Table of Contents

Chapter 8: On The Holy Qur’an

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, was the companion of the Qur’an; he always recited it, carefully considered its verses, and found in reciting it a unique pleasure in the world. The narrators said: “All his speech was directly affected by the Qur’an, so his answers and examples were derivations from it.1” He was so fond of the Qur’an that he completed it (a time) every three days, and he said: “If I wanted to complete it (a time) in less than three days, I would do, but, when I pass by a verse, I reflect on its meaning, concerning which thing and in which time it was revealed. For this reason I complete the Qur’an (a time) every three days.2” This means that he most times was busy reciting the Holy Qur’an, absorbed in interpreting it and the causes of the revelation of its verses.

The historians have said: “He (Imam al-Ridha’) recited many (suras of) the Qur’an on his bed at night. When he passed by a verse in which the Garden and the Fire had been mentioned, he wept, asked Allah for the Garden, and sought refuge in Him from the Fire.3

Before we present some examples of his interpretations on some verses, we would like to mention some points relating to the subject:

His Mentioning some Words

When the Imam, peace be on him, recited some verses of the Holy Qur’an, he mentioned some words at the end of them. The following are some of these suras:

1. Surat al-Tawhid: When he had finished reciting Surat al-Tawhid, he mentioned at the end of it these words of him: “Kadha’lika Allahu rabbana’.” (Such is Allah, our Lord!) He mentioned these words three times.

2. Surat al-Jahd: After he had finished reciting Surat al-Jahd, he said three times: “Rabbiya Allah wa diniya al-Islam.” (My Lord is Allah and my religion is Islam!)

3. Surat al-Tin: When he had finished reciting it, he said: “Bala’ wa ana’ ‘ala’ dha’lika mina al-sha’hidin.” (Yes, and I am one of those who bear witness to that!)

4. Surat al-Qiya’ma: After he had recited Surat al-Qiya’ma, he said: “Subha’naka Alla’huma.” (I glorify You, O Allah, with a glorification after a glorification!)

5. Surat al-Fa’tiha: Having finished reciting Surat al-Fa’tiha, he said: “Al-hamudu lil la’hi rAbu’l ‘a’lamin.” (Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.”

6. Surat Sabbih Isma Rabu’ka: After he had finished reciting this Sura, he said: “Subha’na Rabbi al-a‘la’.” (Glory belongs to my Lord, the Most High.)4

Al-Bassmala

In a group of his traditions, the Imam, peace be on him, dealt with some affairs of al-bassmala (i.e., in the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful). The following are some of them:

1. The importance of al-bassmala

Al-bassmala has a special importance with the Imams of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them. It was narrated on the authority of Imam Abu’ Ja‘far, peace be on him, who said: “The first (part) of every Book which was sent down from the heaven is Bismil la’hir rahma’nir rahim (in the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful).” It was also narrated on the authority of Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, who said: “It (al-bassmala) is nearer to the Greatest Name of Allah than the iris to the eye.5

2. Al-bassmala is part of the Sura

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “Al-bassmala is part of the suras of the Holy Qur’an.” It was narrated that it was said to Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him: “Tell us about Bismil la’hir rahma’nir rahim: Is it part of the Opening Sura of the Book (Fatihat al-Kita’b)?” “Yes,” he replied, “Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, recited it and regarded it as a verse of it, and he said: ‘Fatihat al-Kita’b is the seven oft-repeated verses (al-Sab‘ al-Matha’ni).’6

3. Reciting al-bassmala in a loud voice in prayer

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, recited al-bassmala in a loud voice in all his prayers by day and night7, and he criticized those who recited it a low voice, saying: “What is the matter with them? May Allah fight them! They resorted to the greatest verse in the Book of Allah, and they claimed that it was a heresy when they recited it in a loud voice.8

Examples of his Interpreting the Qur’an

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, took great care of in interpreting the Holy Qur’an. He devoted his attention to it in his lectures and researches which he gave to the jurists, the religious scholars, and the rest of his students, and which were transmitted by the narrators and the interpreters of the Qur’an. The following are some of them:

1. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing and there is a covering over their eyes, and there is a great punishment for them.9

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “Al-khatm means setting a seal upon the hearts of the unbelievers as a punishment for their unbelief.10

2. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Their parable is like the parable of one who kindled a fire, but when it had illumined all around him, Allah took away their light, and left them in utter darknessthey do not see.11

In his explanation of these words of Him, the Most High: And left them in utter darknessthey do not see, the Imam, peace be on him, said: “Verily, Allah cannot be described by ‘leaving’ as He has described His creatures, but when He comes to know that they do not withdraw from unbelief and error, He deprives them of (His) help and favor, and He leaves them along with their choice.12

3. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And do not approach this tree, for then you will be of the unjust.13

‘Abd al-Sala’m b. Sa’lih al-Harawi asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him: “O son of Allah’s Apostle, tell me about the tree of which Adam and Hauwa’’ (Eve) ate: What was it? For the people have differed over it. Some of them narrate that it was wheat; others narrate that it was a grapevine; others narrate that it was the tree of envy.”

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “All these narrations are true.”

“What are the meanings of these different views?” asked ‘Abd al-Sala’m.

“O Ibn al-Salt (i.e. ‘Abd al-Sala’m),” replied the Imam, “surely, the tree of the Garden bears kinds (of fruit). It was the wheat tree and there were grapes on it; it was not like the trees of the world.14

Imam al-Sabzwa’ri commented on this narration, saying: “Without doubt the (tree) was in the Garden. If it was in the world, then it would have a characteristic different from the characteristics (of the trees) in all the gardens of the world. The concourse (taza’hum) and contradiction (tana’fi) were little in that Garden or they were nonexistent, so it is right that one of the trees of the Garden bore kinds (of fruit).15

4. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And when you said: O Musa’, we will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly, so the punishment overtook you while you look on.16

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “They (i.e. those who said these words to Musa’) were the seventy (persons) whom Musa’ chose, and they went with him to the mountain and said to him: ‘You have seen Allah, so let us see Him as you have seen Him.’ Hence he said to them: ‘I have not seen him, so they said to him: we will not believe in you until we see Allah manifestly.’17

5. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And when Musa’ said to his people: Surely Allah commands you that you should sacrifice a cow; they said: Do you ridicule us? He said: I seek the protection of Allah from being one of the ignorant. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is. Musa’ said: He says: Surely she is a cow neither advanced in age nor too young, of middle age between that (and this); therefore, do what you are commanded. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what her color is. Musa’ said: He says: Surely she is a yellow cow; her color is intensely yellow; giving delight to the beholders. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is, for surely to us the cows are all alike, and if Allah wills we shall surely be guided aright. He said: He says: surely she is a cow not made submissive that she should plow the land; nor does she irrigate the tilth, sound, without a blemish in her. They said: Now you have brought the truth; so they sacrificed her, though they had not the mind to do (it).18

The Imam, peace be on him, gave an explanation of them, and Ahmed b. Abu’ Nasr al-Bizanti has narrated his explanation of them, saying: [I heard Abu’ al-Hasan al-Ridha’ say:] “Surely, a man from among the children of Isra’’il killed a relative of him, and then he threw him on the path of the best tribe of the children of Isra’’il, and then he came and demanded his blood. So they said to Musa’, peace be on him: ‘The tribe of the family of so-and-so killed so-and-so, so tell us: Who killed him?’ He (Musa’) said: ‘Bring me a cow.They said: Do you ridicule us? He said: I seek the protection of Allah from being one of the ignorant. If they had sacrificed a cow, the cow would have been sufficient for them (i.e. for solving their matter), but they were strict, hence Allah was strict with them. Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is. Musa’ said: He says: Surely she is a cow neither advanced in age nor too young, of middle age between that (and this), namely she was neither old nor too young, of middle age between that (and this). If they had resorted to any cow, it would have been sufficient for them, but they were stern, so Allah was stern with them. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what her color is. Musa’ said: He says: Surely she is a yellow cow; her color is intensely yellow; giving delight to the beholders. If they had resorted to any cow (and sacrifice it), it would have been sufficient for them, but they were severe, so Allah was severe with them. They said: Call on your Lord for our sake to make it plain to us what she is, for surely to us the cows are all alike, and if Allah please we shall surely be guided aright. He said: He says: surely she is a cow not made submissive that she should plow the land, nor does she irrigate the tilth, sound, without a blemish in her. They said: Now you have brought the truth; so they sacrificed her, though they had not the mind to do (it).

They looked for her and found her with a young man from the children of Isra’’il, who said: ‘I will not sell her except for gold equal to its weight.’ They came to Musa’, peace be on him, and told him about that, and he said: ‘Buy her.’ They bought her and brought her (to him), and he ordered her to be sacrificed, and then he ordered the dead one to be hit with her tail. When they had done that, the killed one was brought to life, and he said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger, my cousin had killed me, and not the one who has been accused of murdering me!’ Through that they came to know the murderer. Then a companion of Musa’, the Messenger of Allah, said: ‘This cow has a story.’ ‘What is the story?’ asked Musa’. The companion replied: ‘They said: A young man from among the children of Isra’’il was obedient to his father. He bought a thing and came to his father. He found the keys under his head, so he hated to waken him, hence he left that thing. His father woke, and he told him about that. So his father said to him: Well done! (Take) this cow as a compensation for that which had escaped you.’ The companion said: So Musa’, Allah’s Messenger, said to me: ‘Reflect on the degree which the men of obedience have reached!’19

6. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And that was sent down to the two angels at Babel, Haru’t and Maru’t, yet these two taught no man until they had said: ‘Surely we are only a trial; therefore, do not be a unbeliever.20’”

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “As for Haru’t and Maru’t, they were two angels. They taught men magic, that they might protect themselves from the magic of the magicians and disprove their deception. They did not teach anyone anything of that except they said to him: Surely we are only a trial; therefore, do not be a unbeliever; yet a group of people disbelieved through their using that from which they were ordered to protect themselves, and through it they began separating between husband and his wife. Hence, Allah, the Most High, said: ‘And they cannot hurt with it anyone except with Allah’s permission.21’”

7. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “But if you are prevented, (send) whatever offering is easy to obtain22,” the Imam, peace be on him, said: “It means a sheep, and this has been appointed according to the least of the people in ability, that the poor and the rich can (offer it).23

8. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And when he turns back, he runs along in the land that he may cause mischief in it and destroy the tilth and the stock.24

They were revealed concerning al-Akhnas b. Shurayk, the ally of the children of Zahra, who went to Medina, met the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, there and said to him: “I have come to believe in Islam, and Allah knows that I am truthful.” The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, admired him. However, when al-Akhnas left the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, he passed by plants and donkeys of a Muslim group. As a result he burnt the plants and slaughtered the donkeys.25” As for Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, said: “Al-nasl means offspring and al-harth means plants.26” (Please, see the Arabic text in the Holy Qur’an.)

9. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “They do not wait aught but that Allah should come to them in the shadows of the clouds along with the angels, and the matter has (already) been decided; and (all) matters are returned to Allah.27

Ibn Fadda’l asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, and he answered: They do not wait aught but that Allah along with the angels should come to them in the shadows of the clouds, in this manner the verse was revealed.” As regarding these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And your Lord comes and (also) the angels in ranks28, he , peace be on him, said: ‘Surely Allah cannot be described by coming and going, Allah is far above movement. Rather, by that He means that the command of your Lord comes and (also) the angels in ranks.29” Al-Sayyid al-Sabzwa’ri commented on this explanation of the Imam, saying: “What has been mentioned in the tradition about the holy verse is very good, just as he, peace be on him, explained the ambiguous verses. As for these words of him, peace be on him: In this manner it was revealed means the clarifying and interpretative revelation in the heart of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family.30

10. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And when Ibra’him said: My Lord, show me how You give live to the dead. He said: What! and do you not believe? He said: Yes, but that my heart may be at ease.31

Safwa’n b. Yahya’ asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him: “Was there any doubt in Ibra’him’s heart?” “No,” replied the Imam, “he was certain, but he wanted Allah to increase his certitude.32

11. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Surely Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and the descendants of ‘Umra’n above the nations. Offspring, one of the other.33

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, mentioned this sacred verse when al-Ma’mu’n asked him: “Did Allah prefer (the Prophet’s) family to the rest of the community?” He, peace be on him, replied: “Surely, Allah, the Great and Almighty, has made clear the excellence of (the Prophet’s) family over the rest of men in the firm text of His Book.” “Where is that in the Book of Allah?” asked al-Ma’mu’n. The Imam, peace be on him, answered: “In these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: Surely Allah chose Adam and Noah and the descendants of Abraham and the descendants of ‘Umra’n above the nations. Offspring, one of the other.” Certainly, the Prophet’s family belongs to Ibra’him’s family, for Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, is one of Ibra’him’s children, and his family belongs to him.34 The speech of the Imam, peace be on him, is not part of interpretation; rather it is part of the conclusion through the surface structure of the verse about what he has mentioned.

12. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And when Allah said: O ‘Isa’, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto me.35

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “No matter of the Allah’s prophets and His proofs over men was vague except that of ‘Isa’, for Allah caused him to ascend unto Him alive from the earth. He made him die between the earth and the heaven, and then He caused him ascend unto Him, and then He returned his soul to him. That is according to these words of Him, and when Allah said: O ‘Isa’, I am going to terminate the period of your stay (on earth) and cause you to ascend unto me and purify you of those who disbelieve. Allah has given an account of ‘Isa’, who will say on the Day of Resurrection: And I was a witness of them as long as I was among them, but when You did cause me to die, You are the watcher over them, and You are witness of all things.36

Al-Sayyid al-Sabzwa’ri commented on this tradition, saying: “The tradition indicates that ‘Isa’, peace be on him, had died before Allah caused him ascend unto Him to the heaven, and through this we can bring together all the statements to impose the authenticity of the tradition, which demonstrates that Allah made him die between the heaven and the earth, and then He returned his soul to him, and cause him ascend unto him.37

13. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “They are (varying) grades with Allah, and Allah sees what they do.”

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, interpreted the grades and the difference among the Allah-fearing on the Day of Resurrection, saying: “The grade which is between the heaven and the earth.38” Definitely, the grades between the good and the righteous are very different; therefore, the grade of the prophets is other than that of the Allah-fearing; the grade of the Allah-fearing is other that of the good, and so on.

14. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “You shall certainly be tried respecting your wealth and your souls.39

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “You shall certainly be tried respecting your wealth trough paying zaka’t (alms), and your souls through adjusting (them) to endurance.40

15. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “O you who believe, be patient and excel in patience 41,” the Imam, peace be on him, said: “When the Day of Resurrection occurs, a caller will call out: ‘Where are the patient?’ A group of people will stand up.” So a companion of his asked him: “Who are the patient?” He, peace be on him, replied: “(It is they who are patient) toward performing the religious duties, and who excel in patience toward refraining from the forbidden things.42

16. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four.43

This sacred verse is a proof of that it is permissible for man to marry four women, apart from allowing the woman to do that. The Imam, peace be on him, talked about the wisdom and interests in this legislation. He, peace be on him, said: “The cause of that (it is lawful) for man to marry four women, and that it is unlawful for woman to marry more than one (man is as follows): If man marries four women, the child will belong to him. If woman has two or more husbands, none will know to whom the child belongs, for they all take part in having intercourse with her, and this corrupts lineage, inheritances, and acquaintances.44

17. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Allah desires to explain to you and to guide you into the ways of those before you.45

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, was asked about the will of the servants and the will of Allah, the Exalted, and he replied: “The will of the servants is the pronoun and the action which appears after that. As for the will of Allah, it creates the verb; He only says (to the thing): ‘Be, and it is without any tiredness and howness.’46

18. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Men are maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property.47

The Imam, peace be on him, quoted this verse in his answering Muhammad b. Sina’n when he asked him about the cause of giving woman the half of the inheritance which is given to man. He, peace be on him, replied: “The cause of giving woman the half of the inheritance which is given to man is that when woman marries, she takes and man gives, for this reason He saves men (something).

“Yet there is another cause of giving male the half of that which is given to female. The cause is that the female is among the family of the male when she needs (something), and it is obligatory on him to maintain her, whilst it is not obligatory on her to maintain him nor to spend on him when he needs (something), for this reason He spares men (something), and that is these words of Him, the Most High: Men are maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded.48

19. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Surely Allah commands you to make over trusts to their owners.49

Barid al-‘Ijjli asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, and he, peace be on him, answered: “They are the Imams from the family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, (who) should make over the trust to those after them, should not singled out other than them with it, and should not withhold it from them.50

This narration is evidence for that the matter of the Imamate is in the hand of Allah, the Most High, and that Imamate is a trust with the Imam. When he dies, he should entrust it to the Imam appointed by the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and should not entrust it to any person.

20. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And Allah took Ibra’him as a friend.51

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, said: “I heard my father narrate on the authority of his father, peace be on him, that he said: ‘Allah took Ibra’him as a friend because he (Ibra’him) did not refuse (the request of) anyone and never asked anyone except Allah, the Great and Almighty.52

21. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And indeed He has revealed to you in the Book that when you hear Allah’s communications disbelieved in and mocked at, do not sit with them until they enter into some other discourse.53

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “When you hear a person denies the truth, accuses it of lying, and attacks its people, then leave him and do not sit with him.54

22. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And Allah by no means gives the unbelievers a way against the believers.55

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “Allah by no means gives the unbelievers an argument against the believers. Allah, the Most High, gave an account of some unbelievers who killed their prophet without any right, and though they killed him, Allah by no means gave them a way against His prophets.56

23. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah, and He shall requite their deceit to them.57

He, peace be on him, said: “Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, does not deceive (them), but He punishes them for their deception.58

24. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be banished.59

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, was asked: “When does a person deserve one of these four punishments?”

He, peace be on him, replied: “When he wages war against Allah and His apostle and strives to make mischief in the land and kills (someone), he should be murdered. If he kills (someone) and takes (his) property, then he should be murdered and crucified. If he takes the property and does not kill (someone), his hand and his feet should be cut off on opposite sides. If he draws the sword, wages war against Allah and His apostle, strives to make mischief in the land, but he does not kill (someone) nor does he take the property, he should be banished.”

I (the asker) asked: “How is the person banished, and what is the period of his banishment?”

He, peace be on him, answered: “He is banished from the city in which he does what he does, and it is written to the people of that city that the person is banished, so do not sit with him nor deals with him nor marry him nor eat with him nor drink with him. This is done toward him for a year, but if he comes out that city to other than it, then it is written to them in the same manner until the year terminates.”

I (the asker) asked: “If he heads for the land of polytheism in order to enter it?”

“If he heads for the land of polytheism in order to enter it, then a war should be waged against its people,” answered the Imam.60

25. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “O you who believe, do not put questions about things which if declared to you may trouble you.61

The Imam, peace be on him, quoted this verse in his answer to the questions of Ahmed b. Muhammad. He, peace be on him, said: “Have you not been prohibited from many questions, but you have refused this prohibition? Beware of that, for those before you perished because of their several questions. Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, said: O you who believe, do not put questions about things which if declared to you may trouble you.62

26. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Say: He is only one Allah, and surely I am clear of that which you set up (with him).63

He, peace be on him, said: “The people has three creeds concerning Allah’s Oneness: negation, comparison, and establishment without any comparison. The creed of negation is not permissible; the creed of comparison is not permissible, for Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, is not likened to anything; and the way is the third creed: establishment without any comparison.”

Al-Sayyid al-Tabataba’i made clear these three creeds, saying: “The creed of negation means negating the meanings of the attributes from Him, the Exalted, as the Mu‘tazilites say, and in its meaning returning the negative attributes to negating what opposes them, just as we say that the meaning of the powerful is not feeble, the meaning of the knowledgeable is not ignorant; yet one should resort to what he (the Imam), peace be on him, has mentioned about the third creed.

“The creed of comparison means that He, the Most High, is likened to other than Him, and there is nothing like him, namely it must be established for Him the limited meaning of the attribute which is in us and which is different from other attributes, namely His power is like that of us, His knowledge is like that of us, and so on. If His attributes are like those of us, then He is in need (of things) just as we are in need (of them); therefore, He is not Necessary (Being), far is He above that!

“The creed of establishment without any comparison means that it must be established for Him the original meaning of the attribute and negated from Him the characteristic which makes Him be compared to the possible creatures, namely the attribute is established and the limit is negated.64

27. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “We have not neglected anything in the Book.65

The Imam, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse in the following speech of him. He, peace be on him, said: “Surely Allah, the Great and Almighty, did not make our Prophet die until He perfected the religion for him and sent down to him the Qur’an, in which there is the explanation of all things: the lawful, the unlawful, the prescribed punishments, the precepts, and all what the people need in perfection. Hence Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: We have not neglected anything in the Book.66

28. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: When the night covered him, he saw a star. He said: This is my Lord.67

Al-Ma’mu’n asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, about the infallibility of the prophets, and he answered him that they were infallible, but al-Ma’mu’n opposed him through this verse, saying: “How did he (Ibra’him) say to the star, this is my Lord? This contradicts infallibility.” So the Imam, peace be on him, answered him through the following:

“Surely Ibra’him lived in a society where three types of worship dominated: the worship of Venus, the worship of the moon, and the worship of the sun. That was when he came out of the cave where he was concealed. When the night covered him, he saw Venus and said: This is my Lord. He wanted to deny (such a type of worship) and to ask (his fellows about it). When it (the star) set, he said: I do not love those that set. That this because setting is an attribute of the created not of the Eternal (Being). When he saw the moon rising in splendor, he said: This is my Lord. He wanted to deny (such a type of worship) and to ask (his fellows about it). But when it (the moon) set, he said: Unless my Lord guides me, I shall surely be among those who go astray. He said: ‘Unless my Lord had guided me, I would have been among those who went astray.’ When he entered upon morning and saw the sun rising in splendor, he said: This is my Lord; this is the greatest of Venus and the moon. He wanted to deny (such a type of worship) and to ask (his fellows about it), not to tell them about it and not to admit it (as a lord). When it (the sun) set, he said to the three types of men who worshipped Venus, the moon, and the sun: O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of ascribing partners to Allah. For me, I have set my face firmly and truly towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I attribute partners (to Allah).

“By the virtue of what he said, Ibra’him simply wanted to indicate to them the invalidity of their religion and to establish to them that worship did not belong to those things like Vinus, the moon, and the sun; rather it belonged to their Creator and the Creator of the heavens and the earth. The argument which he used against his people was among what Allah had inspired in him and given to him, just as Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: And this was Our argument which We gave to Ibra’him against his people.”

Al-Ma’mu’n admired this decisive answer of the Imam, hence he said to him: “How good you are, O son of Allah’s Messenger!68

29. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Therefore (for) whomsoever Allah intends that He would guide him aright, He expands his breast for Islam.69

Sulayma’n al-Nisha’bu’ri asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, and he answered him: Therefore (for) whomsoever Allah intends that He would guide him aright to faith in Him in the world and to His Garden and the Abode of His Dignity in the hereafter, He expands his breast for submission to Him, confidence in Him, and trust in the reward which He has promised, that he may rely on Him. And (for) whomsoever He intends that He should cause him to err from His Garden and the Abode of His Dignity because of his unbelief in Him and his disobedience to Him in the world, He makes his breast strait and narrow as though he were ascending upwards; thus does Allah lay uncleanness on those who do not believe.70

30. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Say: Who has prohibited the embellishment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants and the good provisions.71

The Imam, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse in the following talk of him: Ahmed b. Muhammad b. Abu’ Nasr narrated; he said: [Imam al-Ridha’ said to me:] “What do you say about coarse clothes?”

I (i.e. Ahmed b. Muhammad) replied: “I was told that al-Hasan wore (coarse garments), and that Ja’far b. Muhammad took the new garment and ordered it to be dipped into the water.”

So he, peace be on him, said: “Wear and beautify (your self), for ‘Ali b. al-Husayn wore silk-like jubbah (long garment) (which he bought) for five hundred dirhams, and silk-like cloak (which he bought) for fifty dinars, and he spent winter (wearing) it. When winter terminated, he sold it and gave the money as alms. Then he recited this verse: Say: Who has prohibited the embellishment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants and the good provisions.72

31. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And recite to them the narrative of him to whom We gave our communications, but he withdraws himself from them, so the Shaitan overtakes him, so he is of those who go astray.73

He, peace be on him, said: “The Greatest Name was given to Bal‘am b. Ba’‘u’r. He supplicated with it and (his supplication) was accepted. Then he inclined to Fir‘oun (Pharaoh). When Fir‘oun ordered Musa’ and his followers to be arrested, he said to Bal‘am: ‘Invoke Allah against Musa’ and his followers, that He may withhold him from us.’ So Bal‘am rode his she-ass and began lashing her. Allah, the Great and Almighty, made the she-ass speak, and she said to Bal‘am: ‘Woe unto you! Why are lashing me? Do you want me to go with you, that you may invoke against Allah’s Prophet and the believing people?’ He went on lashing her until he killed her, so he (the Greatest Name) withdrew himself from his tongue, and that is these words of Him: But he withdraws himself from them, so the Shaitan overtakes him, so he is of those who go astray, and If We had pleased, We would certainly have exalted him thereby; but he clung to the earth and followed his low desire, so his parable is as the parable of the dog; if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue; and if you leave him alone, he lolls out his tongue. And this is a parable which Allah has set forth.74

32. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “O you who belive, when you meet those who disbelieve marching for war, then turn not your backs to them.75

He, peace be on him, said: “Allah has prohibited escaping from fighting in His path, for it leads to undermining the religion; disdaining the just prophets and Imams; leaving helping them against the enemies who should be punished for their leaving professing the Lord to whom they are summoned, (and who are summoned to) establishing justice, leaving oppression, and deadening corruption. Moreover it encourages the enemies to (attack) the Muslims, and (this attack) results in murdering (them), taking them as prisoners, and abolishing the religion of Allah, the Great and Almighty, and (this attack leads to) other corrupt things.76

33. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And wherefore was there not a town which should believe so that their belief should have profited them but the people of Yunus? When they believed, We removed from them the chastisement of disgrace in this world’s life and We gave them provision till a time.77

The Imam, peace be on him, mentioned the story of the people of Yu’nus when Allah raised the punishment from them. He, peace be on him, said: “Allah ordered Yunus to inform his people of His punishment, and he informed them. So they separated themselves from their children, the livestock and their young, and then they supplicated to Allah and sacrificed, hence Allah held back the punishment from them.78

34. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And if I intend to give you good advice, my advice will not profit you if Allah intended that He should leave you to go astray.79

Nu’h, peace be on him, told his people about the meaning of this sacred verse, and Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, commented on that, saying: “The affair belongs to Allah, who guides (men) and leaves (them) to go astray.80

35. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “He said: O Nuh, surely he is not of your family; surely he is (the doer of) other than good deeds.81

Al-Hasan b. ‘Ali al-Washsha’’ narrated on the authority of Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him. He said: [I heard him say:] “My father said: Abu’ ‘Abd Allah, peace be on him, said: Surely, Allah, the Great and Almighty, said to Nu’h: He is not of your family. For he (Nu’h’s son) was disobedient, and He (Allah) regarded those who followed him (Nu’h) as part of his family.”

He (i.e. al-Hasan al-Washsha’’) said : “He (Imam al-Ridha’) asked me: ‘How do they read this verse concerning Nu’h’s son?’”

I (i.e. al-Hasan al-Washsha’’) said : “The people read it in two ways: innahu ‘amal, they have regarded it as infinitive; and innahu ‘amila, they have regarded it as a past verb.”

So the Imam said: “They have told a lie. He is Nuh’s son, but Allah negated him when he opposed his (Nuh’s) religion.”

Al-Sayyid al-Taba’taba’’i said: “The meant thing by reciting the verse is its interpretation; and the narrator, through mentioning both recitations, refers to the interpretation of him who interpreted the verse that Nu’h’s wife gave birth to the son from other than him, so He added him to his bed (him).82

36. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High, “And (with passionate lust) did she desire him, and would have desired her.83

‘Ali b. al-Jahm asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, in the presence of an assembly: “O son of Allah’s Apostle, do you believe in the infallibility of the prophets?”

“Yes,” replied the Imam.

“What do you say about these words of Him, the Great and Almighty: And (with passionate lust) did she desire him, and would have desired her?” asked ‘Ali b. al-Jahm.

The Imam, peace be on him, answered: “She (i.e. Zulaykha) wanted to commit a sin while he desired to kill her if she forced him; therefore, Allah saved him from the deed of killing her and its terrible consequences, and this is His words, the Great and Almighty: Thus (it was) that We might turn away from him evil and indecency, meaning killing and fornication.84

37. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “He said: You shall sow for seven years continuously, then what you reap leave it in its ear except a little of which you eat.85

Al-Hasan b. ‘Ali b. al-Ya’s narrated: [I heard Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, say:] “Yusuf began collecting and storing seeds in the treasures during the seven fertile years. When those years terminated and the arid ones came, Yusuf began selling the seeds. In the first year he sold (the seeds) to them for the dirham and the dinar, to the extent that he possessed all the dirhams and the dinars in Egypt and the neighboring regions.

“In the second year he sold (seeds) to them for the ornaments and jewels, to the extent that he possessed all the ornaments and jewels in Egypt and the neighboring regions. In the third year he sold (seeds) to them for livestock, to the extent that he possessed all the livestock in Egypt and the neighboring regions. In the fourth year he sold (seeds) to them for the male and female slaves, to the extent that he possessed all the male and female slaves in Egypt and the neighboring regions. In the fifth year he sold (seeds) to them for the houses and courtyards, to the extent that he possessed all the house and courtyards in Egypt and the neighboring regions. In the sixth year he sold (seeds) to them for the farms and the rivers, to the extent that he possessed all the farms and the rivers in Egypt and the neighboring regions. And in the seventh year he sold (seeds) to them for themselves, to the extent that he possessed all the slaves and the free in Egypt and the neighboring regions.

“He possessed their free (men) and their slaves and their properties, so the people said: ‘We have never heard that Allah gave wisdom, knowledge, and direction to a king as He has given to this king.’ Then Yusuf asked the King: ‘What is your view concerning the property of Egypt and the neighboring regions which Allah has entrusted to me?’”

“‘Advise us through your view,’ demanded Yusuf, ‘for I have not put them right, that I may corrupt them; nor have I saved them from the tribulation, that it may be a tribulation against them. However, it was Allah who has saved them at my hand.’ The King said: ‘My view agrees with your view.’ Yusuf said: ‘Surely I call Allah to witness and call you, O King, to witness that I have released all the people of Egypt, returned to them their properties and their slaves, returned to you your kingdom, your ring, your throne, and your crown, provided that you should follow nothing except my example and decide nothing except through my decision.’

“The king said: ‘Surely that is my repentance and pride, that I will follow nothing except your example and decide nothing except your decision. Had it not been for you, I would have not undertaken them; nor would I have found the right way to Him. I witness that there is no god except Allah, the One with whom there is no associate, and that you are His Apostle; therefore, undertake that over which I have appointed, surely you are in our presence today an honorable, a faithful one.’86

38. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “He said: Place me (in authority) over the treasures of the land, surely I am a good keeper, knowing well.87

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse during his talk with a man who asked him: “May Allah set you right, how have you become the heir apparent of al-Ma’mu’n?”

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, denied his accepting the regency after al-Ma’mu’n. Then he asked the man: “Who is betterthe Prophet or the testamentary trustee?”

“No, the Prophet,” replied the man.

“Who is betterthe Muslim or the polytheist?”

“No, rather the Muslim,” answered the man.

Then the Imam, peace be on him, stated a decisive argument, saying: “The Chief of Egypt was a polytheist, and Yusuf was a prophet. Al-Ma’mu’n is a Muslim, and I am a testamentary trustee. Yusuf asked the Chief to entrust him with an office, to the extent that he said to him: Place me (in authority) over the treasures of the land, surely I am a good keeper, knowing well. As for al-Ma’mu’n, he has forced me to be his heir apparent.”

Then the Imam explained the words of Him, the Most High: Surely I am a good keeper, knowing well,” saying: “He (Yusuf) kept that which was in his hand, and he was knowing well at every language.88

39. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “They said: If he steals, a brother of his did indeed steal before; but Yusuf kept it secret in his heart and did not disclose it to them.89

He, peace be on him, said: “Isha’q (Isaac), the prophet, had a belt which the prophets and the great figures inherited, and the belt was with Yusuf’s aunt; and Yusuf was with her, and she loved him. So his father sent for her: ‘Send him (Yusuf) to me, and I will return him to you.’ She sent for him: ‘Leave him with me this night, that I may kiss him and send him to you in the early morning. When she entered upon morning, she took the belt and tied it round his loin, clothed him in a shirt, send him to him, and said: ‘He (Yusuf) has stolen the belt, and I have found it with him.’ In that time, when someone stole (something), he was given to the owner of the stolen thing. So she took him, and he was with her.90

40. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him).91

He, peace be on him, said: “It is the polytheism through which they do not reach unbelief.92” The meaning is that this king of polytheism is in their obeying Satan, and it is not in their acts of worship, so that they are not regarded as unbelievers.

41. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Till the apostles gave up hope and thought that they were surely accused of lying, Our help then came to them.93

Al-Ma’mu’n asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, and he, peace be on him, answered: [Allah says:] “Till the apostles gave up hope (of their people) and (their people came to) think that they proved them to be liars, Our help then came to them.94

42. Regarding the fear and hope in these words of Him, the Most High: “He it is Who shows you the lightning causing fear and hope and (Who) brings up the heavy clouds.95

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “The fear for the traveler, and hope for the resident.96

43. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition.97

He, peace be on him, said: “Surely the affair belongs to Allah, the Most High.98

44. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “So turn away with kindly forgiveness.99

He, peace be on him, said: “Kindly forgiveness means forgiveness without any admonition.100

45. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Musa’ said to him: Shall I follow you on condition that you should teach me right knowledge of what you have been taught?101

Muhammad b. ‘Ali b. Bila’l narrated on the authority of Yunus in a letter they sent to Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, asking him about the scholar to whom Musa’ came, who of them was more knowledgeable? Was it permissible for the scholar to be a proof over Musa’ in his time? In response to their letter, the Imam, peace be on him, wrote: “Musa’ came to the scholar and found him either sitting or resting (on his elbow) in one of the islands of the sea. Musa’, peace be on him, greeted him, but he denied the greetings, for there were no greetings in the land.”

“Who are you?” asked the scholar.

“I am Musa’ b. ‘Umra’n,” replied Musa’.

“Are Musa’ b. ‘Umra’n, to whom Allah spoke?”

“Yes,” was the answer.

“What is your need?”

“I have come, that you may teach me right knowledge of what you have been taught,” came the answer.

“I have been entrusted with a matter which you do not endure, and you have been entrusted with a matter which I do not endure,” explained the scholar. “Then the scholar drove both matters to Musa’.102

46. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And whoever is in the heavens and the earth is His; and those who are with Him are not proud to serve Him; nor do they grow weary.103

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse concerning the infallibility of the angels. He, peace be on him, said: “Surely the angels are infallible and are protected from ugly things through the favors of Allah, the Most High. Regarding them Allah says: They do not disobey Allah in what He commands them, and do as they are commanded. And He, the Great and Almighty, says: And whoever is in the heavens and the earth is His; and those who are with Him (i.e. the angles) are not proud to serve Him; nor do they grow weary. They glorify (Him) by night and day; they never flag.104

47. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And We gave him Isha’q and Ya‘qu’b, a son’s son, and We made (them) all good. And We made them Imams who guided (people) by Our command, and We revealed to them the doing of good and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of the alms, and Us (alone) did they serve.105

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, quoted the two sacred verses to prove the purity of the prophets and of their being the choice of Allah’s creatures. He, peace be on him, said: “Then Allah, the Great and Almighty, honored him (i.e. Ibra’him) when He placed it (i.e. the Imamate) in his progeny and men of choice and purity. So Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: And We gave him Isha’q and Ya‘qu’b, a son’s son, and We made (them) all good. And We made them Imams who guided (people) by Our command, and We revealed to them the doing of good and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of the alms, and Us (alone) did they serve. And it (the Imamate) was still in his children; they inherited it one by one, a century after a century, until the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, inherited in. So Allah, the Great and Almighty, said: Surely the people standing closest to him (Ibra’him) are those who followed him, and this Prophet, and those who believe; and Allah is the Master of the believers. So it was special, then he (the Prophet) entrusted it (the Imamate) to ‘Ali through Allah’s command, according to the description which Allah made obligatory. Hence it was placed in his (‘Ali’s) children, the chosen ones whom Allah gave knowledge and belief by the virtue of these words of Him, the Exalted: And those who are given knowledge and faith will say: Certainly you tarried according to the ordaince of Allah till the day of resurrection. Therefore, it is (i.e. the Imamate) was especially placed in the children of ‘Ali b. Abu’ Ta’lib till the Day of Resurrection, for there will be no prophet after Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family.106

48. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “That they may witness advantages for them and mention the name of Allah during stated days.107

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, said: “The reason for the hajj is to seek to be the guest of Allah, to request more blessings, to part with past sins, to feel repentant about the past, and to look forward to the future. It is due to spending on the trip seeking nearness to Allah, tiring the body, abstaining from pleasures and desires, seeking nearness to allah by worshipping Him, yielding and submitting to Him, looking up towards Him in cases of hot weather and chilling cold, during security and fear, incessantly doing so, and due to all the benefits in it of desiring the rewards and fearing the wrath of Allah, the Exalted.

“Of which are leaving hardheartedness, the meanness of the soul, forgetting the invocation of Allah, the cessation of hope and expectation, renewing the rights, preventing the soul from corruption, the interest of those who are in east and west of the earth, and those who travel over land and sea, from among those who make the pilgrimage and those who do not make the pilgrimage, from among the merchants, the importers, the buyers, the sellers, the gainers, and the poor, and accomplishing the needs of the people of the outskirts and the situations, for whom it is possible to hold a meeting wherein; likewise that they may witness advantages for them.108

49. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Then let them accomplish their needful acts.109

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “Their needful acts mean trimming finger nails, throwing dirt, and casting off him (i.e. the pilgrim) (the garments) of ihra’m after he has made the pilgrimage.110

50. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth.111

He, peace be on him, said: “Allah guides the inhabitants of the heavens and of the earth.112

51. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “So Musa’ struck him with his fist and killed him. He said: This is on account of Satan’s doing.113

Al-Ma’mu’n asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, the following question: “O son of Allah’s Apostle, it is not of your statement that the prophets are infallible?”

“Yes,” answered the Imam.

“Tell me about these words of Allah: So Musa’ struck him with his fist and killed him. He said: This is on account of Satan’s doing.”

The Imam told him about the interpretation of this verse, saying: “Musa’ entered one of Fir‘awn’s (Pharaoh’s) cities when its inhabitants were heedless of him. That was between the sunset and the evening. So he found therein two men fighting, one being of his party and the other of his foes, and he who was of his party cried out to him for help against him who was of his enemies. Therefore Musa’ killed the enemy. Allah, the Exalted, mentioned: So Musa’ struck him with his fist and he died. He said: This is on account of Satan’s doing. This means that the fighting which took place between the two men (was on account of Satan’s doing), not the killing which Musa’ had committed. (The world) ‘he’ means Satan (who) is an enemy, openly leading astray.”

“What is the meaning of these words of Musa’: My Lord, surely I have done harm to myself, so do You protect me?” asked al-Ma’mu’n.

The Imam told him about the meaning of this sacred verse, saying: “This (verse) means that he put himself in other than its place when he entered this city. So do You protect me, meaning conceal me from Your enemies lest they should find me and kill me, so He protected him; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. Musa’ said: My Lord, because You have bestowed a favor on me, through the strength so that I killed a man with striking him with my fist; I shall never be a backer of the guilty; rather I shall fight in Your path with this strength until You are content (with me).

“As a result Musa’ was in the city fearing, awaiting, when lo! he who had asked his assistance the day before was crying out to him for aid against another person, so Musa’ said to him: You are most surely one erring manifestly. You killed a man the day before and this day you want to kill (another man), hence I shall hurt you. He wanted to strike him. So when he desired to seize him who was an enemy to them both, he said: O Musa’, do you want to kill me as you killed a person yesterday? You desire nothing but that you should be a tyrant in the land, and you do not desire to be of those who act aright.”

So al-Ma’mu’n said: “May Allah reward you well on behalf of His prophets, O Abu’ al-Hasan.114

52. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Every soul must taste of death, then to Us you shall be brought back.115

He, peace be on him, said: [Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] “When (these words of Him) surely you shall die and they (too) shall die were revealed, I said: ‘O my Lord, shall all creatures die and the prophets remain?’ So (He) revealed: Every soul must taste of death, then to Us you shall be brought back.116

53. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “He created the heavens without pillars as you see them.117

The Imam, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse in the following tradition which was narrated by al-Husayn b. Kha’lid, who said: “I said to Abu’ al-Hasan al-Ridha’, peace be on him: Tell me about these words of Allah: I swear by the heaven with weaving. He said: ‘It is woven to the earth, and then he knitted his fingers.’ So I asked: ‘How is it woven to the earth, while Allah says: Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you see?’ So he, peace be on him, replied: ‘Glory belongs to Allah, do not Allah say: without any pillars as you see?’ ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘There are pillars, but you cannot see them,’ he explained.118

54. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Then We gave the Book for an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants; but of them is he who makes his soul to suffer a loss, and of them is he who takes a middle course, and of them is he who foremost in deeds of goodness.119

Ahmed b. ‘Umar narrated, saying: “I asked Abu’ al-Hasan al-Ridha’, peace be on him, about these words of Him: Then We gave the Book for an inheritance to those whom We chose from among Our servants, and he, peace be on him, said: ‘They are the children of Fa’tima. And of them is he who foremost in deeds of goodness is the Imam.’120

55. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Neither is it allowable to the sun that it should overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day; and all float on in a sphere.121

Al-Ash‘ath b. Qays narrated, saying: “I was in Khurasa’n when al-Ridha’ held a meeting with al-Fadl b. Sahl and al-Ma’mu’n at al-Iwa’’, in Maru’. When the food was put (before us), al-Ridha’, peace be on him, said: ‘A man from the children of Isra’’il asked me in Medina, saying: ‘Was the day created before the night? What do you have?’ He (al-Ridha’) said: ‘They discussed the matter, but they had nothing about that.’

“So al-Fadl said to al-Ridha’: ‘May Allah set you right, tell us about it.’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘From (the viewpoint of) the Qur’an or arithmetic?’ ‘From the viewpoint of arithmetic,’ requested al-Fadl. So he (al-Ridha’) said: ‘O Fadl, you know that the ascendant of the world is Cancer, and the stars are in the situations of their high rank; so Saturn is in Balance, Jupiter is in Cancer, Mars is in Capricorn, the Sun is in Ram, Venus is in Fishes, Mercury is in Virgo, and the moon is in Taurus, so the sun in the tenth (day) is in the middle of the heaven; therefore, the day was (created) before the night.

“‘As for (the viewpoint of) the Qur’an, it is these words of Him, the Exalted: nor can the night outstrip the day.’”

In his book Ru’h al-Ma‘a’ni, al-Alu’si has mentioned this tradition and commented on it, saying: “There is a manifest research in deducting through the verse, and through arithmetic it has an approximate viewpoint, and the view of the astrologers is that the beginning of the circle is the circle of the half of the day, agrees with what he has mentioned. It is more likely that the tradition is not correct from the beginning, for al-Ridha’ is more exalted than concluding his claim, which you have heard, through the verse.”

Al-Sayyid al-Ta’bataba’’i commented on the statement of al-Alu’si, saying: “It was vague for him (al-Alu’si) to attain the reality of the night and the day. This matter can be explained (as follows): Surely the night and the day are opposite (to each other) as the oppositeness of non-existence and faculty like blindness and sight; just as blindness is not absolute non-sight so that the wall, for example, may be blind; rather it is non-sight for that which is distinguished by sight such as man; likewise the night is not absolute non-light; rather it is the time of non-illumination one of the parts of the earth through the light of the sun. It is known that the accomplishment of non-faculty depends on the accomplishment of the opposite faculty before it, that it may be specified through adding (it) to it, so had it not been for sight, blindness would not have become real; and had it not been for the day, the night would not have become real.

“So the absolute meaning of the night in which he (al-Alu’si) believed is that there is night preceded in existence by day, and (this is proved by) these words of him: nor can the night outstrip the day; and even if he reflected on the supposed order between the day and the night, and there is day and night, day and night, and none of these nights can precede the day which is beside it.

“However He, the Most High, took the absolute night in these words of Him: nor can the night outstrip the day, and negated its coming before the absolute day; and He did not say: ‘Surely one of the nights which are in this order does not precede the day which is in the order before it.’

“Therefore, the decision in the verse is based on that which the nature of the night and the day requires according to the oppositeness which Allah has placed between them; and a decision has been concluded from it through the decrease of the order in the alternation of the night and the day, for every night means losing the day which follows it, so it does not come before it; and he (Imam al-Ridha’), peace be on him, refers to this (sense) after he has mentioned the verse through these words of him: namely, the day comes before the night, namely, He (Allah) created the day before the night because the day precedes the night; and it is not as (some people) imagine that there are days and nights, and then the place of each of them is specified.

“And the words of the objector (al-Alu’si): ‘And through arithmetic it has an approximate viewpoint,’ he does not know the meaning of his statement which should be exactly not nearly based on the principles of astrology.

“Likewise, his statement: ‘And the view of the astrologers is that the beginning of the circle is the circle of the half of the day, agrees with what he (al-Ridha’) has mentioned,’ is incorrect, for it has the circle of midday, which is the circle that passes thorough the two poles, and there is between them a third point which is not limited in number, for which no certain point apart from other point can be specified in the heaven, hence it is a day for the earth because the sun is in one of them apart from the other.122

56. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And has there come to you the story of the litigants, when they made an entry into the private chamber by ascending over the walls. When they entered in upon Da’wud and he was frightened at them, they said: Fear not; two litigants, of whom one has acted wrongfully towards the other, therefore decide between us with justice.123

The Imam, peace be on him, quoted these two verses and those after them in order to disprove the viewpoints of ‘Ali b. al-Jahm and his people concerning Da’wud, Allah’s prophet, peace be on him.

The Imam, peace be on him, asked ‘Ali b. al-Jahm: “What did those before you say about Da’wud?”

‘Ali b. al-Jahm replied: [They said:] “While Da’wud, peace be on him, was praying in his mihrab, Iblis appeared in front of him in the form of the most beautiful bird. He cut his prayer and rose in order to take the bird to the house. Then he went out following its tracks. The bird flew to the top (of the house), so Da’wud ascended looking for it. The bird alighted in the house of Uryah b. Hana’n.

“Da’wud followed the tracks of the bird, and suddenly he saw Uryah’s wife washing. When he looked at her, he fell in love with her. As for Uryah, he had been on a raid. Da’wud wrote to his companion in order to place Uryah in front of the coffin. Uryah was placed in front (of the coffin), and he defeated the polytheists. So Da’wud find that difficult and again wrote to his companion in order to place Uryah in front of the coffin. Uryah was placed in front of it and he was killed, so Da’wud married his wife.”

When the Imam heard these false stories which were ascribed to one of Allah’s prophets, he hit his forehead and said: “We belong to Allah and to Him is our return! You have ascribed one of Allah’s prophets to neglecting his prayers and (accused him of) going out and looking for the tracks of the bird, fornication and killing!”

‘Ali b. al-Jahm asked the Imam to explain the matter to him, saying: “Son of Allah’s Apostle, what was Da’wud’s sin?”

The Imam told him about the true story of Da’wud, saying: “Da’wud thought that he was more learned than the rest of Allah’s creatures, hence Allah, the Great and Almighty, sent him to angels and they climbed the mihrab and said to him: Fear not; two litigants, of whom one has acted wrongfully towards the other; therefore, decide between us with justice, and do not act unjustly, and guide us to the right way: Surely this is my brother; he has ninety-nine ewes and I have a single one; but he said, make it over to me, and he has prevailed against me in discourse. Da’wud hurried to decide the case for the plaintiff when he said: Surely he has been unjust to you in demanding your ewe (to add) to his own ewes. He did not asked the plaintiff for the evidence for that; nor did he turn to the defendant and asked him: ‘What do you say?’ It was an error only within the framework of the case and was not as you thought. Have you not heard that Allah, the Great and Almighty, says: Da’wud, surely We have made you a ruler in the land; so judge between men with justice and do not follow desire.”

Ibn al-Jahm asked the Imam to tell him about the story of Da’wud with Uryah, saying: “Then, son of Allah’s Apostle, what is Da’wud’s story with Uryah.”

The Imam, peace be on him, started explaining to him Da’wud’s story, saying: “During the days of Da’wud, a widow never get married after the death of her husband. Da’wud, peace be on him, was the first man whom Allah permitted to marry the widow whose husband had been killed. Accordingly, he married Uryah’s wife after he had been killed, and her waiting period had been over. This made the people accused Da’wud of killing Uryah.124

57. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “to what I have created with My hand,” which are part of His saying: “He said: O Iblis, what prohibited you from prostrating to what I have created with My hand.125

Muhammad b. ‘Ubayda asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, and he replied: “It means with my might and power .126

58. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “Surely those who pledge allegiance to you do but pledge allegiance to Allah.127

Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, quoted this sacred verse in the following tradition: ‘Abd al-Sala’m b. Sa’lih al-Harawi narrated, saying: [I asked ‘Ali b. Musa’ al-Ridha’, peace be on him: O son of Allah’s Apostle, what do you say about the tradition which has been narrated by the traditionalists: ‘The believers visit their Lord from their abodes in the Garden?’ He, peace be on him, answered:] “O Abu’ al-Salt, surely Allah, the Exalted, preferred His Prophet Muhammad to the prophets and the angels from among His creatures. He regarded obedience to him as obedience to Him, pledging allegiance to him as pledging allegiance to Him, visiting him in this world and the next as visiting Him, hence He, the Great and Almighty, said: He who obeys the Messenger certainly obeys Allah. And He said: Surely those who pledge allegiance to you do but pledge allegiance to Allah; the hand of Allah is above their hands. And the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, said: ‘He who visits me during my lifetime or after my death certainly visits Allah.’ His grade in the Garden is the highest of all grades, and he who visits him in his grade of position in the Garden certainly visits Allah, the Blessed and Exalted.128

59. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “And in the night, give Him glory too, and at the setting of the stars129,” he, peace be on him, said: “At the end of the prostration is four rak‘as after sunset, and at the setting of the stars is two rak‘as before the morning prayer.130

60. Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, was asked about the reminder in these words of Him, the Most High: “Allah has indeed revealed to you a reminder, and Apostle who recites to you the clear signs of Allah 131,” and he, peace be on him, replied: “The reminder is Allah’s Messenger and we are his family.132

61. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “The Knower of the unseen, so He does not reveal His secrets to any except to him whom He chooses as an apostle 133,” the Imam met Ibn Hadda’b and asked him: “Do you believe me when I tell you that you will be tried during these days by murdering one of your blood relatives?”

“No,” was the answer, “for none knows the unseen except Allah, the Most High.”

The Imam answered: “Doesn’t Allah, the Most High say: The Knower of the unseen, so He does not reveal His secrets to any except to him whom He chooses as an apostle? Allah is pleased with His Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and we are the inheritors of the Messenger whom Allah informed of whatever He willed of His secrets, and he (the Messenger) informed us of what was and what will be until the Day of Resurrection.134

62. Regarding the words of Him, the Most high: “(Some) faces on that day shall be bright, looking to their Lord 135,” he, peace be on him, said: “They mean that they (the faces) will be bright and wait for the reward of their Lord.136

63. Regarding the ‘glorification’ in the words of Him, the Exalted: “And give glory to Him (a) long (part of the) night137,” Ahmed b. Muhammad asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, and he answered: “It is the night prayer.138

64. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “And your Lord comes and (also) the angels in ranks139,” ‘Ali b. Fadda’l asked Imam al-Ridha’, and he, peace be on him, replied: ‘Surely Allah cannot be described by coming and going, Allah is far above movement. Rather, by that He means that the command of your Lord comes and (also) the angels in ranks.140

65. Regarding the words of Him, the Most High: “But He would not attempt the uphill road141,” Imam al-Ridha’ quoted them in the following tradition: Ja‘far b. Khalla’d narrated, saying: “When Abu’ al-Hasan ate, he ordered a big bowl to be put beside his food. He put into the bowl the most delicious food and ordered it to be given to the poor, and then he recited this verse: But He would not attempt the uphill road, and then he said: ‘Allah, the Great and Almighty, knows that not everyone is able to release a slave, so He has showed them the way to the Garden (through giving food to the poor).’142

66. Regarding the words of Him, the Exalted: “Did He not find you an orphan and gave you shelter? And find you unable to see and show the way? And find you in want and make you to be free from want? 143

Al-Ma’mu’n asked Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, and he answered: “Allah, the Most High, said to His Prophet: Did He not find you an orphan and gave you shelter? He says: Did He not find you alone and make the people seek shelter in you? And find you unable to see and show the way? He means with your people, and show the way means that He show them the way to recognize you. And find you in want and make you to be free from want? He says: He has made you to be free from want because He has made your supplication accepted.”

So al-Ma’mu’n said: “May Allah bless you, O son of Allah’s Apostle!144

67. Regarding the word ‘One’ in these words of Him, the Most High: “Say: He, Allah, is One.145

The Imam, peace be on him, said: “He is One not through interpreting number.146

With this sacred verse we will end our talk about some verses which Imam al-Ridha’, peace be on him, explained and interpreted or quoted in his traditions, which indicate that he was the companion of the Qur’an, and that he took great care of it during his lectures and researches.

  • 1. ‘Uyu’n Akhba’r al-Ridha’, vol. 2, p. 180.
  • 2. Ibid., p. 180. Biha’r al-Anwa’r, vol. 12, p. 23.
  • 3. ‘Uyu’n Akhba’r al-Ridha’, vol. 2, p. 180.
  • 4. Ibid., p. 183.
  • 5. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 21.
  • 6. Ibid., p. 20.
  • 7. ‘Uyu’n Akhba’r al-Ridha’, vol. 2, p. 180.
  • 8. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 20.
  • 9. Qur’an, 2, 7.
  • 10. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 85.
  • 11. Qur’an, 2, 20.
  • 12. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 106.
  • 13. Qur’an, 2, 35.
  • 14. ‘Uyu’n Akhba’r al-Ridha’.
  • 15. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 188.
  • 16. Qur’an, 2, 55.
  • 17. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 1, p. 255.
  • 18. Qur’an, 2, 67-71.
  • 19. Al-‘Ayya’shi, Tafsir.
  • 20. Qur’an, 2, 102.
  • 21. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 2, p. 355.
  • 22. Qur’an, 2, 196.
  • 23. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an.
  • 24. Qur’an, 2, 205.
  • 25. Al-Durr al-Manthu’r.
  • 26. Al-‘Ayya’shi, Tafsir.
  • 27. Qur’an, 2, 210.
  • 28. Ibid., 89, 22.
  • 29. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 3, p. 270.
  • 30. Ibid., 4, 270.
  • 31. Qur’an, 2, 260.
  • 32. Al-Qummi, Tafsir.
  • 33. Qur’an, 3, 33-34.
  • 34. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 5, p. 328.
  • 35. Qur’an, 3, 54.
  • 36. ‘Uyu’n Akhba’r al-Ridha’.
  • 37. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an.
  • 38. Al-‘Ayya’shi, Tafsir.
  • 39. Qur’an, 3, 185.
  • 40. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 6, p. 162.
  • 41. Qur’an, 3, 199.
  • 42. Al-Qummi, Tafsir.
  • 43. Qur’an, 4, 3.
  • 44. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 7, p. 279.
  • 45. Qur’an, 4, 26.
  • 46. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 8, p. 140.
  • 47. Qur’an, 4, 34.
  • 48. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 8, p. 195.
  • 49. Qur’an, 4, 58.
  • 50. Mawa’hib al-Rahma’n fi Tafsir al-Qur’an, vol. 8, p. 367.
  • 51. Qur’an, 4, 125.
  • 52. Al-Miza’n, vol. 5, 96.
  • 53. Qur’an, 4, 140.
  • 54. Al-Miza’n, vol. 5, 120.
  • 55. Qur’an, 4, 141.
  • 56. Al-Miza’n, vol. 5, 120.
  • 57. Qur’an, 4, 142.
  • 58. Al-Miza’n.
  • 59. Qur’an, 5, 33.
  • 60. Al-Miza’n, vol. 5, 331.
  • 61. Qur’an, 5, 101.
  • 62. Al-’Ayya’shi, Tafsir.
  • 63. Qur’an, 6, 19.
  • 64. Al-Miza’n, vol. 7, 41.
  • 65. Qur’an, 6, 38.
  • 66. Al-Miza’n, vol. 7, 106.
  • 67. Qur’an, 6, 77.
  • 68. Al-Miza’n, vol. 7, 205.
  • 69. Qur’an, 6, 126.
  • 70. Al-Miza’n, vol. 7, 348.
  • 71. Qur’an, 7, 32.
  • 72. Qurb al-Isna’d.
  • 73. Qur’an, 7, 175.
  • 74. Al-Qummi, Tafsir.
  • 75. Qur’an, 8, 15.
  • 76. Man La’ Yahdarahu al-Faqih.
  • 77. Qur’an, 10, 98.
  • 78. Al-‘Ayya’shi, Tafsir.
  • 79. Qur’an, 11, 34.
  • 80. Al-‘Ayya’shi, Tafsir.
  • 81. Qur’an, 11, 46.
  • 82. Al-Miza’n, vol. 11, 245.
  • 83. Qur’an, 12, 24.
  • 84. Al-Miza’n, vol. 11, p. 166.
  • 85. Qur’an, 12, 47.
  • 86. Al-Burha’n.
  • 87. Qur’an, 12, 55.
  • 88. Al-Miza’n, vol. 11, 207.
  • 89. Qur’an, 12, 77.
  • 90. Al-‘Ayya’shi, Tafsir.
  • 91. Qur’an, 12, 106.
  • 92. Al-‘Ayya’shi, Tafsir.
  • 93. Ibid., 12, 110.
  • 94. Al-Miza’n, vol. 11, p. 282.
  • 95. Qur’an, 13, 12.
  • 96. Al-Ma‘a’ni.
  • 97. Qur’an, 13, 11.
  • 98. Al-‘Ayya’shi, Tafsir.
  • 99. Qur’an, 15, 85.
  • 100. Al-Miza’n, vol. 11, p. 297.
  • 101. Qur’an, 18, 66.
  • 102. Al-Miza’n.
  • 103. Qur’an, 21, 19.
  • 104. Al-Miza’n, vol. 14, 281.
  • 105. Qur’an, 21, 72-73.
  • 106. Al-Miza’n, vol. 14, p. 308.
  • 107. Qur’an, 22, 28.
  • 108. Al-Miza’n, vol. 14, p. 377-378.
  • 109. Qur’an, 22, 29.
  • 110. Man la’ Yahdarahu al-Faqih.
  • 111. Qur’an, 24, 35.
  • 112. Al-Miza’n, vol. 15, p. 139.
  • 113. Ibid., 28, 15.
  • 114. Al-Miza’n, vol. 16, p. 22-23.
  • 115. Qur’an, 29, 57.
  • 116. Al-Miza’n, vol. 16, p. 146.
  • 117. Qur’an, 31, 10.
  • 118. Al-Qummi, Tafsir.
  • 119. Qur’an, 35, 32.
  • 120. Al-Miza’n, vol. 17, p. 49.
  • 121. Qur’an, 36, 40.
  • 122. Al-Miza’n, vol. 17, pp. 95-96.
  • 123. Qur’an, 38, 21-22.
  • 124. Al-Miza’n, vol. 17, 200.
  • 125. Qur’an, 38, 75.
  • 126. Al-Miza’n, vol. 17, 229.
  • 127. Qur’an, 48, 10.
  • 128. Al-Miza’n, vol. 18, 225-226.
  • 129. Qur’an, 52, 49.
  • 130. Al-Qummi, Tafsir.
  • 131. Qur’an, 65, 10-11.
  • 132. Al-Burha’n.
  • 133. Qur’an, 72, 26-27.
  • 134. Al-Khara’’ijj wa al-Jara’’ih.
  • 135. Qur’an, 75, 22-23.
  • 136. Al-Miza’n, vol. 20,116.
  • 137. Qur’an, 76, 26.
  • 138. Majjma‘ al-Baya’n.
  • 139. Qur’an, 89, 22.
  • 140. Al-Miza’n, vol. 20, p. 278.
  • 141. Qur’an, 90, 11.
  • 142. Al-Miza’n, vol. 20, p. 295.
  • 143. Qur’an, 93, 6-8.
  • 144. Al-Burha’n.
  • 145. Qur’an, 112, 1.
  • 146. Al-Miza’n, vol. 20, p. 391.