Understanding the characteristics of a true Shi'a as explained to us by the 6th Holy Imam, Ja'far Al-Sadiq (a) whilst commemorating the days and nights of His martyrdom by Sheikh Usama Al-Attar.
Imam Al-Sadiq 'alayhi as-salaam says 'Inna la nuhibbu,' which means 'surely we love of our Shi'ah the one who has these eight characteristics', not one of them, not two, all eight. What are they? W.I.S.E S.H.I.A [Acronym]
'W'- a Shi'ah should be 'aaqil, which means having wisdom, 'Wise'. That is the 'w,' wise. We will go to the next one because they kind of combine together.
The 'I' for 'Intelligent understanding' - a Shi'ah, not only is he 'aaqil, he has a mind, he is wise, he can read between the lines. He is visionary, he can assess situations and realise what their consequences will be. This is a true Shi'ah.
Then comes the 'S'. What is the 'S' for? -'Scholars', scholars of religion. We heard just now about how Imam Al-Sadiq salaamu-Llah 'alayh, trained some of his companions to become scholars.
We have the 'W' for what? wise. 'I' for intelligent understanding. 'S' for scholars, the 'E', my dear brothers and my dear sisters, as we are going to see here, is 'Effective control of situations' - 'halim'. They say halim, What is Halim? Sometimes they translate it as forbearant, someone who is forbearant. What does forbearant really mean? A halim, when someone comes to shout at him, to yell at him, he does not immediately get angry and shout back and punches back. This is not the akhlaaq of the halim. Halim thinks, assesses the situation and responds accordingly. That then completes the wise part.
What about the S.H.I.A part?
The 'S' my dear brothers and my dear sisters, we have put it on right there, 'Strongly mindful of people' - mudaarat al naas. Imam Al-Sadiq 'alayhi as-salaam, says, "I command you to be respectful to the oppressors, dhalimin." If someone says something to you, be kind to them. Be kind to them. Why? Because maybe you can guide them.
the 'H' is for 'Highly patient' - and the word imam uses is 'sabur'. Sabur is not like saabir, saabir is someone who is patient, sabur is someone who is extremely patient, highly patient. As a Shi'ah, you have to have a lot of patience, lots - highly patient. What else?
That takes us to the 'I' now and the 'I' is for 'Ingenuous' - What is ingenuous? It means that you are the truthful, noble in your communication, in your interaction. And that takes us to the last one.
The 'A' which is 'Adhering to loyalty', 'wafi'-'loyal'. A Shi'ah is loyal, loyal to his Imam, loyal to his Prophet, loyal to the Qur'an, loyal to Islam, loyal to the mu'minin. He takes care of them, looks after them to the best of his ability.