become proud.

Verily, you will not achieve that which you desire unless you give up that which you desire, and by enduring patiently that which you detest, and guard your gaze, for it plants lust in the heart, and it is sufficient to tempt him. Happy are they who see that which they desire with their eyes, but who commit no disobedience in their hearts. How far is that which is in the past, and how near is that which is to come.

Woe to those who have been deluded when what they loathe approaches them, and what they love abandons them, and there comes that which they were promised. Woe to those whose efforts are for the sake of this world, and whose works are mistaken. How he will be disgraced before his Lord! And do not speak much for aught but the remembrance of Allah.

Those who speak much about aught but Allah harden their hearts, but they do not know it. Do not look at the faults of others over much [the phrase used here indicates spying], but look after the purity of your own selves, for you are enslaved servants. How much water flows in a mountain without its becoming soft.

And how much wisdom you are taught without your hearts becoming soft. You are bad servants, and you are not pious servants. You are not nobly free. Indeed you are like unto the oleander, all who see it wonder at its flower, but when they eat from it they die. So, peace be unto you.’”33

33. Jesus (‘a) said, “O Children of Israel! Do not be excessive in eating, for those who are excessive in eating are excessive in sleeping, and those who are excessive in sleeping are deficient in praying, and of those who are deficient in praying, it is written that they are negligent.”34

34. Jesus (‘a) said to his companions, “Verily, sleeping on a dunghill and eating barley bread is a great good, with a sound religion.”35

35. Jesus (‘a) said, “O assembly of disciples! I have thrown the world prostrate before you, so do not lift it up after me, for one of the evils of this world is that Allah was disobeyed in it and one of the evils of this world is that the next world is not attained except by leaving this one.

So pass through this world without making it livable, and know that the root of all wrong is the love of this world. Many a vain desire leaves an inheritance of lasting sorrow.”36

36. Jesus (‘a) said, “This world and the next one are rivals. When you satisfy one of them you irritate the other, and when you irritate one of them you satisfy the other.”37

37. When Jesus passed by a house the family of which had died and was replaced by others, he said, “Woe to your owners who inherited you! How they have learned no lesson from their late brothers.”38

38. Jesus (‘a) said, “Do not take the world as a master, for it will take you as its servants. Keep your treasure with one who will not squander it. The owners of the treasures of this world fear for its ruin, but he who owns the treasure of Allah does not fear for its ruin.”39

39. It is reported that [Imam] ‘Ali (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, ‘Blessed is he whose silence is contemplation (fikr), whose vision is an admonition, whose house suffices him and who cries over his mistakes and from whose hand and tongue the people are safe.’”40

40. And Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, “There is no sickness of the heart more severe than callousness, and no soul is more severely afflicted than by the deprivation of hunger, and these two are the lines to exclusion and abandonment.”41

41. Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) stood up among the Children of Israel to preach. He said, “O Children of Israel! Do not eat before you become hungry and when you become hungry eat but do not eat your fill, because when you eat your fill your necks become thick and your sides grow fat and you forget your Lord.”42

42. The Apostle of Allah [Muhammad] said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) stood up among the Children of Israel and said, ‘O Children of Israel! Do not speak with the ignorant of wisdom, for otherwise you do injustice with it, and do not keep it from its folk, for otherwise you do injustice to them, and do not help the unjust with his injustice, for otherwise your virtue becomes void.

Affairs are three: the affair whose righteousness is clear to you, so follow it; the affair whose error is clear to you, so avoid it; and the affair about which there are differences, so return it to Allah, the Almighty and Glorious.’”43

43. Jesus (‘a) said, “In truth I say to you, just as one who is sick looks at food and finds no pleasure in it due to the severity of the pain, the masters of this world find no pleasure in worship and do not find the sweetness of it, for what they find is the sweetness of this world.

In truth I say to you, just as an animal which is not captured and tamed becomes hardened and its character is changed, so too when hearts are not softened by the remembrance of death and the effort of worship they become hard and tough, and in truth I say to you, if a skin is not torn, it may become a vessel for honey, just as hearts, if they are not torn by desires, or fouled by greed, or hardened by blessings, may become vessels for wisdom.”44

44. Abu ‘`Abdullah Al-Sadiq (‘a) said: “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said to his companions, ‘O children of Adam! Free yourselves from this world, escaping to Allah, and take your hearts out of it [this world].

Verily, you are not suitable for it [this world] and it is not suitable for you, and you do not remain in it and it does not remain for you. It is an insatiable deceiver. He who has emigrated to it is misled. He who relies on it has been duped. He who loves it and desires it is destroyed.

So repent to your Lord, and fear your Lord, and beware a day when no father can compensate for his child and no child can be the compensation for his father. Where are your fathers? Where are your mothers? Where are your brothers? Where are your sisters? Where are your children? They were called and they answered, said farewell to the earth, joined the dead, and they came among the destroyed.

They exit the world and separate from their loved ones, and are in need of what they sent ahead and needless of what they left behind. How much you have been advised and how much you have been prohibited, but you are frivolous and inattentive. Your likeness in this world is the like of beasts. Your zeal is for the inside of your belly and for your private parts.

Do you not answer Him Who created you, while He threatened the disobedient with the Fire, and you are not able to cope with the Fire, and He promised the obedient the Garden and being near to Him in the high heaven? So compete for it and be deserving of it, and be fair to yourselves, and be kind to the weak and needy among you.

And repent to Allah sincerely, and be righteous servants, and do not be oppresive kings or inordinate Pharaohs who conquers those who rebel against him by death. [And repent to] the Almighty of the mighty, Lord of the heavens and the earth, of the first and the last, Possessor of the Day of Judgment, the Severe in punishment, Whose chastisement is painful. No oppressor is saved from Him, and nothing escapes Him.

Nothing slips past Him, and nothing disappears from His sight. His knowledge encompasses all thing, and He sends down to each according to his stations the Garden or the Fire. Oweak son of Adam! Where would you run from Him Who seeks you in the dark of your night and the brightness of your day, and in every state in which you may be. One who advised delivered his advice; and one who has listened to the advice is saved.’”45

45. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said: “Jesus the son of Mary said to the Apostles, ‘Beware of looking at what is prohibited, for it is the seed lust and plant of depravity.’”46

46. Jesus son of Mary (‘a) said, “The most wretched of people is he who is known by the people for his knowledge and is not known for his works.”47

47. Al-Sadiq (‘a) said, “Jesus (‘a)said, ‘Keep company with him the vision and encounter—let alone speech—of whom reminds you of Allah. And do not keep company with him who is agreeable to your exterior but to whom your interior is opposed, for, verily, such a person makes a claim for what is not due to him, if you are sincere about what is to your benefit.

Make the most of the vision and encounter and company of one who has three traits, even if but for an hour, for his blessings will be effective in your religion and your heart and your worship: his speech does not go beyond his action, his action does not go beyond his truthfulness, and his truthfulness is not removed from his Lord.

So, keep company with him honorably, and await mercy and blessings and beware the necessity of his proof against you and tend to his time that he does not reproach you then you would incur loss, and look at him by the eye of the grace and magnanimity granted especially to him by Allah.’”48

48. Jesus (‘a) said, “In truth I say to you, the folds of heaven are empty of the rich, and the entering of a camel through the eye of a needle is easier than the entering of a rich man into heaven.”49

49. Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, “Take the truth from the folk of falsehood, but do not take the false from the folk of truth. Be critics of speech. How much aberration is adorned by a verse of the Book of Allah, like the adornment of a copper dirham with silver plating. Looking at it is the same, but those who have vision are aware.”50

50. Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) said: “… Jesus the son of Mary said, ‘Keep your tongue to reform your heart, and be satisfied with your house, and beware of pretentiousness and excess, and be ashamed before your Lord, and cry over your mistakes, and escape from the people as you would run from the lion or viper, [for] they were medicine but today, they have become illness. Then encounter Allah when you will.’”51

51. Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, “O seeker of this world for the sake of doing good, abandoning the world is better.”52

52. Jesus the son of Mary (‘a) said, “Beauty of dress is pride of heart.”53

53. Among the words of Jesus, “Consider your houses as way stations, and the mosques as your residences, and eat the grains of the land and drink of pure water, and go out of the world in health. Upon my life! You have directed yourself to what is other than Allah. What has corrupted you? Are you afraid of becoming lost if you direct yourself toward Allah.”54

54. Imam Baqir (‘a) said, “Christ said, ‘O group of disciples! The foul odor of the oil will not harm you when the light of its lamp reaches you. Take knowledge from he who has it, and do not look at his works.’”55

55. Jesus (‘a) said to say, “O weak son of Adam! Beware of your Lord, and cast away your greed, and be weak in the world, and be modest in your desires. Accustom your body to patience and your heart to contemplation (fikr). And do not withhold sustenance for tomorrow, because it is a mistake for you. And multiply praise to Allah for poverty (faqr), for it is a sort of impeccability that you cannot do what you want.”56

56. Among the words attributed to Jesus (‘a) are, “On a day when one of you fasts, he should oil his head and beard and should wipe his lips [with oil] so that the people do not know that he is fasting. When he gives [charity] by his right hand, he should hide it from his left hand. And when he prays, he should let down the curtain over his door. Verily Allah divides praise as He divides sustenance.”57

57. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “Jesus the son of Mary (‘a), passed by Safa’ih al-Rawha’ and he said, ‘Here I am, Your servant, the son of your bondwoman, here I am.’”58

58. Jesus (‘a) used to say, “O house! You will be destroyed, and your inhabitants will die. And O soul! Work and have sustenance. And O body! Toil, then rest.”59

59. Jesus (‘a) said, “Worship has ten parts. Nine of them are in silence and one is in withdrawing from the people.”60

60. Jesus (‘a) said, “Among the greatest of sins is that when he does not know something, a servant says, ‘Verily, Allah knows it,’ and even when he lies about what he has dreamed, this is a great sin.”61

61. When Allah raised Jesus as a prophet, Satan turned to him and tempted him. Jesus said, “Glory be to Allah, with a plenum of His heavens and earth and the ink of His words and the weight of His throne and His own satisfaction.” [Imam] said, “When Satan heard this, he ran away in the direction he faced, unable to control himself at all, until he fell into the green waves [of the depths of the sea].”62

62. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, regarding the saying of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent,

He has made me blessed wherever I may be (19:26),

“Very beneficial.”63

63. The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “Eat lentils, for they are blessed and sacred. They soften the heart and increase tears. Seventy prophets blessed them, the last of whom was Jesus the son of Mary (‘a).”64

64. Jesus the son of Mary said, “Hardening of the heart is from drying of the eyes, and drying of the eyes is from accumulating sins, and accumulating sins is from loving the world, and loving the world is at the head of all error.”65

65. Abu Amama said, “I said, ‘O Apostle of Allah! When was the beginning of your appearance?’ He said, ‘The calling of my father Abraham and good news of Jesus the son of Mary and my mother saw that something went out of her that castles of Syria were lightened by it.’”66

66. Dahya al-Kalbi said, “The Apostle of Allah sent me with a letter to the Caesar. Caesar sent [some one] to the bishop [to come]. I informed him about Muhammad and his Book. The bishop said, ‘This is the prophet whom we expected, Jesus the son of Mary announced him to us. As for me, I confirm him and follow him.’ Caesar said, ‘As for me, if I do this my kingdom will be lost…’”67

67. Jesus (‘a) said, “Do not worry about your livelihood for tomorrow. If tomorrow is a part of your life, your livelihood will come along with your life, and if it is not a part of your life, then do not worry about the livelihood of others.”68

68. Jesus (‘a) said, “Blessed is he to whom Allah has taught His book, and then he does not die as a tyrant.”69

69. Jesus (‘a) said to some of the apostles, “Your distance from the wrath of Allah is in your not being wrathful.”70

70. Al-Sayyid ibn Tawus, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “I read in the Gospel that Jesus (‘a) said, “Who among you gives his son a stone when he asks for bread? Or who gives a snake when asked for a cloak? If despite the fact that your evil is well known you give good gifts to your sons, then it is more fitting that your Lord gives good things to one who asks.”71

71. It is reported that Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a) said, “Christ used to say, ‘If someone abandons giving aid to one who has been injured, he is certainly a partner to the party who injured him…. Likewise, do not narrate wisdom to those who are not fit for it, for they are ignorant.

And to not prevent those who are fit for it, for that would be a sin. Each of you must be like a prescribing physician if he sees that the condition is appropriate to a certain medicine, otherwise, he withholds it.’”72

72. Musa ibn Ja‘far (‘a) said, “…O Hisham! Verily, the Messiah said to the apostles, ‘O evil servants! The height of the date palm frightens you, and you remember its spikes and the difficulty of climbing it, but you forget the wholesomeness and benefit of its fruit; likewise you remember the difficulty of deeds for the other world, and it seems to you to take a long time, but you forget the obtaining of the blessings, light and fruit of those deeds…

In truth, I say to you, one who has no debt to the people is happier and less sad than one who has debts, even if his paying it is excellent. Likewise, one who does not make a mistake is happier and less sad than one who makes mistakes, even if his repentance is pure and he returns [to goodness.] Small sins and those considered paltry are among the deceptions of Satan.

He makes them seem paltry to you and makes them small in your eyes, so they will be gathered and increased and will surround you… O evil servants! Do not be like stealing kites, deceptive foxes, misleading wolves or vicious lions. You treat the people as you do your horses, from some you steal, some you deceive and some you mislead.

In truth I say to you, it is not sufficient for a body that its exterior is sound but its interior is corrupt. Likewise it is not sufficient for you that your bodies be pleasing to you while your hearts are corrupted. It is not sufficient for you that you cleanse your skins, while your hearts are unclean.

Do not be like the sieve that the pure flour goes down from it and keeps the siftings. Likewise you send out wisdom from your mouths, and hatred remains in your chests…”73

73. Al-Sayyid ibn Tawus, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “I read in the Gospel74 that Jesus (‘a) said, ‘I tell you, do not worry about what you will eat or what you will drink or with what you will clothe your bodies. Is not the soul more excellent than food, and the body more excellent than clothes?

Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor store away, yet your heavenly Lord provides for them. Are you not more excellent than they? Who among you by worrying can add a single measure to his stature? Then why do you worry about your clothes?’”75

  • 1. Jami‘ al-Akhbar, 180
  • 2. Majmu‘a Warram, 2, 230
  • 3. ‘Awali al-La’ali, 4, 124
  • 4. Ja‘faryyat, 176
  • 5. Kafi, 2, 640, 4
  • 6. Kafi, 2, 137, 25
  • 7. Kafi, 1, 47, 2
  • 8. Adab al-Nafs, 1, 175
  • 9. Bihar, 14, 336, 67
  • 10. Kafi, 2, 341, 13
  • 11. Bihar, 14, 318, 17
  • 12. Bihar, 14, 319, 21
  • 13. Bihar, 14, 319, 20
  • 14. Bihar, 14, 287
  • 15. Kafi, 8, 144, 112
  • 16. Adab al-Nafs, 2, 225
  • 17. Majmu‘a Warram, 1, 78
  • 18. Majmu‘a Warram, 1, 83
  • 19. Adab al-Nafs, 2, 213
  • 20. Rabb al-’amal has been translated as ‘backer’. It refers to those who support the evil ‘ulama, following them and giving them financial backing.
  • 21. Kafi, 2, 319, 13
  • 22. Bihar, 2, 39
  • 23. Bihar, 14, 329, 58
  • 24. Bihar, 14, 328, 53
  • 25. Bihar, 70, 208
  • 26. Bihar, 14, 326, 41
  • 27. Bihar, 14, 327, 50
  • 28. Bihar, 14, 327, 45
  • 29. Bihar, 14, 330, 64
  • 30. Bihar, 69, 322, 37
  • 31. Majmu‘ Warram, 1, 62
  • 32. Bihar, 68, 334, 11
  • 33. Bihar, 14, 325, 37 7.33.
  • 34. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, 19, 188
  • 35. Adab al-Nafs, 1, 223
  • 36. Bihar, 14, 327, 48
  • 37. Bihar, 70, 122
  • 38. Bihar, 14, 329, 60
  • 39. Bihar, 14, 327
  • 40. Bihar, 14, 319, 22
  • 41. Bihar, 63, 337
  • 42. Bihar, 63, 337, 30
  • 43. Faqih 4, 400, 5858
  • 44. Bihar, 14, 325, 38
  • 45. Bihar, 14, 288, 12
  • 46. Bihar, 101, 41
  • 47. Bihar, 2, 52, 19
  • 48. Bihar, 97, 84
  • 49. Bihar, 69, 55
  • 50. Bihar, 2, 96, 39
  • 51. Bihar, 67, 110
  • 52. Majmu‘a Warram, 1, 134
  • 53. Bihar, 70, 207
  • 54. Sharh Najh al-Balaghah, 3, 155
  • 55. Bihar, 2, 97, 42
  • 56. Bihar, 14, 329, 62
  • 57. Sharh Nahj al-Balagha, 2, 181
  • 58. Faqih, 2, 234, 2284
  • 59. Bihar 14, 329, 61
  • 60. Majmu‘a Warram, 1, 106
  • 61. Bihar, 69, 258
  • 62. Bihar, 90, 181, 14
  • 63. Bihar, 14, 247
  • 64. Bihar, 14, 254, 48
  • 65. Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, 12, 39, 13458
  • 66. Bihar, 16, 321, 9
  • 67. Bihar, 20, 378
  • 68. Majmu‘ah Warram, 1, 278
  • 69. Majmu‘ah Warram, 1, 198
  • 70. Majmu‘ah Warram, 2, 27
  • 71. Bihar, 14, 317
  • 72. Kafi, 8, 345, 545
  • 73. Bihar, 1, 145, 146
  • 74. Cf. Matt 6:25-34:
    25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
    26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
    27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
    28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
    29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
    30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
    31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
    32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
    33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
    34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
    (NIV)
  • 75. Bihar, 14, 317, 17

A Portion of the Gospel

1. It is reported that Yazid ibn Salam asked the Apostle of Allah (S), “Why is the Furqan (distinguisher) so called?” He said, “Because its verses and chapters are distinguished. It was not sent down on a tablet or as a book, but the Torah, the Gospel and the Pslams were all sent down on tablets and paper.”1

2. The Prophet said, “The Scripture of Abraham descended on the third day of Ramadan, the Torah on the sixth, the Gospel on the thirteenth, the Psalms on the eighteenth, and the Qur’an on the twenty-fourth.”2

3. It is reported from the Gospel3, “Beware of liars who come to you in sheep’s clothing while in reality they are ravenous wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. It is not possible for a good tree to bear wicked fruit, nor for a wicked tree to bear good fruit.”4

4. It is narrated from Sulayman ibn Dawud that it has been reported that ‘Ali ibn Husayn said, “It is written in the Gospel, ‘Do not seek knowledge that you do not know, unless you put into practice what you already know, for if knowledge is not put into practice, nothing will be increased by Allah except distance [from Him].’”5

5. Advice of the Messiah (‘a) in the gospel and other places from his wisdom:

Blessed are those who love and respect one another, for they shall receive mercy on the Resurrection Day.

Blessed are the peace makers among the people, for they will be brought nigh unto Him on the Resurrection Day.

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall meet Allah on the Resurrection Day.

Blessed are those who humble themselves in this world, for they shall inherit the thrones of sovereignty (manabir al-mulk).

Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be glad.

Blessed are they who bear hunger and thirst submissively, for their thirst will be quenched.

Blessed are they who do righteous deeds, for they shall be called the chosen of Allah.

Blessed are they who are abused for their purity, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you are envied and abused, and every evil and false word is told about you, then be glad and happy, for verily, your wage is plentiful in heaven.

And he [Jesus] said:

O bad servants! You blame the people on the basis of suspicion, and you do not blame yourself for what is certain!

O servants of the world! You love it when things are said about you which are not true of you, and when people point you out.

O servants of the world! You shave your heads and shorten your shirts and cast your heads down [to feign humility], but you do not pull out the hatred from your hearts.

O servants of the world! Your likeness is like that of the high tombs, their exteriors cause admiration in those who look at them, and their interiors are the bones of the dead, full of misdeeds.

O servants of the world! Your likeness is only like that of a lamp which shines for the people and burns itself.

O Children of Israel! Fill the sessions of the scholars, even if you must go on your knees, Allah will enliven the dead hearts by the light of wisdom, as He enlivens the dead earth by the heavy downpour of rain.

O Children of Israel! Shortness of speech is a great wisdom, so you should be silent; verily it is a good meekness and a decrease of your burden and a lightening of your sins. So strengthen the door of knowledge. Verily, its door is patience. Allah hates one who laughs too much at that which is not funny, and who frequently goes to bad deeds.

And He loves the governor who is like a shepherd who does not neglect his flocks. So beware of Allah in secret as you are aware of the people in public. And know the word of wisdom is that sought by the believer. So, go after it before it rises away, and its rising away is the passing away of its narrators.

O you who have knowledge! Pay homage to those of knowledge for their knowledge, and leave contention with them, and belittle the ignorant for their ignorance, but do not reject them, rather bring them near and teach them.

O you who have knowledge! Know that every blessing for which you fail to give thanks is like an evil deed for which you will be taken to task.

O you who have knowledge! Know that every sin of which you have not been able to repent, is like a punishment with which you are being punished.

O you who have knowledge! There are worries about which you do not know when they will come over you, so prepare yourselves before they suddenly arrive.”

Jesus (‘a) said to his companions,

“Tell me, if one passed by his brother and saw that his private parts were exposed from his clothing, would he further expose them or would he cover them again?” They said, “Yes, he would cover what had been exposed.”

He said, “Not at all, you would remove the covering.” Then they understood that it was an allegory he has given for them. They said, “O Spirit of Allah! How is that? There is a man among you who has come to know of a private matter of his brother, but has not covered it.”

“In truth I say to you: I teach you that you may learn, and I do not teach you that you may be vain. You will never reach what you want, unless you abandon that which you desire. And you will not win what you wish, unless by patience with that which you dislike.

Beware of looking! It sows desire in the heart, and suffices as a temptation. Blessed are those whose vision has been placed in their hearts, and whose hearts have not been placed in the vision of their eyes. Do not look at the faults of the people as if you were their lord, but look at their faults as if you were their servant. There are two kinds of men among people: the afflicted and the healthy. So, care for the afflicted, and praise Allah for health.

O Children of Israel! Are you not ashamed before Allah? Not one of you would drink something until you made it free of any speck of dirt, but you are not disturbed at the acquisition of something prohibited though it be the size of an elephant. Have you not heard what has been said to you in the Torah? “Visit your relations and recompense them.”

And I say to you: Visit those who have cut themselves off from you, and give to those who would not help you, and do good to those who have done evil to you, and offer greetings of peace to those who curse you. And be fair with those who have shown enmity to you. Forgive those who have oppressed you, as you like to be forgiven for your misdeeds.

So, take admonition from Allah’s forgiveness of you. Do you not see that His sun shines on the good and the bad among you and His rain falls on the righteous and the evil doer among you. If you do not like any but those who like you, and you do good to none but those who do good to you, and you recompense none but those who give to you, then what distinction do you have over others?

Verily, this is what fools do, with whom there is no virtue and no intelligence. However, if you want to be loved by Allah, and chosen by Allah, then do good to those who do evil to you, forgive those who have oppressed you, and greet with peace those who have turned away from you. Listen to what I say, keep my testament and observe my covenant so that you may be learned and have understanding.

In truth I say to you verily your hearts are where your treasures are—because of this the people love their wealth, and they themselves long for it—so put your treasures in the sky, where moths will not eat it and thieves will not obtain it. In truth I say to you, verily a servant is incapable of serving two lords. Inevitably he will prefer one of them to the other, no matter how he tries.

Likewise, you cannot join together love for Allah and love for the world. In truth I say to you, verily the worst of people is the man who is a scholar and prefers the world to his knowledge, then he loves it, pursues it and strives for it, to such an extent that, if he were able to put the people into a state of confusion, he would do it. What does the expanse of the light of the sun profit a blind man who does not see it.

Likewise, the knowledge of that scholar is of no profit to him, for he does not put it into practice. How plentiful is the fruit of the tree, but not all of it is of benefit or eaten. And how plentiful are the scholars, but not all of them benefit from their knowledge. And how wide is the earth, but not all of it is inhabited. And how many speakers there are, but not all of what they say is acceptable as true.

So, keep away from lying scholars, who wear woolen clothes, who bend their heads down toward the earth, and so belie their sins, they look from under their eyebrows, like wolves. Their speech is contrary to their deeds. Is the grape reaped from the thorn, or the fig from the bitter gourd? Likewise the speech of a lying scholar has no effect but vanity. Not all who speak are true.

In truth I say to you, the plant grows in soft ground, not in rock, and likewise wisdom thrives in the heart of the humble, and it does not thrive in the heart of the arrogant oppressor.

Did you not know that whoever raises his head to the ceiling breaks it, and whoever lowers his head beneath the ceiling is shaded by it and it protects him, and likewise, whoever does not humble himself to Allah, He debases him, and whoever humbles himself to Allah, He elevates him. Indeed, it is not always the case that honey will be safe in any pouch (of hide), and likewise the hearts are not always such that wisdom thrives in them.

While the skin is not torn, dried out nor has become malodorous, it may be a vessel for honey, and likewise the hearts, while they are not torn by desires, fooled by greed nor hardened by pleasures, they may be vessels for wisdom.

In truth I say to you, surely fire does not occur in a single house, but it spreads from house to house, until many houses are burnt, unless the first house is reached and it is destroyed to its pillars. Then the fire finds no place to burn. Likewise the first oppressor, if his hand is stopped, no one will be found after him to be an unjust leader for others to follow, just as if the fire finds no wood or boards in the first house, it will not burn anything.

In truth I say to you, whoever looks at a snake that intends to strike his brother and does not warn him until it kills him, he will not be secure from partnership in his murder. Likewise, whoever looks at his brother doing something wrong, and does not warn him of its consequences until it encompasses him, he will not be secure from partnership in his sin. Whoever has the power to change an oppressor but does not change him, he is like an agent [of oppression].

How can the oppressor be frightened when he is safe among you and he is neither prohibited, nor changed, nor are his hands restrained? Why should the oppressors then give up? How should they not become arrogant? It is enough that one of you say, ‘I shall not oppress, but whoever wants to oppress, go ahead,’ and he sees oppression but does not change it. If it were as you say, why are you punished with the oppressors, though you do not commit their deeds, when the chastisement descends upon them in this world.

Woe unto you, O servants of evil! How can you hope that Allah may secure you from the terror of the day of resurrection, when you are afraid to obey Allah because you fear people, and you obey them in disobedience to Him, and you keep your promises to them contrary to His covenant.

In truth I say to you: Allah will not make secure from the terror of that day those who take servants as lords aside from Him.

Woe unto you, O servants of evil! For the sake of this base world and ruinous lusts you give up the realm of heaven and you forget the horror of the day of resurrection.

Woe unto you, O servants of this world! For the sake of evanescent boons and life that will be cut off, you run away from Allah, and you dislike the encounter with Him. So how is Allah to love the encounter with you while you dislike the encounter with Him? Allah only loves the encounter with those who love the encounter with Him, and He dislikes the encounter of those who dislike the encounter with Him.

How can you imagine that you are the friends of Allah to the exclusion of other people, while you run away from death and you take refuge in this world. Of what benefit to the dead are the good scent of camphor and the whiteness of his shroud, and all of them are in the earth. Likewise, the joy of this world that is adorned for you is of no benefit to you, and all of that is to pass away and cease.

Of what benefit to you is the purity of your bodies and the cleanliness of your complexions when you are headed for death, and in the dust you will be forgotten, and you will be immersed in the darkness of the grave.

Woe unto you, servants of this world, you carry a lamp in the light of the sun while its light is enough for you. You have given up seeking illumination by it in the darkness, and it is for the sake of this that it has been made subservient to you.

Likewise you seek illumination by the light of knowledge for the affairs of the world, while these have been guaranteed for you, and you have abandoned seeking illumination for the affairs of the other world, while it has been given to you for this. You say that the other world is real, while you prepare this world [for yourselves].

You say that death is real, but you run away from it. You say that Allah hears and sees, but you do not fear His reckoning of you. How can one who hears you trust you. One who unknowingly lies is more excused than one who knowingly lies, while lying is not excused at all.

In truth I say to you, just as an animal which is not captured and tamed becomes hardened and its character is changed, so too when hearts are not softened by the remembrance of death and the effort of worship they become hard and tough.

Of what benefit for a dark house is a lamp placed above its roof, while its interior is dismal and dark? Likewise, it is of no benefit to you that the light of knowledge be in your mouth while your interior is dismal and destitute. So, hurry to your dark houses and illuminate them. Likewise, hurry to your hard hearts with wisdom before errors overcome it, then they will be harder than stone. How can one carry a heavy load if he does not seek help with carrying it?

Or how can the burdens of sin be put down by one who does not ask the pardon of Allah for them? Or how can clothes be purified by one who does not wash them? And how can one get clear of wrongs who does not bury them? Or how can one be saved from drowning in the sea if he crosses it without a ship? And how can one be saved from the trials of this world if he does not treat them with seriousness and struggle?

And how can one reach one’s destination if he travels without a guide? And how can one arrive at the Garden if he does not see the signs of religion? And how can one achieve the pleasure of Allah if he does not obey Him?

And how can one see the flaw of one’s face if he does not look in the mirror? And how can one perfect the love of his friend if he does not grant him some of what he has. And how can one perfect the love of his Lord if he does not lend Him some of that with which he has been provided?

In truth I say to you, verily just as the sea does not become any less if a ship sinks in it and the ship does not harm the sea at all, likewise you do not lessen Allah at all by your sins, and you do not harm Him, but you harm and lessen your own self; and just as the multitude of those who go about in the light of the sun does not lessen it, but they thrive and live, likewise, the multitude of what He gives you and provides for you does not lessen Him, but you thrive by His providence and by Him you live. He increases [His providence] for those who thank Him, He is Grateful, All-knowing.6

Woe unto you, O evil paid laborer, you take the wage and eat what is provided for you, and you wear the clothing, and you build the houses, and you spoil the work of He who hired you. Soon the One who hired you for this work will call you, then He will look at the work that you spoiled, then He will bring down for you what humiliates you and He will order that your necks be pulled out from their roots, and He will order that your arms be cut off at their joints.

Then He will order that your bodies be pulled along on your bellies to the middle of the road, so that you may be a lesson for the pious and a warning for the unjust.

Woe unto you, O evil scholars, do not tell yourselves that your appointed times will be delayed so that death will not come down upon you. Soon it will come down upon you, enter upon you and cause you to emigrate. Then, from now on put His call in your ears, and from now on grieve over yourselves, and from now on cry over your mistakes, and from now on make preparations and take your supplies7 and hurry to the repentance of your Lord.

In truth I say to you, verily, just as the sick look at good food and are not pleased by it, due to the intensity of their pain, likewise the worldly person is not pleased with worship and he does not find its sweetness, due to his love of wealth.

And just as the sick are pleased by the description of the medicine by the learned doctor in which there is hope of a cure, then when the doctor reminds them of the bitterness of the medicine and its taste, this clouds their view of the cure, likewise the worldly people are pleased with the delights of the world and the variety in it, then when they remember the suddenness of death, this clouds their view of these delights and spoils them.

In truth I say to you, verily all the people see the stars but the only ones who are guided by them are those who know their courses and stations, and likewise, you learn wisdom, but only those who put it into practice are guided by it.

Woe unto you, O servants of this world! Thresh the wheat and make it good and grind it fine to savor its taste so the eating of it delights you. Likewise, purify your faith to savor its sweetness so its fruits may benefit you.

In truth I say to you, if you find a lamp that burns oil in a dark night, you seek light by it, and the smell of the oil does not prevent you from this. Likewise, it is suitable for you that you obtain wisdom from those in whom you find it, and his evil desires do not prevent you from this.

Woe unto you, O servants of this world! Your reasoning is not like that of the wise, your understanding is not like that of the patient, your knowing is not like that of the scholars; and you are not like the pious servants, and not like the noble free men.

Soon this world will pull you out by your roots, and turn you on your faces, and cast you on your noses. Then your mistakes will take you by the forelocks, and your knowledge will push you from behind, until they surrender you to the King, the Reckoner, naked and alone, and He will punish you for your bad deeds.

Woe unto you, O servants of this world! You have not been given power over all people except by knowledge, then you threw it away and you did not put it into practice, and you turned toward the world, and by it you judge, and you prepare yourselves for it, and you prefer it and make it prosper, and how long will you last for this world? And for God you do not do anything in it.

In truth I say to you: you will not attain the dignity of the other world except by leaving what you love. So, do not wait until tomorrow for repentance. Before tomorrow there is a day and a night and during them the decree of Allah comes and goes.

In truth I say to you: Indeed you small wrongs and their being made to seem little are plots of Iblis. He makes them seem little to you and he makes them small in your eyes; then they accumulate and increase and surround you.

In truth I say to you: To extol by lying and to boast of the purity of one’s religiosity is at the head of notorious evil, and verily, love of this world is the head of every wrong.

In truth I say to you: there is nothing that does more to bring one to nobility in the other world and does more to help one with the occurrences of the world than constant prayer, and there is nothing nearer to the Merciful than it, so do this constantly and increase it. And every righteous work draws one nigh unto Allah, so prayer is the nearest to Him, and is most preferred by Him.

In truth I say to you: Surely, every work of an oppressed one who is not helped in word, in action, or in resentment, he is a great one in the kingdom of heaven. Who of you has seen light whose name is darkness or darkness whose name is light?

Likewise being a believer and being an disbeliever cannot be gathered in a servant, and he cannot prefer this world while yearning for the other world. Does the planter of barley reap wheat, or does the planter of wheat reap barley? Likewise, every servant reaps in the other world what he has sown, and he will be compensated for what he has wrought.

In truth I say to you: Surely the people are two sorts with regard to wisdom. One makes it firm by his word, and spoils it by his bad work, and one makes it firm by his word and confirms it by his work. What a difference between them! Blessed are those who are scholars in their actions, and woe to those who are scholars [merely] in their words.

In truth I say to you: He who does not purify his sowings of weeds, they multiply in it until they take over and spoil them, and likewise he who does not expel the love for this world from his heart, it takes over his heart until he does not find the taste of love for the other world.

Woe unto you, O servants of this world! Take to the mosques of your Lord as prisons for your bodies, and make your hearts houses of piety, and do not make your heart a refuge for desires.

In truth I say to you: the most impatient of you with troubles, is he who has the most intense love of this world, and the most patient of you with troubles is the most disinterested with the world.

Woe unto you, O evil scholars! Were you not dead, then He revived you? Then when He revived you, you died.8 Woe unto you! Were you not unlettered, then He taught you? Then when He taught you, you forgot. Woe unto you! Were you not empty, then Allah made you understand? Then when you were made to understand, you became ignorant.

Woe unto you! Were you not astray, then He guided you? Then when He guided you, you went astray. Woe unto you! Were you not blind and He made you see? Then when He made you see, you became blind. Woe unto you! Were you not deaf, then He made you hear? Then when He made you hear, you became deaf.

Woe unto you! Where you not dumb, then He made you speaking? Then when He made you speaking, you became dumb. Woe unto you! Did you not seek an opening, then when the opening was made for you, you retreated to [the ways of] your forefathers? Woe unto you! Were you not humbled and He made you honored?

Then when you were honored you subjugated, transgressed and disobeyed. Woe unto you! Were you not oppressed in the earth, fearing that people would snatch you away, then He helped and supported you? Then when He helped you, you became arrogant and overbearing. Then alas to you because of your humiliation on the Day of Resurrection, how it will make you negligible and small.

Alas to you, O evil scholars! You do the deeds of infidels, and you have the hope of inheritors, and you have the assurance of the secure, but the order of Allah is not as you wish and choose, rather you have children for death, and you build and make habitable for destruction, and you make preparations for your legacy.9

In truth I say to you: Verily Moses (‘a) used to command you: Do not swear by Allah truly or falsely, but say no or yes.10

O children of Israel! For you are the vegetables of the fields and barley bread, and I prohibit wheat bread for you, for I fear you will not establish thanksgiving for it.

In truth I say to you, surely the people are well off or afflicted. So, praise Allah for being well off, and have mercy on those who are troubled.

In truth I say to you, for every bad word you say, you will be given its answer on the Day of Resurrection.

O evil servants! When one of you brings close a sacrificial [animal] to slaughter, then he is reminded that his brother has something against him, then he should leave his sacrifice and go to his brother and make him satisfied, then he should return to his sacrifice and slaughter it.

O evil servants! If a shirt is taken from one of you, then give your cloak with it. And whoever is slapped on his cheek, he should let his other cheek [be slapped]. And whoever is subjected to one mile, let him go another mile with him.

In truth I say to you, of what benefit is it for the body that its exterior is sound and its interior rotten. And of what benefit is it to you that your bodies be pleasing to you, while your hearts are rotten. And of what benefit is it to you if you purify your skins but your hearts are unclean.

In truth I say to you, do not be like a sieve that expels good flour and retains the waste. Likewise, you expel wisdom from your mouths, and hatred remains in your breasts.

In truth I say to you, begin with evil and abandon it, then seek good. It will benefit you. If you gather good with evil, the good will not benefit you.

In truth I say to you, one who wades it a stream, inevitably water will reach his clothes, even if he makes an effort that it does not reach them. Likewise, he who loves the world will not be saved from wrongdoing.

In truth I say to you, blessed are they who spend the night in prayer, they are those who will inherit perpetual light, because they stood on their feet in the darkness of the night in their places of prayer; they implore their Lord in hope that He may save them from affliction tomorrow.

In truth I say to you, the world was created as a farm, in it the servants sow the sweet and the bitter, evil and good. The good has a beneficial outcome on the Day of Reckoning, and evil has trouble and wretchedness on the Day of Harvesting.

In truth I say to you, the wise will be compared to the ignorant, and the ignorant will be compared to his desires. I commend you to seal your mouths with silence so that nothing may go out of them that is not permitted for you.

In truth I say to you, you will not attain that for which you hope unless by being patient with what you detest, and you will not obtain what you will unless by abandoning what you desire.

In truth I say to you, O servants of this world! How can one attain the other world, who does not reduce his lust for this world and does not cut off his yearning for it?

In truth I say to you, O servants of this world! You do not love this world, and you do not hope for the other world. If you did love this world, you would honor the work by which you attain it, and if you did want the other world, you would perform the deeds of one who hopes for it.

In truth I say to you, O servants of this world! One of you hates his companion on the basis of suspicion, and does not hate himself on the basis of certainty.

In truth I say to you, one of you becomes angry when one of your faults is mentioned to you, while it is true; but you delight when you are praised for what is not in you.

In truth I say to you, the spirits of the satans do not live as long in anything as they live in your hearts. Allah has given you this world only that you act in it for the other world. He has not given it to you that you become too occupied in it for the other world.

He has expanded it for you only that you know that He has helped you to worship by it, and He has not helped you to sin by it. He has commanded you in it only to obey Him, and He has not commanded you in it to disobey Him. He helps you in it only for what is lawful, and He does not make lawful for you what is unlawful. He has spread it for you only that you may have relations with one another, and He has not spread it that you cut off relations from one another.

In truth I say to you, wages are coveted, but none attains them but those who work for them.

In truth I say to you, a tree does not become perfect unless by good fruit; and likewise, religion does not become perfect unless by avoidance of the unlawful.

In truth I say to you, the farm does not become right except by water and soil; likewise faith does not become right except by knowledge and action.

In truth I say to you, water extinguishes fire; likewise clemency extinguishes anger.

In truth I say to you, water and fire cannot be put together in a bowl; likewise, understanding and blindness cannot be put together in one heart.

In truth I say to you, there is no rain without a cloud; likewise, there is no action pleasing to the Lord without a pure heart.

In truth I say to you, surely the sun is the light of all things, and surely wisdom is the light of every heart, and God-wariness is the head of every wisdom, and truth is the gate to every good, and the mercy of Allah is the gate to every truth, and the keys to it are prayer and supplication and action. How can a gate be opened without a key.

In truth I say to you, a wise man does not plant a tree unless he is pleased with it, and he does not ride on a horse unless he is pleased with it; likewise, the knowing believer does not do a deed unless it is pleasing to his Lord.

In truth I say to you, verily, polishing makes a sword right and makes it shine; likewise wisdom in the heart polishes it and makes it shine, and in the heart of the wise it is like water in the dead earth. It revives his heart like water revives the dead earth, and in the heart of the wise it is like light in the darkness, he walks by it among the people.

In truth I say to you, carrying stones from the tops of mountains is better than saying something to someone who does not understand what you say, like one who puts a stone in water to soften it, like one who prepares food for the people of the graves.

Blessed is he who refrains from excessive speech, because he fears the wrath of His Lord. And he does not narrate a narration unless he understands it, and he does not envy someone for his speech until his action becomes clear for him.

Blessed is he who learns from the learned that of which he is ignorant, and who teaches the ignorant of what he knows.

Blessed is he who honors the scholars for their knowledge, and who abandons disputing with them, and who takes lightly the ignorant for their ignorance,11 and does not drive them away, but brings them close and teaches them.

In truth I say to you, O group of disciples, surely today, you are like the alive among the people who are dead, so do not die with the death of those alive12.”13

6. Verily Allah the Supreme said to Jesus, “Glorify those of knowledge and know of their excellence, then verily their excellence over that of all my creation—except for the prophets and messengers—is like that of the sun over the stars, and like that of the other world over this world, and like My excellence over all things.”14

7. Jesus (‘a) said, “You heard what was said to the people of yore, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ and I tell you, he who has looked at a woman and desired her has committed adultery in his heart.

If your right eye betrays you, then take it out and cast it away, for it is better for you that you destroy one of your organs than that you cast your entire body into the fire of hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it away, for it is better for you to destroy one of your organs than that your entire body goes to hell.”15

8. Al-Sayyid ibn Tawus, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “I read in the Gospel that Jesus (‘a) boarded a ship and his disciples were with him, when suddenly there was a great confusion in the sea, so that the ship came near to being covered by the waves.

And it was as though [Jesus] was asleep. Then his disciples came to him and awakened him and said, ‘O our master! Save us so that we do not perish.’ He said to them, ‘O you of little faith! What has frightened you?’ Then he stood up and drove away the winds, and there was a great stillness. The people marvelled, and said, ‘How is this? Verily the winds and the sea listen to him16.’” 17

9. Allah the Supreme said in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel, ‘Woe unto those who have heard the knowledge but have not sought it. How they will be gathered with the ignorant into the fire. And learn the knowledge and teach it, for even if knowledge does not bring you felicity, it will not bring you wretchedness, and even if it does not raise you, it will not lower you, and even if it does not enrich you, it will not impoverish you, and even if it does not benefit you, it will not harm you.

And do not say, ‘We fear that we may come to know but not to act’, but say, ‘We we hope to come to know and to act. And knowledge intercedes on behalf of one who has it, and it is the duty of Allah not to disgrace him. Indeed, on the Resurrection Day Allah will say, ‘O assembly of the learned (ulama)! What is your opinion of your Lord?

Then they will say, ‘It is our opinion that He will have mercy upon us and forgive us. Then the Almighty will say, ‘Indeed, I have done so. Indeed, I have entrusted you with My wisdom not because I wanted evil for you, but because I wanted good for you. So enter among My good servants into my garden (paradise) by My mercy.’18

  • 1. Bihar, 14, 284, 4
  • 2. Majmu‘a Warram, 2, 66
  • 3. Cf. Matt 7:15-16, 18:
    15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.
    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
    (KJV)
  • 4. Bihar, 74, 43
  • 5. Bihar, 14, 319, 19
  • 6. See Qur’an (2:157).
  • 7. “For indeed the best of supplies is taqwa (God-wariness)”, Nahj al-Balagha
  • 8. With respect to the spiritual life intended by God, they became like the dead.
  • 9. That is, you will not be able to enjoy the worldly profits yourselves, but will have to leave them to your heirs.
  • 10. In Bihar 14, 313, this narration is reported as follows: “In truth I say to you: Verily Moses (‘a) used to command you: Do not swear by Allah falsely. But I say to you: Do not swear by Allah truly or falsely, but say no and yes.” Majlisi narrates this from the edition he had of Tuhaf al-‘Uqul, so it seems that the copiest of the present edition of Tuhaf al-‘Uqul left out the part mentioned in Bihar.
  • 11. The term jahl, which is normally translated as ignorance is generally contrasted with Hilm (clemency), so that the ignorant are those who are intolerant.
  • 12. The disciples are told that they differ from others (in having true life) and they are warned not to become like the others (by losing the true life they have)
  • 13. Tuhaf al-‘Uqul, 501-513
  • 14. Bihar, 2, 2, 91
  • 15. Bihar, 14, 318
  • 16. Cf. Matt 8:23-27:
    23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
    24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
    25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
    26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
    27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
    (KJV)
  • 17. Bihar, 14, 268
  • 18. Bihar 1, 186, 11

Respect Shown By Christians to Jesus

1. It is reported that Zayn al-‘Abidin (‘a) said, “When the head of al-Husayn was brought to Yazid, he convened sessions for wine drinking and had the head of al-Husayn brought, placed before him and he would drink wine in front of it.

One day, a messenger from the king of Rum was present at one such session of Yazid, and he was one of the nobles and greats of Rum. He said, “O King of the Arabs! Whose head is this?” Yazid said to him, “What is this head to you?”

He said, “When I return to our king, he will ask me about everything I saw. So, I would like to report to him about the story of this head and its owner so that our king may share in your joy and happiness.” Yazid said, “This is the head of al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib.” The man from Rum said, “Who is his mother?” He said, “Fatimah the daughter of the Messenger of Allah.”

The Christian said, “Fie on you and on your religion! I have a religion better than yours. Verily, my father is one of the descendents of David, and there are many generations between David and my father. But the Christians honor me and take some of the earth from beneath my feet as a blessing because of my father, as one of the descendents of David.

But you kill the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, while between them there is only one mother! What sort of religion do you have?” Then he said to Yazid, “Have you heard the story of the Church of the Hoof?” He said to him, “Tell it to me so I can hear it.” He said, “There is a sea between Oman and China that it takes a year to cross. Along the way there is no inhabited place except one city in the middle of the water. It is eighty by eighty farsangs.

There is no city on the earth bigger than it, and camphor and emeralds are brought from it. Its trees are aloes wood and ambergris. It is in the hands of the Christians. No king has sovereignty over it except them. There are many churches in that city. The biggest of them is the Church of the Hoof. There is a small golden box in its sanctuary in which is hung a hoof.

They think this is the hoof of a donkey that Jesus used to ride. They decorated the area around the box with gold and silk brocade. Every year many Christians make a pilgrimage to it and walk around it, kiss it, and offer their supplications to Allah, the Exalted.

This is their manner and habit regarding the hoof of the donkey they think Jesus, their prophet, used to ride. And you kill the son of your prophet’s daughter!? Then Allah does not bless you and your religion.” Yazid said, “Kill this Christian so that he cannot expose me in his cities.”

When the Christian realized this, he said to him, “Do you want to kill me?” He said, “Yes.” He said, “Know that I saw your prophet last night in my dreams. He said to me, ‘O Christian! You are of the people of heaven!’ I was surprised by what he said to me. Now I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (S).” Then he jumped to the head of al-Husayn, embraced it, began to kiss it and cried until he was killed.”

(Bihar, 45, 144)

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