﴿وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ؛ لَوْ يُطِيعُكُمْ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِنْ الأَمْرِ لَعَنِتُّمْ، وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمْ الإِيمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ، وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمْ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ، أُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الرَّاشِدُونَ. فَضْلاً مِنْ اللَّهِ وَنِعْمَةً، وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ. وَإِنْ طَائِفَتَانِ مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا، فَإِنْ بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الأُخْرَى فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّى تَفِيءَ إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ، فَإِنْ فَاءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ، وَأَقْسِطُوا، إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ. إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ، وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ.﴾
“But Allah has endeared the faith to you and has made it seemly in your hearts, and He has made hateful to you unbelief and transgression and disobedience; these it is that are the followers of a right way. By grace from Allah and as a favor; and Allah is Knowing, Wise. And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that which acts wrongfully until it returns to Allah’s command; then if it returns, make peace between them with justice and act equitably; surely Allah loves those who act equitably. The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren and be careful of (your duty to) Allah that mercy may be had on you. (49:7-10)”
Here is a fine point showing the extreme eloquence of the Holy Qur’an in this verse. The Lord of the Universe, while pointing out a thing concerning some addresses all together. It is by way of wisdom and strategy: “endeared the faith to you.” Among Muslims, the number of those is always small in whose hearts Faith is dear most and beautified and so also every sin is, for them, bitter than every bitter thing. This, indeed, involves discrimination. Not even a hundred out of a million Muslims belong to this category. Yet, if it is said: “endeared the faith to some of you.” though factual, it would hint at some incompatibility with the unity and integrity of Muslims.
In other words, God Almighty wishes to maintain the dignity of His friends, not to reveal or make known their weaknesses. One of the wisdoms behind this is, due to the nicety of one of them, all may look respectable. He has kept His friends hidden so that all may become honorable with this honor and that all may, due to the probability that the other one is God’s friend, appear respectable. But if it were to be recognized, then others would be unconcerned. Had He said: “endeared the faith to some of you” many Muslims might become disappointed and say: This does not concern us.
The last part of this verse says: “these it is that are the followers of a right way.” That is the people of guidance, those who walk on the path of truth, the fortunate ones. So this is both in accordance with the fact and also as per the apparent meaning of the verse. The people of guidance among Muslims are always in minority. It is so, rather from the first day of creation until the final Day of Judgment.
﴿وَقَلِيلٌ مِنْ عِبَادِي الشَّكُورُ﴾
“…and very few of My servants are grateful.”1
It also means reformation or improvement, meaning: Those who have reformed themselves from every angle and in every respect. There is no corruption or mischief in any of their deeds. Their deeds and words are true. The beliefs in their hearts are also correct and so their morals are good. Of course this group is small. Most of the people have not reached this stage and it is obvious from their quarrels and disputes. In other words, as was also hinted yesterday, excepting this little group, the remaining Muslims are lustful and slave of their desires. Everyone wishes that things should be as desired by them, by they religious or other than religious. Hearts of the people are never ready to recognize one another.
O those who have become pious and competent! O believers whom God favored! Have no more disputes with others. You have given up desires, lusts and greed and have attained agreement and peacefulness. If there is a quarrel between two groups of Muslims; if they draw swords against one another; if they point guns at one another, you, who have reformed, should not sit at rest. It is your duty to make peace between the two parties.
O reformed ones! You must not sit restfully if there is a dispute or quarrel in your families, among your relatives. Make reconciliation between them. The way of brining peace is that, first you should know the root cause of the dispute or unrest. Where is the point of leakage of unrest, plug it. See with whom is the truth. If truth is ascertained, the one who is in the wrong should be made to submit. If he agrees it is good. Otherwise use force until he improves and finally the dispute is solved. So the root of trouble has to be found out. Sometimes it is also possible that the quarrel was like a joke, which made the two parties fight while it was due only to some misunderstanding or an irresponsible word.
As mentioned under the explanation of this holy verse, people informed the Prophet that two big Muslim groups, Aws and Khazraj are fighting with each another. After how much trouble, had the Holy Prophet calmed them earlier and now once again their ignorance had erupted and they began to throw stones on one another’s heads resulting in a strange turmoil. The Prophet arrived to make peace and asked, “What happened? How this fire has erupted so furiously?”
After inquiries, it was known that once the Holy Prophet was riding his donkey and the donkey urinated. There was a hypocrite named Abdullah bin Ubayy who though apparently a Muslim, all knew that he was a liar and ill hearted disbeliever from within. He said, “Your donkey has suffocated us, go away.” Thus he insulted the Holy Prophet, saying the above mischievous words.
Abdullah bin Rawaha who belonged to the tribe of Khazraj and who respected the Holy Prophet very much told Abdullah bin Ubayy, “O shameless fellow! What do you say? The smell of the urine of the donkey of the Prophet is better than you. You are more disgusting than the urine of the donkey.” That fellow also retorted and spoke harsher words. Summarily, voices rose and hands reached one another’s necks. The relatives of this person and the relatives of that person jumped into the fray. The Holy Prophet arrived and silenced them.
The Holy Prophet told a word and all troubles were wiped out. He did not want that one word should bring in so much turmoil and destruction and such a rush for finishing one another. All those who are wise should also act like the Holy Prophet and must not remain unconcerned in times of quarrels. If situation demands force, they may apply force also but should not allow the trouble to prolong and spread further.
It is easy to stem the flood at the beginning but very difficult afterwards. (Persian Saying)
If continued, it becomes bigger and bigger day by day. Perhaps you might have also heard the story of the war of Haider, which proved to be bounty for Iran. I also did not remember it but I have read it several times in books. It continued perhaps for a hundred years. I wondered why no one came to settle it for such a long period!
They write: A man named Sultan Haider was one of the forefathers of the Safavid kings in Tabriz and so also Shah Nematullah whose grave, as you also know, is in Kerman, who was a leader of a number of dervishes (Gnostics). It is said that, during that period of three hundred and a few more years before, some people became devotees of Sultan Haider and some became the followers of Nemat.
Then enmity between them went on increasing day by day. What is astonishing is that both had put the word dervish before their names. In those days, in every city there were followers of both these dervishes and the followers of both were increasing day by day and so were their friends and relatives. These matters reached to the point of war which erupted after every three or four months every year. Every city was split into two groups, one Haideri and another Nemati and it is also said that during the public holidays of Ashura (10th Mohurrum) when sentiments were high, they rose against one another and killed one another. When the two groups came out for beating chests for Mohurrum mourning, they clashed and even killed one another. This continued till the time of Nasiruddin Shah Qachar, who it is said, for the first four years of his rule, made many efforts tactfully to end this slowly and finally succeeded in bringing peace in Iran.
The Haideri and Nemati wars ended, but there arrived a worse trouble. You must have heard from your aged relatives what calamities had come on the heads of the people due to constitutional rioting and tyranny. How much splitting of hearts happened about seventy or eighty years ago when a lot of blood was shed in almost every city and how many Sayyids, scholars, good people and traders etc were killed. In Shiraz, they killed the late Hajj Shaykh Ali Akbar Istehbanati, who was also called the third great martyr.
The late Sayyid Ahmed Dashtaki was hanged in the same Husainiyah. They collected his bones and threw them in a well and so on. How much trouble, mischief and turmoil related to the constitutional trouble and oppression. As per secret news, reportedly given by Amirul Momineen: Woe unto the mischief, which will arise out of a word of justice!
Then what about that which happened after the Constitutional Riots! We have heard repeatedly that around the same city of Shiraz (I do not name them) there are some small hamlets and villages where there still is splitting of hearts due to disputes and differences. The upper street and the lower street is there everywhere. In such situation of enmities, the Divine Order is that some of the Muslims must come out to make peace, of course provided they are righteous themselves. If no action is taken according to this holy verse, it is due to the fact that the number of righteous people is always less and that small group also has not enough power to bring people to agreement and peace.
O Messenger of Allah! Your dear Husain rose up to bring reform. He himself said, “I have not come out to get kingdom and worldly wealth. Rather, I have come out to reform the community. So that killings of Shias, which was the way of Muawiyah, should be stopped. I intend to drive out the mischief that Umayyads have brought in.” Then Husain moved. He also gave a call that a group of righteous people may come up but there was none prepared to help and get killed in the process.
Before Husain, Amirul Momineen Ali had arisen. Though he made reform through the battle of Jamal and won and suppressed the unjust. But, alas, once again he had to be at war for eighteen months, but the mischief remained and falsehood was not destroyed completely. At last, he returned and was soon martyred.
The complete reformation, which can per force remove troubles and disputes, will be in the time of the appearance of the Twelfth Imam Mahdi the Awaited one. One who wants to bring in reform requires two things. The first condition is that he himself must be pious and righteous and secondly, he should also have might and power. This is to found only in Mahdi. Prior to Mahdi, either there was piety or power. Those who were pious had no might. A reformer must first be reformed himself, his desires must be under his control, he should not be a mischief-maker or a corrupt sinner as every sinner is a tyrant who has wronged and corrupted himself. So first of all, he must reform himself, that is, he must be like a physician who wants to treat a patient. Otherwise it will be said, ‘Physician, heal thyself’. How can one who is corrupt remove corruption? One who will remove all these sins and passion worship and bring total reform in the whole universe is only the Master of the Age (Imam Mahdi).
Secondly the enforcing might of God which is with that great personality who is endowed with his righteousness; and God has also given him the authority to purify this world of all mischiefs, corruptions and tyranny, which have existed in all times and which are increasing day by day. Lies are told, properties are confiscated unjustly, honors are taken away and innocent blood shed, all this trouble will be stopped by the hand of Master of the Age.
Now pay attention to the translation of these Holy verses:
﴿وَإِنْ طَائِفَتَانِ مِنْ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا، فَإِنْ بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الأُخْرَى فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّى تَفِيءَ إِلَى أَمْرِ اللَّهِ، فَإِنْ فَاءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ، وَأَقْسِطُوا، إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ. إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ، وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ.﴾
“And if two parties of the believers quarrel, make peace between them; but if one of them acts wrongfully towards the other, fight that which acts wrongfully until it returns to Allah’s command; then if it returns, make peace between them with justice and act equitably; surely Allah loves those who act equitably. The believers are but brethren, therefore make peace between your brethren and be careful of (your duty to) Allah that mercy may be had on you. (49:9-10)”
Here it means the believer Muslims, even if apparently Muslims, not those who truthfully say: There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. They recite Qur’an and offer prayer. If they disintegrate into two parties and fight with one another, you should not turn away from them and must not remain aloof, but make peace between them. Of course as far as possible.
Now, when stepping forward to make peace, first see what is the root cause of quarrel. Set it right. Check with whom is truth and justice. If the one who is wrong submits, it is very good. Otherwise fight until the troublemaker is removed from the field. If one of the two parties lies and makes excesses then fight with it with arms and ammunition, come to battlefield with force, of course on condition that means are available and fight the oppressor. Force him until he submits to the Command of God and stops injustice and lying. If they turn back, repent and stop lying, you also issue orders for them both with full justice and fairplay, as Allah loves the just people.
The word “equitably” has been repeated so that after they reform, they should give up unjust and false talk and make peace and make up for the losses suffered by the oppressed; captured people must be released and total justice should be brought into action, in practice. Then Almighty God orders in general terms that the Muslims should realize the rights of one another and raise their morals.
Maintenance of brotherhood in the Muslim world is a God-given command, that is, the Almighty Allah Who has created man is also the giver of religion, a way of life or code of conduct. He himself has created brotherhood between the Muslims. Every Muslim is, by the order of God, brother of another: “The believers are but brethren.” This verse is not introductory but is a Divine Command. There are orders regarding relatives, concerning marriage and inheritance. Then there is a ‘foster’ brotherhood.
Foster siblings do not inherit one another but marriage rules apply to them, that is, the foster mother, sister and daughter cannot marry the foster son, brother and father (it is unlawful). But the religious brotherhood, which has been ordered does not involve rules regarding inheritance and marriage. These orders concern equality and brotherhood or being friends and helpers. A Muslim must help another Muslim as they are like organs of the same body. You return to one great grandfather, Muhammad Mustafa. You are like one organs of one body.
All human beings are one another’s body organs as in the matter of creation they are from one pearl. If one part of human body gets pain, other organs also become restless. (Persian couplets)
Your condition should be such that if you come to know that a Muslim anywhere is in some trouble you should feel that you yourself are in distress. How much efforts you make for your own work, be just like that for others too. You must not look only at your own interest. On the contrary, you should give preference to the happiness of your brother over your own happiness or pleasure because it is said that he is your brother. Almighty God says that you are brothers. You have overlooked (as a Muslim) yourself and your desire, as you have believed in God’s Command and Qur’an. So this is the true path. “The believers are but brethren.” Be one another’s eyes. What does it mean? It means faults, defects and troubles facing one another be made known tactfully. Be well wishers of one another; give good advice to one another. It is your duty to tell your brother to look ahead so that he may not be hit with a stone and he may not come in a danger. Help him in every possible manner. “Therefore make peace between your brethren.”
If two Muslims have an argument, you should come up and try to remove their disagreement and dispute. Do not say, “What I have to do with you!” They (the two at dispute) may either be a man and his wife, or a father and his son or two brothers. Any two whom the devil has thrown in dispute, you must hasten to bring them to agreement. Do not allow the dispute to linger on. If the matter is not settled soon it will result in hatred, furthering enmity from bad to worse. A matter, which was partial in the beginning, will turn into a whole big trouble. The way of settling disputes has been mentioned before. Pursue it and see where is the root cause of trouble.
Then improve things therefrom. If it is about money, spend money, as it will be the best kind of spending (charity). Arrange a meeting for restoring relations between quarrelling man and his wife, as no other charity is better than it. If someone has a complaint and he calls you, reach him soon and ask him what the trouble is and how much does it cost. If ten thousand Toomans can improve relations, give that amount and go. Do not allow a Muslim to go to the court against a Muslim as it may result in imprisonment of one of them and even that may not settle things.
“…and be careful of (your duty to) Allah… (49:10)”
If you desire that Allah should be kind to you, then pay attention to what He commands. Leave aside your desires and inclinations. Do not give up efforts for settlement and agreement. Leave aside your own interests for the sake of the brotherhood of Faith. See and hear what God says: Forgive and make peace. Give preference to others over your own self. Then see what God Almighty does to you:
“…that mercy may be had on you. (49:10)”
Here let me tell you a brief story.
Ahmed bin Hasan bin Khalid al Barqi was one of the great Shia scholars. He had written a book Mahasin in the fourth century of the Hijri era. He was living during the earlier years of the Major Occultation of the Master of the Age. He has written about an event he himself has experienced. In a summary, he writes: I had yearly dues to be paid to the government of Kudakeen (Apparently Kudakeen was a governor appointed by the Abbaside Caliph in Iran). I had purchased land in Kashan. The government was collecting an amount of ten thousand dirhams from me. For some years I calculated the amounts regularly and no government officer visited me to claim any amount. One year there was an error in accounting in my case.
Officials came to me and said, “Make payment of ten thousand dirhams on account of the land of Kashan.” I was in trouble financially and did not have this amount to pay. I said, “Let me go and see the accountant and ask him to recheck.” When I went to see him I found that he was kind hearted, aged and was physically very weak. His body was like a skeleton even having some scars. It was very strange. When he saw me he fell on my feet and began to weep saying, “O my brother! Rush to help me. You are the Shia of the Progeny of Muhammad and I am also a Shia of the Progeny of Muhammad. Kindly help me.”
Finally the author of Mahasin says, “I asked him, ‘What is your problem? I may solve it.’” He replied, “Some bad people have backbitten me. They have made an allegation against me before Kudakeen that I have corresponded with the caliph and have complained against Kudakeen and requested the caliph to remove him. So they caught me and beat me so much that you can see (my wounds) and they have confiscated all my possessions as well my property and taken away whatever cash I had. Now I have nothing. I am deprived of everything. My body is also weak and wounded. I do not know what more they will do to me.”
The author of Mahasin, this noble scholar, says, “I said to myself, ‘O My Lord! I wish I should go to the accountant, Mazandarani and do something for removing the trouble of this servant of God. Is it possible? Finally, I may talk about ten thousand dirhams myself and seek his relief. I may say it is my money, not his but this was against the friendship with the Progeny of Muhammad. He is also a friend of the Progeny of Muhammad.’ I was confused when my eye fell on a book in a corner of my room. I took it up. When I opened it, it was mentioned on its first page: ‘It is narrated in Kashaf that Ja’far bin Muhammad Sadiq has said that if one goes out with an intention for fulfilling the need of a faithful believer for God’s sake, God improves his affairs. If he himself has any need, God fulfils it.’ When I read this statement, I got up and went ahead to solve the problem of that old gentleman. I reached the gathering of Mazandarani and he gave me a lot of respect (Of course he was one of the respectable scholars of his time). When he sat down he recited holy verses to the effect:
﴿وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الآخِرَةَ، وَلا تَنسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنْ الدُّنْيَا، وَأَحْسِنْ كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ، وَلا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الأَرْضِ، إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ.﴾
“And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love the mischief-makers.”2
I recited in response:
﴿هَلْ جَزَاءُ الإِحْسَانِ إِلاَّ الإِحْسَانُ؟﴾
“Is the reward of goodness aught but goodness?”3
Mazandarani, who was a wise person, said, “O Mr. Barqi! It seems you have something to recommend. Please ask. You have, purposefully, recited this verse of Qur’an. If you seek any help from me, please tell me, so that I may do whatever you want.” Baqi also did not make him wait and told everything about the poor oppressed man against whom allegations were made in the government office, that they complained to the caliph about him. Consequently they took away his wealth and beat him up. Then he asked, “Do you know him?” He replied, “Yes. By God, he is a Shia, by God, he is one of the friends of Ahle Bait.” He ordered, “Bring him here soon.”
Then said, “Bring his files.” Then all that was confiscated from him was returned to him and so also all his money. He also gave him his personal dress and made much apology and gave him a lot of respect and honor and made him return to his business. Then he turned towards Ahmed bin Khalid Barqi and before the latter could speak a word, he said, “I want to give you the ten thousand dinars. So please bring me paper.” Thus he did the work of Barqi without asking. Barqi was astonished.
He thanked and apologized. He said, “Please do not destroy my deed. I have done nothing. Whatever I did it was only for God’s sake.” Ahmed Barqi, the author of Mahasin wanted to kiss his hand. He said, “Woe unto me. Do you want to destroy my deed? I should kiss your hand. You are the means of a good deed in my favor. I, the unfortunate fellow, had done a sinful deed. You relieved me. I had oppressed an innocent person without knowing the truth. You have done me a great favor. You guided me aright. You deserve that I should give you ten thousand dirhams in exchange of the guidance you gave me. Barqi says, “In addition to what he had paid to the government, he gave these ten thousand in cash.”
You now understood the decision of God! Whoever works for God, He also will fulfill his affair in a nicer manner. May Allah make all of us work righteously.
﴿وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ﴾
“And be careful of (your duty to) Allah that mercy may be had on you… (49:10)”
Come up to reform affairs and be certain that God will not destroy any place so long as the people there are reformed and righteous.
﴿وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ لِيُهْلِكَ الْقُرَى بِظُلْمٍ وَأَهْلُهَا مُصْلِحُونَ﴾
“And it did not beseem your Lord to have destroyed the towns tyrannously, while their people acted well.”4
If you give up improvement and reform and become corrupt, then calamities will also come, both external and internal troubles will surely arrive. Abundance will be lifted up from farmlands, so also from your animals and even from your life spans. You may not know how abundance was removed from life. Ask your elders. In olden days it was never heard that a youth of thirty died of a heart attack suddenly. At that time aged old people died in this way. Now you hear that a twenty-seven year old fainted and died at once. Thus the abundance is lifted from lives.
Even if such a heart patient survives, then what? He will not get any benefit from his weakened life. What is worse than this? Actually hearts should improve during the days and nights of holy Ramadhan. Such improvement must multiply everyday. But what is the current situation? Today so many days have passed but there is no difference from the first day! May be due to the lack of abundance.
There should have been a continuous day-to-day reformation. If two of these days are alike then it means there has been fraud, which caused the loss. Is our heart’s condition today better than what it was on the first day? I do not know. You recite these days in Dua Abu Hamzah: No day passes over us wherein we get a fresh bounty from You whereas we commit a fresh sin and yet You do not take away Your bounty from us. O My Merciful Lord! When I look at my scroll of deeds I find that it is full of sins. Whenever I look into this heart of mine, which has become so bad that it is harder than a rock, darker than a moonless night, I find that it has made no progress at all since the first of Ramadhan, two-third of which has already passed away. My God! I cannot see any effect of my fasting, my early rising. O Allah! Kindly make it so that, due to the holiness of Ramadhan I may be one of the real keeper of fasts. O God! Our faces are like those who fast, we fast and we pray. O Lord! Kindly make us of those real worshippers whose chief is the Master of the Age. Please improve our affairs. Verily You have power over everything.