Isa (‘a) said to his apostles, “I have a request for you. If you promise to do it, I will tell you what it is.”
The apostles said in reply, “We submit to you and we will obey your orders!”
Isa (‘a) stood up and began to wash the feet of each one of his apostles. The apostles felt deeply troubled by this, since they had pledged to submit to him, but they yielded to his wishes.
After Isa (‘a) finished washing their feet, the apostles said, “You are our master. It is our duty to wash your feet, not for you to wash ours!”
Isa (‘a) said, “I did it so that you would know that the one who deserves to serve people is the one who is the most learned and dignified amongst you. I did it to show you my humility and to teach you the lesson of modesty, so that you would perform your duties in a humble manner and serve people when you will be in charge of people’s instruction and guidance after me. Wisdom grows in the bosom of humility, not of haughtiness, just as plants grow in soft earth rather than hard earth.”1
- 1. Al-Wasa’il, v. 2, p. 457.