Iman is the infinitive form of the verb (aamana) and it means believing or trusting. Later on the word, Iman takes a religious sense to mean faithfulness and it has its special definition. Al-moímin is the opposite of al-kafir (the unfaithful).
Iman according to the religious definition is: faith in the heart (mind) and certification by the tongue of what has been revealed by Allah to the Prophet (S).
So al-moímin (the faithful) is he, who has these two conditions with their requirements of performing the religious obligations.
As for the faith of the heart, it can’t be known by people1 except by Allah the Creator, Who is the only aware of the hidden thinking and what is in the conscience of man.
As long as people are unable to know the hidden beliefs of each other, so they decide according to the outward of each other.
Whenever they see the signs of faithfulness in someone, then no one has the right to criticize that someone and whoever dares to do that will be a slanderer and has to be punished. Allah says,
… and do not say to anyone who offers you peace: You are not a believer. (The Holy Quran, Shakir 4:94)
Allah forbids from saying to anyone, who offers salaam, that he is not a faithful so how about that, who confesses faithfulness every moment and does his best to take care of the first seed of the mission!
If someone wants to know about the faithfulness of someone else, it will be not so easy unless that one shows one’s faithfulness through one’s sayings then it is decided that that one is faithful and it is decided that one will be among the people of Paradise if one’s sayings and inner beliefs were identical.
Also it is decided that someone is faithful if the Prophet (S) or any other infallible one witnesses that that one is a faithful because the Prophet (S) as Allah says about him.
…Doesn’t speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed. (The Holy Quran, Shakir 53:3-4)
The infallible one informs of what he has heard from the Prophet (S), who receives revelations from his God, so there is no distortion, fabrication, guessing or estimation coming out of emotion or fancy.
Therefore, we can decide the faithfulness of Abu Talib according to the two sides:
All the sayings of Abu Talib confirmed his faithfulness besides his great deeds, his jihad for the sake of the mission and the witnesses of the Prophet (S) and the infallible imams of his progeny.
We already mentioned in the previous chapters of this book many of Abu Talib’s sayings showing his true faith, bright pages of his glorious jihad and many witnesses that had come out of the holy mouth of the great Prophet and his pure progeny (S).
We thought that it would be better to quote here some of Abu Talib’s sayings concerning the subject.
The Lord of people Who has no partner
The Liberal Giver, the Initiator, the Resurrector.
Whoever is under the Heaven and whoever is above the Heaven
Are rightfully His servants.2
These verses were clear evidence showing that the sayer was a monotheist believing sincerely in the One and Only God without any bit of polytheism or apostasy.
When he talked about Allah he used the phrase “the Lord of people (or the King of people)” which was an Islamic expression mentioned in the Quran:
The King (Lord) of people. (The Holy Quran, Shakir 114:2)
And he denied polytheism when he said, “Who has no partner”.
Then he talked about some of the attributes of Allah the Almighty. He described Him as the liberal Giver, the Initiator, Who had initiated the creation from nothing and the Resurrector, Who would resurrect His creatures after death. It was a clear confession of the great day; the Day of Resurrection when the scales of justice would be put to weigh the deeds where there would be no injustice or wrong.
Then he said in the other verse that all the creatures were servants of Allah; whether those, who were under the Heaven or those, who were above the Heaven.
Would monotheism be something other than this?
Did Abu Talib, after this saying, let an outlet for any doubter or suspector?
Was our saying “There is no god but Allah” in its monotheistic meaning clearer than these verses of Abu Talib?
Abu Talib recited too:
Here Abu Talib confessed that he was on the religion of his nephew and then he said that whoever didn’t follow this religion would be deviant whereas he himself followed this religion and became guided.
By your God! Wasn’t this saying greater in meaning than to say: I am a Muslim?
If someone said to you that he was a Muslim, wouldn’t he be treated like the other Muslims concerning the rights and the obligations? Wouldn’t his blood, property and honor be protected and no one had any right to violate anything of that?
So what about this man; Abu Talib, who announced his faithfulness so loudly and who asked the witness of Allah to witness that he was guided by the religion of his nephew, that people denied his being a Muslim?
It was but deviation that covered the eyes thickly and prevented them from seeing the brightness of the truth!
Here is something else of Abu Talib’s poetry:
Allah had honored Prophet Muhammad,
Who became the most honored among all the peoples of Him.
Allah had derived a name for him
From His own name to glorify him;
The Lord was Mahmood5 and His apostle was Muhammad.6
These verses had many things of monotheism and confession of the prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (S).
As for what concerned his confession of the prophecy of his nephew, there were much many things, some of which was mentioned in the previous chapters of this book.
Here we quoted some individual verses chosen from Abu Talib’s poems. Some of them might be mentioned in the previous chapters:
You are the Prophet; the Prophet of Allah that we know well,
To you the books of the Almighty have been revealed.
Don’t you know that we have found Muhammad a Prophet,
Like Moses; this is true in the Books!
You are the son of Aamina; you are the Prophet Muhammad…
A prophet: to whom the revelation of his Lord has come…
You are the Prophet Muhammad…
Ahmed has come to them with truthfulness
He has not come to them with falseness.
Alternatively, they believe in a wonderful Book revealed to a prophet
Like Moses or Jonah.
They have already known that we believe our son,
And, we never care for the sayings of the falsifiers.
Among the absurdities was the saying of al-Qarafi when commenting on this verse. He said to uncover the ill will of him: “…declaring by the tongue and believing in the heart but he didn’t submit.”7
Did this biased one have another definition of faithfulness or his inner feelings led him to deviate from the straight way?
This was some of Abu Talib’s poetry and there was much more full of his clear confession of the mission of Muhammad and full of advocation showing his submission to his nephew. That was the clearest evidence proving his believing in the mission of his nephew, otherwise what would lead him to submit to his nephew; the orphan, who had been brought up by him and grown under his kindness and care, whereas he was the obeyed leader, the sheikh of Mecca and the chief of Quraysh?
Muhammad was as a son or a grandson of Abu Talib and therefore it was Muhammad, who had to submit to Abu Talib, but what made Abu Talib submit to Muhammad, call him “my master,” and address him with the best expressions of praising, glorifying and sanctifying?
Was there anything else than believing in the mission of Muhammad leading Abu Talib to do so? Was it because of the uncle-ship or any other kind of kinship? Would the sentiment of kinship stand against the religious enthusiasm, which defeated all the other sentiments and which nothing would resist whatever it was strong and firm?
We noticed how the religious enthusiasm had defeated the sentiment of fatherhood and son hood like the situation of Abdullah bin Abdullah bin Obeyy towards his father and the situation of Adiy bin Hatim towards his son.
Therefore, the religious enthusiasm especially of this leader and Sheikh Abu Talib wouldn’t vanish when supporting his nephew, who was calling for a new religion other than the religion of Abu Talib -as it was pretended- just because of kinship! Even those of a bit of reason would not believe this.
Was the sentiment of kinship the only reason that led Abu Talib to drive such signs of praise and glory to his nephew and all that sayings that invited people to follow and support him; Certainly not!
Abu Talib recited:
I seek protection of the Lord of the House,
From every defamer intending evil for us,
From a dissolute backbiting us,
From a falsifier ascribing to the religion what we are free from.
I swear by the House of Allah that you have told lies!
We never give up Muhammad; we struggle and fight for him,
We support him until we are killed around him.
For him we ignore our wives and children.
Men with iron, rush to you swiftly,
By the House of Allah! When it is serious,
Our swords will pierce the heroes!
And a white-faced, with whose face it is prayed,
So that the clouds bring goodness.
He is the shelter of the orphans and the guardian of the widows.
You know well that our son had never been a liar,
Nor we care for absurdities.
I swear I love Ahmed as a passionate lover;
I sacrifice my soul for him;
I defend him with all I have.
He is still the beauty for this world and its people,
Pang for his enemies, blessing for his fellows.
The hope of people;
He has no like if the prudent compare!
Patient, wise and fair,
Devoted to his God, not ignorant of Him a bit!
Therefore, the Lord of the people assisted him;
Spread the right religion with no vanity.
We do not want to stay long at this wonderful poem so that not to violate its wonderfulness when trying to discuss or detail it. We let the reader take from it whatever he can because it will affect his heart so deeply.
Abu Talib was not of that kind of people, who just said without carrying out the sayings! He carried out whatever he had said. He protected the Prophet (S) and supported him. He supported Islam and defended it that even his enemies, who had fabricated against him tens of lies, could not deny his favors and virtues.
- 1. It means that one cannot know all what there is inside the others.
- 2. Eeman Abu Talib p.20, Divan Abu Talib p.11, Al-Hujja p.80, Sheikhul Abtah p. 85.
- 3. Ahmed was another name of Prophet Muhammad (S).
- 4. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol. 3 p.315, Al-Hujja p.81, Sheikhul Abtah p. 80. Al-Mubarrid mentioned these verses in his al-Kamil vol.3 p.919 thinking that they were Imam Ali’s poetry because Imam Ali used to recite them. His ascribing these verses to Imam Ali was without evidence. It was just because that Imam Ali often recited them. It was something natural of Imam Ali; firstly to show the faithfulness of his father through reciting his poetry and secondly to refresh the memory of his kind father.
- 5. Mahmood means praiseworthy.
- 6. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, vol. 3 p.315, Al-Hujja p.75, Mo’jamul Quboor, vol. 1 p.197, al-Ghadeer, vol. 7 p.335, Divan Abu Talib p.12, A’yan ash-Shia, vol. 39 p.147.
- 7. As-Seera an-Nabawiyya, vol. 1 p.85.