Fourth Disease: Doubt

What is doubt?

Doubt means that we have a 50-50 percent possibility in the mind about the correctness or otherwise of a thing. If we weigh both the possibilities we would find that they are of equal weight.

Such is called a doubt or suspicion. If one is heavier, then that possibility will be called presumption or supposition and that, which in comparison is light, will be called apprehension or superstition. If only one has weight and the other is weightless there is 100% possibility, it would be called certainty.

Therefore doubt is when there is confusion, suspense, two-mindedness and wandering.

Doubt is a sign of the disease of heart

The sign of the soundness of a man's heart is that he is sure and confident about the truth being correct and falsehood being incorrect and is in the position of knowledge and conviction, while the sign of the disease of the heart with respect to understanding truth and falsehood is that there is suspense and doubt regarding the rightfulness of truth and the refutation of falsehood.

Indeed the heart devoid of the recognition of truth and the effulgence knowledge and belief is not worth being called a human heart. He is ignorant of a pure life and his life is inferior like that of animals.

Doubt is a kind of blindness. A blind man remains doubtful of those things also which are just spread around him because he does not see them.

If a thing is proved true by wisdom, by conscience and by rational argument, and one still doubts about it, then surely the eyes of his heart are blind. He is deprived of the blessing of discernment. Reason and Shariah command, and the paramount responsibility of such a person is that he should try to obtain the cure of his disease of doubt.

Doubt is a serious disease

It is stated in the Holy Quran:

And as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it (signs of Allah) adds uncleanness to their uncleanness (disease of doubt) and they die while they are unbelievers.1

While these same signs increase the light of knowledge of God to a sound and healthy conscience and also increase insight and discernment. These verses bestow happiness and delight to such hearts. They further strengthen the capacity of the mind and perception.

All know that rain is a blessing and grace of Allah. But the rain that grows red roses in the garden also produces weeds in some places.

While explaining above-mentioned verse Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “The meaning of 'Rijs' (uncleanness) in this verse is doubt. That is one more doubt is added to their doubt.”2

Nothing but Allah

There is a tradition in Usul al-Kafi, in the chapter of Sincerity that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked about the meaning of this noble verse:

Except him who comes to Allah with a heart free (from evil).3

The Imam said, “A heart free from evil is the one that meets its Lord and that which has nothing in it except Him.” The Imam also said, “And every heart that has polytheism and doubt is going to fall in the ditch of destruction.”

Loss in both the worlds

In Surah Hajj it is stated:

And among men is he who serves Allah (standing) on the verge, so that if good befalls him, he is satisfied therewith, but if a trial afflicts him, he turns back headlong; (towards doubt and infidelity), he loses this world as well as the hereafter; that is a manifest loss.4

There are some Muslims, who do not have sincere faith and firm belief in Allah, the Prophet and the Day of Judgment. They are in a state of doubt. They have adopted Islam with the purpose of gaining material benefits of the world. If continue to be rewarded in the form of wealth, security and getting their materialistic wishes fulfilled, they will remain firm on their belief, but if they confront hardship, poverty, disease or some other misery, they give up religion and go towards infidelity.

They are caught in humility and captivity in this world also and they become liable for punishment in the Hereafter as well. They incur losses in both the worlds.

It is written in Tafsir Minhajus Sadiqeen that among people there can be those who stand on the borderline of belief and worship Allah, so that, while worshipping, if they feel that they are in loss, they immediately give up belief. Were they in the midst of belief their quitting faith would have delayed.

He is just like the last man in the army. When the time comes to plunder the booty, he is at the forefront and when there is risk of defeat, he is the first to run away from the battlefield.

It is written in Tafsir Abul Fath that this verse is regarding a group of Bedouins. They came to Medina and accepted Islam just for namesake and declared faith only verbally but in the heart they neither had faith nor conviction. As long as their wealth went on increasing and there was no occasion of disease and loss, horses went on breeding, wives continued to produce male offspring; they used to say that Muhammad is an auspicious man and his religion is truth. But when the climate of Medina did not suit them and they became sick.

Their animals started dying, they started saying, this magician Muhammad (we seek Allah's refuge) is inauspicious and his religion is baseless. He has given us nothing except loss and misery.

It is evident from this noble verse that people having doubt (about religion) are at a loss in this world as well as in the Hereafter. In fact, doubt is an impurity of the heart. It is obligatory on every person to keep his heart clean of this impurity and adorn it with the effulgence of monotheism.

Do not doubt! You may become an infidel

Imam Husain (a.s.) arrived in Karbala’ on the second day of Mohurrum in the year 61 Hijri. Whatever he said addressing the army of Yazid, explains the above-mentioned verse. For more details refer to the books of the Karbala’ tragedy.

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) in one of his sermons says, “Do not become prey to wavering (suspense), otherwise your doubt will become strong and do not get entangled in doubt, otherwise you will become an infidel.”

Allamah Majlisi has said, “It means that do not even go near such things that may put you into doubt. Or may be it means that you should not become unhappy by what Allah has ordained for you, because such an attitude also becomes the cause of doubt, and wavering and uncertainty are the initial forms of doubt.”

One who doubts in Allah is an infidel

In the chapter of Doubt in Usul al-Kafi there is a tradition that Muhammad bin Muslim says, “I was sitting on the left side of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and Zurarah on his right. In the meantime Abu Basir arrived.

Abu Basir asked, 'O Aba Abdillah! What do you say regarding a person who doubts about Allah?'

Imam said, 'He is an infidel.'

Muhammad bin Muslim says, “After that Imam turned towards Zurarah and said, 'If he openly denies then he certainly becomes an infidel.'”

In this tradition Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said that a person who is apparently a Muslim, but in his heart, he has doubt about Allah and the Prophet, and he dies in this same condition, he will be included among the infidels. And in the latter part of the tradition Imam says that, if that person openly refuses to believe in Allah and the Prophet, he would also be apparently considered an infidel.

But if one has doubt in his heart but he recites the formula of faith verbally, and does not show his doubt, then he will be counted as a Muslim. Though in fact he is an infidel. And one who declares his doubt about Allah and the Prophet, then apparently also he will be considered an infidel. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “One who doubts about Allah and His Prophet is an infidel.”5

Good deeds in the state of doubt are useless

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Surely the doubt and sin, both will be in the fire of Hell.” And people connected with doubt and sin would also be there.6213

He also said, “One who was born on inherent nature (having belief in oneness of Allah i.e. monotheism) and his parents are also Muslims, even then if he has doubt about Allah, then he would never return to good.”7

In the same way in the chapter of Doubt in Usul al-Kafi, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said that, “A person who has doubt or suspicion about religion, if he remains on either doubt or suspicion, then Allah will destroy his (good) action.”

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) has said, “Any action with doubt and refusal (of truth) has no benefit at all.”8

In the same chapter Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says, “The Prophet of Allah used to seek Allah's refuge from six things everyday; doubt, polytheism, arrogance, anger, cruelty and jealousy.”

There are numerous verses and traditions on the censure of doubt and on the destruction of those who doubt.

Destruction forever

It is an admitted fact that if a person dies in the condition of doubt or suspicion, if according to belief he is not with knowledge and confidence and dies in that condition, then he is doomed forever. There will be no deliverance from punishment for him. As against this, one whose belief is firm, and his faith is on the level of certainty, if he dies in such a situation he would be saved from permanent destruction. No one other than the faithless will remain in Hell forever.

A believer having bad manners and having unbecoming character if he also repents and asks for forgiveness and reforms himself then he too will be saved from Hell by the intercession of the noble personalities of religion. At the most he may be punished in the grave (Barzakh) and at other places before Hell and become pure. Now only Allah knows how long that punishment in the grave will be. In any case, finally such a person will get deliverance and without going to Hell, he will get a place in Paradise along with the believers.

This is not reasonable

If asked that: “Why should those dying faithless be deprived of the bliss of Heaven and its unlimited delicacies? Allah is most generous and merciful. There will be no loss (harm) to Allah even if all the people go to Paradise and there would no decrease in His Kingdom. It is also not beyond His Power. In the same way if He sends all to Hell, then too there will not be any increase in His Authority.

The reply is that a person benefits only as much as much as his measure of wisdom and understanding. If a donkey is dressed in a splendid dress and made to sit on a throne in a palace, given different types of adornments and all sorts of dishes, will this donkey be able to utilize all this in a proper way? Would such arrangement be reasonable? Definitely not!

Wisdom demands that everything and every person should be given a place appropriate to his or her status. People of pure, clean, chaste and exquisite souls should be provided with the blessings of Paradise. And if the souls are dirty and filthy their bodies should be of the same kind and their place should be Hell. A faithless person does not have the capability in the first place to enjoy and benefit from the blessings of Paradise, just like the donkey (as described above).

Way to Paradise

If one walks on the road to Paradise, one will reach Paradise. As against this if someone walks on the opposite direction, the road to Hell, then how he can reach Paradise? If someone sows the seeds of bitter gourd and hopes to reap grapes, would he get grapes? Has Allah deprived the people of Hell from Paradise or they have deprived themselves?

Man can get only what he desires for and that which he tries to obtain. Someone had no faith in Allah. He did not even make an effort to get nearer to Allah, so that by means of that he may get Paradise. When man has not made a firm determination to reach Paradise, and did make the effort, how he can reach Paradise just by doing nothing at all?

And whoever desires the hereafter and strives for it as he ought to strive and he is a believer; (as for) these, their striving shall surely be accepted.9

Therefore, merely wishing to go to Paradise without making an appropriate effort to do so is not enough to take one to Paradise.

Punishment of the Hereafter is not revenge

In the Hereafter the criminals (sinners) will get punishment according to their evil deeds but that punishment is not revenge. Rather it is the effect of causes. Sins committed in the world will be the cause of that punishment. In the same way good actions performed in the world would result in the person getting rewarded in the form of light (splendor) and blessings of Allah in the Hereafter.

Another Misunderstanding

Another misunderstanding is that: To punish the disbelievers in accordance to their sins is not reasonable because they did not recognize Allah. If they had recognized Him they would not have disobeyed. If a King moves among the common people in plain clothes, and if someone opposes him because he does not know who he is, in that case punishing him would be injustice. That person may say, “Sir! I did not recognize you.”

Allah is not hidden from any sensible being

The reply is that the excuse of one who does not know Allah and is unaware of Him, is not acceptable. Comparison to a King dressed in plain clothes is incorrect. Allah is not hidden from any sensible person. If a wise man does not recognize Allah, it is because he did wish to recognize Him. If he were deprived of the blessing of wisdom we would have understood the handicap. However, a wise man does not have any excuse.

Any one sensible proof is enough to know Allah. We look around and find that in the stars, skies (heavens), drops of rain, leaves of tree, animals, insects, worms, ants, seas, deserts; in short, whatever is present in the universe are all proofs of His Absolute Knowledge, Wisdom, Power and Command. Hence there is a Being, infinitely knowledgeable and Wise, Omniscient, Mighty, Omnipotent, and Powerful.

Is there doubt about Allah, the Maker of the heavens and the earth?10

A poet says:

Each and every plant, which grows from the earth, says, “He is one without a partner”.

And the following couplet is also excellent:

In the eyes of an intelligent person every leaf from the green leaves of the trees is a notebook on the subject of the knowledge of God.

Allah the Great is so evident for the wise that they can have doubt for some other thing but can never doubt in Allah.

Then who are these people?

Still we see that majority of the people doubt about Allah. Those who have belief and certainty are very few. In the same way there is no chance for doubt on the Day of Judgment and the Quran also.

And because the hour is coming, there is no doubt about it; and because Allah shall raise up those who are in the graves.11

We see that in the world too, most people have doubts about Allah. Those who have certainty and belief seem to be very few. In the same manner there is no room for doubt in the Day of Judgment and Quran also, but none except Muslims believe in Quran and people other than Muslims have doubt on the Day of Judgment.

The blind cannot see the sun

The reply is that although Allah, Day of Judgment and Quran are all definite truths and realities, those having a sound mind and a prudent nature, do not think it proper to doubt in these things. One having eyes will not tolerate doubts about the sun. But those who doubt these three facts (as mentioned above) in fact suffer from a spiritual disease.

They have mutilated their basic natural instinct. They are so deeply involved in the blind following of lusts, greed, ambitions and false and futile things, that they have become blind in their inner eyes. That is why they do not see the reality. The blind cannot see the sun. One, who is a prisoner in the dark cell of a prison, does not know whether the Sun has risen or not.

Thus such people put themselves in a state of doubt, uncertainty, wavering, restlessness and lack of confidence and truth cannot be blamed for not being prominent.

They do not want to recognize the truth

People, who doubt, are in fact those who do not want to recognize the truth itself. If they were really seekers of truth, they would have had looked at the creatures of the world and sought a lesson from it. If they had looked at the marvel of the wisdom and amazing power of the Creator of the Universe with proper attention, they would never have doubted.

A very nice book is there in the hands of those who doubt. Whatever is written therein is also interesting. It is of a very high standard. A very good writer has written it. The printing is also very fine. The paper is of excellent quality. But those who doubt, instead of reading the interesting and useful writings, only relish its calligraphy, printing and exquisite form and they think that looking at these niceties is enough for them and there is no need to learn the details of what is written in it or to understand it.

The book of nature should be read with attention

Faithful are those who upon seeing the book, start reading it at once, and while reading the book, they start pondering over the greatness and knowledge of the writer. They also accept all the descriptions and narrations.

Knowledge of the Universe

Modern man tries to get the knowledge of the constituents of the world of creation. He takes great trouble for this purpose and spends his wealth and life for all this but he is not doing anything to know about the Creator of the world. To the extent, that he does not even think about this matter. He suffers such huge expenses to reach the moon. He makes efforts to learn about the climate and atmosphere there and get some benefit out of it; and he sacrifices much more but he is not ready to spend a little portion of his life to know about the Creator of that moon and how under His perfect and fantastic supervision it moves in the sky.

This is the reason, why today's scientific faculty and its knowledge is not the cause of auspiciousness. They cannot obtain real comfort and tranquility. Presently for the knowledge of man, these creations are the limit. Man does not proceed beyond this and he is not reaching upto the Creator.

Therefore turn aside from him who turns his back upon Our reminder and does not desire anything but this world's life. That is their goal of knowledge12

Advancement of science

Man has made great strides in the fields of medicine, surgery, and diagnosis of different diseases but he does not know anything about the Creator and Maker of those marvelous body systems of man. The knowledge of the man of today is limited to lowly things only (not thinking about Allah). But he is quiet with regard to the existence of God and knowledge of God. There is nothing except ignorance, doubt and stupidity. The scientist of today is unaware of the Creator of the universe, His names, His attributes, His army i.e. Angels, Prophets, heavenly books, life after death and man's permanent abode.

Nay, their knowledge respecting the hereafter is slight and hasty; nay, they are in doubt, nay they are quite blind to it.13

Why don’t we care about Recognition of God?

Why is it so, that people's knowledge has nothing to say about Allah? Is it impossible for them to obtain knowledge about Allah? Or they don't strive to have knowledge about the Creator of the Universe? If they can strive, why don't they do it?

The obvious reply to these questions is that man cannot be said to be helpless in recognizing the Creator of the Universe. The Creator has bestowed upon him the light of wisdom (sense/intellect) for this very purpose, so that he can reach to the Real knowledge, the Truth, and understanding and that he can recognize Allah and achieve His proximity. Quran says in clear words that Allah has created everything for man and man was created for His recognition and worship.14

Courage is low and limited to material pleasures

The fact is that the spirit of man, today, is low and limited to material pleasures. He is satisfied only with physical comforts and animal pleasures. He is not aware of spiritual pleasures, knowledge of Allah and taste of worship. Because of his low spirit and limited thinking, he does not even make effort to achieve all this and he remains in his ignorance.

Nay! Man desires to give the lie to what is before him.15

That is he wishes to continue sinning in the world.

An historic example of an elevated spirit

Twelve Muslim soldiers were taken as prisoners by Romans. They were taken to the capital and produced before the Christian King. The King saw their appearance, looks, features and character. Then he began to think what kind of people they are that though having very little strength and less in number they still manage to achieve victories everywhere? He told them, “If you can train my soldiers to become like you, I will reward you much.”

The Muslim soldiers replied, “Our religion does not permit that we help you in this.” And they recited the verse:

He said: My Lord! Because Thou hast bestowed a favor on me, I shall never be a backer of the guilty.16

The King ordered that they should be taken to the church, and beautiful girls be produced in front of them. “If they are attracted by them, those girls will stay with them on the condition that they accept our proposal.”

They were taken to the church. When they saw the girls, they turned their eyes down and said, “This is a place of seduction and not a place of worship!”

The King got the information that they were not lured by girls, so he called them and said, “If you do not accept my proposal, I will kill you.”

They all replied cheerfully, “We wish to be killed in the way of Allah, because our Prophet has said that if you die on the bed it is possible you may go to Paradise or not but if you are killed in the way of Allah you will definitely become the people of Paradise.”

Wealth, Position and Lust

Those who are firm on the Oneness of Allah and the path of His worship do not stagger in greed of wealth and position; nor do they stumble before lust and pleasures. Wealth, position, authority and lust; each of these is such a weapon that subdues all those with weak intentions and low courage. They leave the way of worship, and accept an evil way of life.

Just like greed; threat, especially threat to life is also such a weapon. But those who are firm on their belief and actions do not get affected by greed nor are they terrified with any kind of threat. They are ready to die, but not prepared to submit themselves to the defalcation of Islam or breach of trust of Muslims. Because breach of trust with Islam and Muslims is in fact, breach of trust with Allah.

Due to this, very few in the world are ready to compromise on truth, godliness, piety and faithfulness.

Spiritual Pleasures are many times tastier

Though, to get the pleasure of Allah's recognition, Godliness, piety and worship you have to do away with physical and animal pleasures or comforts of life to a certain extent and with some restrictions, even then spiritual pleasures are many times tastier than worldly pleasures. If someone is fortunate to really have spiritual pleasure he will forgo the greatest of worldly pleasure but not leave spiritual pleasure.

If you were aware of the pleasure of leaving the pleasure, you would not have called your carnal desires as pleasures.17

Continued praying though hit with arrows

In an expedition the Prophet accompanied the Muslim army. One night he gave the responsibility of guarding and protecting the army to Ammar Ibne Yasir and Ibad Ibne Bashir. They decided between themselves that, for half the night Ibad will remain awake and keep a watch and from that time to the morning Ammar will be woken up to keep watch.

Ibad Ibne Bashir was praying during his watch, while a Jew sneaked into the camp with the intention of taking advantage of the darkness to kill the Prophet. From a distance he saw among all Muslims only one person standing while the rest slept. He shot an arrow towards Ibad and it pierced his body, but he continued to pray. The Jew shot a second arrow, which also pierced Ibad but he still did not stop praying. In the same way a third arrow also hit its target. Now Ibad shortened his prayer and awoke Ammar. On seeing his condition Ammar asked, “Why did you not wake me up on being hit with the first arrow?”

Ibad Ibne Bashir said, “O Ammar! I was reciting Surah Kahf in my prayer and I did not wish to discontinue. Were I not afraid that the enemy would kill me and reach to the Prophet, I would not have shortened the prayer, but completed Surah Kahf, though my life would have gone.” After that, both Ibad and Ammar together chased away the intruder from the Muslim camp.18

The brave ones of Karbala

Now imagine the pleasure of worship that overcomes arrow injuries; rather the pain of death.

If you want to know more about the greatness of the pleasure of worship just look at the condition of the companions of Imam Husain (a.s.). It is really astonishing how they left everything i.e. wealth, position, family and children in the way of Allah. Doing away with physical pleasures, they embraced all kinds of troubles and hardships and sacrificed their likes with great love and devotion.

On the night of Ashura (10th of Mohurrum) Burair was saying, “Tonight I am happier than I ever was in my whole life, because I know that tomorrow my place would be in Paradise.”

On the day of Ashura the condition of Aabis was such, that he removed his coat of mail and helmet and in that same condition, jumped into the sea of soldiers and confronted the waves of the enemies. Imam Husain (a.s.) had announced several times loudly and given permission that anyone of them could go away if they so wished but none took benefit of this permission. The black slave, Jaun was begging Imam Husain (a.s.) to permit him getting killed in the battlefield. Companions of Imam Husain (a.s.) were saying to the effect:

O master of religion! Even if I carry my throne of excellence upto the empyrean (high seat), then too, I remain a slave of yours, O honorable gentleman I remain needy of this house of yours. If I draw away my heart from you and give up your love, then where would I throw such love and where would I carry such a heart?19

Science supports belief of Monotheism

Man should not fall short in gaining the recognition of God and His worship. We must definitely acquire the knowledge of modern sciences, but should also try to have the knowledge of God. There is no contradiction or inconsistency between the two. The two do not negate each other; rather scientific knowledge supports belief in Oneness of God. In fact it increases knowledge and belief in God, helps in recognizing One God and cures doubt. The purpose for the creation of heavens and earth is that man may acquire the knowledge of God.

The Purpose of all creation is recognition of God

The Holy Quran points to this:

Allah is He who creates seven heavens and of the earth the like of them; the decree continues to descend among them, that you may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah indeed encompasses all things in (His) knowledge.20227

Everything takes place as destined by Allah and according to His arrangement. It may be life or death, riches or poverty, hardship or comfort, sickness or health. In short, everything takes place according to command from Allah.

As there are seven heavens, in the same way there are seven earths too. In the book Al Haiato Wal-Islam, Shahristani says:

“Seven earths denote the seven planets of the solar system, Earth, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; and seven heavens denote the skies enclosing these seven planets. This verse is talking about our solar system. Now, since the interpretation of number cannot become the proof even if there are millions of earths and heavens and there are thousands of other systems like our solar system, then too this verse cannot be refuted.

This can be further explained by the example of a person who says, “I have two horses.” Now it could also be that he is having more than two horses. Even if he has a hundred horses his statement cannot be proved false because he did not say, “I do not have more than two horses.” For more information refer to the above-mentioned book.

Worship and Knowledge of Allah

And I have not created the jinn and the men except that they should serve me.21

It means that they reach up to the level of servitude and recognize the Kingdom of Allah to its appropriate worth. They gain access to the great stage of Allah's nearness. But this requires knowledge and action. These two are just like two wings to fly up to the heights of spiritual status. Those great positions are such that no physical eye has seen them, neither any ear has heard about them. Rather it has not even occurred to a materialistic man.

Therefore it is necessary that man should know and understand the diseases of doubt and ignorance, and he should go in quest of knowledge and certainty; that is recognition of God to cure them.

The Remedy of doubt and the position of certainty

Belief in Allah, that is to recognize the truth, and to create belief on that is not a thing in which there is absolutely no need of the means of, say for example, eyes and ears from the five senses. Rather belief gets into the heart through these means only.

With the help of these apparent means it enters into the heart and mind. At the time of creation only its command was connected to his nature. By nature man, is created in such a way that he has the capacity to get belief into his self. Now it is upto man to utilize this capability and bring it into the forefront. He gains belief, obeys Islamic laws and respects and follows the commands of Allah. In this manner he may reach to the great position of faith and belief. Rather he is very much anxious to reach those elevated positions.

Power of electricity

The natural capability of attaining the recognition of Allah is hidden in man like electricity. It is exactly like electricity remains hidden in metals but scientific instruments are required to use it. Without that electricity cannot be utilized. In the same way the light of knowledge and belief is hidden in the nature and temperament of man but he has to make efforts to benefit from it. The light can increase, and can become evident also. If man makes an effort he can get to the extreme position of the splendor of truth, but if he becomes careless, the inherent light becomes faint to the extent that it is ultimately extinguished.

Purification of filth

To enhance natural effulgence and to make it evident, two basic things are required, vacating and purification. Vacating means to clear the heart from all kinds of pollutions like greed, lust and animal desires or devilish actions. Such evils conceal the natural light further. Dust gathers on the mirror of mind and man becomes oblivious of the truth.

Belief is a natural thing

God says in Quran:

Then set your face upright for religion in the right state-the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah's creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know.22

Here religion only means the religion of Oneness of Allah, and that is Islam.

Keep your face towards religion. 23

It means that you must continuously attend to the true religion, be steadfast on it and obey its commands. The meaning of “nature made by Allah” is to recognize Allah, accept His Oneness and to follow His commands with devotion. This in itself is the power, which Allah has reposed in the nature of man. Devotion to God and following His commands are from the necessities of faith and the way to this is the religion of Islam. There can be no change in this nature. The meaning of this can also be that man should not let this natural effulgence dim and he should protect it from destruction. He should remain firm on the way of One God (i.e. monotheism) and on the religion of Islam.

One kind of Creation cannot be changed into another kind

Inorganic matters, (minerals), vegetables, animals (living beings) etc; from all these, every creation reaches up to its peak of development (final stages of its existence with excellence). They attain development but they cannot leave their own species and get themselves changed into some other form of creation. Almighty Allah has given this capability to the grain of wheat that when it is sown in proper soil and in proper conditions i.e. when it is given water in proper proportions the grain can split the ground and come up in the form of a sapling.

In that case half remains in the ground as roots and half comes up in form of branches. Grains of wheat multiply greatly but it is not possible for wheat plant to produce barley or lentils. All this is manifested clearly by Allah and it cannot be changed. In the same way a monkey cannot change into a man. An offspring of a human being cannot be a monkey, neither can a monkey produce human offspring. (As Darwin's theory states).

Firmness on Monotheism is an excellence

Progress of man and his excellence lies in that there should be physical and worldly life also along with the provision of everlasting life of the next world. He should strive to get access to these spiritual positions, but one cannot gain this excellence till one is not firm in belief, which is the right path of monotheism and till the time one is not prepared to follow the commands of the religion of God.

A person can attain that excellence only when, he with a firm intention and inclination moves towards this path. He should cultivate the capabilities given to him by God and that which is hidden in his self. He should move towards excellence, so that, he becomes one having true belief and real recognition of God. So that he may become one upholding the attribute of man. It is evident that, the way of monotheism and servitude to God is opposite to the way of beastly acts and carnal desires. To proceed on this way some force has to be applied and great courage is required for this.

It is obvious that something can be done only when means are provided. A person can reach his destination of excellence only when he arranges the means for it; and the most important mean is man's intention itself. Till the time he does not keep his intentions in his control, he will remain like an animal. He will remain in the lowest levels of beasts. He cannot think of the destination of humans. Man's intentions are tested in the world. If they are correct it will cause him to be taken to the position of excellence.

It is in the nature of man that he believes in Allah. But he purposely does not improve his intentions, because of his going against his natural instincts. He allows his carnal desires to exceed the bounds. In the same way he himself becomes an obstruction in the way of development of his nature. Thus he fails the test of his intentions.

If man seriously tries he can definitely gain Allah’s recognition

If a person seriously wants to become God-knowing (Pious) and he remains firm on his intentions keeping all sorts of obstructions away by pressurizing his self then definitely he reaches upto the destination of Allah's recognition. Many people remain prey to self-praise and ego. They come under the deceit of Satan and wrong notions.

They make baseless arguments and just deny the existence of God. They remain pleased with their wrong notions and think that without any Creator, such a big universe has come into existence on its own. They think that it is without any patron. They spurn the high position of humanism, by saying that man was also an animal with dense hair, four legs and a tail, which became a human through evolution and now he is walking on two legs. They say monkeys evolved into humans. What an ignorant concept! As if the foundation of humanism is based on beastliness, waywardness, rapacity, lust and obscenity. Today also, majority of people consider their origin to be materialism and beastliness.

Awakening of conscience

However those who had initially laid the foundation of such wrong notions, themselves left this frenzy of thoughtlessness and came to their senses. Their conscience woke up and professed the truth. They themselves started negating their own wrong notions. By way of examples we present here some of their utterances.

1. Darwin

Charles Robert Darwin is famous for his evolution theory. It was he who said that one creation gets transformed into another. This theory was named Darwinism. He became the cause of those who were materialistic in the last few centuries to become atheist and secular. Famous American author, John Clower writes, “At last his conscience roused him. The hidden natural instinct (intellect) made him oppose his own theory and he became the confessor of an Eternal Power.” German intellectual Benhaz has confessed in his book Aslul Anwaa that, “It is impossible for a matured intellectual, after seeing the astonishing arrangement of the Universe and its harmony, to deny that there is a creator of such a wonderful world, who is Powerful and a fountainhead of wisdom.”

2. Raeng

Famous German philosopher Raeng was a great follower of Darwin. He was very much against those who believed in God, but under the hallowed pressure of conscience, that is under the hidden natural instincts, he rectified his perception and wrote a book, World is a creation. He confessed with total confidence that there is a creator of the universe and He is One God.

3. Rumien

Rumien was a British philosopher and a strict materialist, but his conscience ultimately forced him to say, “All those scientific and philosophical concepts according to which the creator of the world is supposed to be matter are incorrect. The existence of this world is just impossible without a Super Power, full of Wisdom; an Omnipotent God, the Creator. My inner feelings witness this fact and confirm the wisdom of the Creator; and such a creator of the world is inevitable.

4. Faraday

Michael Faraday was a scientist, and a philosopher. He was a research scholar of Physics and Chemistry in Britain. His theory was that the world has come into existence by chance, all of a sudden due to some chemical reactions. Different chemicals came together and took the shape of the world. He was not the follower of a Wise and Omnipotent God. He devoted his whole life to the study of Physics and Chemistry. One day in the year 1867 he was sick, lying on the bed in deep thought.

A friend asked him, “Faraday, now what topic of research are you thinking?” He replied, “I thank God, that I am not thinking on a wrong theory. I am bowing down my head in the court of God with utmost humility. I kneel down in confession. I am thinking just about Him. My natural instincts, feelings, consciousness, my inner-self and everything of science bear testimony to His existence. I have recognized my God. Now I am confident that He will disregard my faults and my absurd theories and forgive me due to my humility in asking for His forgiveness.” .24

Islam is a natural religion

In Usul al-Kafi, in the chapter of 'Faith and Disbelief' five traditions are narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.). These traditions commenting on the verse of “nature made by Allah” have explained that it denotes monotheism and Islam. In Tawheed of Shaykh Saduq Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) is reported to have said that the Holy Prophet (S) said, “Every child is born on the nature, which is the nature of Allah's recognition.”

When there is none to hear the plea

In the commentary of Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) it is stated that a person asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) about the way to recognize God. Imam said, “O slave of Allah! Have you ever traveled in the sea?”

“Yes, he replied. Then Imam asked, “Has it ever occurred that your ship was wrecked during the voyage and there was no other boat in the vicinity? And it was no use swimming also?”

“Yes sir,” he replied, “It has happened.” Imam said, “In such situation, was your heart urging that there is someone who can save you from this?”

“Yes,” he confessed. Imam said, “The Entity to which your heart was attentive to, that only he can save you from this holocaust, is Allah. When there is no one to save you, and when no one is there to listen to your plea for help, in such circumstances only Allah is there to save you and only He is there to listen to your plea.”

Divine help to seek knowledge

Ibne Abi Jamhure Ehsai has related in Al Mujalle that Prophet Isa (a.s.) said, “O Children of Israel! Do not say that knowledge is in the heavens and one who goes up will get it. In fact knowledge is put into your heart by way of nature. Imbibe good manners of the learned and adopt virtues of the truthful; knowledge itself will be disclosed to your hearts.”

In the 17th volume of Biharul Anwar, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said, “The knowledge of recognition of Allah and belief in His attributes is not acquired, rather it is a light reflected in the heart of such a person, whom Allah wants to guide.”

Do not deliberate on Allah’s Being

It is evident from the discussion so far that belief in Allah and His recognition is a natural affair. Recognition of Allah means that He Alone is the Creator. He is Unique, Omnipotent and Omniscient. We see that Islam stresses on the knowledge of the attributes of Allah. It is so because understanding the being of Allah is impossible. It is beyond the capacity of man or any other creation. Acquaintance of the being of Allah implies that the mind has confined His Entity. However it is not possible for creation to confine the Entity of the Creator. It is only the Entity of Allah-the Creator, which is surrounding the whole creation.

You all know that, surely He encompasses all things.25

That is why the holy Shariah has prohibited deliberating and thinking upon the being of God Almighty and it is made obligatory that man should deliberate on the attributes of Allah, His acts and His graces, so that he may get divine knowledge.

In Usul al-Kafi Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says, “Talk about the creation of Allah. Do not talk about the Entity of Allah. By talking about the Entity of Allah the curiosity will go on increasing.”

Also in the same book Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) states, “Whoever starts thinking this about Allah, that how and what kind He is, will be destroyed.”

Such a person will fall into destruction and would be misled. To recognize the Entity of Allah is just impossible. We can only limit ourselves to His actions and His Attributes. Nothing except bewilderment can be gained by deliberating on the Entity of Allah. And as a result of the bewilderment man starts having doubts, and then he refuses to accept the existence of Allah itself.

The Flight of thought is limited

One who cannot recognize the being of Allah; it does not mean that, he should outright deny His existence. Lack of recognition is not proof that the thing does not exist. Till today man could not know about many creations of the world but he never disproved their existence. Till now man could not know about the reality of light. What is the reality of the waves of light? Still he does not know, how man is capable of seeing but he does not deny that there are waves of light either. In the same way man confesses to the power of thinking and intelligence though he is unaware of scientific facts, but he does not say that since I have not recognized the power of reason I do not believe in its existence.

How we believe in the unseen God?

The essence is that, man is unaware of many existing things, but when he sees the signs, marks or symbols he accepts their existence. Now, how it is possible that though he sees the things present in the world he denies the existence of their creator? How it is possible for him to say that, since he does not know the reality of the Creator he denies His existence?

None is more lacking in intelligence than those who say, “How it is possible to believe in an unseen God?” Such people should be asked, “Have you seen your intelligence or memory, or other capacities present in your self?” Other than these, there are many things in the world, which are not seen by naked eyes. For example air. Can you deny the existence of all such things? Don't you see the signs and marks?

Eyes only see material things

They should be made to understand that the vision of human eyes is limited to the things that have forms. That also with the condition that it should not be colorless or thin like air. Otherwise eyes cannot perceive such material things also. Now how such eyes can see the Lord, when He is absolutely Unique? He does not consist of matter. He is the Creator of both the dense and the rare matter. Rather He is the Creator of such things, which do not even have form and matter, like intelligence and thoughts.

That Lord is present everywhere (He is Omnipresent) and He encompasses everything. The whole universe exists because of His existence. It is necessary for man that first he should take stock of the orbit of operation of his eyes. So that he may not refuse to believe or accept the dignities and things that are out of their orbit of operation. Rather he should recognize them by their signs.

Three questions-a single reply

It is said that one day Abu Hanifah told his companions, “Ja'far bin Muhammad as-Sadiq has stated things that really surprise me. He says that Allah will not be seen in this world as well as the next. How is it possible that a thing exists but cannot be seen?

He also says that Satan will be burnt in the fire of Hell. Now since Satan is made of fire himself how can fire burn fire?

And he also says that people are free in their actions. Though Quran says that all actions take place according to the will of Allah.”

This narration shows that Abu Hanifah was convinced that Allah would be seen in the Hereafter, the fire of Hell will not burn Satan and whatever man does, he is helpless in it and Allah is compelling him to perform all actions.

Bohlool was present in the gathering. After listening to all this he picked up a lump of mud and hit Abu Hanifah on the head with it. Abu Hanifah started bleeding from his head and Bohlool ran away from the scene.

Abu Hanifah filed a complaint in the court of law and Bohlool was produced. The judge asked him the reason of such behavior. Bohlool said, “Abu Hanifah has objected to three things, which Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) had said. By hitting him on his head I have replied to all the three objections. One is that, he says that it is not possible for something to exist and not be seen. Now since he claims that I caused the pain in his head, let him show us that pain. However since the pain cannot be seen, it seems that he is lying, as pain does not exist.

Another thing is that he says since Satan is made of fire, the fire of Hell will not affect him. The lump was of clay and Abu Hanifah is also made of clay, hence how clay has affected clay?

And this gentleman says that man is not having free will and Allah compels him in all actions. Hence hitting him in this manner, according to him is not my own action. Rather it is an act of Allah. Then why is he complaining about me?

In the end Bohlool was released.

Some scientists

Hence it shows that if a thing is not seen it is not the proof that it does not exist. In Arabic it is said that: It is absolutely self-evident and reasonable to the extent of manifestation.

Even then some scientists have been deceived by their wrong notions. In the past centuries they had by analysis and scientific experiments performed amazing and exciting feats. They discovered amazingly exciting things, invented and manufactured scores of gadgets, really worthy of honor. But they gave such a verdict against wisdom and said that, “The universe comprises of only material things and this is what we have understood.” They denied all things other than material things. They did not give credence to the existence of soul, angels, and Jinns etc. They thought that the world is not consistent with an Omnipotent and Omniscient God and they refused to believe in such a God Who is Alone and pure, and free from matter. Because of their claim, they disgraced themselves among the wise people of the world.

A Drop of Sea

Thank God that majority of today's (twentieth century) scientists are not engaged in such wrong notions. The verdict of their nature and their perception is that such a view is wrong. They bow down their head with respect in the face of Allah Almighty's endless Greatness, Power and Wisdom. They also confess that the soul remains after death. They also confess and admit that there is a world of reward and punishment. They say that our knowledge is just like a drop, whereas what we don't know is like a vast shoreless ocean.”

The Ant and The Telephone Pole

In Tafsir of Tantavi, vol. 2 on page no. 48, the names of twenty great scientists are given who have accepted the existence of God, soul, and the Hereafter. Some of these scientists, for example, the greatest philosopher of this century and the teacher of Aureili Doshan, “Spencer” has written books on this subject and also written a thesis on this. However relating all those quotations here will cause unnecessary lengthening of our discussion.

In this commentary on page 161 a British scientist, Lord Olivier Large is quoted that:

“Man's knowledge about non-material things (for example, soul) is only as much as an ant might be having knowledge about the life of man.”

For example when an ant crawls on the telephone pole. It looks at the pole within the circle of its vision but it does not know that this pole carries a telephone network and that it is the medium of communication between people of different cities.

Similarly we do not have information about the unseen worlds.

Vol. I of Dairatul Marif, the Encyclopedia compiled by Wajidi and other books mention about many scientists who accept the existence of God.

Recognition of God and Science are related to each other

Hershel says that as science progresses there is increase in the proof of the existence of an Eternal and Omnipotent Creator, which is God. Geographers, Mathematicians, psychologists and scientists have cooperated with each other to strengthen the throne of knowledge; and this throne is the throne of the greatness of One God.

An Eternal and Everlasting power

The famous thinker Herbert Spencer says, “The more we investigate these mysteries, the more they deepen. Though we have indeed realized the fact that there is someone more powerful and higher than man, and everything has come into existence due to him.”

The Universe and its Creator

The French physiologist and natural scientist, Lena says, “The great Eternal God is aware of everything and He can do anything. He has instilled such awareness in myself through His creatures that I have become enchanted and perplexed. Because from the most minor creature to His greatest phenomenon there is same kind of novelty, wisdom and power that one is compelled to feel bewildered.”

After this the same great thinker says, “Whatever benefits we receive through the universe are the best proofs for the greatness of that God, Who has bestowed us all these things. Everything in the universe is so beautiful and balanced that it shows the great wisdom of the Almighty. God protects everything from destruction and misbalance. Constant change and transformation in the Universe also proves the Almighty's greatness.”

Brief statements of other thinkers

The accomplished intellectual Fomtetel writes in his encyclopedia that the importance of science is not because it reduces the fervor of intellects. Rather the greatest advantage of these sciences is that they invite our attention to the Creator of the Universe and they instill in us an awe of the Creator. The well-known philosopher Pascal says, “The Creator is an unlimited sphere whose pivot is everywhere and whose dominions are without limits of space.” The same philosopher also says, “Except for faith in God nothing gives us internal peace and quenches the thirst of the soul.”

La Mena says, “The word in the denial of the Creator burns the lips of the one who utters it.”

He also says that search for something other than God and absolutely unconnected with His Being is nothing but an effort towards annihilation.

Lo Cordon says, “God is that Unique Sun whose living and everlasting rays impart help and life to the existing things.”

Feu says, “God is aware of everything. He has control over everything and He is controlling all the systems of the universe.”

Gordon says, “God is that eternal and everlasting power by Whose favor the whole Universe has come into existence and continues to develop.”

In the 19th century Encyclopedia there is a statement of Prodon that, “God is a reality beyond our understanding and describing Whose qualities is beyond our capacity. But despite this His existence is certain and undeniable. Before our intellects could investigate the existence of God our conscience had already witnessed it.”

On page 354 of Dictionary of Stories of Quran, La Martin, a great French poet and litterateur says, “A heart devoid of God is a court of law without a Judge.”

These were some few examples of the statements of western thinkers. May our young people pay attention to this and derive benefits from those great thinkers and confess to the greatness of those thinkers who believe in and have faith in Allah.

Removal of Dirt

“Aloofness” (Takhliya) is to keep oneself away from things that are obstacles in recognizing Allah. In other words it means that we must purify our heart of all pollutions of the heart. The greatest pollutant of the soul is selfishness. That is to consider oneself most important and not in need of Allah and this mistaken notion is the result of blind faith. Some people feel happy at this mistaken notion. They acquire a little bit of knowledge and consider themselves intellectuals although this knowledge is limited while their ignorance is unlimited.

How can a person consider himself an intellectual though he is unaware of the most obvious truth and the recognition of God? This is nothing but pride and a compounded ignorance.

Compounded ignorance is that a person is unaware of his ignorance. He also does not know what he is unaware of. He shall remain in the compounded ignorance forever. Some details regarding compounded ignorance are mentioned in the beginning of this book in the chapter of “The Cure of Disbelief.” Let us revise these points again.

Cure of Self-worship

One must think upon his helplessness time and again and must ponder on his temporal nature from the aspect of his self, qualities and actions. He must understand that whatever there is, it is by the favor and mercy of Allah. He is in need of Allah every moment of his life. Another beneficial thing for the cure of egotism is that one must contemplate upon ones creation and composition.

That initially he was dispersed in form of particles of elements, then he came into the loins of his father, then in the womb of the mother and finally he arrived into the external world. Thus from the cradle to his present condition, each stage is worth contemplation. One should imagine his future conditions and even his death. Then he must think what his condition would be in the frame where his body will once again disperse into particles and he would again return to the previous condition.

From it We created you and into it We shall send you back and from it will We raise you a second time.26

Then one should consider in detail ones present condition and think upon ones life and death.

He must take note of his health and sickness, strength and weakness, old age or youth, honor or dishonor; thus he must study all his conditions over whom he has no control and whom he cannot mould according to his wish and will. So much so that he does not even exercise control over his thoughts and memory. He desires to understand and memorize many things but he cannot do so always. His desire just remains a desire.

In brief we can say that one should consider ones helplessness and lack of control, weakness and lowliness from every angle. The more he is aware of this the more he will be able to achieve the recognition of himself and his creator and the creator of others. He would be able to understand the limitless wisdom and power of Allah and he would similarly be able to confess his ignorance and weakness.

Self Recognition

A famous tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) says, “One who recognized his self, recognized his Lord.”

Some scholar has explained this tradition as follows: One who understands his phenomena - That he was nothing and then he came into existence. He understands his annihilation and decaying, indeed understands that his Lord is eternal and everlasting. He is from eternity and would remain forever. Anyone who realizes his helplessness, infirmity and ignorance, would certainly realize Allah's unlimited power, wisdom and control. Anyone who realizes that he is a creature, getting sustenance from the Sustainer God, would certainly achieve the recognition of his Creator and Sustainer. In the same way as many qualities of himself a man realizes as much recognition of God he achieves.

By contemplation any sane person can know that the creation of the soul in his body, his physical make-up and everything in every sphere of his life is not by itself. Certainly, somebody has created all this; someone sustains and manages it all. He is also the creator and the originator of all the parts of the existing world.

One who wants to deepen his recognition of God should pay more attention to this. He should read the versified supplication (Munajat) of Imam Ali (a.s.) quoted in the rituals of Kufa Mosque in Mafatihul Jinan. Also for this purpose it is essential to ponder upon its meanings. Some lines of this supplication are as follows:

O my Master, O my Master! You are the Living and I am a dead and who will show mercy on a dead except the Living?

O my Master, O my Master! You are Eternal and I am perishable, who can be merciful on the perishable except the Eternal?

O my Master, O my Master! You are Everlasting and I am declining. Who can be merciful on the declining except the Everlasting?

O my Master, O my Master! You are the Sustainer and I am a sustained one. And who can be merciful on a sustained one except the Sustainer?

Don’t consider yourself free

If God wills, more details about egotism and self-worship will be discussed in the second part of this book. Here we have to know in brief that as long as a man considers himself needless and without a guardian, he continues to consider himself as the greatest. Such a person cannot gain any divine recognition. But if he realizes with his sense and intellect that he is not firm and independent, a great veil is removed from the effulgence of his nature. He begins to recognize his Lord in the brightness of this recognition and becomes His ardent devotee.

O Hafiz! You yourself have become your veil. Move out from between yourself and the Lord.

Till the time you remain in pride of your knowledge and superiority you will remain without divine recognition. Let me point out a fact. Do not look at yourself because you are dust.27

Beastly pleasures and desires

All greedy and sensual behavior, following devilish desires, excess in animal pleasures like overeating, sleeping more than necessary, are those veils that conceal the effulgence of humanity or make one neglectful of the remembrance of Allah and cause spiritual illness. In such things, if excess is harmful to the body and this loss is considerable then it is unlawful. And if it is not considerable then also it is detestable. Now that excess may be in anything.

For instance an excess that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has pointed out, “Lustful glance is a poisonous arrow from the arrows of Satan. Lustful glance is a poisonous arrow that strikes the heart and soul of the one who glances in this manner. How sick would be the heart of the person who commits sins, day in and day out? How would the effulgence of nature glow after such destruction and filth so that he can remember God? How can he see truth and reality and recognize Allah?

Sinful glance is far from the beloved's face. Now glance at this pure face through a clean mirror.28

Yes, if divine grace is in ones favor the sinner would regret his actions and the fire of regret would burn the filth of his heart and then the water of repentance would wash the heart.

I have plunged into tears and performed the ritual bath. Like the mystics you also say so. Because the mystics say that first purify yourself only, then cast a glance at that pure entity.29

Every sin, however minor, covers the effulgence of man's nature and makes the heart rusty, creating proportionate distance and a veil between Allah and him.

This is proved by many verses and traditions. For instance:

Nay! Rather, what they used to do has become like rust upon their hearts.

Nay! Most surely they shall on that day be debarred from their Lord.30

In the same way Allah says in Surah Rum:

Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they rejected the communications of Allah and used to mock them.31

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) is quoted in Usul al-Kafi that he said, “Every believer has a white spot in his heart. When he sins, a blackness to that extent appears on it. If he repents, the blackness goes away. But if he remains in the impurity of sins for a long time the blackness goes on increasing. So much so that it completely covers the white spot. When the blackness hides the whiteness, a person with such a heart can never return to good. This is the meaning of Allah's words:

Nay! Rather, what they used to do has become like rust upon their hearts.32

Also, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “My father (Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.)) used to say that the most harmful thing for the heart is sin. Indeed the heart involved in sins is continuously inclined to sins till they gain control over the heart; then the heart is turned upside down.

Truth does not remain in it and neither can it return to it and stay put there. Such a person does not accept any advice and does not obey any true guidance.

The Most dangerous pain of the heart

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “No pain is more dangerous to the hearts than sins. No fear is as intense as that of death. Past sins are enough to cause worry and death is enough a lesson.33

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) also said, “I am only worried about two things regarding you. One is following the desires and the other, lengthening of hopes. Following the desires takes one away from truth, while lengthening of hopes makes one forget the Hereafter. (Yes! Long hopes and desires make one forget death. And if man does not remembers death, he also forgets the Hereafter. A true believer is not commanded to fear death but he is to remember death.

As mentioned in the first tradition, “No fear is as intense as that of death,” Now this fear is perceived when one commits a sin and does not repent for it. To save oneself from the fear of death he should not sin again and repenting for the past sins he should repose hope in Allah's mercy.

Allah is Manifest, but veils of desires intervene

In the supplication of Abu Hamzah Thumali, Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) prays to Allah, “And truly traveling to You is short in duration, and You do not veil Yourself from Your creatures unless their own misdeeds would block them from You.” In one version instead of A'maal (misdeeds) there is Amaal (hopes). Meaning thereby that hopes and desires become a veil and cause hindrance.

However close I may be to myself, the beloved is nearer. And more strange is that I am far from the beloved.34

Preoccupation makes one forget Allah

A man becomes so busy in the remembrance of himself, in fulfilling his desires and lustfulness and having long hopes that he begins to commit one sin after another even by his body and becomes sinful even by the heart. He draws the veils of these things between Allah and himself and this preoccupation of his makes him forget Allah.

We have lost the way

We become happy on getting materialistic pleasures of the world. If some material loss occurs we become sad and aggrieved. But we have no worry about the loss of the Hereafter. We do not even think of humanity and spirituality. That is why we do not worry about the well being of life in the Hereafter. Though there is no greater peril than the peril of sins and no harm greater than the harm of the Hereafter. The real asset of man is his faith. Thieves like sensuality and Satan continue to steal from it while he sleeps in carelessness. He doesn't worry that due to his sins his faith is decreasing or getting destroyed. It shouldn't be that at the time of death he becomes faithless.

It is surprising that in spite of this they lament their material conditions. In addition to physical sickness they also remain spiritually ill very badly. Hospitals are full with these patients in every era and no place is vacant; and the diseases are increasing day by day but people do not take lesson that they are giving more importance to physical ailments. They do not repent. They do not leave the satanic path. The remedy for all pains is remembrance of Allah. But they do not remember Him even for a moment. Their soul remains in restlessness and affliction but they do not find any remedy of it.

Now surely by Allah's remembrance are the hearts set at rest.35242

A Miserable time

Indeed the condition of a man is miserable. Imam Ali (a.s.) says in Nahjul Balagha:

You are in a period when steps of virtue are moving backwards, steps of evil are moving forward and Satan is increasing his eagerness to ruin people. This is the time that his equipment is strong, his traps have been spread and his prey has become easy (to catch).

Cast your glance over people wherever you like, you will see either a poor man suffering from poverty, or a rich man ignoring Allah despite His bounty over him, or a miser increasing his wealth by trampling on Allah's obligations, or an unruly person closing his ears to all counsel.

Indeed surveying the society of today we realize that there are generally four kinds of people in it. Some are poor who remain very sad and lamenting, some are very rich but thankless to Allah. Third and fourth are the miserly and greedy; or inspite of not being rich or poor, miserly or greedy they have forsaken the obedience of Allah.

Social life must also not be forsaken

Shall we leave such a society and recede to the forest? No, Islam has prohibited the way of Sufis and ascetics. We have to live in this society. We have to remove the obstacles on the way of recognition of Allah and the Hereafter. We must not waste the capital of certainty and belief, and remaining in legitimate limits we have to enjoy the pleasures and comforts of the society.

The Self of man, and Satan

The self of man, and Satan are the greatest obstacles on the ways of recognition of God, humanity, intellect and Islamic law. The self of man tries to mislead him and Satan makes the beastliness of the self more disobedient. These two enemies try to mislead man whether he is in a society or in wilderness. Therefore man should oppose them while living in the society. These enemies also trick man by making bad deeds seem good to him.

If man want to flee, he should flee from following the self and Satan, and not from the society.

Congregational prayer and Hajj

The greatest religious duty incumbent on people is the daily Five-times Prayer. Congregational prayer is also emphasized. Almighty Allah clearly commands:

And bow down with those who bow down.36

After Prayer, Hajj is a great Islamic duty. It is performed at a particular time in the company of others. Benefits achieved from society are not present in a life of solitude in the wilderness.

If someone preaches a life of solitude in wilderness, he is himself deviated. He is talking against Islamic law. How can one who is himself deviated, guide others? If a blind leads a blind, the blindness is doubled.

Then, what to do?

Allah is Wise and Knowing. He best knows the pain of His creatures and it remedy. That is why He has sent doctors like the Prophet and his successors. He has given a prescription of guidance for this. He has provided guidance for everything. What to do and what not to do, everything is explained in detail. Laws exist for uttering a single word and swallowing a single morsel. Where to sit and where not to sit. Whom to meet and upon whom not even to cast a glance. Rules governing all the big and small matters are present in Islam. Every act falls in any of the five categories: Obligatory, unlawful, detestable, recommended and permissible.

No act of man is such that one of the above five do not apply to it. Details of such laws are present in books of Islamic Practical Law.

Islamic laws and acting on them

On the basis of this every person is obliged to value the bounty of religion and act upon its rules. Its benefit would accrue to the man himself. The first step in this direction is learning the Islamic Law. Though it is obligatory first to learn those laws with which he is mostly involved. Of these, he must at least pay attention to the obligatory and the prohibited acts and exercise precaution in this regard. One should ensure not to miss a single obligatory duty and also that even a single unlawful act is not committed by him. The next step is that he should also perform recommended deeds depending upon his capacity and divine opportunity (Tawfeeq).

Indeed one who is acquainted with religious laws also acts upon them. In spite of living in this dirty society he remains clean and pure. Purification of soul, that is to keep oneself clean of evils and to mix with it the essence of Shariah would be definitely beneficial. Shariah is an alchemy that demonstrates how the self is heated in the kiln of trials and how impurities are separated from the pure. Since more discussion in this matter will prolong the book we content ourselves by presenting some examples of this alchemy.

Five times purification every twenty-four hours

For instance a religious command is to pray five times daily. Morning (Fajr), Noon (Zuhr), Afternoon (Asr), Evening (Maghrib), and Night (Isha). One who performs these five times prayers in proper way especially with a congregation, is cleaning himself of impurities five times?

The famous saying of the Holy Prophet (S) is, “One who regularly performs the five times' prayer, is like one who immerses in water five times to clean his body.”

Would any dirt remain on the body of such a person? The same is the condition of the heart of one who performs the daily prayers.

Every act has a particular effect

Like Prayer, each of the Islamic acts, like Fasting, Zakat (poor-rate) Hajj and other obligatory deeds have a special effect. Every obligatory act has a particular effect for purifying the heart, that is not present in others. If one performs all obligatory acts but forsakes one, he would be deprived of the benefit of this act. He would be involved in the disease of heart according to the act he has omitted and this cannot be compensated by performance of another obligatory act.

The same applies to avoiding prohibited acts. If one avoids all prohibited acts except one, his heart would remain impure from that aspect, and this impurity cannot be removed except by abstaining from this particular deed.

Remembering death purifies the heart

The same applies to the recommended deeds also. In connection with the purification of the self, the effects present in a particular recommended act are such that they cannot be obtained through any other way. Remembering death is among those recommended deeds that remove the obstacles from divine recognition and the purification of self. There are very few sermons of Imam Ali (a.s.) in Nahjul Balagha where he has not spoken about the remembrance of death. For instance he says:

“I advise you to remember death more and be less negligent about it. How can you be negligent about something (death) which is not negligent about you?”

Imam Ali (a.s.) states in a letter to the governor of Egypt:

“Whenever your self fights with you with regard to the sensual desires you must increase your remembrance of death. Death is sufficient as a sermonizer. The Messenger of Allah (S) used to regularly advise his companions in connection with remembering death and used to say, 'Remember death more and more because it breaks the pleasure of the self and is an obstruction between you and lust.'”

In a tradition in Usul al-Kafi Imam Baqir (a.s.) says that the Holy Prophet (S) was asked who is the wisest and the most intelligent believer? The Prophet replied, “One who remembers death most and one who is most prepared for it.”

Everything should be within limits

Abstinence from detestable acts is similarly having particular effects. If one does not abstain from a particular detestable act, a particular ill of the heart would not be cured. However as much harm is not there in leaving a detestable act as there is in avoiding a prohibited deed. In the same way as much harm there is in leaving an obligatory deed is not there in leaving a recommended act.

For example one of the detestable acts is to overeat. In the same way eating on a full stomach is also detestable. If one eats so much that it can become a cause of disease then it is not only detestable, it is unlawful too. In the same way to sleep too much, to talk too much is detestable to the point of being forbidden. However even if a sentence is uttered, that is prohibited, then it would not remain detestable but become unlawful.

It is mentioned in Surah Araaf:

And eat and drink and be not extravagant, surely He (Allah) does not love the extravagant.37

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Surely Allah does not like one who sleeps and eats in excess.”

The Holy Prophet (S) is recorded to have said, “It is your duty to remain silent. Because silence is a weapon to chase away Satan and it is helpful to you in your religion.”38

There are many traditions of the Prophet greatly flaying excess of sleeping, eating, speaking and praising people. For the purification of the self, cleaning of the heart and fostering the effulgence of nature it is necessary to adopt moderation in sleeping, eating and speaking. Apart from traditions, practical experience and personal observations also prove our stand.

Pleasure of Supplication

You can experience it yourself. One night eat and sleep less. Get up at dawn. Recite a few units of Prayer. Converse with Allah in private. Then do not be content with one or two nights. Make it a habit. Then you would relish the taste of nearness of God. Then you will taste the sweetness of His remembrance. And then you will be able to understand the grades of spirituality to some extent.

Eat and sleep a little less. Take this gift for meeting Him.

Be among those who sleep less at night and be among those who seek forgiveness at dawn.39

The second couplet points to what is mentioned in the 17th and 18th verse of Surah Zariyat.

They used to sleep but little in the night. And in the morning they asked forgiveness.40

Worship slashes the veil

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said, “There is no veil between a person and Allah, darker and more terrible than uncontrolled desires and self. And to slay these two no weapon or instrument is there except considering oneself in need of God, having fear of God, remaining hungry and thirsty during the day and keeping awake at night.41

Abstain from following the self. Because there is nothing deadlier like this beast that subdues people in the way of God.42

It is a difficult but important task

Purification of self or cleaning oneself from spiritual impurities according to religious law though very difficult for the self, is the sure way of good fortune, deliverance, success and happiness. The Holy Quran says in Surah Shams:

He will indeed be successful who purifies it.43

Almighty Allah also says:

We will most certainly make him live a happy life.44

No treasure is obtained without toil. Oh brother! Only he gets paid who has worked hard.45

Although difficulties borne in this world are indeed compensated in the Hereafter.

Allah says in Surah Haqqah:

Eat and drink pleasantly for what you did beforehand in the days gone by.46


After purification of self the thing needed is assimilation. Assimilation means the embellishment of self and the embellishment of self is contemplation and remembrance of God. It is obtained by contemplating about God after observing the universe and by always having His remembrance.

Almighty Allah says:

Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men who understand. Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain! Glory be to Thee, save us then from the chastisement of the fire.”47


Allah Almighty says in Surah Rum:

Do they not reflect within themselves: Allah did not create the heavens and the earth and what is between them two but with truth and (for) an appointed term? And most surely most of the people are deniers of the meeting of their Lord.48

That is they even deny that there is a life after death.

Material Progress

Now consider this verse:

They know the outward of this world's life, but of the hereafter they are absolutely heedless.49

Today most of the people are like this. Their thinking is limited to this world. That is why they are content with knowledge that would be useful in this life only. They create a private world. That is why today man has taken such strides in material spheres.

Man has attained perfection in agriculture and other scientific and technological fields. He has made astonishing progress in medicine. Heart surgery has become possible and heart transplant has become a reality.

But it is regrettable that no attention is paid to the spiritual diseases of the heart. New inventions and all the facilities of life are available today but no arrangement is made for the satisfaction of the heart. Leaving the limits of the earth, man has reached space. He has traveled three million twenty two thousand kilometers from the earth to land on the moon but what a pity that he has no control over his heart.

He reached places that none had even imagined, but as far as spirituality is concerned he has regressed. He has become worse than animals. Though he has learnt that the Solar System is in its old age then also he does not worry about the end of the world. He sees people dying everyday. He knows that no one is immortal, but it has no effect on him. He is not able to realize that there is life after death.

Another World

People do not realize that when there is a hidden wisdom in everything in the world, there should be a purpose behind the existence of the world also. This world was not created without any purpose; just to be destroyed one day. Thus there is another life after death and there is another world after this. Such a world, that he can reach it after being released from this terrible life and remain in everlasting comfort and happiness. Happiness, which is not accompanied by sorrow.

This world is for divine recognition (Ma’arifat)

Allah has bestowed wisdom and ability to man to contemplate on this world and through it obtain knowledge and recognition. That he can see that the tiniest of the creatures has a cache of wisdoms. So that he gains certainty on God Who has bestowed this wisdom. He should realize that there is some reason behind his creation. To find this he must refer to the Quran and the traditions of Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad. He can make his task easier this way.

In this way, he would know that he is created to recognize Allah and worship Him. He is created to achieve great perfections in qualities and manners. He is created to achieve a purified life of the world and the Hereafter. He is created to see such blessings, as he cannot even imagine.

Almighty Allah says:

So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes, a reward for what they did.50257

In other words, Allah Almighty has created human beings and also created a perishable world as well as an everlasting one. The divine aim in this is as follows:

First of all, we must see the beautiful qualities of God. That is, we must ponder on God's Power, Wisdom, Generosity and Mercy. Then in this background we should think upon the secondary divine qualities. That is, the Justice of God and His Wrath on the unjust and disbelieving people. There are many verses regarding this, but we content ourselves by those we have already quoted.

Contemplation is the best worship act

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) used to say, “Admonish yourself by contemplation.” Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “The greatest worship act is to contemplate upon Allah and His Power.”51

Imam Ali Ridha (a.s.) says, “Worship does not mean only praying and fasting in excess. True worship is contemplating upon the acts of Allah.”

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “The worship of Abu Zar (Mercy of Allah be on him) consisted mostly of contemplation and gaining lesson.” Another tradition of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is recorded that he said, “An hour of contemplation is better than a year's worship and only those who have sense, accept good counsel.”52

The level of worship depends on recognition of God. As a result of contemplation if the level of recognition increases, its rewards would also magnify. Perhaps it may not be obtained by year's worship with less recognition and could be obtained by an hour's worship with increased recognition. But it does not mean that one should give up prayer and only contemplate.

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “If people had contemplated on the great power and huge bounty of Allah, they would have returned to the right path and would have continued to fear the punishment of Hell.”53260

Contemplation results in good deeds

Imam Ali (a.s.) says, “Contemplation calls us towards good deeds and invites us to act on its result.”

Allamah Majlisi explains this tradition thus: This tradition includes all kinds of contemplation.

Contemplation on the greatness of Allah prepares us for fear of God and His obedience. It creates the realization about the temporal nature of the world and its bounties; so that if need arises we can forsake them by Allah's command. Man derives a lesson from the consequences of others. The unjust and cruel people get punishment in the world from Allah or the people, so he tries to protect himself from injustice, bad deeds and manners.

By contemplating on the secrets of worship he learns their aims and thus he performs them with more attention and in the best way. Contemplating on the high stages of the Hereafter he strives to achieve them. Contemplation on the laws of religion and legal problems makes a man act upon them properly and keep himself from sins. In this way the benefit of contemplating on good qualities and high morals is that man obtains them for himself and begins to decorate himself with them.

How to contemplate?

Hasan Saiqal says that he asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), “People relate (a tradition of the Prophet) that contemplation of an hour is better than standing in prayers the whole night. So in what manner should one contemplate? Imam said, “He should visit the ruins or deserted places and ask, 'Where those who inhabited you? Where are those who built you? What has happened to you? Why don't you speak? (There is none inside you who can speak, all have passed away).

Contemplation is the way of recognition

Big and small creations spread in the universe are signs of Allah. By contemplation one realizes that there is a creator for every creation. There is indeed someone who creates motion in everything that moves. In this way when a man contemplates he sees an aim and wisdom behind each creation. Hence he understands that the creator of these things is very Wise. His wisdom and power is unlimited. He is managing the whole system of the universe in the best way. Whether animals or humans, He has created the system of their lives with much wisdom.

Man also knows how to control the system to a certain extent. He has also got intelligence and understanding. This ability to control the system, this intelligence and understanding are themselves creations in the universe. And man himself is a creation. He did not exist before, but was created later. Can the creator of an intelligent being like man, be Himself unintelligent?

Hands of the clock

The famous French philosopher and writer, 'Walter' (1694-1778) is considered among the most intelligent people of the world. He writes in his Dictionary of Philosophy:

The material but the best way to acquire divine recognition is that we should not stop at just carefully observing the system of the creations. We should also be attentive to the aims and intentions behind the creation of those created things.

Then he says, “When I see a clock that its dong indicates different hours, I immediately conclude that this clock is certainly made by some sense and intelligence. That is why it shows time in a proper and organized way. In the same way when I see the parts of my body, I conclude that some intelligent being has certainly made these physical organs to exist in an orderly manner…54

The hands of the clock are also like this. A special machine is constructed and the hour, minute and second hands are fixed in a particular way. If one hand fails, the whole clock will not work correctly. An intelligent man has constructed it very carefully. When this is the condition of this small clock then surely such a vast universe and its well-arranged system is also made by the Wise and Knowing God.

The Human Body

The human body is a very astonishing thing. It has systems of chewing, swallowing and digesting etc. Besides, it also includes the reproductive system. It has a perfect circulatory system to purify blood and make new blood. It has different kinds of organs like the heart, the liver, the kidney, the eyes and the ears etc. and most of all an amazing thing, called intelligence. It also has the five senses. Contemplating on each and every thing amazes us. Indeed the Powerful God has created all these things.

The Holy Quran says:

And Allah has created you and what you make.”55

Allah has given man every kind of ability. He has given intelligence and understanding and of course the power to utilize his ability correctly or wrongly and man would himself see the result of his actions.

Habit or Warning

If man continues looking at things just casually, as his habit is, he would never get insight or divine recognition. He should observe things with deep insight, intelligence and in a proper way. In this way he would be able to take lesson from it and be able to ponder upon Allah's unlimited wisdom and power.

Seeing a new thing man says, “What a wonderful thing is it! Now, more wonderful is the creation of this thing anew. That is its coming into existence from non-existence.

Almighty Allah says in Quran:

And how many a sign in the heavens and the earth which they pass by, yet they turn aside from it.56

For one whose soul is on the level of enlightenment and refulgence the whole universe is the book of the Almighty.57

Study the Quran

To practice contemplation and gain recognition of Allah we must study the verses of Quran. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has explained in four sittings, the points about oneness of Allah to his follower Mufaddal. We must study this. Besides the Holy Quran, we must also read other books that mention details about the earth, the sky and other creatures, and the study of which would increase our recognition of God.

Here we present some incidents for increasing divine recognition.

The Infidel king and the Pious vizier

In times gone by, there was a materialistic infidel king while his vizier was very pious. One day the vizier thought of edifying the king though it was not an easy task. The vizier built a magnificent palace in wilderness without informing the king and planted different kinds of fruits and flowers around it. One day, while hunting, the king and his vizier passed by that palace. The king was surprised and asked who has built that palace, adding, “I have passed by this way several times but I have never seen it before.” The vizier said, “It is possible that it was built by itself.” “How is that possible?” asked the king.

The vizier said that there were frequent storms in the sea in that area and hence it was possible that stones might have broken from the mountains and gathered there floating in the storm. Then by chance they piled on one another. In the same way the trees and plants grew up there because of storms. The king said that no one would agree with this and this splendid palace could not be made without the help of a skilled architect. “You must inquire who built it here?”

The vizier said, “You say that this palace cannot be constructed automatically. Then surely someone has built it intentionally. Now, is the human body not more complex than this structure? Besides human beings, are not all types of beasts and vegetables more astonishing than this? Can any wise man, seeing the system of whole universe say that all of it were made without any source?” This changed the thinking of the king and he also became a believer.

Discussion of Ali Bin Mitham

Ali Bin Mitham was a great Shia Scholar in the time of Mamun Rashid. Shaykh Mufeed has mentioned that:

One day Ali Bin Mitham went to Hasan Bin Sahl the vizier of Mamun Rashid besides whom sat a denier of God and an irreligious person. People were giving him great respect and were listening intently to his unbecoming talks. Ali Bin Mitham was very saddened by this.

He said, “I have seen a very strange thing today.” People asked, “What have you seen?” He replied, “I saw a boat without a sailor ferrying people across the Tigris River.” The apostate said, “O vizier! Do not listen to this person. He has no sense and he has become mad. A boat is made of wood and inorganic matter and it has no wisdom, sense and determination that it can ferry people across the river without the intervention of a sailor.”

Ali Bin Mitham asked the denier, “What is this? Why do You call me mad because of the absence of a sailor. Just see in what a perfect way the sun, moon, earth, planets and all things present in them are moving. How perfect is their motion and their arrangement, and you say that the boat of this vast universe is sailing without a sailor! In spite of this, you consider yourself intelligent?

The denier was ashamed and he realized that the fictitious story of the boat was narrated by way of guidance. 58

White and Yolk of an egg

Abu Shakir Desani was also an apostate and a denier of God. One day he came to Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and said “O Ja'far Ibne Muhammad! Take me to my Lord.” The Imam said, “Take a seat.” He sat. At that time a child was playing with a hen's egg. The Imam told the child, “Son! Give me this egg.” The child handed him the egg. Then Imam said to Desani, “See this egg is like a strong fort. A strong thick peel is surrounding it. There is a delicate membrane under this skin and a type of liquid silver is floating inside it. Within it is a gold-like yolk, which is also floating.

Neither the yolk mixes with albumen nor the albumen mixes with the yolk. Nothing is seen coming out of it automatically, that whether it will produce a male or a female. After a few days, the peel is broken from inside and a beautiful chick comes out. O, Desani! The cause of its creation is Allah, the Wise and Powerful or is it your imagination? How has it come into existence automatically? Abu Shakir Desani bowed down his head for some time and then raised it and said, “I bear witness that there is no god but one God and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger. I repent for my former belief.”59

Words of Allah

Signs of existence of God are incomputable and there are many witnesses of His Oneness.

Say, if the sea were ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would surely be consumed before the words of my Lord are exhausted, though We were to bring the like of that (sea) to add thereto.60

Every creation is a word of Allah. It has testified to His wisdom, power, oneness and uniqueness. It speaks of Allah and His unlimited attributes.

For the wise, every green leaf is a book of Allah's recognition.61

A Great Power

Think deeply on the condition of yourself and others. Man makes a determination to do a lot of things but in a short time his intention ends. He proceeds further with many tasks and has faith in getting results but there is no result. On the contrary, sometimes results are beyond his expectations. Breaking of intentions and overturning of hopes proves that there is a greater power that has kept his condition under its control. We have already mentioned the details of this in the chapter of polytheism.

For more insight we mention here some famous incidents in brief.

Shaddad could not see his self-made Paradise

A city was constructed by the command of king Shaddad. Its surrounding walls were a hundred and twenty miles long each. The buildings therein were made of gold and silver bricks. The trees were also made of white silver and red gold. Instead of fruits, diamonds and precious stones were fixed in those trees. Coral and pearls were strewn on the ground in such a way that soil could not be seen.

When Shaddad was informed about the completion of his paradise, he went there to enjoy it but could not even put a step inside it as his end approached and he died immediately.

Pharaoh was disappointed

Pharaoh was in pursuit of Prophet Musa (a.s.) and Bani Israel along with six hundred thousand men so that he could apprehend and punish them. When they reached the Nile, by the miracle of Prophet Musa (a.s.), twelve paths appeared in the sea and Bani Israel crossed the sea. The Pharaoh also followed them with his soldiers; but when his complete army reached the middle, the paths in the sea disappeared by the command of Allah and the whole army along with Pharaoh was drowned.

Nimrod, Abraha and Prophet Sulaiman (a.s.)

Nimrod threw Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) in the blazing fire to kill him but the fire did not burn him and Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) came out from the fire safe and sound. At last a powerful king like Nimrod died because a puny insect, a gnat that entered his nose.

Abraha moved towards the Ka'ba with his large army and elephants to demolish it. But he was disappointed when he reached there because Allah sent a flock of birds, each holding three pebbles of mud in their beak and claws. They dropped these pebbles on them and they all were destroyed.

One day Prophet Sulaiman (a.s.) said, “I want to rest today. No one should come to me.” Then he went to the roof and stood there supported by his staff (walking stick). The angel of death took away his soul in this same condition.

Remembrance of Allah

Remembrance of God is of two types: Obligatory and recommended. Obligatory remembrance is in three situations.

The first type of obligatory remembrance is that when man sees a creature he should remember its Creator. Seeing the created things he should recognize the unlimited power and wisdom of God. He should consider Allah as the fountainhead of all bounties and should accommodate His love in his heart. In order to recognize Allah in the first stage, this type of remembrance is obligatory.

When man has recognized Allah to the obligatory extent and begins to love Him and becomes His devotee, then continuous remembrance of Allah becomes recommended upon him. That is, it would be recommended that whenever he sees a creature he should remember its Creator. Whenever he sees a bounty he should consider it to be a gift of Allah. And in this way he should never forget Allah. Such remembrance is the best worship act. There are many verses in the Holy Quran emphasizing such remembrance:

Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth. Remember therefore Allah's benefits and do not act corruptly in the land, making mischief.62

Remembrance does not stand for mere verbal remembrance, rather it denotes remembering Allah all the time. In the same way Quran says:

Remember therefore Allah's benefits and do not act corruptly in the land, making mischief.63

This verse implies that if there is remembrance of Allah, there would be no mischief, and when there is no remembrance of Allah there would definitely be mischief. Destruction is certain, and forsaking the remembrance of Allah is destruction itself. In the same way it is mentioned in Quran:

So when you have performed your devotions, then laud Allah as you lauded your fathers, rather a greater lauding.64

Pride on ancestry

Before the advent of Islam, after performing the rituals of Hajj, the Arab polytheists used to stay in Mina for a few days. There they lauded their ancestors in poetry readings among the different tribes. Allah revealed this verse to end this custom. Nothing but pride is gained by lauding ones ancestry and it could not even benefit the descendants in the Hereafter.

Whereas Allah has granted man all the bounties in addition to ancestors. Allah rears men through one's parents. Thus all the bounties are from Allah only and He is more deserving of praise than the ancestors. In addition to material bounties Allah also bestows spiritual ones. The Quran says:

And remember Him as He has guided you, though before that you were certainly of the erring ones.65

Also the Quran says:

But when the prayer is ended, then disperse abroad in the land and seek of Allah's grace and remember Allah much, that you may be successful.66

Remembrance and thanks all the time

To remember Allah after getting His bounties increases recognition, love and faith. Till the time one achieves recognition, love and faith, it is obligatory to keep remembering Allah. After that it becomes desirable and it enhances faith. Remembrance of Allah after seeing the bounties is actually thankfulness. However to remember Allah on every bounty and all the time is very difficult, rather impossible. There are uncountable bounties of Allah upon every person and unintentional negligences of people are also incalculable. The Quran says:

And if you count Allah's favors, you will not be able to number them.67

One Breath

Man breathes more than twenty thousand times in twenty- four hours. He remains unmindful in sleeping hours but after awaking also he does not pay attention to a favor like respiration. If breathing stops for a few minutes, man would die at once. Sadi Shirazi has stated in an excellent way:

When the breath goes inside it gives life and when it comes out, it refreshes.68

Therefore there are two blessing in every breath and we should be grateful for each breath. In what manner can we thank Allah? All the creatures, including the angels, together cannot thank Allah sufficiently.

Man forgets himself

One who remembers Allah more and more will get, in addition to divine recognition and God's love, the benefits and happiness of both the worlds, while forsaking Allah's remembrance makes one a victim of misfortune and deprivation. One also forsakes Allah's remembrance forgets his own self. He does not fulfill his own right. He does not achieve happiness in the way of faith and actions.

Almighty Allah says in Quran:

And be not like those who forsook Allah, so He made them forsake their own souls: these it is that are the transgressors.69

Such people forget to obtain for themselves the provision of the Hereafter.

Man is not only a physical body

Intellectual and textual proofs (Quran and traditions) show that the reality of man is his soul; and his body is just its vehicle and the medium of its actions. All the movements of the body are due to the soul. When the soul exits the body it cannot make any movement but even after death, man's soul remains.

The soul is immortal and would remain forever. If in the world it causes good deeds to be performed through the body, after its expulsion it gets their benefits and lives in peace. But if in the world the soul causes man to do bad deeds through his body, it also suffers a lot of grief and sorrow afterwards.

The common man considers his material life to be everything. He thinks he would be annihilated after death. He thinks his body is everything. That is why he does everything for his body, but does not even think about his soul. For the well being of the body, he refrains from every comfort and delicacy but does nothing for the health of his soul.

He goes for major operations on his body and spends all his wealth in it but cultivates the greatest of spiritual diseases. He does not care that he would be punished for thousands of years in the Purgatory (Barzakh). Man forgets his soul, that is his self, and this is the result of forgetting God.

We do not say that you must not treat the body if it is sick. It is necessary to have it cured so that it can accomplish good deeds according to the commands of God. What we say is that along with the treatment of the body, we should also pay attention to the remedy of the soul. The cure of the soul is a thousand times more important than that of the body. The life of the Hereafter is much greater in comparison to the short life of the world. The hardships there, are many times greater than worldly problems. We must arrange for avoiding those hardships. Spiritual diseases also cause pain and hardships in the world, and physical aches are nothing compared to them. Observe this yourself; material comforts do not remove spiritual pains.

Concern for Obligatory and Unlawful Acts

The second instance when remembrance of Allah is obligatory is while performing an obligatory or an unlawful act. One should not be lazy in fulfilling an obligatory act and abstain from unlawful acts in all circumstances. For instance one should not leave a fast without any valid reason in the month of Ramadan and perform Hajj when it is obligatory upon us. When it is time to pay the Zakat or Khums at the end of the year, we must pay it immediately. One should remember Allah in difficulties and must never despair of His Mercy. Once a person begins to remember Allah in unlawful and obligatory acts then if there is occasion to perform recommended deeds, it is better if he is capable and has divine opportunity to also perform these recommended deeds. It is recommended that when meeting Muslims one should be first in saluting.

If anyone salutes, it becomes obligatory to reply. He should be kind to the relatives and behave with his blood relatives and those related to him by birth in such a way that they are pleased with him. For example if a relative is sick, one should visit him. If he is in some difficulty, he should try to solve the problem. For instance if the relatives become unhappy for not visiting them in their sickness or solving their difficulty then it would become obligatory. Even if they do not become unhappy it is recommended to treat them with kindness. (Although if there is a clash between the pleasure of relatives and divine law, the latter would get precedence).

The same applies when facing prohibited acts. At this time also it is obligatory to remember Allah. If there is risk of a prohibited glance we must lower the gaze or move it away. If there is risk of hearing an unlawful sound, we should stop it or retreat from there. If we fear that unlawful words may slip out from the tongue, we should at once think of Allah. If we want to prevent ourselves from the unlawful, we should abstain from detestable acts. Anyhow, we must not forget Allah at any time and we must remember Him more and more.

The Best and the most Difficult work

According to a tradition of Usul al-Kafi in the 'Book of Faith and Infidelity', in the Chapter of Justice, it is narrated from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that, “The best deeds are three'. In another tradition the words used for these acts are 'the most difficult acts'. The opening words of yet another tradition are: Till the time a believer is tested with these three things they would seem very difficult to him:

Desire justice for others just as you would like to have it for yourself. So much so that do not prefer something for yourself till you are not satisfied with others also having the same thing.

Render monetary assistance to your brother-in- faith. (Help him if he is in need)

Remember Allah in every condition. Remembrance of Allah does not mean only uttering, 'Glory be to Allah, Praise be to Allah, There is no God except Allah and Allah is Great.' (Though they are also important). Rather, remembrance of Allah means that when you come across something Allah has commanded, you must perform it, and when you some across something that Allah, the High and the Mighty has forbidden, you refrain from it.

There are four traditions in Usul al-Kafi on this subject.

Importance of Remembering Allah

This educates us about the importance of Allah's remembrance. If one is not careful about the prohibited and the lawful in every moment of ones life, then mere verbal remembrance of Allah is either useless or of very little use. This has already been discussed in the beginning portion of our book, Greater Sins. Here it is sufficient to mention only one verse of the Quran, where Allah says:

Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil).70

This is watchfulness

In fact, remembrance of Allah is that man considers Him present and witnessing in every condition. He must not forsake the commands of God under any circumstances. This is watchfulness. Such a kind of watchfulness is the means of guarding us against all types of destructions. Living in inhabited places the center of our attention must be the Almighty Allah. Such a kind of watchfulness takes man to the stages of perfection.

Allah is always the Guard and Protector of His slaves. The Arabic word for Guard is 'Raqib' Allah has appointed on His behalf, angels to watch the words and deeds of men. By the command of Allah they note down all good and bad deeds of every person at all times. It is necessary that people must also realize that Allah is watching them and they must not commit any sin in His presence.

For introducing variety in our discussion we mention here few interesting incidents on the subject of “watchfulness”.

Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) and Zulaikha

It is written in Ihya-ul-Uloom that:

It is said that when Zulaikha locked up Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) with herself in her private room, she removed her veil from her head and put it on an idol that was placed in her room. Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) asked the reason for this and Zulaikha said, “Since I want to embrace you I feel shy of the idol. I have covered it so that it cannot see me.”

Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) said, “You are shy of this man-made lifeless idol. Should I not be shy before the Creator of the universe?” Hence Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) fled from there. At last an infant in the cradle testified to the innocence of Prophet Yusuf (a.s.). And in the due course he himself became the king of Egypt and Zulaikha also became his lawful wife. The details of this incident are present in Surah Yusuf.

Allah is watching

A venerable teacher was giving more attention to one of his disciples. People asked him the reason. He replied, “You would soon know.” One day he gave a hen to each of his students and asked them to slaughter them where no one can see. All the students went away, slaughtered their hens and brought to them back to the teacher but that particular disciple brought back his hen alive. The teacher asked him the reason before others. He said, “You ordered us to go to a place where no one can see us, but wherever I went, I found the Omnipresent and Omniscient God.71

What the shepherd said

This incident is mentioned on page 206 of Lavameul Baiyanat:

One day Abdullah bin Umar met a shepherd who was grazing his cattle. He asked the shepherd to sell a sheep to him. The shepherd said, “This is not mine and my master has not allowed me to sell them.” Ibne Umar said, “Sell it to me and keep the money with you and tell your master a wolf took it away. The shepherd said, “Then where would Allah go?” That is, though my master is not present, Allah is certainly there. This incident so influenced Abdullah Ibne Umar that he went to the shepherd's master, purchased him and freed him. Then he purchased all his goats and sheep and gifted them to the shepherd. From then onwards Abdullah Ibne Umar used to repeat the brief statement of the shepherd: “Where would Allah go?”

A slave of Allah

This incident is recorded on page 16 of the 4th volume of Tarikh Tabari:

When Muslims conquered Madayan, the occasion arrived to deposit the war booty into the public treasury. People deposited whatever they could. Meanwhile a man arrived carrying an exquisite box. People doubted that this man might have removed something from it. They asked, “Have you removed anything from this box?” He replied, “If I had not considered Allah to be Present and Witnessing, I would not have even brought this box to you.” They asked, “Who are you?” He replied, “I don't want to introduce myself lest you start praising me.” They deposited the box and followed him. He returned to his tribe and inquiries revealed that he was Aamir Bin Abde Qais.

Verbal remembrance

The third kind of obligatory remembrance of Allah is verbal remembrance. It includes obligatory prayers like the Daily Prayer, Funeral Prayer, Ayaat Prayer (During natural calamities and eclipse), Prayer of circumambulation of the Holy Ka'ba and Lapsed Prayers etc. We have mentioned the importance and rewards of Prayer as well as the severe punishment for omitting it, in Greater Sins. Prayer is a verbal remembrance that is obligatory. The following verses of Quran prove this:

O you who believe! When the call is made for prayer on Friday, then hasten to the remembrance of Allah and leave off trading, that is better for you, if you know.72

Therefore serve Me and keep up prayer for My remembrance.73

The Four Praises

We also have recommended remembrances. For example after conversion to Islam it is desirable to say: “I bear witness that there is no God except Allah.” Or saying, “Praise be to Allah”. Or reciting, “Glory be to Allah” or “Allah is Great”. Among such recitals is “The Four Praises” (Tasbihat-e-Arba). That is: “Glory be to Allah and Praise be to Allah and there is no God except Allah and Allah is Great,” or saying: “There is no strength and Might except by Allah.”

In the same way are supplications, versified invocations (Munajat), Salawat and Quran recitation. All these are also recommended remembrances.

The More the Better

It is clear that there is no limit to remembering Allah. The more Allah is remembered the better it is for man.

O you who believe! Remember Allah, remembering frequently. And glorify Him morning and evening.74

Numerous traditions regarding the excellence of remembrance of Allah are mentioned in Oddatutdai. However for the sake of brevity we refrain from quoting them here. We just mention another Quranic verse in this connection:

And remember Allah much that you may be successful.75

So many recommended prayers, supplications, invocations, recitals and rosaries have been narrated from the Ahlul Bayt that we might be able to recite them all only if we were to engage in this activity all the twenty-four hours. May Allah bestow us more divine opportunity in this.

Excellence of the Midnight Prayer

Of all the recommended prayers the Midnight Prayer is most effective, beneficial and meritorious. It has even more importance than the Nawafil (supererogatory) of the Daily Prayers. It consists of eleven units (Rakats) and the timing is from midnight to dawn. There are many traditions and verses that emphasize rising up early before dawn and performing this prayer, then begging Allah's pardon. In short whoever has obtained some spiritual station it is by the grace of arising early at dawn.

Whatever treasure of happiness Allah gave to Hafiz, it was because of the Midnight Prayer and recitations.76

And during the part of a night, pray (the midnight prayer) beyond what is incumbent on you; may be your Lord will raise you to a position of great glory.77

Indeed the Midnight Prayer was obligatory on the Holy Prophet (S) and is also most recommended for his followers. The “Position of great glory” (Maqam Mahmood) denotes a high station due to which people praise one. Here the lofty station of the Holy Prophet (S) signifies his great intercession.

Many concessions are given to Muslims regarding the Midnight Prayer and if one does not pray from midnight to morning, then also he would not be punished but there would be such a deprivation as cannot be recompensed. He would be deprived from reaching the greater stations and stages that are especially for the Shias of Ali Muhammad (Followers of the Progeny of Muhammad).

Emphasis on the Midnight Prayer

The following tradition of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is available in Baladul Amin of Kafami:

“He is not from our Shia that does not perform the Midnight Prayer.”

And Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says, “One who believes in Allah and the Hereafter, should not pass the whole night without performing the Midnight Prayer.”

The Imam of our time has emphasized thrice in a letter to Ibne Babawahy: “You must recite the Midnight Prayer, you must recite the Midnight Prayer, you must recite the Midnight Prayer.”

Those who wake up at dawn

Allah has emphasized waking up at dawn and performing the Midnight Prayer at a number of places in Quran. For example He says:

Their sides draw away from (their) beds, they call upon their Lord in fear and in hope, and they spend (benevolently) out of what We have given them.78

So no soul knows what is hidden for them of that which will refresh the eyes, a reward for what they did. 79

Allah also says:

What! He who is obedient during hours of the night, prostrating himself and standing, takes care of the hereafter and hopes for the mercy of his Lord! Say: Are those who know and those who do not know alike? Only the men of understanding are mindful.80

This verse explains in the best way that to pray the Midnight Prayer and to weep in the court of Allah in a mixed state of fear and hope is a sign of knowledge, divine recognition and wisdom. And not doing thus is ignorance and foolishness.

Anyone who has obtained a bit of insight has the habit of awaking at night.81

In the same way, pay attention to the following verse:

Surely those who guard (against evil) shall be in gardens and fountains. Taking what their Lord gives them; surely they were before that, the doers of good. They used to sleep but little in the night. And in the morning they asked forgiveness. And in their property was a portion due to him who begs and to him who is denied (good).82

Twenty-six Qualities of the Midnight Prayer

The Messenger of Allah (S) has said that the Midnight Prayer

(1) Causes Allah's happiness

(2) and friendship of angels

(3) It is the practice of the prophets

(4) It is the cause of the effulgence of divine recognition

(5) and a firm foundation of faith

(6) It is comfort for the bodies.

(7) It is the cause of disgust from Satan.

(8) It is the means of victory over the enemies.

(9) It enables the acceptance of prayers.

(10) It makes deeds worthy of acceptance

(11) Causes increase in sustenance.

(12) It intercedes with the angel of death (that he takes away the soul with ease and without causing discomfort)

(13) It is the lamp of the grave.

(14) It is the floor-spread of the grave.

(15) It will reply to Munkar and Nakir (the interrogating angels in the grave)

(16) It is a companion of its performer in the grave

(17) It would continue to visit and look after him till the doomsday and when the resurrection day will occur

(18) it would provide protective shade to its worshipper

(19) It is the crown of his head

(20) It is the garment for his body.

(21) It is effulgence that remains before him

(22) It is a curtain between him and hellfire.

(23) It is his proof in the court of Allah.

(24) It is the cause of weighing down the pan of good deeds

(25) It is the vehicle to cross the Sirat Bridge.

(26) It is a key to the door of Paradise.

Twenty-six qualities of the Midnight Prayer are mentioned in this tradition. The most important being that the Midnight Prayer strengthens the foundations of divine recognition and faith. One must not be neglectful in getting up early at dawn and praying the Midnight Prayer. On the contrary one should perform it regularly and in a proper way, so that if Allah wills, one may obtain the best of the rewards.

Method of the Midnight Prayer

With the intention of performing the Midnight Prayer perform four prayers of two units each, totaling eight units (Rakats) and recite any Surah in them after the Suratul Fatiha. Then perform two units of Shaf prayer. After this pray one unit of Watr Prayer. If possible recite in the Qunut83 of this last unit 70 or 100 times, “Astaghfirullaha rabbi wa-atoobo ilaihe”84) or recite “Al-Awf”85) 300 times. It is most emphasized to pray for the forgiveness of forty believers in Qunut. Ahlul Bayt have also narrated many supplications that can be recited at this time. Especially the 32nd supplication of Sahifa Kamila and other supplications mentioned in the 18th volume of Biharul Anwar. It is much better to recite these supplications in the Qunut. May Allah give us all the divine opportunity (Tawfeeq) to perform all these worship acts.

Stages of Faith

Imam Ali Ridha (a.s.) has stated in Usul al-Kafi in the Chapter of infidelity and faith that, “Faith is one level higher than Islam. Piety is one level higher than faith and certainty of belief is one level higher than piety. Nothing in such a less quantity has been distributed among the people as certainty of faith.”

In comparison to certainty of faith, other things are in greater volume. In another tradition, in the same chapter of Usul al-Kafi the narrator asked Imam Ali Ridha (a.s.), “What is certainty of belief?” Imam replied, “Certainty of belief means reliance on God, to submit before Allah and to entrust the results of our efforts to Allah.”

Allamah Majlisi has explained this tradition in the words of some reliable scholars as follows:

“Recognition of Allah and worship are two such gems that all the religious books, all the statements of religious scholars and all the sermons that you read or listen are all for these two only. Rather the arrival of the Prophets and the revelation of divine scriptures were for this purpose. Rather, the heavens, the earth and whatever is between them were created as means to obtain them.”

The following verse is sufficient to realize the merits of knowledge and recognition of Allah:

Allah is He Who created seven heavens, and of the earth the like of them; the decree continues to descend among them, that you may know that Allah has power over all things and that Allah indeed encompasses all things in (His) knowledge.86

And the following verse is sufficient to realize the excellence of worship:

And I have not created the Jinn and the men except that they should serve Me.87

Knowledge or recognition of Allah and worship, go hand in hand. Each is necessary for the other. If recognition is genuine, worship would also be there and if there is genuine worship, recognition will also accompany it. Recognition and worship are the causes and effects of each other. Recognition causes worship and worship becomes the cause of recognition. For example when worship is the cause of recognition, recognition is technically called the effect. Effect means that something else is the cause of it. Worship would be according to the level and grade of recognition. If recognition increases there will be increment in worship also. In the same way if worship increases, recognition would also increase.

It is clear that here knowledge and recognition denotes recognizing Allah, having faith on the angels, belief in the book of Allah (Quran), belief in the prophets, especially in the Last Prophet and his Successors and the recognition of the Day of Recompense.

Almighty Allah says:

The apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers, they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His apostles.88

The Holy Quran also says:

O you who believe! Believe in Allah and His Apostle and the Book which He has revealed to His Apostle and the Book which He revealed before, and whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His apostles and the last day, he indeed strays off into a remote error.89

The source of Faith is Knowledge. Faith is the verification of a factual truth. Imagination is first of all necessary for verification, and imagination and verification, both are knowledge.

And infidelity is the opposite of Faith. That is to conceal the truth or not to trust the truth; and the source of infidelity is ignorance.

According to religious law, Faith is verification of the following five mentioned in these verses

(1) Allah
(2) Angels
(3) Revealed Books
(4) Prophet
(5) and the Day of Recompense.

Therefore it is obligatory to obtain knowledge and certainty regarding them.

Faith in the Infallible Imams is included in faith on the Messenger of Allah (S). The necessary sequel of faith on the Prophet is that one also has faith in the successors appointed by the Prophet. In the same way belief in Divine Justice is included in the recognition of Allah or knowledge about the attributes of Allah.

The famous tradition of the Messenger of Allah (S) says:

“Acquisition of knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim man and woman.”

It means the same. Here obligatory knowledge means faith and recognition. Though everyone obtains faith and recognition according to his ability.

The Quran says:

Allah does not impose upon any soul a duty but to the extent of its ability.90

That is why there are stages of faith and knowledge. Faith can be strong as well as weak. It can be less and more. There are many stages in this regard and many traditions are recorded on this subject.

Faith is in proportion to the level of knowledge that imparts health and life to the heart. Faith is such a light that illuminates the heart. Due to this effulgence the curtain between the Lord and the slave is removed.

The Quran also says:

Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light.91

In the same way Allah says:

Is he who was dead then We raised him to life and made for him a light by which he walks among the people, like him whose likeness is that of one in utter darkness whence he cannot come forth?92

And Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Knowledge is not obtained by studying a lot. But it is a light that Allah bestows in the heart of one He wants to guide.”

Although when Allah wants to guide man and grant him this light, it is possible for him to study and increase it further.

The Holy Quran states:

And when His communications are recited to them they increase them in faith.93300

That is why it is commanded to pray:

O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge.94

As much as the curtain is removed, the light of faith increases. Faith becomes stronger and stronger and more and more perfect. So much so that there is nothing but effulgence in the heart. Then he is endowed with the widening of the breast, that is the spiritual broadening of the heart. He begins to understand the realities of all the things with an open mind. The unseen and the non-material things become known to him. He sees everything according to its reality.

Thus the light of his heart and the expansion of his breast show him to be factual truths whatever the prophets have said. Some things are known to him in detail and some realities in brief. Then the desire to act on the divine law appears automatically. He achieves control in refraining from evil. Due to the effulgence of divine recognition there is also increase in the effulgence of his manners and good qualities. Then he becomes like those described thus in Quran:

Their light shall run on before them and on their right hands, light upon light.95

And also:

light upon light96

The light of worship would be increasing the light of divine recognition and the light of divine recognition would be increasing the light of worship. (Apparently the preceding light is the effulgence of faith and the light to the right is the light of good deeds.)

The first stage of faith is verification mixed with doubts. There are stages for this too. It is also possible that faith is also mixed with polytheism. The same is mentioned in the following verse:

And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him).97

This level of faith is not 'faith'; it is called Islam, where there is scope for doubt.

In Surah Hujurat it is said:

The dwellers of the desert say, We believe. Say, You don't believe but say, we submit, and faith has not yet entered into your hearts.98

The middle stages of faith are those in whom, in addition to testimony there is no doubt or suspicion. Such believers are mentioned in the following verse:

The believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Apostles then they doubt not…99

When traditions and verses speak of faith, they mostly imply this level of faith:

Those only are believers whose hearts become full of fear when Allah is mentioned and when His communications are recited to them they increase them in faith and in their Lord do they trust. 100

In the higher stages of faith also there is a faith, immune to and purified of doubt. But there is increase in them in divine realization and taste of fidelity (seeing Allah through the eye of ones faith and tasting the sweetness of faith). This is the perfect love for the Creator and a zeal for seeking His proximity. Such believers are described in verses like the following:

He shall love them and they shall love Him, lowly before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers, they shall strive hard in Allah's way and shall not fear the censure of any censurer, this is Allah's grace. He gives it to whom He pleases.101

This high level of faith is called utmost certainty (Iqan). As the following verse indicates:

And they are sure (yuqinoon) of the hereafter.102

The Messenger of Allah (S) is quoted in Usul al-Kafi that he said, “Righteousness is that you worship Allah as if you see Him.”

This is the stage of Utmost certainty (Iqan).

All the three levels of faith are mentioned in the following verse:

On those who believe and do good there is no blame for what they eat, when they are careful (of their duty) and believe and do good deeds, then they are careful (of their duty) and believe, then they are careful (of their duty) and do good (to others), and Allah loves those who do good (to others).103

Just as there are three levels of faith, corresponding to each level there are levels of disbelief also. As Allah says:

Surely (as for) those who believe then disbelieve, again believe and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will not forgive them nor guide them in the (right) path.104

Belief is a higher stage than Islam. In this way the higher stage than belief is fervor and certainty of faith. There are three stages: Knowledge of faith, positive knowledge and certain truth. Allah says in Surah Takathur:

Nay! If you had known with a certain knowledge. You should most certainly have seen the hell, then you shall most certainly see it with the eye of certainty.105

Surah Waqiah says:

Most surely this is a certain truth…106

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “Even if the curtains are removed there would be no increase in my faith.”

Thus the three stages of belief are: Knowledge of faith (seeing smoke man knows there is fire), Positive knowledge (man sees fire with his own eyes) and Certain knowledge (man can touch it and create faith in its existence).

Three stages of Infidelity

Like belief there are three stages of infidelity also. The first is doubts in the principles of faith; such as Allah, the Prophet, Angels, the Holy Quran and the Hereafter. The Holy Quran states about such people in Surah Tawbah:

Their hearts are in doubt, so in their doubt do they waver.107

The second stage of infidelity is that man remains in doubt about these five fundamental principles without even trying to verify whether they are right or wrong. Allah says in Surah Nahl:

So (as for) those who do not believe in the hereafter. Their hearts are ignorant and they are proud.108

The third stage of infidelity is hatred to the truth besides having doubt and refusing the truth, and here man even tries to destroy the truth. Allah says in Surah Mujadilah:

Surely those who act in opposition to Allah and His Apostle shall be laid down prostrate, and indeed We have revealed clear communications and the unbelievers shall have an abasing chastisement.109

Just as man earns different stages of heaven, in the same way he becomes eligible for stages of infidelity. Each stage of infidelity makes one eligible to a particular category of Hell. In the same way there are three stages of hypocrisy also:

1) If one has outward faith but doubts the truth.

2) If he manifests faith but has doubts in it, and without researching the truth he denies it in the heart.

3) He claims to follow the truth but harbors enmity in the heart.

The abode of such a one would be the lowest stage in Hell with a very painful chastisement.

Allah says:

Surely the hypocrites are in the lowest stage of the fire.110

A Condition of a True Believer

Ishaq bin Ammar says that he heard this tradition from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.): Once the Holy Prophet (S) saw a man in the mosque, who was sleeping with his head hanging down. He was pale and his eyes hollow. So the Prophet called him by his name and asked, “How have you started the morning?” He said, “O Messenger of Allah (S)! I have started the morning in a condition of certainty.”

The Prophet said, “Every certainty has a reality. What is the reality of your certainty?”

He said, “O Messenger of Allah (S)! This certainty of mine has aggrieved me very much. I have spent a sleepless night. My hot day (because of fasting) will pass in tolerating thirst. My soul is tired of this world and whatever is there in it, and has turned its face away. The matter has reached a stage that I can see Allah's empyrean ready to take the account of the creatures. All are gathered and I am also among them. I see heavenly people absorbed in divine blessings, greeting each other and sitting on their thrones and as if I see people in Hell getting severe punishment and crying and as if I see the flames of the fire of Hell and could hear their cries.”

The Messenger of Allah (S) told his companions, “This is the man whose heart Allah has illuminated by divine effulgence.” Then the Prophet told him, “Always remain in this same condition.”

The young man said, “O Messenger of Allah (S), as I am your devoted servant, pray for me that I am able to achieve martyrdom.” The Messenger of Allah (S) prayed for him. After a few days he was martyred in a holy war.111

Obligatory and Recommended Deeds

In Usul al-Kafi in the same section of 'Belief and infidelity' there is a chapter denouncing the causing of hurt to the Muslims.

The Messenger of Allah (S) said: I asked my Lord on the night of Ascension, “What is the position of a believer near You?”

Allah replied, “My believer seeks My proximity only with deeds that I like most. That is, he performs whatever I made obligatory on him. Though I like that besides performing the obligatory acts he should also aim at My nearness through recommended deeds. When I begin to like all his deeds, I become his ears so he may hear with them, I become his eyes so that he can see with them, I become his tongue so that he can speak with it, I become his hand, so that he can get everything through it. If he calls me, I answer him and if he asks something from Me, I grant him.”

Deviation of the Sufis

Allamah Majlisi writes in the explanation of this tradition, that according to Shaykh Bahai this tradition is authentic and it is famous among Shias and Sunnis with some minor differences. Some sentences of this tradition like (I become his ears so that he can hear with them) are misinterpreted by Sufis and believers in transmigration of soul.

They have gone astray themselves and they mislead others. This wrong belief says that (God forbid) Allah can come into anything and can transmigrate anything in Himself (God forbid). In the same way union with God is also a wrong belief. It means that (God forbid) Allah unites with other things and becomes one with them, and then there is no difference between Allah and that thing and (God forbid), everything became God.

Allamah Majlisi says that reasonable explanations of these traditions are available. They use metaphors and such use is common in the traditions and Quran and they are not against the faith of the true believers.

Then he gives the sayings of scholars and mentions his opinion. For the sake of brevity we narrate only the saying of Shaykh Bahai.

People of Perception

Shaykh Bahai says:

For the people of faith, lofty things and secrets are hidden in these statements. Such points that only people of taste can perceive. Their souls are imbued with a fragrance that strengthens their worn-out bones.

Only one who has practiced penance can adopt these points. One who has devoted his body for a holy war. Only such a one can obtain divine recognition through such statements and understand their meanings. One who does not understand them and one who is not able to obtain divine recognition from these treasures, there is nothing for him except to obtain base physical pleasures. Such a person is being tested. Generally when he hears such statements, he runs a risk and mostly deviates to transmigration and unification. Allah is much exalted and supreme than this.

This can be understood easily by all.

Fondness of Allah’s proximity

Such statements imply the perfection of Allah's proximity. They express the sway of love over the person's inner and outer dimensions and His being hidden and apparent. But Allah knows better. What we understand is that, “I love My servants. I grant him My attachment. He becomes completely attached to Me. I keep him in a condition of sanctity. His voice and thoughts remain fully attentive to the unseen world. I take over his five senses. As if I become his ear. That is whatever he hears, he hears for Me. As if I become his eyes. That is whatever he sees, he sees for Me only.

Many traditions are available regarding the stages of faith, grades of the people of certainty and their excellence. They can be referred to in Usul al-Kafi, chapter of 'Belief and Infidelity'.

Our intention is to remind that belief may be of any stage but a true believer must not stop here. On the contrary he should try to obtain all the honors of all the three stages of belief.

The Great Signs of Certainty

If Allah's favor and grace descends on anyone He grants him the light of certainty in his heart. This light can spread in his whole heart. In such circumstances all moral defects and evils are removed and he obtains all kinds of good attributes.

The Holy Quran says in Surah Furqan:

So these are they of whom Allah changes the evil deeds to good ones…112

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

Certainty of faith makes people scale every lofty and astonishing stage. The Messenger of Allah (S) explained the dignity and grandeur of certainty when he was told that Isa Ibne Maryam (a.s.) walked on water. He said: If his certainty had been more, he would have walked on air.113

In the beginning we have quoted Imam Ali Ridha (a.s.) that: The signs of certainty of faith are reliance on God, submission to Allah's will and surrendering the results of our efforts to Allah.

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) has said:

Certainty of faith can be seen in the world in the paucity of hopes, in the sincerity of the deeds and in the piety and fear of God.114321

The following is also narrated from him:

Patience and piety, and sincerity and obedience are the fruits of certainty in belief. When the tree of certainty grows in the heart, its fruits are good manners and lofty attributes.

Certainty is Peace and Doubt is Perplexity

The following tradition of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is present in Usul al-Kafi:

“Allah the Exalted, on the basis of justice has appointed happiness and comfort in certainty of belief and sorrow and grief in doubt and unhappiness.”

A person with certainty of belief experiences heartfelt peace and comfort. He surrenders the results of all such deeds to Allah. He says: It was my duty to act and I have done my work. Now it is upto Allah whether He helps me or not through this. Allah is the Knower of everything. If the result is against his will, he does not become aggrieved. He does not become unhappy with Allah. He never says, against the will of Allah: 'If it had been so.' Such a man never becomes proud even if the result is according to his will; on the contrary he thanks Allah.

Allah says:

No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence, surely that is easy to Allah. So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you, and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster.115322

Everything belongs to Allah

This verse shows that if the people of certainty do not get something they desired, or something they had is taken away from them, they do not become sad. In the same way if they get something they do not become proud and vain. They consider themselves slaves of Allah and they do not consider themselves independent of Allah in any way.

People of certainty are satisfied in all conditions

People of certainty are never fearful and aggrieved even in the most unpleasant circumstances and severe calamities. They never feel alone. They associate all their affairs to Allah. Instead of being troubled, they repose all hopes in the Omniscient and Omnipotent Allah with utmost patience and dignity. They make efforts according to Allah's commands but leave the results of their efforts to Allah. That Allah may do as He likes.

They know that nothing happens without Allah's will, permission or leave. Whether the will of Allah is for mercy or justice, every will of God is for the good of man. Even if He puts man to tests, He intends good for him. Hence, disease or good health, prestige or disgrace, riches or poverty, honor or dishonor, whether people appreciate him or not, even life and death; all are same for the people of certainty. They know that whatever the result is, it would be for their good. Indeed true peace in the world and the Hereafter is only achieved by the people of certainty.

Allah says:

Those are they who shall have the security and they are those who go aright.116

Allah also says:

He it is Who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers that they might have more faith added to their faith.117

Satisfaction, tranquility, peace and security are the signs of certainty of belief. While the opposite of these are fear, loneliness and sorrow. These are the results of doubt.

Fear and Hope only from Allah

A person with certainty of belief in Allah has neither hope nor fear from anyone. If he fears his sins, it is also due to the fear of Allah. He hopes only in Allah for grace and mercy and for the forgiveness of his sins. The center of his fear and expectations is only Allah. Even if he flees from a beast or an enemy, it is not due to fear. He flees from them because Allah has commanded us to defend ourselves. If he hopes from someone, it is also because Allah has commanded us to seek co-operation from each other. In fact his hope is from Allah only that Allah would accomplish his work with the help of others. Allah says in Surah Ali Imran:

Those to whom the people said: Surely men have gathered against you, therefore fear them, but this increased their faith, and they said: Allah is sufficient for us and most excellent is the Protector. So they returned with favor from Allah and (His) grace, no evil touched them and they followed the pleasure of Allah and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace.118

Importance of a Deed is based on certainty

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has stated:

“A small deed, performed regularly with certainty of faith is better in the view of Allah than a great deed performed without certainty.”119

Amirul Momineen, Imam Ali (a.s.) has said:

“Man does not taste faith till he does not obtain knowledge and certainty. Because what he has got was never to leave him and whatever he has lost was never going to come to him. And the One Who gives profit or loss (and One Who tests us in all ways) is only the High and Mighty Allah.”120

It is Better to Sleep with certainty of Faith

Imam Ali (a.s.) heard about a Khariji man of Naharwan that he was very constant in performing the Midnight Prayer and reciting the Holy Quran. Imam Ali (a.s.) remarked, “To sleep with certainty is better than praying in doubt.” 121

The excellence of certainty is such that all the religious personalities, even the Prophet, used to beg Allah for its enhancement. Faith, knowledge and certainty are one and the same thing, and a huge body of Quranic verses and traditions mention its excellence.

Love of the world

Love of the world is one of the severe physiological diseases and the greatest sin of the heart, such that all the past Prophets have denounced it. The Holy Quran has condemned it more than any other sin and prohibited it. The Messenger of Allah (S) and the Imams have narrated about it in widely related traditions. A few of them are presented here.

First of all it is necessary to know what 'world' means and what is the 'love of the world' that is made unlawful?

What does ‘world’ mean?

If the Arabic word for 'world', 'Duniya' is on the weight of 'sughra' (small) it's meaning is clear. If its root is taken as 'd-n-w' its opposite would be 'aakhirat' (Hereafter) which means 'the most debased'. However if its root is 'd-n-y-t-' (lowliness), its opposite would be 'loftiness'. There is no doubt that the worldly life is very low, for many reasons, than the life of the Hereafter. While the position of the Hereafter is much elevated and excellent.

'World' is the period starting from the time a child is born till the time his soul is separated from the body. The world, with all its necessities, is the place which provides food, clothes, house and other comforts like health, children, property, honor, reputation, power, gaiety and a happy social life to man. In other words, the life of man from birth to his last breath denotes the 'world'.

Only Deeds Remain

But Prayer, fasting, Hajj, poor-rate and other worship acts are those voluntary actions of man that he performs on Allah's commands. In the same way, drinking wine, fornication, gambling and others crimes are forbidden by Allah. Though all these things are related to this world the Everlasting God has made their effects everlasting. Man must perform these acts in His name and His remembrance. Or in other words it can be said that if man performs the duties commanded by Allah and refrains from those things prohibited by Him with the intention that all this is for Allah, though related to the transient world the effects of all these actions would be everlasting. That is why they are called deeds of the Hereafter and not of the world. So much so that even if their preliminaries are for Allah, they would also be considered as deeds of the Hereafter.

Worship is an action devoid of the love of the world

For example if a person man obtains wealth and decides to save it for spending it in the way of Allah; and then later he spends it on his children and family, pays the poor rate, helps his relatives and performs Hajj with a sincere intention, this action of saving money would be construed as his asset of the Hereafter. It can be said that worship is something completely devoid of the love of the world. But since a sin is committed in the love of the world, its hatefulness is not perceptible, that is why it is necessary to hate it. In this way this topic goes out of the scope of our discussion.

In brief it can be said that love of the world denotes the worldly life and losing oneself in all its necessities, all the pleasures and sensual desires. However, worship acts and sins are different from this, in which their commands are also clear.

For the eternal world

In the discussion about principles of beliefs we have explained in detail that it is necessary for man to bring faith in the fact that he is not going to be annihilated with death. Man is not created like animals to take birth in the world and then die and become dust. Man is not created only for this world. Rather man is a creation that has to remain forever, who after taking birth once is not annihilated. Death only creates a distance between him and his material body. His example is like that of a bird that is liberated from the confinement of a cage. After death he finds rest in a world that has no restrictions.

He would remain there without having any grief or anger. He would be in a stage of such comfort and peace that there would be no worry and trouble. It is such a success where there is no imagination of failure. Death is a source of respect and capability after which degradation and insult can never approach. In conclusion it can be said that it is a fortunate lifetime, in which happiness would never come to an end.

Love the Hereafter

But success in the eternal life is only possible if you leave this world with faith and piety. Faith and piety are the two wings that carry you to that high world. Where success depends on the level of ones faith and piety.

It is obvious that obtaining faith and piety and to reach that perfection is only possible in this world. Because, after death, you only have to bear the consequences of your deeds. You will be recompensed according to your deeds in the world.

In fact man is a traveler who has to gather, in this world itself, the provisions of his success and salvation after death. It is this matter that highlights the importance of this brief worldly life.

Love the world for the Hereafter

Every person with foresight loves this life and prays for a long life. (That is the reason that traditions forbid praying for ones death. Rather it is commanded to always pray to Allah for a long life, so that there is increase in your good deeds and your faith and piety keep on increasing.) And be fearful of an early death. Because such a person knows well that good deeds, that are assets for an everlasting success, are only possible in this world. While after death no more deeds can be performed. In brief we can say that the life of this world is a channel for the everlasting life of the Hereafter. That is why intelligent people like it for themselves. Numerous traditions and verses of Quran throw light on the importance of the life of this world.

In Surah Qasas, Allah says:

And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world122329

In the same way it is said in the blessed Surah Mominoon:

And I seek refuge in Thee! O my Lord! From their presence. Until when death overtakes one of them, he says: Send me back, my Lord, send me back…123

Worldly bounties for the pleasure of Allah

Since obtaining worldly bounties and pleasure causes enhancement of divine recognition; and man, after getting all these bounties, becomes attentive towards Allah Who is the source of every bounty, the man of intellect prefers it for himself. It is mentioned in Surah Ali Imran:

Who has prohibited the embellishment of Allah, which He has brought forth for His servants and the good provisions? 124

And in Surah Araaf it is said:

Say: Who has prohibited the embellishment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants and the good provisions? Say: These are for the believers in the life of this world, purely (theirs) on the resurrection day…125

Though both the believers and the disbelievers benefit from these bounties, they are actually created for the believers so that through them they can enhance their love for Allah and they can increase their divine recognition. And in this way success of the Hereafter can be assured for them.

It is better if it is for the Hereafter

In other words if the embellishments of the world, comforts and luxuries and the various kinds of bounties are lawful and there is no scope of wastage in using them, then their utilization is lawful for man. However if attachment with all these things is accompanied with an intention that through them one must achieve everlasting rewards, then this would be a praiseworthy and preferable behavior.

Like a man who loves his wife because due to her companionship his religion is safe and he does not fall into sins. Also that one should consider ones wife a bounty of Allah; that due to her one obtains peace and comfort and that she is the medium for producing offspring for him that would continue his generation.

It is also necessary to love one children because they are gifts of Allah. If the children are trained properly and become righteous, the parents also share the rewards of their good deeds.

There should be love for wealth and worldly riches because they are bestowed by Allah and through them one can obtain success in the Hereafter. There should be love for various good things because they are all expressions of the power and elegance of Almighty Allah. And through them it is possible to enhance ones faith and divine recognition. And only these kindle in ones heart the eagerness for Allah's proximity.

If one is able to achieve power, honor, wealth, official position, grandeur and reputation one should like them because through them one can perform acts that Allah likes. Like helping the oppressed and taking revenge on their behalf from the oppressors, and helping the poor and the helpless people.

Temporary love of the world is not Blameworthy

Taken as a whole if the love for the world and things related to it, is for Allah and the Hereafter, it will not be considered as love of the world, which is the topic of our discussion and blameworthy in the light of Holy Quran and traditions. Because such a person does not love a thing for its own sake, permanently, and his love for the world is only due to his love for Allah and the Hereafter.

Such a person is like a traveler whose aim is just to reach his hometown. And he wants nothing more than the fulfillment of his basic needs. If during the journey he sees something that would be useful for him in his hometown he tries to obtain it. The conclusion of this discussion is that the love for the world is not a blameworthy act. However in the view of Quran and traditions the blameworthy thing is to love the world wholly and permanently.

Imam Ali (a.s.) heard someone abusing and blaming the world and said to him, “O you, who are blaming the world…Certainly, this world is a house of truth for those who look into it carefully, an abode of peace and rest for those who understand its ways and moods and it is the best working ground for those who want to procure rewards for life in the Hereafter.

It is a place of acquiring knowledge and wisdom for those who want to acquire them, a place of worship for the friends of Allah and for Angels. It is the place where prophets received revelations of Allah. It is the place for virtuous people and saints to do good deeds and to be assigned with rewards for the same. Only in this world they could trade with Allah's Favors and Blessings and only while living here they could barter their good deeds with His Blessings and Rewards. Where else could all this be done?”126

Signs of the love of the world for the sake of the Hereafter

It is necessary to mention that sometimes man doubts that his love for the world is only for Allah and the Hereafter and he does not love it completely and permanently. While as a fact he is completely bound in the love of the world. Because if his fondness of the world is for Allah and the Hereafter, he would hate to commit sins. He would not look at the wealth and property of others with jealousy and contempt and his heart would be pure of miserliness, pride, enmity, self-conceit and revengefulness.

Permanent Love of the world

In order to know the difference between natural love and independent love it would be necessary to consider the following astonishing statement of Imam Ali (a.s.). He states in Nahjul Balagha: “If one sees through it, it would bestow him sight, but if one has his eye on it, it would blind him.” Therefore, look at the world keeping in mind its transient nature. Break away your hopes from it. Consider only the Hereafter as the abode of eternity and become attached to it. Make this world a medium for obtaining the Hereafter.

The world would blind one who loves it permanently and who tries to obtain it for himself. That is, he would not notice the transient and defective nature of the world. He would attach himself wholly to it and become negligent of the Hereafter. Such a person would be deprived of insight, that is, the eye for reality.

One who loves the world just for worldliness and prefers its joys, pleasures and comforts for this aim and considers himself fortunate, surely becomes negligent of Allah. Considering himself in need of worldly causes he thinks that they are everlasting. This is the reason that he harbors great hopes.

He devotes himself for achieving it. Such a person becomes neglectful for the Hereafter or he mostly denies it. Being careless of every sin and unlawful thing he considers worldly achievement a surety for his happiness and in the event of failure to obtain it, he becomes sad and disappointed.

This is the meaning of the love of the world that both reason and religious law have denounced.

Ranks of Worldly love

There are three levels for the love of the world for its own sake.

First LevelFirst Level

This is the stage when a person does not love anything except the world and what it contains. He is not desirous of anything except material desires. He considers Allah and the Hereafter as useless and imaginary things and says:

There is nothing but our life in this world; we live and die and nothing destroys us but time127

They mean to say that: Man has an animal existence and death annihilates him. Apart from this there is no other world for him. Thus it is necessary that as far as possible he should try to fulfill his desires.

Loving the world too much

Second levelSecond level

It is of the one who loves the world completely and permanently and with it he also seeks the Hereafter. He asks for success and salvation in both the worlds and makes efforts for getting happiness in both, but in the depths of his heart he loves the world more, considers the world as higher and more important than the Hereafter and when it is time for him to choose between the two he sacrifices his Hereafter on the world, like Umar Ibne Saad martyred Imam Husain (a.s.) for the governorship of Rayy.

This example proves true for all those who seek power and fame, who are prepared to commit any crime for a position of power, even if the crimes are harmful for their Hereafter. Then consider the example of worldly wealth, that man is so greedy for it that he does not refrain from even usurping the rights of others, as a result of which his Hereafter is harmed. In brief, it can be said that such a person does not accord any importance to the loss of the Hereafter but if there is any loss to his worldly life, he is very much distraught.

Such people also exist that believe in God and the Last Day. They also make efforts for their Hereafter, but if they commit a sin that would destroy their Hereafter, they are not much concerned about it. But the same people would be highly concerned if there is some loss in their worldly life. In other words, you can say that such a person is more affected with failure in life than in the Hereafter. This proves that he loves the world more than the Hereafter.

A heart imbued with the love of Allah becomes empty of the love of the world

But here the love of the world is a thing contradictory to faith in Allah and the Hereafter. In order to strengthen faith in Allah and the Hereafter it is necessary to rid our heart of the love of the world.

This can be explained in the following way: The Almighty Allah has made the abode of the Hereafter extremely great, important and everlasting. He has also emphasized this to man and given him the good news as mentioned in Surah Yasin:

So announce to him forgiveness and an honorable reward.128

The Almighty has commanded the people to remember the Last Day and to hasten in obtaining it.

The Holy Quran has stated in Surah Ali Imran:

And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord, and a Garden, the extensiveness of which is the heavens and the earth; it is prepared for those who guard (against evil).129

In Surah Hadid Allah says:

Hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and to a Garden the extensiveness of which is as extensiveness of the heaven and the earth.130

Allah has also stated in Surah Mutafaffefeen:

The sealing of it is (with) musk; and for that let the aspirers aspire.131

On the other hand He has created the world as a temporary place of stay. He made the life of man hard and difficult and after informing him of the lowliness and the mortality of the world, enlightened him about the importance of the Hereafter.

In Surah Ankabut it is stated:

And this life of the world is nothing but a sport and a play 132339

Allah states in Surah an-Nisa’:

Say: The provision of this world is short, and the hereafter is better for him who guards (against evil); and you shall not be wronged the husk of a date stone.133

The Almighty Allah has commanded the people not to consider this world as a permanent place of residence.

and let not your eyes pass from them, desiring the beauties of this world's life134

So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you135342

Do not lose yourself in the colorfulness of the world so much that you do not arrange for the provisions of the journey of the Hereafter. So do not be unduly happy in its joys and do not aggrieve in its calamities.

Does one become a true believer by merely claiming faith?

Respected readers! Judge this yourself. There is a person who claims to have faith in Allah, the Prophet and the Hereafter. But in his practical life he opposes the divine commands, prefers the world to the Hereafter and considers this world greater than the Hereafter. In the depths of his heart he loves the world more. Can such a person be true to his claim?

Even if this sin of his is forgiven, due to it a defect has itself occurred in his faith that prevents him from performing good deeds. Would this deserve forgiveness?

The Heart–moving words of Amirul Momineen(a.s.)

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said, “Even if we had no other defect than loving something Allah and His Prophet dislike, it would have sufficed to make us disobey the divine commands and wage war against God.”

How, loving the world is disobedience?

Here a question arises that how the love of the world can be a sin? While this quality is under the control of the desire of the heart and till it is not performed practically it does not become a sin.

Another thing is that the love of the world is beyond the control of man. Then since it is natural for man to be attracted by the joys, pleasures and sensual desires how man is held responsible for the same?

Our reply is that as the desires for infidelity, polytheism, show-off, pride and greed take birth in the heart, in the same way the love of the world finds place in the heart of man. That is why it is prohibited to accommodate the love of the world in our hearts. However, as far as the sins committed by the physical organs of man are concerned, since these acts are not to be committed practically, thinking about them is not a sin. We have explained this topic in detail in the earlier portion of this book.

Is the love of the world natural?

It is wrong to say that the love of the world is considered as something over which man has no control. Because in such circumstances, from the time he is born till he reached the age of understanding he had no ability to recognize the desires and pleasures himself, that he could gain satisfaction from them as a result of which he may become attached to them.

Removing the Love of the world from the Heart

If it is said that though the love of the world is not original and inborn, but due to the passage of time as the understanding of man becomes stronger due to the attraction of desires and pleasures the love of the world becomes deep-rooted in the heart. Later it becomes so strong that it is beyond human capacity to remove it and Almighty Allah, Who is just, does not burden man with something beyond his capacity.

Since the love of the world begets poverty and destitution it is not obligatory to forgo it

In reply we would say that though it is not impossible to remove the love of the world from ones heart, for some people it is difficult because it begets poverty and decrease in wealth, then it is not obligatory, but recommended. As would be discussed in the following pages. It is necessary for every sane person to decrease the love of the world. And that which is made unlawful is that you increase the love of the world so much that it exceeds the love for the Hereafter.

It is a Voluntary act to have more and more love for the Hereafter

It is an obvious fact that preferring the love for the Hereafter over the love of the world is within the control of man. It can be explained further in the following way: Man is ignorant about the Hereafter from the time of his birth till he reaches the age of maturity (15 lunar years for boys and 9 lunar years for girls). Because he is only aware of the worldly factors that end with death and he is not aware of the life after death.

That is why he loves worldly life and likes its pleasures, comforts and selfish desires and gives more importance to it. But as soon as he matures and the light of cognition shines on him, it becomes obligatory on him to bring faith in the Hereafter. That is, according to the laws of the Holy Quran it becomes obligatory on him to have certainty that an everlasting life begins after death, whose analogy cannot be drawn from the life of this world. It is that very place where the Almighty Allah rewards and recompenses the people in accordance with their deeds according to the details given in the Holy Quran.

It is obligatory for man that along with having love for this apparent world he should also make continuous efforts for the success of the Hereafter. This is the meaning of having faith in the Hereafter. As his love for the Hereafter would increase, his love for the world would go on decreasing gradually. Especially if one observes the defects and shortcomings of worldly life and the difficulties resulting from them, there would be continuous decrease in his love for the world.

If only one keeps in mind the decadence and the temporal and unreliable nature of the world, ones heart would dissociate with it and incline towards the Hereafter.

In brief, it can be said that as faith in Hereafter becomes stronger and more one contemplates on the defects of this world, his dissociation with the world goes on increasing. Since faith and contemplation is voluntary, forgoing the love of the world and purifying the heart of its roots is also a voluntary act.

The Holy Quran and traditions have prohibited the love of the world. That is why, how can it be said that it is an involuntary thing beyond the control of man? Scholars like Muhaqqiq Ardebeli and the writer of Jawahir have included the love of the world among prohibited acts. In the same way Shaykh Hurre Amili in his book Bidayatul Hidaya says regarding its unlawfulness:

Seeking worldly status and making religion a medium to get worldly things is unlawful. It is not allowed to love and be greedy for the world.

This respected scholar has mentioned many traditions on the illegality of the love of the world in his book Jihad in the chapter of 'the love of the world'.

The Universe would disintegrate if there is no love for the world

If the question is posed that how can Islam prohibit the love for the world, because if there is no love for the world and no concern with its conditions who would go out to train oneself for earning livelihood and earn ones livelihood? Then no one would have attraction to the pleasures, desires and embellishments of the world. Even the system of marriage and procreation would be destroyed and the whole world would be in chaos.

Love of the world is not absolutely unlawful

Our reply is that Islam has not completely prohibited loving the world. Rather it has made unlawful preferring the love of the world to the Hereafter. That is, if one loves the world more than the Hereafter, it is unlawful. But if on the contrary the love of the world is not overwhelming the love for the Hereafter it is not unlawful. However, if there is no love for Allah, the Prophet, his Progeny and the Hereafter or if love for them is very slight, it would be unlawful.

Piety means that the heart becomes devoid of the love of the world

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Attachment to the world has been opposed so that the hearts of the people are prepared to gain the Hereafter and that they become devoid of the love of the world.”

Again we remind the readers, that the unlawful thing is to love the world for its own sake and to love it fully. However if the love is temporary and for the pleasure of Allah, as we have already discussed, then it is worthy of praise and this much is sufficient for the affairs of life, continuation of generations and to guarantee the running of the worldly systems.

In simple words it can be said that forgoing the love of the world does not mean giving up its pleasures and forsaking worldly responsibilities. It rather means that the love of Allah and the Hereafter should be cultivated in such a way that we perform all the worldly affairs for the sake of Allah and the Hereafter. It is obvious that whatever is done for the pleasure of Allah and with the intention of obeying Allah's commands would be firm and fruitful and beget more favors in the life of the world.

Deeds Performed for Allah are more Beneficial

For example, if marriage and family life is for the pleasure of Allah, then indeed it would be firm, free of all difficulties and full of comforts and happiness. But if the same deeds were for the fulfillment of selfish desires and sensuality, nothing would be gained except difficulties and troubles.

Or say for example, a building that is constructed on the foundation of the intention of Allah's obedience would be steady, profitable and useful. But if the intention itself were for satanic aims, it would be shaky at the foundation and prove harmful.

If a building were constructed to sell it for profit, the builder would mostly take care to beautify its exterior, but neglect its stability and firmness. But if in its construction there are noble intentions, that is, if selfish motives are absent and the builder aims to benefit the humanity with it, it is clear that Allah loves such a person who intends to benefit the people.

According to traditions: The best of the people are those from whom people benefit. In another tradition it is said that Allah loves such a person. Thus if the builder has an intention that the pleasure of Allah is to be kept in mind in making the building, he would try his utmost to make it firm and strong. So much so, if such a person even constructs graves for the dead, he makes them strong and sturdy.

When Saad bin Maaz died, the Holy Prophet (S) himself descended into the grave and lowered his dead body in it. Then he made the grave strong and said, “I know that a dead body decays, and his body would also decay, but Allah likes that whatever work is performed, it should be done perfectly.”136

It can be said in brief that following the teachings of the prophets, if man had not become attached to the world, and had only paid attention to Allah and the Hereafter, in such a condition, whatever he would have done in the world, had been devoid of selfish and material motives. He would have only considered the obedience of Allah and the welfare of the people in all his activities. In this way he would have been happy and successful in both this world and the Hereafter. Here we shall mention a brief incident related to the topic of our discussion.

One day, Nausherwan, the King of Iran, was passing by. He saw an old man planting an olive tree. He said, “O, old man! Now the time has passed for planting this tree for yourself because you have become aged and weak, while the olive tree bears fruits after a long time.” The old man replied, “People preceding us had planted trees the fruits of which we ate. Now we are planting the trees so that those who come after us may get their fruits.”

Nausherwan praised him, and gave him 4000 dirhams. The old man said, “Every tree bears fruits once a year, while I got fruits from my tree twice.” Nausherwan praised him again and gave him another 4000 dirhams. Then he moved away quickly saying, “If I remain here further, my whole treasure would be insufficient before his magical words.”137

The fact is that performing some work for Allah can be compared to a farmer who sows the seeds to obtain heaps of wheat. When the crop is ready, along with the wheat he also gets chaff and stalks. Now inspite of his protests his warehouses are filled with stalks. In the same way a person who does something for the Almighty is indeed rewarded in the Hereafter, but in addition to this he also gets worldly happiness.

In the same way consider the example of a kingdom. If rulership were for the sake of the Almighty Allah it would be like the rule of Amirul Momineen (a.s.), which was full of justice, equity and help for the poor. Where every oppressor was made to account for his oppression and everyone was restored their rights.

But if rulership is under the control of selfish and satanic desires, it would be like the rule of Muawiyah. Where, there was only the rule of injustice; trampling upon the rights of the oppressed and the oppressors were left free and the rightful people were deprived of their rights.

Love of the world is the source of all Evil

If you consider all the evils in the world, all corruption and turmoil in history and all the battles, wars and mischief, you will definitely conclude that their main cause lies in the pure love of the world, and nothing else. On the contrary, the reality of all words and actions, every good deed, no matter through whom it is performed and the resulting comfort and peace are rooted in the belief on Allah and the Hereafter. While there is only temporary love for the world in such a case. How nice it had been if Muslims had made firm their belief in Allah and the Hereafter and had performed all their affairs for the pleasure of Allah. They would indeed have obtained the real comfort and peace and they would have received pleasure from this world also.

One, who being attached to the world strengthens his relationship with Allah, has a pure life. That is, his life is a model of happiness, success, honor and respect. Such a person never extends his hand to ask something from anyone except Allah and except for Allah he does not fear anyone.

Love of the world be gets Evil

The wise and understanding man, spending a life free of confusion and doubts well knows the aim of this life, which is nothing but servitude to God. And day and night he is struggling to achieve it. The Almighty Allah is pointing out towards this aspect when He says in Surah Nahl:

Whoever does good whether male or female and he is a believer, We will most certainly make him live a happy life, and We will most certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did.138

We have already replied to the objection that if there is no love for the world, the worldly life would go disarray and we have proved that it is not so. The fact is just the opposite. In the sense, that it is the love of the world that causes turmoil and disruption in the world. However, temporary and limited love for the world, which is necessary in religion, endows man with prosperity and peace.

Conclusion of the above Discussion

Whatever has been stated in the preceding paragraphs has made absolutely clear that it is necessary to love obedience and hate disobedience, while having temporal and slight love for the world is a part of faith. On the other hand there are three levels of worldly love:

1. The heart being full of worldly love and devoid of love for Allah and the Hereafter. This is absolutely forbidden and even comes under the ambit of disbelief.

2. Loving the world intensely while having lesser love for Allah and the Hereafter. Islam has also prohibited this type of faith.

3. The third level is the opposite of the second level. That is, though there is some love for the world, there is also intense love for Allah and the Hereafter on the other hand. This level is also detestable in the view of Islam.

The unlawfulness of the first and the second kind, and the detestability of the third kind are proved from Quran and traditions. Since quoting all the verses and traditions in this regard would prolong the discussion, we present only a few below.

Promise of Chastisement for the world-worshippers

The Almighty Allah says:

Surely those who do not hope in Our meeting and are pleased with this world's life and are content with it, and those who are heedless of Our communications: (As for) those, their abode is the fire because of what they earned.139

That is: those who do not have hope in Our reward and punishment and are satisfied with the life of the world (They have weakened their resolve to obtain the pleasures of Paradise while succumbing to the temporal pleasures of the world). As if they never have to depart from this world. (They do not know that the hand of death is gradually approaching them).

These are the people who are oblivious of Our Signs (proving the factuality of the Return and Resurrection). These are the people whose abode is Hell, that they earn for themselves. (That is, they persist in sins like disbelief, polytheism, hypocrisy and other evils).

Four Noteworthy points in this verse

There are four keywords in this verse that are complimentary to each other and necessary for each other. Also they clarify the cause for burning in the world and in Hell.

1. 'They will not return' - The Arabic word for 'return' is 'raja-a' which denotes hope or expectation in obtaining something good. That is, if man is aware about the merits of a particular thing and he intends to obtain it, then his knowledge about the goodness of that thing spurs and encourages him to continue his efforts for obtaining that thing. Then even if he has to wait for it, this condition of awaiting is called 'raja-a'. However, if there is no interest and eager expectation, it is called despair and hopelessness.

But if there is interest, but not enough that it makes him strive for it, in such a condition it is called pride. That is why, 'they would never return' denotes those who in the view of Allah are undeserving of an everlasting life after death. They do not even have faith that righteous people are recompensed for their good deeds. That is why they never performed any good deeds. In this way, neither they had any desire for a good recompense nor did they do any good works, that they could be hopeful of being rewarded for them.

Satisfied with the life of this world

2. “and are pleased with this world's life”- Man and every living creature, by nature loves life and desires that his life should be successful. Thus if he develops certainty in the everlasting life of the Hereafter he would indeed strive for success in it. Side by side he also likes his limited life in the world and he also strives for success in it, but only to the extent necessary for him. Such a person is not satisfied with only his success in his temporal life; he also struggles to obtain success in the life that is everlasting.

Nostalgia of a traveler

For example, a traveler has to stay in a particular alien place. Now he is forced to search for his needs and comforts he was having at his native place, in this alien country. But he would make efforts in this regard only to the extent that his needs are fulfilled and he is able to stay there for the required period in comfort. He would never be prepared to struggle here for the betterment of his remaining life, because in his native land everything is already provided. Thus he would also acquire from this alien land those things that may be useful for him at home and finally he would depart for his native country.

It is just the same with one who has faith in the Hereafter. But one who does not believe in life after death thinks that man is annihilated after death. Such a one would concentrate all his efforts to his mortal and limited life and would be satisfied with success in this brief lifetime. In conclusion we can say that being satisfied with the mortal limited worldly life proves that he is not hopeful of the everlasting life after death.

Peace for the world-worshippers

3. “and are content with it” - The person who is in expectation of an everlasting life and the rewards of the Almighty, till the time he is in the world, he is not at rest and in one or the other way he is striving to gather provisions for success in the Hereafter. His happiness and peace in the world is temporary. All the time he is concerned to achieve the object of his desire. But one who desires the joys of the limited and temporal life, and does not hope anymore than that, the secret of all his joy and happiness is hidden in this world and it is his sole desire.

Ignoring the Signs of Allah

4. “and those who are heedless of Our communications” - Fondness for the world and according it a position of ones happiness and peace proves that he has forgotten the Signs of Allah. Because if he had not been neglectful for the unlimited and innumerable signs of God, that are testimonies to the Hereafter and resurrection, and the Holy Quran has mentioned about them in a number of places, then indeed he would not have forgotten the life after death and then the worldly desires would not have given him peace and he would have remained struggling for everlasting success.

“because of what they earned.” - This phrase indicates the sins of the heart and the physical body, whose mention has been made in the foregone pages.

Place of comfort for the world-worshippers

The conclusion is that one who is desirous of the world instead of the Hereafter and is attached only to this life, he derives comfort and peace in worldly joys and forgets completely the Hereafter, the abode of such a person is Hell, and he would continue to burn in the fire that he has earned due to his physical sins and the sins of the heart.

Ignoring the Remembrance of God

The Holy Quran says:

Therefore turn aside from him who turns his back upon Our reminder and does not desire anything but this world's life.140

Again the Holy Quran says:

(As for) those who go astray from the path of Allah, they shall surely have a severe punishment because they forgot the day of reckoning.141

The gist of these two verses is that one who ignores the remembrance of Allah and the Hereafter and his only loyalty and interest is with the life of the world, he has actually deviated from the path of Allah. One who has gone astray from the path of God, and forgotten the Day of Recompense and is only satisfied with the life of the world would have a very severe chastisement.

It is worth a mention that because the matter is based on reality, that is why one who has, in reality, turned away from Allah and the Hereafter and he is not desirous of them, he is only attached to the worldly life, instead of the Hereafter he has accommodated the fondness of the world in such a way that all his efforts are devoted solely for the worldly life, then the abode of such a person is Hell, whether he denies Allah and the Hereafter verbally, that he has no belief in any other life than the life of this world or he verbally confesses belief in Allah and the Hereafter.

We have already explained before that the benefit of verbal confession of faith is only effective in purity, marriage, inheritance and other worldly affairs. It is not in any way beneficial for the Hereafter. Except for sincere faith, nothing else can save him from the chastisement of the Hereafter.

The Love of the world has sealed the Hearts

The Almighty Allah says:

This is because they love this world's life more than the hereafter, and because Allah does not guide the unbelieving people. These are they on whose hearts and their hearing and their eyes Allah has set a seal, and these are the heedless ones. No doubt that in the hereafter they will be the losers.142

The gist of these noble verses is that since these people only loved the worldly life, they used to prefer it over the Hereafter and had been deprived of divine opportunity and grace, that is why they are completely cut off from the Hereafter and only remain attached to the world. Eventually their hearts were sealed and closed up. That is, their understanding and perception remained confined only to this world and they were not able to obtain the cognition of Allah and the Hereafter.

The ears became deaf to hear advices and admonitions and their eyes became blind to see those things that could have reminded them of Allah and the Hereafter. Now neither they have the capacity to perceive or understand, nor the ability of hearing or sight. They became so unmindful that even when the Hereafter called them, they became neglectful of faith and belief that could have assured the success of their life in the Hereafter. Indeed these are the people who would suffer a great loss.

The Utmost limit of Deviation

The Almighty Allah says:

(To) those who love this world's life more than the hereafter, and turn away from Allah's path and desire to make it crooked; these are in a great error.143

They left behind the Difficult Day

The Almighty Allah says:

Surely these love the transitory and neglect a grievous day before them.144

Again He says:

Then surely the hell, that is the abode.145

Similarly He says:

While the hereafter is better and more lasting.146


And that (as for) those who do not believe in the hereafter, We have prepared for them a painful chastisement.147

Since quoting more such verses from the Holy Quran would unduly prolong the discussion we consider these to be sufficient to prove our case.

On the crossroads of the world and the Hereafter

The gist of the above verses of Quran is that, man is standing on a junction from where he has to ultimately choose one or the other path. Whether he selects faith or the love of the world. Whether he has pure love of the world or has faith in the Hereafter. To bring faith in one of the two means denying the other. This is the reason that traditions have compared them to contradictory things like, the East and the West, water and fire etc. But as we have mentioned before, belief in the Hereafter and temporary and limited love for the world can only come together at one place, they are also necessary for each other.

Three Groups

People can be divided into three groups. One group is of those who remain firm and steadfast on the belief in and the love of the Hereafter till their last moments. The second group is that which has only love for the world, while it denies the Hereafter and remains firm on this till the time of death. The third group sometimes takes up the world and denies the Hereafter and sometimes does the opposite of it.

Of these, the first group is of the “people of the right hand”, whom the Almighty has conveyed glad tidings. The second group is of “the people of the left hand”, regarding whom the above verses were revealed. The decision regarding the third group is with Almighty Allah so that at the time of the reckoning of deeds it is only Allah Who would decide about them. The Almighty Allah says in Surah Tawbah:

And others have confessed their faults, they have mingled a good deed and an evil one; may be Allah will turn to them (mercifully); surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.148

Love of the world is the source of all evil

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “The head (or source) of all the sins is the love of the world.”

If we consider the spiritual evils like disbelief, polytheism, hypocrisy, show-off, pride, arrogance and greed, as well as the physical sins. We would conclude that the love of the world is, in relation to them, as the head is to the body. Because if the head is separated from the body, it (the body) would become devoid of any feeling or movement. In the same way if the love of the world, which is the root of all sins, were removed, the sins that are committed through it would automatically be destroyed.

Trouble from the moment of death

The Holy Prophet (S) has said, “The death! The death! Beware of it. Know well that there is no remedy for death. Death comes with happiness and comfort for the people with faith in the Hereafter, whom it takes to Paradise. These are the ones who had devoted their efforts for the Hereafter and their love and attachment had also been only for that. But those who were obsessed with this fraudulent world and all their efforts were also devoted to it, for them, death and whatever comes with it, is troublesome and full of difficulties. Those who would suffer a loss and be sent to the blazing fire.”

The tradition clarifies that those who are subjected to pain and difficulties right from the moment of death, are those who had love and fondness only for the world. They had been engrossed only in the comforts and pleasures of this life, while their hearts were devoid of the love of the Hereafter. That is why they do not perform any deed for the Hereafter.

Prophet Isa (a.s.) and his companions

It is narrated from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) from reliable chains of narrators in Usul al-Kafi that he said, “One day Prophet Isa (a.s.) passed through a town, whose inhabitants, along with the birds and the animals had died at one and the same time. Isa (a.s.) said, “There is no doubt that death came to them as a result of divine chastisement, because if they had died one after the other, they would have buried each other.”

The companions said, “O Spirit of Allah! Pray to Allah that He enlivens them again, so that they may inform us what their character was (what sin has killed them?). In this way we may be able to derive a lesson and keep aloof from such sinful acts.”

So, Prophet Isa (a.s.) prayed to the Almighty and a voice came in response, “O Isa (a.s.)! Call them!” When night fell, Isa (a.s.) went to an elevated spot and called out, “O people of this town!” One of the dead ones replied, “Here I am! O Spirit of Allah!” Isa (a.s.) said, “Woe upon you! What was your behavior in the world?” He replied, “Worship of false gods (Satans), love of the world and only a little fear of God, very high aspirations and negligence by being engrossed in vain pastimes.”

Shaykh Bahai has quoted this tradition in his book, Arbaeen and also explained some of its sentences. We shall mention it in brief here. The root of the Arabic word “Taghoot” (false deities or Satans) is “Tughyan”. That is exceeding ones limits. There are many meanings of this word, like 'soothsayer', 'Satan', 'idols', 'a person who leads a group of deviated people', 'one who restrains people from the worship of Allah' or 'one who worships someone or something other than Allah'. However, in this tradition, it denotes the chiefs and leaders of the tribe, who invite people towards sin.

The dead man's words, “Worship of false gods”, imply that one who follows or obeys someone, it is, as if he has worshipped that person; because worship in the meaning of obedience implies humility and surrender. Thus Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “One who follows someone in sin, it is as if he has worshipped him.”

Shaykh Bahai proves this with the help of Quranic verses and traditions in the following words:

Now that we know that worship in the position of obedience denotes humility, then in the present age most of the people are busy in getting comfort in their debased selves and animal desires. Actually these desires are their idols which are being worshipped and the interesting thing is that they themselves do not understand what they are doing.

Then O man! You have left Allah, Who is the true deity, and made for yourself thousands of deities, whom you worship, and it is an occasion of surprise that you even now claim monotheism?

The Almighty Allah says:

Have you seen him who takes his low desires for his god?149

It should be clear that in reply to the call of Prophet Isa (a.s.), the dead man who became alive and reported the qualities of the people of that town, like worship of the false gods, love of the world, lack of fear of Allah, vain pastimes, being lost in the comforts of the world and being busy in obtaining its pleasures. All these qualities that he listed are very much found in the people of today. If he contemplates more upon this, it would be known that there is not even the slightest fear of God in them and they are completely careless of divine punishment.

This tradition also indicates towards the punishment of Barzakh (the period between death and resurrection) for the sinners, while actually the subject is general. Numerous verses of Quran and widely related traditions testify the fact, and it is obligatory to have basic faith in it. But we are not obliged to know its details, that how and when it would occur etc. Rather the fact is that a greater part of this belief is higher than our understanding and intellect. But the duty that is made incumbent upon us is that along with the belief in this, we must also refrain from those sins that cause the descent of punishment. Also that character and good deeds must be acquired, that guarantee success in the world of Barzakh. On this juncture, the Shaykh relates a tradition from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) in which he says:

“Indeed, between the world and the Hereafter (that is Barzakh) are one thousand valleys, among which the easiest is Death.”

The statement of the dead man to Prophet Isa (a.s.) that: “I was with them, but I did not share their deeds” is worth paying attention to. Because it is necessary for the believer to refrain the sinners from evil deeds. And if they do not accept his advice he should become aloof from them. If not, then his end would also be like theirs.150

Prophet Isa (a.s.) asked, “How was your love for the world, and to what extent were you fond of it?”

He replied, “We loved the world as much as a child loves its mother. When the love of the world used to be kind to us we became happy. And when it turned away from us, we used to lament and become aggrieved.” Prophet Isa (a.s.) asked, “How were you worshipping false gods?” He replied, “We used to obey the sinners.”

“Then what was your ultimate end? Upto where has your Hereafter reached?”

He replied, “We spent the night in mirth, but when morning came, we were accosted by 'hawiyah' (fire of Hell).

Isa (a.s.) asked, “What is Hawiyah?”

“It is Sijjin (another name of hellfire).”

“What is Sijjin?”

“They are twisted mountains of fire, whose flames would flare upon us till the Day of Judgment.”

“In such a condition, what did you say and what was the reply that you received?”

“We said, 'Send us back to the world so that we can perform good deeds.' We were told, 'You lie.'”

Prophet Isa (a.s.) asked, “Woe be unto you! Why did not others speak to me?”

He answered, “O Spirit of Allah! Their mouths are bridled with fire and very menacing angels are punishing them. I was living with them in the world, but I was not like them. But when the chastisement descended I was also surrounded by it. I am hanging at the side of Barzakh with a single strand of hair. I don't know whether I would continue to hang like this or get salvation.”

Prophet Isa (a.s.) turned towards his companions and said, “O devotees of Allah! To eat dry bread with salt and to sleep on a bed of hay are great deeds. The success of the world and the Hereafter also lies in this.”

The incident shows how a deadly sin, the love of the world is. In the light of this tradition it can be said that the love of the world hastens the descent of chastisement and causes everlasting destruction for a nation.

Love of the world disables reason

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “Love of the world cripples the intellect. But a person does not notice the defects of that which he loves. In the same way one who loves the world does not become aware of its decadence, its temporality, its calamities and the turbidity of its pleasures. Love of the world also deafens the ears, due to which they are unable to hear good advice and wise sayings and they do not accept counsel and admonitions. Also this matter is the cause of the descent of punishment and destruction of the people.”151

The world and the Hereafter are deadly foes of each other

There is no doubt that they are mutual enemies that are at a distance from each other. They are two paths that lead to opposite destinations. One who loves the world, is fond of it and goes after it, would be an enemy of the Hereafter. They are like the two opposite directions of the east and the west. One who is close to one of them would continue to be further away from the other. They are like co-wives. That is, inspite of the distance between the world and the Hereafter, they are co-wives of each other. Because most of the people accord both of them the status of wife. They are fond of both of them at the same time and try to gain both of them, but they are ignorant of the fact that the two cannot come together.152

The above lines clearly show that the love of the world denotes detachment with the Hereafter. If one of them were accorded importance it would be negligence of the other. Being nice to one of them would be unkindness upon the other.

The Messenger of Allah (S) says, “The comforts and luxuries of the world and its sweet life, make the Hereafter bitter and bearing the bitter tastes of the world makes the everlasting life sweet.”153

The conclusion of the saying of the Imam is that when the world necessarily creates hatred for the Hereafter, it means that the love of the world is not only a sin; it is actually infidelity.

People are of three types. The first group is that which has no love for the world at all. This is the group that would get salvation. The second group is of those who though they love the world, if truth confronts them, they accept it with humility. They eat the sustenance of Allah but continue to fear Him. The Almighty Allah would forgive this group because of the former one.

The third group is that which is having intense love for the world. They pick whatever comes before them. In order to achieve their aim they burn the dry and the wet things together and are not ashamed of the truth. This group is going to be destroyed and for which there is no scope for salvation. Then your efforts should be for inclusion in the first group and if it is not possible, at least you must be included in the second group…154

The above discussion is sufficient to prove our assertions, but if one desires to study this subject further, he may refer to the traditions of al-Kafi and Biharul Anwar, Vol. 16.

The Second Level – Where the love of the world is preferable

When the love of the world exceeds the love for Allah, the Prophet, the Hereafter and the Ahlul Bayt, in such a condition, it is clear that it is unlawful and a Greater Sin. For which it is necessary to repent and one must act in a contrary way. That is, one should give preference to the love of Allah and the Hereafter. The Holy Quran and the traditions related from the Infallibles have highlighted this matter on numerous occasions. For example, we present below some of their utterances.

The Almighty Allah says in Surah Tawbah:

Say: If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your mates and your kinsfolk and property which you have acquired, and the slackness of trade which you fear and dwellings which you like, are dearer to you than Allah and His Apostle and striving in His way, then wait till Allah brings about His command: and Allah does not guide the transgressing people.155

Exposition of the Verse

One who recognizes his Lord and benefactor, and considers oneself as His creature, under His nurturing and direction, and has certainty of belief that whatever he has from the things in his house and outside, are all given by Him and all the causes of the world revolve around Him.

The result of this recognition would be that the love of Allah would be accommodated in his heart. A love that is loftier than the fondness of all other things. The more their knowledge deepens and more the heart is purified, this love would increase proportionately. So much so, that a time will come, that he would not consider anything or anyone, not even himself, except Allah. Whatever and whoever he loves, it would only be due to the love of Allah. It would be the stage where he would yearn to sacrifice himself and everything he has in the path of Allah.

If we consider the loyalty of clever dogs for their masters, that they even sacrifice their lives on them, it would be sufficient to shame intelligent people. That their love for their Lord is even less than the fondness of a dog for its owner. The loyalty of dogs is mentioned in some incidents in the book, Dastanhai-e-Shaguft.

Love for Allah necessitates love for His friends

Love for Allah necessitates that we love His Messenger, his chosen servant, Muhammad al-Mustafa also in an appropriate manner. The Holy Prophet (S) says, “Love Allah for the bounties that He bestows on you, and love me for the love of Allah, and love my family for my love.”156

This tradition is quoted in Tirmidhi as follows: “Love Allah because He bestows sustenance. Love me because of Allah and love my Ahlul Bayt because of me.”

Such that, this love should be higher than the love for everything else. Because loving the beloved of Allah is actually loving Allah. In the same way the distinguishing characteristic of the love for the Messenger of Allah (S) is that one also loves his Ahlul Bayt and the people of his family. It is necessary that our love towards them is more than the love for our own relatives. The Almighty Allah says in Surah Shura:

Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives…157

For more traditions on the subject of the essentiality of loving the Ahlul Bayt please refer to Biharul Anwar Vol. 7. Here we only mention some traditions that are accepted authentic by both Shias and Ahle Sunnat.

The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “By the One in Whose Hand is my life, none of you can be a true believer till he does not love me more than his father, his children and other relatives.”158

“No one can bring faith in Allah till the time he does not love me more than himself, my Progeny more than his progeny, my family more than his family and myself more than his own self.”159

The Holy Prophet (S) said, “On the Day of Judgment no one would move a step till he is interrogated about four things:

1. How he spent his life.

2. In what he involved his body (according to another tradition: 'How he spent his youth').

3. The source of his income and the venues of his expenditure.

4. How was his love for us, Ahlul Bayt.”160

This is the reason our elders, inspite of having intense love for Ahlul Bayt used to think that they have not fulfilled this right the way it deserved. They fear that they had not accorded it a position higher than the love for other things.

And those who give what they give (in alms) while their hearts are full of fear that to their Lord they must return.161

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “By Allah! Inspite of their exceeding love, obedience and Wilayat, they think that they have been deficient in our love and obedience.”

Love for the faith is love for Allah

Love of Allah necessitates love for His religion and obedience of its laws such that one should be more satisfied with worldly loss for the sake of faith and belief. One who sacrifices this temporal life on the life everlasting. In order to escape loss in the Hereafter he willingly agrees to loss in this world. So much so, that he has no love for the world at all. But he only loves the world because it is the preface to the love for the Hereafter.

Only those who are aware of this quality of faith would gain salvation. They would be among the “people of the right hand”, and guidance and divine grace would be in their share. But one who has the opposite qualities, in his view, the life of the world, wealth and property, status and fame and worldly comforts and luxuries are more than the love for Allah, the Prophet, Ahlul Bayt and religion he would easily ignore them for the sake of the world. He would prefer the loss of religion than bear worldly loss. In comparison to the Hereafter he would have more love for the temporal life of the world.

Such a person would be more worried about his advancement and success in the world and become careless of his abode in the Hereafter. He would concentrate all his efforts to obtain this world. If a harm is caused to his worldly life, he is worried and aggrieved and he would strive to mend the loss. But if there is some loss to his everlasting life, like a sin is committed by him, he is not worried about it.

Briefly speaking, such a person is ever prepared to sacrifice his Hereafter on the world and this is the sign of the transgressors. That is, a transgressor is that who has deviated from the path of the Hereafter. It is obvious that one who becomes a transgressor, is deprived of guidance, grace, bounties and the help of Allah.

The Quran says:

and Allah does not guide the transgressing people.162

Also it is necessary that the transgressor must expect divine chastisement in the Hereafter.

…then wait till Allah brings about His command: and Allah does not guide the transgressing people.163

Take your Account

It is incumbent for each of those who believe in Allah and the Hereafter, to keep checking his or her heart. Then if his love for Allah and all those personalities related to Him is more than his love for the world he should thank Allah and continue to make efforts to increase this love. But if the situation is on the contrary, he should mourn his condition and try to correct the situation. Also, he must not rest till his love for Allah and the Hereafter becomes strongest and he has certainty of belief.

Do we seek the pleasure of Ahlul Bayt?

It is obligatory on every Muslim to accord priority to the love of Ahlul Bayt over the love of the world. Justice demands that he should interrogate his heart about the extent to which he has strived to fulfill this divine obligation. Does he have more love for Ahlul Bayt or he likes the worldly entertainments and runs after the comforts and pleasures in it? Is he desirous of the pleasure of these holy personalities or in spite of the displeasure of Ahlul Bayt he is busy in fulfillment of his sensual desires?

If after contemplating on this matter he concludes that his love for the world is deeper than that for the Progeny of Muhammad, he should know that he has been deficient in fulfilling a divine command. The need for him is to keep on trying to improve his condition. He should not become proud due to traditions in praise of the Shias of Ahlul Bayt, like:

“The love of Ali (a.s.) is a good deed with which sins do not harm one.”

Because such traditions are for those in whose hearts the love for Ali Muhammad dominates the love for the world. Others can be lovers of the world but cannot be lovers of Ahlul Bayt.

Sometimes it also happens, that the love of the world present in ones heart creates dislike in him for Allah, the Messenger and Ahlul Bayt. We quote below two narrations to prove this matter.

Ahlul Bayt consider him an Enemy

Shaykh Tusi narrates from Zaid Ibne Ali that a person came to Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and said, “O Amirul Momineen (a.s.)! By Allah! I love you for the sake of Allah.”

Ali (a.s.) said, “But I hate you for the sake of Allah.”

“Why is it so?” he prayed.

Ali (a.s.) replied, “You have made calling the Azan (call for Prayer) as your profession and you take compensation for teaching the Quran. I have heard the Messenger of Allah (S) say: The reward of the one who takes compensation for teaching Quran would be only that which he has already received.”164

Love of Ahlul Bayt is obedience of Allah

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said that the lover of Muhammad is one who obeys Allah even if he is not even distantly related to him (like Salman and Abu Zar) and the enemy of Muhammad is one who disobeys Allah even if he is his close relative (like Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab).165

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) addressed Jabir and said, “O Jabir! Our friend is one who is obedient to Allah and our enemy is that who is disobedient to Allah. And our Wilayat (mastership) cannot be achieved without good deeds and piety.”166

All good deeds result from love of God

The conclusion of the above is that love for Allah, Ali Muhammad and the Hereafter is the opposite of the love of the world. The strengthening of one proves the weakening of the other. Just as the love of the world is the basis of every sin, in the same way, the love of Allah and all those associated with Him is the cause for every good deed.

Because if the love of the world is completely removed from the heart and in its place is accommodated the love of Allah, then no sin can be committed by this person and he would not be deprived of a single good deed. He would be safe from every debased and degraded deed and would be imbued with every good quality and loftiness of character.

Twenty characteristics of the love for Ahlul Bayt

The respected scholar, Shaykh Saduq quotes from the Messenger of Allah (S), in his book, Khisal that he said:

“One who is blessed with the love of the Imams of my Ahlul Bayt, indeed, he is given all the good of the world and the Hereafter. No one is allowed to doubt regarding his going to Paradise. Because the love of Ahlul Bayt has twenty qualities. Of which ten are for the world and ten in the Hereafter. Those in the world are:

1. Piety (Dislike for the world)

2. Efforts for good deeds

3. Refraining from sins

4. Fondness for worship

5. Repentance before death

6. Fondness for night vigils

7. Hopelessness with that, which is in the hands of the people.

8. Obedience of divine commands and avoiding the prohibited things

9. Enmity for the world

10. Charity

The ten qualities of the Hereafter are:

1. His scroll of deeds would not be checked

2. Neither would the deeds be weighed

3. His scroll of deeds would be given in his right hand

4. Salvation from Hell would be written for him

5. His face would be bright

6. He would be made to wear the dress of Paradise

7. He would intercede for one hundred relatives of his

8. The mercy of Allah would be with him

9. The crown of Paradise would be placed on his head

10. He would be made to enter Paradise without accounting.”167

If the question is posed that love is a subtle feeling and that man, after reaching the age of understanding is able to distinguish between the subtle and dense feelings and naturally begins to love the subtle feelings more as a result of which this love becomes fixed in his heart. A situation is reached when it is beyond his powers to remove this love. Therefore in such a condition how is it possible to hold him responsible to remove this love from his heart? Another thing is that Allah, Prophet, Imams and the Hereafter, all are above his vision and feelings. Then how can he be held responsible to love something that he has neither seen nor felt?

Intellect of man informs about his mistake

The first question has been answered in the forgone pages, but taking into consideration the importance of the subject we are explaining it again in another way. After reaching the age of maturity and being endowed with intelligence, when in the light of his intellect and teachings of the Holy Quran he is able to distinguish between mortal and everlasting things, he realizes the reality of his eternality and finds the joys of this world unworthy of attention due to their temporality, such a person is able to realize his mistake, and he makes effort to gradually remove it from his heart.

He seeks worldly peace and comforts in the everlasting life. This is the reason that in most of the chapters of the Holy Quran, the temporality, decadence and lowliness of the world has been remembered with reference to the life of the Hereafter and examples are also presented in this connection so that Muslims may know the reality of the firm and shaky life and becoming dissociated from this temporal world they accommodate the love of an everlasting life in their hearts. We have explained in detail that it is within the power of an intelligent man to remove the love of the world from his heart.

The criterion of the love of the Creator is divine recognition, not seeing Him with our physical eyes

It is not correct to say that man cannot love something he has never seen. There are countless people who have not seen a particular person and had not been contemporary to them, but only by listening to their human perfections they have become their fans. In this way we come to know that man naturally likes perfection. Now if such a person contemplates on the creation of the universe and perceives that in every part of creation there are numerous wisdoms, mercy and never-decreasing bounties, then indeed the love of the Creator would appear in his heart.

This is the reason that the Holy Quran has reminded about the bounties of the Creator at every step, so that man recognizes the real benefactor, he can value His bounties and he becomes His ardent devotee. This is the path where man is able to get the fruits of a pure life.

Thus why does the love of Allah not inhabit the heart?

Now the question is, that what is the reason that the hearts of most of the people are devoid of the love of Allah. The reason is that, such people have not yet come out of the prison of animal desires and sensuality. People like these do not gain lesson from anything and since they have not recognized their benefactor, it is clear that they cannot love Him. The Almighty Allah says in Surah Muhammad:

Surely Allah will make those who believe and do good enter gardens beneath which rivers flow; and those who disbelieve enjoy themselves and eat as the beasts eat, and the fire is their abode.168

Let us now take into consideration the love of Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad. Who is that intelligent man that is aware of their moral and spiritual perfections and merits, and most of all, their knowledge and intelligence; who knows that they have no equal; who comes to know about their innumerable miracles and accepts them as the most proximate creatures of Allah, but even after all this, he does not love them?

Those whose hearts are devoid of their love; it is as if their existence is lacking in humanity, or they are deprived of the capacity of recognition. As much capacity of recognition there is in man, in equal proportion would be the depth of his love and attachment.

Divine Recognition and love for the Hereafter

Love for the Hereafter is also such. Now if man contemplates on these verses of Quran, that are with regard to the qualities of the Hereafter and the innumerable bounties, then indeed he would become desirous of them. But the condition is that his heart should be empty of the love of the world, because such a person would be desirous of death, as he would consider death to be the means of the fulfillment of Allah's promise.

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) enumerates the qualities of the pious and says, “If death, which Allah has made holy for them, had not been there, their souls would not have remained in their bodies for the blink of the eye due to their desire of heavenly rewards and their fear of divine chastisement.169

What Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says regarding Paradise and the Chosen People

Glorified art Thou, the Creator, the Worshipped, on account of Thy good trials of Thy creatures. Thou created a house (the Paradise) and provided in it for feasting, drinks, foods, spouses, servants, places, streams, plantations and fruits. Then Thou sent a messenger to invite towards it, but the people did not respond to the caller, and did not feel persuaded to what Thou persuaded them nor showed eagerness towards what Thou desired them to feel eager. They jumped on the carcass (of this world), earned shame by eating it and became united on loving it.

When one loves a thing it blinds him and sickens his heart. Then he sees but with a diseased eye, hears but with unhearing ears. Desires have cut asunder his wit, and the world has made his heart dead, while his mind is all longing for it. Consequently, he is a slave of it and of everyone who has any share in it.170

Additional verse on the unlawfulness of the love of the world

The Almighty Allah says in Surah Fajr:

And you love wealth with exceeding love.171

In this verse, the Almighty is denouncing those people who love the worldly things very intensely and all the time they are looking for means to increase them and hoard them for themselves even if they are unlawful. They are such that inspite of the obligatory nature of charity they find it painful to spend it and allow it to be separated from them.

This behavior of theirs proves their love for the world and their lack of interest with regard to the Almighty. They are always ready to sacrifice their Hereafter on the world.

This holy verse proves the fact that slight love for the world is not unlawful. But it should never overcome the love for the Hereafter. Rather, the virtue of man is that he must never have permanent love for the world.

Those who preferred the comforts of the world

Regarding those who preferred the comforts of the world to the peace of the Hereafter, we have the following verse of Surah Tawbah:

…are you contented with this world's life instead of the hereafter? But the provision of this world's life compared with the hereafter is but little.172

In this verse, the Almighty Allah has severely condemned those who have intense love for the comforts of the world and they do not give any credence to the life of the Hereafter. Their love for the world is such that they become absolutely unconcerned with the Hereafter, they devote themselves solely for the world and they only desire the life of the world even if there is in it, destruction of their Hereafter.

In spite of the fact that belief in Allah and the Hereafter necessitates that the situation be the opposite of this. The love of the Hereafter should be so overpowering the love of the world that he neglects the world and sacrifices his life on the Hereafter. It is clear that in such circumstances, no question arises about fondness for worldly things and worldly position and status.

Some notable verses

1. 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.173

2. That is because you exulted in the land unjustly and because you behaved insolently.174

Raghib says in Mufradat that here the Arabic word for 'exulted' is 'Faraha'. It denotes swelling up of the chest due to worldly happiness, which is caused by pleasures of eating and drinking and not due to unlawful joys. While “tamrahoon” (behaved insolently) denotes excess and extremism in happiness.

And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster;175

But when they neglected that with which they had been admonished, We opened for them the doors of all things, until when they rejoiced in what they were given We seized them suddenly; then lo! they were in utter despair.176

Do not think those who rejoice for what they have done and love that they should be praised for what they have not done- so do by no means think them to be safe from the chastisement, and they shall have a painful chastisement.177

This last verse mentions two qualities of the infidels and polytheists and then promises divine chastisement for them. That is why it is obligatory on every Muslim to avoid these two qualities. One of them is to pride on oneself after doing something, whether that work was good or bad or done for some worldly motives. The second quality is that he likes for himself that people praise him for some quality he does not have or for doing something he has not done.

Shaykh Tabarsi says in Jameul Jawame that this verse can also be applied to the one who does a good deed and then shows-off proudly about it. One who likes for himself that people praise his piety and righteousness, while he is not having those virtues.

It is mentioned in Tafsir Maqtinatud Durar that in this verse “those” refers to the common people. This verse applies to every such person that performs a good deed and then boasts about it. He likes it for himself that people praise those virtues that are not present in him. Fakhruddin Razi says in Tafsir Kabir that this verse refers to the Jews who distorted the Taurat and interpreted it in a wrong way to mislead the people.

They were not only pleased with this activity of theirs, they were also desirous that people should praise their religiosity, truthfulness and loftiness of character. Allamah Razi further says that if you want to know the truth, the majority of the people are like this. Because most of the people try to achieve the world through fraudulent and deceitful means. When they achieve their aims they are happy about it and they like that people should extol their honesty, piety and truthfulness.

Muhaqqiq Ardebeli in his book, Zubdatul Bayan says:178

It is not unlikely that this verse only proves the unlawfulness of the act of the person. Whether he has performed that deed or not, in both the cases this verse has declared the illegality of boastfulness. But since the verse is general and it is not for any particular aspect, that is why it is unlawful to be boastful about something one has done. But to express joy and happiness on doing something in which there is no angle of boastfulness, is beyond the scope of this discussion.

The traditions have also prohibited boastful happiness and the holy verse also aims towards this. As the Messenger of Allah (S) has said, “Dust be on the heads of those who extol and praise the creatures.”

It is narrated in Uddatud Da’i that boastfulness is one of the things that bring destruction. The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Three things destroy a person:

1. That miserliness which is em

2. ulated

3. That sensuality which is obeyed

4. To be boastfully proud of oneself”

Boastfulness invalidates the good deed of man. To be pleased on ones good deed and to consider oneself free of defects and shortcomings is pride or conceit, that cause the destruction of man. But if one is glad on ones good deed in such a way that it is also accompanied by humility and helplessness to the Almighty, and he also thanks God for giving him the divine opportunity, then it is permissible and a good deed.

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said that a believer is one who is glad on his good deed and aggrieved on his evil deed. Muhaqqiq Ardebeli says that Ghazzali has quoted a tradition, which if it were authentic, would indicate that all of us would be destroyed. The tradition is as follows:

A person was praised in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (S). The Prophet said, “If that person is pleased with this praise of yours, he is an inmate of Hell.”

The Muhaqqiq says: This verse is sufficient to prove the correctness of this tradition.

Allah does not like those who are proud and vain

The Almighty Allah says in Quran:

No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy to Allah: So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster:179

What is that unlawful glee?

Studying carefully the above verses and the statements of the commentators and scholars of language it is learnt that the happiness not liked by Allah is the one which tantamount to boastfulness and excess. That is, the happiness that exceeds limits and is in the sphere of pride, boastful glee and apparent show-off. In order to explain this matter further we take help of an example:

Let us suppose that one is in need of a house. If after making efforts he is able to achieve his aim, even though he knows that it is a temporary place of residence and every month he has to pay a fixed rent also, yet he is happy for getting a place to live in. This limited happiness is not inappropriate and blamable and it is not prohibited.

But if that same person after taking possession of the house, usurps it, and with utmost audacity disregards the importance of the landlord, and he considers it the fruit of his efforts and hard work and presents himself to be the actual owner of the house as if no one has any right in it. Not only is he happy on being considered the owner of the house, he also prides upon it and in his glee he exceeds the limits. The intellectuals consider such unbridled happiness worthy of blame.

Now, after this example, it would be quite appropriate to say that if one gets a bounty like money and he considers it a bounty of Allah, and has certainty that the real owner of it is Allah, and he has to fulfill some rights of Allah from this money. Also that this wealth or property are temporal and they will be taken away from him before or at the time of his death, and he is pleased that he could fulfill his needs from this wealth for sometime, then indeed this happiness, if accompanied by thankfulness to God, humility and sincerity, would be acceptable by religious law and be according to divine commandments. Allah Almighty says in Surah Yunus:

Say: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy- in that they should rejoice; it is better than that which they gather.180

If after gaining the wealth, he forgets Allah and considers this wealth a result of his efforts and also imagines that he is the permanent owner of it and neither does he believe anyone else has any right in it, while having this wealth he considers himself needless and does not believe that it is his, only for sometime. In this way he is not only happy, but also proud and boastful in having it, it is this unrestricted joy that is unlawful and denounced.

The love of the world explained above denotes severe and permanent love. This is the subject of our present discussion. We also quoted a few verses of Quran to prove its unlawfulness. Now, for one who is concerned about the Hereafter, Allah makes his heart self-sufficient and needless. Also He makes arrangement for all the affairs of his life.

The traditions also explain that one who prefers the love of the world over the love for the Hereafter and considers the fulfillment of the worldly desires over that of the Hereafter and gives more importance to the worldly life, Allah impoverishes him and keeps him in poverty forever.

For such a person, as much wealth he gets, greedier he becomes and his desires also keep on increasing, till the time that he never could make himself needless. While on the contrary he is also attached to the world and is always in pursuit of worldly desires. Since he would not succeed in achieving the world more, his worries and troubles go on increasing.

Also at the same time there would be decrease in his fear of God. He would become miserly in spending his money on himself and his family. (Inspite of having wealth he would spend a life of destitution). This condition is termed as true poverty.

Because such a person does not believe in giving more importance to the Hereafter, and he does not spend his money in charitable works and good deeds in the path of Allah, that is why he would reach the Hereafter empty-handed.

Further Explanation

One who achieves the worldly desires like wealth and children and is extremely happy on them and also does not consider these bounties to be bestowed by Allah, and also does not accept that there are any rights of God on him and refuses to fulfill his responsibilities laid on him by Allah, such a person is a denier of divine bounties. It is needless to say that one who denies the bounties of Allah would become eligible for Allah's chastisement. It is necessary for such a person to be fearful of divine wrath. This very fearlessness of Allah and too much of glee (that is, he is fearless of Allah's requital) is a greater sin.

In conclusion we can say that if there is unbounded happiness on a bounty and it is also accompanied by pride, it would mean that this person is unafraid of Allah's requital. This action of his is included among the greater sins. Actually, by giving a bounty Allah intends to test a person. He intends to see whether on getting that bounty, the person would be thankful and obedient or be thankless and disobedient. The Almighty Allah says in Surah Naml, quoting Prophet Sulaiman (a.s.) that:

He said: This is of the grace of my Lord that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful; and whoever is grateful, he is grateful only for his own soul, and whoever is ungrateful, then surely my Lord is Self-sufficient, Honored.181

Signs of the Thankful and the Denier

The sign of the thankful is that on getting the bounty there should be increase in his love for God. Humility and lowliness should appear in his character. He should thank for the bounties and fear Allah for his shortcomings. While the sign of the denier is that he becomes more distant from God and more tied to the love of the world. He makes pride and sinfulness his main occupations and is not fearful of divine punishment. One, who on getting the worldly bounties becomes more deviated, should know that he is caught in divine chastisement due to these very bounties. This is indicated in the following verse of Surah Tawbah:

Let not then their property and their children excite your admiration; Allah only wishes to chastise them with these in this world's life and (that) their souls may depart while they are unbelievers.182

One who becomes involved in the love of the world, and the embellishments of the world enchant him, being associated with wealth and children he becomes neglectful, due to material desires he is oblivious of Allah and his own self, always worried about the comfort and luxury for his body and is mesmerized by the material pleasures. Such a person would be subjected to the worst punishment because of those very things that he considers being the means of his success.

We have all seen that as much one is given the material wealth and bounties as much he becomes negligent of his Lord and earns for himself spiritual punishment. Such a person is always sunk in material pleasures and spiritual chastisement. Whatever he considers to be the means of his happiness, proves to be the medium of his difficulties and sorrows.

Thankfulness for a Bounty is more valuable than the Bounty itself

Sinan bin Tarif says that he told Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), “I fear that I do not become a prey of divine punishment.”

Imam asked, “What is the reason for this?”

He replied, “I prayed to Allah for a house to live in. He bestowed it to me. Then I requested for a thousand dirhams. They were also given to me. I expressed desire for servants and I got them.”

“What was your response when you were getting those bounties?” the Imam asked him.

He replied, “I used to say: Praise be to Allah (Alhamdolillah).”

Imam said, “Your thankfulness is better than the bounty that you received.” (because thankfulness endures while a bounty perishes some time or the other).183

Conclusion of the discussion is that if happiness resulting from getting a bounty is accompanied with thankfulness, it is rewardable and a good deed. However, if the bounty causes pride, denial and fearlessness of God, it is hateful and deserving of punishment.

Self-pride distances one from Allah

As far as despair is concerned, it denotes getting dissociated from Allah. One who achieves worldly desires and does not consider them gifts of the Almighty, instead thinking them to be the fruits of his labor, and in their presence considers himself needless of others and is proud of himself, then know that such a person is dissociated from Allah and is only connected with his material wealth and status.

While dissociating from Allah is infidelity. Because he has considered his wealth and position to be his salvation-givers and needlessness-makers and he was satisfied with this only. In other words he has made his wealth and position to be his deities. The Almighty says in Surah Ali Imran:

(As for) those who disbelieve, surely neither their wealth nor their children shall avail them in the least against Allah, and these it is who are the fuel of the fire. 184

Unlawful despair in the world

The discussion so far has made clear that excessive grief and sorrow on worldly difficulties earns divine displeasure and is unlawful. This can be further explained by the following example:

A person went to the Hajj with his relatives and family. On the way back the camel owner puts his son on the fastest camel so that he can reach home much before the other people and avoid a lot of hardships. Now though the father would indeed be unhappy of separation, he objects to the caravan-owner about it expressing his dissatisfaction, thinking that injustice has been done on the son while actually a favor has been done on him. Such a responsive behavior is considered blameworthy according to intellect.

In the same way, if someone is sorrowful on the death of one of his relatives, and weeps for him, it is a good deed. But if he expresses anger on divine will and objects against it, forgetting the fact that through death he has escaped worldly griefs and difficulties, and that he would also go and meet him after some time. Also that he considers death to be injustice and an unusual happening, then such a type of sorrow and despair is prohibited by reason and Islamic law. The Almighty Allah says in Surah Hadid:

So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster:185

Commenting on this verse, Baidhawi says, “It denotes removing a sadness from ones heart that prevents accepting the command of Allah.” Raghib says, “Sorrow and anger go together. Sometimes, both have to be lamented. The reality of this is so clear that man is restless to take revenge. Then if the desire to seek revenge is regarding someone weaker to us, it gets transformed into anger and if it is regarding someone mightier than us, it reduces and changes into grief.

That is why when Ibne Abbas was asked regarding the definition of grief and anger, he replied, 'Both have the same basis while their names are different. If one fights a person stronger than himself, the other person will express anger and fury while in the case of a weaker opponent, the other person will express grief.' He says that it is this that denotes 'sorrow'. That is to be sad on something one has lost.”

Do not eye others’ property

The Almighty Allah says:

And do not stretch your eyes after that with which We have provided different classes of them, (of) the splendor of this world's life, that We may thereby try them; and the sustenance (given) by your Lord is better and more abiding.186

According to some commentators, the words 'try them' in this verse denote punishment. That is: We would punish them through the embellishments and fineries of the world so that excess of wealth and children cause them more problems.

It is mentioned in Kashful Asrar that the dictionary meaning of the Arabic word 'Zahra' (splendor) is 'a bud'. The Almighty has named this world as 'a bud' because the moisture and freshness of a bud does not endure for more than two or three days, and it shrivels up very soon.

Explanation of Muhaqqiq Ardebeli

The late scholar, Muhaqqiq says that in this verse, the Almighty has prohibited His Messenger from attachment to the world. As a result of this, it became unlawful for the Prophet to look at the world with love and interest. Therefore, observing this rule, the Prophet refrained from being attracted by the beauty and attraction of the world. In this way following the command of the verse:

Certainly you have in the Apostle of Allah an excellent exemplar187

It becomes obligatory for the people to follow the example of the Holy Prophet (S). Due to this, it has become unlawful for the people also, that they do not accord any value to the glitter of the world. It is a different matter if one says that this command is restricted to the Holy Prophet (S). But this is not proved to be so. Also books of Islamic jurisprudence do not include this among the special qualities of the Holy Prophet (S).

The most hateful matter for Allah is that one looks at the world with hope and attachment as mentioned in Tafsir Kashaf. It is also possible that here it implies seeing the world with greed or with an intention of committing an unlawful act with regard to the world. Although there is no doubt that in these circumstances it is absolutely unlawful.188

According to some commentators, though this verse is addressed to the Holy Prophet (S) it implies the Muslim community, and love and attachment for the world is prohibited for all.

Conclusion derived from the above verses

Those who are content with the teachings of the Holy Quran, well know that a great portion of the Book of Allah is regarding the denouncement of the world. The secret is that the love of the world becomes the greatest hurdle on the path of faith in Allah, the Prophet and the Hereafter. It is the source of every sin and due to it, the world and the Hereafter of man are both destroyed.

Therefore it is the duty of every religious person to reform himself. He should remove the love of the world from his heart or continue to decrease it. On the other hand he should make firm the love for Allah and His closest ones. He should deeply contemplate on those verses of the Holy Quran that prohibit intense and permanent love for the world. Since we have already quoted such verses before, here we only give a few traditions in this regard for the sake of brevity.

Desiring the world brings trouble

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “One who spends his days and nights in such a way that his greatest sin is to obtain the world, the Almighty Allah puts poverty and difficulties between his two eyes and makes his matter difficult. He would get only as much share of the world as is destined for him. And for the one who spends his days and nights while his greatest aim is to achieve the Hereafter, the Almighty Allah gives needlessness to his heart and completes his affairs for him.”189

Love of the world causes fearlessness of and despair from Allah

In addition to what we have stated above to prove that the love of the world is a greater sin and an unlawful matter, it is also important to know that the love of the world is necessarily accompanied by two other greater sins. (The details of which have already been given in the book, Greater Sins.). One of them is to be unafraid of divine retribution. That is, not to be afraid of the hidden chastisement of God.

What! do they then feel secure from Allah's plan? But none feels secure from Allah's plan except the people who shall perish.190

'Makr' the Arabic word for 'plan' implies the act of catching someone unaware and hurting him. If one initiates 'makr' it is considered blameworthy and is unlawful. But if the intention is to award punishment or it is a reprisal, then it is allowed. If man commits a sin due to which he becomes eligible for a punishment and Allah subjects him to a punishment in such a way that man himself is unable to make out its cause, it is called as divine-deception (makr).

Thus one who denies the bounty must continue to fear the 'makr' of Allah.

Sorrows of the world and the Hereafter

When such a person after his continuous efforts is not able to fulfill his desires and needs, and he becomes a prey to worldly difficulties he has himself created, he becomes sorrowful, restless and disturbed.

As far as his deprivation of the Hereafter and his lack of provision for it are concerned, the Almighty Allah has clearly mentioned in Surah Shura:

Whoever desires the gain of the hereafter, We will give him more of that again; and whoever desires the gain of this world, We give him of it, and in the hereafter he has no portion.191

On the other hand there is a person such that he is always worried about the Hereafter. He makes continuous efforts to inhabit the abode of his Hereafter. He is needless of the luxuries of the world. He walks behind the world with utmost dignity and self-respect. He is not in need of anyone, neither he has hope on anyone. He does not extend his hand before anyone to ask for something. He is satisfied with whatever sustenance Allah has given him. This is an example of real peace and needlessness in the world. As the words of an Infallible imply in a supplication:

“And give needlessness in my self. That is, O Lord! Create in my self peace and needlessness.”

Such people are meant when the Almighty Allah says in Surah Talaq:

That is the command of Allah which He has revealed to you, and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will remove from him his evil and give him a big reward.192

In this way there is increase in his peace and comfort. Because such a man was always worried about his Hereafter and he used to struggle to improve it and make it more beautiful. That is why the Holy Quran has given him the good news of comfort and success in the life everlasting.

In brief, it can be said that one who is always sunk in the worries about the world, he should know that his world, religion and the Hereafter, all are destroyed. For such a person the most important thing to do is to reform himself. He must wash the blemish of this sin from his garments and think about the Hereafter. Thus, Imam Sajjad (a.s.) says in a supplication:

“O Allah! Do not involve us in the calamities of religion. And do not make the acquisition of the world the main aim of our life. And neither make our knowledge and intelligence the means of acquiring the world.”

Good Deeds, but Aimless

Sulaiman bin Khalid says that he asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) regarding the interpretation of the following verse of Quran:

And We will proceed to what they have done of deeds, so We shall render them as scattered floating dust.193

The Imam said, “By Allah! They were of pure character - that is whiter than white Egyptian fine cloth. But when an unlawful thing came before them, they did not avoid it.”194

The Holy Prophet (S) said, “On the Day of Judgment a group would be brought, whose good character would be heavier than the mountains of Mecca. It would be commanded that they be taken towards Hell. It would be asked, 'Were they performing the Prayers?' The reply would be, 'Without any doubt! They used to pray, keep fasts, remain busy in prayers half the night, but as soon as a worldly thing came their way, they used to rush towards it wildly.'”195

Those who sacrifice the Hereafter on the world

A close study of the above two traditions and other similar narrations reveals that all these reports are regarding those who are not completely oblivious of the Hereafter, but their faith on the Hereafter is limited and slight. They perform the prayers, keep fasts and have good moral character. But their love for the world is very intense. When an unlawful thing comes before them, they ignore its harms.

They sacrifice their Hereafter on the world, and throw themselves upon it unhesitatingly. Their example is like that of a cat, which is adverse to water or moisture, but the moment it sees a fish that it can prey upon, it dives into the water without any hesitation. Love of the world and lack of interest in the Hereafter is also a similar phenomenon and it is included among the greater sins. It is a sin that destroys good deeds and makes all the charitable deeds null and void. Due to which there remains no possibility of the acceptance of their good deeds. Because:

Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil).196

Good deeds without sincerity

When a person who loves the world very intensely, performs a worship act or does a good deed there is no sincerity in it, which is a necessary condition for acceptance of it. This is because such a person does something good with the motive that he may gain some worldly benefit, the people may praise him or that they may not criticize him, that he may get an increase in his wealth etc. Such a person helplessly refrains himself from something good and gives away something that is not much valuable for him, in the path of Allah. Briefly speaking, no matter how great is his apparent action, if there is no sincerity in it, it would be rejected.

One who loves the world is not eligible for salvation

It is narrated from the Messenger of Allah (S) that he said, “Prophet Musa (a.s.) was passing on the way when he saw a person lying in prostration. He looked at that man and moved ahead. After sometime when he returned the same way he saw that he was still in the same position. Musa remarked, 'If I had the power to grant his wish, I would have done it by now.'

The Almighty Allah revealed on him, 'O Musa! Even if he dies in this prostration, I would not accept his prayers till he refrains from that which is against My pleasure and does that with which I am pleased. (That is, he leaves the love of the world and imbibes the love of the Hereafter). In another narration the same story is described in different words.

Prophet Musa (a.s.) passed by a person who was weeping. When he returned he saw him still in tears. He said, “O My Lord! Your slave is weeping in Your fear.” Allah said, “O Musa! Even if this man weeps so much that his eyeballs fall out, I would still not forgive him, because he is surrounded by the love of the world.”197

It should be clear that since this person was involved in the love of the world, that is why both his hope and fear are related with regard to the worldly problems even though apparently he was uttering the name of God. Thus it should be known that the Lord Almighty sees the intentions. If the intention itself is not based on the fear of Allah, how can He forgive him?

This is the reason that scholars say that the condition for acceptance of repentance is that fear of Allah and regret of having committed a sin must accompany his intention of never committing that sin in the future again. If he gives up the sin due to the fear of people or to avoid some worldly loss, his repentance would not be accepted.

That which Allah hates

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “There is a great distance between the servant and Allah, that the servant is not worried about anything except his belly and salvation.”198

Obviously, fondness for tasty foods, obtaining livelihood from lawful means and fulfilling sensual desires by legitimate channels is allowed and not blamable at all. Though the thing that comes within the ambit of sin is belly-worship and lust-worship. That is, an intense love for these two, and lack of interest in the Hereafter. That is, he is not worried if due to this his Hereafter is destroyed and he would fall into sins.

Enmity of the world is the best deed

Imam Sajjad (a.s.) was asked, “Which is the best deed in the view of Allah?”

He replied, “After the recognition of Allah and the recognition of the Messenger of Allah (S), the best deed is hatred for the world.”

Then he said, “Pride is the first sin, with which Allah was disobeyed and it is the sin of Satan (Iblis). After this, is greed, which was the sin of Adam and Eve. After this is the position of jealousy, which was the sin of the son of Adam (Qabeel).” The root of all evils like, women-worship, status seeking, quest for comfort, hunger for praise, pride and wealth, is the love of the world.

This is the reason that the Prophets and the wise people have said that the love of the world is the root of all evil. The world can be used in two ways. One is to take benefit from it according to the needs of ones life and it should be considered a step stone to the Hereafter. Another way is to be lost in its deceptive magic and become negligent of Allah, thus deviating from the path of the Hereafter.

Sayings of the elders about the different kinds of deeds

According to some scholars all the actions performed in this world belong to one of the four categories:

1. The apparent and the internal both are for Allah, like sincere obedience and charity.

2. The apparent and the internal both are for the world, like sins and other lawful deeds that are caused due to sensuality or negligence

3. The apparent is for Allah and the internal is for the world, like deeds performed for show-off.

4. The apparent is for the world and the internal is for Allah, like pursuit of livelihood necessary for well being of the body and enough strength for performing worship acts. It is obvious that this is for achieving the Hereafter and not for the world.

More harmful than hungry wolves

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Like two hungry and ferocious wolves that attack a herd of goats which is without a shepherd. One of them attacks from the front and another from behind (That is, they surround the herd), but the loss caused by them is not more than what a Muslim stands to lose with regard to his religion due to the love of wealth and fame.”199

Allamah Majlisi says, “Here love of fame denotes bigotry and lust for power, that have always been hurdles in the path of the mission of the prophets. The Holy Quran has mentioned them by the title of 'great ones'. The Almighty Allah says in Surah Anam:

And thus have We made in every town the great ones to be its guilty ones, that they may plan therein; and they do not plan but against their own souls, and they do not perceive.200

World-worshipping scholars are robbers on the path of Allah

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Whenever you see that a scholar is involved in the love of the world, you should know that he has done injustice with regard to his religion. Because he is always in the quest to achieve what he desires. The Almighty Allah revealed to Prophet Dawood (a.s.): Do not make a world-loving scholar a medium between Myself and you, because he would take you away from My path. These people are robbers on the path of those who love Me. The least that I would do to them is that I would remove from their hearts, the sweetness of supplications to Me.”201

In this tradition, love of the world indicates an intense and a permanent love. The sign of this is that when one achieves his desires like wealth and status he expresses great joy, and there is no fear for the loss to his Hereafter. If such a person is unable to fulfill his worldly desires, or he is deprived of them, he is extremely troubled even if a benefit of the Hereafter is concealed in this.

Followers of the world-worshipping scholar also become like him

The statement of the Imam that the world-worshipping scholar has neglected his religion means that his religiosity is not reliable. It is for someone who is involved in the love of the world and the axis of all his efforts is to seek worldly aims even if through unlawful means. Such a person sacrifices his religion on his world. His religiosity is only to the extent that there is no harm to his worldly life. In the past discussions we have tried to prove that as much is there love for the world, there is proportionate hatred and opposition to the Hereafter.

The saying of the Infallible that do not let a world-loving scholar mediate between yourself and Allah means that one who refers to a worldly scholar for strengthening his religion and follows his path, after some time he would also become like that world-worshipping scholar. That getting distanced from Allah he destroys his abode of the Hereafter. This is the reason that according to some scholars, the necessary condition of emulating a jurisprudent (Taqlid) is that such a person must not be a world-lover and materialistic.

At the end of the tradition it is said that the least punishment for a scholar who loves the world is that the sweetness of supplication is taken away from him. It should be clear that in the view of the scholars of religion this is a severe spiritual chastisement. However for the lover of the world there is much more severe punishment, which is beyond description.

Status-seekers are accursed

Imam Baqir (a.s.) has said, “One who seeks knowledge so that he may boast to the scholars, or that he may argue with lowly people, or that he may attract people, then his abode would be filled with the fire of Hell. Certainly, leadership does not befit anyone except those deserving of it.”202

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Accursed, accursed is the one who likes leadership (or status) for himself. Cursed is the one who intends for it. Cursed is the one who constantly mentions about it to himself.”203

It should be clear that quest for position may be for religious matters, like delivering sermons, leading congregational prayers, issuing edicts or judging cases.

Or it may be for worldly matters, like governorship of a province etc. Both are disliked by the Almighty Allah. It is absolutely unlawful to seek status for the sake of increasing worldly wealth through it, if there is harm to the world. But if one is desirous of rulership and is also pious, that is, he loves the Hereafter intensely and keeping in view the aims of the everlasting life he fulfills the duty of guiding the people, or he establishes justice and equity or helps an oppressed person, then in all such circumstances, it is lawful.

If one desires a position for the fulfillment of selfish desires, such an act is unlawful and traditions of Usul al-Kafi and other books mention this in a number of places. Here it would be appropriate to consider the following verse of Quran:

(As for) that future abode, We assign it to those who have no desire to exalt themselves in the earth nor to make mischief and the good end is for those who guard (against evil)204411

The explanation of the verses speaks about the sin of pride as follows:

It is mentioned in the account of Mukhtar Ibne Ubaid Thaqafi that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said:

“On the Day of Judgment, the Holy Prophet (S) would pass by the Hell with Amirul Momineen (a.s.), Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a.s.). Suddenly a person will call out from Hell thrice, 'O Messenger of Allah (S)! Help me!' The Prophet will not give any reply. Then he would call out thrice, 'O Amirul Momineen (a.s.)!' Ali would also not give any response. Then again he would call out thrice, 'O Husain! Help me, as I have killed your enemies.'

The Messenger of Allah (S) will say, 'He has completed his argument on you.' (That is, now you help him). Thus Imam Husain (a.s.) would pick him from Hell like a falcon swoops and takes away its prey.” When Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked the reason for Mukhtar being sent to Hell, he said, “Because Mukhtar used to love rulership and kingdom, and he liked the world and its entertainments, while the love of the world, itself is the root of all evil…”205

Musa advises his scholar friend

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, “Prophet Musa bin Imran had a scholar friend. When he sought permission to visit his relatives and friends Musa said, “The relatives have some rights that must be observed. But refrain from loving the world because the Lord of the universe has bestowed you with knowledge. You must never waste that wealth of knowledge, by loving the world and by loving others than God.” The friend replied that he would not do anything but good deeds. Then he left to see his relatives and friends. A long time passed after his departure.

So when Musa inquired about him nobody could give any news. Then angel Jibraeel told him, “O prophet of God, that fellow is standing outside your house. He has turned into a monkey and there is a leash on his neck.” Musa became very aggrieved. He got up to pray and supplicated Allah, “O my Lord, that fellow is my friend please gives him relief from this chastisement.”

God revealed, “O Musa, even if your neck is paralyzed praying like this I shall not answer your prayer because We granted him the wealth of knowledge but he destroyed himself by drowning himself in the love of the world.”206

Beasts in Human Forms

We should know that if a man regards worldly life as a reality and thinks that the Hereafter is only a fable then there is no trace of humanity in that fellow. If he binds himself tightly in the love of the world and makes that love a part of his life then his character will lose every trace of humanity and he will adopt the character of beasts. He will know this truth in the Hereafter. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “Then the face of that fellow is that of a man but his heart is that of an animal.”207

The habit of that animal enters the personality of a man whom he imitates. For example, if someone is in the habit of imitating others then in the world of existence (reality) he will be a monkey. Most of the people living in the Middle East and in eastern countries imitate the western people. They have a monkey-type character.

If some indulge in over-eating womanizing and mindlessness then they have characteristics of cows, asses and pigs respectively. If they are arrogant and hotheaded, they resemble leopards and wolves. If they have a habit of finding excuses and harming others, they are Satans. A man who adopts the ways of various animals will rise in the form of animals in the other world. Strangely enough he or she will, at once be recognized in whatever form he or she is. This has been thoroughly explained in the first chapter of this book.

Ali (a.s.) introduces the Animals

Since most of the world-lovers are not lagging behind dogs in their stinginess, jealousy and harshness the Amirul Momineen (a.s.) addresses them as dogs when he says, “When you see world-lovers rushing towards things passionately, do not get deceived. Beware of them as they are barking dogs and hunting animals that are ever ready to harm others. The powerful among them eats up the weak and the majority devours the minority.”

It should be noted that the narrations quoted here and so also the Quranic verses are but only a fraction of such overall verses and traditions condemning worldly love. What has been quoted about any sin is less than one-tenth of the texts. Yet whatever has been given here is sufficient enough to prove the graveness of the sin of worldly love and the importance of this prohibition.

The Third Rank is Detestable

A man who loves this world and its contents, yet this love is nothing compared to his love for Allah and the Hereafter, that is, if he gives priority to the Hereafter and wants to beautify it even at the risk of destruction of this worldly possessions, he will distance himself from every desire which is detrimental to the Hereafter.

A man whose love for the world is little and for the Hereafter intense, faces a worldly loss for which he will, to a certain extent, feel sorry. But if his Hereafter gets harmed, say by committing a sin or there is some danger of losing a good deed then his restlessness and fear will get multiplied manifold.

He will not get peace of mind unless and until he is not assured of his repentance being accepted by God and unless the loss is not made up. Just as the world-lovers get restless and disturbed at their worldly loss and failures and are delighted at the fulfillment of desires, similarly he will be worried at the loss of the Hereafter and feel utmost pleasure at the mention of Allah and the Hereafter and by doing good deeds, which will give him happiness and peace of mind.

That which stalls perfection of faith and human upliftment

As this limit for love of the world is neither against Faith in God and Hereafter, nor it can cause corruption and sinfulness it is not prohibited. Verses and narrations quoted above do not apply to this degree of worldly love. They apply only to the second and third degree love. But this third degree of worldly love is against the completion of Faith and an obstruction in the path of human progress. It is so because the secret of human welfare for which he has been created is that he should attain nearness to God.

This success cannot be attained without love and attachment. It is essential that this love also should be sincerely for the Beneficent Lord. One should not maintain a permanent love for any creation except Him. Rather one must love all as a result of love for the Lord. He should consider this passing world and all that is in it as signs of God's might and mercy.

So much so that man should consider himself, his near and dear family members and relatives as bounties granted by God and must love them only on this ground. Moreover he must carry out obedience and worship and any other task, which God likes. He must love and be affectionate to the Prophets, Infallible Imams and other believers who are the beloveds of God. He must develop love for them on the basis of their nearness to God.

One having these virtues likes Paradise because it is the guesthouse of God and the house of His friends, not because it is an abode of ease and comfort. It is imperative for him to keep distance from everything that can cause neglect in love for God and present a means of permanent love for the world.

Love for anyone or anything other than God takes one away from God

Now that it is proved that human welfare and perfection is hidden in nearness to God and in love for Him, his love for his own self or for any other thing in the universe, even if it be very minute, the extent to which he is near to that thing he will be away from God and to that extent he will fail in attaining the lofty height of humanity.

Thus we know that love for anything or anyone other than God, even if it is very tiny, though it is not prohibited and a sin attracting divine chastisement, is a hurdle in the path of human welfare and a cause of human deprivation. Therefore, anyone who wants welfare and success should, as demanded by intelligence; refrain from loving anyone or anything other than God.

Divine injunction about such degree of attachment

It should be noted that many verses of Holy Quran prohibit us from getting attached to worldly things and they include all the three types of worldly love. In some verses there is not only an explicit order to discard the first and second type emphatically but the defaulters are also warned of divine punishment.

In this way both the first and the second type of love for the world is prohibited and whoever indulges therein will be chastised whereas the third type is a detestable one and one who indulges in it will be deprived of welfare, prosperity and high ranks.

Now, concluding the subject, we give here verses and narrations, which largely prohibit worldly love and command us to fill the heart with a pure love of God.

Let not the wealth and children make you negligent of remembering God

The Almighty Allah says:

O you who believe! let not your wealth, or your children, divert you from the remembrance of Allah; and whoever does that, these are the losers.208

Since such people have disconnected themselves from Allah, they could not gain any permanent benefit from their life. Meaning they could not acquire faith and a good character.

Those who cannot be stopped from remembering God

Almighty Allah says in Surah Nur:

Men whom neither merchandise nor selling diverts from the remembrance of Allah and the keeping up of prayer and the giving of poor-rate; they fear a day in which the hearts and eyes shall turn about209

In this verse the remembrance of Allah means heartfelt love. It means man should think of God in every condition and at every time. His interest and activeness in his affairs should be because of God's love and he should carry out every order and worship because of His love only.

Worldly Beauties are Merely a Test

It is mentioned Surah Kahf:

Surely We have made whatever is on the earth an embellishment for it, so that We may try them (as to) which of them is best in works. And most surely We will make what is on it bare ground without herbage.210

The beauty of good deeds to which the Holy Quran repeatedly hints and which has been termed the means of permanent and ever-lasting well-being is every such deed which is done in obeying God's command and which is because of His love. Apparently it may not look like worship, for example, one may eat good food and wear fine clothes, but not for satisfying desires and filling ones belly but for enjoying the Lord's bounty, to display it and for obeying His orders.

Similarly bad deed is one, which may be done to satisfy passion, to fulfill a devilish desire and for getting only worldly benefit, even though, its appearance resembles worship. For example, the worship of a hypocrite and an egoist. The meaning of the Arabic word “zeenat” is embellishment, decoration and beautification so that a buyer can be attracted.

The Primary and Secondary Aims of Creation

By pondering over the above and other similar verses of the Holy Quran we understand that the Creator of the Universe created His various bounties and desires for them on this earthly planet and taking a drop of the Unfathomable Ocean of Existence of Beauty, spread it out in accordance with its ability for acceptance. The Lord of the universe says in Surah Hijr:

And there is not a thing but with Us are the treasures of it, and We do not send it down but in a known measure.211

Then He created man and displayed this treasure before him for two aims, one of which is primary and the other secondary. The secondary aim of presenting the worldly wealth is that man should get a desire for it and he may employ it thereby it may cause the world to be a habitat and mankind may spread and survive.

But the main aim of presenting the worldly wealth or benefit to the world is that this bounty may be the means of realizing the Creator; the lamp of His love may light up hearts and He may be thanked for His bounties and also for being Kind to His obedient creatures. Against this, it is not the aim of creation that the creation may become mad after worldly wealth and run after it relentlessly, may think that it (man) is needless of His nearness, may make the wealth his sole aim, may consider himself to be its absolute owner and real possessor and then cross the limits fixed by God. In short, that he may become mad after it, worshipping it and forget the Real Benefactor and become ungrateful to Him.

With a view to explain and elaborate the matter the following story is presented.

It is said that the main reason of King Mahmud Ghaznavi's love for his slave Ayaz was that when the king had acquired huge quantities of jewels after the conquest of Somnath, and the lot was carried on camels to Ghazni, a box of jewels broke up and its contents spilled on the ground.

The king declared that anything on which any body lays his hands would be his property. At once all officers and soldiers got busy in collecting the jewels. When the king looked around he could not find anyone near him except Ayaz. All had left him alone and were busy gathering the jewels. The Sultan asked Ayaz, “Why did you not join others in collecting the jewels?”

Ayaz replied, “I felt ashamed at the thought of leaving the king to gather jewels. There are many enemies of the king and one of them might try to take a chance. That is why I did not move away from you. So that if someone attacks you I might sacrifice my life and save yours.” It was this selfless love of Ayaz that made the king to designate him as his legatee despite having a brother and a son. Many a times he used to make Ayaz sit beside him in the court.

The reader should understand that God loves His servant who remembers his Lord after gaining the worldly bounties and who keeps away from everything which can make him forget his Lord even if that bounty is worth taking pride in.

It is said that one of the rubies brought by Mahmud Ghazni from India was such that it shone in the darkness of the night. One day the king showed it to his ministers and asked about its value. Every one assessed its value very high. Then the king ordered that this stone should be broken. None of the courtiers was ready to do so. They said it was not wise to break it. In the meanwhile Ayaz entered.

When he was asked about the value of that precious stone he replied that it was far more valuable than others had estimated. Then the Sultan asked him also to break it. Ayaz did so at once without any hesitation. The audience felt happy in their hearts imagining that now the king will frown on Ayaz. All taunted him asking why did he do so. They told him, “By so doing you have caused a loss to the king's treasure, you are not a friend of the king but are his foe.”

Ayaz told them, “As the command of the king was more valuable than the jewel in my view I did not hesitate in breaking it; but I refrained from breaking the command of the king. In your opinion the stone was costlier than the king's word, so you refrained from breaking the stone.” This reply made it clear to all that the king's order was meant to test the loyalties of his courtiers. This event boosted the value of Ayaz in the eyes of the king while others felt ashamed.

How people are Tested through worldly Adornments

It is incumbent on man to observe the beauties of the world and to ponder over their defects too; the chief being the transience of the world and its decadence. Then he must trust that there is one more world wherein every perfection will appear discarding all defects and faults. Its most important aspect is the eternal life. It is necessary for man to remember that he has been created for that another world of eternity.

The reason is that if it is believed that life ends with the advent of death then the creation of the universe becomes aimless whereas each and every particle of the universe testifies to the wisdom of the Lord Creator.

The aim is that God tests His slaves through worldly adornments. It is as a result of this test that a tyrant is born from the seed of a virtuous man, good from bad, good character from a bad character, courageous from the timid, humane from a beastly person and one worthy of Hell from one worthy of Paradise. Then two types of people will be there in the eternal world. The first kind will be called “the people of the right hand” who will live in a permanent Paradise according to the Holy Quran and they will enjoy all heavenly rewards and gifts.

At that time they will see the Grace of Almighty God manifested. Another type of people will be “the people of the left hand” who will remain on the stage, which they have earned for themselves. They will suffer punishment in Hell because of their misdeeds. It will be the time when God will employ His real justice. Everyone will get the reward or punishment of his or her deeds. At that time they will realize that absolute praise is only for Allah. The last verse of Surah Zumar hints at this matter:

And you shall see the angels going round about the throne glorifying the praise of their Lord; and judgment shall be given between them with justice, and it shall be said: All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.212

Likewise this matter is made clear in Surah Shura:

…and surely when We make man taste mercy from Us, he rejoices thereat; and if an evil afflicts them on account of what their hands have already done, then surely man is ungrateful.213

In conclusion, the Lord Creator of the universe has made this world with its beauty and brightness a matter of test for every person until the time of his or her death, so that a distinction can be made between the world-hungry fellows and those who love the Hereafter and love God. In this way, one who wants only the worldly life will be included among the losers. The Last Day has been described in Surah Luqman in these words:

O people! guard against (the punishment of) your Lord and dread the day when a father shall not make any satisfaction for his son, nor shall the child be the maker of any satisfaction for his father; surely the promise of Allah is true, therefore let not this world's life deceive you, nor let the arch-deceiver deceive you in respect of Allah.214

The Almighty has, through a number of Quranic verses, warned man that he should not be deceived by worldly life. This matter has been repeatedly mentioned in verses 70 and 130 of Surah Anam, 51 of Surah Araaf, 33 of Luqman, 33 of Fatir, 35 of Jathiya and 14 of Hadid. Therefore it is a must for every Muslim to make effort from his heart so that he may not be counted among the deceived ones.

Paradise is a better place for the pious

The love of desires, of women and sons and hoarded treasures of gold and silver and well bred horses and cattle and tilth, is made to seem fair to men; this is the provision of the life of this world; and Allah is He with Whom is the good goal (of life). Say: Shall I tell you what is better than these? For those who guard (against evil) are gardens with their Lord, beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and pure mates and Allah's pleasure; and Allah sees the servants.215

The gist of this verse is that Allah created the beauties of the world and made them an adoration for man so that, through it, they may begin to love Allah and worry for the success of their Hereafter. But what happened is that Satan deceived them whereby they became mad after the worldly attractions instead of loving the Creator. Such people must know that this life, along with all its tastefulness is transitory and very short living.

Obviously it is not wise to be attracted to a thing, which is to pass out soon. Hence what is proper is to stop being mad after this world and to love that world which is far better and also permanent. This holy verse proves that a permanent love for this world is condemnable even if it is very little.

A Wonderful narration regarding worldly love

The Holy Prophet (S) said, “The Lord Almighty told me on the night of Ascension, 'O Ahmad, if any of My slaves may offer prayers and fasts equal to that done by all in the sky and the earth, may refrain from food like angels, may wear the dress of constant worshippers and then I see that in his heart was even an iota of love or desire for worldly fame, position, material desire etc. I will not admit him to Paradise. I will remove My love from his heart. I will make his heart dark, so that he may forget Me and I will not allow him to taste the sweetness of My love.'”

Likewise Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “By Allah! One who loves the world cannot love Allah.”216423

Explaining the verse:

The day on which property will not avail, nor sons. Except him who comes to Allah with a heart free (from evil).217

The Infallible Imam says that this heart (Qalbe Saleem) is the heart, which is safe from worldly love.218

The Holy Prophet (S) said, “One who loves this world, makes his heart empty of the fear of Hereafter. Therefore the love for this world increases in the heart of one who Allah does not give knowledge. Then Allah's anger grows against him and that fellow gets away from Allah.”219

Mentioning the virtues of the Holy Prophet (S) Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “The Holy Prophet (S) used to eat sitting on the ground, his manner of sitting on the ground was like that of slaves. He was mending his shoes with his own hands. He was grafting his clothes himself. He was sitting on the bare back of an ass, making someone else also ride with him. There was a curtain in his house with a picture on it. He asked one of his wives: Remove that curtain from my eyes.

By looking at it I begin admiring the world and its beauties. So, remove the attention towards worldly possessions from your heart. Make your soul empty of material wants. He liked that the worldly adoration should remain away from his eyes so that he may not select beautified garments from worldly possessions. This was not a place of rest and comfort for him.

He did not have any desire to remain in this world. So he had freed his soul from the worldly love and his heart from material attraction. He used to turn away his eyes from material glamour. The fact is that one who is inimical towards a thing also does not like to look at it and he also does not think of it.”

He says that it is incumbent on a Muslim to follow the Prophet. It is a must to emulate him to avoid destruction.

Love for the world is universal

From the viewpoint of understanding the truth about oneself, people can be divided into two kinds: Materialists and Theists.

Materialists are those who think that the existence of man is material and that he is no different from an animal. He is created from dust and will be lost in dust, to be annihilated forever. This group is firm in that the life of man is limited only to this world and therefore it is necessary to take maximum benefit from this life before one dies. Their hearts incline towards the world and they are slaves of their passions and desires.

In its march towards its aim this group always tries to break any rule or regulation (morality) to gratify the desires and to acquire full comfort and adornments in this brief life. This group undergoes all sorts of troubles and hardships in order to multiply wealth and worldly possessions. Almighty Allah hints at such people saying:

And they say: There is nothing but our life in this world; we live and die and nothing destroys us but time, and they have no knowledge of that; they only conjecture.220

Three Groups of Theists

Those having community: This group is comprised of Jews, Christians and Muslims who love the prophets. It puts faith in the Revelations of the Lord of the worlds and in His messengers (prophets). That is, they believe in the words of prophets and their commands.

They also believe that there is an everlasting life after this worldly life, and that Paradise is waiting for those who did good deeds and Hell is for those who indulged in bad ones. But this category is again divided into three sub-groups. One of them professes the above things but, in actual practice, it is no different from the materialists. In other words, they talk about Allah and the Hereafter but their hearts are entangled in the world. Their inclination is only towards wealth and property, and tastes and passions of this world. The aim of each and every effort made by them is to achieve the material worldly goals by any means.

In Surah Ali Imran Allah says:

They say with their mouths what is not in their hearts, and Allah best knows what they conceal.221

Unmindful Worshippers

Another group is not fully in love with the world but their inclination is more towards this world and less towards the Hereafter. They have intense affection for this world and the worldly things. That is why they strive more for achieving the worldly material things. On one hand though they are not totally disconnected with the Hereafter, they make only a little effort for gaining its benefits. Their good deeds also are not quite worthy of mention.

They spend a major part of their wealth and life for satisfying their passions and worldly desires. But when there is the question of the other world (Hereafter) they spend only a little from their lives and properties and there is no selflessness therein. The rank of such people has been vividly mentioned in the last verses of Surah Maun:

So woe to the praying ones, Who are unmindful of their prayers, Who do (good) to be seen, And withhold the necessaries of life.222

Had the hearts of these people been connected with their Lord and the Hereafter they would have never remained unmindful of Allah and His remembrance. Their deeds would not have been based on show. In short, the rank of this group is the same as of the world lovers. The third sub-group of the theists is quite different from the second one. They love God and Hereafter intensely from their hearts while a little love of the world too exists in their hearts.

All are equal in this matter

If we ponder on the condition of the theists of the world we come to know that, except for a few, almost all of them will be included in the first or the second group. In other words, the two groups (Jews and Muslims) in both of the said categories, be they belong to the east or the west, are all agreeable with the materialists both in thought and deed in the matter of worldly love despite their linguistic and religious differences.

Nadwi has, in his book 'World in the Danger of Collapsing', dealt very nicely on these subjects saying that today's man has adopted materialism, worldly love and passions which has spread in other countries from the developed nations, in place of God-worship, love for Hereafter, truthfulness and spiritualism. Here are some extracts from that book:

Religious awareness: What will be the end of the world? In which direction is the world going? Is there any other life after this worldly life? And if so how is it? Is there any guidance regarding the Hereafter in this worldly life? What is the true path that can lead man on the road to Hereafter by living a satisfying and a peaceful life? What is the starting point of that path? What is the way of obtaining the everlasting bounties of the Hereafter? How can we adopt it?

These and similar thoughts have engaged the minds of man, especially the man of the east. Whenever they were getting a positive reply to these questions they were trying to follow it. The source of all these questions is the sixth sense of man, which is beyond the five senses. It is called the religious sense. The Holy Quran calls it human nature (conscience). But today's man has totally forgotten this sense and such questions do not come to his mind.

The author adds: The biggest problem of the twentieth century or of the materialist age is as was the issue before the past prophets, that is to struggle against people who have forgotten the religious sense or feeling or who are totally devoid of it. Undoubtedly the people whose minds are stagnant and listless, who are totally devoid of it and who have decided never to think about the problems of the Hereafter, have forever remained a very big problem for the divine guides.

The more the messenger of Allah tried to guide them towards the truth the more they used to insist that 'Life is only this life of the world, we will live and die here but there is nothing like the Day of Judgment.' (Surah Anam) The prophets got only this reply: Our hearts and ears cannot grasp your talks. There is a curtain between you and us. You may busy yourselves in your works and we will remain engaged in ours.223.

The man of our age has also forgotten the religious feeling or sense. Now such questions do not arise in his mind and heart and none thinks about them. Even if any lone person pays attention to them, it is only for satisfying some self-interest.

It will have to be agreed that today's only material problems are in focus instead of spiritual ones. Our twentieth century progeny has devoted its thoughts and abilities to the solution of only material problems. They have no concern whatsoever that there is any other world also after this life. The way of thinking of today's man is that if ready money is available do not go for the promised one. What is needed is that all such discussions should be kept only for the experts of spiritualism or philosophy so that they may think over them and write books.

Verily today's man has employed his entire life only for working in workshops, for moving and running machines, for deriving monetary benefits from them and for obtaining means of worldly comfort, ease and luxury. He knows nothing about the other world. Perhaps he might not have thought about it even in his imagination. Briefly speaking, neither he has ever paid any attention to the events after death nor has he ever worried about them.

In this era religious and divine thoughts do not find room in man's mind and heart. The materialistic life has closed all doors of thought and wisdom. No venue is left open for contemplation and meditation. Minds, hearts, eyes and ears are unable to comprehend the words of prophets and religious scholars.

The parallel of the difficulties suffered by men of God in trying to guide such people is not to be found in even the worst societies. It is so because this is a group and which knows not, rather neglects that there is another world beyond this worldly life. He is not interested in this matter at all. The Lord of the Universe talks about these people in His address to the Prophet:

Surely you do not make the dead to hear, and you do not make the deaf to hear the call when they go back retreating.224

The author writes at another place: Our age is a purely materialistic age. Here people pay attention only to the worldly life and have no faith in the next world. That is why they do not make any provision for the journey to Hereafter. Is it ever possible that those who have no faith in that world will make any provision for that world? Excepting a few, all civilized people believe that in order to fulfill their worldly needs they should obtain wealth and property from wherever possible.

In the world we live, the criterion of greatness and nobility is only money, wealth, dress and means. Since the standards of such nobility continue to change, man is obliged to spend a lot of money to mould himself in the mentality of the society. As a very big amount of money is needed to do so, one tries to acquire wealth by any means legal or illegal, with labor or without effort. Since everybody does not possess enough ability to acquire wealth he constantly remains gloomy and regretful because of his relative poverty; whereas his greatest aim is only to become wealthy.

Consequently material worries become the destiny of the fashion worshipping people and they have no way to get rid of it. Yet another misfortune is that the styles of fashion continue to change endlessly. For example, new models of cars, radio, shoes, dresses and other luxury items.

Factories bring out new things in the market daily though none of them is the basic necessity of life. But our society considers it a part of human personality and a must for civilization. So much so that one who does not utilize these things is not considered among the living ones!

These are the causes that gave so much importance to wealth and riches and which is unprecedented in human history. These days wealth and only wealth is the original soul of man and which has made him to run after it endlessly and continuously. Wealth is the chief aim of the wealth-creators, industrialists and politicians. Only this is driving people to become members of legislatures, writers to author books and warriors to start wars.

The author also throws light on the materialistic inclination in countries of the world under a chapter: 'The world moves towards ignorance' but it will make this book voluminous to quote more on this.

All of them are mad after worldly passions, desires and embellishments. Earning wealth is their only aim. They do not hesitate to indulge in any kind of dishonesty, crime and even bloodshed to achieve this aim. These are the people who want everything except the pleasure of God. They long for every worldly comfort excepting the ease of the other world (Hereafter).

They express sorrow over every incident except sin. They feel no sorrow over their poverty in the next world but are always worrying about their worldly poverty. They make efforts for the success of the unreliable worldly future but have no worry about the definite and certain life of the Hereafter.

On the one hand they leave no stone unturned for increasing their capital and cry and lament if they suffer any monetary loss but, on the other hand, stay listless and stagnant like a corpse to gain the main wealth of their Hereafter and which manifests man's faith, spirit and morality.

Interestingly every group of the theists, who resemble the materialists, considers itself above divine chastisement and thinks that their success is sure. It has become uncontrollable like the Satan and yet thinks that it would definitely get success and salvation!

Self-Glorification of Jews and Christians

The Jews say that since we are Bani Israel (progeny of Prophet Yaqub (a.s.)) we are the noblest of the entire humanity and that only we have the right to rule the earth. The Holy Quran speaks in their language thus:

And they say: the fire will not touch us except for a few days (that is only those forty days when they had indulged in cow-worship).225

According to specific command of the Quran all men are equal and no one is nobler than another except in piety. As the Holy Quran states:

surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty)226433

Jews and Christians also say that only we are sons of God, friends of God and beloveds of God and that Paradise is only for us. Of course they claim thus only verbally, whereas in reality they are devoted to the world, not to Allah and the Hereafter. The Holy Quran describes them:

And you will most certainly find them the greediest of men for life (greedier) than even those who are polytheists227

In fact they are the friends of the devils, not friends of the Beneficent. They are slaves of worldly passions and desires and not at all interested in Allah and the Hereafter.

Why are you afraid of death?

They say that Paradise and salvation in the Hereafter is destined only for them. If they really believe like this then why are they afraid of death and the loss of material things and why are they constantly praying for extension of worldly life and for enjoying constant benefit of the worldly passions and desires? Challenging such people the Lord of the universe says:

Say: If the future abode with Allah is specially for you to the exclusion of the people, then invoke death if you are truthful.228

It is mentioned in Tafsir Majmaul Bayan that one who is sure about getting Paradise must give preference to death, which is the only way to reach Paradise in comparison to worldly life, which is full of hardships. One who is sure that death is the means of getting excellence and success will certainly love it more than life as Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says: “By Allah, the son of Abu Talib is so much attached to death as a suckling baby is to its mother's breast.”

Therefore when the Imam was strolling fearlessly between ranks in the battle of Siffin, his son Hasan Mujtaba (a.s.) said, “O father, your moving like this in the midst of battle lines is not desirable because it is likely to enable the enemy to harm you.” He replied, “Your father does not worry whether he falls on death or death falls on him.”

Likewise, when in the said battle, Ammar Yasir decided to join he was extremely happy and being sure of his martyrdom said joyfully, “I am proceeding to my friends, the Holy Prophet (S) and his companions.”

It is narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) once said, “One of you should long for death because of being caught in worldly hardships and troubles. He should pray, 'O Lord! Keep me alive until life is good for me and give me death when death is good for me.'”229436

Another tradition says that longing for death is condemnable because it shows a dislike for the will of God (whereas here what is hinted at is patience and submission to divine will). But where a wish for death has been prohibited it is for the expression of a longing of the believer that death should not come to him so that during that time he may try to compensate for his sins and make provision for his journey to the Hereafter.

If this aim is in one's heart then the desire for the world is not different from a wish for death. Its example is like a king who calls someone to him but does not fix a time for it, whereas that man takes only that much time for presenting himself to the king which is absolutely necessary for its preparation.

His only desire is that king's men should come to take him only after he has made preparation for it. As detailed in the preceding pages, the only aim of this preparation should be to present oneself to Allah. That is why a temporary love for the world is an essential demand of Faith in Allah and the Hereafter.

But so far as the Jews are concerned, they are mad after this world only for enjoying its pleasures. That is why they long for a long life and wish to live for a thousand years. This desire of theirs makes them fearful of death and proves that they are lying when they claim that they are the lovers of God and worthy of Paradise.

On the other hand, all groups of Muslims think themselves to be followers of Quran and lovers of Prophet and his progeny. Every one of them claims that he will attain salvation and that others will be destroyed, whereas, barring a few, almost all of them are full of love for the world. Instead of being ardent lovers of God and His Prophet they are dazzled by the glamour of this world. Instead of obeying the commands of Quran they obey their desires and satanic suggestions.

The center of their activities is only the worldly success. They are ever ready to acquire every knowledge or science, which can guarantee worldly benefits for them. But they never try to understand divine knowledge and religious commands. They answer every devilish call and attend every meeting or gathering, which takes them away from God and Hereafter. They always avoid meetings, which draw their attention towards God, His Prophet and the Hereafter.

Evil of running away from Religious Scholars

The Holy Prophet (S) has said, “A time will come for the people when they will run away from scholars as goats flee upon seeing wolves. (At that time) Allah would entangle them in three calamities:

(1) He will take away blissful abundance (barakat) from their wealth,
(2) He will impose a cruel ruler on them and
(3) They will be called up from the world without Faith.”230

In another tradition, the Holy Prophet (S) said, “People will see days when they will make their bellies their gods, their women their Qibla (center of constant attention), worldly wealth their religion and property, their criterion of excellence or ability. (It will be a time when) nothing from Faith except the name, nothing from Islam except rituals, and nothing from Quran, except lessons will remain. Their mosques will stand only like buildings of stones whereas their hearts will have nothing like guidance. The scholars of that era will be the worst men on the surface of earth. (That is, the majority of them will be world-worshippers).”

O Master of the Age! Hasten your arrival!

Let it be know that the ever-increasing dishonesty and faithlessness, the destructive corruption, the overflowing shamelessness and obscenity in which today's man is imprisoned because of his intense love for material world cannot be stalled by any power. This current is going to spread endlessly, to such an extent that people will find it extremely difficult to live and they will anxiously wait for a reformer who may relieve them from misfortune. That will be the time when Almighty God will make the twelfth Imam (Mahdi) appear in the world.

The Imam will, by the divine authority grant enlightenment to hearts and wisdom to minds until truth will appear dazzlingly open. The intense love for this world, which is the root cause of every trouble and corruption, will be wiped out from the hearts. The human hearts will overflow with the love of Allah, the Prophet and the Hereafter, and people will incline towards the other world and give up love for temporary material things. When this will happen people will realize the real truth about man's pure life and they will enjoy real happiness.

To believe that the 12th Imam (a.s.) will appear and fill the world with justice and equity is one of the essentials of faith. In this connection, not only there are widely narrated traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) but God of the universe also has given good tidings to all prophets that in the last era, man will become God-fearing and virtuous and the earth will become totally tranquil and peaceful.

It is mentioned is Surah Anbiya:

And certainly We wrote in the Book after the reminder that (as for) the land, My righteous servants shall inherit it.231

What will be the overall condition of people in that time? To have further knowledge about it, please refer to volume 13 of Biharul Anwar. Here we quote only one relevant tradition:

When intelligence will become perfect

In Usul al-Kafi there is a tradition of Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that he said, “When Our Imam will stand up, he will put his hand of mercy on the slaves of Allah so that their minds and ambitions will be perfected.”232

People will become so wise and gentle that even if a lady travels from Baghdad to Damascus with a box full of diamonds and other precious stones, no one will even throw a passing glance at her. In short, the worldly love will be totally removed from human hearts.

Our Responsibility in the present age

It is the duty of every believer to, first of all, reform himself and drive away worldly love from the heart as detailed before. Then, acting according to the rule of Prohibiting Evil (Nahy Anil Munkar), warn his near and dear ones and try his utmost to remove the root cause of every trouble and corruption; viz. love for worldly matter from the hearts of people. In this way he should fulfill his responsibility imposed on him by the religious law (Shariah) to reduce restlessness, trouble and corruption from the society.

Crooked thinking of the unwise and its answer

Some senseless people think that big industrial countries are drowning human societies in materialism, worldly love and passion in such a big way that no individual or a group can, despite all their wishes, escape emulating and imitating them. Rather such people are not considered as living at all. So in these circumstances and in this state of affair there remains no need from any effort to make men think about God and Hereafter. Thus it is necessary for all to imitate the world-worshippers.

We say that it is just like imitating animals, which intelligence does not accept, because if a wise man sees some people fallen in dirt, would his reason make him also dive into the muck for remaining connected with others? In the said 'advanced countries' there are some wise and intelligent people whose hearts weep seeing the wide-scale waywardness, dishonesty, corruption and bloodshed and lack of humanity. They are also constantly warning their governments about its dangerous consequences. But there is none to pay any attention to them.

Why go far? Just look at our own country. How many people pay attention to the words of the scholars? For example the religious scholars are constantly drawing our attention to the harms and destructiveness of films, about their evil effects on society, their immorality and shamelessness etc. They are being repeatedly told that just for some monetary gains some selfish persons are arousing passions of our youth to take them in the world of crime through cinema. But did the Muslims pay any attention to their talks? Did those in power do anything to reform the affairs?

An advice for the Faithful

Since, some inclination towards animality too is found in man, he has strong desire of imitation also. For example, to imitate those who are in power and position or to follow the majority.

But the Lord of the universe has, against this inclination, bestowed man with the wealth of wisdom and reason also so that he may follow knowledge and the wise, in the light of wisdom despite being weak and in minority, may avoid the ignorant even if they are powerful and in majority.

Therefore reason, intellect and wisdom says that it is not at all wise to imitate the ways of so-called progressive countries because though they have made big progress in material sciences, to the same extent, they are ignorant of Truth and the things beyond perception of senses (supernatural matters). For example, if they are asked, “Is there any owner or master of this vast universe?”

They will reply, “We do not know because our knowledge is limited only to material science and earthly things.” If you ask them, “Who created the astonishing workshop of human body?” They will say, “We do not know. We know only about its working.” To, “What is the reality of man?” they will answer, “We do not know. We have seen man only from the viewpoint of his animality.” If they are asked as to what is their view about life after death, which can guarantee salvation and success, they will say, “We are not aware of any world except the material world.”

Does the success of human life depend only on gratifying passions, gathering wealth and acquiring strength and power? Or it depends on human perfections like modesty, courage, bravery, kindness, justice and well wishing for all? They will say: In our opinion the secret of life's success is in gratification of desires and passions. Such people, for covering their ignorance, just ridicule such questions and say that, in today's time, such questions are of no relevance and what is important is that man should strive continuously to add to his wealth and power so that he may not lag behind in the social race.

This age demands that we should manufacture jet planes and atom bombs so that happy human habitations are turned into smoke, and greenery should be burnt and innocent blood should be spilled. Passions and desires should recklessly be gratified; constant efforts should be made to brighten one's personality.

In modern times, words like mercy, kindness, justice, fair play, forgiveness, benevolence, patience, honor, humility etc; which had value in the past have become almost meaningless. Let aside act according to them, people do not even know what they mean.

They say that today the name of God, the Lord of the creation, must only be uttered verbally. World worship should take the place of God worship. Every means fair or foul, legal or illegal should be resorted to for filling the belly and gratifying passions. More and more effort must be made for living a luxurious life. It will become lengthy if we discuss and throw light on the ignorance and unawareness of the materialist world-worshippers.

If our readers just think over their conditions they come to know better. What has been described above is sufficient to expose their ignorance. What we aim to drive home is that advance of technology and industry and various discoveries should not give them a permission to continue their devilish ways.

Divine Messengers are more worthy of emulation

O man! You should make your intelligence the criteria for your deeds. You must act according to the ways of wise people who are aware of the Truth. Foremost among them are the prophets of God. Only they are the ones who can give positive and proper answers to the above and other similar questions. They can enlighten all regarding what they have knowledge.

Say: Is there any of your associates who guides to the truth? Say: Allah guides to the truth. Is He then Who guides to the truth more worthy to be followed, or he who himself does not go aright unless he is guided? What then is the matter with you; how do you judge?233

Only that way is worth adopting which has been adopted and shown by the prophets, the wise, the God-worshippers, those who are devoted only to the everlasting success and who have noble human virtues. The wise, rationalists and men of reason must follow them in the light of wisdom.

But the attitude and path of the world lovers is based on worshipping their desires and gratifying their passions the end result of which is Hell. Of course, before entering Hell they have to face restlessness, tensions, troubles and other calamities in this world too, in which today's 'civilized' countries are trapped.

O wise one! Just use you brain. Had the world-worship been the true path, the prophets of God and religious leaders would not have shown extreme disgust towards it. Don't you see that all of them had kept the worldly love aside and had maintained their connection and relationship with Allah and the Hereafter.

An example worth pondering over

It is said there was a very ugly woman. Whoever saw her once turned away his face from her. No one was prepared to marry her. At last she was married off to a blind man. One day that woman was praising her beauty and telling her blind husband, “Many men had proposed to me but you were the only one who got me. I am compelled to think that you are either a magician or one whose prayers are always answered, as you have attained your ambitions.”

Replying in a very wise way the blind man exposed to that lady the falsehood of her story. He said, “If what you said were true, people having eyes would have never spared you nor would you have come to a blind man.”

Had the attractions, pleasures and tastes of the world been real and pure; that is, had they not been accompanied by hundreds of defects, difficulties and troubles and were they not to be followed by the chastisement of the Hereafter, the truth-seeing eyes of people headed by the Prophet and Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) would have surely accepted and preferred them for themselves.

That is why only those people become captives of the worldly love whose eyes and hearts are blind, whose heads are brainless and who are totally unaware of the Hereafter, who are misled by Muawiyah and his son Yazid because they did not look with the inner eyes at the defects, decadence and unreliability of the world and who remained totally unaware of Allah and the Hereafter and therefore they imagined that their success was in pursuing the world.

The world tries to entice Ali (a.s.)

The Second Martyr, in Kashfur Reebah renders a famous narration from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that, “Once I was doing field work with a spade on the land we had in Fadak, which was gifted to Fatima, when suddenly I saw a very beautiful woman whom I likened with 'Bashinah' (the name of a woman whose beauty had become exemplary in Arabia).”

She said, “O son of Abu Talib! Please take me as your wife so that I may open up all the treasures of the world to be owned by you. Then after you, your progeny will inherit it all.” I asked her, “First tell me, who you are, so that a proposal may be made to your guardians.” She replied, “I am the world.” Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said, “Go back and find out somebody else for yourself.” Saying this he resumed his farm work. At that time he composed couplets, some of which are preserved in books as follows:

“The world came before me in the form of Bashinah. Her embellishments too were like of Bashinah.

So I told her, deceive someone else except me, as I know the world very well. I am not ignorant.

What have I to do with the world when Muhammad has disappeared in your dust?

Even if the world presents to me all treasures and jewelry and wealth of Qarun and leadership of all the tribes.

Is it not true that every existing thing is to perish and the owners of treasures will have to give an account thereof?

So, O world! Deceive somebody else, as I am not lured by whatever is in you, including honor, name and fame.

My soul is satisfied with whatever Allah has given me. Remain busy only with those who want to benefit from you.

I am afraid of God Almighty as I will have to face Him on the Day of Judgment and I fear the unavoidable chastisement.”

How to wipe out the love for the world?

There are only two ways of getting rid of worldly love: Unflinching faith in the Last Day and decrease in worldly desires.

We have had a detailed discussion about the ways of strengthening faith in the Hereafter in the chapter of beliefs. Here we present its summary in brief. What is needed is that more and more attention should be paid to those verses of Quran and narrations, which describe features of the permanent and everlasting life after death so that man may be affected by them and may long for reaching the high world.

The main aim of the Prophethood of the Messenger of Allah (S) and the revelation of the Holy Quran is that Muslims should hear that news and trust it, thereby becoming hopeless about this world and become fond of Allah and the Last Day. In this way man should do those good deeds recommended by the verses and narrations and thereby prepare himself for the everlasting world.

But what a pity! Muslims have detached themselves from Quran. The majority of them do not care to read or even hear a Chapter of Quran in months, even years. Yes, of course, he hears some of it on radio or in mourning meetings or besides graves, as if the holy book was revealed only for the dead.

The truth is that Quran is revealed to enlighten the living people and to awaken them from the slumber of carelessness, to free them from ignorance and make them attain high ranks of perfection and nobility. Rather, it will not be improper to say that to read and hear it in the current manner is like humiliating it.

Abul Wafa Hirvi says: Once I was reciting the Quran in the court of the king, when no one was paying any attention and all were busy talking with one another. During my sleep at night I saw the Holy Prophet (S) who seemed very angry. He said, “Are you reciting the Holy Quran before a group which is not listening to it? Henceforth you will not be able to recite it until Allah so wills.” When I woke up I had become dumb. Since the narration had ended with the words 'if God wills', the experts of traditions reassured me that some day my tongue might open up at last.

I continued sleeping every night at the spot where I had seen that vision for the next four months. At last one night I saw the Holy Prophet (S) once again in my dream. He said, “Have you repented?” I replied, “Of course! O, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “When you recite in front of such people, stop reciting till the time they are ready to listen to the Word of their Lord.” When I woke up, my tongue had opened up.234

Ahmad bin Tolon was ruling Egypt in the year 270 A.H. Thereafter his kingdom spread upto Syria and Asia Minor. The total duration of his rule was 17 or 26 years. It is said that he was very brave, humble and had learnt the Holy Quran by heart. Moreover he was also famous for his generosity and valor.

The number of people killed either by him or by his order were 18000. After he died a reciter of Quran was appointed to recite Quran on his grave. After some days the reciter ran away from there and was not prepared to come back. When asked about it he replied, “The man in the grave threatened me in my dream saying he did not want that Quran be recited on his grave because, 'the verse you recite is being hit on my head in the form of a slash and I am told that: 'Despite hearing this verse you did such and such thing in the world.'”235

What is meant is that there is an element of selfishness in the way Quran is often heard being recited from pulpits. What is lacking in such recitation is that no contemplation is being done on the words of Allah and it does not create any effect because the motto of the reciter is either money or to show off his art of recitation. On the other hand the aim of the listener also is only to be engaged, especially when it is melodious.

Is Quran revealed as a Good Luck Charm?

Among Muslims there are people who receive the Holy Quran as a gift and then place it ceremoniously on a shelf or keep it with themselves as a means of protection. No doubt the use of the Holy Quran for such purposes is good and also an effective deed. But the problem is that Quran has not come exclusively for such purposes; they are only secondary. It will be an insult to Quran if it is accepted that it was revealed only for such petty purposes.

Its example is like that of a man who gets an invitation from the king. That unwise fellow neither opens that royal letter not reads it. Even if he opens it, he only looks at the writing and even if he reads the words he does not know their meaning. He simply utters them orally. Even if he understands them, he gets no inspiration to see the king. He is not prepared to attend the royal court. He merely kisses the king's letter and then either puts it in his pocket or on a shelf in his house. In this way, has he not insulted the royal invitation? Will he not make the king frown on him?

The condition of most of the Muslims is like this. Only a few keep any spirited connection with the Holy Quran. A majority of them, in order to get divine rewards are content with mere recitation of the words.

No doubt the Words of Allah are in themselves radiance and there is reward in merely reading, writing or even looking at them. But the original and main purpose of the revelation of the Holy Quran is that man must think over its verses so that his heart may turn towards the higher world. His heart may not entertain hopes from this world but become inclined towards the Hereafter. The study of Quranic verses makes the heart warm and then man becomes ever ready to act according to its commandments.

The Lord of the universe has ordered man to think and ponder at many places including the following, where He ordains:

(It is) a Book We have revealed to you abounding in good that they may ponder over its verses, and that those endowed with understanding may be mindful.236

In Surah Zumar Allah says about the effectiveness of the verses of Quran:

Allah has revealed the best announcement, a book conformable in its various parts, repeating, whereat do shudder the skins of those who fear their Lord, then their skins and their hearts become pliant to the remembrance of Allah; this is Allah's guidance, He guides with it whom He pleases; and (as for) him whom Allah makes err, there is no guide for him.237

What is meant to convey is that the verses describing the punishment of the Hereafter make the reciter fearful and those promising mercy make the hearts happy and satisfied. Therefore if a man does not get affected by reciting Quran then know that he reads the Quran in a state of mind when both his heart and mind were involved in their love for the material world.

In his sermon, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says about the virtues of the pious people, “These people recite the chapters of the Holy Quran with intense thought. They make their hearts melancholic by its recitation. They remedy their troubles and illnesses with the same verses of Quran. When they read verses relating to Divine Mercy their hearts incline to it with intense desire to get the same. When they hear verses mentioning Allah's chastisement, both their ears and hearts become so much attentive to them as if they hear the horrible roar of Hellfire.”238

There are hundreds of verses in the Holy Quran wherein the punishments of the Hereafter as well as the niceties of Paradise have been detailed at length and then its followers have been invited to make this attainment the center of their efforts. It has also condemned worldly life and revealed its defects and drawbacks. The Holy Quran says:

And this life of the world is nothing but a sport and a play; and as for the next abode, that most surely is the life- did they but know! 239

In other words it is like the example of children gathering to play for a while and then disperse and return to their homes.

The fact is that only the life of the Hereafter is the real and everlasting life. Now the question which inevitably arises is, after reading and hearing all these verses, have the hearts of Muslims turned away from this world and inclined towards the Hereafter or they are mere orally and apparently expressing their belief in Quran and Islam while their thoughts and deeds, just like the materialists, have discarded the thought of the Hereafter altogether?

As regards the Muslim faith in Hereafter, there are innumerable events. But to be brief we point to only three in brief:

Anas bin Nazar came to fight in the battle of Uhad. Thereafter no one could get his whereabouts. All Muslims began to search for him. At last Saad bin Maaz found him out. Addressing Saad, he (Anas) said, “By the Lord of Ka'ba, I am observing Paradise with my own eyes, I can smell its fragrance.” Saad says, “I could see more than seventy wounds on his body. Thereafter, when I once again went to look for him, I could not find him. But his sister saw his fingers lying on the ground and we knew that he was already martyred.”

During the battle of Badr, Umair bin Hamam Ansari heard the Holy Prophet (S) saying, “O Muslims! Get up and rush towards Paradise, the area of which is equal to the sky and the earth.” Umair asked in amazement, “Is it so vast?” The Holy Prophet (S) replied, “Yes, of course.” Umair expresses much happiness. When the Holy Prophet (S) asked for the reason, Umair replied, “Perhaps I may also get admission to it.” The Holy Prophet (S) assured him, “Your entry is certain in it.” Then Umair picked up some dates and began eating. Then all of a sudden he said, “It will be too late if I remain alive to finish all these dates.” He put down the dates and started fighting until he attained martyrdom.

Amr bin Jamooh had four sons. He entered the battlefield of Uhad with a lame leg. He also took all of his four sons with him. His sons told him, “Since you have a significant physical defect, Allah has not made Jihad compulsory for you.” Amr went to the Holy Prophet (S) and complained that his sons were preventing him from fighting in the path of Allah. He emphatically said, “It is my strong desire and ambition that I should be killed in this holy war and enter Paradise with this defective leg.” The Holy Prophet (S) told him, “Of course, Jihad is not incumbent on you,” but at the same he also asked his sons not to prevent the enthusiastic old fellow from fighting against the enemies. “May be Allah grants him the high status of a martyr.” Amr entered the battlefield along with the Holy Prophet (S) and was martyred. 240

The adventures of bravery and courage shown by Amirul Momineen (a.s.) in his desire for the Hereafter, during the battle of 'Lailatul Mabit' and similar battles are recorded in history books. So much so that after returning from every battle he used to complain to the Holy Prophet (S), “I am afraid I may miss martyrdom in the path of Allah.” In reply the Holy Prophet (S) gave him good tidings of martyrdom in the mosque. Similarly the sacrifices of his beloved son, Imam Husain (a.s.) and his companions and the virtues of his Shias (companions) are also recorded in history books.

Love for the Hereafter and Negligence do not go together

We should know that love for the Hereafter and carelessness do not go together. Since the world-lovers remain engaged all the time in earning worldly material benefits their entire attachment is only with the world. Similarly those who long for the Hereafter also remember only the Hereafter and their love and affection is reserved for the other world only.

Therefore the only way of loving Hereafter is to remember life after death constantly. Negligence towards it must be decreased. That is why the holy Shariah has made it desirable to remember death again and again, to keep one's will and shroud cloth ready and also to look at it often; to attend funerals, to participate in the burial of other Muslims, to remember the dead and to give charity on their behalf. The aim of all these actions is to make the living remember death constantly.

It is necessary for a believer that the time he spends for the world should be used for his Hereafter so that the love for the world in his heart may be replaced by the love for the Hereafter. Here an objection is likely to be raised and that is: What has been said above does not apply to the man of today.

His life is different. Now he is so busy that at every moment he is short of time. A number of his jobs remain unattended even after sunset. This is the only point that makes some think that the ignorant have also some point and so they say that our statement does not apply to the modern age.

In this connection our reply is that, first of all, today's man has made it his aim of life to gather worldly material benefits and so also irrationality. In order to gain wealth, luxury, comforts and tasty things he has deprived himself of genuine and natural rest, keeping himself engaged in a hot pursuit all twenty-four hours. Such continuous struggle affects his nerves adversely, makes him ill and shortens his life span.

Secondly, the focus of our talk was on thoughts, not on work and effort. What we said was that man must always keep thinking how can he, in a short span of this worldly life, beautify his eternal life of the Hereafter. So far as effort, work and business is concerned, there are innumerable narrations telling us that Allah does not like a lazy, inactive and self-indulgent fellow. Similarly Allah also dislikes one who goes too far in loving worldly comforts and who becomes almost mad after them.

A man who keeps himself engaged in his genuine worldly needs and works and also is moderate in his life along with making his aim the obedience of God will be the beloved of God. The worldly deeds of such a man will become the means of bettering his Hereafter. For example, if one is a soldier, his aim will be maintenance of public peace and of protecting Muslims from enemies. If he is an office employee, his aim ought to be service to public and to help the weak. If he is a teacher, he must always keep the instruction of the youth and their religious education before his eyes.

Likewise if he is connected with trade and industry, his goal should be public welfare. Shariah has put emphasis on each and every point and has also insisted that one must earn a lawful income and maintain his family members.241

If his aim is to please God then the same worldly job will, since it will be in obedience of Allah, be regarded as an act of worship which will benefit him in the Hereafter. Thirdly, we have not said that it is essential that the worry for the Hereafter should be more than that about worldly life. What we said is that one who has a powerful Faith and wants to benefit by it should do so.

It should be understood that just as friendship with world-lovers proves very harmful, similarly, sitting with the Hereafter-lovers plays a very important role in strengthening the Faith.

Lessening the love of the world

The following things should be kept in mind in order to divert the heart from worldly love, to inculcate the love of God, the Prophet, the Holy Progeny and the Hereafter:

It is necessary to study deeply the verses of the Holy Quran and other narrations quoted in this discussion and which condemn worldly love so that the severity of this sin can be understood, as it deserves to be understood. The root cause of all sins relating to body and soul is this love for world, because if this fountainhead of sins is nipped in the bud, man will remain protected from the whims of Satan.

Man can practice good deeds as a provision for his Hereafter only when he clears his heart of worldly love, because until he remains captive of worldly love, neither his Faith will be strong and steady nor can he be expected to do good deeds, which can benefit him in the Hereafter. If man's intentions are pure and selfless, sometimes the results of his good deeds show permanence, whereas a man whose heart is full of the dirt of worldly love remains empty of truth and selflessness.

Worldly love comes in the way of Gathering provision for the Hereafter

To understand the severity of the sin of love for the world, it is enough to mention that it prevents man from making provision for the life after death, that is, Hereafter. The reason is that one will reap in the Hereafter only that which he has sown in this world.

This world is the market place of trade whereas the Hereafter is the place of enjoying the fruits of this business. It is compulsory for man to refrain from things that prevent him from realizing the severity of the sin which forces him to enter a life of bankruptcy in the Hereafter. This should be regarded as the greatest of all dangerous things.

The summary of the talk is that the importance and seriousness of the sin of love for the world must be exposed fully because it is the root cause of all spiritual and physical illnesses. If diseases like tuberculosis and cancer cut off man's physical life, the worldly love also brings man's spiritual life to an end. Such a man is from the viewpoint of the permanent abode, a walking corpse who, becoming deprived of the successes of the everlasting life gets entangled in worldly troubles and chastisement.

This Illness must be remedied

Let it be understood that there is no man whose heart is empty of love for this world because the moment he comes here and attains instinctive conscience he gets inclined towards the world around him. During this journey towards perfection, there comes a stage when human conscience ripens and he becomes aware of his eternal life. This exactly is the time when he should divert his attractions from this world and connect himself with the eternal world after death, i.e. the Hereafter.

Therefore it is a must for man to ponder over all the three stages of worldly love mentioned above and decide for himself as to in which stage he finds himself and then try his best to reform himself.

Danger upto the brink of grave

So long as man is in this world, he faces the danger of his conditions being changed or altered. For example, it is possible that man remains in the third stage of worldly love for one month or for one year, but, thereafter, due to carelessness he may come up to the second stage and finally even at the first one, which is disbelief or blasphemy. So it is absolutely essential for man to look attentively to the condition of his heart and the circumstances and he must never remain careless.

Excessiveness of lust and intensity of anxiety

One who gets himself imprisoned in the love of the world not only makes himself liable to eternal punishment in the Hereafter but also gets entangled in trouble and difficulties in this worldly life. So much so, that a time comes when he desires death. Here we enumerate some such difficulties and worries.

Increase in Greed

This is a condition of the mind and heart of man wherein if he has nothing of the worldly wealth, he tries to earn it. When he gets it, he does not rest contented but struggles to increase it. This is the condition about which the Holy Prophet (S) says, “If man has two valleys full of gold he will remain anxious to acquire a third one.”

Growing Anxieties

Such a man always remains full of anxieties about the future. He feels terribly worried about his empty handedness and failure in his aims. When he loses any worldly thing he becomes so gloomy that he finds it unbearable to remain alive. No other thing gives him satisfaction.

Envy, anger and Fearlessness

A world-loving man cannot see his beloved in the possession of others. He burns himself internally seeing others enjoying its benefits. Even if he enjoys the world he does not like that others too should benefit from it (worldly possessions).


In the life of a world-lover, if anything happens which is against his liking it becomes unbearable for him. He expresses this in his frowning and burns himself in fury.


A world-lover does not care about his Hereafter when he runs after his worldly wishes. He rushes towards it becoming fearless of the future. As a consequence, he has to suffer difficulty, competition and a tug of war, so much so that finally he even loses his life.

The Difficulty of Death

When it will become clear to the lover of this world that the moment has come when a barrier is to come up between him and his beloved permanently, death will become difficult for him to the extent of his love for the world. About such people, the Holy Quran says:

And a barrier shall be placed between them and that which they desire, as was done with the likes of them before: surely they are in a disquieting doubt.242

In short, death is a point of separation for world-lovers and the first step towards meeting the beloved for those who love the Hereafter.

And these people will forever remain (satisfactorily) enjoying their longings.243

Obviously the more one will have tasted the sweetness of worldly drinks and the more wealth he will have gathered, the more difficult and regretful will be death for him.

It is said that Sultan Mahmud Ghazni was very fond of jewels. He remained on the deathbed continuously for three days. He ordered that all the precious stones brought from India should be heaped before his eyes. So boxes full of jewels were brought before him. He was looking at them and weeping. Sighs went off his heart. Finally he had to breathe his last with a heart full of ungratified intense desires. What is all the more strange is that even at that stage he was not ready to give some of his wealth to the needy.244

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, “The more a man is attached to this world, the more difficult will death seem to him.”245

If a man longing for worldly life comes to know definitely that death will separate him from his beloved forever and he also knows that death comes only by the Command of God, from which he can never escape, he becomes an enemy of the angel of death. The condition of a man who enters the other world in a state of anger and frowning is obvious.

According to the testimony of the Holy Quran and authentic narrations, such a person will never come out of Hell and will remain eternally in chastisement. Sometimes it also happens that Satan brings before the eyes of a world-lover at the last moment, things intensely loved by the departing soul and compels him to commit blasphemy. There are innumerable examples of such tragic ends. Here we present only two.

Last moments of Abu Zakaria

Abu Zakaria was a very pious and virtuous worshipper. When he was in his deathbed a friend came and advised him to recite the formula of faith but Abu Zakaria turned his face away. His friend repeated his request to say 'There is no God but Allah'. But he again turned his face and said, “I will not recite”, and then he fainted. After some moments when he came to his senses he opened his eyes and asked his friend, “Did you ask me something?”

That man said, “Yes, I had requested you thrice to recite the formula of faith (Kalimah) but you turned away your face and on the third occasion also replied that you would not do so.” Abu Zakaria said, “In fact, Satan came to me twice, showing me a glass of water and asking, 'Would you like to drink it?' When I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'First you should say that Jesus is the Son of God.' I turned away my face. He asked me to do so twice but I refused. On the third occasion he said, 'Say there is no God at all.' I said, 'I will not say even that.'

Then he threw away the glass and flew away. On every occasion I was saying 'no'. But now I witness that there is no God, except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (S) and that Ali (a.s.) is the Wali of Allah.”246

Gold coins and a creditor

A man on his deathbed was being advised to recite the formula of faith (Kalimah) but he was turning away his face. After becoming conscious he was asked about the reason. He said, “I am very fond of gold coins. A man had come to me with a plate full of gold coins and said, 'If you do not recite the Kalimah, I will give this plate to you.' As soon as I began to look at those gold coins, I forgot how to recite the dual formula of faith (Kalimah Shahadatain).”

Another man had given some money as loan to someone. He had a receipt for it. When the creditor reached his time of death, the devil threatened saying that if he recites the Kalimah he would tear up that receipt. “Thus he prevented me from reciting the Testimony to Truth.” 247

It must be understood that Satan gets control over man only through the latter's love for this material world. Therefore, if one has, like Abu Zakaria, a heart full of love for Allah, the Holy Prophet (S) and the Day of Judgment (Hereafter), Allah helps him and Satan cannot harm him.

Doubtlessly, God does not cause your deeds to go in vain. Verily Allah is Kind and Merciful for His slaves.248

Flight from good advice

The world-lovers always run away from hearing the defects, drawbacks and unreliability of the world. They avoid reading books condemning the world and praising the Hereafter. They do not attend meetings in which people are urged to remember God. Such people become fearful on hearing even a word about death and grave. They ridicule the lovers of the Hereafter.

Obviously the love of a beloved becomes less when the drawbacks of the latter are mentioned before the former. Therefore a lover never likes to hear the defects of the object of his admiration. The cure for love for the world is extremely difficult because an illness can be remedied only when the man concerned realizes that he is ill and is prepared for treatment.

It is definite that if an attempt is made to make a world-lover afraid of his sin by reciting the verses condemning love for the world that fellow will never accept them. On the contrary he will make several excuses to defend his stand and refute relevant arguments. In short, when one is not prepared to realize that he has done anything wrong how will he be ready to repent?

If the details of the painful consequences of love for the world and the spiritual and physical illnesses resulting from his love for the world are described before him he will never believe all that. When he does not realize that he is ill, how will he get ready to remove love for the world from his heart and to gain a healthy soul?

Heedlessness of admonition and hatred for remembrance of Allah are the signs of the world-lovers. Contrary to it, the signs of those who love the Hereafter are that they hate to remember the material world and its passions. Their heart gets peace in the remembrance of Allah and the Hereafter as mentioned in the Holy Quran:

Now surely by Allah's remembrance are the hearts set at rest.249

It is regarding this topic that the Infallible says in Dua Abu Hamzah Thumali:

“O Master! My soul found life by Your Remembrance and my private talk with You resulted in the flight of my fear and in cooling of heat.”

It is said that once a tannery worker who had become accustomed to the foul smell of leather was once passing through a perfume market. The fragrance, which he had never smelt made him faint. People were trying to bring him back to consciousness by spraying rose water on his face but his condition worsened.

Then one of his companions, aware of the situation asked the gathering to leave him alone. He inserted some dirty bad smelling thing into the man's nostrils and he recovered and very soon ran away from the perfume market.

Verily, how a man who has made his mouth sweet with worldly tastes and passions can feel the sweetness of remembering Allah and Hereafter? As such remembrance hinders his worldly desires bitterly he runs away from it.

This makes us understand the wisdom hidden behind the worldly failures of a believer and his sufferings, so that one may taste the bitterness of the world and obtain the sweetness of remembering Allah and Hereafter. Its example is like that of a mother who applies something bitter to her breast in order to make her baby gives up suckling and to make it turn towards solid food.

Ponder over the Holy Quran

In order to make man realize the unreliability and perishability of this world the Holy Quran has given many examples for guidance so that those who have faith and trust in this Divine Book and its followers may protect themselves from the destructive love of the world.

Therefore it is the duty of every Muslim to think deeply over such verses and to recite them repeatedly. Thus he can obtain the aim of losing interest in the world and attraction for the Hereafter. For example, see how nicely the Almighty Allah has explained the unreliability of the world in Surah Hadid:

Know that this world's life is only sport and play and gaiety and boasting among yourselves, and a vying in the multiplication of wealth and children, like the rain, whose causing the vegetation to grow, pleases the husbandmen, then it withers away so that you will see it become yellow, then it becomes dried up and broken down; and in the hereafter is a severe chastisement and (also) forgiveness from Allah and (His) pleasure; and this world's life is naught but means of deception.250

This holy verse explains the world-loving people's life. It can be said that mankind is divided into two groups ever since its creation. The first group, which is major, (more in number) is that of the worldly people who do not believe in any life except this apparent worldly life. Therefore their only endeavor is that they should not miss the worldly delights and tastes. Another group is small in number. It is of the people of the Hereafter.

This group believes that worldly life is but a means of ensuring another permanent life (after death). Their life is based on thought and reason, not a passionate and devilish one. Their aim is to know their Lord Creator, to have Faith in Him and to do deeds, which can prove useful in the Hereafter. In view of this aim each and every one of their movements, acts or deeds is for earning the pleasure of Allah.

As we have said earlier, when a man does anything merely to please Allah, though that deed ends, its result, which is based on Divine Light is retained in his self and he gets its benefits throughout his life. Thus it can be seen that the life of the men of Hereafter is not an aimless play.

But since the people of this world never care for Allah and the Hereafter they do not do any such thing, which has everlasting effects. Consequently all their deeds prove fruitless and hollow. The truth is that their entire lifespan from birth to death remains limited to only these five things: (1) La'b (play), (2) Lahv (vain pastimes), (3) Beautification (4) Ego and (5) abundance of wealth and children. Each one of them is explained below in brief:

(1) La’b (play)

Every act of man, which is not based on good intention and therefore, which does not give good results will be called 'La'b' (play). For example, the gathering of children at a place, they are running or making toys of sand, which is a mere pastime. It gives no fruit.

Therefore those youths and old people who do not have any divine aim in their deeds and mostly whose deeds are subservient to their desires, are just like children because the connection or relation of all their efforts and endeavors are only with imaginary and superstitious things be they about wealth seeking or status-seeking.

They want everything for their own self-interest. In short, spending the entire life in play and show and to enter the Hereafter empty-handed is called 'La'b'.

The only difference between such men and children is that the play of children is for a short time whereas that of the old world-seekers is for a long period. Just as the arrival of night stops the play of children, the arrival of death ends the play (la'b) of the world-lovers.

(2) Lahv (vain pastimes)

Every engagement, which prevents anyone from a more serious activity, is called 'Lahv'. It is like a child who stops from going to school because of his engagement in play. According to this logic all activities of world lovers are 'Lahv' because they prevent them from thinking about a more important matter, that is, about the permanent life and abode of the Hereafter.

The lifespan of every man, even if it extends upto a hundred years, is after all to end and his happiness will be finished. Hence all who engage in the activities of this short-living worldly life and become careless about the unending eternal life of the Hereafter (after death) will be called men of 'Lahv'.

But the people of Hereafter, in whatever work they may be engaged for pleasing God and in obedience to Him, remain always thinking about strengthening their Faith. They do good deeds considering them as their capital for the life after death. Only they are wise, and only they would attain salvation.

(3) Beautification

Whatever a man does to beautify his body, dress, house, furniture and other materials and to make them attractive for others is called beautification. For example, women, who concealing their apparent defects, are trying to please men, but who forget that, in fact, their said effort is a draw back which points out towards some of their illness, want or agedness, the biggest being the death of which they show their fear.

If one thinks over the affairs of the worldly people it will be understood that their life is made up of only a superfluous covering. They make their houses strong just to hide their nature of falling down. They adorn and beautify body, dress, house and housing materials and they imitate every modern fashion so that they may make themselves look like civilized, cultured, honest and needless of everything. In order to make a show of their riches they make every effort to increase their wealth.

They make a show of their knowledge and intelligence for hiding their unawareness of the truth about the Hereafter. They sing songs of their honesty and welfare activities just to conceal, from others, their dishonesty and selfishness.

They are not tired of repeating the name of God with their tongue so that making a show of their religiosity they may conceal their worldly-love and passion worship. In short, the darker their inside is, the more they make a show of their outward brightness. But the affairs of the people of Hereafter are totally different. They beautify their internal self through total obedience to Allah's commands and adorn their Faith with the graceful jewel of humanity.

They also pay attention to their outward beauty but only to the extent it does not come into conflict with humanity, piety and righteousness and only upto the limit fixed by Shariah. For example a woman who makes herself attractive for her husband or a man who looks into a mirror just to ensure that there is nothing in his appearance or dress that can make people abhor him or one who wants to keep his dress always clean and who intends to express God's blessings on him.

If he has money, he may spend it in constructing his house and also in such other works, which are permitted by Islam. In short, wise people beautify themselves and their possessions in obedience of God, not for self-showing.

(4)Self Glorification

Those who are not aware of the truth become proud of their worldly wealth, power, fame, race and lineage and then show arrogance to others, So much so, that the white-skinned shows his pride to the black-skinned. In short, today's man shows his superiority over others on the basis of imaginary and illusive things. Be he a head of a state or a common man, by becoming an egotist, he forgets the truth about his existence and so also his everlasting spiritual life.

He does not try to extend the progress of his spiritual path towards perfection, the path that does not end at death. The truth is that had such people not forgotten their death and had they remembered that they have to become dust after entering their graves they would have been ashamed of their egotism and false pride.

But since the knowledgeable people are aware of the truth about their worldly life and regard their entire material life as illusory they consider false pride a foolish thing, which is contrary to wisdom and intelligence.

These are the people who, apart from faith and righteousness, which is the barometer of their graceful humanity, consider all people equal. They are of firm opinion that nobody has a right to show pride on the basis of his short living worldly possessions and illusive things because, according to Quran:

Surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty)251

(5) Abundance of wealth and children

Those who keep the view of existence limited only to this worldly life and have no faith in the words of the prophets about the Hereafter have, in fact, forgotten the very aim of life. Day in and day out, they keep struggling only for increasing their wealth and property. This way of working of theirs is in truth, contrary to human intelligence and wisdom because man needs wealth only for meeting the needs of his worldly life, which is of course temporary.

For example, he needs a house for living. He requires clothes to protect himself from cold and heat and to protect his honor. He needs food to maintain the strength of his body. He has a longing for a wife for gratifying his sexual instincts and for preserving the human race and so on. Therefore, one who gathers wealth more than necessary is behaving like the Hell-fire, which always cries for more, or he acquires the habit of Qarun, which is of course, against wisdom, intelligence and reason.

Does human intelligence not tell us that so far as collection or gathering is concerned, stone and coin both are equal? The question is what benefits the gathered wealth and property will give after death.

It cannot be denied that wise, intelligent and reasonable people do not keep trying only for wealth and property, nor do they push it away when available. But, in truth, they endeavor to earn money only to meet the necessities of their lives and they use it for beautifying their Hereafter. They do not love wealth for its own sake. They acquire it only in the way and manner permitted by Allah and also spend it only in the manner ordered by Him. In this way, they aim for both, their world and the Hereafter.

It contrast to this, the group of the world-lovers is greedy of their worldly wealth. Their effort is to acquire money by every, any means even if the rights of the poor and the weak are trampled. As they have no faith in the Hereafter, they also do not spend it in the path of Allah. In short, it can be said that the sign of world-lovers is greed and miserliness whereas the sign of the Hereafter-lovers is contentment and generosity.

Do not pass on cursorily, but ponder

After reading what has been mentioned in this holy verse about the five specialties of the worldly life, do not pass on cursorily but think deeply about it. The first word of the verse252 is “Know”. That is, know that the worldly life is only like this.

Hence it is the responsibility of those who believe in the Holy Quran to ponder over these words, to analyze them, to be acquainted with it and to get rid of the illness of world-love. It is also essential to ponder over other similar verses and apply them to our lives.

Briefly speaking, in these verses, worldly life is compared to a fertile agricultural land in which seeds are sown and raining clouds have turned it into a flowering field, which gives coolness to the eyes. Then because of burning heat or for any other reason it becomes dry and yellow, then it is scattered away and finally either winter winds or any other calamity destroys it.

Youth also was a spring season, which passed away

Human life is also liable to such rise and fall. If on one hand, there is heat and freshness of youth, on the other slackness and old age infirmities await him. If there is, on the one hand safety, health and comfort, on the other he has to face illness, disability and unpalatable conditions. If he sometimes gets power and leadership, poverty and destitution also target him. Along with name and fame defamation is also destined for him. If on one hand there is enthusiasm, stagnation and despair are also likely to visit him. In order to understand the truth about all this, it is enough to look at the graves of those who have passed away.

This world is a place of warning

Amirul Momineen (a.s.), giving details of worldly life, says, “This world is a transient abode, a place of troubles, a venue of changes and a location of warning. It is because of the temporality of the world that time has took up its bow. Its aim never fails. There is no refuge from the shots of its troubles.

The wounds inflicted by it drive or push the injured towards death, the healthy towards illness and calm and peace towards restlessness and troubles. It is like an eater who is never gratified, a drinker whose thirst is never quenched. It is only because of the worldly anxieties due to which man gathers a thing, which he himself does not eat. He constructs an abode in which he does not reside. When he reaches his Lord.

He has neither any wealth nor any building. One of the signs of world's changes is weakness and agedness, which is being pitied by everyone. Sometimes a pauper suddenly becomes rich. You also see that sometimes a wealthy person turns at once poor in such a way that all pity him. One of the lessons worth taking from the world is that man almost reaches his aim and suddenly death arrives and draws a curtain between him and his goals.”253

Several historical events testify to each one of the above-mentioned four specialties of this world. We give only two, considering them sufficient:

Amir Ismail took his ten thousand mounted soldiers with him and rushed to encounter Amr bin Lais Saffar who had seventy thousand experienced warriors. When both armies came face to face and the war-drum sounded, suddenly the horse of Amr revolted. It became uncontrollable and took Amr right into the midst of the enemy ranks. Thus Amir Ismail won even without fighting. He took Amr captive and imprisoned him in a tent.

It is said that Amr saw his one-time servant passing from there. Amr called him and said that he was hungry. The servant had some meat. But since he had no vessel to cook, he put that meat in a bucket from which horses drank, lighted a fire beneath it and busied himself in cooking. In the meantime there came up a dog. It put its mouth in the bucket. The hot material scalded its tongue.

It tried to retreat but the handle of the bucket trapped its neck and the dog ran with the bucket and everything in it. Seeing this Amr smiled. Onlookers asked him what was there to smile at? Amr replied, “Today the man in charge of my canteen was complaining that the load of the royal canteen was proving heavy even for 300 beasts of burden. But now I see that a single dog is carrying it away so easily!” 254

Most surely there is a lesson in this for those who have sight.255

The Abbasid caliph, Qahirbillah had ruled for one year, five months and eight days. During this period he gathered a lot of wealth. He was infamous for his dishonesty, corruption, destruction, bloodshed and oppression. At last the Turks captured him, blinded him with a hot needle and threw him out of his palace. History has recorded that he was begging like other blind people and sitting near mosques used to beg plead to the people, 'Please give me some charity because sometime ago I was your ruler.”

Wise words of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) about instability of the world

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says, “Do not run after worldly fame and honors because worldly fame, honor, beauty and adoration etc. will all end. Its hardships and troubles will also end. The days of man's life will end. Whatever is living will be destroyed. Will you not see the signs (remnants) of your deceased with an eye of wisdom? Do not you see that who pass away do not come back and those who remain will also not last long.

Do you not look at the worldly people every morning and evening that their conditions change? Somewhere somebody dies and his relatives mourn him. On the other hand others give solace to the mourners. Somewhere someone is ill and someone else visits him and takes care of him. This is to say that one is on a deathbed and another one is busy earning the worldly things though the shadow of death is constantly lurking behind him. One is unaware of death but death is not aware of him.”256

Those who are blind in seeing the Hereafter and run after the world

Likewise he says, “Verily this world is the extreme limit to which one who is blind of Hereafter can see. He is unable to see anything, which is beyond this world. But one whose eyes can see the Hereafter do not focus their eyes on the world. Thus a seeing fellow does not fix his sight on the world and does not get attached to it. But one whose eyes are blind, fixes his eyes and heart on this world.

Therefore one who is seeing makes provision for the Hereafter from this world. But a blind fellow works only for this world and makes only his worldly provision. Know that there is nothing, which does not gratify man except this worldly life. The worldly man never becomes disgusted with this world. His heart remains captive of love for this world. He never likes that his life should come to an end because he does not know that there is a provision for his peace hidden in his death.”257

When will you work for the Hereafter?

Once Amirul Momineen (a.s.) entered the Kufa market. Looking around he found that everyone was busy in buying and selling. He wept profusely and said, “O slaves of the world! O those who work only for it! You spend your day in trade and business and your night in sleep. You neglect the Hereafter due to your business and sleep. When will you get time to gather provisions for the Hereafter? When will you think over your Hereafter?”

A man said, “O Amirul Momineen (a.s.)! We are obliged to earn money for our living. What else can we do?” The Amir replied, “Seeking livelihood through permissible means does not come in the way of the Hereafter. But if you say that we are obliged to gather money, then you have no excuse.”

That man began to weep and ran away. The Amir said, “Come back so that I may explain the matter further.” When he returned the Amir said, “O Slave of God! Be aware that one who works for Hereafter in this world will surely get its reward in the Hereafter and one who works in this world only for this world will get its reward in the form of Hellfire.” Then he recited this verse.

So one who prefers only this world for himself will have his abode in hell.258

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) forbids excess

Alaa bin Ziyad Harithi was one of the companions of Amirul Momineen (a.s.). He lived in Basra where he had constructed a very big and spacious house to live in. When he fell ill the Holy Imam went to see him. Seeing his house the Imam said, “O Alaa! What will you do with such a big house in this world when you need it in the Hereafter?

Yes, if you want such a grand house in the Hereafter, host guests in this house. Provide assistance to near and dear ones in this house and observe its religious rights (requirements). If you are able to do so, this house will become a means to your Hereafter.”

Alaa said, “O Amirul Momineen (a.s.)! I have a complain against my brother, Asim bin Ziyad.” The Imam asked what was the matter. He replied, “He wears coarse cloth and has secluded himself from the society.” The Imam said, “Bring him to me.” When he arrived the Imam said, “O enemy of your own self! The devil has deceived you and made you mad after him. Do you not have any feeling of kindness for your wife and children? Do you think that Allah does not want you to benefit from even those things, which He has made lawful for you?”

Asim replied, “O Amirul Momineen (a.s.)! You always wear such coarse clothes and eat very simple food while you are our leader. I intended to imitate your highness.” The Imam said, “Woe unto you. I am not the same as you because Allah has commanded the leader and the true guide of people to lead a life of the poor and needy so that they may not consider their lives unbearably difficult.”259

Success in this world is failure in Hereafter

Imam Ja'far as Sadiq has said, “We Muslims, prefer the world for us whereas it is better if it is not given to us. No man has ever been given anything in this world without diminishing his share in the Hereafter.”

A man said, “By Allah, we prefer this world for us.” The Imam said, “What will you do with it?” He replied, “I will spend it on my family members and myself. I will give charity from it. I will do good deeds and perform Hajj.” Imam said, “This is not the love for the world. It is love for the Hereafter.”260

Light of wisdom, the result of worldly piety

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has also said, “One who adopts piety in this world and his heart is empty of worldly love, God pours wisdom in his heart. He gives the power of speech to his tongue. He shows the defects of this world before his eyes. He gives him the knowledge of worldly anxieties and their remedies. Then He frees him from the bondages of this world and admits him to Paradise.”

Imam says, “All good has been gathered in a house. The worldly piety is made its key.” Then he narrated from the Holy Prophet (S) that he said, 'A faithful man does not heartily taste the sweetness of belief so that he may liberate himself from the anxiety as to who owns the world and who benefits from it.' The Holy Imam added, “It is prohibited for your hearts to taste the sweetness of faith so that by adopting piety you may not express lack of interest in it.261

What is Piety and who is a Pious person?

Piety is to keep distance from the world in the context of the meaning of world-worship. Explaining piety, Allamah Majlisi quotes a tradition of the Holy Prophet (S) that he said, “I asked the meaning of piety from Jibraeel who replied, 'A pious one likes everything which his Creator has liked and abhors everything which his Lord hates. He avoids permissible things in this world while he does not even look at the prohibited things.

This is because he will have to account for using the permissible things whereas he will have to suffer chastisement for using a forbidden thing. He loves all Muslims just as he loves himself. He avoids saying things, which are useless just as he abhors the nauseating meat of a dead animal. Similarly he avoids overeating. He does not like worldly means and ornaments because they will turn into burning embers in the Hereafter. His ambitions are short because death is always before his eyes.'”262

Examples of worldly life

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, “The example of the world is like the salty water of the sea. The more a thirsty man drinks, the more his thirst increases until death takes him.”263470

It is true that the more a man's greed for this world is, the more his thirst increases. As he begins to attain his aims, his lust multiplies.

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said, “A greedy man of this world is like a silkworm entangled in the cobweb manufactured by it. If the heat of the sun does not kill it, it does not die. It gradually pushes itself to cut the threads. Sometimes it also so happens that he frees itself from the threads like a bird. But a man who has greed for this world never tries to free himself from that web until death overtakes him and hellfire burns him.”264

A beautiful but dreadful snake

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says, “Imam Ali (a.s.) has written in his book: 'Doubtlessly the example of the world is like a snake, which is very smooth if touched though it contains deadly poison. A wise man refrains from both whereas a senseless child rushes towards it.'”265

In fact external brightness and beauty deceives those who are short of sight. But wise and intelligent people know very well that the love for this world is like a deadly poison, which drags down a man from the state of humanity. It makes life extremely difficult for him. The more he runs after it and the more he loves it, the more his problems and anxieties multiply.

That is why it is said that the world is worse than a snake, because though there is a deadly poison in it, it also has an antidote. It is a black object which, if put at the spot of snakebite sucks up the poison. Secondly it is commonly seen that the snake does not harm a man who does not harass it. But the world harms more, those who are its friends.

A strange story about a snake

The author of Anwaar-e-Nomaaniyah writes that once a reliable man told him: A snake gave birth to many snakes in it's dwelling. One day when that snake was not there I put a vessel on the baby snakes and hid them. Then I sat to see what happens, hiding myself in a corner of the house. After some time when the snake returned and did not find its babies it ran here and there in anxiety.

When it could not find its babies it despaired. There was a vessel full of milk nearby. The snake drank some of that milk and then vomited it out in that vessel. He did this twice until the whole quantity of milk got fully poisoned and turned yellow. Then the snake returned.

We understood that the snake would surely take revenge from us. Then, in the absence of the snake I removed the vessel from over its babies and kept them at their place where they were earlier. When the snake returned it found its offspring. Then he entered the aforesaid vessel of milk, came out of it, moved itself in dust then entered the milk vessel and repeated this act until the milk became muddy and unfit for consumption.

In spite of all this the behavior of man is wonderful. Despite being hurt by the world and the poisonous stings of the world-worshippers and seeing all kinds of failure he is not prepared to give up his love for the world. If any well wisher admonishes him and makes him aware of the harms of love for the world and reminds him of the Hereafter he feels sick and is not ready to heed.

Luqman’s Admonition to his son

Giving a golden admonition to his son, the wise Luqman says, “The world is a very deep ocean. Many worlds have drowned in it. So it is essential for you to sit in the ship of piety for crossing it. Fill up that ship with the wealth of Faith. Attach the sails of reliance only on God to it. Make intelligence its captain and knowledge its guard and patience its anchor.”266

The late scholar Mulla Husain Hamadani who died in Karbala’ in 1311 H.E and is buried in the holy courtyard says about the above advice:

“O those who are playing with children! O carriers of burden! O captives of the well of position, O the people who have been bitten by the snake of money, O those who are drowned in the deep ocean of the world! O the prisoners of deceptive ambitions! Have you not read and heard: And this world's life is naught but a play and an idle sport…Did you not notice the knower of the unseen, Hakim Luqman telling his son: O my son, indeed the world is a deep ocean and many are drowned it.

Now this humble servant says that verily, we too are among those who are to be drowned. If you want to fathom the depth of the ocean of wisdom then ponder over the meaning of the words 'Deep Ocean' and observe how many precious jewels of wisdom are kept in this box. It is enough to know that there are both sharks and crocodiles along with innumerable dangerous animals in the ocean of the world. Its frightening isles make even lions tremble, extremely dangerous sea animals have swallowed countless people. This ocean is based on darknesses, which trap the hearts of the unaware people.

The waves of ambitions have pushed many lifeboats into the valley of destruction. The underwater rocks have piled up innumerable dead bodies. The poisonous snakes of sin have bitten many people to death. How many have been swallowed by its crocodiles of vice. The salty water of worldly love has taken away the sight of many people. Whoever has drowned in this deep ocean has never come out of hellfire and will burn in it forever.

Residents of this ocean are animals in human form whose journeys are based only on deception. Its depth is fathomless. If you have any doubt about this, look at the divers or the world-worshippers of yesterday and today. You will find that all of them have been drowned and yet none of them has reached its bottom. If you require more explanation, ponder over your own condition. You will find that the more wealth you earn the more your endless greed multiplies.

O my master! This world has destroyed the people in such a way that they are nowhere. Their hearts, which were created for love and knowledge, have been converted into stables of horses and donkeys. Their limbs have become dirty. Their hearts are emptied of humility and piety. They did not taste the sweetness of obedience to Allah. No room for repentance or for remembrance of God is in their minds. Day in and day out weapons of tongues are busy tearing off the cover of honor and possessions of fellow Muslims.

Their souls are empty of meditation and full of conspiracies. These are the people who have chained the hands of reason and wisdom and let loose the fingers of lust, greed, passion, desire and sin. How many wounds have these five fingers meted out to the body of religion? How many calamities have they brought on the holy Shariah!

They have discarded the dress of God-lovers and adorned the designs of the foreigners. They have displaced the nice Islamic manners of eating and drinking by the deadly poison of the Christians and atheists. They have given up their religious responsibilities and taken up the etiquettes of disbelief or blasphemy. The worst thing is that the armies of disbelief have entered our territories as conquerors while the army of Islam stands defeated!

We neither worry about the end nor do we take any lesson from the condition of the earlier people who tasted divine chastisement. We mocked the event of Ababeel (birds that dropped pebbles on the army of elephants) and laughed at the stories of Pharaoh and Qabeel, the earth, which had gobbled up Qarun along with his huge treasure, still exists along with its dangerous snakes of wealth. My dear! The winds, which had fatally punished the strong people of Hud, are still under the control of Almighty Allah.

If you have any guts to disobey God then remember that dust, water, wind, stones and pebbles are even today submissive to the Command of the Almighty. Yes, these are the people who were deceived by His forbearance and tolerance. Becoming negligent of His Grand Kingdom, they have thrown away their dress of morality and chastity.

By their revolting behavior they have disobeyed the divine Commands and drowned themselves in the ocean of sins. Do you not see how His unflinching Command rules over the heavens and the earth? Have you not read that this sky and this earth will all be scattered on the Day of Judgment?

Ah, what should I say and how can I say about that Frightening Day? Fearful hearts will melt because of that fear. Why not, when the earth will be hotter than fire and edge of the Path will be sharper than the sharpest sword. Minds will be bogged down and eyes will release countless tears. Stars will fly hither thither and people will be scattered like moths. The dread of that Day will be unimaginable and even prophets will be extremely restless.

The rich, the leaders all will look like stumbling intoxicated fellows. Calamities will be both unbearable and innumerable. Sun will be just above the head and the earth will be red hot like a kiln of the ironsmith. Body will be bathed in perspiration and flesh and bones will be frying in heat.

The Hell will close in from all directions closing every point of escape. It will be the Day when oppressors will be shameful, the just will be full of tears and people will be anxiously waiting to see to whom his scroll of deeds will be given in his right and to whom in his left.

What kind of a scene will it be when some will be dressed in the best of clothing and escorted towards the gardens of Paradise and some will be scornfully dragged towards Hell. One group will be enjoying the sweet and delightful drink of 'Tahoor' and another will be vomiting torn up pieces of kidney and liver because of the thorny food forced into his stomach.

We are puzzled. Should we talk of divine anger and wrath or praise the bounties of Paradise. Those who stuck with earth will be punished while those who opted for the heavenly wealth will earn God's mercy and kindness. What we mean to say is that high will be those who have always looked at the high point of righteousness, who have kept their eyes only on the pleasure of their Lord and have thought only about Him.

Enviable indeed are those hearts, which are full of divine radiance, and who disconnected themselves from world and got attached to the radiant world of the Hereafter, whose hearts are lit up with divine light and whose dress is dazzling with the cover of divine love. They care the least for worldly wealth.

Their reliance is a mirror of their faith in only one God. They have established their relation with God after dissociating themselves from the material world. Their thoughts are bright, their exterior is bright, their interior is bright, their body, soul everything is bright; rather an ocean of effulgence.

It is enough now. Who am I? How can I praise the holy spirits, as I am quite an unholy and a dirty fellow? If we can consolidate the base of our Faith then this world will not be able to deceive us. But alas, we have become both blind and deaf and that is why such admonitions do not leave any lasting effect on our dark souls!