Exegesis of the Surah of al-Fatiha
Regarding the Almighty’s words:
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Surah Fatiha 1:1
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said: Allah is the Being, towards Whom everyone turns at the time when all hopes in everyone and everything except God disappear and when one loses hope in everything and everyone, except only one God, and so one says:
Simply: In all my affairs, I seek help from Allah except Whom, none is worthy of worship and adulation and Who hears and helps when being supplicated.
A man came to Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) and said: O son of Allah’s Messenger, please let me know what is God, because disputers have confused me in this matter. His Eminence asked him: Have you ever traveled in a ship? That man replied: Yes.
Then the Holy Imam asked: Has it ever happened that your ship was wrecked and there was no other ship nearby that could take you ashore, when you yourself were also unable to swim? That man said: Of course, this also happened. The Imam asked: At that time, did your heart tell you that there is something which can save you in this grave situation? The man said: Yes, it happened thus. The Imam then said: That very thing is Allah, Who is Mighty enough to protect and give salvation at a time when no other means of safety and to rescue when there is no any other rescuer.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) also said: Sometimes it so happens that someone from our Shias forgets to recite Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem at the time of beginning any work. Because of it, Allah puts him in some trouble so that he may be warned and thank and praise God and then God may forgive him.
Abdullah bin Yahya came to Amirul Momineen (a.s.). The Imam asked him to take a seat in front of him. While sitting the chair tumbled on one side and Abdullah fell headlong on the ground. He hurt his head and the wound bled. His Eminence, Ali (a.s.), called for water and got the wound washed.
Then he asked the said person: Come near me. When the injured man did so, Ali (a.s.) passed his blessed hand over the wound and put his saliva on it. The wound healed at once and the pain vanished as if nothing had happened at all.
Thereafter, Ali (a.s.) said: O Abdullah, Allah Almighty deserves all praise. He made worldly troubles and sorrows a means of forgiveness of sins for our Shias so that their obedience and worship may continue and entitle them to rewards in Hereafter.
Abdullah inquired: O Amirul Momineen! Could we be punished for our sins in this world only? The Imam (a.s.) replied: Yes. Have you not heard the Holy Prophet (S) say: This world is a prison for a believer and Paradise for the infidel? Undoubtedly, Almighty Allah puts our Shias to worries and anxieties and creates such causes which result in their forgiveness and pardon. He purifies them from the filth of sins. He says in the Holy Quran:
وَمَا أَصَابَكُم مِّن مُّصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ وَيَعْفُو عَن كَثِيرٍ
And whatever affliction befalls you, it is on account of what your hands have wrought, and (yet) He pardons most (of your faults). Surah Shura 42:30
So much so that when our Shias will come to the field of Gathering on the Judgment Day, their obedience and worship will be increased and the enemies of Muhammad (S) and our enemies get the reward of their obedience in this transient world itself, though it is not worthwhile, because of the absence of sincerity concerning us. There, the weight of their sins and the enmity for Muhammad and his purified progeny and his pious companions (a.s.) will burden their backs. They will be sent to Hell.
I have heard from the Holy Prophet (S) that there were two persons: one was an obedient believer and another was a disbeliever, who considered the friends of God as his enemies and befriended the enemies of God. Both ruled over large kingdoms.
Once, incidentally the infidel king fell ill and desired to eat a fish which was found only in very deep waters in that season. Nobody was able to catch that fish. Doctors told him that as there was no hope of his remaining alive much longer, he should better appoint someone as his successor.
He was also told that his living longer depended only on getting the fish which was almost impossible to get. Almighty Allah commanded an angel to drive that fish to waters which were easily accessible to that king’s men. In short, that fish was brought and the king ate it, whereby he became healthy. He continued to rule over his kingdom for quite a long time thereafter.
Then it so happened that the faithful king also developed the same illness at the time when that fish was easily available. But when he desired to eat that fish and the doctors also prescribed it, Almighty God ordered the angel to drive away that fish to far away deep waters so that none could catch it.
Consequently the faithful king died due to unavailability of the medicinal fish. The angels in skies and the residents of that place were amazed at this strange happening and were about to be caught in some trial in the matter of faith. They wondered why Allah made a difficult thing easy for an unbeliever and made an easy thing difficult for a believer?
Allah sent revelation to the messenger of that time: I am the Omnipotent and Most Merciful God. I do not lose by granting nor do I gain by denying facilities to anyone. I never commit even as much as an iota of injustice on anyone. I made the fish matter easy for the unbeliever so that he may get the reward of a good thing he had done in this world as I never ignore anyone’s good deed.
I did that so that no good may remain in his account when he arrives in the grand field on the Day of Justice and he may enter Hell because of his disbelief. I made the same fish unavailable to the believer king because of a mistake committed by him in this world, whereby he may appear before Me without any punishable sin and enter My best Paradise.
After hearing this story, Abdullah bin Yahya requested the Imam: You have benefited me very much. Kindly do some more favor and let me know the mistake, because of which I suffered injury and anxiety in this meeting, so that I may not repeat that mistake. The Imam (a.s.) said: You did not recite Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem while sitting on the chair.
Almighty Allah made this injury a means of forgiving to you for this mistake of giving up a recommended thing. Do you not know that the Holy Prophet (S) has quoted a saying from Almighty Allah that every deed on which God’s name is not taken, is a bad deed? Abdullah said: Yes, O chief! May my parents be sacrificed for you, I will hereafter never give up saying Bismillaah. The Imam said: If you do so, you will obtain a very great benefit and will be successful.
Thereafter, Abdullah said: O Amirul Momineen! What is the Tafseer of Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem? The Imam replied: If one desires to recite or to do something and says Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem at the beginning, it means that he begins in the Name of God; then Almighty Allah blesses that deed.
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said: Once Muhammad bin Muslim bin Shihab az-Zuhri came to my honorable father, Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.), with a sorrowful face. The Imam asked the reason of his anxiety and he replied: O Imam! I am facing trouble after trouble as people envy my wealth and well-being and harm me again and again. Even those, whom I have benefited, behave with me against my expectation. His Eminence said: Keep control over your tongue whereby you will overpower your brothers. Zuhri submitted: I always talk with them in a nice way.
His Eminence said: Never, never. Beware and never be proud of this and never use words not liked by people even if you have reasons to do so, because it is not necessary that you can present argument in support of the words used by you and you may not be able to defend your stand.
O Zuhri! A man, who does not act wisely, is easily destroyed. It is absolutely necessary for you to consider every Muslim as one of those in your home. You should consider every elder like your father and one who is younger like your son, and one same as your age, as your brother.
Then see whom you like to oppress and whom to curse and whom to dishonor. If the cursed Iblis makes you think that you are superior to so-and-so Muslim, then think that if he is older than you, he has believed and done good deeds before you and therefore he is better than you. If he is younger, then think that you have committed more sins than he has, and hence he is better than you.
Likewise, if he is of your age then think that you have certainty regarding your sins but you are doubtful about that man’s affairs. So why should you ignore a sure and certain thing for the sake of an uncertain thing?
When you see that all Muslims give you honor and respect, then understand that this excellence is given by them; that you do not have any qualification of your own. If you see that people are troubling you or are displeased with and angry with you, then think that it is the result of your own deficiencies. When you show such attitude, Allah Almighty will make the worldly life easy and comfortable for you, the number of your friends will increase and you be pleased with the behavior of people and not worry about their troubles.
Know that, in the eyes of people, that man is respectable from whose good deeds they benefit and who is needless of them and who never asks for anything. Such non-begging person becomes respectable in people’s view, even if he is extremely needy. It is so because materialists love only worldly wealth. Therefore, one who does not confront them in the matter of gold, silver and money will become respectable for them and, still further, one who instead of competing with them in making money, gives them something from himself, becomes the most honorable and respectable.
At this stage, a man from the audience rose up to ask: O son of Allah’s Messenger! Kindly explain the meaning of Bismillaah…The Imam answered: Allah is the greatest of all the names of God, by which none except Him can ever be attributed. It has not been the name of any from His creations.
The man asked: What is the Tafseer of ‘Allah’? The Imam (a.s.) replied: Allah is the being towards Whom everyone turns with hope, when all hopes are cut off and all means are gone. Look, a ruler or a rich man in this world may be very powerful and very rich, helping his subordinates on many occasions; but then comes also a time when that powerful one also becomes helpless. Not only that, he also experiences a time when he has to turn towards Allah for his need. But when he gets what he desired, he becomes a polytheist. Have you not heard this saying of Almighty Allah:
قلْ أَرَأَيْتَكُمْ إِنْ أَتَاكُمْ عَذَابُ اللَّـهِ أَوْ أَتَتْكُمُ السَّاعَةُ أَغَيْرَ اللَّـهِ تَدْعُونَ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ ﴿٤٠﴾ بَلْ إِيَّاهُ تَدْعُونَ فَيَكْشِفُ مَا تَدْعُونَ إِلَيْهِ إِن شَاءَ وَتَنسَوْنَ مَا تُشْرِكُونَ ﴿٤١﴾
Say: Tell me if the chastisement of Allah should overtake you or the hour should come upon you, will you call (on others) besides Allah, if you are truthful? Nay, Him you call upon, so He clears away that for which you pray if He pleases and you forget what you set up (with Him). Surah Anaam 6:40-41
In short, Allah Almighty told His servants: O those needing My Mercy! I have made need, lowliness and worship compulsorily necessary for you. Therefore, you should turn towards Me when you begin something and want to complete it; because, if I wish to give you, none can stop and if I want to withhold, none can ever allow. So while starting any big or small thing, recite Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem, which means that you seek Allah’s help in that act, that is, of Almighty Allah besides, whom no one else can ever be worshipped and Who comes to help, when you call upon Him.
It is He that answers prayers and He is Ar-Rahmaan, Who pours mercy and expands sustenance or provision. He is Ar-Raheem and so He is kind to us both in this world and Hereafter. He has made religion easy for us by curtailing its demands and it also is His mercy that He separated us from His enemies.
Thereafter the Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: The Holy Prophet (S) has said that whosoever faces anxiety in one of his affairs and recites Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem with sincerity and full realization of what he recites, he will either attain his goal or its recompense will be treasured for him in the Hereafter and whatever is stored with God in the Hereafter is both better and lasting for the faithful.
Imam Hasan bin Ali (a.s.) has narrated that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem is a verse of Surah Fatiha which contains seven verses including Bismillaah, And I heard the Holy Prophet (S) say: “Allah told me:
وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَاكَ سَبْعًا مِّنَ الْمَثَانِي وَالْقُرْآنَ الْعَظِيمَ
And certainly We have given you seven of the oft-repeated (verses) and the grand Quran. Surah Hijr 15:87
Thus God has mentioned the favor of Surah Hamd separately and has equaled it with the Holy Quran. In fact Surah Hamd is greater and heavier than all things treasured in the stores of the Arsh (divine Throne) and the Almighty has reserved this grace only for me and not granted it to any of the earlier messengers, except His Eminence, Sulaiman (a.s.) who was granted only Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem from this Surah. This is mentioned in the Holy Quran in these words:
قَالَتْ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ إِنِّي أُلْقِيَ إِلَيَّ كِتَابٌ كَرِيمٌ إِنَّهُ مِنْ سُلَيْمَانَ وَإِنَّهُ بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Surely an honorable letter has been delivered to me. Surely it is from Sulaiman, and surely it is in the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Surah Naml 27:29-30
Thereafter he said: Whoever recites this Surah (Hamd), believes in the love of Muhammad and his progeny and has faith in obeying the apparent and hidden of them, Almighty Allah will grant, in its recitation, one unit of heavenly reward (Hasanah) for each and every letter of it and Hasanah is something better than all the treasures of this world. The hearer of this Surah will get one third of the said reward. Hence each of you must wish to obtain more and more good from it, which is just in front of you. You should consider it as worthy of making the most out of it lest time may pass away and you have to regret.
Regarding the Almighty’s words:
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
ALHAMDU LILLAAHI RABBIL AALAMEEN
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Surah Fatiha 1:2
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said: A man visited Imam Reza (a.s.) and requested for Tafseer of ‘All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds’. His Eminence said: My honorable father Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.), quoting his forefathers, told me that once a man requested Amirul Momineen (a.s.) for the said Tafseer. In response, Ali (a.s.) said: ‘All praise is due to Allah’ means all kinds of praises are due to Allah. God merely gave a brief introduction of the bounties granted by Him, because people do not have the ability to understand God’s bounties in detail since they are uncountable and beyond appreciation. So the Lord Almighty commanded just to recite Alh’amdu Lillaah, which means: ‘We praise Allah for all the bounties granted by Him to us’.1
Rabbil Aalameen = He is the Lord of all the worlds. Here, Aalameen means communities of all creations, be they inanimate or animate. So He revolves the animates in one condition and grants them provision, feeds and protects them and manages every affair as per His expedience and keeps the inanimate stagnant by His perfect power and does not allow their compact atoms to defuse and does not allow the separate atoms to join. He prevents the sky from falling down and keeps the earth from sinking inward, but of course, it can happen when He commands, because He is very kind and merciful towards His creations.
He also said: Rabbil Aalameenm means that He is the Owner of the worlds and their Creator. He provides sustenance to them from places known to them and from places not known to them. In short, provision is apportioned (by fate), that is, Maqsoom and so it reaches man inevitably whatever way of life man may adopt in this world. These provisions neither increase due to anyone’s righteousness nor decrease because of anyone’s sinfulness. There is only a hand span distance between man and his sustenance and it is always in search of man. If a man awaits his provision, it finds him out just as one’s death finds one out.
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) also said: Almighty Allah has commanded His servants to keep saying Al-Hamdulillah which means, ‘Thanks to Allah for the bounties granted by Him to us and also because of the fact that He mentioned us as good persons in the holy Books sent by Him to His earlier messengers.’
So in those Books, there is an obligatory command for Muhammad and Aale Muhammad (a.s.) to thank Allah, because He granted them excellence over all creation. It is also compulsory for Shias as He has mentioned them as superior to all except Muhammad and his progeny (a.s.).
Accordingly the Holy Prophet (S) said: When God granted messengership to His Eminence, Musa (a.s.), and made him His confidant and split the sea to save Bani Israel from drowning and granted Torah to him, Musa (a.s.), appreciating these gifts asked Almighty Allah: My Lord! You have gifted me with miracles not given to anyone earlier.
In response, he received a revelation from God saying: O Musa! Do you not know that Muhammad (S) is, in My sight, superior to angels and to all creations? His Eminence, Musa (a.s.) asked: If Muhammad (S) is, in Your sight, superior to all creation, then is any messenger’s progeny also superior to my progeny? Came the command: O Musa! Do you not know that the progeny of Muhammad is given superiority over all other messenger’s progenies just as Muhammad (S) is superior to all other messengers?
Thereupon Musa (a.s.) said: Are any other prophet’s companions also superior to my companions? Responded the Lord: The companions of Muhammad (S) are superior to the companions of all other messengers just as Prophet Muhammad (S) is superior to every other prophet. Musa (a.s.) inquired: Likewise is the Ummah of Muhammad (S) also superior to the followers of all other messengers?
You made clouds to shade my followers (Bani Israel) and You sent Mann and Salwa (manna and quails) as their provision in wilderness. You also split the sea to save them. Came the divine Revelation: O Musa! Do you not know that just as I am superior to all the creation, so is Muhammad’s nation superior to all other creation.
When His Eminence, Musa (a.s.) heard this, he said: Can I see them? Came the divine response: You will not see them in this world as their time has not yet arrived, but soon you will see them in Paradise, where they will be with Muhammad (S) between Jannatu (garden of) Adn and Jannatul Firdaus (paradise), happy and pleased to perfection.
Then He asked: O Musa, do you want to hear their talks? He replied in the affirmative. He was told: Fasten your turban tightly and stand attentively before Me just as a slave stands in front of his king. Musa (a.s.) did accordingly. Then the Lord of the universe said: O Ummah of Muhammad! All replied from the loins of their fathers and from the wombs of their mothers: “Here we are, O God! We are here. We are here. You have no partner, We are here (attentive). Doubtlessly praise and glorification and sovereignty befits only You. You have no partner. We are here.”
Then the Holy Prophet (S) said that Allah made the recitation of these words a must for Hajj pilgrims.
Thereafter Almighty Allah again addressed the Ummah of Muhammad saying:
“O Ummah of Muhammad! I decreed for you that My Mercy be above My anger and My forgiveness above My chastisement. I have accepted your supplications before you pray and I give you before your asking. Anyone from you who testifies that there is no god except Allah and that Allah has no partners and that He is only One and that doubtlessly Muhammad is His messenger, whose words and deeds are true and that Ali bin Abi Talib, his brother is, after him, his legatee and Wali, whose obedience is as much obligatory as that of Muhammad and that the progeny of them both are chosen good persons and pious friends of God, and miracles and proofs are theirs clothing and after them both, Awliya (friends) of God will meet Me. I will admit them in My Paradise even if their sins are numerous like foams of salty seas.”
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said: When our Prophet was given messengership by Allah, He told him: O Muhammad! You were not present on Mount Tour when I called miraculously. Then Allah Almighty commanded the Prophet: O Muhammad! Recite: Alhamdulillahi rabbil Aalameen, meaning: We thank You as You distinguished us with such excellence and the Ummah of Muhammad (S) was also ordered to say: Alhamdulillaahi rabbil Aalameen meaning: We thank Allah Who is the Lord of all worlds as He distinguished us with such grace.
Almighty Allah’s words:
The Beneficent, the Merciful.
Ar-Rahmaanir Raheem means very merciful, granting bounties to His creations and forgiving mercifully the sinners in that world.
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said: Ar-Rahmaan means that He is very kind to all His creation, giving sustenance to all continuously without break even if they give up His obedience and worship. Ar-Raheem means that He is most merciful for His believer servants as He makes His obedience less and easy for them and is lenient to His unbelieving servants and when they supplicate concurrence, He deals with them sympathetically.
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: Allah is Raheem towards the believers as He makes His obedience easy and He is Raheem towards infidels as He gives them sustenance and is kind in accepting their supplications.
Also said the Amirul Momineen (a.s.): Rahmaan means that He is kind towards His creations in the matter of providing them with sustenance. It is only His Mercy that when an infant has no strength of even moving and eating, He creates baby food (milk) in its mother, thereby making her kind so that she may nourish and keep it in her lap. In case a mother is hard-hearted and unkind, He has made it compulsory for all believers to bring up that child.
Since some animals are not given the strength to nourish and take care of their offspring, Almighty Allah has given enough strength to those baby animals whereby they begin to move about as soon as they are born and reach the food provided for them.
Thereafter, he explained the Tafseer of Ar-Rahmaan thus: Rahmaan is derived from Rahma (mercy) and I have heard from the messenger of God that Almighty Allah said: “I am Rahmaan and it is Rahem (kinship). I have derived its name from My Name. One, who maintains kinship, that is, behaves kindly with relatives, I will join him with My Mercy and whosoever cuts it (kinship) off, I will cut him off; that is, he will be away from my Mercy.
Then Ali (a.s.) asked one of his companions: Do you know what the Rahem is, which if maintained by one, one will be maintained by the Beneficent Lord and if one cuts it off, one will be cut off from the Rahmaan? The audience replied: O Amirul Momineen! By this command, every community has been ordered to honor their relatives and to behave kindly with kin.
His Eminence asked: Are they also ordered to behave kindly with their infidel relatives thereby to give respect to those whom He has condemned and whose condemnation or disrespect is obligatory? The companions replied: No Sir, only the believing relatives are to be shown kind attitude. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) asked: Is behaving nicely with blood relatives made compulsory because their lineage meets one’s father and mother? That man replied: Oh yes, O Amirul Momineen. His Eminence then asked: Does it mean that such good behavior is due to the rights of one’s parents? The man replied: Yes, O brother of the Prophet, it is so.
Ali (a.s.) said: The father and mother give food only in this world and protect their children from worldly losses. This world’s bounties weaken and so also its losses lessen, but the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds has guided us towards a bounty which never ends and has protected the all from eternal and never-ending trouble.
Now, tell me which of the two bounties is greater and higher? Then he added: How can it be correct to inspire people to honor the possessor of a smaller right and not even to mention the possessor of a bigger right? Some one from the audience replied: Of course, it is not proper.
Then Ali (a.s.) said: When the right of the Messenger of God is greater than the right of real parents, the rights of near relatives of the Prophet will also be higher than the rights of the close relatives of parents. Thus, it is proved that the maintaining of the Rahem (relatives) of the Messenger of God is very high and that cutting it off is a very big sin.
So, worth condemnation is the ignorant fellow who cuts off the highest right and severest punishment is due to the person who does not regard the superiority of the rights of the Messenger and his near relatives and dear ones. Do you not know that respect to the Rahem of the Prophet is exactly the respect to the Holy Prophet (S) and the respect to the Holy Prophet is, so to say, respect to Almighty Allah. The right of God is higher than the rights of all other benefactors, because the other benefactors can benefit only when God supports them and makes them do so. Do you not know what God said to Prophet Musa (Moses) bin Imran? The man replied: May my parents be sacrificed for you, what is that?
The Imam (a.s.) said: God said: O Musa! Do you know how merciful and kind I am towards you? Musa (a.s.) replied: My Lord! You are more merciful than my own mother. Allah said: Your mother also showed you kindness because of My profuse mercy. It was I who made her kind to you and I had prepared her to sacrifice her rest and sleep for your nourishment. Had I not behaved with her likewise, your mother would also have been to you like all other women. O Musa! Do you know that I have a faithful servant and he is so sinful that his sins have reached the heights of the sky? Yet, I forgive him and do not care.
Musa (a.s.) asked: My Lord! Why do You not mind? Allah the Almighty replied: It is due to a good virtue in that person which I like, and that virtue is that he loves his brothers in faith, who are needy. He takes care of them and considers himself as equal to them. He does not behave haughtily with them. When he does so, I immediately forgive all of his sins.
O Musa! Glory is as My garment, and Might is as My undergarment. Whoever fights Me for anything of them I will punish him with My fire. O Musa! It is from regarding My honor that when someone, whom I have given him something of the wealth of the world, respects one of My poor and needy faithful servants, and if he scorns him, then in fact scorns My great Glory.
Thereafter, Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: This is about the Rahem which God has connected with His mercy. Allah said: I am Rahmaan and it is Rahem. Here, what is meant is the Rahem of Aale (progeny of) Muhammad and the respect to Muhammad (S) is respect to Almighty Allah. Honoring the progeny of Muhammad is honoring Muhammad (S) himself.
All believing men and women, who are our Shias, are included in the Rahem of Aale Muhammad (a.s.), who deserve honor and respect. Therefore, chastisement is for one who even slightly belittles the honor of Muhammad (S), and most fortunate is he that honors their Rahem and maintains it.
Regarding the Almighty’s word:
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: Almighty Allah is beneficent on His believer servants and it is His beneficence that He created one hundred bounties and kept one of the hundred for all of His creations because of which people do kindness (Rahm) to one another - a mother is kind towards her children and likewise female animals are kind towards their offspring.
On Judgment Day, Almighty Allah will add this bounty to the remaining ninety-nine bounties and with this whole total of bounties be kind to the Ummah of Muhammad (S). He will accept the intercession of Muhammad in favor of anyone from his Ummah. So much so, that a man will come to one of our Shia believers and request for intercession in his favor.
The believer will ask as to what right he had on him (the Shia believer). The seeker of intercession will reply: Once I gave you water to drink. Remembering that event, the believer will intercede and God will accept his intercession.
Likewise another man will come and ask for intercession and on questioning will say that the believer had once taken shelter under his house wall to avoid the hot sun of summer. The believer will intercede and it will also be accepted by Allah. In this way, the intercession of the believer gentleman will continue to be accepted by God, so much so, that his intercession in favor of his neighbors and friends and acquaintances too would be accepted because, in the sight of God, a believer’s value is so much that you cannot comprehend it.
Regarding the Almighty’s words:
مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
Master of the Day of Judgment. Surah Fatiha 1:4
It means: He is the Lord of the Judgment Day. Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said: the meaning of: MAALIKI YAUMIDDEEN is that Allah is Mighty enough to establish the Judgment Day when all creation will have to account for their deeds. Lord Almighty also has power to advance that Day or to delay it. Only He will be the Master on Judgment Day when He will pass judgments with truth and justice. No oppressor will have any power on that Day to order or to decide, as is sometimes done in this world by cruel and unjust rulers.
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: YAUMIDDEEN means the Day of accountability. He also said: I heard the Holy Prophet (S) address his companions: Do you want me to tell you who is the wisest man and who is the most foolish? The companions replied: Yes, O Allah’s Messenger, please inform us. The Holy Prophet (S) said: Most wise is one, who takes account of his own conscience and does only that which may help him after his death.
While the most unwise and foolish is one who obeys and submits to his desires and yet hopes that God would fulfill his wishes. One from the audience asked: O Amirul Momineen, how should one take account of his conscience? Imam (a.s.) replied: He may, every evening ask himself: O My heart! This day has passed away not to return ever. Whatever deeds you have done in this day will be questioned by Almighty Allah. Now tell me what deeds you performed today? Did you remember God and praise Him?
Did you fulfill any need of a believer? Did you remove his trouble? Did you take care of his family members during his absence? Did you do any good to his children after he died? Did you with your public influence, help the family of a faithful man during his absence? Did you assist any Muslim?
In short, inform me about all of your activities during the day which has just passed away. Like this, one should recall his deeds. If he recalls any good deed, he should say: God is Great and Praise Him for the inspiration given by Him.
If he recalls any misdeed or sin, he should repent and ask forgiveness from God and make intention never to repeat that mistake in future. He should thus remove that black dot from the slate of his heart by reciting benedictions afresh on the Holy Prophet (S) and his purified progeny. He should remember the allegiance given to Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and present that scene before his heart. He should also curse afresh, the Imam’s (a.s.) enemies. When he does like this, Almighty Allah tells him: I will not ask you about any of your sins, because you love My friends and are the enemy of My enemies.
Regarding the Almighty’s words:
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
IYYAAKA NA’BUDU WA IYYAAKA NASTA’EEN
Thee do we serve and Thee do we beseech for help. Surah Fatiha 1:5
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said: The Lord of the Worlds says: O My creations, to whom I have given many kinds of bounties! Say: IYYAAKA NA’BUDU, meaning: O ONE Who showered gifts and bounties! We worship only You with all humility and sincerity. Also say: IYYAAKA NASTA’EEN: meaning: We seek only Your help in carrying out Your orders and in worshipping You so that we may be able to do so just as You desire and command so that we may refrain in this world from the deeds prohibited by You and that we may remain protected from the stoned Satan and the misguiding hotheaded Jinns and men, and You may protect us from the harms of oppressors.
A man asked Ali (a.s.): Who is the most wretched one? His Eminence replied: If a man gives up the world for the sake of material things, he shall miss this world and lose the hereafter too. If a man worships God hypocritically, strives, and fasts just to show it to people, he is deprived of the worldly pleasures and he faces much pains that if he has done that sincerely just to please God, he would have gained much reward in the Hereafter. But when he arrives in the other world on the Judgment Day, though he will imagine that the weight of his good deeds is great, he will see that his deeds are vain.
Likewise, someone once asked Amirul Momineen (a.s.): Who will repent most on the Judgment Day and regret over his fate? His Eminence replied: One who will look at his goods in someone else’s balance and the Almighty Allah will hurl him in Hell due to his emptiness and his inheritors will be admitted to Paradise because of their deeds.
The inquirer asked: Kindly explain this matter further. His Eminence said: It is like a narration of my believer friend who described the condition of somebody that: Once I went to a man who was on his deathbed. He told me: Look, there is currency worth a hundred thousand in that box. I have never paid its Zakat nor spent any amount from it to help the poor. What is your opinion about it?
I asked him: For what purpose did you hoard this amount? That man replied: To avoid the cruel king’s oppression and to obtain ease and comfort and to protect my family members from difficulty due to changes of times. The narrator says: I was still there when he died.
After telling this story, Ali (a.s.) said: Thank God that He distanced that man from his money when he was worth condemnation. He gathered that amount for wrongful purpose and did not use it in the true path. He treasured it in bags and boxes and sealed them. He traveled in wilderness to obtain that money and also made sea voyages.
Now, O the inheritor of this wealth! You should never be deceived by this wealth, as was deceived your dear one earlier, because tomorrow, on Judgment Day, most sorrowful and regretting will be one who will see his earning in the balance of other, whom the Almighty God will admit in Paradise because of that wealth and send the original owner of that money to Hell because of the same wealth.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said: More regretful will be one who gathered much wealth toiling and painfully working, risking his life and he will also have spent that money in charitable good deeds and will have spent his youth years worshipping God, but he had not recognized the right of Ali bin Abi Talib and was not aware of Ali’s rank in Islam.
Rather he was considering those persons who did not possess even one-tenth of Ali’s excellence. He did not realize the truth about Ali’s excellence even though it was shown to him with proper proofs and arguments. He hardened his attitude even when proofs were brought to him from the Holy Quran and traditions of the Holy Prophet (S). ##Therefore such a fellow will regret and repent most on the Judgment Day as his good deeds will take the form of snakes biting him. His prayers and worships will turn into flames, pushing him to Hell.
Then he will exclaim: Woe unto me! Did I not offer Prayer and pay Zakat? Did I not remain away from others’ properties and women? Then what for am I being punished? There will come a voice, saying: O unfortunate fellow! Your deeds did not benefit you at all because despite believing in God’s Oneness and in the prophethood of Muhammad (S), you did not care about its biggest requirement by ignoring the right of Ali the Waliy (saint) of Allah.
Thus, you disregarded your most important duty and followed the enemies of God. You considered obligatory what was prohibited by God. In such a condition, even if you do good deeds during the entire period of life till the end of the world and even if you spend the entire wealth available in the whole world in charity including all gold and silver, you will get only wrath of God and distance from His mercy.
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) has narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) said: Almighty Allah has commanded: O My servants! Recite:
Thee do we beseech for help.
Simply: (O God!) We seek Your assistance in worshipping You, in carrying out Your Commands, and in averting harms inflicted by enemies to our souls. The Prophet (a.s.) narrated from Jibraeel (Gabriel) that Almighty Allah says: O My servants! All of you are straying except those whom I guide. You must seek My guidance so that I give you guidance and all of you are needy except those I make needless; so request needlessness from Me and I will make you needlessly wealthy. And all of you are sinners, except those I pardon.
Therefore seek My forgiveness so that I forgive you, as whoever seeks forgiveness from Me recognizing Me able to forgive, I forgive him immediately. If all your living and dead and the past and future and all on land and in sea agree on the piety of a servant, it will not add even a tiny dot to My kingdom and rule.
Likewise even if all of them agree on making anyone’s heart hard, it will not decrease My might and power at all and if all of you mentioned earlier, request from Me something and even if I grant the same to all, that grant would be lesser than the wetness found on the head of a needle dipped in sea. It is so, as I am Great, Generous and Needless.
My grant awaits only for Me to say only one word and likewise My chastisement also occurs at the moment I say a word. Whenever I wish something to happen I just say ‘be’ and that thing comes into being. My servants! Carry out My greatest command. Be obedient, so that I may be lenient and kind towards you even if you could not obey Me in other matters.
Similarly, refrain from sin so that I may not be angry with you due to your all other sins. Therefore, know that the greatest obedience is to know that I am Only One and to testify My Messenger and to accept as his caliph whom he has appointed and it is Ali (a.s.) and thereafter other purified Imams from his progeny. In My sight the greatest sin is to deny me and My messenger and to be inimical towards Ali (a.s.) and thereafter the Holy Imams (a.s.) from his progeny.
If you desire to gain a high rank, it is incumbent upon you not to give preference to anyone over and above Muhammad and Ali (a.s.) and thereafter the Holy Imams from their progeny who are the owners of your affairs. One who believes what I have said, will be among honorable kings in Paradise and I am the greatest enemy of one who tries to become My equal and claims godhood. Thereafter, I am the greatest foe of one who tries to be on equal footing with Muhammad (S) and may dispute with him in the matter of messengership and may claim prophethood.
Thereafter I am the greatest enemy of one who tries to be equal to my messenger’s Legatee, Ali (a.s.) and may dispute with him in rank and position and may claim his standing. After all of these false claimants (who have, by so doing inflamed My anger and have become entitled to My chastisement) I am all the more staunch enemy of those who assist such false claimants and thereafter I am all the more enemy of those who are pleased with these false claimants, even though they do not aid them in any way.
Likewise in My sight, the most loving creation is My Messenger, Muhammad (S) and after him is Ali (a.s.) and thereafter are the true Imams (a.s.) all of whom are just. Thereafter, more excellent people are those who assist the aforesaid best persons in supporting their right. Thereafter, I love most those who love the said excellent personalities and are inimical to their enemies even if they may not be able to help them.
Regarding the Almighty’s words:
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
IHDINAS- SIRAATAL- MUSTAQEEM
Keep us on the right path. Surah Fatiha 1:6
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said: One should pray: O Allah! Kindly continue forever Your favor, due to which we have been so far able to obey You, so that we may remain Your obedient servants in our later age also.
True paths are two: One is in this world and another in the Hereafter. The Sirat Mustaqeem in this world is one which may not contain excessiveness, defects and shortcomings. It is the straight path which never drifts towards untruth. The Sirat of the Hereafter is one which leads the true believer straight to Paradise. Those following this path, will never turn from Paradise towards Hell, but will reach straightly the greatest fragrant Paradise.
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said: The meaning of ‘IHDINAS- SIRAATAL-MUSTAQEEM’ is: Please guide us to the straight and true path and kindly make it compulsory for us to follow the path which may lead us to Your love and land us in Paradise, and which may prevent us from submitting to our desires and following our defective opinions and thereby may result in our destruction and chastisement.
Then he said: Anyone who obeys his desires, lusts and greed and is proud of his own opinion, is like one about whom I have heard that ignorant and unwise people give him respect and honor and praise him. Hearing this I wished that I should see him, but in such a way that he may not recognize me, so that I may observe his value and standing. So one day I saw that common people had surrounded him. I also hid my face with a piece of cloth and stood in a corner looking at them all.
After that fellow told the audience several stories of hither and thither, he left the people and went his way. People also took their paths. But I followed him. Finally he reached the shop of a baker and, seeing him unaware, stole two pieces of bread. I became much astonished to see him do so, but I thought that perhaps he might have a deal with the baker.
Then that preacher went to the shop of a fruit seller and finding the shop owner unmindful, stole two pomegranates. This amazed me further; but again I presumed that he might have some business dealings with this fruit seller too. But I began to think that if he had any dealings, why he should steal the things secretly. Still I did not leave him and went after him further until he reached a sick man, put those two breads and fruits before him and left at once. I continued to follow him and saw that he reached a forest and halted there.
I approached him and said: O servant of God! After hearing about your name and fame I desired to see you but after observing your deeds I am confused. So I want to ask you some questions for clarification. He replied: Ask whatever you want. I said: You stole two loaves of bread from the baker’s shop and two fruits from a fruit seller’s. Instead of replying he stopped me from speaking further and asked: Who, after all, are you?
I replied: I am a man from Adam’s progeny and a follower of Muhammad (S). He asked: From which family? I am from the progeny of the Holy Prophet. He asked from which city? I replied: I am from Medina. He asked: Are you Ja’far bin Muhammad bin Ali bin Husain bin Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.)? I replied in the affirmative.
Then he said: What will you gain from the greatness and grace of your family when you don’t know that which grants you greatness and excellence and when you are given the knowledge of your father and forefathers. Had you been aware of it, you would not have denied a matter which is worthy of praise and commendation. I asked: What is that, which I have given up? He said: The Holy Quran, the word of Allah. I asked: What is the matter I am unaware of? He said: The verse:
مَن جَاءَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ فَلَهُ عَشْرُ أَمْثَالِهَا وَمَن جَاءَ بِالسَّيِّئَةِ فَلَا يُجْزَىٰ إِلَّا مِثْلَهَا وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ
Whoever brings a good deed, he shall have ten like it, and whoever brings an evil deed, he shall be recompensed only with the like of it. Surah An’aam 6:160
Therefore, I earned two sins by stealing two breads and two due to theft of two fruits. But when I donated them as charity (Sadaqah) I earned 4 X 10 forty rewards. Out of these, four are deducted due to theft but I still have thirty-six good deeds in my account. I said: May your mother mourn you. Only you are unaware of the divine Book, not I. Have you not heard this verse:
وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ ابْنَيْ آدَمَ بِالْحَقِّ إِذْ قَرَّبَا قُرْبَانًا فَتُقُبِّلَ مِنْ أَحَدِهِمَا وَلَمْ يُتَقَبَّلْ مِنَ الْآخَرِ قَالَ لَأَقْتُلَنَّكَ قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ اللَّـهُ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ
Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil). Surah Ma’idah 5:27
So when you stole two loaves of bread, two evils were registered and so also were added two for stealing fruits. Thereafter, when you gave away those four things to someone else without the consent of their owners, four more evils were added to those four. It is not that forty good deeds were added to the four. In place of those four evils, four good deeds were deducted from your account. In this way what is left is thirty-six evil deeds in your account. Hearing this that fellow only looked at me and I left him to himself.
His Eminence, Sadiq (a.s.) says: By drawing such wrong and worthless conclusions, people misguide themselves as well as others.
Such false derivation was made by Muawiyah (may he get what he deserves) when Ammar bin Yasir (r.a.) was martyred. At that time many people were worried and said that the Holy Prophet (S) has said that Ammar (r.a.) will be killed by a transgressive group. When Amr ibn al-Aas observed this anxiety among his army men, he went to Muawiyah and said: Our army men are worried.
When Muawiyah asked the reason, Amr said: Due to the killing of Ammar ibn Yasir (r.a.), because the Holy Prophet (S) had said: Ammar (r.a.) will be murdered by a transgressive group. Muawiyah said: You are wrong in thinking that we killed Ammar (r.a.). Rather he has been killed by Ali bin Abi Talib who has sent Ammar in front of our spears. When Ali (a.s.) heard this, he said: If it were so, then Hamza (r.a.) was killed by the Holy Prophet (S) as he had sent him to fight the polytheists.
Thereafter, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: The Holy Prophet (S) said: “The holders of this knowledge, among the coming generations, will be ones more judicious than them.” This glad tiding is for those who draw wrong conclusions from the Quran as the extremists do, and who lie and make false claims.
Someone from the audience said: O son of Allah’s Messenger! I am unable to help you physically, except that I am fed up with your enemies and I curse them. This is only what I can do. So what about my fate? His Eminence said: I was told by my respected father that he had heard his father and he from his father that the Holy Prophet (S) said: Anyone who is unable to help us Ahlul Bayt, and he, sitting in loneliness, curses our enemies, Almighty Allah uplifts his voice and takes it to all the angels from underground to high heavens. Then all angels join him in cursing the one he is cursing.
Then the angels praise the lover of the Ahlul Bayt and pray for him: O Allah! Pour Your mercy on this man as he did whatever he could in Your path. Had he been able to do more, he would have certainly done so. At that time, a voice comes from Almighty Allah: O angels, I have answered your prayer and sent mercy on his soul and admitted him in the group of My selected servants.
Regarding the Almighty’s words:
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ
SIRAAT AL-LADHEENA AN’AMTA ALAIHIM
The path of those upon whom Thou hast bestowed favors. Surah Fatiha 1:7
In this regard Almighty Allah also says:
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّـهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا
And whoever obeys Allah and the Apostle, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly company are they. Surah Nisa 4:69
Ali (a.s.) has also said the same thing. Thereafter, he said: Those who are given these bounties are not those who are given wealth and physical health, though these things also show God’s bounty. But these things are given also to the infidels and sinners. Therefore, you are not invited to pray for being guided towards those fellows.
You are only commanded to pray for guidance to those who are granted such a bounty by Allah, whereby they have faith in Allah and they acknowledge His messenger and have friendship with Muhammad (S) and his Purified Progeny and their chosen friends and who adopt dissimulation, which protects you in the times of infidels, the enemies of God, from harms of bad people and from the evil of atheists. It is that you deal with them in such a soft manner that such behavior of yours may not instigate them to harm other believers. They are those who have a regard for their believer brothers’ rights.
In short, one who befriends the Prophet Muhammad (S) and his progeny and companions and is inimical to their enemies, obtains a big fort and a good shield for protection from God’s punishment. And one who behaves in the aforesaid good attitude due to which he neither enters the false religion nor goes out of the true religion, Almighty Allah raises his breathing to the rank of glorifying God (Tasbeeh) and purifies his deeds and grants him wisdom whereby he hides our secrets from our enemies and may not be provoked by their talks, God grants them the reward of martyrs who might have bathed in their own blood in God’s path.
Then he said: A man who fulfils the rights of his brothers-in-faith to his utmost ability and gives them strength and refrains from taking compensation of their mistakes or shortcomings and forgiving their faults, becomes pleased with them, will be addressed by Almighty God on the Judgment Day thus: O My servant! You observed the rights of your faithful brothers and pardoned their mistakes and did not take compensation from them. Now, I am most Generous and most Merciful than all others and I am above you in the matter of both, overlooking and honoring some of My rights.
Thereafter, Almighty Allah will give him the company of Muhammad, his purified progeny (a.s.), his companions and righteous Shias.
Then he said: Once the Holy Prophet (S) told one of his friends: Make friendship for God’s sake and also have enmity for God’s sake because no one can get God’s friendship without adopting such attitude nor can one ever enjoy the sweetness of Faith even if he performs many prayers and observes many fasts.
Today, people are becoming more and more friendlier with one another, but most of it is just for worldly interests. They also become one another’s enemies for material benefits. So, such brotherhood or friendship will not give any benefit before God. That man inquired: O Allah’s Messenger! How can I know that my friendship and my enmity is for God’s sake and who is God’s friend, with whom I should be friendly and who is Allah’s enemy, whom I must consider my enemy? The Holy Prophet (S) pointed to Ali and said: Do you see this gentleman?
That man replied: Yes, O Apostle of God: The Holy Prophet (S) said: One who is Ali’s friend, is God’s friend; so you should also befriend him. Likewise one who is Ali’s foe, is God’s enemy. Therefore, you must also consider him your enemy. Be friendly with his friend, even if he had killed your father or your son. Likewise, have enmity to his enemy, even if he is your father or your son.
Regarding Almighty’s words:
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ
GHAIRIL MAGHDHOOBI ALAIHIM WALADH DHAALLEEN
Not (the path) of those upon whom Thy wrath is brought down, nor of those who go astray. Surah Fatiha 1:7
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said: Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said that the Lord Almighty commanded His servants to pray for finding and walking on the path of those whom Allah has forgiven and poured bounty on and they are prophets, truthful ones, martyrs and righteous servants. He has also ordered that His servant should also pray to Allah to save them from the path of those with whom He is angry and such fellows are the community of Jews, about whom He says:
قُلْ هَلْ أُنَبِّئُكُم بِشَرٍّ مِّن ذَٰلِكَ مَثُوبَةً عِندَ اللَّـهِ مَن لَّعَنَهُ اللَّـهُ وَغَضِبَ عَلَيْهِ وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ وَعَبَدَ الطَّاغُوتَ أُولَـٰئِكَ شَرٌّ مَّكَانًا وَأَضَلُّ عَن سَوَاءِ السَّبِيلِ
Say: Shall I inform you of (him who is) worse than this in retribution from Allah (worse is he) whom Allah has cursed and has brought His wrath upon. Surah Ma’idah 5:60
Also they should appeal to Allah that He may save them from the path of those straying, about whom He says:
قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ غَيْرَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا أَهْوَاءَ قَوْمٍ قَدْ ضَلُّوا مِن قَبْلُ وَأَضَلُّوا كَثِيرًا وَضَلُّوا عَن سَوَاءِ السَّبِيلِ
Say: O followers of the Book! Be not unduly immoderate in your religion, and do not follow the low desires of people who went astray before and led many astray and went astray from the right path. Surah Maidah 5:77
Thereafter His Eminence (a.s.) said: Anyone, who is an infidel (Kafir) and does not believe in Allah, is included in the wrath of God and is deviant.
Imam Reza (a.s.) added in this matter: Anyone who violates the limit of being a servant of Allah in the case of Amirul Momineen (a.s.), that fellow is also among the group of MAGHDHOOBI ALAIHIM WALADH DHAALLEEN.
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: Do not take us higher than the rank of being God’s servants, like Christians who did so with respect to Isa (Jesus) (a.s.). Refrain from such exaggerating attitude as I abhor it.
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) says: When Imam Reza’s speech came to this point, one in his audience stood up and said: O son of the Apostle! Kindly describe the Lord before us, because earlier people have given thoughts opposite to our religion. His Eminence (a.s.) replied: Anyone who describes God according to his own imagination and opinion always goes wrong and doubtful deviating from the straight path and believing in undesired words.
Then he said: Describe Almighty Allah in the words in which He Himself has described. His Eminence said: No one can see Him. He has no shape or form. He cannot be comprehended through five senses.
He cannot be likened with people. He is known through His signs. He is far, but is not like anyone in this attribute. Likewise His nearness is also not like anyone else’s. Despite distance, He is near and that too also, not like anyone or anything else. His eternity also cannot be imagined. He cannot be likened to His creations.
He never is unjust in His orders and decisions. Whatever has gone through His knowledge, is followed by the entire creation and all of it is hidden in His Book. No one can ever do anything against what is known to Him nor can anyone ever desire against it. He is near to all of His creations, but is not attached to them.
He also is far from them but this has not harmed them. He is Right and Correct but He cannot be likened with anyone. He is Only One God but no one can ever be inimical to Him. He is recognized by His signs and can be proved to exist through His signs. In short, no one is worth worshipping except Him and He is the Greatest and the Highest Being.
When His Eminence (a.s.) concluded this description, that person said: O son of Allah’s Messenger! There are some in my company who claim to be your friends but they think that all the attributes described by you (in Allah) are also in Ali (a.s.) and so he (Ali) is the Lord Almighty.
When Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) heard this, he began to tremble and was wet in his perspiration. He said: Allah Almighty is pure of all these wrong imaginations and He is above all. He is not as the infidels and disbelievers think. Did Ali (a.s.) not eat? Did he not marry? Had he not to answer Nature’s calls? In addition to all these human necessities, he used to offer prayers regularly before Almighty Allah with extreme humility and was reciting repentance. Can a man having such virtues be god? If it can be, then anyone of you can be God, because all of you also are as such.
I have been told by my father, Musa Kazim (a.s.), narrating from his forefathers that the Holy Prophet (S) said: Anyone who likens Allah with His creation, does not recognize Him and anyone who attributes servants’ sins to God, does not consider Him Just. That man said: O son of Prophet!
Those persons imagine that when Ali (a.s.) showed miracles, which none except Allah can show at that time, he gave a proof of his godhood and that when he showed attributes of helpless creations, at that time he just hid his conditions from them, thus putting them to test so that they may recognize him and put faith in him voluntarily.
Hearing this, His Eminence said: First of all, such persons cannot answer one who may turn these words and may say that when His Eminence showed poverty and starvation, it is a proof that one who is in such condition and with whom poor people interact cannot show miracles. This proves that, a miracle, shown by anybody, is the work of only One Almighty Allah Who is never like the creations and not of the helpless and needy servants, who is participating with needy ones.2
Thereafter His Eminence said: O man! Now, you have reminded me of the words of the Holy Prophet (S) and of Amirul Momineen and of Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.). My father and forefathers have narrated that the Holy Prophet (S) said that Allah Almighty does not snatch away His religion from people to entrust it to someone. He gives it to religious scholars. If a scholar is not succeeded by another righteous scholar it (religion) is grabbed by the seekers of worldly wealth and prohibited things. They prevent it from reaching the deserving ones.
Rather they say that it belongs to the unworthy people. Then common people make such ignorant fellows their leaders. They ask them about religious problems. They issue baseless verdicts (Fatwas) thereby themselves going wayward and also leading others on the wrong path.
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: O our Shias, who claim to be our friends! Beware of people having their own opinions as they are enemies of the Prophet’s traditions. Traditions have suddenly flown away from their memories and they have become unable to protect the Prophet’s Sunnah.
They have made God’s servants their slaves, turning their wealth into their own property. Seeing this, many people became obedient to them. Some behaved meekly like dogs before them. Such looters snatched the right from the rightful owners and posed like true Imams though they are ignorant, disbelievers and cursed ones.
When questions beyond their capacity are asked, they do not admit ignorance and use their imagination (Qiyas) and opinion (Raai) in the religion of truth. For instance, they say that to wipe under feet (Masah) is better than doing so over feet.
Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) has said that if you see a man with good behavior, a good way of walking and sweet talking and humility, beware and do not go mad after him. Do not be deceived by his show business, because some people, due to physical weakness and timidity, are unable to earn worldly wealth and to indulge in the prevented things. That’s why they make religion a bait for catching material benefits of this world. They deceive people through their apparent deeds. Such a man, when he is able to get a prohibited thing, he falls upon it at once.
But when you are before him he refrains from doing so. So beware and never admire such persons because desires of people are of various kinds. Many people refrain from earning unlawful wealth but even a black and ugly character woman can make them indulge in unlawful sex shamelessly.
They never do so when you are seeing them. Therefore never admire such people unless and until you check their intelligence-based belief, because many people give up wisdom totally and then are never prepared to return to sanity. Their evil is more than their good. Even when you find them intelligent and rational, do not admire them until you find out whether he subjects his desires to his wisdom or makes his desires rule over his wisdom or reasoning.
How much is his attraction towards untruth and distance from truth, because some people remain in loss both in this world and in the Hereafter. They give up the world for the sake of the world imagining that untruthful governing is more tasteful than these lawful things. So they become aloof from power seeking until they reach the state shown by the holy verse:
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُ اتَّقِ اللَّـهَ أَخَذَتْهُ الْعِزَّةُ بِالْإِثْمِۚ فَحَسْبُهُ جَهَنَّمُۚ وَلَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ
And when it is said to him, guard against (the punishment of) Allah; pride carries him off to sin, therefore hell is sufficient for him; and certainly it is an evil resting place. Surah Baqarah 2:206
In other words, he makes mad efforts like a she camel suffering from night-blindness. His initial evil thought drives him unto the extreme end of loss. Consequently he tries to obtain things which are beyond his reach. Finally he makes divinely allowed thing prohibited and vice versa. Then he gets the desired political and worldly power and prestige and cares least about missing his religion.
These are the people on whom God’s wrath has fallen and whom Allah curses and for whom He has prepared a painful torture. For the sake of saying, all are men but perfect men are those who make their desires subservient to God’s pleasure. If, in his said endeavor, he gets defeated (is dishonored), he regards such loss in wrong matter, a success in the truthful affair, the fruits of which are eternal.
He realizes that such small worldly troubles will give him permanent benefits in the Hereafter, in a house which will never collapse nor the eternal bounties will ever come to an end. Such a fortunate man also realizes that if he obeys his worldly desires, the resulting worldly welfare and rest will drive him to an eternal chastisement which will never stop or decrease. A man with such thoughts and attitudes is a perfect man and a desired one. You must always get nearer to such a gentleman and adopt his ways and manners, follow him and make him your medium, because Almighty Allah never rejects such persons’ prayers and never sends him back empty handed from His door.
Imam Reza (a.s.) said: If such wayward deniers show something, it is only because they are unaware of their condition and value. So much so, that they get puffed up seeing the fruits of their worthless souls’ desires.
They consider them great deeds and an honor. Finally they obeyed only and only their corrupt desires and used their brains to follow the path of those other than God to such an extent that they underestimated God’s greatness and looked down at divine commands. It is so because they do not realize that God is All-powerful and Needless. He has not taken His might on loan from someone. He makes rich whomsoever He wills and turns pauper whomsoever He wishes.
They saw a God’s selected servant, to whom He gave a particular power so that they may realize his gracefulness in God’s sight. God gave him some kind of miracle, so that people could realize that he is proof of God’s might; so that God may make that gentleman’s greatness a reward of His obedience and also make him a means of His obedience; so that God may, by appointing such a graceful gentleman their leader, protect His responsible servants from any doubt as to who is God’s Hujjat and who is their Imam.
At that time, the condition of such people was like those who were in search of a worldly king and were seeking his grace, gifts and rewards. They wanted that the king’s valuable gifts may release them from worldly troubles and hardships and spare them from engagement in low services and disgraceful business. When they sat in the path of that king, someone came up and informed them that the king was approaching along with his men and army.
That man also advised them that they should pay respect according to the rules of the kingdom; that they must never call anyone else by his name; that if they did so, it would mean that they diminished the right and rank of the king; that you dishonored him thereby making yourselves worthy of his anger and punishment. All, at once replied that they would certainly do as advised to the best of their ability.
Then, very soon, one of the king’s slaves arrived there, whom the king had sent in advance with many soldiers and royal gifts. When that slave came up, the people who were waiting for the king, foolishly considered the royal bounties more valuable than the bounties of that slave’s master.
Looking at the pomp, power and glory, instead of recognizing the real possessor of power, that is, the king, they exaggerated the value and rank of the king’s slave. They gave him respect and honor worthy only of the real king. They called him king and denied that there could be a king greater than him and that the slave had a master above him. The chosen slave and his men saw this strange attitude of the waiting people.
They seriously criticized them and told them not to consider the slave a king. They told them that king is he who gave this slave all this wealth and men and material, and this honorable post. They warned the misguided group that such a wrong attitude of theirs would anger the real king who would punish them very severely. All that you are doing before this slave by prostrating before him would prove useless. But the foolish people did not realize and continued to falsify the king’s men.
Finally when the king came to know that a group of people had made his slave sorrowful and have dishonored himself too, he frowned upon them. He captured them and sent them to prison. He appointed some of his servants to torture the fools. Likewise, this community has found a chosen servant of Allah. Almighty Allah has, through His special mercy, made him honorable so that he may show the creation the greatness of Almighty Allah and may establish His Proof before them. So, in the view of these people, their Creator is unable to create Ali (a.s.) and that Ali (a.s.) cannot be His slave.
In the faulty view of this misguided group, Ali (a.s.) is above being Allah’s servant. With such a faulty imagination, this group gave God’s Name to this slave of God. When Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) and his true follower Shias saw this faulty attitude of this group, they prevented them from doing so.
They told them that Ali (a.s.) and his pious progeny are the honored servants of the Almighty Allah. God has given them grace but they by themselves are not able to do anything, except what God has given them power to do. They do not have anything, except which God has granted them.
They have no say in the matter of life, death and rising after death, need, needlessness, movement, stagnancy, except on what God has granted them power to do. His Lord and Sustainer and Creator is higher than all the virtues of virtuous people and He is Higher than what anyone can ever imagine. Anyone who considers all of them or any one of them god, except Only One God, has entered infidelity as he has gone wayward. After hearing these words, that group became rebellious and excessive and got entangled in this ignorance. Consequently their desires and hopes became void and they remained unsuccessful and were caught up in God’s punishment.
Imam Hasan Askari (a.s.) said that when Amirul Momineen (a.s.) completed the explanation of Surah Fatiha he said: This chapter is a gift from Allah Almighty for His Eminence, Muhammad (S) and for his Ummah. Its initial part is praise and glorification of Allah and the second part is a prayer of the servant of Allah to Allah Almighty and I have heard the Holy Prophet (S) say that Almighty Allah has said: I have divided Surah Hamd equally between Myself and My servants.
Half of it is for Me and another half for My servant and for My servants is what He may ask from Me. When My servant recites Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem, Allah Almighty says: My servant began with My Name. Now it is incumbent upon Me to complete all his works and to make his condition and possession bountiful. When My servant recites Alh’amdu lillaahi rabbil Aalameenm, God says that My servant praised Me and thanked Me and has realized that whatever is given to him, is from Me and that whatever troubles have been taken away from him, are also due to My favor and forgiveness.
So, O angels, be witness to My Grace and Favor that I will add My favors in the Hereafter to My favors in this world and that I have removed worldly troubles from him. I will likewise remove pains of the Hereafter from him. When My servant says: Ar Rahmaanir Raheem, the Lord of the Universe says: My servant has testified to My being Beneficent and Merciful. So, O angels! I make you witness that I will grant many gifts and favors to this servant of mine on a very large scale. When the servant says Maaliki yaumiddeen, God says: O angels! Be witness, as he has accepted that I am the Master of the Judgment Day.
So I also will make the accounting on that day easy for him. I will make his good deeds heavy and ignore his sins. When the servant recites Iyyaaka na’budu, the Almighty says: My servant has recited the Truth. He worships only Me and I make you witness and say that I will grant him so much reward of this worship that his opponents will envy him. When the servant recites wa iyyaaka nasta’een, the Lord Almighty says: My servant has sought help only from Me and has appealed only to Me.
So I make you witness and declare that I will help him in all his hardships and assist him on the day of troubles. When the servant of God says: Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem till the end of the Surah, the Almighty Allah says: This is for My servant and for My servant is what he asks for. Undoubtedly I have accepted his prayer. I will grant him whatever he longs for. I will keep him away from whatever he gets frightened and give him peace and security.
Someone asked Amirul Momineen (a.s.): Sir! Is Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem, a part of Surah Fatiha? He replied: Yes, the Holy Prophet (S) used to recite it and consider it a verse of this Surah. He used to say: Faatihatul Kitab (Surah Hamd) is ‘as-Sab’ al-mathani’ (Seven Oft-repeated verses) to which has been given excellence through Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem and this Surah has seven verses and the seventh verse is Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem…