Part 9

﴿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.﴾

“And know that among you is Allah’s Apostle; should he obey you in many a matter, you would surely fall into distress, 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. (49:7-8)”

Religion is dearer than life to a faithful believer

Muslim means the one who accepts the three basics, namely: Oneness of God, Prophethood and Hereafter. If he also accepts Justice of God and Vicegerency of Prophet (Imamat) he is a Shia and a perfect believer who deserves salvation, high ranks and positions as described in the Holy verse. He is higher than an ordinary Muslim. God beautifies Faith in his heart and makes it (faith) precious and dear and his condition is such that he is prepared to reduce his body into pieces to safeguard his religion just as our Master, Amirul Momineen had said, “O Messenger of Allah! Is my religion safe therein?” O Shias of Ali! This is Faith. If I am killed and my head is torn apart, what about my Faith and religion? Will it remain safe and unharmed? The Holy Prophet replied, “Yes, it is.”

Ali said, “Then I am unconcerned. I do not fear.” Let my religion remain intact and protected, whatever may happen to my body. After all man has to die, either in his bed in his house or in a prayer niche of a Mosque, or under a taxi. At last one has to die. This body may be scattered. May God never make our Faith weak and scattered. When one goes from this world, he should go with complete faith in his heart.

The Faithful feels disgusted due to sins

Now as regards deeds, you should know who is a believer or a true faithful person? He is the one about whom God says:

﴿وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمْ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ﴾

“…and He has made hateful to you unbelief and transgression and disobedience… (49:7)”

His nature abhors disbelief and he is disgusted with sins.

There is difference between unbelief, transgression and disobedience. Unbelief means denial. Like one says, “O gentlemen! These things are now outdated and old. Now man has conquered space and is planning to colonize the moon.” In a way you are mocking by saying, “What is this all about the first night in the grave?” Unbelief means denial of the origin and end (of man).

Transgression means sinning. It is not as adverse as disbelief. A transgressor does not deny and mock Allah and Judgment Day, accounting, heaven and hell. Rather he believes in them. Yet he becomes a bully and a ruffian. When he is asked, “Why do you not observe fast?” He replies, “My heart is not inclined to it.” He turns his head and replies, “Why should God need my or your fasting?”

This is transgression. It is getting out of obedience, stepping out of God worship. He does not imagine himself to be a servant. Below this offence is disobedience. Some have said that transgression means greater sins especially falsehood, but disobedience is any type of sin, greater or smaller. Summarily, A pious believer is one who loves God, abhors disbelief, transgression and disobedience.

Not the disobedience of people, but disobedience of his own self also. He dislikes obscenity and immorality. A true believer is one who dislikes abuse from the viewpoint that it, in itself, is bad, not because he has been abused. For example, if a woman walks in a street in a disastrous condition after applying perfume, the believer feels bad even whether she were his own daughter or that of any other Muslim. It makes no difference to him, as he abhors sin in itself.
If sin becomes bitter to one, it is a sign of his piety, maturity, improvement and reform. Thereafter is said:

﴿أُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الرَّاشِدُونَ﴾

“…these it is that are the followers of a right way. (49:7)”

It is these who are rightly guided and perfectly faithful. He is a true and good believer who dislikes every sin, offence and indecency. Neither every believer becomes like this nor does every Muslim reach this position. Maybe there is only one in a thousand who is such.

“God, from His Grace, grants it to whomsoever is qualified for it.”

Yesterday I told you that this verse is not confirming predestination; rather it is a reply to predestination:

﴿فَضْلاً مِنْ اللَّهِ وَنِعْمَةً وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ﴾

“By grace from Allah and as a favor; and Allah is Knowing, Wise. (49:8)”

This is a grace and a bounty from God and this rank in Faith and piety, which involves bitterness of sin in one’s heart is given by God only to him whom God considers worthy of it. Wretched, vicious and rebellious people cannot reach this rank. God knows everyone better than they know themselves. He is the knower of secrets and mysteries. He is Wise. Due to His wisdom, He never puts saffron before a donkey. He does not grant this Light of Faith and truthfulness to an undeserving person.

It is indeed a wonderful and lofty stage to be reached by a man when Faith becomes the dear-most things for him, every sin tastes bitter to him and he is the Infallible one, fortunate to receive the Proof of his Lord. God is omniscient. He knows the proper place. He is Wise. So He grants only to the deserving person, not to anyone until one earns it. O People! One who cries ‘money, money’ from the morning till night, how can the light of Faith be given to him? His every desire and effort is only for material advancement and multiplication of property and financial power. What has such a fellow to do with Faith? As he does not deserve it, it is not given to him.

Reach truth through practice

One who is not a seeker of Faith, who is not one of those who want to give up sinning, how can one be worth:

﴿وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمْ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ﴾

“…and He has made hateful to you unbelief and transgression and disobedience… (49:7)”

How can a sin taste bitter to him unless he shows forbearance? There is a narration:1 Unless one does not donate money and wealth, how can one develop the virtue of charity? Similarly one cannot attain the virtue of patience also. Unless one has a wound, how and why should he apply ointment? The ointment of Divine Mercy has no meaning for one has no pain for religion. One whose heart has nothing like sympathy, is not worthy of Divine favor.

Relation of these two verses with preceding and succeeding ones

Commentators have discussed a great deal regarding these verses. Its summary is that, they were recited from the pulpit, while showing the relation of the one prior to them: O believers! That is, O the ones who believed apparently or verbally, those of you who call themselves believers in Islam! There is a transgressor among you and so also there is a believer. Do not think that all of them are similar? No, it is not so. It is not enough for one to say that I am a Muslim. One should reach the state of: “has endeared the faith” You, poor fellow! You give away your Faith in exchange of a hundred Tooman currency note. A Muslim who kicks his religion for getting worldly wealth and position and in whose eyes these material things are dearer than God and His Prophet, can nowhere be nearer to these Divine Gifts!

Do you know who is a good believer? A truly faithful person is he for whom telling a lie or falsehood is very distasteful, he does not indulge in slander; he does not spread rumors (disturbing tranquility).
The phrase “He has made hateful to you unbelief and transgression and disobedience” is there so that Momineen should try to be more and more pious and perfectly truthful.

﴿أُوْلَئِكَ هُمْ الرَّاشِدُونَ﴾

“…these it is that are the followers of a right way. (49:7)”

Hereafter, they may not make any mischief by telling lies, they may not instigate uprising and turmoil unjustly. As I have said some people wanted to make instigate the Prophet to fight. What is this? Being a believer and fanning fire of mischief? God is giving a believer good advice so that he may be careful and may not again turn transgressor, may not tell lies, may not indulge in tell-tales, may not fan fires of mischief. Alas, if one in a hundred Muslims becomes a guided believer! Today there are not less than eight hundred million Muslims. Alas had there been a thousandth or even a millionth of them guided ones in such a way that every sin may become bitter to them! The inevitable result of a weak faith and absence of the spirit of faith is passion and carnal desires and the inevitable result of passion and carnal desires is disintegration and quarrelling with one another. This is a natural affair.
The angels had said on the first day of creation:

﴿أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَنْ يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ؟﴾

“What! Wilt Thou place in it such as shall make mischief in it and shed blood?”2

They were not saying this aimlessly but it was on the base of a balanced view. Humans, under the influence of passion and desire quarrel with one another. An inevitable result of submission to desires is, in a way, to claim Godhood. Not only me, you and he; but each and every person has an individual claim. This is because one has not become guided, has not attained greatness and therefore, even for a trifling thing, we run after every sin. What do the corpse eaters do to the property of the dead? It is because they have not reached rectitude. Otherwise why any quarrel over worldly wealth between brothers, and between spouses? Worldly wealth is not worth a quarrel between brother and brother, man and wife and vice versa. How many children have troubled their parents because of worldly wealth on corpses?

As there is weakness in Faith, there is no righteousness. There is no, “and He has made hateful to you unbelief and transgression and disobedience.” Otherwise a Muslim is always for peace. A believer never indulges in mischief or corruption, he quarrels with none and has no carnal desires. Those who flare up due to one word only show that they are unaware of the great universe. They have heard about grave life but their hearts are unaware of it. Had they certainty about grave and Barzakh, they would have never given any importance to this material world:

﴿وَالآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى﴾

“The Hereafter is better and ever lasting.”3

Greatness of Imam’s army

Once Mutawakkil the Abbaside called Imam Hadi and Imam Askari to Samarrah. Then he ordered that every soldier should throw a bagful of earth at a certain place. Soon there was a hillock at that place which later on came to be known as “Tallel Makhaali”. Then he asked Imam Hadi and Imam Askari, “Come up and look at my army.” He wanted to awe the Imams and thereby to scare them by his kingdom and his army. The holy Imams who are never awed by such material things, said, “You also may see our army.” Saying this, pointed to a place. When Mutawakkil looked there, he saw that from east to west wherever he could see he saw a surging army. All the angels were ready in attention, waiting for a command from the Imam. It is said that Mutawakkil fainted. Finally he apologized to the Imams.

You are unaware of the greatness of the hidden world, and hence consider this material world and whatever is in it as great. Just peep into the world of Barzakh (life between death and resurrection) and then only you will know what is greatness:

﴿وَالصَّافَّاتِ صَفًّا﴾

“I swear by those who draw themselves out in ranks.”4

It is one of the armies of God Almighty.
Amirul Momineen has said that a row of angels is standing shoulder-to-shoulder upto a path leading to seven hundred years’ journey. A number of them are constantly bowing and another in prostration.5

There is a line of angels, which is extending their hands towards the most Supreme Court of Almighty God. I am telling something more astonishing. O those who are showing pride, you are being parsimonious only to yourselves. You do not drop a tear whereby you can benefit. Almighty Allah has lined up armies of angels, which as told by Amirul Momineen in Nahjul Balagha, shed tears perpetually for fear of God, so much that ships can sail in the sea of their tears.

If you shed one tear on the threshold of Allah, pride cannot overtake you. There is nothing, which can be as precious as this threshold. If you think over those universes, you will consider yourselves but insignificant. Can you consider yourselves as a part of those worshippers? What have you done? What good deed have you ever performed? How did you qualify for this Door?

God takes pride in worshippers at dawn

Of course, God is Kind. With such a great and vast kingdom and Might, He is kind and merciful to His servants, who if, with a broken heart, and an ashamed mind, turn to Him, and shed tears and apologize, and prostrate before Him, He does accept our request.

It is narrated that a midnight (better if it is in the holy month of Ramadhan) a faithful believer gets up from his bed and prostrates before God, a voice is raised from the Higher World, “O Angels! Look at the prostration of My weak servant.” That is, if all of you are in a taste of perpetual prostration, there is no conflict within you. But this servant of Mine, despite slumber in his eyes and tiredness in his body, does worship Me like this).

How has he driven away sleep for his eyes! He has risen from his bed and come to Me. See how he is calling Me. Now, you tell me, how I should behave with him? The angel’s reply, “O Lord! Forgive him.” The voice says, “I have forgiven him. What more should I grant him?” They say, “O Lord! Grant Your Paradise to him.” Comes the voice again, “I have granted Paradise also.” Again comes the voice, “What more should I grant him (God is Generous and His Universe is also vast)?” The summary of this narration is that the angels say, “O Lord! We do not know what is higher than Paradise.” Comes the voice, “I know what is higher than Paradise.”

I do not know how should I explain its meaning: We point out towards the beauty of the Progeny of Muhammad. We wind up the distance between him and Ahle Bait and we indicate Our Beauty through them, as they are the original inhabitants of Paradise, rather they are makers of Paradise. O God! Give us guidance so that we may have everything to do only with You. For the sake of Your honor and elegance, protect us from the evil of our selfish desires, lust and passions. For Your Might’s sake, make us love You the most. For the sake of Your Greatness, O Lord! Make us among the good and righteous people. You have power over everything.

Weeping of a repentant is better than glorification by angels

In this religious gathering (Majlis) are old people who are weak, tired, hungry and thirsty due to fasting and also there are youths who are but humble. If they, in this condition, call upon God Almighty, how effective will it be? It will be higher than the voice of an angel.

I do not say this of my own accord. You too have heard the God’s saying (Hadith Qudsi) wherein Allah says, “The voice of a repenting sinner is to Me, dearer than glorification by the glorifiers.”6 The angels praise God perpetually, but an angel is not broken-hearted. How valuable is his broken heart? I do not know. Every vessel, when broken, loses its value to some extent. But a human heart, when broken, becomes more valuable than before. Where an angel and where a broken-hearted man? Where an angel and where a man who feels ashamed.

These helpless traits belong to man. So it is here that God Almighty says, “In this Court, the weeping of a sinner servant is better than the glorification of a glorifier.” So now say: O Lord Who likes the weeping of a sinner like me! Dust on my head if I stop weeping. “O my God, forgive me, I seek the forgiveness of Allah, the One besides Whom there is no god, the Ever-living, the Permanent, One having Might and Honor, from all sins and disobediences.

  • 1. Safinatul Bihar, 1:300
  • 2. Surah Baqarah 2:30
  • 3. Surah al-A’la 87:17.
  • 4. Surah Saffat 37:1
  • 5. Nahjul Balagha
  • 6. Wasaelush Shia Chapter of Sajdah