This can be discussed under a few subheadings:
1. It is that the being of His Eminence is a bounty.
2. Thankfulness of bounty is obligatory.
3. Thankfulness of bounty is source of its increase.
4. Meaning of thankfulness.
5. Praying is a kind of thankfulness and it is indication to other types of thankfulness.
Both reason and religious texts prove this matter.
Rational proof: There is no doubt that the most important and the most important of the bounties are those that are sources of discerning and divine recognition, useful sciences, achieving high grades and bounties of the hereafter. And this bounty is the Imam himself, as through him is Allah recognized and worshipped, and the people through him attain high positions and special bestowals as proved by a large number of traditional reports some of which we have quoted in Part One of this book.
As for textual proof: There are a large number of traditional reports that support this, some of them are as follows:
1. In Usool Kafi through his own chain of narrators from His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (as) in the exegesis of the verse:
أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ بَدَّلُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ كُفْرًا وَأَحَلُّوا قَوْمَهُمْ دَارَ الْبَوَارِ
“Hast thou not seen those who exchanged the bounty of Allah with unthankfulness…” (Qur’an, Surah Ibrahim 14:28)
“We are that bounty which Allah has bestowed on His creatures, and whoever triumphs on the Day of Resurrection, will triumph through us.”1
2. In Ghayat al-Maraam quoting from Tafseer of Ayyashi it is reported that Amirul Momineen (as) said regarding the verse:
ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ
“Then on that day you shall most certainly be questioned about the boons.” (Qur’an, Surah Takathur 102:8)
We are the ‘bounty’.”2
A similar tradition has also come down from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as).
3. It is narrated from His Eminence, Abul Hasan Moosa bin Ja’far (as) that he said:
“We are bounty for the believers and Alqam for the disbelievers.”
Alqam is colocynth, a bitter fruit which is used to describe something very offending. Indeed the disbeliever in his corrupted view considers the Imam to be bitter since he is aloof from the Imam. Or it is possible that it may imply the Judgment Day when the believer due to his faith would be given different types of bounties by the Infallible Imams (as) and the disbeliever due to his infidelity would be subjected to an everlasting punishment and permanent torture by the Imams.
Majmaul Bayan quotes Ayyashi through his own chain of narrators that His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) said:
“We, Ahle Bayt, are that same bounty the Almighty Allah has bestowed to His creatures through us. And by us people obtain amity after they had been disunited. And through us the Almighty Allah has made their hearts friendly and made them brothers after they had been enemies. And through us He guided them to Islam and it is the same bounty that would not be stopped and the Almighty Allah would question the people about the bounty that He has given them – that is the Prophet and his Family.”3
In Kifayatul Athar and Kamaluddin it is narrated from Muhammad bin Ziyad Azadi that he said that he heard Imam Moosa Ibne Ja’far (as) say regarding the verse:
وَأَسْبَغَ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعَمَهُ ظَاهِرَةً وَبَاطِنَةً
“and made complete to you His favors outwardly and …inwardly.” (Qur’an, Surah Luqman 31:20)
“The apparent bounty is the Imam who is seen and the hidden bounty is the Imam who is in occultation.” The narrator says: I asked: “Is there any among the Imams that shall go into occultation?” He replied: “Yes, his person would be unseen by the people but his remembrance would remain hidden in the hearts of the believers. And he is the twelfth one of us. For him the Almighty Allah would make every difficult thing easy and tame every disobedient one. He would open up the treasures of the earth for him and make every remoteness a proximity for him.
He would destroy every disobedient sinner and eliminate every transgressing satan at his hands. He is the son of the best of the maids. His birth would be concealed from the people and it won’t be lawful for them to mention his name. Till the time the Almighty Allah would make him appear. Then he would fill the earth with justice and equity, as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression.”4
It was mentioned that a healthy intellect commands that thankfulness be observed for blessings received. Verses of the Holy Qur’an also prove this matter:
فَاذْكُرُونِي أَذْكُرْكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لِي وَلَا تَكْفُرُونِ
“Therefore remember Me, I will remember you, and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me.” (Qur’an, Surah Baqarah 2:152)
وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
“And when your Lord made it known: If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful, My chastisement is truly severe.” (Qur’an, Surah Ibrahim 14:7)
وَاشْكُرُوا لِلَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ
“And give thanks to Allah if Him it is that you serve.” (Qur’an, Surah Baqarah 2:172)
وَاشْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ إِيَّاهُ تَعْبُدُونَ
“And give thanks for Allah’s favor if Him do you serve.” (Qur’an, Surah Nahl 16:114)
وَاشْكُرُوا لَهُ ۖ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
“And be grateful to Him; to Him you shall be brought back.” (Qur’an, Surah Ankaboot 29:17)
In addition to the verse:
“If you thank…”
There are numerous traditions also that prove this meaning. Some of them are as follows:
1. In Kafi from a chain of narrators that is equal to authentic, from His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) it is narrated that he said:
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “The Almighty Allah opens a door for His servant by his thankfulness whose increase had been stopped.”5
2. In the same book it is narrated from His Eminence, Sadiq (as) that he said:
It is written in the Torah that: Thank the one who has given you a blessing and reward the one who has thanked you. Because if blessings are thanked for, they shall not be destroyed. But if they are not thanked for they would not be lasting. Thankfulness is the source of increase in bounties and is a guarantee against their being changed.6
3. Also in the tradition of Muawiyah bin Wahab quoted from His Eminence, Sadiq (as) it is mentioned that he said:
“Anyone who thanks is given an increase. The Almighty Allah says:
“If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more…”7
Thankfulness is a recompense for the bounty received and thanklessness is its denial. I have realized this by the grace and inspiration of the Almighty Allah and all the explanations about thankfulness go back to this same point. And also its types that have come in traditions also revert to this same meaning. And consideration and perfect contemplation on Qur’anic verses and traditions that are related from Infallible Imams (as) on this matter also guide to this meaning. For example traditions that say: The believer is such that all his defects are destroyed. And that: The most thankful of men with regard to the Almighty Allah is one who is most thankful to the people. And other such traditions. On the basis of this, attribution of thankfulness to Allah is a reality, just as its attribution to the people is also a fact.
This description is the most correct and brief of the explanations about thankfulness, that: To use or spend the divine bounties in the way they are meant to be.
As the definition that we have presented includes both thankfulness to Creator as well as thankfulness to the creatures.
When it is understood that thankfulness is a recompense of the kindness received, it is obvious that it is of different types and their root is thankfulness by the heart, thankfulness of the Lord and thankfulness of the parts of the body.
Thankfulness by the heart: It is performed by recognizing the blessing and knowing that it is from the Almighty Allah, as Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) says in the following tradition:
“If one who is given a bounty by the Almighty Allah, recognizes it by his conscience, he had fulfilled its thanks.”8
Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) says:
“Recognizing by the conscience means knowing the value of that bounty and realizing that it is the Almighty Allah Who has given him this bounty.”
I say: Among the effects of this recognition in planning the honoring of that bounty and the display of its aim by the tongue and body – being two other types of thankfulness. And among the signs of thankfulness by the tongue, is mention of praise and admiration and repeated mention of the bounty and praying for its continuation; and among the signs of bodily thanks is to make effort and prepare to observe obedience and worship.
As mentioned in Kafi from His Eminence, Abu Ja’far Baqir (as) that he said:
“On a night of her turn Ayesha said: O Messenger of Allah, why do you subject yourself to so much hardship while the Almighty Allah has forgiven your past and future sins? He replied: O Ayesha, should I not be a thankful servant?”
It is also narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said:
“Thankfulness of a bounty is keeping away from prohibited things and the complete thankfulness is that one says: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.
I say: The apparent meaning of this tradition is that true thankfulness is keeping away from sinful acts and praise by the tongue completes it. And among the bodily signs of thankfulness is giving water for the sake of Allah as some traditions have mentioned.
Other physical signs include performing the prostration of thanks.
Also that one should give respect to the bounty, for example picking up a piece of bread from the ground and eating it, and such other things…
Now that you have understood this, I say: When the being of our Master, Hazrat Hujjat (as) is one of the most important divine blessings on us, and our recognition of this bounty is itself a great bounty, rather it is such a blessing that nothing could be compared to it, because it is a part of perfection of faith and a cause of its completion. And we have explained that all the apparent and hidden bounties and favors branch out from this great blessing – that is the existence of the Imam – thus it is obligatory on us that we try our utmost to perform the thanks of this bounty so that we may attain other great bounties also as Allah, the Mighty and Sublime has promised that He would increase the blessings of those who thank and a divine promise is never broken.
Indeed it must be said that according to correct reasoning it is impossible to fulfill all the rights of this great divine bounty:
What is apparent from the hand and the tongue
May we be able to offer thankfulness to You as it behoves.
However, we have to do what is possible so that something is accomplished:
1. Sincere recognition and knowledge of this lofty divine blessing.
2. Relating his merits and publicizing the proofs of this great personality.
3. Giving Sadaqah for the safety of His Eminence.
4. Seeking proximity to him by performing those acts that he likes.
5. Praying to the Almighty to bestow us his true recognition so that we could be of those who thank and accept him.
6. Arranging for sincere supplication for early reappearance and the removal of the ending of occultation.
This is one of the types of thankfulness for bounties and that which support it are the following:
First: It is that this act is a way of honoring and respecting His Eminence as it is known that whoever wants to pay respect to a person he prays for him and revives his remembrance among his friends and we have previously mentioned that paying respect to a bounty is also a kind of bounty and thankfulness also is a favor in recompense of a favor.
Second: By praying for His Eminence, we would be able to be fully attentive to him. And it was also said before that being attentive to a blessing is a type of thankfulness and ignoring it, is a kind of thanklessness.
That which proves this matter are verses of the Holy Qur’an from Surah Saba mentioned after the passing away of Sulaiman (as):
لَقَدْ كَانَ لِسَبَإٍ فِي مَسْكَنِهِمْ آيَةٌ ۖ جَنَّتَانِ عَنْ يَمِينٍ وَشِمَالٍ ۖ كُلُوا مِنْ رِزْقِ رَبِّكُمْ وَاشْكُرُوا لَهُ ۚ بَلْدَةٌ طَيِّبَةٌ وَرَبٌّ غَفُورٌ.
فَأَعْرَضُوا فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ سَيْلَ الْعَرِمِ وَبَدَّلْنَاهُمْ بِجَنَّتَيْهِمْ جَنَّتَيْنِ ذَوَاتَيْ أُكُلٍ خَمْطٍ وَأَثْلٍ وَشَيْءٍ مِنْ سِدْرٍ قَلِيلٍ .
ذَٰلِكَ جَزَيْنَاهُمْ بِمَا كَفَرُوا ۖ وَهَلْ نُجَازِي إِلَّا الْكَفُورَ.
“Certainly there was a sign for Saba in their abode; two gardens on the right and the left; eat of the sustenance of your Lord and give thanks to Him: a good land and a Forgiving Lord! But they turned aside, so We sent upon them a torrent of which the rush could not be withstood, and in place of their two gardens We gave to them two gardens yielding bitter fruit and (growing) tamarisk and a few lote-trees. This We requited them with because they disbelieved; and We do not punish any but the ungrateful.” (Qur’an, Surah Saba 34:15-17)
In these verses their forsaking is compared to disbelief.
Third: In some authentic books it is narrated from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said:
“Reward one who does good to you, if you cannot, pray for him till you are sure his favor has been recompensed.”9
It is also quoted from the fourth Imam, Zainul Aabideen (as) in The Charter of Rights that he said:
“And as for the right of one who has done a favor to you, it is that you thank him and do a good turn to him in return and accord respect to him and pray to Allah with all sincerity in his favor. Thus if you do all this you have thanked him secretly and openly; and if one day you are capable, reward him.”10
Fourth: We have previously mentioned that practical thankfulness is that one should spend every divine blessing in way specified for it by Allah. If this is not done, it would tantamount to be thanklessness and this is the meaning of denial of the favor.
Without any doubt, praying of an early reappearance of our master, the Master of the Time (aj) is from the aims for which the tongue was created, and by this Dua one would be fulfilling the thanks for the blessing of the tongue.
The proof of what we have stated is: This Dua is one of those things for which the tongue is created, traditional reports and supplications are recorded from the Family of Revelation about this important matter. Among the supplications are: Iftitah, Day of Arafah, Day of Dahwul Ardh, Dua of Yunus bin Abdur Rahman, Dua Amrawi that has come from the Imam of the Time (as), Dua after Midnight Prayer, and in Prostration, and Duas mentioned in Kafi,Dua for Friday Morning and after the Noon and Afternoon Prayer, Qunoot of Friday recorded in Jamaal al-Usboo, Dua of the 15th of Shaban, Dua of 21stRamadan, Dua of our master, His Eminence, Moosa bin Ja’far after Asr Prayer and on Friday after Prayer of Ja’far, Qunoot of His Eminence, Imam Hasan Askari (as) and other numerous prayers…whose mention alone is sufficient here and their details will be given in Part Seven of this book.
- 1. Kafi; Vol. 1, Pg. 217
- 2. Ghayat al-Maraam Pg. 259
- 3. Majma al-Bayan, Vol. 10, Pg. 535
- 4. Kifayatul Athar, 323; Kamaluddin, Vol. 2, Pg. 368
- 5. Kafi; Vol. 2, Pg. 94
- 6. Kafi; Vol. 2, Pg. 94
- 7. Kafi; Vol. 2, Pg. 95
- 8. Kafi; Vol. 2, Pg. 96
- 9. Wasailush Shia, Vol. 11, Pg. 537
- 10. Amali, Sadooq, Pg. 304, Gathering no. 59, Beirut