There are many verses and traditions on the codes of society. The following has to be observed in society so that it may prosper:
1- To obey Allah and not associate anything with Him. If all people observe this, there will be no dispute in society. Most of social differences arise from a difference in faith and schools of thought. When there is a single ideology, then there will be no differences of opinion. What we must do and what we must not do have been summed up in the verse: “And serve Allah and do not associate anything with him.”1
Man can learn from all beings in heavens and on the earth which have continued to obey God for billions of years. Their obedience has been considered as prostration in the Holy Quran: “Have you not seen that unto Allah pays adoration whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the hills, and the trees, and the beasts, and many of mankind, while there are many unto whom the doom is justly due. He whom Allah scorns, there is none to give him honour. Lo! Allah does what He will.”2
If like other creatures, human beings walked in the right way, and observed Taqwa in relation to obeying God, many differences, would be removed and a kind of unity would prevail in society. Imam Sadiq (AS) has said: “God Almighty says: “O my truthful servants! Enjoy my obedience in the worldly life, for you shall enjoy it in the hereafter.”3
2- To use good words and to refrain from using a bad language. God says: “… you shall speak kindly to people.”4
Jabir has reported Imam Baqir (AS) as saying: “Say the best thing you love to be said about you, for God does not like one who curses, slanders, abuses (others), who is indecent, and an importunate beggar, and He loves one of forbearance, chastity, and piety.”5
Imam Sajjad (AS) has been reported as saying: “Keep your tongue, so that you keep your brothers by it.”6
3- To tell the truth even if you lose something. Imam Baqir has reported Imam Ali(AS) as saying: “On the handle of a sword belonging to the messenger of Allah (a.s.), three phrases had been inscribed: “Maintain your relation with one who has broken his relation with you, tell the truth even if it is against you, and do good to one who has done bad to you.”7
The Lord of the universe has ordered His Messenger with “And say: The truth is from your Lord. So let him who please believe, and let him who please disbelieve.”8
God says: “… and what is there after the truth but error; how are you then turned back?”9
Imam Reza (AS) has been reported as saying: “The most pious one is he who tells the truth whether it is in his own favor or it is against him.”10
Imam Ali’s advice to his son Imam Hossain (a.s.) is as follows: “O my son! I advise you to fear Allah whether you are rich or poor, and (to say) the word of truth whether you are pleases or displeased.” 11
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “May Allah have mercy on you! You are living at a time when few people tell the truth, the tongue is unable to speak truthfully, and one, who keeps to the truth, is (made) humble.”12
4- “To wish for others what you wish for yourself and hate for them what you hate for yourself.” This has been mentioned in Kashf al-Ghaibeh on the authority of Imam Sadiq (AS)”13
Imam Sadiq has also been reported as saying: “Jesus son of Mary (AS) said to some of his disciples: ‘Do not do to others what you do not like to be done to you. If someone gives you a blow on the right side of the face, turn to him the left side of your face.”14
Evidently, this ruling belongs to Christianity. In Islam, there is retaliation, and Prophet Jesus (a.s.) might mean, in this saying, forgiveness and pardoning.
5- To have good relationship; Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “I advise you to fear Allah, to give back the trust to its owners, to tell the truth, and to have good relation with one you associate with. There is no strength or power save with Allah, the Most High, the Great.”15
Imam Baqir (AS) has said: “My grandfather, Imam Ali (AS), was a companion of a Christian man. When he was traveling, the Christian man asked: ‘What is your destination, O servant of God?’
Imam Ali (AS) said: ‘I want to go to Kufa.’ When they reached an intersection, the Christian took his own way. Imam Ali (AS) accompanied him to a certain point. The Christian asked: ‘Did you not want to go to Kufa?’ Imam Ali (AS) said: ‘I know the way?’ The Christian asked: ‘Then, why are you coming with me?’ The Imam said: ‘What I am doing shows the best way of friendship. A man should see off his co-traveler by going with him to a certain point when they part. We have learnt this from our prophet.’ The Christian said: ‘Is it so?’ Imam Ali (a.s.) said: ‘Yes, it is.’ The Christian said: ‘Beyond doubt, your prophet must have set a good example to follow! I bear witness that I am on your faith.’ The Christian accompanied Imam Ali (a.s.) this time, and when he recognized him, he embraced Islam.”16
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “Twenty years of friendship is like kinship”17
6- To do good to one who has done wrong to you; God says: “Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good to others.”18
God has also said: “Surely Allah is with those who guard (against evil) and those who do good to others.”19
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “If doing good could be seen as a person, you would see it with the most beautiful face in the world.”20
The Imam (AS) has also said: “Do good to someone who has done you wrong. Forgive one who has committed an offence against you.”21
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “A benefactor remains alive, even if he goes to the abode of the dead.”22
When Imam Ali (AS) said: “I have neither done good to anyone nor have I done wrong to any one in my life”, the companions asked: “O Ameerul Mo’minin! What is the meaning of this saying?”
The Imam (AS) said: “whoever does good to any one, its rewards returns to himself. Therefore, he has done good to himself, and whoever does wrong to any one, he has actually done wrong to himself.” The Imam further said: “This is the meaning of the verse: “So, he who has done an atom’s weight of good shall see it, and he who has done an atom’s weight of evil shall see it.”23”24
One of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) repeatedly recited this verse: “If you do good, you will do good for your own souls, and if you do evil, it shall be for them.”25 A Jewish woman envied him, saying to herself: “I should disgrace him in the public.” So, she prepared some sweetmeat, poisoned it, and gave it to him to eat. The man took the sweetmeat and set out for the desert. He met two handsome youth who were exhausted. He said to himself: “These youth look hungry. I would better give the sweetmeat to them so that I may be rewarded.” He took out the sweetmeat and offered it to them. They ate the sweetmeat and died instantly. The news spread in Medina. The man was arrested and brought to the Messenger of Allah (a.s.). He told the whole story. The Jewish woman was brought too. Seeing her two young boys, she said: “O Messenger of Allah, what you said has come true. The evil I did to this man came back to me.”26
7- To be optimistic about people, to ignore their faults and to refuse to find fault with them; in this relation, God has said: “Surely (as for) those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe they shall have a grievous chastisement.”27
Mohammad ibn Fudayl has narrated: “I said to Imam Musa ibn Ja’far: ‘May I be sacrificed for you! One of my brothers has said something about me which annoyed me. When I asked from him, he denied it, but some trusty friends have confirmed it.’
The Imam (AS) said: ‘Deny your ears and eyes towards your brother (try to justify his acts in a good way and find for him good excuses). Even if as many as fifty persons take an oath and testify to something but your brother says the opposite, accept it and reject all the others. Do not disclose anything which may disgrace him. Do not be one of those about whom God has said: “Surely (as for) those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter.””28
God says: “O you who believe! Avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin, and do not spy.”29
The Holy Prophet (SAW) has been reported as saying: “In Medina, there were some people who had some kind of fault. People kept silent about it. God too did not reveal it. They passed away without their fault being revealed. In Medina, there were other people who had no fault, but they spoke out of other people’s faults. God afflicted them with defects, and they were known and were famous for them until they died.”30
The Holy prophet (SAW) has been reported as saying: “Do not reproach your brother, for God may have mercy on him and makes you afflicted.”31
The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said: “Do not look for the mistakes of the believers, for anyone who looks for the slips of his brother, God will follow his slips, and he, whom God follows his slips, will be disgraced even if he is in his own house.”32
- 1. Qur'an, 4:36.
- 2. Qur'an, 22:18.
- 3. Al-Kafi, vol. 3, p. 131.
- 4. Qur'an, 2:83.
- 5. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 154.
- 6. Ibid., p. 156.
- 7. Ibid., p. 157.
- 8. Qur'an, 18:29.
- 9. Qur'an, 10:32.
- 10. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 70, p. 282.
- 11. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 77, p. 236.
- 12. Ibid., vol. 71, p. 292.
- 13. Ibid., vol. 74, p. 238.
- 14. Ibid., vol. 71, p. 157.
- 15. Ibid., p. 160.
- 16. Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 491.
- 17. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 157.
- 18. Qur'an, 16:90.
- 19. Qur'an, 16:128.
- 20. Ghurar al-Hikam.
- 21. Ibid.
- 22. Tohaf al-Uqool.
- 23. Qur'an, 99:7-8.
- 24. Lata’if at-Tawa’if, p. 33.
- 25. Qur'an, 17:7.
- 26. Khazeenat al-Jawahir, p. 73.
- 27. Qur'an, 24:19.
- 28. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 72, p. 215.
- 29. Qur'an, 49:12.
- 30. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 72, p. 213.
- 31. Ibid.
- 32. Al-Kafi, vol. 4, p. 58.