Maxims of Imam Musa ibn Ja'far al-Kazim
Excerpted from Tuhaf al-Uqoul
Everything has its tax and the tax of the body is the recommendable fasting. After the acknowledgement of God, the best worship is expecting the Relief. He who supplicates to God before he praises Him and blesses the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) is as same as throwing an arrow without the existence of a string. He who is certain of the reward will give generously.
The moderate will never be needy. Moderation is the half of the livelihood. Amicability is half of the intelligence. Very much care drives into senility. Hastiness is the true clumsiness. Fewness of the dependants is one of the two facilities. To depress the parents is impiety to them. As for those who beat the hand on the thigh or strike the hands together in misfortunes, their rewards will be cancelled.
No one will gain the reward of suffering a misfortune unless he who forbears it and says: We are Allah’s, and to Him we will return1.
Favors are worthless unless they are done to the highborn or the religious. God aids in as much as the need and endows with steadfastness in as much as the misfortune. The graces will persist for the moderate and the satisfied. The graces will be removed from the immoderate and the exaggerative. The fulfillment of the trusts and honesty bring earnings, while treachery and fabrication cause poverty and hypocrisy.
When God wills to punish a worm, He gives it two wings so that it will fly and a bird will kill it. The believers’ favors are worthless unless they are disregarded, veiled, and provided as soon as possible. He who disregards his favors is surely revering his friend to whom he has done the favor, he who considers his favors is surely disgracing his friend to whom he has done the favor, he who covers up the favors that he does is surely honoring his deeds, and he who fulfills his promises as soon as possible is surely giving pleasant gifts.
Anyone who acknowledges God should not complain when his earnings are delayed and should not accuse God of His acts. As a man asked him about conviction, Imam Al-Kadhim (peace be upon him) answered: The conviction is to depend upon God, submit to Him, consent to His acts, and entrust Him with the affairs.
Abdullah bin Yahya said: Within the supplication that I wrote to Imam Al-Kadhim (peace be upon him), there was the sentence, ‘Praise be to God as much as the utmost of His knowledge.’ The Imam answered my missive saying: Do not say, ‘the utmost of His knowledge,’ because His knowledge has no limits. You may say, ‘the utmost of His satisfaction.’
As a man asked him about the munificent, Imam Al-Kadhim (peace be upon him) answered: Your question has two references. If you refer to the created munificent, I can tell you that he is the one who fulfills what God has imposed upon him, while the miserly is the one who withholds what God has imposed upon him.
If you refer to the All-munificent God, I can tell you that He is the All-munificent whether He gives or not. If He gives, He gives you what is not yours, and if He does not give, He deprives you of what in not yours. Imam Al-Kazim (peace be upon him) said to one of his adherents: Fear God and say the truth even if it will cause you to perish, for your salvation lies in telling the truth. Fear God and leave the wrong even if it will save you, for your perdition lies in telling the wrong.
As his agent swore he had not betrayed him, Imam Al-Kadhim (peace be upon him) said to him: To betray me and waste my wealth are the same. However, betrayal is more harmful for you. Beware of depriving anyone in fields of obedience to God lest, you will lose two folds in fields of disobedience to God.
The believer is like the two pans of a balance — the more faith he enjoys the more misfortunes he faces. Imam Al-Kazim (peace be upon him) said as he stopped near a grave: It is quite proper to leave the first of a matter the end of which is this (grave). It is also quite proper to fear the end of a thing the first of which is this (grave).
He who speaks in the Essence of God will perish, he who seeks power will perish, and he who feels self-conceited will perish. The supplies of this world and the religion are difficult. Whenever you extend your hand towards any source of the worldly supplies, you will found out that a sinful has preceded you there. When you intend to obtain a source of the religious supplies, you will not find anyone helping you.
Four deeds are originated from extreme solicitude. They are eating soil, crumbling the clay, clipping the nails with the teeth, and biting the hair of the beard. Looking at three things improves the sight. They are verdure, flowing water, and handsome faces. Good neighborhood is not abstinence from harm. It is to tolerate the harm (of the neighbors).
Do not take liberties with your friend. You should keep any quantity of respect among you lest you will lose prudency. O son, let not God see you committing an act of disobedience against which He warned you, and let Him not miss you in an act of obedience to Him of which He ordered you. Keep serious and do not convince yourself that you are worshipping and obeying God perfectly, because no one can achieve perfection in the fields of worshipping God.
Beware of joking because it extinguishes the illumination of your faith and disgraces you personality. Beware of indolence and laziness because they both prevent you from receiving your shares of the pleasures of this world and the world to come. When injustice predominates over the right, it is unacceptable to expect good from anybody before investigation. Kissing on the mouth is not acceptable except from the wife and the little child.
- 1. 'inna lillaahi wa inna ilayhi raji'oun'