Husayn (‘a) ’S Letter From Karbala To His Brother, Muhammad

Mayassar ibn Abd al-Aziz reported that Abu Ja‘far (‘a) has said: Husayn ibn Ali (‘a) sent a letter from Karbala to Muhammad ibn Ali. [It read]: “In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. From Husayn ibn Ali to Muhammad ibn Ali and the Hashimites who are with him. [Know that] the world is as if it has never been and the hereafter is as if it has always been. Peace.”1

The Reason The Letter Was Written

Husayn (‘a) wrote this letter from Karbala to his brother Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah at a critical juncture in the history of this nation. The Umayyads had gone to great lengths in tyranny and had corrupted Islamic society. They had succeeded in spreading terror, temptation and deception to different regions of the Islamic world, and the people had responded to this three-pronged agent of control and acquiesced to the oppression and corruption that was being perpetrated by the Umayyads. They altered the outlines of this religion to such an extent that nothing would have remained of Islam but its name, as Husayn (‘a) said: “Then bid farewell to Islam for the nation has been afflicted with a shepherd like Yazid.”

On the one side, the people had been possessed by fear and terror and their preference for safety and well-being, and on the other by enticements. Imam Husayn (‘a) had witnessed this severe trial in all its ramifications as he traveled from Medina to Karbala... And now here he was confronting the army of the Umayyads. He was the son of the daughter of the Messenger of God (S), and one about who no one was in any doubt as to his honour in the sight of God and his eligibility for the leadership of the Muslims. With all this, no one stood by him from this nation, large as it was, except seventy-two souls from his family and companions.

There were two faces to this tribulation: an external one in the form of the political and social life of the nation that came under the oppression and corruption of the Umayyads, and an internal one which was the minds of the people with their love for the world, personal well-being and anxiety about death. Between these two faces a clear reciprocal relationship existed, for terror and corruption results in weakness and mental impotence, and love for the world enables the rulers to oppress and corrupt the people.

Yes, Husayn (‘a) was facing a big problem, as big as the Islamic world itself. It was two-sided, one inside the minds and the other in the political life of the nation. He was working to change both. On the first front he was working in order to condemn the rule of the Umayyad family, nullify the legitimacy of their power and expose their crimes and corruption to the Muslims. On the second front, the Imam was trying to break away the barrier of fear from the minds of the Muslims and imbue them with enthusiasm, bring back the will-power which they had been robbed of and restore their trust, strength, courage, and reliance on God.

The Imam was striving to remove the widespread defeatist tendency that was affecting the Muslims. He knew that the reason behind all this defeatism was internal: love for the world and neglect of the hereafter. He thought that the way to treat this terrible psychological problem was to make the hereafter the object of desire not the world, and make them overcome the fear of death. It was against this background that the Imam wrote to his brother Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah and addressed the community of his grandfather. He presented the diagnosis of the problem and gave the precise prescription for its treatment.

“[Know that] the world is as if it has never been and the hereafter is as if it has always been. Peace.”

Devotion To God And Withdrawing From The World

The statement of the Imam, precise as it was, contained the whole solution: exclusive devotion to God by reducing the charm and glamour of the world. The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) once said concerning Uthman ibn Maz‘un (may God have mercy on him) “I used to have a brother in [faith and the love of] God whose contempt for the world exalted him in my eyes.” In addition to cutting down the fascinating effect of the world, one has to attach great importance to the hereafter in his mind and arouse interest in it. This is what the Imam alluded to in his address: “[Know that] the world is as if it had never been and the hereafter is as if it has always been.”

Now let us ponder over this statement of the Imam and discuss both parts of it. But before that we shall ask: what is ‘the world’ and what is ‘the hereafter’?

What Are The World And The Hereafter?

What is meant by the world is attachment to it and what is meant by the hereafter is having a relationship with God and wanting to meet Him. With this, one can live in the world while being among the people of the next world, and we can describe them as living in the world and not living in it.

They are living in it in the sense that they move amidst the worldly people in their normal activities such as business transactions and family life. However, they do not live in this world since their hearts never get attached to it, nor does the world penetrate into their hearts. Their hearts are only attached to God: they sense, in this world, the blessings of paradise and the torment of hell.

How Can A Person Be Among The People Of The Hereafter While Living In This World?

If we want to know how one can be among the people of the hereafter while still living in this world, and how one can treat the malaise of attachment to the world and free his soul from it and subsequently attach himself to the hereafter, we have to ponder over these words with which the Imam (‘a) addressed Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah: ... “[Know that] the world is as if it has never been and the hereafter is as if it has always been.”

Worldly life will surely come to an end and one’s relationship with the world will not last; all that one acquires in this world and one’s attachments will finish. It is the hereafter that is permanent:

“What is with you will be exhausted but what is with God is permanent.” (16:96).

What is with us is our possessions and what we are attached to in the life of this world, and what is with God is the peace and pleasure of the next world.

God Most High says:

"The parable of the life of this world is that of water which we send down from the sky. It mingles with the earth’s vegetation from which humans and cattle eat. When the earth puts on its luster and is adorned, and its inhabitants think they have power over it, Our edict comes to it, by night or day, whereat we turn it into a mown field, as if it did not flourish the day before. Thus, do we elaborate the signs for a people who reflect” (10:24).

It is the permanent and enduring pleasures that deserve man’s attachment instead of the fleeting enjoyments that quickly disappear and cannot last for man. Every enjoyment is fitted for man’s affection to the extent for which it lasts for him, and the relationship between the duration of worldly pleasures and those of the next world is the same as the relationship that exists between the limited and the unlimited or the absolute. So the proportion of one’s attachment to the world and the hereafter should be the same as the proportion of the duration of limited worldly pleasures to that of the limitless pleasures of the hereafter.

Man’s attachment to this world and its pleasures and his disregard for the hereafter often stem from an illusion of the permanence of, as well as, his false hopes in, the former and forgetfulness with regard to the hereafter. This is the consequence of illusion and forgetfulness.

The cure for this condition is for one to assume that the world has never been. This assumption will soon come true willy-nilly, for when all that pertains to the world is taken away from him it will be as though the world has never been. Secondly, one should assume that the hereafter is already here, and it will also soon come, because for each individual, the hereafter starts when he breathes his last. These two suppositions, which are very near to reality, are indeed the remedy for that baseless illusion and forgetfulness.

From The Hereafter To The Hereafter

Based on this conception of the world and the hereafter, when the sons of the hereafter leave this world they, in fact, leave the hereafter for the hereafter and not the world for the hereafter. This is because they have never really lived in this world nor has it ever become wedded to their hearts, to have necessitated their removal from it to the next world: they were already living in the hereafter before moving to the hereafter. Based on this understanding of the world and the hereafter mankind fall into four classes:

The first class, which moves from the world to the world.

The second class which moves from the hereafter to the world

The third class which moves from the world to the hereafter.

The fourth class which moves from the hereafter to the hereafter.

The first class: The people who move from the world to the world are those who do everything in this world for its sake only; they never seek God’s pleasure and other-worldly reward at all. All their activities are from the world and back to it because if, for instance, they leave the house for the shop they are moving from the world to the world: their stay in the house is for worldly concerns, likewise is the time they spend in the shop.

The second class: The people who move from the hereafter to the world are those who are transformed from attachment to the hereafter to attachment to the world, and after having worked for God’s sake they become egoistic. Such people change from a position of work and activity for God’s sake to gain his pleasure and the reward of the hereafter, to that of seeking worldly benefits; thus they turn away from God towards the world.

The third class: the people who move from the world towards the hereafter are in direct opposition to the second class. This group forsakes the fleeting possessions of this world and refuses to be attached to it, and instead seeks the pleasure of God and the rewards of the hereafter and courts it.

The fourth class: Those who move from the hereafter to the hereafter. We have already talked about them. They live in the world among the people, move in business centres and streets as people do, and establish social relationships like marriage as people do, but their hearts never get attached to the world. These people move from the hereafter to the hereafter in all the activities they engage in this world.

Incentives And Barriers

Like every other activity, movement towards God has incentives and barriers. When the incentives are there and the barriers are removed man can set out on his way toward God whereas, in the opposite case, his movement towards the Almighty is hampered. Among the principal things that induce one into this activity is the yearning to meet God (in the hereafter) and among the most important barriers is love of this world and attachment to it.

For man to be able to move towards God Almighty he has to make his heart oblivious of the world so that he will not be attracted towards its lures, lest it distract him from God. This is what Imam Husayn (‘a) meant by his precise but significant and forceful words: ‘As if the world has never been’. On the other hand, one must think about the hereafter till he becomes attracted towards it. This is what the Imam intended by saying ‘As if the hereafter has always been’, that is, it has been ever since the beginning; never was it hidden nor will it ever be.

When man succeeds in concealing the world from his heart and conscience, and makes the hereafter always present, he starts off on his upward journey to Almighty God at a quick and firm pace because of the presence of a strong spur and the absence of barriers. When on the other hand, worldly matters are strong and influence the mind and feelings and the hereafter disappears from one’s heart and conscience, all activity comes to a standstill. Between the poles, there exist a number of stages by which man progresses or falls.

The Imam had witnessed widespread acquiescence to falsehood and divergence from the truth, acceptance of tyranny and submission to tyrants. The source of this situation was preference of this world over the next, safety over tribulation, and the fear of death, apprehension and pursuit, and their attendant difficulties. And the root cause of all this is love for this world and disregard for the hereafter.

The Imam (‘a) wanted to address that phenomenon which was widespread among the people at that time so he wrote that letter to Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah and through him, to the Hashimites who were with him and to the rest of the people.

Now we shall study these two points from Imam Husayn (‘a)’s letter:

‘As If The World Has Never Been’

The assumption ‘As if the world has never been’ is not an empty one; it is a reality which the Imam portrays in this way. The basis of this supposition is to consider despicable the value, duration and enjoyments of this world. This scorn for the world means divesting it of all value and consequence except, of course, where the world constitutes a means of building the hereafter and discharging the duties of servitude to God and carrying out one’s responsibilities as His viceroy on earth. In this case the world per se loses all value to man ‘as if the world has never been.’ It is related in Islamic texts that the example of man in this world is like that of a traveler who takes rest in the shade of a tree for an hour or so on a hot day, and then leaves it and goes on. Such is man’s stay in the world.

The Messenger of God (S) is reported to have said: “What do I have to do with the world? My relationship with the world is only like the case of a rider on a summer day that takes rest for an hour or so in the day in the shade of a tree, and then goes away.”2

It is reported from the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) who said: “The world is not a permanent home and you are in it, like riders who erected a canopy and took some rest and then carried their belongings and went away. They were light when they entered it but burdened when they left it. They did not desire to leave it nor have they found a way of returning to what they left in it.”3

The Messenger of God (S) was asked: ‘How does a man live in the world?’ ‘The way the caravan passes’, he replied. ‘How long does one stay in it?’ the questioner asked. ‘As long as the one who is left behind by the caravan stays’, he replied. Then the questioner asked: ‘How much is [the lapse] between the world and the hereafter?’ ‘The twinkle of an eye’, he replied, ‘God, the Mighty and Sublime, has said: “The day when they see what they are promised [it will be] as though they had remained only an hour of a day.” (47:35).4

It is also reported from the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) that “the world is [like] the shade of a cloud or a dream in sleep.”5

In another narration he also said: “Indeed, the world is the home from which no one will be safe [while one is still] in it and one cannot retrieve anything that is part of it (the world). People have been tempted in it as a trial. Whatever they acquire of its possessions they will be made to leave behind and called to account for them. And what they take that does not belong to it (the world) they will arrive [in the hereafter] to meet it and abide by it. To the prudent, the world is comparable to the shadow, which after full length diminishes and after once increasing decreases.”6

Ali (‘a) also said concerning the world: It is never limpid for the drinker or faithful to the companion”7 These real pictures that Islamic sources depict of the world make it completely contemptible in the eyes of the people ‘as if it has never been’. This is what Husayn (‘a) wanted to tell the people on that day: that the world will not stay nor be untainted for anyone. Therefore it is inappropriate or even impermissible for a free man to submit to its dictates and abandon the responsibility to bid what is right and forbid what is wrong and to strive against the unjust, or prefer personal well-being over tribulation.

As If The Hereafter Has Always Been

The hereafter is the place for requital while the world is the place for work. In the hadith, it is stated that: today (i.e. the world) [is time for] work and not for accounting and tomorrow (i.e. the next world) [is time for] accounting and not for work. This is the most precise description of this and the next world. So what is the requital of the hereafter?

The requital of the hereafter consists of rewards and punishments, both outward and inward. The outward sensory aspect comprises paradise and hell, respectively. The inward aspect of requital is non-sensory. Starting from this world man receives the recompense of his deed, as he performs them, in the form of either elevation or regression. However, this internal aspect of one’s work is not perceived by the senses during the work. When one dies and the veil is removed from his eyes he will see it:

"We have removed your veil from your eyes and so your sight is acute today.”(50:22).

Concerning those who misappropriate the property of orphans, the holy Qur’an says:

"Indeed those who consume the property of orphans wrongfully only ingest fire into their bellies.”(4:10).

This fire which they put in their bellies when they wrongfully consume the orphan’s property is the same fire which will burn them internally in hell although they will only feel it in that world and not here. Thus they receive their reward during the act except that they do not sense it until after their death.

The blessings and torment of the next world will commensurate with man’s level of perfection or decline. Just as there are levels of perfection, there are levels of decline. The blessings or torment will reflect the level of perfection or decline he reaches. It has been related in a hadith about reciting the Qur’an, on the authority of the Messenger of God (S) that “It will be said to him (i.e. the reciter of the Qur’an): Recite and ascend. For every verse he recites he ascends one level”8

On the authority of Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin (‘a) who said: “It will be said to the person who has read the Qur’an: ‘Read and ascend’. He who enters paradise from among them will not be surpassed in position except by the prophets and the truthful ones.”9

These texts show that Qur’an reciters have varying positions in paradise and the blessings they are provided by God will be according to their position in the hereafter, which in turn will be in proportion to their positions in this world, which commensurate with what they have read of the Qur’an.

On the authority of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a): “It will be said to the reciter of the Qur’an: Read and ascend, and recite the way you were reciting in the world, for your position in the world is [proportional] to the last verse you read”10This depicts a series of proportionate things: what a believer receives of the blessings of paradise is proportionate to his position in the next world. His position in the next world is proportionate to his position in this world. His position in this world is proportionate to what he reads, comprehends and acts upon from the Qur’an. This is the meaning of ‘Read and ascend’.

A deeper and more intense portrayal of this fact is given in verse forty-six of Surah Hud where an eternal picture of Noah’s son is given as:

"Indeed he is [a personification] of unrighteous conduct.” (11:46).

This picture is among the treasures of knowledge in the Qur’an. Man is nothing but his own deeds and Noah’s son was an example of unrighteous deed. Man’s action is his position in this world and this in turn is his position in the next. Just as Noah’s son was of unrighteous conduct, there are many examples of righteous conduct in this world. If we follow the series of proportion we previously mentioned we will arrive at the amazing outcome to which Imam Husayn (‘a) draws our attention, that is, the hereafter is in fact standing before us in this world although we do not feel it.

Sensing the hereafter right here in this world balances man’s behaviour by refining his manners and freeing him from subservience to selfish desire, in setting the soul free and helping it to soar toward God and in removing the barriers that hinder his progress on the way to the Almighty.

After this presentation of Islamic texts from the Book [the Qur’an] and the Sunnah [the Prophet’s tradition] we wish to say that the position of the believer in the hereafter, whether ascending or descending, will be proportionate to his works — righteous or otherwise. Every good work that man does in this world raises him and every bad one lowers him. And the degrees by which he ascends or descends into paradise or hell respectively, depend on his position in this world.

This issue is of paramount importance in Islamic culture. In a nutshell, man encounters the recompense for his actions in this world even before the next although he does not sense it. What he receives in the hereafter in the form of blessings or torment constitutes the external aspect, whereas his internal ascendance or fall becomes his lot in this world. Man ascends and descends in this world and this ascent and descent are connected to the ascent and descent in the hereafter, except that one can remedy one’s fall in this world but cannot do so in the hereafter.

This means that one achieves nearness to God through his good works and gets distanced from Him because of his bad deeds. ‘As if one is living in the hereafter and as if it has always been.’ Therefore the hereafter is standing here in this world and this is the meaning of ‘And as if the hereafter has always been’ in Imam Husayn’s letter to Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah and the Hashimites who were with him.

The Results That Follow The Two Viewpoints

First viewpoint: Presence of this world and absence of the hereafter.

Second viewpoint: Absence of this world and presence of the hereafter. ‘As if the world has never been and as if the hereafter has always been.’

The first view urges love, attachment and devotion to the world, and disregards the hereafter, arouses inordinate hopes and expectation with regard to the world as if it will never end and forgets the hereafter as if it will never come. He who loves the world seeks to preserve himself physically and becomes a coward, shrinks from struggling and prefers safety, and loses his self-esteem and honour. The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) used to say: "The world debases.11

This explains Islam’s disapproval of the world which seduces man, and makes him lose his innate wisdom by attaching him to worldly possessions, inducing indifference towards the hereafter, making him turn away from God and finally causing his ruin. Among the outstanding consequences of this viewpoint are weakness, cowardice and humiliation; lack of a firm stand in the face of oppressors and dependence on them; and sluggishness towards fighting the oppressors, and choosing personal welfare in the life of this world.

This is what the Almighty says to such people:

"Oh you who have faith! What is the matter with you that when you are told: ‘Go forth in the way of God’, you sink heavily to the ground? Are you pleased with the life of this world instead of the hereafter? But the wares of the life of this world compared with the hereafter are but insignificant.”(9:38).

Finding pleasure in and relying on the life of this world and paying much attention to worldly property results in inertia that prevents one from struggling in the way of God. It also makes one sluggish, which is the bane of man’s activity towards God.

The Outcome Of The Second View

The greatest outcome of it is renunciation of the world and concern for the hereafter. Asceticism is a praiseworthy trait that imbues man with strength of character, courage, insight and attention to God. It makes a person take courageous stands and frees him from indecision, impotence and humiliation.

Contempt for the world and death, and concern for the hereafter are the source of all courage and resolute stands in man’s life. On the other hand, attachment and dependence on the world and giving much attention to it strips man of the power to take decisions and remain steadfast in it, leads to justifications and pretexts in giving up one’s stance, and finally, an outright denial of one’s former position.

Expelling The World From The Mind And Replacing It With The Hereafter

This is the essence of Husayn’s letter to his brother Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah and the Hashimites who were with him: erasing the world from their minds and ushering in the hereafter ‘As if the world has never been, as if the hereafter has always been’. It was a precise prescription to cure the lethargy that prevented the Muslims from taking a courageous and responsible stand against the Umayyad conspiracy which caused great damage to the Muslims and Islam. It corrupted them in mind and spirit and played havoc with their culture. It stole from them their will and conscience.

These were the stages planned by the Umayyads to destroy the cultural, intellectual and social dimensions of the then Islamic society. A vast movement was necessary to foil this conspiracy, but it had already paralyzed the people’s will and conscience to such an extent that they were no longer able to respond to the son of the daughter of God’s Messenger (S), who urged them to struggle against this plot and nullify it.

Imam Husayn (‘a) wished to cure the people’s apathy towards jihad, their weakness with regard to bidding what is good and forbidding what is bad, their inability to confront injustice and oppression, and their preference for personal safety. It was a precise prescription to remedy that situation.

First Point

The first point in this prescription is to prepare the minds to relinquish the world in order to meet God by feeling contempt for the world and its temporary enjoyments, possessions and vicissitudes. Preparing the mind in this way has a number of benefits:

1- One will not get attached to the world, nor rejoice at it, nor depend on it.

2-One will not grieve for what is lost or be filled with despair by misfortunes.

3- One will not become anxious about losing God-given bounties in the future.

The Most High says:

"So that you may not grieve for what escapes you nor exult for what comes your way.” (57:23).

Three things drive man into tribulations: joy, grief and fear. Rejoicing over worldly possessions, grief over what he loses and fear and anxiety about what he may lose in future. When he rids himself of these three hurdles the world will become inconsequential before him and he can prepare to meet God. He will be freed from the grip of fear, weakness, inertia and indecision.

The path to all this, as we have already said, is for one to undervalue the world and assume that God has provided him with things as trial in the form of wealth, spouse and children. Then he can free himself from fear, grief and rejoicing at worldly acquisitions. Attachment to the world is similar to the force of gravity with respect to the earth; if you are able to leave the earth’s gravitational field, the force of gravity that controls your movements will cease to act on you.

Similarly, if one can make his mind leave the world while still living in it he will no longer be affected by the affliction called “attachment to the world.” When people die and leave this world they become amazed at how those living are wedded to the world, its embellishments and possessions.

Islam does not ask people to live a life of seclusion or withdraw themselves from political and social circles and family life, nor abandon worldly enjoyments. This issue is too obvious to warrant any comment. It is also very clear that Islam invites people to activity in order to seek for provisions and develop the world, with the condition that the gravitational pull of the world does not overpower them or strip them of their freedom of will. This middle path is to extricate the soul from attachment to the world but not from the world per se. There is a clear difference between these two things. God Almighty has mentioned the perfect yardstick in His book:

“So that you may not grieve for what escapes you nor exult for what comes your way.” (57:23).

When we become sure of ourselves with regard to ‘grief’, ‘joy’ and ‘fear’, then one can enjoy what God has made permissible, without objection. This cannot be achieved unless one removes himself from the world’s field of attraction and this is the meaning of the well-known hadith: “Die before you die.” The first death which the hadith urges is voluntary death while the second death the hadith refers to is involuntary death.

What is required of man is to die voluntarily before the inevitable involuntary death. Voluntary death means that one should extricate oneself from attachment to the life of this world before the involuntary death removes him from the world. This is what is meant by distancing the world from the soul, and it is a hard psychological process.

This is the first point in Imam Husayn’s prescription for his brother, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, the Hashimites who were with him and the rest of the people. Man has two viewpoints before him; one of them intensifies his torment and anxiety while the other removes anxiety, torment and fear from him.

The first is the assumption that man will live very long, which is a false assumption.

The second one is that life is short. The basis of this assumption is the absence of the world in the mind of that individual who always keeps death in sight so that the world no longer seems to be under his control; or, as if he has never lived in it to encounter difficulty in separation from it.

This assumption frees man from the seduction and captivity of the world but it does not seek to isolate him from the world; it only frees the soul from getting attached to it and nothing else. The person with this view participates with people in business, in the school, on the farm, in public and at home, out of a sense of duty and responsibility and not because of attachment and dependence. The two motives differ in the sense that should any misfortune befall one’s business or affect his children he will not be overwhelmed by grief, which, one who is attached to the world will experience.

Second Point

The second point in Imam Husayn’s prescription is making the hereafter always present in the mind. This is also a difficult mental activity. The Imam’s expression of this point is an exact one: ‘As if the hereafter has always been’. That is, it has always been around since man first entered this world and will remain when he returns to God. It would have been different if he had said ‘as if the hereafter is around.’

Does the world really mean attachment to it and the hereafter meeting God? A man can live a long life in this world associating with people both at home and in public and participate in social life without getting attached to the world at all and without separating from God ever since he came to know Him through his innate nature and his intellect. Such people have entered the world, remained outside it, known God and never parted with Him. Their bodies are in the world together with the people while their hearts are averse to the worldly possessions to which the people are attached and on which they depend.

The Commander of the Faithful, Ali (‘a) gave an apt description of the condition of these people in the world, as recorded by al-Sharif al-Radi in a sermon in Nahj al-Balaghah which came to be known as the sermon of the God-fearing. He said: “If there had not been fixed periods (of life) ordained for each, their spirits would not have remained in their bodies even for the twinkling of an eye because of (their) eagerness for the reward and fear of chastisement.The greatness of the Creator is seated in their hearts, and, so, everything else appears small in their eyes.To them, Paradise is as though they see it and are enjoying its favours.To them, Hell is also as if they see it and are suffering punishment in it.”

In this sermon the Imam (‘a) mentions the mental procedure followed by these people in order to make the hereafter present before their eyes while they live and interact with the people: “And when they come across a verse which contains what creates eagerness for (Paradise) they pursue it avidly, and their spirits turn towards it eagerly, and they feel as if it is in front of them.”

This is the process of making the hereafter present which is the second point in the Imam’s letter to Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah. These two issues provide the cure for all the misfortunes one may encounter in this world, the means of freedom from one’s captivity that is caused by attachment to it and the launching pad for the journey to God Almighty. Thus man changes from a mere object that is flung around by the flow of events to an active element of change that is responsible before God for determining the fate of human beings and building society. Likewise, from being a servant of despotic rulers and their desires he turns into a caller who arouses the nation and warns oppressive rulers to mend their ways or face their doom.

  • 1. Bihar al-Anwar 45/87.
  • 2. Bihar al-Anwar, 73/123.
  • 3. Bihar al-Anwar, 78/18.
  • 4. Bihar al-Anwar, 73/122.
  • 5. Ghurar al-Hikam 1/102.
  • 6. Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon 63.
  • 7. Ghurar al-Hikam 1/85.
  • 8. Usul al-Kafi 2/441.
  • 9. Mustadrak al-Wasa’il 1/299, first lithographic edition.
  • 10. Majma’ al-Bayan 1/16.
  • 11. Ghurar al-Hikam 1/11.