Weighing Scales (Meezan)
Sects have interpreted the meaning of Meezan according to their own view. Some opine that the deeds shall literally be weighed. While others say that the deeds shall be given a physical form and then weighed. The good deeds shall be given a beautiful face, while the evil deeds an ugly one. Allamah Ne’matullah Jazaeri in “Anware No’maniyah” says, that according to trustworthy and consecutively transmitted reports it clearly proves that the deeds shall be given a physical form and then they shall be weighed. (Ehsanul Fawaed)
In some traditions it is related, that this deeds will be weighed with the weight of the deeds of the prophets and their successors. Hence in one ziyarat it is stated: “peace be on you, O the weighing scale” Here Imam Ali (a.s.) is referred to as the weighing scale. The prayers of all mankind will be weighed with the weight of the prayers of Imam Ali (a.s.).
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, that the weighing scale (in which the prayer and deeds of men shall be weighed) is the prophets (Anbiya) and their successors (Awsiya). On the day of Qayamat our prayers will be compared with the prayers of Imam Ali (a.s.) - whether the humility and sincerity, which was present in the prayers of Imam Ali (a.s.) is found in our prayers or not. Our generosity, bravery, mercy and forgiveness are like his (a.s.) or not. Hence our deeds should not be contrary to his, so as not to turn away from the righteous scale (Ali a.s.) and turn towards His enemies Mu’ awiya and Yazid, and walk on their paths. And, our characters should not be like those who usurped the garden of fadak of Hazrat Zahra (a.s.).
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And the measuring out on that day they will be just, then as for him whose measure (of good deeds) is heavy, those are they who shall be successful. And as for him whose measure (of bad deeds) is light, those are they who have made their souls suffer loss because they disbelieved in our communications” (Surah al-A’raf, 7:9-10)
In another place He says:
“The terrible calamity what is the terrible calamity and what will make you comprehend what the terrible calamity is? The day on which men will be as scattered moths, and the mountains shall be as loosened wool. Then as for him whose measure of good deeds is heavy, he shall live a pleasant life. And as for him whose measure of good deeds is light, his abode shall be the abyss. And whose will make you know what it is? A burning fire.” (Surah al-Qare’ah, 101:111)
The best actions, which help to increase the measure of good deeds in the scales in Qayamat, are sending salawat on Muhammad (s) and his progeny, and good character. I have stated below some traditions on the importance of Salawat, and later some incidents of good character.
Merits of Salawat
Shaikh Kulaini narrates from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) or Imam Muhammad-al-Baqir (a.s.) that he said, “For increasing the measure of good deeds in the scales (meezan), no deed carries weight other than sending salawat on Muhammad (s) and his progeny. A person’s deeds will be weighed, and when his good deeds will seem less, salawat will be brought and kept, and the good deeds will increase.
The Holy Prophet (s) says, that on the day of Qayamat when the deeds shall be weighed, I will be present there, It a persons bad deeds will be weighing more than his good ones, I will bring along the salawat which he sent upon Me, and add it to the good deeds thereby increasing its weight.
Shaikh Sadooq narrates from Imam Ali ar-Ridha (a.s.) that he said, that if a person does not have the means to lessen the stock of his bad deeds, he should send salawat and salaam on Muhammad (s) and his progeny abundantly, doing so will decrease (the weight of) his sins.
Allamah Qutubuddin Rawandi narrates in “Dawaat” that Hazrat Muhammad (s) said that if a person sends salawat on me thrice every day and night in my love and affection, it becomes his right on Allah that He should forgive the sins which he committed during the day and night.
The Holy Prophet (s) says, that one night I saw in a dream my uncle ibne Abdul Muttalib and my cousin Ja’far ibne Abi Talib. In front of them was kept a tray full of plums. After sometime as they ate, the plums turned into grapes. Then again as they ate, the grapes turned into fresh dates. They again started eating them. I went towards them and asked, “May my father and mother be your ransom which particular deeds have you performed that has excelled all other deeds, and has made these blessings to be showered on you?” They replied, “May our parents be your ransom Those deeds are: sending salawat on you, feeding water to the pilgrims (of Hajj), and love (walayah) of Ali ibne Abi Talib (a.s.).
The Holy Prophet (s) says that, if anyone writes my name in a book and sends salawat on me, the Angels will seek forgiveness for him till my name remains in that book.
Shaikh Kulaini narrates from Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq (a.s.) who has said that whenever you talk about the Holy Prophet (s), send salawat on him.
When a person sends salawat once on him, Allah orders thousand ranks of His Angels to send a thousand salawat on the person himself. And because of Allah and His Angels sending salawat, the whole creation sends salawat on him. And the person who does not do so, is an arrogant and ignorant person. And Allah, His prophet, and the Holy Ahlulbait (a.s.) leave such a person to himself.
It is written in “Maaniyal Akhbaar” in the context of the meaning of the verse (Ayah) of salawat from Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.), that the meaning of salawat according to Allah is blessings (rehmat), while to the Angels it is safety and for the people it is a supplication (du’a). In the same book it is written that a narrator asked Imam (a.s.) as to how should we recite salawat on Muhammad (s) and His progeny Imam (a.s.) replied:
صَلاَةُ اللهِ وَصَلاَةُ مَلاَئِكَتِهِ
Blessings of Allah and blessings of His angels,
and all of His creatures
عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
be upon Muhammad and his Household.
وَالسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَيْهِمْ
Peace be upon him and them.
وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
So be Allah’s mercy and benedictions.
The narrator continues that I then asked Imam (a.s.) as to what was the reward for this salawat? Imam (a.s.) replied, “A person reciting this salawat becomes clean from the sins as if he was just born from his mother’s womb.”
Shaikh Abul Futuh Razi narrates from the Holy Prophet (s) that he said, “on the night of me’raj when I ascended to the heavens, I saw an Angel who had a thousand hands. On each of his hands there were a thousand fingers, and he was counting some thing on them. I asked Jibrael as to who that Angel was, and what was he counting? Jibrael replied that the Angel had been appointed by Allah to count the drops of rain, so that it may be known as to how many drops have fallen down to the earth. I turned towards the Angel and asked him, “Do you know the total amount of the rain-drops which have fallen down on the earth from the day Allah created this world till now”? To which he replied. “O Prophet of Allah I swear by my Lord who has chosen you (as a blessing) for mankind, verily I know the total amount of rain-drops fallen on the earth till now. Even to the extent that how many drops have fallen in the wilds, in the prosperous lands, in the gardens and also in the cemetery.”
Then I told him that I was very much surprised by the power of his mind and intellect and the ability to remember, to which he replied, O Prophet of Allah verily this ability to count proves futile when I try to count only one thing.” I asked him as to what calculation was that. He replied, “‘when people of your ummah gather at one place and send salawat upon you, it is beyond my ability and capacity to count the rewards for it.”
Shaikh Kulaini relates, that whoever recites the following salawat seven times during Asr on Fridays, Allah gives him the rewards equal to all His servants, and accepts his deeds and prayers of that day. It is also related that the reward will be equal in the eyes of all men:
اَللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ
O Allah, bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad;
the Successors and the pleased;
with the best of Your blessings,
and confer upon them
with the best of your favors.
And peace be upon them
وَعَلَى أَرْوَاحِهِمْ وَأَجْسَادِهِمْ
and upon their souls and bodies;
وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكَاتُهُ
and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon them.
It is related that whoever recites the following salawat after morning prayers, will not die un till he sees his Imame Zaman (a.s.).
اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلَى مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ وَعَجِّلْ فَرَجَهُمْ
O Allah; bless Muhammad and the Household of Muhammad and hasten their Relief.
Narrations of Good Character
Anas ibne Malik says that once I was in the presence of the Holy Prophet (s) who was wearing a Yemeni shawl, the edges of which were shabby and torn. Suddenly a nomad came and pulled His shawl with such severity, that the edges gave way. He then shouted, “O Muhammad! Load all this wealth on the two camels, for verily this wealth is Allah’s, and not your father’s” The Holy Prophet (s) heard his words silently, and then said. “Surely this is Allah’s wealth, but I too am Allah’s servant. And O nomad, should I retaliate (for your harsh conduct)”? The nomad replied in the negative. The Holy Prophet (s) asked him the reason. He said, “O Master! Because giving bad in exchange of bad is not your nature.” The Prophet (s) smiled and gave order to load barley on one of his camels and dates on the other, and blessed him.
Isam bin Mutlaqe Shaami says, that once when I went to Madina, I saw Imam Husain ibn Ali (a.s.). I was very much influenced by his conduct and manners, and thus envy overtook me. I thought of revealing the enmity, which I bore towards his father. I went unto Him and said, “Are you the son of Abu Turab? You should know then, that the inhabitants of Syria attributed this name to Ali (a.s.), and thereby ridiculed and insulted him. I again asked him, “Are you the son of Abu Turab”? Imam (a.s.) answered, “Yes, I am. Then I started abusing Imam (a.s.) and his father. He looked at me with kindness and said,
“Take to forgiveness and enjoin good and turn aside from the ignorant. And if a false imputation from the shaitaan afflicts you, seek refuge in Allah. Surely He is hearing, knowing. Surely those who guard (against evil), when a visitation from the Shaitaan afflicts them, they become mindful, and so they see. And their brethren increase them in error, then they cease not.” (Surah al-A’raf: 199-202).
In this verse, the Holy Prophet’s (s) good conduct is discussed. Allah ordered the Prophet to bear patiently the bad behavior of the people, and stopped him from taking revenge for the bad attitude given in exchange to him by people and their behavior. And He ordered Prophet (s) to ignore foolish people, and to seek refuge of Allah from the temptation of Shaitaan.
Then Imam Husain (a.s.) said, “(O Isam) remain silent and thus lessen your burden (of sins) and seek forgiveness for your self and for me. If you seek my help, I shall give you a helping hand, if you are desirous of gifts, I shall present you. And if you desire consultation in any matter, I shall advise you.” Imam Husain (a.s.) by his knowledge of the unseen (ghaib) and wisdom (hikmah) understood that I was regretting my mistake and was repenting upon it. He therefore said,
“He said, (There shall be) no reproof against you this day, (Surah a1-Yusuf, 12:92)
Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) had said the above verse to his brothers, who repented.
Imam Husain (a.s.) then asked me, “Are you a native of Syria”? I answered in the affirmative. Then He said, “Verily the people of Syria are accustomed to abusing and ridiculing us, for Mu’awiyah has left this as his custom amongst them, may Allah keep them alive as well as us too. Whatever desire you may have, ask of me frankly and that will surely be fulfilled. You will find me the best in it.” After hearing these words from the mouth of Imam Husain (a.s.), I was very much ashamed for the abuses, which I had incurred upon him and his father. I was so much abashed that I wished the earth would swallow me. I tried to sneak away from his sight and hide myself amongst other people. But from that day onwards no one was dearer to me than Imam Husain (a.s.) and his father (a.s.).
The verse (ayah), which Imam Husain (a.s.) recited in the context of tale of Prophet Yusuf (a.s.), is the one that narrates that the brothers of Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) had recognized that the King who had mercy on them was no other than their brother, whom they had tried to kill. Yusuf invited them to come along with their father (Prophet Ya’qoob). They said, “Whenever you invite us to your banquet every morning and evening, we feel ashamed about what we had done with you”. To this, Prophet Yusuf replied, “You are responsible for my present honor and glory. Even now that I have ascended the throne of Egypt, people look at me with the same sight and say: ‘Glory be to Him who bestowed such honor to a slave purchased in twenty dirhams’. In reality it is because of you that I have gained this prestige and have become respected in the eyes of men, because they now know that I am your brother (and the son of prophet Ya’qoob), and not a slave (as they previously thought). In fact I am from the progeny of Prophet Ibraheem (a.s.)” It is also narrated that when Prophet Ya’qoob met Prophet Yusuf, he asked him as to what befell him, to which Yusuf replied, ‘O father do not ask me as to what (bad) my brothers did to me, but ask me what (favor) my Lord did to me’.
Shaikh Sadooq and others narrate, that in Madina a person from the progeny of Caliph Umar ibne Khattab frequently used to trouble Imam Moosa al-Kazim (a.s.). He insulted Imam (a.s.) and whenever he faced Him, he would start abusing Imam Ali (a.s.). One day a person told Imam-al-Kazim (a.s.) that, “If you permit us we will kill this evil and unchaste man.” The Imam (a.s.) was infuriated and told them not to take such a step. Imam (a.s.) then inquired as to where would he find that person now. They told him that he had a field near Madina and would be there at that moment.
Imam Moosa-al-Kazim (a.s.) sat on his mule and proceeded to meet him. He entered the field mounted on his mule. The person saw him coming and shouted, “Do not spoil my field.” Imam (a.s.) advanced further and went and sat near him and his field. He replied that he had spent a hundred Ashrafis on farming his land. Then Imam (a.s.) asked him as to how much gain he expected from it. He said, “Could you tell me what you expect.” The man replied, “I expect two hundred Ashrafis yield.” Imam removed a bag containing three thousand Ashrafis and handing it to him said, “Take this, for your field still needs proper ploughing. Almighty Allah will surely give you sustenance till you are alive.” The man kissed the forehead of Imam (a.s.) and requested him to forgive his bad attitude. The Imam (a.s.) smiled and returned home.
From that day onwards people saw him coming to the mosque daily, and whenever he looked at Imam Moosa-al-Kazim (a.s.), he would say:
“Allah best knows where He places His knowledge” Surah al-An’am, 6:125.
His companions asked him as to what was the reason for this sudden change. To which he replied, “Till now you have listened to what (bad) I said, and from now on listen to me what (good) I say”. Then he started praising Imam (a.s.). On hearing this, his companions started fighting with him and he defended his claim. Imam turned towards his companions and said, “Whatever you wished about this man (to kill him) was appropriate or what I did is right? In exchange of some money I bought his friendship and ended his enmity (by favoring him).”
Incidents of Good Character
Once Malik ibne Ashtar was passing through a market of Kufa wearing a cloak and a turban of hand woven cloth. A man who had not recognized him, looked at him with contempt, and to ridicule him , he flung a sword. When people saw this they came to the man and said, “Do you know who the person was whom you insulted thus”? He replied in the negative. He was told that he was Commander of the Imam Ali (a.s.).
Hearing this the person started trembling with fear and ran after Malik to ask his pardon. Malik at that moment was busy in prayers in the mosque. When he finished his prayers, the person fell on his feet and started kissing them. Malik asked him the reason for it, to which he replied that he was ashamed of his rude behavior and bad attitude. Malik replied “Do not worry, for by Allah, before even entering this mosque I prayed to Allah for your forgiveness.” Malik ibne Ashtar had learnt the lessons of good character from Imam Ali (a.s.) himself, and hence even after being the Commander in chief of the army of Imam Ali (a.s.), and one of his brave and valiant fighters, he did not retaliate, but instead forgave the man.
Regarding the bravery and valor of Malik, Ibne Abi Hadeed Mu’tazili says that if anyone in the Arabs or the non-Arabs swears that Malik was the second in bravery and chivalry after Imam Ali (a.s.), and none equaled him, I shall bear witness to it. What else can I say regarding this fabulous personality, except that his life destroyed the Syrians and his death the Iraqis (meaning when alive he slew the enemies of Ali (a.s.), and when he died the friends of Ali (a.s.) suffered a great loss).”
Regarding him Imam Ali (a.s.) said, “Malik holds the same status near me, as I held near the Holy Prophet (s)”, meaning he was a similar source of my strength as I held with respect to the Holy Prophet (s). Then he turned towards his companions and said, “I wish one or two persons from amongst you could be like Malik.” In short Malik’s bravery, chivalry, virtue and good character had earned him a very dignified position.
When the person insulted him he was not in the least effected, nor did he become angry or retaliate, but went to the mosque and prayed for his forgiveness. We conclude from the above incident, that Malik had control over passions of his own self, and that this strength is more worthy of praise than the physical strength. Imam Ali (a.s.) has said, “The bravest man is the one who controls the passions of his self.”
Allamah Husain Noori in the latter part of book Mustadrakul Wasail quotes an incident of the celebrated Scholar Khwaja Nasiruddin Toosi. One day Khwaja Naseer received a letter, which contained abuses for him and filthy language. One of the sentences was: “The dog (referred to as Khwaja Naseer) and the son of a dog.” When he read it he became serious, and sat down to answer it. He used neither a bad word nor filthy language and wrote: “You have addressed me as a dog, but it is not at all true. For a dog walks on his four legs and its paw has large nails, whereas I am a human who talks and laughs, and laughs, and my qualities are averse to that of a dog.” After finishing he declared openly that the writer of the letter was his friend from that day onwards and that he bore no animosity towards him.
The presence of such a good character in the personality of Khwaja Naseeruddin Toosi is not strange. Allamah Hilli says regarding him that, “Khwaja Naseeruddin Toosi was the greatest Scholar (Aalim) of his age. He has authored many books on reason and authority (Uloome Aqaliyah wa Naqaliyah), wisdom - knowledge, and principals of Islam, the true Religion. He was also the best in character among Ulama.
Khwaja Naseer had learnt the lesson of good character from the illustrious lives of our Holy Aimmah (a.s.). As has been narrated, that once Imam Ali (a.s.) heard a person abusing Qambar, who tried to retaliate in the same manner when Ali (a.s.) stopped him and said, “O Qambar remain silent, for verily the person will suffer because of our silence. Gain Allah’s happiness by your silence and let the person fall prey to the mischief of Shaitaan. I swear by the Lord who split open the seed to grow plant from it, and who created human beings, that no other quality of a believer is dearer and pleasing to Allah than controlling one’s temper, and no other quality of a believer is disagreeable to shaitaan than this. For this reason verily all friends and foes alike praised Khwaja Naseer alike.
Jurji Zaidan in the translation of Uadabul Lughattul Arabiyah writes that, “Khwaja Naseeruddin Toosi’s library contained four books, and he was a master in the field of astrology and philosophy. He had under his care many endowment (waqf) properties of the Mongols, in short he was a tower of light in the darkness of this world.”
I have discussed about the life of this great personality in my book Ufawaede Razawiyah. His family was related to the Uwasharah family of the Kings of Jahrood, situated at distance of 10 Farsakh from Qum. Khwaja Naseeruddin Toosi was born in Toos on 11 Jamadi ul Ula 597 A.H./ 1201 A.D. and died on Sunday 18 zilhaj 672 A.H. /1274 A.D. in Kazmayn. It is engraved on his grave:
“While their dog (lay) out stretching it’s paws at the entrance.” (Surah al Kahf, 18:18).
It is narrated that one day the great Scholar Shaikh Ja’far Kashifal Ghita was distributing some money among the poor before going to recite the namaz. After finishing distributing, he became engrossed in prayers. A Sayyed then asked him, “Give me the wealth of my Grandfather (referred to the Holy prophet and Aimmah).” Shaikh Ja’far replied that he had exhausted all the money and had nothing left to give him. At this the Sayyed became enraged and spit on the face of Shaikh Ja’far. The Shaikh got up to address the worshippers saying, “those amongst you who hold my beard dear, please help this Sayyed.”
It is to be pondered upon what a great character Shaikh Ja’far had. It is he who has authored Kashful Ghita the famous book on Jurisprudence (Fiqh) while in journey. He himself used to say that. “It all the books on Jurisprudence (Fiqh) are compiled, I with my memory can write down all the points from the Chapter of purification (Taharah) till the Chapter on compensation (for murder, Diya).”
There were many Ulama from amongst his children Allamah Noori says about him that, if one looks at the morning supplications of Shaikh Ja’far, his virtues, piety and worship, will understand his high honor. He addressed himself thus: previously you were a Jafar (small river), then later became Ja’far (a vast sea). Shaikh Ja’far became a ship (to guide) and an ocean (of knowledge), and the spiritual master of Iraq and its Muslim inhabitants. His address to himself is because he says that even after having bestowed with such a high rank, he never forgot the days of his hardships.
He was among those in the battle of Jamal, about whom Imam Ali (a.s.) said to Ahnaf bin Qays, after returning from the battle of Jamal, “If you look at them at that time of the night when eyes become heavy with sleep and voices fade away, when the birds are resting in their nests, these people remain awake due to the fear of Resurrection and the promised event (Qayamat). As Allah says in the Quran: do the people of that town think that they are fast asleep. Sometimes they get up in the dark of the night and weep and recite namaz, and sometimes praise and glorify Allah in the niche of the mosque. During the dark night they lament and wail and supplicate to the Almighty Allah.
O’ Ahnaf when you look at them during the night, you will see that their backs have dent (due to excessive bowing, Ruku), and they will be reciting the chapters of the Qur’an in their prayers (namaz). And they will be weeping and wailing as if the fire from all sides has surrounded them, which has reached their throats. And when you hear them cry, you will think that their necks are bound in chains. And if you look at them during the day, you will find them men who walk slowly and humbly upon the earth, having a courteous speech. And when they are confronted with ignorant people they salute them, and when they pass by vain and useless things, they pass away with honor.
They keep their feet away from slander, and their tongues become speechless, so they do not speak against the honor of other people. And they keep their ears away from listening to vain sounds, and have applied in their eyes the collirium of refraining to see forbidden things. And surely they wish to enter the City of peace (Darus Salaam), the place where one remains free from doubts and anxieties
It is appropriate to quote here a saying of a monk. It is related from Oasam Zahid, that one day I saw a monk in a sorry state at the gate of in Jerusalem. I went towards him and told him to advice me, to which he said, an animal is timid and dejected, and is afraid that if he moves an inch, other beasts would devour him. And it’s better to be like a man whose night passes in fear (of his Almighty) while the liars sleep in peace, and whose days are so filled with grief while the powerful sit contented.” Then the monk turned his back away from me and started going away. I told him to advice me further, to which he replied that, “A thirsty man is contented even with a small quantity of water.”
It is related that one day the great Scholar (Aalim) Sahib ibne Abbad asked for a drink (Sherbet). A servant brought it for him. As he was about to drink, one of those present there told him not to drink it for it contained poison. The servant who had brought the drink was also present there. Sahib asked the informer as to what proof he had. He answered that the servant should be asked to consume, and thus the matter would be clear. Sahib replied, “Then give it to an animal to drink.” Sahib then replied. “I do not even deem this to be lawful.”
Saying this Sahib ordered the drink to be thrown away and told the servant to go away from his house and not enter his house again. But he ordered that he should not be banished from the town, nor should people sever relations with him or despise him, because one should not rely on doubts, nor should punish a person by stopping his sustenance.
Sahib ibne Abbad was one of the viziers of the Buwaid kings he helped the common man and was a marja’. The people honored him and they held him in high esteem. He was also a poet and an unparallelled scholar of Arabic. It is said regarding him, that when he sat down to write his orthographic (amla), people gathered around him to hear. At least six people would be appointed to read out his orthographic to the people.
He had with him so many books on grammar that sixty camels could be loaded with them. He gave due respect to the Scholars (Ulama), Jurists (Fuqaha), Alids (Alawis) and Sadats, and encouraged them to write and compile books. Shaikh Hasan bin Muhammad Qummi wrote Tareekhe Oum. Shaikh Sadooq Uyoonul Akhbarur Ridha, and Sa’labi compiled Yateematud Dahr for his sake. Many scholars, jurists, sadats and poets owed their work to him.
Every year he sent five thousand Ashrafis to the Jurists (Fuqaha) of Baghdad. Whoever went to visit him after Namaze Asr in the month of Ramazan, he did not allow the person to go away without breaking the fast (Iftaar). At least a thousand people did Iftaar daily in his house during the month of Ramazan. He gave the same quantity of alms (Sadaqah) in this one month, as he gave in the whole year. He has also written many couplets (Ash’ar) in the praise of Imam Ali (a.s.) and vilifying His enemies. He died on 24th Safar, 358 A.H. in Ray, and is buried in Isfahan. His grave still lies there.