Wednesday 26th of June 2019

Must refrain from co-operating with the oppressors


The twenty-ninth sin, that is classified as a Greater Sin is 'Helping the oppressors'. Fazl Ibne Shazaan has narrated from Imam Reza (a.s.) that he said concerning the Greater Sins:
"And helping the oppressors and bending (leaning) towards them."

In the narration of Amash from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) the following is mentioned, "Not helping the oppressed people is a Greater Sin." In other words helping the oppressors is also a Greater Sin.

Imam Musa Ibne Ja'far (a.s.) says:
"To participate in the activities of the oppressors and to endeavour to achieve their evil objectives and to help them is equal to infidelity and to knowingly lean towards them is a Greater Sin and deserves Hell."
(Wasaelush Shia)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) similarly says:
"On the night of ascension (Meraj), I saw the following inscription on the doors of Hell, 'DO NOT BE A HELPER OF THE OPPRESSORS.'"
(Wasaelush Shia)

It means that if one does not wish to enter Hell he must refrain from co-operating with the oppressors. Moreover, this is a sin that is promised Divine punishment by the Almighty in the Holy Quran.

"And do not incline to those who are unjust, lest the fire touch you, and you have no guardians besides Allah, then you shall not be helped."
(Surah Hud 11:113)

According to Tafseer Minhajus Sadeqeen 'do not incline' means we must not have the slightest inclination towards the oppressors. Hence we must not treat them honourably nor mix with them freely nor express our affections for them. We must not be greedy of their gifts, nor should we praise them and obey their orders. When such are the prohibitions against the oppressors, it is obvious that then it cannot be lawful to help them and co-operate with them in oppression.

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) remarks,
"One who prays for the long life of an oppressor is as if he likes the opposition of Allah on the Earth."
(Minhajus Sadeqeen)

There is an interesting incident in the book Rawzaatul Jannat concerning the author of Maqasikul Ahkam, Sayyed Muhammad. Once the Sayyed and another respected teacher, Shaykh, planned a pilgrimage to the Holy tomb of Imam Reza (a.s.) at Mashad, but when they learned that Shah Abbas Safavi was staying at Mashad they decided to cancel their visit.

Similarly under the biography of Sayyed Bahrul Uloom it is mentioned that when the Governor of Shustaran Province behaved with utmost respect with him, he says, "Before I could develop some liking for him and come under the denouncement of the Quranic Verse, I fled from that place." Thus he shifted from Dezful and settled down in Iraq for the rest of his life.

When we study the biographies of some scholars we realise how strictly they refrained from meeting, mixing with or communicating with the oppressors, so that there would not be even a remote chance for them to befriend them and help them in their activities.

Muhaddith Jazaeri writes in the book Fawaidur Rizvia that there was a person who committed some blunder in the presence of Shah Abbas Safavi and in order to escape his wrath took refuge in Mashad. Then he approached the late Mulla Ahmed (Muqaddase Ardebeli) and requested him to write to the Shah that he may forgive his mistake. Muqaddase Ardebeli wrote as follows:
"Founder of a kingdom obtained through asking, Abbas! Know that even though this man was initially an oppressor, but he is now an oppressed one. So, overlook his mistake. I hope Allah will forgive some of your mistakes."

Signed: From the slave of the king of Wilayat, Ahmed Ardebeli.

The Shah replied to his letter:
"You have been grateful upon me for ordering those things which you did (in your letter). Do not neglect me in your invocations."

Signed: Dog of the House of Ali, Abbas.

It is quoted from Tarikh Bahire that Khwaja Nizamul Mulk the Prime Minister of Malik Shah Seljuq, was very much thoughtful of the Hereafter and the Day of Judgement and he used to be fearful in this regard. During the tenure of his ministry he was a supporter of the helpless, a patron of intellectuals, and steadfast in following the religious obligations. He thought of obtaining a certificate from the scholars and intellectuals, certifying his good morals, so that the document could be kept inside his shroud during burial. He hoped to achieve salvation by this. He drafted a certificate and sent it to various scholars and intellectuals for their signatures. When it reached Baghdad and was presented before the respected teacher of Nizamiya Madrassa, Shaykh Abu Ishaq, he wrote, "I witness that Shaykh Nizamul Mulk is slightly better (oppressor) from among the oppressors."

When Khwaja saw the remark of Abu Ishaq, he wept and said: "Whatever Abu Ishaq has written is true." There is no doubt that helping the oppressors in any way is Haraam and a Greater Sin. There is an Islamic law for every kind of oppressor and the ways of helping the oppressors, and it is incumbent to learn these rules and commands.

Types of oppressors

'Zulm' the Arabic word for oppression and injustice implies disregard for Divine commandments and also to oppose whatever is compatible with reason and logic. There are two types of such oppression:
(1) Crossing the limits of religious law is equal to polytheism. As the Almighty says,
"...most surely polytheism is a grievous inequity."
(Surah Luqman 31:13)

(2) Belying the Divine signs is also oppression as stated in the Holy Book,
...and the unbelievers- they are the unjust."
(Surah Baqarah 2:254)

In short, we can say that all the religious laws that we are supposed to follow according to reason or religious commands must be obeyed in totality. Not accepting them or not believing them is a kind of injustice. Apart from this, non-acceptance of the Divine commands or not acting upon them or disregarding the limits specified by the Almighty, like neglecting a Wajib act or doing a Haraam one, all of these constitute injustice.

Thus the Almighty Lord says,
"...and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah these it is that are the unjust."
(Surah Baqarah 2:229)

This also applies to injustice upon ones own self. As Allah (a.j.) mentions:
"Therefore whoever disbelieves, his unbelief is against himself."
(Surah Fatir 35:39)

Various kinds of oppressions include insulting, abusing, degrading or imprisoning a person; also backbiting or accusing a person falsely or piercing a person physically. Another form of oppression is to usurp someone's property or to obtain it without the owner's permission, or not to return the rights to its owner etc. Another way of usurping a right is to forcefully occupy a position reserved for someone else. The supreme example of such injustice was comitted by the tyrant rulers of Bani Umayya and Bani Abbas when they usurped the position of Wilayat which clearly belonged to the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). Another example is that of the unjust jurist who assumes the seat of Qazi.

Oppression belongs to two categories. In one category are the tyrant rulers and vicious kings, for whom committing oppression is a normal practice. In the second category are the individuals who may do injustice to someone else once in a while. We shall study all these types of injustices in four sub-topics.

Helping the oppressor in oppression

Helping an oppressor in any way whatsoever is haraam. For example to hand over a cane to someone so that he can beat an innocent person, or to help in any way to imprison him or kill him.

The renowned Shaykh Ansari writes in Makasib that the prohibiting of co-operation with the oppressors is confirmed by all four proofs required to prove the Islamic laws. i.e. Quran, reason, Sunnat and Ijma.

Logic: Reason dictates that there is no difference between the actual oppressor and the one who helps him. Both are equally responsible for the act of injusice. It is possible that if there is no one to help the oppressor he may not be able to oppress. Hence logically it is haraam help an oppressor.

Ijma: Refering to books on jurisprudence, confirms that all the jurists are unanimous in their opinion that helping the oppressor is haraam.

Quran: The Quranic verse
"And do not incline to those who do injustice,"

is sufficient to prove the illegality of helping the unjust. Because if even a slight inclination towards unjust people is prohibited, then how can helping them be permitted. As helping them would be the greatest form of inclining towards them.

Moreover, the Almighty says:
"...and do not help one another in sin and oppression; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is severe in requiting evil."
(Surah Maidah 5:2

The Traditions of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) against helping the oppressors

Numerous traditions have reached us in this connection. Shaykh Ansari has also recorded the following tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in his book Waraam:
"If one knowingly goes to help an oppressor, he has apostasized from Islam."
(Majmua Waraam)

Naturally an act that makes a person bereft of the Islamic faith must be a sin that results in his destruction.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"When Qiyamat occurs an announcer will call: Where are the unjust, the helpers of Unjust and those like the Unjust? So much so that even if one has procured merely pen and ink for the oppressor to write the order of oppression; all these people would be bundled up in a cage of iron and thrown into Hell."
(Wasaelush Shia)

The Messenger of Islam (s.a.w.s.) says:
"If a person even hangs up a cane for the tyrant king so that he can beat the oppressed one, Allah will change that cane into a snake, seventy thousand yards long and place it in the Hell fire (to torment him)."
(Wasaelush Shia)

"Those who take the affairs of oppressors in their hands and help him in oppression will, at the time of death, be conveyed the Divine curse and news of Hell fire by the angel of death. And Hell is an evil resort. One who guides the oppressor will be considered at par with Hamaan (the minister of Firon). And the punishment of those who help the unjust and the oppressors themselves will be more grievous than other punishments of the inmates of Hell. And if a person backbites about his believing brother to the ruler, and even though the Muslim may not have to suffer any injury from it, the backbiter will have all his good deeds nullified. However, if the Muslim had to suffer oppression at the hands of the ruler, the back-biter will be kept by Allah in that section of Hell where Hamaan will be confined."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Praising the oppressor is also haraam

To praise an oppressor so that his power and authority may increase, or he may be enouraged to become more daring, is also Haraam. This is confirmed by arguments that have been mentioned, and also the proofs concerning the forbidding of evil (Nahy Anil Munkar).

Shaykh Ansari has specifically related a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.):
"One who shows respect to a rich man and in the greed of his wealth considers him good; the Almighty Allah becomes angry on him and puts him in a cage of fire at the lowest part of Hell where Qarun is confined."
(Wasaelush Shia)

This tradition applies to all types of people, but if the praised one is unjust, the one who praises will be eligible to severe retribution. The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.) has said,
"If one praises a tyrant king or shows humility due to greed (of his rewards) then he will be in Hell with him (the King)."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Another prophetic tradition states,
"Whenever a transgressor is praised, the heavens shudder and the Divine Anger envelopes the one who has praised."
(Safinatul Behaar,

We must not accept any honour from oppressors

The most common way of helping the oppressors is to accept some post or position from them, especially if that post is a cause for any type of oppression. For example the post of maintaining law and order. If a person assumes such an assignment from the oppressors and as a result unleashes oppression on innocent people, such an appointment and such an acceptance of the post is a Greater Sin. If as a result of it, innocent people are subjected to hardships, the doer of such actions is sure to have a severe punishment from the Almighty.

There is one very prominent tradition of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and it is quoted here from Tohful Oqool. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"The Haraam post is the post of an oppressive ruler and the posts of those who are busy in the assignments entrusted by the tyrants. Hence it is Haraam to fulfill the duty of this post. One who takes up this post will become involved in Divine punishment. Whether the job is significant or paltry, any attempt to help the oppressor is a Greater Sin. Because accepting a post from an oppressor will result in the trampling of rights, the manifestation of injustice, the spread of corruption and disturbance, the destruction of heavenly books, the murder of Prophets, the demolishing of mosques and the interpolation of religious laws. Therefore it is Haraam to work with them. Except when there is a condition of utter helplessness, like when it becomes permissible to drink blood and eat the flesh of dead."
(Tohful Oqool)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has also said:
"Those who accept some assignment from the oppressors; the minimum punishment for them on the Day of Judgement would be that Allah would make them stand near fire till He does the accounting of the rest of the people. After that He will decide about them."

In the last portion of the book Daarus Salaam there is an incident concerning Sayyed Muhammad Ali Iraqi. He was one of those who had the honour of seeing Imam-e-Zamana (a.s.). He says... "during the time of my youth I was staying in my native village in Iraq. The name of that place was Karharood. In those days a person whom I knew by his name and lineage passed away and was buried in the graveyard opposite to our house. For forty days, at the time of sunset a fire arose from his grave, and wails and screams were heard. On one of those nights the wailing of that dead man became more keen and I was very much troubled. I became so much frightened that I was trembling uncontrollably as if the punishment was on myself; so much so that I eventually began to lose consciousness. When my friends came to know of my condition they came and carried me to their house and I remained there till I was well again. Afterwards I came to know that the dead man was working in the local court. One day he had demanded some tax from a Sayyed who was unable to pay. This man arrested the Sayyed and locked him up in one of his rooms. He hung him from the ceiling of his house for quite some time. It was due to these deeds that he was punished after death."

Another similar incident is related by a reliable person that, some time ago there was a person by the name of Aaqa Muhammad Ali. He was a dealer in perfumes and was also in some way connected with the law courts. He had promulgated an order banning all the people from any kind of trade in perfumes. During that period a Sayyed had some perfume and he sold it to some other trader. When this tyrant came to know of this he met the Sayyed in the market and abused him excessively and even slapped him. In reply to this the Sayyed said, "My ancestors will repay you for this." When the tyrant heard this he turned back and ordered his slave to catch hold of the Sayyed. Then he beat the Sayyed with a cane saying, "Go and tell your ancestor to cut off my arms." The very next day this oppressor contracted high fever and his arms began to pain severely during the night. On the third day his arms had swollen terribly and puss began to ooze from them. On the fourth day the surgeons amputed his arms in a way that only the stubs remained. He died on the seventh day.

Therefore, it is important to know that acceptance of an assignment or a post from an oppressor or a tyrant is a great help to that unjust man. And it is impossible for the person who accepts such assignments to remain just and non-violent.

It is mentioned in the Sahih of Dawood bin Zarbi that one of the followers of Imam Sajjad (a.s.) had requested Imam Sajjad (a.s.) to recommend him to the ruler of Madinah, Dawood bin Ali for an appointment in the governmental post. Imam Sajjad (a.s.) replied: "I will never do such a thing."

On hearing this he thought that Imam (a.s.) was unwilling to recommend him because he might be worried that some injustice would be caused by him. So he approached Imam (a.s.) and began to promise and take oaths that he would never do any kind of unjust act and said that he would not do anything except help the people. Imam (a.s.) looked at the sky and began to weep. Then he said that going to the sky was easier. It was apparent that Imam (a.s.) meant to say that once a person accepts employment of an oppressor it is impossible for him not to oppress.

When is it permitted to accept a position under rulership?

There are two situations where it is allowed to accept appointment in the service of oppressors and rather in some cases it becomes Wajib to do so. It is permissible when a person is forced to accept it or if he is practising Taqayya. That is, if he refuses, his life property or honour will be in danger. Permissibility of accepting employment under tyrants is proved in many ways.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said,
"My people will not be questioned for what they are forced to do."

And Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has mentioned:
"There is nothing that Allah has not made permissible for one who is helpless."

Imam Reza (a.s.) has been reported in Wasaelush Shia to say that he accepted to be heir-apparent of Mamun under duress and taqayya. When Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked about working for a tyrant king, he replied,
"It is not allowed, except when a person is not able to obtain his livelihood from any other means or if his life is in danger and his life depends on accepting some work from the tyrant. In that case it is allowed. But if he receives any remuneration from the tyrant he must pay Khums from it."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Such appointments are permissible when the job involves only peacekeeping and maintaining of law and order. Like posts in armies where the aim is to defend the borders of Muslim countries, to see to the welfare of believers and the downtrodden people, and to restore the rights to those who were deprived of it. Accepting service under tyrants is allowed in these circumstances provided one has a firm intention of dealing in a just manner. If the intention is to help the Shias specifically, it is more meritorious. Ziyad ibn Abi Salma says that he went to meet Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.). Imam (a.s.) asked him if he was employed with the government? "Yes," he replied. Imam (a.s.) asked, 'Why?'

He replied, "I am benevolent and helpful to the needy so I cannot leave this job. Apart from this I have a family and children and I have no other means of livelihood." Imam (a.s.) said,
"O Ziyad if I am taken to the top of a high mountain and thrown from it and my body is shattered to pieces. I would prefer that to doing some job for these people or even to step inside their threshold. Except for one condition. Do you know what that is?"

Ziyad said, "May my life be sacrificed for you; I don't know."

Imam (a.s.) continued,
"Except that I rescue the believers from grief and hardships or liberate an imprisoned believer, or repay the debts of a believer." After this Imam (a.s.) went on to say, "O Ziyad! If you are employed under a tyrant, work for the welfare of your believing brothers so that it will recompense for the sins that you may happen to commit during your service period."

Fazl Ibne Abdul Rehman says that I wrote a letter to Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) asking, "Please permit me to work on a governmental post." Imam (a.s.) replied,
"You are permitted, provided you do not change my religious commands or cross the limits laid down by Allah. The compensation of your action will be your fulfilling the needs of your believing brother."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

Ali Ibn Yaqteen, who was the Prime Minister of Caliph Haroon, wrote to Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.): "Please give me permission to resign from this post." Imam (a.s.) replied to him,
"I do not consider it permissible for you to leave this governmental post because in the courts of tyrants there are people through whom Allah removes the difficulties of His loved ones. And they are the ones whom Allah has made immune from the fire of Hell. Hence fear Allah with respect to your brothers."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

Muhammad bin Ismail Bazee was also a minister in the court of Haroon. He had the honour of meeting three Imams, Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.), Imam Ali Reza (a.s.) and Imam Jawad (a.s.) who provided his own garment to serve as his shroud. He relates from Imam Reza (a.s.) that he said,
"There are people in the courts of tyrants through whom Allah manifests His proof and they are appointed in specific cities. Allah removes the difficulties of His loved ones through them and by them He brings about the welfare of Muslims. The believers take refuge with them in calamities. The needs of our needy Shias are fulfilled through these very people. And the Almighty Allah through their means imposes the fear and dread of the believers upon the houses of oppressors. These are the true believers who are the trust bearers of Allah on this earth. Congratulations to them for their position and post!"

Then Imam (a.s.) asked,
"Wouldn't it be better that at least one of you reaches that position?"

Muhammad asked, "May my life be sacrificed for you. How can a person reach such a position?" Imam (a.s.) replied,
"Being with the tyrants, he makes the heart of our Shias happy; that makes us happy. O Muhammad! After you do this you will be considered among those people who have lofty positions."
(Behaarul Anwaar vol.15)


Accepting employment under a tyrant ruler becomes wajib in one condition

At times it is Wajib to accept rulership or a post in government. A person should do so only when he is confident that if he assumes the post he will be able to uproot a great evil or will be able to prevent at least one sinful ritual or system. But such a situation is rare because it depends on personal confidence, that after one assumes authority, one will never commit any sort of injustice or sinful act nor go against justice and Divine commands. It is obvious that such a proposition is very difficult because there are numerous dangers that lurk behind the facade of governance. It is most difficult to save oneself from them.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) replied to the letter of Abdullah Najjashi the ruler of Ahwaz:
"It has come to my knowledge that you assumed the rulership of Ahwaz. I am happy by this news and aggrieved too. Happy because I hope Allah will remove the difficulties and the problems of the Progeny of Muhammad and help them through you and through you the fire of opposition will cool down on them. I am aggrieved on account of the fears, the least of which is that you may become a cause of injury or difficulty to our followers and thus be deprived of even the fragrance of Paradise."
(Makasib Muharrama)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:
"One who assumes the leadership of a community will be raised on the Day of Qiyamat in a way that both his hands will be tied to his neck. Then if he had dealt with the people according to Shariah; Allah will free him. But if he has been unjust he will be thrown into Hell. And what an evil resort it is. If a leader of a community does not deal with justice and goodness with the people, for each day that he ruled, he will be made to stand at the boundary of Hell for a thousand years with both his hands tied behind his neck. Thus if he has dealt with equity he will be freed and if not, he will be thrown into Hell, into a depth of seventy thousand years."

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"If a person has authority in a particular affair of the people and he deals with justice with them and the doors of his house are open for those who refer to him and seek his help and he does not remain aloof from the people. Then the Almighty Allah will keep him safe from dread and fear on the Day of Qiyamat and make him enter Paradise."
(Wasaelush Shia)

It must be remembered, however, that this is a vast subject and it is not possible to discuss all its facets. Hence those who wish to study in detail may refer to books of jurisprudence.

Helping the oppressors in other matters

Helping the oppressors or tyrants in matters other than oppression; like to work as their personal assistant, to stitch clothes for them, or build their house or guard their property. All these types of jobs can be classified into three categories:
(1) In some cases these jobs indirectly help in oppression; for example, if the tyrant had usurped a piece of land and orders a mason to build a house on it, or a cloth which has been obtained forcefully is given to a tailor to stitch a dress, or a person may be ordered to guard the money exhorted from innocent people.

There is no doubt that all such kinds of jobs are Haraam. Because the use of things acquired by illegal means is Haraam for the one who has acquired them or for anyone else who is aware of their contraband nature.

(2) The second category is of those jobs which are not direct acts of oppressions or which do not help in oppressing, but since the one who is involved in them is associated with the tyrants and the common people consider him to be a part of that oppression; it is Haraam. His presence may encourage the tyrants, consequently his name is also included in the list of oppressors. He is also counted among those who usurp the rights of people. All these are Haraam according to numerous traditions. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"One who has his name registered in the office of Bani Abbas will be raised on the Day of Qiyamat in the form of a pig."
(Wasaelush Shia)

In another tradition he says that such a person will be brought in the form of a black pig. Imam (a.s.) has also said,
"Do not help the oppressors in the construction of mosques."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Ibn Abi Yaafur says that I was in the company of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) when one of the Shias came and spoke to Imam (a.s.). He said, "May our lives be sacrificed for you! Some of our people have problems in obtaining livelihood whereas there are vacancies in the establishments of Bani Abbas for construction of buildings and digging of canals. So what is your opinion regarding this?"

Imam (a.s.) replied:
"I don't like to tie even a knot, or the mouth of a water bag or the strap of a purse for them. Even if they were to pay me with Madinah and whatever is in it. I do not like that I help them even as little as the ink at the tip of a pen. Without any doubt, the oppressors will remain standing at the verge of Hell-fire till the time Allah decides about all others."

Muhammad bin Azaafar says that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) told his father,
"I have come to know that you deal freely with Abu Ayyub and Abu Rabie. Then what would be your condition when your name willemergein the list of the helpers of tyrants?"

Hearing this command the father became aggrieved. When Imam (a.s.) saw his restlessness he said,
"I have only warned you of that about which the Almighty has warned me."

The narrator says, "My father remained sorrowful for the rest of his life."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, "It is incumbent upon Allah to raise you on the Day of Qiyamat with the same group from which you derived benefits in this world."

The Imam (a.s.) has also mentioned the incidents when some of the followers of Hazrat Musa (a.s.) decided to support Firon for worldly benefits and secretly planned to change sides. When Musa (a.s.) was about to win, they enrolled as his supporters, but it so happened that when Firon and his soldiers were about to be drowned and these people made a bid to cross to Hazrat Musa's side, the Almighty Allah caused their horses to perish and they also drowned with Firon and his army.
(Wasaelush Shia)

Our beloved Imam (a.s.) has the following advice for us:
"Fear Allah, strengthen your faith with an uncomparable taqayya and avoid presenting your needs to the ruler. And if a person is respectful to an irreligious man, Allah will degrade him and will consider him His enemy and leave him on his own. And if he receives any monetary benefit from this man, Allah will remove barakat from it. And if he uses this money to perform Hajj or emancipate slaves, or for any other benevolent deed, he will not get any reward for it."
(Al Kafi)

Ali bin Abi Hamza says, "One of my friends was a scribe in the employ of Bani Umayya. One day he requested me to take him to Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.). I took him to Imam (a.s.). He saluted and said, 'May my life be sacrificed upon you, I had been in the employ of Bani Umayya as a scribe and have earned a huge amount of wealth without giving any thought to right or wrong.' Imam (a.s.) said,
'If people like this had not been in the service of Bani Umayya to write letters for them, collect their wealth for them, fight their enemies and attend their assemblies, they (Bani Ummaya) would not have usurped our rights. And if they had been left alone they would not have been able to accumulate any wealth more than what they had.'

The man said, 'May I be sacrificed for you, can I attain salvation after what I have done?' Imam (a.s.) said,
'Separate whatever wealth you have earned from them and try to return it to the rightful owners if you know them. Whatever you cannot deliver should be given as charity (Sadaqah) on their behalf so that I can guarantee that Allah will send you to Paradise.'

Upon hearing this, the young man bowed his head thoughtfully for sometime. Then he raised his head and said, 'May I be sacrificed on you, I will do as you have ordered.' After this he accompanied me to Kufa and returned all his wealth to the rightful owners as much as it was possible; the rest he gave away as Sadaqah. He even gave up the dress he was wearing. I procured some money for him and bought him a dress and gave him some amount for his expenses. After some months he fell ill and I paid him a visit. I found that he was in a very serious condition. He opened his eyes and told me, 'Ali ibn Abi Hamza, by Allah, your Imam (a.s.) has fulfilled his promise.' He died soon after. I supervised his final rites and returned to Madinah to meet Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.). Imam (a.s.) said,
'O Ali! I have fulfilled my promise to your friend.'

I said, 'May I be sacrificed upon you! You speak the truth, because my companion testified to it at the time of his death.'"
(Wasaelush Shia)

Assistance which is not haraam nor can be an encouragement

(3) The third type of help is that which is not objectionable in any way an encouragement to the oppressor, nor can it be considered as help to the oppressor in general sense. For example, to hire vehicles or carry the load of permissible goods and eatables etc. All these types of actions are not totally Haraam but some elders have mentioned that on the basis of precaution it is necessary to avoid even these actions. As we have stated earlier, by involving oneself in such matters one is prone to incline towards the oppressors.

Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) commands Safwan Jamaal

Safwan bin Mehram Kufi was a very pious companion of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.). He used to earn his livelihood by hiring out camels. He owned a large number of camels. He says that one day Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) said to him,
"Safwan every action of yours is meritorious except one."

"May I be sacrificed for you, what action is that?" He said,
"You hire your camels to Harun al-Rashid (l.a.)"

He said, "I don't give my camels for hunting or games but he takes them when he goes for Hajj and I do not serve him myself, I order my servants to accompany them on the journey."

Imam (a.s.) asked,
"Do they pay you in advance or after their return?"

"After they return", he replied,
"Don't you carry the hope that they return safe and sound from their journey so that you receive your payment?"

Imam (a.s.) said,
"One who wishes them to remain alive is like them and one who is connected with them will go to Hell."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Safwan says that when he heard this he sold away all his camels. When Harun heard of this he summoned him and asked the reason for it. He said, "I have become old and fragile and am unable to take care of the camels, even my slaves are not capable of maintaining them properly."

Haroon said, "It is not so! I know who has persuaded you to do this. You have done this on the direction Musa Ibne Ja'far (a.s.)."

"What do I have to do with Musa Ibne Ja'far?" said Safwan but Haroon was not satisfied and said that if he had not had good relations with Safwan he would have got him killed.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"One who likes the oppressors to continue (to live) likes the disobedience to Allah (to continue) on this earth."
(Wasaelush Shia)

While explaining the Quranic verse,
"... and do not incline to those who are unjust, lest the fire may touch you."
(Surah Hud 11:113)

Imam (a.s.) says,
"If a person comes to a ruler and wishes for him to live if only for as long as it would take for him to put his hand inside his money bag and give some amount."

Wishing for the life of an oppressor even for a moment is the same as being inclined towards him.

Helping an oppressive person who is not an habitual oppressor

To help a person, who is not always oppressive, but occasionally happens to commit oppression, is also absolutely Haraam. If one knowingly helps a person in a situation where he oppressing another, one commits a Haraam action and a Greater Sin and will be punished as promised in Quran:
"Surely We have prepared for the iniquitous a fire, the curtains of which shall encompass them about; and if they cry for water, they shall be given water like molten brass which will scald their faces, evil the drink and ill the resting place."
(Surah Kahf 18:29)

Oppressing and helping someone in oppression is one and the same.

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has remarked:
"The oppressor, the one who helps an oppressor and the one who is satisfied with it, are all partners in oppression."
(Wasaelush Shia)

It means all three of them are equally responsible. A similar tradition has been narrated from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) who says that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:
"One who breaks allegiance to the Imam, or raises a standard of misguidance or conceals a piece of knowledge which is obligatory to be imparted or usurps some property or helps an oppressor knowingly; then he has deserted the religion of Islam."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

On the night of ascension (Meraj) the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) saw the following inscription on the door of Hell:
"Allah degrades the one who insults Islam, the one who insults the Holy Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and the one who helps an oppressor in oppression."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

In this way the Quranic verses and traditions prove the seriousness of oppression and helping an oppressor as a Greater sin. Moreover, one who helps an oppressor has also acted against the Divine commandments of forbidding evil. He is actually a hypocrite because he has in fact encouraged an evil and this is one of the characteristics of a hypocrite. As the Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran:
"The hypocritical men and the hypocritical women are all alike; they enjoin evil and forbid good..."
(Surah Tauba 9:67)

Preventing oppression is necessary

If a Muslim sees an oppressor trying to oppress someone and if he is in a position to prevent him it is obligatory on him to do so. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) says:
"Help your Muslim brother whether he is an oppressor or the oppressed one."

People asked, "O Messenger of Allah! We shall help the oppressed ones but how is it possible to help the oppressor?" He replied,
"Hold both the hands of the oppressor so that he cannot oppress. If you do it, it is as if you have helped him and such an action is a help to your brother (in faith)."
(Anwaarun Nomaniya)

Helping a person who is not a professional oppressor

It is permitted to help an oppressor (in acts other than his acts of oppression) if rendering this help can discourage him from his oppression.

If however, helping him has no effect on his oppressive activities then from the point of view of Nahy anil Munkar (forbidding evil) it is Haraam to help him.

We must not co-operate in sinful deeds

It is also Haraam to help an oppressor whose oppression is not directed to others; but he is unjust to himself. For example to omit prayers and avoid fasting, to drink wine, commit adultery, gambling etc. Every type of sinner is being unjust to himself. Hence helping him in being unjust to himself is also prohibited. One who helps him is his partner in sin. The Almighty Allah has mentioned:
"Help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and oppression, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, surely Allah is severe in requiting (evil)."
(Surah Maidah 5:2)

Sin (ithm) is limited to the one who commits it and aggression (udwaan) affects others too.

All the proofs and arguments that are applicable to the obligation of forbidding evil also apply here.

Helping in Sin

To help in any condition required in a sinful act is Haraam.

(1) For example to sell grapes with the specific purpose of making wine.

(2) A person may help in some way without the intention of helping towards a sinful act, for example, he may sell grapes to a wine-maker without the intention of this being used for making wine, but if there is no other source available for the wine maker to procure grapes, then the selling of grapes by this person is haraam, because it would directly contribute to the manufacture of wine.

Helping a sinner in some other way

Is it allowed to help a sinful person, by way of giving loan or solving his difficulties to one who does not pray or is an alcoholic? Sometimes it is very difficult to decide as to what is the proper course of action in such circumstances, because we are commanded to maintain a distance from sinners. Thus Ali (a.s.) says:
"The Messenger of Allah has ordered us to be unfriendly with the sinful people."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Hazrat Imam Sadiq (a.s.) rebuked his followers:
"It may happen that in your social circle one of your Shias does evil, and you do not prevent him nor dissociate with him nor hurt him, till he gives up his evil deeds."

There are several traditions regarding certain specific sins. For example:
"One who helps a person who does not pray, with a morsel of food or a piece of cloth, is as if he has murdered seventy Prophets, the first of whom being Adam (a.s.) and the last, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.)."
(Layali Akhbaar)

In another tradition the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:
"One who smiles at a person who does not pray, is as if he had demolished the Holy Ka'ba seventy times."
(Layali Akhbaar)

The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.) also says:
"One who helps a person who does not pray, with a drink of water, is as if he has made war upon me."
(Layali Akhbaar)

Other traditions of this kind are against associating with alcoholics, with those who cut off relationships with their kith and kin and with liars. On the other hand we have traditions that emphasise the respecting of a believer's rights, helping and socialising with the followers of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), the Sayyads, the neighbours etc.

The latter kinds of traditions are not conditional. For example it is obligatory to do Sileh Rahem with one's kindered and it is not a necessary condition that the relatives should be pious. We have discussed this matter in the chapter of Sileh Rahem and the rights of parents. Even if they are unbelievers we have to fulfill our duties towards them. In the same way the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says regarding Sayyads:
"Respect my descendants, be kind towards the righteous from among them for the sake of Allah and towards the non-righteous ones for my sake."

Imam Reza (a.s.) says the following with regard to the devotees of the Progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.):
"Be a friend of the Progeny of Muhammad even if you are a trangressor and befriend their friends even if they are transgressors."

As far as the rights of neighbours are concerned we are told that if your neighbour is a Muslim he has double rights upon you (One of neighbourhood and another of being a fellow Muslim). If he is an infidel he still has the right of neighbourhood on you.
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

On the basis of the above it is incumbent to befriend the followers of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), help them and fulfill their needs even if they are not pious. We must respect the Sayyads and fulfill our rights towards the kindered even if they are sinners.

Secondly when one is faced with more than one obligation at a time, one should try to fulfill all if it is easy to do, if this is difficult, one should fulfill the one which is more important.

For example when one is faced with a situation when one is keeping an obligatory fast and a child is drowning in a pond. If he jumps into the pool his head will submerge and the fast will become invalid, but since it is more important to save a human life it becomes Wajib for him to jump into the pool. According to Shariat breaking a fast is a lesser evil than allowing the death of a human. By doing this he would not be liable for the punishment of breaking a Wajib fast. On the other hand he will be deserving of Divine reward for saving a human life.

Preventing others from evil is most important

Enjoining good and forbidding evil are the Divine commands, which are obligatory to be followed. They are so important that in case of their clashing with other duties, priority has to be given to these comands. If mother, father, son or some relative do not obey the divine obligatory commands like praying etc. And if by withholding kindness and help from them, it is possible to reform them and induce them to give up their sinful ways, then it is wajib to withhold kindness and help from them. The same reasoning applies to Sayyeds, neighbours and the followers of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) who have a right on us. But if withholding help is not going to make any difference in their behaviour, then it is meaningless to adopt such measures. For these were witheld only that they may force the sinners to reform. Otherwise there is no point in employing these retaliatory tactics. If one's parents and relatives are not in the habit of ritual prayers and dissociating with them will not change their attitude; then it is Haraam to dissociate with them or disobey them.

We must discriminate between different ranks and positions

We must remember that Nahy Anil Munkar (Forbidding evil) is more important than the rights of relatives, Sayyads and neighbours. Hence we should first try to fulfill the duty of forbidding evil even if it necessitates the non-fulfillment of latter duties, provided there is scope of improvement among the sinners. If it is not so, then it is not required to dissociate with them or withhold kindness etc. from them.

And as far as possible we should try an adopt a charitable option. If it is possible to reform a sinner through love and help we must try it, before we resort to harsher ways of withholding kindness and help. For example, a father has better chances of influencing a son, who is not steadfast in his prayers, if he tries to influence him gently. A gentle option must be tried before taking strict measures against him.

In other words, when withholding kindness does not achieve the desired results (giving up of sinful ways) there is no prohibition in being kind. In fact it is an obligatory act and its omission is Haraam. 

The thirtieth sin, which is mentioned as a Greater sin, is 'not helping the oppressed people' and 'not warding off oppression from them'. In the tradition of Amash, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says,
"…and not helping the oppressed (is a greater sin)."

To defend the oppressed is to help them ward off evil; not performing such a task is shirking a great duty which Allah has made incumbent upon us.

Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) says:
"If a person due to some difficulty takes refuge with his Muslim brother but inspite of being capable of helping him does not do so then he has for his own self cut off the Divine help."
(Al Kafi)

Allah does not help a believer who does not help his brother in faith and leaves him on his own.

Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) has mentioned that,
"A believer who inspite of being financially capable does not help another believer will be degraded by Allah in this world as well as the Hereafter."

Similarly Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says:
"None of you should go to a place where a tyrant ruler is oppressing, and killing innocent people, if you are not capable of helping the oppressed. Because in event of a believer being present in such a place it would be his religious duty to help his believing brothers. But if he is not present at that place the obligation will not exist."
(Safinatul Behaar)

Umroo bin Qays says, "My cousin and I went to meet Imam Husain (a.s.) when he was surrounded by the army of Yazid (l.a.). Imam (a.s.) conversed with us briefly and then asked,
'Would you like to help me?'

I replied, 'I have a family to look after, besides I also have some trusts of some people with me. I don't know what my end would be and I don't want that the property of those people, which I have as trust should be destroyed.' My cousin also offered the same explanation."

Imam Husain (a.s.) said,
"If you cannot offer your assistance to me you must go far away from this desert so that you may not be able to hear my plaintive cry for help. Because if anyone is to hear our cry for help and does not respond, it would be incumbent upon Allah to throw him in the fire (Hell)."
(Safinatul Behaar)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"A Jewish scholar was punished with fire maces in his grave with such severity that the flames leapt out from inside. This was because he had prayed without Wuzu and once he was passing by an oppressed person who called for help but he did not respond."
(Safinatul Behaar)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:
"It is necessary to help a believer whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed one. If he is an oppressor he should be restrained from oppression and if he is oppressed he should be helped in obtaining his rights. He should not be deserted and left on his own."
(Daarus Salaam)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"He is not a believer who inspite of being capable avoids helping his brother in need; Allah also leaves him on his own and does not help him in this world nor the Hereafter."
(Behaarul Anwaar)

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says:
"A person before whom the defects of his Muslim brother are mentioned; and he does not try to remove those defects inspite of being able to do also; then Allah will expose (his defects) in this world as well as the Hereafter."

From the above tradition and other similar narrations it seems that oppression is not confined to physical harm or monetary difficulty. It is also with regard to the injury to one's honour and respect. For, the honour of a believer is as precious as his life and wealth. Defiling the honour of a believer is also Haraam, like usurping his wealth or taking his life. The traditions are emphatic that just as it is necessary to defend the life and property of a believer, it is also incumbent to protect his honour and respect. It is Wajib to assist him in defending his honour.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"If a person tells something (misleading) to a believer by which he intends to make him an evil man and due to this his respect and honour will be destroyed and he will be degraded in the eyes of common people and people will not trust him anymore nor respect him. Then such a person is deprived from the Guardianship of Allah and left for the Shaitan who also does not accept him."
(Al Kafi)

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) says:
"If a person hears of the defects of his believing brother in an assembly and tries to defend him, Allah closes a thousand doors of evil from him in the world and the Hereafter. But if inspite of being capable he does not refrain the one who is speaking about the defects of a believer; his sin will be equal to that of seventy backbiters."

Shaykh Ansari says that this sin is equated to that of seventy backbiters probably for the reason that if the one who is mentioning the defects is not restrained he may repeat this act on several other occassions. The Shaykh further says that preventing the backbiter is not sufficient but one should also endeavour to defend the believer from all such accusations and defects. For example if the defects pertain to some worldly matter one should say, "After all he has not committed a sin." If the defects are with regard to some religious obligation he should try to somehow prove that the accusation is false. As an example, if a believer is said to have omitted prayers one can defend him by suggesting, that may be he had forgotten to offer them. If a believer is accused of being an alcoholic, one can suggest that he must have seen him drinking something else, or as a last resort one can say, "He is after all not a masoom (infallible). A man is prone to sin sometimes, so instead of back-biting about him you should try to reform him and help him in his difficulties."

Thus one should make every effort to defend his believing brother from such dishonour. The details of this shall be discussed in the chapter of backbiting.

It is not necessary that only those who request for help should be assisted

We should know that helping an oppressed does not become Wajib only when they request for help. Every person who is capable of removing difficulties of a believer must do so and if the needy person has entreated for assistance it becomes all the more important. As the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) says,
"One who hears the entreaty of a man, 'O Muslims! Come for my help,' and does not assist him, is not a Muslim."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says,
"If a person requests his Muslim brother to help him and the latter does not do so inspite of being capable enough; the Almighty Allah installs a huge snake from (the snakes of) Hell on his grave so that it can continuously bite him."

In another tradition it is reported that such a person will continue to receive this punishment till Qiyamat even if he had been pardoned (for other sins). Moreover, Imam (a.s.) also said,
"No person refrains from helping and pleasing his Muslim brother unless there is some benefit in it." (i.e. his helping would have been sinful instead of rewarding)."

There are many traditions of this type from the Holy Imams (a.s.). Imam Sajjad (a.s.) says:
"The sin which results in the descending of calamities is when one does not respond to the call for help of the helpless people."
(Maani al Akhbaar)

Then the Imam (a.s.) invocated Allah saying,
"O Allah! I plead for forgiveness for the time when someone is oppressed in my presence and I do not help him. I seek refuge in You for not helping an oppressed and a needy person."

Traditions on this subject are numerous and widespread. Let us be content with the ones we have discussed.

Helping the oppressed is not only for believers

Helping the oppressed is Wajib. This does not mean that it is Wajib only to help the oppressed believers. The commands of helping the oppressed in the light of Quran and traditions are only conditional as far as the capability of the helper is concerned. Even if the oppressed people are not Shias and they belong to other sects of Muslims, it is still Wajib to help them. Even if a non-offensive infidel is being oppressed, the command of enjoining good and forbidding evil dictates that he should be helped and the evil must be eradicated. There is an incident in Muntahiul Aamaal that Mansur Dawaniqi was in Mecca when an expensive diamond was brought to him. It was for sale. When Mansur saw the diamond he recognised that it had belonged to Hisham bin Abdul Malik and should have been surrendered to him (Mansur). Since Muhammad a son of Hisham was still alive he must have brought it for sale. So he ordered his guards to close all the doors of the Holy Mosque after morning prayers the next day, and allow the people to leave only from a single door after careful scrutiny. When Muhammad bin Hisham was found he should be arrested and brought to him.

When on the next day after morning congregational prayers all the doors were shut and it was announced that people should leave from one particular exit, Muhammad bin Hisham realised that it was a plot to arrest him. He became fearful and looked here and there in confusion and worry. He did not know what to do. Just then Muhammad bin Zaid bin Ali bin al-Husain (a.s.) came towards him and asked, "Who are you? And why are you so frightened."

"If I reveal my identity, would my life be safe?"
"Yes!" he replied, "I take an oath to remove this danger from you."

"I am Muhammad, the son of Hisham Ibne Abdul Malik, Now tell who you are?"
"I am Muhammad Ibne Zaid bin Ali bin al-Husain (a.s.) and certainly your great grandfather Marwan had killed my father unjustly, but do not worry, you are safe. Taking your life will not avenge the innocent blood of my father and you had not killed my father yourself. Now I will try my best to save you from this danger. I have thought of a way out of this. I want you to co-operate with me and promise me that you will be absolutely fearless and repose your trust in me."

Thus, Muhammad bin Zaid covered the head and face of Muhammad ibn Hisham with his own robe and pulled him towards the exit beating him at every step. When they reached the exit he told the guard loudly, "This wretched man is a camel driver from Kufa. He had hired a camel from me but he ran away and he gave it to someone else. I also have two just witnesses to support my claim. You send your deputies with me and I will take him to the Qazi for judgement. Rabi, the chief guard ordered two of his deputies to accompany them and they came out of the Holy Mosque together. When they had walked for some distance Muhammad ibn Zayd told Muhammad bin Hisham, "There is still time for you to repent and promise to return my money, I will not trouble these guards and the Qazi if you assure me."

Muhammad bin Hisham picked up the cue and said, "O son of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). I promise to do as you say."

Muhammad bin Zayd told the guards that since the fellow has repented there was no need for them to take more trouble. The guards left them. Muhammad bin Hisham took off the robe from his face and kissed the face and head of Muhammad bin Zayd and said, "Allah the Almighty knew well where to put His message that He appointed the Prophet from your family."

Then he took out an expensive diamond from his pocket and requested Muhammad bin Zayd to accept it as a reward for saving his life but Muhammad bin Zayd declined saying, "I belong to a family that does not accept anything in return of a good deed. When I had condoned the murder of my father what value can this diamond have for me? I cannot take it."

The worshipper sinks in the ground

Shaykh Tusi has related from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), "There was an old man of Bani Israel. He was praying when he saw that two children had caught a fowl and were pulling its feather. The fowl was shrieking in pain but he remained engrossed in prayers and did not help the poor bird by having it released from the clutches of the naughty children. So the Almighty ordered the earth to swallow this man and sucked him to the lowest depths."


The worldly and the heavenly rewards for those who help the believers

A large number of traditions have reached us which emphasise the necessity of helping and assisting the believer and the rewards that are earned by those who do so. Let us study some of these traditions:
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said:
"One who responds to the entreaties of his believing brother in difficulties and makes him glad and helps him and fulfills his needs; then seventy two bounties become occupant for him from Allah. One of these bounties is given to him in this world so that it can solve his worldly problems and the other seventy one are stored for him to remove the dread and difficulties of the Hereafter."
(Wasaelush Shia)

He (a.s.) has also said:
"If a person tries to fulfill the need of a believer and he completes it, the Almighty Allah writes in the scroll of deeds the rewards of a Hajj and Umra and Ihtikaaf of two months in Masjidul Haraam and fasts of two months. But if the need is not completely fulfilled the reward of one Hajj and Umra is written."
(Al Amr bil Ma'roof)

Imam (a.s.) has also mentioned that it was revealed upon Hazrat Dawood (a.s.) that,
"When one good deed of one of My servants reaches Me I shall grant him Paradise."

Dawood (a.s.) asked, "O my Lord what deed is that?"
"Removing sorrow and difficulties of a believer, even if it is as little as giving him a date (fruit)!"

Dawood (a.s.) said, "It is only You O Allah! Who is of such greatness that once a person recognises You, he must never despair of Your Mercy."

It is quoted from Maimoon bin Mehram in the book Faqih, "I was sitting in the assembly of Imam Hasan (a.s.) when a person entered and said, 'O son of the Messenger of Allah. I am indebted to such and such person and now he wants to imprison me.'

Imam (a.s.) said,
'I do not have any money to repay your debt.'

He said, 'Maybe you can speak to him so that he will not put me in prison.'

Imam (a.s.) arose and put on his shoes. I said, 'O son of the Messenger (s.a.w.s.) did you forget that you are in Ihtikaaf and cannot go out of the mosque?'

Imam (a.s.) said,
'I have not forgotten, but I have heard my father say that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had said, "One who tries to fulfill the needs of his believing brother is as if he has for 9000 years fasted during the days and prayed during the nights.'"

Letter of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) to the ruler of Ahwaz

When Najjashi assumed the rulership of Ahwaz there was a person in his service who requested Imam (a.s.) that, "I owe a certain amount to the ruler and he is a Shia, if you feel proper, please write to him regarding this matter."

Imam (a.s.) wrote:
"In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful. Please your brother so that Allah may please you."
(Usool al-Kafi)

The narrator says that when the person went to Najjashi, he was busy in some official matter. When he was free he handed Najjashi the letter saying that it was from Imam (a.s.). He kissed the letter and touched it to his eyes and asked, "What is the matter?" He told him that he owed some taxes. "How much?" Najjashi asked, "Ten thousand Dirhams," he replied. Najjashi called his accountant and told him to note down his debt as paid and close his account in the register. Then he went further and said that for the following year too this amount of taxes should be marked as paid. Then he turned towards him and asked, "Have I made you happy?"
"Yes!" replied the man.

Then he called for a horse, and a slave brought it. He ordered for a dress and gave to the man. At each step he kept asking, "Have I made you happy? Have I made you happy? The man kept replying "Yes! Yes! May I be sacrificed for you, Yes!" At last he told him to take even the carpet on which he was sitting. Because, he said, "It was on this carpet that you handed me this letter of my Master (a.s.), and if you have any other need, tell me." The man thanked him profusely, returned to Imam (a.s.) and related the details. The Imam (a.s.) was extremely pleased at the behaviour of Najjashi. The man asked, "O my Master are you pleased with Najjashi's response?"

Imam (a.s.) replied,
"By Allah! Najjashi has also pleased Allah, His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his Progeny."

Yaqteen the father of Ali relates that one of the accountants of Yahya bin Khalid was appointed to collect tax from their area. Yaqteen says, "At that time I was owing a considerable amount of tax and if all the tax had to be cleared I would have had to sell off all my property. Some people suggested that he was a Shia, but I was too fearful to approach him in case he turned out to be a non-Shia and would force me to part with all my wealth, as I was a follower of Ali (a.s.). So I decided to run away from that place and headed for Mecca. After completing pilgrimage I decided to visit Madinah and presented myself before Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and told him, 'Such and such person has been appointed as a tax collector but I was too scared to approach him for the fear that he may not be one of your adherents.' Imam (a.s.) told me that there was no cause for me to worry and he wrote a brief note;
"In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful, there are many people in His shade whose guardians are only those who remove the grief and difficulties of their brothers or give them opportunity or do some good to them even if it is as little as half a dried date and this person is your brother."

Imam (a.s.) put his seal at the end and handed me the note saying, 'Give this to him.' When I returned to my native town and went to his door, I said, 'I have been sent by Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.).' He came running to the door barefooted. When he saw me, he saluted me and kissed my forehead and asked if his master has sent me. I replied in the affirmative and he said, 'If this is so, even my life is at your disposal.' He held my hands and implored me to tell him in what condition Imam (a.s.) was when I had departed. I told him that Imam (a.s.) was well. 'By Allah? Yes, By Allah?' he asked this three times and after that I handed him the hand-written note of Imam (a.s.). He kissed it and touched it to his eyes. Then he asked me what I wanted from him. I told him that I owed several thousand dirhams in taxes and I would spend my whole life in paying them. He called for my file and condoned the taxes payable by me and gave me a receipt. After this he called for his money chest and gave half of the money to me. Then he called for his horses and distributed them equally between us. After this he sent for his clothes and distributed them in the same way. When he had divided all his belongings and given me half he said 'O Brother! Have I pleased you?' Yes, I replied, 'By Allah!'

When it was the time for Hajj I said to myself that I could never repay his kindness except for that which is most liked by Allah and His Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). So I decided to go for Hajj in order that I may pray for him and after Hajj meet Imam (a.s.) and inform him of the kindness and request him also to pray for this noble soul. When I met Imam (a.s.) after Hajj he seemed very pleased and asked,
"O Yaqteen how did that person behave with you?"

When I depicted his goodness the face of Imam (a.s.) beamed with happiness. I asked whether Imam (a.s.) was pleased with his actions? (so that Allah may please the noble man). Imam (a.s.) replied:
"By Allah he has pleased my ancestors! By Allah he has pleased Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and he has pleased the Almighty Allah at the High Heaven."

Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) and Ali Ibne Yaqteen

Ibrahim Jamaal wanted to meet Ali Ibne Yaqteen, the Prime Minister of Haroon the Caliph, but he was not granted an audience. The same year Ali Ibne Yaqteen was honoured by Hajj and later went to Madinah and decided to meet Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) but Imam (a.s.) did not permit him to enter. Again the next day he presented himself and upon the refusal of Imam (a.s.) asked as to what sin he had committed that Imam (a.s.) did not want to meet him. Imam (a.s.) said that since he had refused to meet his brother, the Almighty Allah would not allow his efforts to succeed, till the time Ibrahim Jamaal does not forgive him. Ali ibn Yaqteen said that since he was in Madinah and Ibrahim Jamaal in Kufa how was it possible to obtain his forgiveness at that moment?

Imam (a.s.) said,
"When it is dark, go alone to Baqee, and do not let anyone know it. You will find a thoroughbred horse there. Mount that horse."

Ali Ibne Yaqteen did as instructed and in a short time found himself at the door of Ibrahim Jamaal. He knocked at the door and announced "I am Ali Ibne Yaqteen." Ibrahim Jamaal said from inside, "What do I have to do with Ali Ibne Yaqteen?"

Ali Ibne Yaqteen said that he had some urgent work with him and begged for the permission to enter. When he was allowed inside he said, "My Master has refused to see me till you forgive me."

Ibrahim said, "May Allah forgive you."
Ali Ibne Yaqteen fell down and implored him to put his foot on his (Ali's) face. Ibrahim did not agree. Ali Ibne Yaqteen again implored him in the Name of Allah. Ibrahim complied with his request. Then Ali Ibne Yaqteen said, "O Allah be a witness," and mounted the horse again. Within a few minutes he found himself at the door of Imam (a.s.). He knocked and Imam (a.s.) permitted him to enter.

By these traditions we can judge the importance of helping our believing brothers. Ali Ibne Yaqteen was one of the closest companions of Imam (a.s.) and has assumed the ministership by the order of Imam (a.s.). He was also held in such high esteem that on the day of Eid-uz-Zuha Imam (a.s.) said,
"I did not recall anyone else's name. I just prayed for Ali Ibne Yaqteen!"

Inspite of such an honourable position he was not able to satisfy Imam (a.s.) till he had satisfied his believing brother. We must exercise utmost caution in our daily lives that we may not cause any believer's rights to be trespassed; which may bring down the anger of Allah and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) upon us.

His own needs are fulfilled

It must be known that one who strives to fulfill the needs of a believing brother or wards off oppression from an oppressed soul, apart from the rewards of the Hereafter he is also bestowed honour in this world and his own needs are fulfilled. We have many traditions to prove this, however we shall mention only one such incident.

The esteemed scholar, Ahmed bin Muhammad bin Khalid Al Barqi who was present in the life time of Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) and also during the Minor Occultation, says in his book Mahasin:
I was under the patronage of the tax collector of the city of Pahencha Kootkeen. His name was Abul Hasan Madarani. He had given me a yearly endowment, which I used to collect as tax from an area at Kashaan, but he was so busy that he became inattentive towards me and my own taxes were demanded from me. I was much worried, when one day a noble and pious man came to me. He was very fragile and it seemed as if he had no blood in his body. He was like a walking corpse. He told me, "O Abu Abdillah! There is a relation of common faith and purity between you and me and the relation of devotion to the Pure Imams (a.s.). Please do something for me for the sake of pleasing Allah and for the sake of the love of Saadaat." I asked him as to what he wished? He said, "People have falsely spread the rumour that I have given some secret information against Kootani to the Sultan. Hence, they have confiscated all my property."

I promised to help him out and he went away. I thought to myself that if I approached the collector with two requests at the same time I would not be able to achieve them both. On the other hand if I presented the problem of only the old man then what of my own difficulty? I went inside my library and was in deep thought when a tradition of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) came to my mind. It was to the effect that if a person strives, sincerely, to solve the difficulty of a believer, his own difficulty is solved by Allah." I got up at once and went to Abul Hasan Madarani. When I entered I saw that he was sitting on his chair with a pillow to rest his back and he held a stick in his hand. He told me to sit. At that very moment a Quranic verse came to my mind and I recited it loudly:
"And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you, and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love the mischief-makers."
(Surah Qasas 28:77)

Abul Hasan said that since I have recited this verse I must be in some need? He told me to mention it clearly. I said that people have spread false rumours against such and such person. He asked me if he was a Shia and if he was acquainted with him. I said, "Yes"! He called for the register and I saw that a large property had been seized from the old man. Abul Hasan ordered all the seized property to be restored to its owner. He also told his servants to give him a mule and a novel dress and accompany him to his family with respect. After this he said, "O Abu Abdillah you have corrected my mistake." Then he picked up a slip of paper and wrote an order transferring the rights of the particular piece of land in my name. Again he waited for sometime then ordered the old man to be paid 10,000 dirhams extra, saying, "Because he had guided us to the correct way!"

I requested him to let me kiss his hands but he said that if I kissed his hands he would kiss my feet and said that he did not wish to waste away his good deed. It was nothing much for him as he was holding the rope of the Progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.). 

The thirty-first sin that is clearly stated to be a Greater Sin is sorcery. A tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has been recorded in Wasaelush Shia in which the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has mentioned that Magic is a Greater Sin. The tradition of Abdul Azeem (r.a.) has also mentioned from Imam Jawad (a.s.) who has related through his fore-fathers from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said to the effect, "Sorcery is a Greater Sin because the Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran:
"And they followed what the shaitans chanted of sorcery in the reign of Sulaiman, and Sulaiman was not an unbeliever, but the shaitans disbelieved, they taught men sorcery and that was sent down to the two angels at Babel, Harut and Marut, Yet these two taught no man until they had said, 'Surely we are only a trial, therefore do not be a disbeliever.' Even then men learned from these two, magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it anyone except with Allah's permission, and they learnt what harmed them and did not profit them, and certainly they know that he who brought it should have no share of good in the hereafter and evil was the price for which they sold their souls; had they but known this."
(Surah Baqarah 2:102)

According to Tafseer al-Mizan this ayat shows that sorcery was prevalent among the Jews for a long time; and they used to ascribe it to Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.). They believed that Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) had mastered the techniques of controlling the angels, jinns and wild animals through magic, and some of these alleged methods had reached them. They also implicated the two angels Harut and Marut for other magical rites. Therefore, the Holy Quran has denounced their belief regarding Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) because sorcery is the method of misusing the power of human spirit in order to perform extraordinary acts. It is against the Divine law because it negates the supremacy of Allah. Since Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) was a Prophet and undoubtedly infallible, he cannot be blamed for such a violation of Divine Command. Therefore to ascribe sorcery to Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) was absolutely wrong. As the Almighty says,
"...and Sulaiman was not an unbeliever, but the shaitans disbelieved, they taught men sorcery..."
(Surah Baqarah 2:102)

Regarding Harut and Marut the Holy Quran says:
"...and that was sent down to the angels at Babel, Harut and Marut, yet these two taught no man until they had said, "Surely we are only a trial, therefore do not be a disbeliever." Even then men learnt from these two, magic by which they might cause a separation between a man and his wife; and they cannot hurt with it anyone except with Allah's permission, and they learnt what harmed them and did not profit them..."
(Surah Baqarah 2:102)

We should however know that some of the commentaries of the Holy Quran by Ahle-Sunnat have recorded some lewd traditions on this subject; and their lewdness itself proves their forged nature. For example they say that the Jinns stole the ring of Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) and with the help of its power ruled for forty days from his throne and during this period the satans spread the practice of sorcery among the masses. They have also written that Harut and Marut were two angels and when they became seized with sensuality, they drank wine and murdered a man; later they committed adultery with a woman. The woman then ascended to the heavens; and the star Zahra on the sky is that same woman.

This is a false allegation because during his conversation on this subject with Mamoon, as mentioned in Oyoon-e-Akhbaare Reza, Imam Reza (a.s.) says that Harut and Marut were two angels who had taught people the method of nullifying the magic of the sorcerers so as to enable them to prevent the effect of magical rites practiced by the magicians. They did not teach any magical spell before warning them that this was a Divine test and they must not fall prey to infidelity but some people became disbelievers by misusing the spells to cause discord between husband and wife, though the proper utility of the spell was obstructing black magic.

Even the Shia scholars differ in the explanation of this verse. Tafseer Majmaul Bayan has also recorded different views. Some thinkers have opined that this is one of the Divine secrets and they further offer the exegesis that Harut and Marut signify the intellect and soul of man. These two entities changed their abstract form and assumed a physical body. Therefore, they were examined in their material life. They became engrossed in satisfying their carnal desires. Consequently they attached themselves solely to the material world and continued to worship their desires. In this way they committed gross injustice upon themselves and deprived themselves from eternal bounties. They also made themselves liable for a terrible punishment. Such traditions are unacceptable according to their wordings and if they are reported to have been uttered by the infallibles they should be understood in the light of their sayings only.

The honourable scholar Shaykh Sadooq says that Zahra and Suhail are two types of marine animals who are referred to in traditions by the name of Harut and Marut. They are not two stars as the Ahle-Sunnat believe. Moreover, the Quranic ayat mentioned above is clear that magic is equivalent to disbelief and the sorcerer will not receive any benefit on the Day of Qiyamat.

As the Holy Quran says,
"And if they had believed and guarded themselves (against evil), reward from Allah would certainly have been better; had they but known (this)."
(Surah Baqarah 2:103)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says,
"Three kinds of people will not enter Paradise, habitual alcoholics, habitual sorcerers and those who severe relationships."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says,
"The magician will enter hell like the disbeliever."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Imam (a.s.) also says,
"If one learns magic, whether a little bit or more, he has become an infidel. And his end result is that he does not receive Divine Mercy. His punishment is that he be killed except if he repents."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says that a woman came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and said,
"My husband is very severe and misbehaves with me, so I have prepared something for him that he may become kind to me." (i.e. I have prepared a magical potion to change his attitude).

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said,
"Curse be upon you! You have darkened the realms of the seas and the lands, the angels of the earth and the heavens curse you."

After going from there the woman began to fast during the days and pray during the night and she trimmed her hair and started wearing a leather garment. When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) learnt of this he remarked that her fasting and prayers would not be accepted.
(Kitab Faqih)

Muhaddith Faid mentions this hadith and comment that these actions will not save her from death penalty. Sorcery is such a severe crime that her repentance and worship will not bring her near Allah. She has done an injustice to her husband and unless he forgives her, she cannot be forgiven.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:
"If a person goes to a magician, a diviner or a liar and testifies to the truth of whatever he says, he becomes an infidel according to all the books revealed by Allah."
(Safinatul Behaar)

Sorcery is punishable by death

A Muslim who indulges in magic and does not repent is punished by death. An infidel culprit of sorcery must not be killed. He should be punished according to the decree of a just jurist (Qazi) and his penalty is at the discretion of the Qazi.

According to a tradition of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"The sorcerer must be given a single blow of the sword on his head."
(Al Kafi)

"If two just witnesses testify, it is permissible to kill him."

Imam (a.s.) also said, that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) ordered,
"The Muslim sorcerer must be killed and the infidel magician must not be killed."

Someone asked, "O Messenger of Allah, why shouldn't the disbelieving sorcerer be killed too?"

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) replied,
"Because disbelief is a more serious sin than magic; and sorcery and polytheism are the same."

It means that when a zimmi infidel is not sentenced to death for his infidelity he cannot be killed for the sin of practising magic because infidelity is greater than sorcery. Whereas the Muslim magician is killed because he has committed polytheism.

What is sorcery?

The late Sayyad writes in Wasila an Najaat that magic means the writing and reciting of some special spells and charms and the burning of particular objects so that its smoke can be used for some extraordinary effects. Making a picture and blowing, or tying up knots, or buying special objects in particular places so that the person for whom the magic is intended may be affected physically or mentally. That is if he is reported lost he can be located by it or he can be put to sleep or made unconscious. It can also be used for creating love or discord between two people; like husband and wife etc.

In the exegesis Tafseer al-Mizan very interesting points are mentioned under the explanation of the 104th verse of Surah Baqarah. We shall present them for our readers.

A philosophical discussion

It is common knowledge that many unusual events do take place which are beyond the established natural system. It is difficult to find someone who has not seen, or heard about some abnormal or seemingly supernatural event. But on close scrutiny it turns out that most of them are not enigmatic and mysterious at all. They are the results of normal and natural causes, like intensive practice and training, for example, eating poison, lifting heavy loads, walking or dancing on a tight rope etc. Some are based on natural causes that are not known to the general public, for example, a man walks into flaming fire without coming to any harm, (he applies some chemicals like talc to his body); or sends a sheet of blank paper and the addressee understands the message it contains. (He writes with an invisible ink that becomes visible if heated by fire or treated with some chemicals). A third set depends on the sleight of hand like juggling. All these seemingly abnormal feats actually emanate from normal causes, although the causes are unknown to the common man; they may even be beyond his ability.

Yet there are other weird happenings that cannot be attributed to any normal physical cause. For example, giving information of the unseen, and particularly foretelling future events; the charms for love and hate, the harmful or beneficial spells affecting man's virility, hypnotism, mesmerism, spiritualism, telekinesis and so on. It is known that such events do take place from time to time. We have seen some demonstrations ourselves, and similar reports were brought to us by reliable sources. At present there are many people in India, Iran and the western countries, who demonstrate such extraordinary feats and their authenticity is beyond doubt.

It appears from close investigation of their methods and regimen that these feats spring from the will power of the doer, and from his unshakable self-confidence. The will power arises from the special knowledge which they have mastered. Sometimes the will acts independently and sometimes it needs some boosting; for example, writing a certain charm with a certain ink in a certain place at a certain time (for the amulets of love or hate); or fixing a mirror before a certain child (in the seances of spiritualism); or chanting a certain incantation a certain number of times, and so on and so forth. When the conditions are fulfilled the will is strengthened to bring the desired effect into being. When the knowledge becomes one with the knower, it influences his senses to such an extent that he sees the end product, that is, the desired effect, with his eyes. You may verify this statement yourself. Just tell yourself that a certain person is present before you and that you are looking at him; then put your imagination to work to bring his form before your eyes; this should be raised to such a high level of certainty that you become oblivious of all other thoughts and ideas and then you will actually see him standing before you-as you had imagined. Many ancient doctors, acting on this principle, restored to health their incurable patients-simply by creating in them the confidence that they would soon regain their health.

Taking this principle a step further, if someone's will power is extraordinarily strong, it might influence the psyche of another individual and create the desired impression on him also. That impression might, or might not depend on fulfillment of certain conditions, as indicated earlier.

From the above discourse, we may deduce the following three principles:
FIRST: The appearance of such extraordinary events depends on the firm "knowledge" and strong conviction of the doer but it is irrelevant whether that "knowledge" is true to the fact or not. That explains why the conjurations of the priests of the sun god and the moon-goddess etc. seemed to work although they believed that the heavenly bodies had souls, which they claimed to bring under by their magic. Probably the same applies to the angels and satans whose names are "discovered" and invoked by many practitioners of the magic art. The same is true for spiritualism and its seance and spirit communication- and the spiritualist belief that the spirits attend their sittings. Utmost that may be claimed regarding those sessions, is that the spirit appears in their imagination or, let us say, before their senses- and this "perception" emanates from their firm belief in their art but it can never be said that the spirit actually presents itself at the sittings- otherwise all the participants in the sitting should have perceived its presence, because everyone of them has the same senses as the medium has.

But accepting this principle, we may solve many problems related to the seance and spirit communication. For example:
1. Sometimes the spirit of a living man is called to present itself at a seance, and supposedly it comes there but at that very moment, that man is busy attending to his affairs and he never feels his spirit leaving him even for an instant. The question is: As a man has only one spirit, how was it possible that his spirit presented itself to that seance without his being aware of it?

2. The spirit is an immaterial essence which has no relation whatsoever with space and time. How can it present itself at a certain place at a certain time?

3. Why is it that often a single spirit appears before different mediums in different forms?

4. Why is it that sometimes when the spirits are called to a seance, they tell lies and give wrong answers? And why do the various spirits sometimes contradict each other?

All these problems will be solved if the principle is accepted that it is not any spirit that presents itself to the seance; it is only the firm belief and conviction of the spiritualists and his medium that is at work, making the medium see, hear and feel the spirit. It is all a play of his imagination and will; and nothing more.

SECOND: Some of the people, holding the strong and effective will-power, rely on their own power and their own being, in bringing about the desired effect, the intended supernatural events. Such events are bound to be limited in strength, confined in their scope- in their own imagination as well as in reality.

On the other side, there are some persons, like the Prophets and the friends of Allah who, in spite of their most effective will power, totally rely on their Lord. They truly worship Him and have full trust in Him. They do not wish anything but from their Lord, and by His permission. Theirs is a pure and clear will, untainted by any personal feeling. It does not depend except on Allah. This is a Divine Will- not limited in anyway, nor restricted in any manner.

The supernatural events that are brought into being by the first group may be of many kinds; If they are based on enquiry of, or help from, a jinn or a spirit etc. then it is called "al-Kihanah" (divination, sooth-saying, fortune-telling); and if it comes about by means of a charm, amulet, talisman or other such instruments or potions, then it is called magic.

The supernatural events shown by the prophets and saints are also of various kinds. If it is produced as a challenge, in order to prove the truth of the claim of prophethood, then it is called miracle, if it is not offered as a challenge, then it is named "al-Karamah" which literally means nobility, mark of honour; and in Islamic terminology is used for a miraculous event shown without a challenge; and if it happens as a result of the prayer to Allah, then it is called, "answer to the prayer."

THIRD: As the whole thing depends on the will power of the doer, its strength varies according to the strength (or weakness) of the will. That is why some of them may nullify the others, as, for example, the miracle annihilates sorcery. Also, a weak agent fails to impose his will on a stronger psyche, as is often seen at the sessions of mesmerism, hypnotism and seances.

Various Kinds of Magic

There are many fields of study dealing with various awe-striking feats and extraordinary deeds; and it is very difficult to classify them so as not to leave anything out. However, we give here a list of the more commonly used branches of this art.

a) as-Simiya: It deals with the ways of combining the will-power with particular physical and material forces for manipulating the natural order and, thus, producing extraordinary effects. Under this head comes the manipulation of thought, also known as the eye-enchantment.
It is the most deserving candidate for the title of magic

b) al-Limiya: It teaches how one may establish a connection between his psyche and the higher and stronger spirits, in order that one may bring them under one's control, for example, the spirits of the stars, or the jinn, etc.
It is also called the knowledge of subjugation of the spirits.

c) al-Himiya: It explains how the powers of the higher spiritual world may be combined with the base elements of this world to produce awe-inspiring effects. It is also called talisman. The stars and their configuration have some relation to the material happenings of this world, in the same way as the elements and compounds and their physical qualities affect those phenomena. Supposedly if the heavenly forms, pertaining to a certain event, for example, A's life or B's death, could be combined with the relevant material forms, the desired effect would take place without fail.

d) ar-Rimiya: It trains one how to control and manipulate the qualities of various things, to produce seemingly super-natural effects. It is also called "ash-Sha'badhah" (sleight of hand, jugglery, magic).

These four fields of knowledge, together with the fifth, called "al-Kimiya" (alchemy, the forerunner of chemistry, primarily the attempt to transmute base metals into gold or silver) formed what the ancients called the five secrets, mysterious branches of knowledge.

Ash-Shaykh al-Bahai has said: "The best book written on these subjects was the one I saw in Herat, 'Kulah-e-sar' (the head's cap) by name. Its name was an acronym, made of the first letters of the five subjects, that is, al-Kimiya, al-Limiya, al-Himiya, al-Simiya and ar-Rimiya."

The standard books of these subjects are the epitome of the books of Balinas, Rasa'il, al-Khusraw Shahi, adh-Dhakhirah, al-Iskandariyya, as-Sirru'l makhtum (by ar-Razi), at-Taskhirat (by as-Sakkaki) and A'malu'l-kawakib as-Sab'ah (by al-Hakim Tamtam al-Hindi).

Supplementary of the above are the following subjects:
a) The knowledge of numbers (numerology): It shows the relation of numbers and letters with the desired effect. The relevant letters or numbers are filled in a magic square or triangle etc. in a particular sequence.

b) al-Khafiyah (the hidden knowledge): It breaks down the name of the desired effect or other relevant names, and finds out the names of the angels or the satans managing the said effect; and then composes the invocations made of those names.



source : GREATER SINS/Al-Haaj Sayed Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi (r.a.)
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