This subject shall be discussed under a few subheadings:
First: According to the dictates of reason, fulfillment of the rights of the one who owes it to you is the most important matter; and it is absolutely clear.
Second: According to Islamic law also, fulfillment of rights is a matter of supreme importance. There are some traditions that confirm this as well. For example:
The Thiqatul Islam, Kulaini (r.a.) has mentioned in Usool Kafi on the authority of His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) through an authentic chain of narrators that the Imam said:
“Allah is not worshipped by anything better than the fulfillment of the rights of the believer.”1
In Biharul Anwar it is quoted from Amirul Momineen (as) that he said:
Fulfilling the rights of brothers in faith is the best deed of those who fear Allah most (Muttaqeen).
Third: It is that His Eminence is having many important rights upon us that we had mentioned in brief in Part Three of this book. Here we would not prolong the discussion as the rights of that great personality on us cannot be estimated. Only the Almighty Allah knows how many rights His Eminence has.
That which proves this is a tradition mentioned in Biharul Anwar that Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) said:
“No one is able to describe the Almighty Allah and reach the depths of His greatness and power. Just as no one is able to reach the depths of describing the Almighty Allah and understand His power and greatness in full similarly it is impossible for one to know fully well about the Messenger of Allah (S) and our merits. No one can fully comprehend what the Almighty Allah has given to us and what rights He made incumbent in our regard. And in the same way no one could fully realize our excellences and what are the rights that are made incumbent in our favor. Likewise no one can describe in full the rights of the believer and fulfill them…”2
I say: It is very much certain that all the rights of the believers are branches of their rights and their merits.
Fourth: Preparing and making effort to fulfill rights is a source of gaining espect and greatness in the divine court and whoever makes more efforts in this way achieves a better position in the view of the Almighty Allah and he earns more respect and regard.
That which proves this is a tradition in Ihtijaaj reporting from the Eleventh Imam, His Eminence, Abu Muhammad Hasan Askari (as) that he said:
“One who recognizes more rights of his brothers and makes more efforts in their fulfillment, attains a higher position in the court of the Almighty Allah…”3
Fifth: Among the rights of one believer on another is praying for him. That which proves this – in addition to what we have mentioned in Part Four and in the discussion of acceptance of deeds that among the ways of obtaining bounties and giving thanks to them is praying for the one who provides the blessings – is a tradition that Allamah Majlisi has recorded on the authority of Fiqh ar-Reza that he said:
“Know that the Almighty Allah is merciful to you, the right of the brothers is obligatory and incumbent – till he said – and turn to Allah through the medium of praying for them…”4
There is a tradition that Thiqatul Islam Kulaini has mentioned from Mualla bin Khunais from His Eminence, Abu Abdillah Sadiq (as) that he said:
I asked His Eminence: “What is the right of a Muslim on another Muslim?” He replied: “He has seven compulsory rights and none of it is optional. If he fails to observe any of these he will go out of the Wilayat and obedience of the Almighty Allah and there will be no part of religiosity in him.” He (the narrator) says: I asked: “May I be sacrificed on you, what are these rights?” He replied: “O Mualla, I am kind on you, I fear that even after knowing about them you may not be able to fulfill them.” I said: “There is no power except that of Allah. I shall act upon it by the leave and power of Allah.”
He said: “The easiest right is that you like for your brother what you like for yourself and consider bad for him what you consider bad for yourself.
The second right is that you must not anger him and you must do what makes him happy, and obey his orders.
The third right is that you help him with your life, wealth, tongue and hands.
The fourth right is that you become his eyes, his guide and his mirror.
The fifth right is that you do not eat to satiation while he is hungry and quench your thirst if he is thirsty and do not dress up if he is lacking clothes.
The sixth right: It is that if you are having a servant while your brother doesn’t have one, you must send your servant to wash his clothes and prepare his food and clean his house.
The seventh right: It is that you honor his oath, respond to his call, visit him when he is sick, attend his funeral (if he dies), if you come to know that he needs something, hasten to fulfill it and do not delay it till he is forced to ask you, but before he expresses it, you must hurry to fulfill it. If you do all this, your Wilayat will join his and his with yours.”5
I say: Apparently the word ‘obligatory’ in this implies the dictionary meaning, which includes the obligatory as well as ‘recommended’ of religious law (Shariah) – both. That which supports this matter are some traditions but quoting them here would prolong the discussion.
Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) says in Biharul Anwar:
It is possible to consider the word of ‘obligatory’ to be inclusive of the legal ‘obligatory’ and ‘recommended’ because I don’t think anyone considers incumbent more than these matters, in addition to it they are extremely difficult.6
In Miraat al-Uqool he says:
“Apparently these rights are with regard to the perfect believers or a brotherhood established in the way of Allah; and if not, it is difficult to observe all these right with regard to all the Shias; rather it is impossible. But that it should be said: To be restricted by capacity or to make easy their result in such a way that no injury should reach his condition.”
Now that you have understood this, I say: Without any doubt these rights for our Maula His Eminence, the Master of the Time (as) are proved upon all the people. In any case these rights are confirmed for Imam (as). Because the faith of the Imam is more perfect than any other Muslim and in the tradition of Abdul Aziz bin Muslim from His Eminence, Reza (as) the Imam is compared to a kind brother and praying for him is obedience of his order and helping him by the tongue, as shall be explained further in more detail.