51) Features Of The Pious
(1) One of the features of the pious is truthfulness and the acknowledgement of truth. In this relation, God says: “And he who brings the truth and (he who) accepts it as the truth, these are they that guard (against evil).”1
The commentators of the Holy Quran consider “he who brings the truth” as Gabriel and “he who accepts it as truth” as the Messenger of Allah (SAW).
Other commentators have said that the first one refers to the Holly Prophet (a.s.) and the second one to Imam Ali (AS).
There are other commentators who believe that the first one includes all the prophets and the second one includes their nations.
We should not, however, limit the meaning of the pious to special narrations. In describing the pious and speaking about righteousness, God says,
“It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards the East and the West , but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of the kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (the emancipation of) the captives, and keep on prayer and pay the poor-rate; and the performers of their promise when they make a promise , and the patient in distress and affliction and in time of conflicts; these are they who are true (to themselves) and those are they who guard (against evil)”.2
In traditions, the master of the pious, Imam Ali (AS), has been considered as the true example of this verse.3
God has said: “O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and be with the truthful.”4
In a tradition narrated by Imam Baqir (AS), we read: “…be with Ali ibn Abi Talib and the household of Mohammad.”5
Some great scholars have confirmed Imamate of the infallible imams with this verse. Invoking Mohaqqeq Toosi in his book, Tajreed, they have argued that God has ordered all believers to be with the true ones. Beyond doubt, to be with the true ones does not mean to be with them physically, but it means to follow their path ideologically, their deeds and their speeches. The above-mentioned verse obviously shows that God the All-Wise does not order His servants to follow the wrongdoers. Therefore, these truthful ones must be free from all kinds of sins, and hence infallible.
The above-mentioned verse is also invoked to prove that the true ones, about whom God speaks and orders us to follow, are not particular to a special period of time. Rather, there should be an infallible imam in every age so that the order will be valid. It means that the infallibles are numerous and in our time, we have the duty to follow the proof of God in the earth; Imam Mahdi (a.s.), though we are the followers of his ancestors at every age. Although they are not physically among us, the signs of their lives, which are their wise sayings, enlightens our hearts.
Therefore, we should be with the true ones whose perfect examples are the Imams of guidance, and other believers who have this worthy feature of the pious.
In another verse, God says: “Of the believers are men who are true to the covenant which they made with Allah: so of them is he who accomplished his vow, and of them is he who yet waits, and they have not changed in the least.”6
In this relation, there are many verses in which the word ’true’ has been used more than a hundred times. It is the feature of God, the Messenger, the Imams, the pious, and the believers. This word has also been used frequently about the belief in God, the Messenger, the confirmation of prophethood, the descend of punishment, and the adherence to the prophets. Certain signs too have been mentioned. Addressing the Jews, God says: “Say O you who are Jews, if you think that you are the favorites of Allah to the exclusion of other people, then invoke death if you are truthful.”7
Truthfulness has been mentioned in many traditions. Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “God Almighty has not deputized any prophet save with truthfulness and to give back trusts to their owners whether good or bad.”8
About knowing the Muslims, Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Do not be deceived by their prayers and fasting; for one may be accustomed to prayer and fasting and that he fears to give them up, but try them with the truthfulness in speaking and giving trusts back to their owners.”9
Ibrahim al-Makhariqi says: “I professed my faith to Imam Sadiq (AS), saying, ‘I bear witness that there is no god but Allah. He is One .There is no partner with Him and that Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah and that Ali is the just Imam after him, then Hassan and Hossain, then Ali ibn al-Hossain, then Mohammad ibn Ali, and then you.’ The Imam (AS) said: ‘May Allah have mercy on you!’ Then, he said: ‘Fear Allah, fear Allah, fear Allah! It is incumbent on you to be pious, truthful in speaking, to give back trusts (to their owners), be chaste in belly (not to eat any ill-gotten thing) and private parts (chaste in sexual intercourse), in order to be good friend of us.”10
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “There are four features in one whose faith is perfect …; truthfulness, giving the trust (back to its owner), decency and good temper.”11
In Ameerul Mo’minin’s description of pious men, the first feature he mentions is that their speech is to the point. The second feature of the pious, mentioned in the first verse aforementioned, “he who accepts it as the truth”, we should say that so long as one does not believe in the truth, in God, in the Messenger, in the unseen and visible world, the divine rules, the religious laws, and in all what God has sent of prophets and books, cannot be pious.
Hence, we consider Imam Ali (AS) as the true example of the pious.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “The truthful ones are three; Ali ibn Abi Talib, Habeeb the carpenter, and the believer of the people of the Pharaoh.”12
(2) Another feature with which we can know the pious is the belief in the Unseen which includes the belief in God, the Prophet, his successors including Imam (AS) Mahdi (AS), the belief in what was revealed to the Holy prophet, the Last Day, Resurrection, Sirat (the Straight Way),13 Balance, Reckoning, Paradise and Hell as God has said: “And who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you and they are sure of the hereafter.”14
Belief is of several kinds:
1- The belief in God and His Attributes
2- The belief in the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and his qualities
3- The belief in what the prophets have brought
4- The belief in their successors and in their specifications
5- The belief in the hereafter with all its specifications
6- The belief in the angels
A person may have Belief in God, but not in His Attributes. He may believe in God, but he does not consider God as Just. He may believe in God but not in the messenger of God. He may believe in the messenger of God, but he may not believe in what has been revealed to him. He may believe in the messenger of God, but not in his successors, or may not believe in the hereafter. The pious are those who have all kinds of belief, which we have just mentioned, in their minds and hearts.
As for the word “belief”, Imam Reza (AS) has narrated from the Messenger of Allah (SAW) his saying: “Belief is knowledge in the heart, acknowledgement with the tongue, and action with the organs of the body.”15
Abu as-Salt al-Harawi says: “I asked Imam Reza (AS) about the meaning of belief, and he said: ‘Belief is faith in the heart, declaring it with the tongue, and acting with the organs of the body.”16
Imam Ali (AS) said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah (SAW) about the meaning of belief, and he said: ‘Belief is what we accept in the heart, say it with the tongue, and act with the organs of the body.”17
There are many traditions successively transmitted by the Imams of guidance, but they are the same in terms of letter and spirit.
Allamah Majlisi has devoted one chapter of Bihar al-Anwar to “belief” which includes all verses and traditions on the topic whose summary is as follows:
1- Belief is the collection of true beliefs and the five fundamental principles whose fruit is the prohibition of murder, plundering, and disgrace in this world, and the rightness of deeds, deserving of reward, not dwelling in Fire forever, and the deserving of forgiveness and intercession in the Hereafter.
2- Belief is the above-mentioned opinions together with the obligations mentioned in the Quran and the abandonment of major sins for which God has promised of fire.
3- The said opinions together with the obligations and abandonments of prohibitions the result of which is joining the favorites of God and living with the righteous in high stations.
4- Belief is a high station with God, by doing recommendable acts, refraining from non-recommendable and even some permissible things. This kind of belief belongs to the prophets, their successors and the perfect believers.
About the belief in God, the Prophet, and the Day of Judgement, there is the question as to whether thought or (certain) knowledge is sufficient or it should be based on reasoning, and through Ijtihad, knowledge and belief appear. Jurisprudents in their books of practical laws of Islam have raised this issue and each group have their own views.
Allamah Majlisi says: “From what we have said it is inferred that belief is the acknowledgement of One God, of His Attributes, Justice, wisdom in prophethood, and in what the prophet has brought, and the accepting of all of them. Most of Muslims, or some of them, claim that there is consensus on this matter.
As for the acknowledgement of the leadership of the twelve Imams (AS), it is the belief of Imamiyyah (Twelver Shia). The Shiite Muslims consider the acknowledgement of Imamate as a must in the same way that the acknowledgement of God and prophethood is necessary.
How good it is for people to express their true beliefs to those who are qualified so that if there is any deviation in them, they shall be corrected. This tradition was common at the time of the Imams of guidance. For example, Abdul Adheem al-Hasani was keen to show his belief to Imam Hadi (AS). He narrated: “I went to see my master, Ali ibn Mohammad (al-Hadi) (AS). Seeing me, the Imam (AS) said: ‘You are welcome, O Abul Qasim! You are truly ours adherent.’ I then said: ‘O son of the Messenger of Allah! I intend to show my belief to you, so that I will be steady on it if it is good until I shall meet God the Glorified.’
The Imam (AS) said: ‘O Abul Qasim, show your belief!’ I said: ‘I assert that God Almighty is One. There is nothing like Him. He is beyond description. He is neither substance nor is He created, but He creates everything. He has fashioned all human beings. He is the Lord of the universe and originator of everything. I bear witness that there is no prophet after Mohammad (SAW), His servant and Messenger. I also bear witness that Islam is the last religion and there is no religion after it until the Day of Judgment. I assert that the Imam, the caliph, and the leader after him is Ameer al-Mo’minin, Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS), and then Hassan, and then Hossain. After him is Ali Ibn al-Hossain, then, Mohammad ibn Ali, then Ja’far ibn Mohammad, then, Musa ibn Ja’far, then, Ali ibn Musa, then, Mohammad ibn Ali, and then, you are, my master!’
The Imam (AS) said: ‘And after me there shall be my son Hasan. But, how shall be the state of people towards his successor?’
I said: ‘How is it, my master?’
The Imam (AS) said: ‘He is not seen, and mentioning his name is not lawful until he appears. He will fill the earth with justice after it is filled with injustice.’
I said: ‘I confess that their friend is the friend of God and their enemy is the enemy of God. To obey them is to obey God, and to disobey them is to disobey God. I also assert that the Holy Prophet’s night journey (ascending to heavens), the questioning in the grave, Paradise, Fire, Sirat, Balance and the Day of judgement are right and truthful. There is no doubt about them. I also believe that God will raise the dead to life. I assert that the religious obligations after the wilayah (guardianship of the infallible imams) are prayer, zakat, fasting, Hajj, Jihad, and the enjoining of good and forbidding of evil.’
Then, Ali ibn Mohammad (AS) said: ‘O Abul Qasim! By God, This is the religion of God Who is pleased with it for His servants. Be firm on it! May God keep you firm on it in this world and the hereafter.’”
(3) Another feature of the pious is to keep up prayer. In this relation, God says: “… and keep up prayer...”18
Obviously, keeping up prayer is different from performing prayer. Keeping up prayer is to perform it thoroughly.
Since the pious know for whom and for what purpose they are performing their prayer, they are not unmindful of it. They know with what quality their deed will be fruitful. Hence, they will do their best to perform it correctly. We have already discussed the prayer in the section devoted to “Taqwa and prayer”. Therefore, further elaboration is not necessary in this book.
(4) Another feature of the pious is charity. In this relation, God says: “… and spend of what We have given them.”19
Quranic verses and traditions, which are related to charity, focus on property, but commentators believe that charity includes property, power, position, and knowledge.
Ibn Fahd al-Hilli, in his book Udattol Da’ee, has classified charity into five classes:
1- Charity of property
2- Charity of position which is intercession
3- Charity of wits which is consultation
4- Charity of the tongue which is to reconcile opponents to each other
5- Charity of knowledge that is to disseminate knowledge to those seeking it
About charity, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “Smiling to your brethren is a charity. To enjoin good, to forbid evil, to guide a misled person, to take away a stone, a piece of bone, or a thorn from the way of people, and to give a pail of water to your brethren are all charities.”20
As for the charity of the tongue, the Holy Prophet (SAW) has been reported as saying: “The best charity is the charity of the tongue.”
He was asked: “O messenger of Allah! What is the charity of the tongue?” The Holy Prophet said: “It is to intercede in order to emancipate a slave, to spare someone’s life, to do good to your brethren and to ward off an evil from them.”21
God Almighty has said: “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), those who spend (benevolently) in ease as well as in straitness...”22
That is to say that the pious spend as much as they can as charity.
Elsewhere, God has said: “It is not righteous that you turn your faces towards the East and the West, but righteousness is this that one should believe in Allah and the last day and the angels and the Book and the Prophets, and give away wealth out of love for Him to the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and the beggars and for (emancipation of) the captives, and these are they who guard (against evil).”23
Concerning divorced women, God says: “And for the divorced women (too) a reasonable provision; (this is) a duty on those who guard (against evil).”24
Charity seems to be the requirement for righteousness: “By no means shall you attain to righteousness until you spend (benevolently) out of what you love.”25
Elsewhere in the Holy Quran, God says: “And away from it shall be kept the one who guards most (against evil), who gives away his wealth, purifying himself. And no one has with him any boon for which he should be rewarded, except the seeking of the pleasure of his Lord, the Most High. And he shall soon be well-pleased.”26
There are many verses and traditions on charity that has the following results:
1- Charity wards off Satan and breaks his back. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “Shall I inform you of a thing which wards off Satan from you as the distance of east from the west if you do it?” They said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!” The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “Fasting disgraces Satan, charity breaks his back, friendship in the way of Allah and doing righteous deed cut off his back, and asking for forgiveness cuts off his veins. There is a zakat for everything, and the zakat of bodies is fasting.”27
2- Charity deters bad death. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported by Imam Sadiq (AS) as saying: “(giving of) Charity prevents horrible death!”28
Abu Baseer narrated: “I heard Imam Sadiq (AS) say: ‘Jesus (AS) passed by a group of people who were engaged in merrymaking. He (AS) asked: ‘Who are they?’ It was said: ‘O spirit of Allah, this is a wedding party and they are the relatives of the bride and the bridegroom.’ Jesus (AS) said: ‘They are laughing now, but tomorrow, they will be weeping.’ A man asked: ‘What for, O prophet of Allah?’ Jesus (AS) said: ‘One of them shall die tonight.’ Hearing this, people said to one another: ‘God and His prophet say the truth.’ Hypocrites said: ‘We will see it tomorrow!’
The next day people found out that nothing had happened, so they said: ‘O Spirit of Allah! The one you said would die has not died!’ Jesus (AS) said: ‘God will do what He wills.’
People rushed towards the house of the newly-weds. They knocked the door. The husband came to the door. Jesus (AS) said: ‘May I see your wife?’ The man went in, saying to his wife: ‘The Spirit and Word of Allah along with his disciples are at the door. They want to come in.’ The woman covered herself with a veil, and Jesus (AS) entered the house, saying to her: ‘What did you do last night?’
She said: ‘I did not do anything extraordinary except that a beggar, who usually came to the door every Friday night and we would give him some food from what we had. Last night, he came to the door, but since we were busy in a matrimonial duty, no one answered him. When he called us repeatedly, I jumped out of bed, went to the door, and gave him some food as usual.’
Jesus (AS) said: ‘Jump up and leave your place.’ People saw that a snake was under her dress. When she shook herself, the snake ran away. Jesus (AS) said: ‘The danger was warded off due to the charity you gave.’”29
3- Charity protects wealth and makes it be blessed. Imam Hassan Askari (AS) narrated from his fathers that Imam Musa ibn Ja’far al-Kadhim (AS): “Imam Sadiq (AS) was accompanied by a group of wealthy people when they were informed that there were robbers on the way. The companions started shivering with fear. The Imam (AS) said: ‘What is happening to you?’ They said: ‘We fear that our wealth may be taken away. Can we entrust them to you? Perhaps they will not take them from you.’
The Imam (AS) said: ‘I may lose my life for it.’ They said: ‘What shall we do then? Shall we bury them somewhere?’ The Imam (AS) said: ‘It will be either wasted or taken away by strangers.’ They said: ‘What shall we do then?’ The Imam (AS) said: ‘Entrust it (the wealth) to One Who will safeguard it and will increase it more than you need.’ They asked: ‘Who is he?’ The Imam (AS) said: ‘It is the Lord of the universe.’ They said: ‘How can we entrust it to Him?’ The Imam (AS) said: ‘Spend from it on the poor Muslims.’ They asked: ‘Who are the poor here?’
The Imam (AS) said: ‘Decide to spend one third of it as charity so that God will ward off the misfortune for you against those whom you fear.’ They said: ‘We have made our decision!’ The Imam (AS) said: ‘Then, you are protected by God. Go ahead!’ They went on their way until they saw the highwaymen. They were horrified. The Imam (AS) said: ‘What are you afraid of when you are protected by God?’ The highwaymen came forward, stood before the Imam (AS), kissed his hand, and said: ‘Last night, we dreamt of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) who ordered us to protect you against enemies and robbers.’ The Imam (AS) said: ‘We are not in need of you. The One who repelled you from (harming) us, will repel them too.’
The companions of the Imam (AS) completed their trip safely. They gave one third of their wealth to the poor as charity. They gained ten Dirhams for every Dirham they had put in business. They said to themselves: ‘How abundant the blessing of Imam Sadiq (AS) is!’ The Imam (AS) said: ‘You came to know about the meaning of blessings in dealings with God. Therefore, continue to do so.’”30
4- Charity increases sustenance. Imam Reza (AS) has reported the Messenger of Allah (SAW) as saying: “Seek sustenance by giving charity.”31
5- For each Dirham given in charity in the way of God, seven hundred rewards will be written.32
6- Charity keeps away man from fire (hell).
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported by Imam Ali (AS) as saying: “Every favor done to a wealthy or a poor one is as charity; therefore, , even if it is a half of a date, for God Almighty will grow it in the same way that you grow your infants or a young camel, and He (Allah) will give it back to you on the Day of Judgment when it shall be greater than a great mountain is.”33
7- Charity cures diseases. Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Cure your diseases with charity!”34
8- Charity protects you against fierce animals and insects. Imam Reza (AS) has been reported as saying: “There was a long famine among the Children of Israel. A woman had a piece of bread. She was about to put it into her mouth when a beggar called: ‘O woman! I am hungry.’ The woman said to herself: ‘Shall I give charity at this time?!’ She gave that piece of bread to the beggar. The woman had a small child who had gone to the desert to collect firewood. A wolf caught the small child and was carrying him away. The mother followed the wolf.
God Almighty missioned Gabriel to take the small child from the mouth of the wolf and returned him to his mother, saying: ‘O believing woman! You are pleased now. This morsel is in return for the morsel you have given as charity.’”35
9- The Charity given at night lessens God’s wrath, omits major sins, and makes reckoning easy. Charity given at day increases one’s wealth, prolongs his life, and wards off unluckiness of that day.36
10- God Almighty receives the charity.
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported by Imam Baqir (AS) and Jabir al-Ju’fi as saying: “I gave a dinar as charity one day. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘Do you not know that the charity of a believer does not come out of his hand unless seventy devils will say him: ‘Do not give it!’ And it is not put in the hand of the beggar without being put first in the hand of God Almighty. Has God not said: “Do they not know that Allah accepts repentance from His servants and takes the alms?”37’”38
Even if there were no benefits in charity, the fact that God Almighty receives it would suffice. Imam Sadiq (AS) says: “Whenever my father wanted to give a charity, he himself would put it in the hand of the needy. He would then take it back from the needy, kissed, smelled, and then he would give it back to them. He did so because charity is put in the hand of God before it is put in the hand of a needy one.”39
Obviously, this does not mean that God has any hand or foot, but it means that God accepts the charity before it is placed in the hand of a beggar. There are other benefits in charity, which is beyond the space of this book. Nevertheless, there are rules, which have to be taken into consideration when charity is given. One is to avoid hypocrisy. It has been recommended to give charity secretly. Imam Baqir (AS) has said: “The doing of good prolongs one’s life and the giving of charity secretly lessens God’s wrath.”40
God says: “And those who spend their property (in alms) to be seen of people…”41
The other one is to avoid laying others under obligation. God has said: “O you who believe! Do not make your charity worthless by reproach and injury, like him who spends his property to be seen of men and does not believe in Allah and the last day; so his parable is as the parable of a smooth rock with earth upon it, then a heavy rain falls upon it, so it leaves it bare.”42
It is to be added that charity and spending of one’s property do not mean that a Muslim should give a small sum of money to a beggar in the street. Serving one’s parents and relatives is the best kind of charity. The building of mosques, schools, hospitals, clinics, providing the poor with clothes, needy girls with dowry, facilitating marriage for needy youngsters, financing religious propagation, publishing books on the truth of Islam, and their likes are the best kinds of charity.
5- One of the other signs by which we can identify the pious is the control of one’s anger which is the best feature as seen in the lives of the prophets and the Imams of guidance (AS). God has considered it as one of the features of the pious when saying: “And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord; and a garden, the extensiveness of which is (AS) the heavens and the earth, it is prepared for those who guard (against evil), Those who spend (benevolently) in ease as well as in straitness, and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men.”43
Imam Sajjad (AS) has reported the messenger of Allah as saying: “From the most beloved ways to Allah the Almighty are two potions; a potion of anger that you repel with forbearance and a potion of calamity that you repel with patience.”44
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “There is no servant, who restrains his anger, except that God Almighty increases his honor in this world and the hereafter. God has said: “…those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good.”
Hence, God will reward them for restraining their anger.”45
There are many traditions on forbearance and endurance, but what is this anger that is recommended to be avoided? Why has anger been so much reproached? What kind of pest is anger about which the Messenger of Allah (SAW) has said: “It spoils faith as vinegar spoils honey”?46
Allamah Naraghi has said that people are of three groups in relation to anger; some people get angry almost to excess that they easily go off the handle. Some people do not get angry at all, whereas due to religion and reason anger is necessary in certain circumstances. Some other people are moderate with respect to anger. They show anger at its proper time and restrain it when reason and religion prohibit them. The first group of people put aside reason and religion when they get angry, and hence follow this perishing evil.
Imam Baqir (AS) has been reported by Au Hamza ath-Thumali as saying: “Anger is a spark of the fire of Satan which is in the inner part of human beings. When one of you gets angry, his eyes become red, the wind of anger is blown into his veins, and Satan enters into him. Therefore, whenever you get angry, sit down on the earth so that satanic temptation may leave you.”47
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Anger ruins the heart of a wise man. Whoever cannot control his anger cannot control his mind.”48
Imam Sadiq (AS) has reported: “I heard from my father his saying: ‘One day, a Bedouin came to the messenger of Allah (SAW), saying: ‘I am living in the desert. Give me some advice!’
The Holly Prophet (SAW) said: ‘I advise you not to get angry!’ The Bedouin asked the same question three times and heard the same answer. He said to himself: ‘I will not ask him anymore, for the Messenger of Allah (SAW) will not say but good.’”
Imam Sadiq (AS) has said: “My father said: ‘What is worse than anger?! Verily, a man may be angry and kills (out of anger) someone that Allah has prohibited (killing him) and accuses a chaste woman of disgracing things.”49
In another tradition, we read that a man came to the Messenger of Allah (SAW), saying: “O messenger of Allah! Teach me something!” The Holy Prophet (SAW) said to him: “Go and never get angry!”
The man said: “This very advice is sufficient for me.” He went back to his people. There was a dispute among his tribe. He took his weapon and prepared himself for fighting. He, immediately, remembered the Holy Prophet’s advice. Putting aside his weapon, he went to his tribe, saying: “I will pay the blood-money of any injury, killing, and assault…”
The second party said: “We are worthier of it than you are.”
The Holy prophet (SAW) said: “The disputing parties made peace, and anger was removed.” This man might be the same person to whom the Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “I advise you not to get angry.”
When anger subsides, all its consequences shall be removed. But when the pot of anger starts boiling, it will bring about vices, such as killing and false accusation of unchastity which are major sins. Some of its sinister signs are: abusing others, making fun of others, dishonoring others, breaking people’s hearts, creating discord among Muslims, injuring and cutting off parts of bodies. For this reason, Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Anger is the key to every vice.”50
No one should have this impression that anger cannot be restrained; otherwise, all these instructions would be worthless.
Abus Salt al-Harawi narrated: “I heard Imam Reza (AS) saying: “God Almighty revealed to one of the messengers: ‘When it gets morning, eat the first thing you see, hide the second thing you see, accept the third, make the fourth desperate, and escape the fifth.’ When it was morning, the man set out and the first thing he saw was a big mountain. He stopped, saying to himself: ‘God Almighty has ordered me to eat it. But how can I do it? Surely, God does not order me to do what I cannot do.’
He went on his way until the mountain looked so small to him that he found it as a morsel. He realized that it was the purest thing he had eaten. Metaphorically, this was the mountain of anger, because when one gets angry, he cannot see himself nor will he realize the intensiveness of his anger. But when he controls himself and his anger subsides, it shall become like a morsel which can be easily swallowed.”51
The scholars of ethics have offered solutions for anger by which one can get rid of it. Firstly, one should see what the root of his anger is. Arrogance, self-conceit, obstinacy, derision, greed, enmity, and love of wealth are the main factors behind anger. Secondly, one should carefully read traditions on the prohibition of anger. Thirdly, one should study traditions on Taqwa in relation to anger. Fourthly, one should look into traditions about forbearance and endurance and realize that there is an authority above all and that is God. Fifthly, one should realize that anger is a disease and it must be cured. Sixthly, one should see how prophets treated their tribes.
See how kindly the Holy Prophet (SAW) treated a rude Bedouin. It is related that a man from the Bani Salim tribe came to the Holy Prophet while carrying a sword and a lizard in his lap. He shouted loudly: “O Mohammad! You are a sorcerer and liar. Heaven and earth have not seen a liar like you. You imagine that God has raised you from among people. I swear by Lat and Uzza52 that I would kill you with this sword if my relatives would not call me hasty.”
The Holy Prophet’s companions lost patience. Umar said: “O Messenger of Allah, if you permit, I will kill him!” The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “Sit in your place! A forbearing man is entitled to become a prophet!” Then, he said: “O Arab brother! Who are you looking for? Embrace Islam so that you will be saved from the fire of Hell.” The man became angrier…after seeing the proof, the heart of the man was illuminated with the light of faith. He said spontaneously: “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
When the man embraced Islam, the Holy Prophet (SAW) turned to his companions and said: “Teach him some verses of the Quran.” Then the Holy Prophet asked about his financial state. The man said: “By God, I am the poorest one among the Bani Salim tribe.”
Turning to his companions, the Holy Prophet said: “Who shall give him a camel that I will ensure paradise for him?” Sa’d ibn Ebadah gave him a red camel. Then the Holy Prophet (a.s.) described the camel he would have in paradise.
Turning again to his companions, the Holy Prophet said: “Who shall give him a crown that I will ensure the crown of piety for him?” Imam Ali (AS) put his own turban on the head of the man and asked the Holy Prophet about the crown in paradise. The Holy Prophet elaborated it.
For the third time, turning to his companions, the Holy Prophet said: “Who shall give him food that I will ensure his provision for the hereafter?” Salman asked: “What is the provision of the hereafter?” The Holy Prophet said: “I ensure that, at dying, the tongue shall utter: ‘there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah’. If this does not happen, neither you shall meet me, nor shall I meet you.’
In order to give the man food, Salman went to the house of one of the Prophet’s wives, but nothing was gained. He passed by the house of Fatima (the Prophet’s daughter), saying to himself: “All good is here.” He knocked the door. Lady Fatima (a.s.) was behind the door. Salman told her the story of the man. Lady Fatima (a.s.) said: “We have not had food for three days. My sons, Hassan and Hossain, are hungry too, but I will not reject benevolence. Take my dress to Simon (Sham’oon) the Jew, and leave it with him as pledge for some barley and some dates.”
Salman took the dress to the Jew and told him the story. Looking at the dress, Simon said: “This is the same asceticism and piety that the prophet Musa (AS) has taught us in the Torah.” He professed Islam and offered barley and dates to Salman who took them to Lady Fatima. She made flour, kneaded it, baked bread, and gave it to Salman.
Salman said to her: “Take a loaf of bread for Hasan and Hosain.” Lady Fatima (a.s.) said: “I will never take back what I have given in the way of God.”
Salman brought the bread and dates to the Holy Prophet who asked: “Where from have you got these loaves of bread and dates?” Salman said: “From Fatima’s house.”
The Holy Prophet, who had not eaten for three days, went to his daughter’s house and knocked the door. He found Fatima weak and pale. He asked her: “What is the matter? Fatima said: “Dear father! We have not eaten for three days. Hasan and Hosain are hungry and asleep.” The Holy Prophet (a.s.) awakened them. He seated them on his thighs and asked Fatima (a.s.) to sit before him. At this time, Ali (a.s.) entered the house and hugged the Holy Prophet (a.s.), who looked towards the sky, saying: “O Allah, my Lord and my Master! These are my household; remove uncleanness from them and purify them a thorough purification.”
Then, Fatima went to the altar of her prayer, performed a two-rak’a prayer and, raising her hands towards heaven, she said: “O Allah, my Master! This is Mohammad, Your Messenger, and these are Hasan and Hosain, the grandsons of Your Messenger. O Allah! Send down heavenly food for us in the same way that You sent down heavenly food for the Children of Israel who ate from it and disbelieved in it! O Allah, send it to us. Surely, we will believe it.”
She had hardly finished her supplication when a big bowl of food was sent down from heaven whose smell was better than musk. Fatima put her hand round the bowl and brought it to the Holy Prophet.
Seeing that, Ameerul Mo’minin asked: “Fatima! Where has it come from?” The Messenger of Allah said: “O Abul Hasan! Eat from it and do not ask any question.” Then, he said: “Praise be to Allah Who does not desire food for anyone but one who is like the daughter of Imran: “Whenever Zakariya entered the sanctuary to (see) her, he found with her food. He said: O Maryam! Whence comes this to you? She said: It is from Allah. Surely Allah gives to whom He pleases without measure.”53
The Holy Prophet, Ali, Hasan and Hossain ate from that food. After some time, the Holy Prophet (a.s.) came out of Fatima’s house. He went to the man from the Bani Salim tribe. He gave him some provision and a camel and saw him off. When the man went to his tribe, he cried out: “Say there is no god but Allah and Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The elderly men of his tribe drew their swords, saying: “Have you converted to the religion of Mohammad who is a sorcerer and liar?” The man said: “Mohammad is neither a sorcerer nor a liar, O people of Bani Salim! The God of Mohammad is the best God, and Mohammad is the best messenger.” When the man expressed his spiritual state, four thousand people embraced Islam on the same day.”54
Such behavior of pardoning and forgiving has been related about the Holy Prophet (SAW) on many occasions.
To find a cure for such a vice, it would be better to have a look at the states of the Imams of guidance and the rightful successors of the Messenger of Allah. Take the states of Ameerul Mo’minin into consideration. You can see how he treated his own killer, the cursed Ibn Moljam, who was most wicked.
Take into consideration the pardon, forbearance and endurance of his (Imam Ali) sons. You can see how Imam Hasan (AS) treated a rude man from Sham. Have a look at the behavior of Imam Baqir (AS) towards the man from Sham, and of Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (AS) towards al-Amri and their reactions to the rude people. It is the best model to follow in repelling anger.
The states of Imam Sajjad (AS) are the best ways to fight against anger. A relative insulted Imam Sajjad (a.s.) and went away. Turning to his companions, Imam Sajjad (a.s.) said: “Did you hear what he said? Let us go and visit him and see his reaction.” The companions said: “You should reply to him!”
On the way, Imam Sajjad (AS) kept on reciting the verse “…and those who restrain their anger and pardon men...”55 The companions found out that the Imam (AS) was not going to show any reaction. When they reached the house of that man, they called him. The man, who had the impression that the Imam (AS) had come to retaliate, prepared himself for such a reaction. But the Imam (AS) went forward, saying: O brother! If those bad things you said about me are true (in me), may God forgive me, and if they are not in me, may God forgive you.”
The man, who had become ashamed, came forward, kissed the Imam‘s forehead, and said: “I am worthier of those accusations, and they are not in you.”56
No one should say that these acts are only the features of the infallible Imams who were tolerant and that we cannot act like them. We should know that those, who were educated by the same Imams, have the same features too. An example is Malik al-Ashtar. One day, Malik was passing through the market of Kufa. A man from the market threw a hazelnut at him, thinking that Malik, who was wearing shabby clothes, was an ordinary man. Malik was one of the leaders appointed by Ameerul Mo’minin. He was the one about whom Imam Ali (AS) said: “Can any woman give birth to one like Malik?”
Describing Malik, Ibn Abil Hadeed writes: “Malik was courageous, noble, forbearing, a very eloquent poet, and a great man of the Shia who had an honorable position in supporting Imam Ali (AS).”
Then he says: “How great mother she is who has reared such a man as al-Ashtar. If one takes an oath that God Almighty has not created anyone more courageous than he is except his master Ali ibn Abi Talib, I would not fear for him any sin (blame).”
Malik paid no attention to the man, and walked away. A man, who was nearby and had watched the scene, said to that man: ‘Woe to you! Do you know against whom you threw that hazelnut?’ He said: ‘No!’ The man said: ‘He is Malik al-Ashtar’.
As soon as the man realized what he had done, he started shivering of fear. He went after Malik to apologize.
At this moment, Malik was busy offering prayer in the mosque. When he finished his prayer, the man went to him, greeted and bowed down to him. Malik said: “What are you doing?” The man said: “I want to make up for my boldness. I apologize to you. I did not know you.” Malik said: “It is not important. By God, I did not come to the mosque save to pray God to forgive you.”57
1- One of the other features of the pious as mentioned in the Holy Quran is pardoning. Describing paradise, God says that such a paradise is for the pious. These people have been described as: “Those who spend benevolently in ease as well as in straitness, and those, who restrain their anger and pardon people.”58
Pardoning is a feature that a few people have, for it is very difficult for people to forgive other people’s doings. There are a few people who do not decide to revenge even against an abuse or hot temper or against an act of oppression and tyranny. Pardoning is the feature of the pious. In this relation, God says: “…and it is nearer to righteousness that you should relinquish.”59
There are many verses in this relation and one of them is: “Take to forgiveness and enjoin good and turn aside from the ignorant.”60
In Majma’, it has been related that when this verse was revealed to the Holy Prophet, he asked Gabriel about the meaning of it. Gabriel said: “I do not know. I should ask God about it.” Coming back, Gabriel said: “O Mohammad! God has ordered you to forgive one who has done you wrong, forgive one who has deprived you, and to maintain relationship with one who has cut off his relation with you.” 61
In Jawami’, Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “God has ordered His Messenger of moral virtues. There is no verse in the Holy Quran except that moral virtues are introduced in it as the best.”62
In another verse, God says: “And let them pardon and show indulgence. Do you not love that Allah may forgive you?”63
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported by Imam Sadiq (AS) as saying: “Try your best to forgive and pardon (others)! Surely, forgiveness does increase man’s honor. Therefore, forgive one another so that God may honor you.”64
In a commentary on this tradition, Allamah Majlisi says: “One of the temptations of Satan is that if one does not take revenge, he shall be humiliated, whereas it is not so. To give up revenge and follow forgiveness will lead to sublimity, especially when one is in a position of power. Seeking revenge will only cause further dispute and loss of life and property which subsequently entail humiliation and regret.
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “When you overcome an enemy, choose pardon and thank God for the power you have over him (the enemy).”65
The Messenger of Allah (a.s.) has been reported by Imam Baqir(AS) as saying: “When the Day of Judgment comes, a herald will call: ‘Let those in front and back of the crowd hear it. Where are the people of superiority?’ Some people shall raise their heads, and the angels shall welcome them. Then they shall be asked: ‘What was your superiority for which you have been distinguished?’ They shall say: ‘We were offended in the worldly life, but we tolerated it. We were disrespected, but we often forgave.’ Then the herald on behalf of God Almighty shall call out: ‘My servants said the truth! Open the way for them to enter paradise without being reckoned.’”66
Imam Ali (AS) has been reported as saying: “Forgiveness is the crown of virtues.”67
“Forgiveness is the alms of power.”68
“Forgiveness is the best of benevolence.”69
“Forgiveness is a virtue and excellence.” 70
“Forgiveness is the best of benediction.”71
“Forgiveness is the ornament of power.”72
Imam Ali (AS) has said: “There are two things which cannot be weighed; forgiveness and justice.”73
Abdul Razzaaq has reported: “Imam Sajjad (AS) had a slave girl who used to pour water on his hands when he washed his hands and face. One day, the pitcher fell off her hand on the face of the Imam (AS), injuring his face. The Imam (AS) raised his head and had a look at the slave girl who said: God Almighty states: “Those who restrain (their) anger.”74 The Imam (AS) said: ‘I have restrained my anger.’ The slave girl said, “And pardon people.”75 The Imam (AS) said: ‘May God pardon you.’ The slave girl said: “And Allah loves the doers of good.”76 The Imam (AS) said: ‘Go! You are free!’77
In relation to forgiveness, we should truly follow the examples of our Imams.
The forgiveness of the prophets like Joseph, Noah, Jesus, Moses, and especially the Holy prophet of Islam (peace be on them all) is outstanding.
When the Holy Prophet (SAW) conquered Mecca, he gave the standard to Sa’d ibn Ibadah. Sa’d cried out: “Today is the day of captivity and killing of the people of Mecca. God has humiliated the people of Quraish.” Abu Sofyan came to the Holy Prophet, saying: “Have you ordered the killing of your tribe? Sa’d says such a thing. For the sake of Allah, give it up! You are the best of people and the most merciful one.” The Holy Prophet rose up before people and said: “Today is the day of mercy. God has honored the Quraish.”
He then dismissed Sa’d ibn Ibadah from his position, handed the standard to Ali and said: “Take this and say loudly, today is the day of mercy.”
Ali (a.s.) took the standard and curried out what his cousin had said. After breaking some of the idols, the Holy Prophet told Ali to bring down some idols which were on the top of the Ka’ba. Ali (a.s.) put his feet on the shoulders of the Holy Prophet, threw down the idols and broke them. The images and icons of prophets and angels, which the atheists had painted, were removed from the Ka’ba walls and monotheistic mottos like, “there is no God but Allah, He is one, He has kept His promise, given victory to His servants, and defeated all the parties alone” were chanted. Turning to the Meccans, The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: “What do you have in mind and what do you say?”
They said: “We speak good and we think good. You are an honorable brother and honorable nephew who have gained power over us.” These words impressed the tenderhearted prophet that his eyes were filled with tears. The people of Mecca started weeping too. The Holy Prophet (SAW) then said: “I say the same thing that my brother Joseph said. “(There shall be) no reproof against you this day; Allah may forgive you, and He is the most Merciful of the merciful.””78
You were bad kinsmen for your prophet. You denied and expelled him from among you. You harmed me with all kinds of harms and were not satisfied with that, until you came to Medina and fought me. I forgive you. Go wherever you wish. You are free (tulaqa’).”79
The poems of ibn Seifi refers to the same thing. A reliable Sunni Muslims called Sheikh Nasrollah ibn Majlisi reports: “One night I saw Ameerul Mo’minin in my dream. I said to him: ‘O Ali, you conquer Mecca and declare that whoever enters Abu Sofyan’s house is safe, but on the Day of Ashura, what the sons of Abu Sofyan did to your son and what great oppression against hi they did!’
The Imam said : ‘Have you heard Ibn Seifi’s poem about this?’
I said: ‘No!’
The Imam (AS) said: ‘Go to him and take the poem!’
After waking up, I went to him and told him about my dream. Hearing my dream, he was greatly amazed and he began weeping. He swore that no one had ever heard even one word from that poem. Then, he started reciting the poem:80
“We were I power, and pardoning was our nature,
But when you were in power, a stream of bloods flowed.
You allowed the killing of captives,
but how often we pardoned and forgave captives.
It is enough this difference between us (and you),
And every vessel exudes of what it has in it.”
Pardon and forgiveness of the Imams of guidance (AS) is the best lesson of civility.
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “When the month of Ramadan came, Ali ibn al-Hossein (AS) did not punish his slave girls and slave boys. He would take a note of their disobediences until the last night of that month when he gathered and made them confess their misbehaviors. Then, he would stand in the middle of them and say loudly: ‘Repeat what I say!’ Then, he would say: ‘O Ali ibn al-Hossein! Surely, your Lord has reckoned on you what you have reckoned on us. With Him is a Book which will speak truthfully against you of what you committed and you have done. He has not neglected any small or great doing. Therefore, forgive us as you expect God to forgive you…as the Holy Quran says: “And they should pardon and show indulgence. Do you not love that Allah may forgive you?”
Shedding tears, Ali ibn al-Hossain then would say: ‘O Lord! You have ordered us to forgive one who has done injustice to us. Forgive us then as You have ordered so. O Lord, You are more deserving of forgiveness than we are. You Who have said: ‘Do not drive a beggar away from the door, we are now at the threshold of Your door, hoping for forgiveness! We ask You to forgive us.
O Lord! Do us a favor! Do not make me desperate! Make me among those who have enjoyed Your blessings.’
Turning to the slaves, the Imam (AS) said: ‘I have forgiven you! Have you forgiven me too?’ They said: ‘We have forgiven you!’ Then the Imam (AS) asked the slaves to say: ‘O Allah! Forgive Ali ibn al–Hossain as he has forgiven us, and set him free from Fire as he has set us free from slavery.’ They repeated the same and then the Imam (AS) said: Amen, O Lord of the worlds!’
Then the Imam (AS) said: ‘Go, for I have forgiven and set you free, hoping that God may forgive and set me free from Fire.’”81
Such states are much seen in the infallible Imams’ lives. We ask God to make us the true followers of them to enjoy such states.
2- Another feature, with which God has described the pious, is the “fear of Allah”, openly and hiddenly, though God has spoken much of the hiddenly fear in the Holy Quran. Perhaps, this is because even the impious apparently fear God, but what is important about Taqwa is to fear God in secret.
The Lord of the universe says: “And We verily gave Moses and Aaron the Criterion (of right and wrong) and a light and a Reminder for those who keep from evil, those who fear their Lord in secret and they are fearful of the Hour.”82
Yes! The fear of God which is the fear of disobeying His orders and the fear of His greatness and might is the feature of every pious man. Hence, both the Quranic verses and the traditions have repeatedly mentioned it: “And he who obeys Allah and His Apostle, and fears Allah, and is careful of his duty to Him, these indeed are the victorious.”83
In another verse, we read: “Allah has revealed a most excellent discourse; a book conformable to itself, and containing repeated admonitions. The skins of those who fear their Lord shrink for fear thereat...”84
The messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “When the skin of man shudders from the fear of God, his sins shall fall down (be omitted) as the leaves of a tree fall down.”85
God says: “And as for him who fears to stand in the presence of his Lord and forbids the soul from low desires, then surely the garden shall be the abode.”86
The reason why the learned fear Allah mostly is because of their knowledge of God and His attributes. It is due to the same reason that the Messenger of Allah has been reported as saying: “I am the most fearful of Allah and the most careful of my duty to Him.”87
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “whoever acknowledges God will fear Him, and whoever fears Him will keep away from the worldly desires.”88
In a commentary on this tradition, Allamah Majlisi writes: “Whoever acknowledges the glory of God and His control over everything will fear Him, and whoever acknowledges his need of God and realizes that his survival and perfection depends on Him will be fearful of receiving all these blessings, and whoever is fearful will turn away from the world and desires.
Men of hearts (thoughtful people) believe that this world is the farm of the hereafter; the heart is the soil, faith is the seed, and devotion is the plowing of the earth. A heart absorbed by the worldly pleasures is a wasteland in which nothing grows. The Day of Judgment is the harvest time. Therefore, one does not know whether his heart is a farmland or a wasteland. His fear and hope are because of that he does not know whether he can or not reap, on the Day of Judgment, what he has sown.
There are many Quranic verses in this relation, but here we will mention some traditions.
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) has been reported as saying: “There are four pillars to Taqwa, one of which is the fear of Allah.”89
Imam Sadiq (AS) was asked: “What was there in the last will of Luqman?” The Imam (AS) said: “There was something amazing in it. He said to his son: ‘Fear God Almighty so much that if you bring to Him all the good of men and Jinn, He will punish you, and be hopeful of Him so much that if you bring all the sins of men and Jinn to Him, He will have mercy on you.”
Then, the Imam (AS) reported his father as saying: “There is no believer except that there are two lights in his heart; the light of fear and the light of hope. They should be in a way that no one is more than the other is.”90
Ishaq ibn Ammar narrated: “Imam Sadiq (AS) said to me: ‘O Ishaq! Fear God as if you see Him. If you think that He does not see you, you have become an unbeliever. If you know that He sees you and then you commit sins, you make Him the humblest of the observers over you.”91
Hamzah ibn Hamran narrated: “I heard Imam Sadiq (AS) say: ‘One of the sermons of the Holy Prophet (SAW) which has been preserved up to now is as follows: ‘O people! There are signs for you (every deed you do you shall its sign and effects), so be careful of your signs and effects (be careful to do deeds whose signs and effects shall be good) and there is a destination for you (paradise or hell) which you will finally reach.
Be aware! A believer’s deed is between two features; the time which has passed and he does not know what God will do with it and the time which has remained and he does not know what God will judge on it. Therefore, a servant of God should take from himself for himself and from his worldly life for his next world. He should take something from his youth for the old age and from his life for his death. (I swear) by Him in Whose Hand the life of Muhammad is, there is no excuse after this world, and thereafter, there is no home but paradise and fire.’”92
Some of the scholars like Allamah Majlisi in a commentary on this tradition have said: “Ma’alim (signs) are the Quranic verses which denote the leadership of the Imams and the necessity to obey them, or what is known of the injunctions of the Book and the Sunnah which include convincing and reasonable proofs.”
Majlisi adds: “They may include what is valid of divine signs in the horizons and in man’s self or they are the Imams, for they are the standards of lawful and unlawful things.”
Allamah Majlisi says: “‘Nihayah’ or ultimate is the Imam (AS), for there is no more than one Imam (AS) in every age. It can also mean a person who is near to God according to his capability.”
The late Faiz says: “‘Ma’lam’ is the signpost put on roads to show the name of roads and directions like those showing the direction to the Holy Mosque in Mecca.”
Faiz further says: “Perhaps, it means ‘the signposts of religion and religious law’ which lead man to his resting-place in paradise and the abode of (eternal) settlement.”
There are many traditions about this matter. In this relation, Abu Hamza ath-Thumali has reported Imam Sajjad (AS) as saying: “A man, with his family embarked on a ship, but the ship was wrecked. They were all drowned except the wife of the man. The woman resorted to a plank and saved her life. She took refuge to an island where she met a highwayman who had committed all kinds of sin. Seeing the woman, the man said: ‘Are you a human being or a fairy?’ The woman said: ‘I am a human being!’ The man attempted to molest her. The woman shivered with fear. The man said: ‘Why are you so afraid?’ The woman said: ‘Go away from here. I am afraid of this (pointing to heaven).’ The man asked: ‘Have you ever done an indecent act?’ The woman said: ‘You are so decent, yet you fear God so much. I am worthier of fearing God than you are.’
The man rose up, left her, and went way. On his way, he saw a monk who traveled with him. The hot sun was overhead. Turning to the man, the monk said: ‘Call on God to send a cloud to cast its shade on us.’ The man said: ‘I do not have any good deed with my Lord, so I do not dare to ask Him for anything.’ The monk said: ‘I will pray then and you say amen!’ The man said: ‘Very well!’
The monk prayed and the man said amen. Soon, a cloud appeared and cast its shade on them. They were both walking under the shade of the cloud until they reached an intersection. The monk took one way and the man took another way. The monk saw that the cloud was moving with that man. The monk said: ‘You are better than I am. Your prayer has been answered and not mine. Tell me what the matter is.’ The man told him his story with that woman. The monk said: ‘Your past sins have been forgiven because of your fear, so watch for your future!”93
Imam Sajjad (AS) has said: “Among the Children of Israel, there was a man who used to exhume graves (after burying the dead in them). One of his neighbors, who became ill and was about to die, sent for the exhumer, saying to him: ‘What kind of neighbor was I to you?’ The exhumer said: ‘You are the best neighbor.’ The neighbor said: ‘I want to ask you something.’ The exhumer said: ‘What do you want me to do?’
The neighbor presented two shrouds to him, saying: ‘Take the best one of these two, but promise not to exhume my grave when I am buried.’
The exhumer refused to take one of the shrouds, but the neighbor insisted so much that he accepted to take one.
When the neighbor died and was buried, the exhumer said to himself: ‘Well, he is dead and buried. How does he know whether I have taken his shroud or have observed my promise?’
Therefore, he went to the grave to exhumed it. He was busy exhuming when he heard a loud cry: ‘Do not do it!’ The exhumer left the grave and regretted his act. From that time on, he gave up his bad deed. Addressing his sons, he said: ‘What kind of father was I to you?’ They said: ‘You were a good father.’ He said: ‘I want you to do something for me.’ They said: ‘We will do whatever you say.’ The man said: ‘Burn my body whenever I die, and when my body turns into ashes, blow half of my ashes in the desert and the other half in the sea.’
When the man died, his sons did according to his last will. When they blew the ashes, God Almighty said to the desert: ‘Gather what is there in you’, and said to the sea: ‘Gather what is there in you.’ When the man stood before Almighty Allah, Allah asked him, ‘ What made you to make such a will to your children to do? He said: ‘O Lord! By Your honor, it was because of the fear of you!’ God Almighty said: ‘I will please your opponents, relieve your from, and forgive you.’”94
Leith ibn Abi Salim narrated: “I heard a man from the Ansar say: ‘One day, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) was sitting under the shade of a tree in a hot summer day when he saw a man taking off his shirt, putting his bare body, back, belly, and forehead on the hot earth, saying: ‘O myself! Taste it! What is with God Almighty is greater than what you have done to yourself!’
The Messenger of Allah (SAW), who was watching that scene, called the man and said to him: ‘O servant of Allah! I saw something from you that I had never seen from others. What made you do that?’ The man said: ‘The fear of Allah made me do so. I said to my self: Taste it! What is with God is greater than what you have done to yourself.’
The Holy prophet (SAW) said: ‘Actually, you feared God as you should have feared Him. Your Lord takes pride in you before the angels.’
Turning to his companions, the Holy Prophet (a.s.) said: ‘O you who are present! Bring your friend here so that he will pray for you.’
They brought the man who prayed for them, saying: ‘O Lord! Set our affair in guidance. Make piety be our provision and paradise our resting place.’”95
We would better follow such models and look into the states of the prophets like Yahya ibn Zakariyya and the infallible Imams, peace be on them all, and see their fear of God. We should see how Ameerul Mo’minin looked pale whenever he intended to perform ablution, or how Imam Hasan (AS) began shivering because of the fear of God whenever he intended to perform prayer. Aa’ishah narrated: “Whenever the prayer time came, the Messenger of Allah looked as if he did not know us and we did not know him.”96
Habbah al-Urani narrated: “One night, Nawf al-Bikali and I were sleeping in front of the house. When some hours of night passed, we saw Ameerul Mo’minin, putting his hand on the wall like a fascinated lover, reciting this verse:
“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.”97
After reciting this verse, Imam Ali (AS) asked: ‘O Habbah! Are you asleep or awake?’ I said: ‘I am awake! When you are in such a state, what else should we do?’
I saw the Imam (AS) while tears dropping from his eyes. He then said: ‘O Habbah! There is a station for God and there is a station for us. Nothing of our deeds is hidden from Him. O Habbah! Surely, God is nearer to us than our vein is. O Habbah! Nothing can hide us from the eyes of God.’ Turning to Nawf, Imam Ali (AS) said: ‘O Nawf, are you asleep?’ He said: ‘No, O Ameerul Mo’minin! How can I go to sleep when your state tonight made me weep?’ The Imam (AS) said: ‘O Nawf! If you keep on weeping for fear of God Almighty tonight, your eyes shall be radiant tomorrow (on the Day of Resurrection) before God Almighty!’”98
- 1. Qur'an, 39:33.
- 2. Qur'an, 2:177.
- 3. Kholasat al-Manhaj, p. 100.
- 4. Qur'an, 9:119.
- 5. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 2, p. 18.
- 6. Qur'an, 33:23.
- 7. Qur'an, 26:6.
- 8. Wafi, vol. 3, p. 82.
- 9. Ibid.
- 10. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 66, p. 3.
- 11. Wafi, vol. 3, p. 83.
- 12. Khisal, vol., p. 184.
- 13. Sirat is a bridge over the Hell to be crossed by all human beings on the Day of Reckoning.
- 14. Qur'an, 2:3-4.
- 15. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 66, pp. 64,67.
- 16. Ibid., p. 69.
- 17. Ibid., pp. 66,68.
- 18. Qur'an, 2:3.
- 19. Qur'an, 2:3.
- 20. Mizan al-Hikmah.
- 21. Mizan al-Hikmah
- 22. Qur'an, 3:133.
- 23. Qur'an, 2:177.
- 24. Qur'an, 2:241.
- 25. Qur'an, 3:92.
- 26. Qur'an, 92:17-21.
- 27. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 93, p. 114.
- 28. Ibid., p. 124.
- 29. Amaali of Skeikh Sadooq.
- 30. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 93, p. 120.
- 31. Ibid., p. 121.
- 32. Ibid., p. 122.
- 33. Ibid.
- 34. Ibid., p. 123.
- 35. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 93, p. 123.
- 36. Ibid., p. 126.
- 37. Qur'an, 9:104.
- 38. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 93, p. 127.
- 39. Bihar al-Anwar, vol., 46, p. 74.
- 40. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 93, p. 146.
- 41. Qur'an, 4:38.
- 42. Qur'an, 2:264.
- 43. Qur'an, 3:133-134.
- 44. Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 90
- 45. Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 90
- 46. Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 299
- 47. Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 231.
- 48. Ibid.
- 49. Ibid.
- 50. Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 299.
- 51. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 418.
- 52. Idols worshipped by the people of Quraysh in the pre-Islamic times.
- 53. Qur'an, 3:37.
- 54. Rayaheen al-Sharee’ah, vol. 1, p. 130.
- 55. Qur'an, 3:134.
- 56. Montaha al-Aamaal, vol. 2, p. 5.
- 57. Majmouah Waram, p. 2
- 58. Qur'an, 3:134.
- 59. Qur'an, 2:237.
- 60. Qur'an, 7:199.
- 61. Kholasat al-Manhaj, vol. 2, p. 171.
- 62. Ibid.
- 63. Qur'an, 24:22.
- 64. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 401.
- 65. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 427.
- 66. Ibid., p. 419.
- 67. Ghurar al-Hikam.
- 68. Ibid.
- 69. Ibid.
- 70. Ibid.
- 71. Ibid.
- 72. Ibid.
- 73. Ghurar al-Hikam.
- 74. Qur'an, 3:134.
- 75. The same verse.
- 76. The same verse.
- 77. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 414.
- 78. Qur'an, 12:92.
- 79. Montaha al-Aamaal, vol. 1, p. 92.
- 80. Dar al-Salam Noori vol. 1, p. 315
- 81. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 103.
- 82. Qur'an, 21:48-49.
- 83. Qur'an, 24:52.
- 84. Qur'an, 39:23.
- 85. Majma al-Bayan, vol. 8, p. 459.
- 86. Qur'an, 79:40-41.
- 87. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 67, p. 344.
- 88. Ibid., p. 357.
- 89. Ganj Jawahir Danesh.
- 90. Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 55.
- 91. Ibid.
- 92. Ibid., p. 57.
- 93. Al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 56.
- 94. Bihar al-Anwar, vol.67, p. 377
- 95. Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 67, p. 378.
- 96. Safeenat al-Bihar.
- 97. Qur'an, 3:191.
- 98. Safeenat al-Bihar, vol. 1, p. 95.