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.
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.
- 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!
- 17. Bihar, 14, 268
- 18. Bihar 1, 186, 11