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Thursday 27th of January 2022
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Obedience to the Prophet

RIGHTS OF THE PROPHET

Our great Prophet Mohammed (s) was the ideal in all aspects of perfection. God selected him among the creatures and conferred upon him with the loftiest traits that He gave to the prophets. All glories and dignities are gathered in the personality of Prophet Mohammed (s); therefore, he became the head and the seal of the prophets.

In less than twenty-five years, he, out of his giant efforts and eternal principles, could achieve splendid spiritual victories and religious attainments that cannot be achieved by others even if they take the period of many centuries. He came with the most perfect divine code that is best befitting the stages of life and achieving the worldly and religious spiritual and material pleasures to humankind. Hence, he could take people out of the murk of disbelief to the light of Islam. Besides, he made his nation the most perfect in religion, the most knowledgeable, the highest in fields of ethics, and the most elevated in fields of civilization. In the cause of achieving all these, the Prophet (s) suffered such unprecedented forms of terrors and ordeals. On that account, any author is too short to calculate the favors and rights of the Prophet (s) that are done and imposed upon Muslims, whatever he writes. Nevertheless, we can, in such a brief essay, refer to some of these rights.

First of all, the rights of the Prophet Mohammed (s) are to believe in his prophecy and all that which he conveyed on behalf of God, and to believe that he is the chief of the messengers of God and the seal of the prophets. Then come the following rights :

1. Obedience to the Prophet:

Like the obedience to God, the obedience to Prophet Mohammed (s) is an obligation since he is the representative of God. The meaning of this obedience is to follow his code and apply his eternal principles that achieved happiness and success for Muslims so long as they adhered to them. Thus, Muslims became the target of humility when they rejected these principles.

Enjoining to the compliance with the Prophet Mohammed (s) and warning against the disobedience and defiance to him, God says:

“Take only what the Messenger gives to you and desist from what he forbids you. Have fear of Allah; Allah is severe in His retribution (59:7).”

“The believing men and women must not feel free to do something in their affairs other than that which has been already decided for them by Allah and His Messenger. One who disobeys Allah and His Messenger is in plain error. (33:36)”

“Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to the gardens wherein streams flow and wherein they will live forever. This is the greatest triumph. Whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and breaks His rules will be admitted to the fire where in they will live forever, suffering a humiliating torment. (4:13-4)”

“Disgrace will strike those who oppose Allah and His Messenger. Allah has decreed, "I and My Messenger shall certainly triumph." Allah is All-powerful and Majestic (58:20-1).”

 

2. Love for the Prophet

Reasons of love and admiration vary according to the tendencies of lovers. Some people love beauty, others love heroism, others love liberality, and so on. In the personality of Prophet Mohammed (s), one can find all factors of love and admiration. He was an unparalleled model and a unique example. God gathered all signs of beauty and perfection and all secrets of attraction in his personality. In front of Prophet Mohammed (s), man can do nothing but expressing his love and respect to him.

Describing the features of the Prophet Mohammed (s), Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said:

“The Prophet of Allah was white-reddish, black-eyed, lank-haired, bushy-bearded, hairy, and his neck was as same as a silver pitcher in whose clavicles gold is flowing. Like a bar of thread, his hair extends from the upper part of his chest to his navel. Other than this, he has no hair on his belly or breast. He is big-handed and big footed. His walking is as same as pulling the feet from rocks. His coming is as same as descending a slope. When he turns his face, his whole body turns. He is neither short nor tall. His sweat on the face glitters like pearls and smells sweeter than musk.” ( 1 )

“He was the most openhanded, the most broad-minded, the most truthful, the most faithful, the most tractable, and the most sociable. He who sees him from far away stands in awe of him, and who associates with him from near loves him. I have never seen, and I will not see, his like.” ( 2 )

Because of the aforesaid features and moralities, all people, despite their variant trends of love, have loved him—for his unmatched heroism, heroes have loved him. For his being the ideal example of generosity, the generous have loved him. For his unique worship, worshippers have loved him. For his supreme ideality in nature and ethics, his sincere companions loved him.

Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) narrated that, once, one of Ansar, ( 3 ) said to the Prophet (s): “God’s Messenger, I cannot depart you! As soon as I enter my house, you jump in my mind. I therefore leave my home and come to see you, out of my love for you. A question h as occurred to me. How can I see you when you will be elevated to the highest point of Paradise?”

 

Hence, God revealed His saying:

“One who obeys Allah and the Messenger is the friend of the Prophets, saints, martyrs, and the righteous ones to whom Allah has granted His favors. They are the best friends that one can have (4:69)”

The Prophet (s) summoned that man and recited this Verse before him, as good tidings.” ( 4 )

•Anas narrated: A Beduin came to the Prophet (s) –we were happy whenever a Beduin asks the Prophet— to ask him when would the Hour of Resurrection fall. Before answering the man, the time of a prayer fell; therefore, the Prophet (s) came to offer it. Aft er the prayer, the Prophet (s) asked about the man who had asked about the falling of the Hour of Resurrection. When the man came before him, the Prophet (s) asked: “What have you prepared for encountering that Hour?” The man answered: “I, in fact, have not prepared many prayers and days of fasting. I, however, love God and His Messenger.” The Prophet (s) commented: “Man will be attached to the one he loves.” This prophetic statement was the second-most gladdening thing after Islam. ( 5 )

• Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated: An oilman loved the Prophet (s) very much to the degree that he used to come to look at him before he would do any job. As he realized this thing from that oilman, the Prophet used to raise himself —when he was sitting— so t hat the man would se him.

One day, the man, as usual, took a look at the Prophet (s) before he would go to his job. He, very soon, came back. When the Prophet (s) noticed that, he waved to him to sit down. The man sat before the Prophet (s), who asked him about his unusual coming back. The man said: “God’s Messenger, by Him Who has sent you with the right I swear, your picture covered my heart totally that I could not go for my job; therefore, I came back to you.” The Prophet (s) addressed nice words to that man and supplicated to God for his good.”

For several days, the Prophet (s) could not see that man. When he missed him, the Prophet (s) asked the others about him, and they answered that they, too, could not see him several days ago. The Prophet (s), accompanied by his companions, came to the market to ask about him. He found his shop locked, and the others informed him that the man had died. They also told that he was trustworthy and truthful, but he had one bad manner—he used to look covetingly at women.

The Prophet (s) commented: “He loved me very much. Allah will surely forgive him even if he was fraudulent in weighing and measuring.” ( 6 )

3. Blessing the Prophet

God says:

“Allah showers His blessings upon the Prophet and the angels, too, do. Believers, pray for the Prophet and greet him thoroughly. (33:56)”

People used to show different styles of reverence towards the great personalities for their efforts for the sake of their nations. Such being the case, it is not strange to show respect whenever the holy name of the Prophet (s), who is the most reverent and venerable of all, is said or heard.

The holy Verse expresses the utmost honoring of God and the angels to the Prophet (s) — God showers His blessings upon the Prophet and the angels, too, do—, and then it addresses to the believers to reverence him by seeking God to bless and greet him— believers, pray for the Prophet and greet him thoroughly—.

Using such a thrilling, attractive style, the words of the Ahl ul-Bayt (a) go on explaining the merits of seeking God’s blessings for the Prophet (s).

His son narrated that Abu Hamza said: I, once, asked Imam as-Sadiq (a) about the exegesis of God’s saying:

“Allah showers His blessings upon the Prophet and the angels, too, do. Believers, pray for the Prophet and greet him thoroughly. (33:56)”

He answered: “The blessing of Allah is mercy to the Prophet (s), and the blessing of the angels is purification tohim, and the blessing of people is supplication for him. To ‘great him thoroughly,’ means to submit to that whichever is –authentically- related to him.”

I asked: “How should we bless Mohammed and his family?” The Imam (a) replied: “You should say:

صَلَواتُ اللهِ وَصَلَواتُ مَلائِكَتِهِ وَأَنْبِيائِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَجَميعِ خَلْقِهِ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِ مُحَمَّدٍ ، وَالسَّلامُ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَيْهِمْ وَرَحْمَةُ اللهِ وَبَرَكاتُهُ.

‘The blessings of Allah and the blessings of His angels, prophets, messengers, and all creatures be upon Mohammed and the family of Mohammed. And peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon him and them.’”

I asked: “What is the reward that one will win if he utters such blessings for the Prophet and his family?”

The Imam (a) answered: “The reward is that he will be acquitted from all of his sins, as if he has just left his mother’s womb.” ( 7 )

“For him who utters the blessings for Mohammed and his family ten times, Allah and His angels will bless him one hundred times, and if he utters the blessings one hundred times, Allah and His angels will bless him one thousand times. This is the significance of Allah’s saying:

“It is He who forgives you and His angels pray for you so that He will take you out of darkness into light. Allah is All-merciful to the believers. (33:43)” ( 8 )

“Before blessing the Prophet and his family, every supplication is prevented to reach the heavens.” ( 9 )

“The heaviest thing in the balance of a servant’s deeds will be the blessings for the Prophet and his family. As a man’s evildoings are heavier than his good deeds, the Prophet (s) comes to add the blessings for him and his family to the scale in which h is good deeds are put. Thus, his good deeds become heavier than the evildoings.” ( 10 )

Imam ar-Ridha (a) said: “He who fails to expiate his sins should give much of the blessings for Mohammed and his family, for they destroy the sins.”

The Prophet (s) said: “Do not utter the imperfect blessings for me.”

They asked: “What is the imperfect blessings?”

He answered: “The imperfect blessings is to say ‘Lord, bless Mohammed,’ and keep silent. You must say, ‘Lord, bless Mohammed and the family of Mohammed.’” ( 11 )

4. The Love for the Ahl ul-Bayt

In His Book, God makes obligatory on everybody to love the Prophet’s household as the wage for his conveying the divine mission, and makes it one of his rights:

“(Muhammad), say, "I do not ask you for any payment for my preaching to you except (your) love of (my near) relatives." Whoever achieves virtue will have its merit increased. Allah is All-forgiving and Appreciating. (42:23)”

The Ahl ul-Bayt (a) are characterized by all qualities of admiration and incentives of love and loyalty. They are the choice people, the arguments against the creatures, the ships of salvation, and —preceded by their father the Prophet (s)— the best of everyone who ever lived on this earth in lineage, value, merits, and glories.

It is impossible for the sound conscience to accept to love the Prophet (s) apart from his immaculate family who are worthy of the best concepts of love. To love the Prophet (s), but not his immaculate family, is falsity originated from hypocrisy and meanness.

 

Abdullah ibn Mas’oud narrated:

One day, we were accompanying the Prophet (s) in one of his journeys when a Beduin with an orotund voice shouted at us, “Mohammed!” “What do you want?” answered the Prophet (s). “What is it if an individual loves a people but he does not imitate them in deeds?” asked the Beduin. “One will be attached to the one he loves,” replied the Prophet (s). “Mohammed,” shouted the Beduin, “Call me to Islam.” The Prophet (s) said: “You should declare that there is no god but Allah and that I am the Messenger of All ah, offer the prayer, defray the zakat, fast during the month of Ramadan, and perform the hajj to the Holy House.”

“Mohammed,” asked the Beduin, “Do you ask for wage for so?” “No,” replied the Prophet (s), “I do not take any wage except that you must regard the relatives.” “Whose relatives? Mine or yours?” asked the Beduin. “It is my relatives,” answered the Prophet (s). The Beduin said: “Give me your hand so that I will declare allegiance to you. No good is expected from him who loves you, but not your relatives.” ( 12 )

The Imamite ( 13 ) Shia have agreed unanimously on the fact that the Immaculate Imams of the Ahl ul-Bayt (a) are the intendeds in the Verse:

“(Muhammad), say, "I do not ask you for any payment for my preaching to you except (your) love of (my near) relatives." Whoever achieves virtue will have its merit increased. Allah is All-forgiving and Appreciating. (42:23)”

A good number of great exegesists and traditionists of the other sects of Islam, such as Ahmed ibn Hanbal, at-Tabarani, and al-Hakim ( 14 ) (as quoting the opinion of ibn Abbas ( 15 ) ) agreed with the Shia on this fact.

Ibn Hagar, in Chapter One of Section Eleven of as-Sawaaiq ul-Muhriqa, narrates the following:

When the Verse (intended) was revealed, they asked: “God’s Messenger, who are your relatives whom we must love and regard?” The Prophet (s) answered: “They are Ali, Fatima, and their two sons.” ( 16 )

Consider how the Prophet (s) urged people to regard his family through the aforementioned narration. However, many texts concerning the Prophet’s assertion on the obligatory love and regard for his relatives are related by the two majors schools of Islam –i.e. Shia and Sunna-.

Regarding the Shia, let us cite the following narrations:

On the authority of his fathers, Imam as-Sadiq narrated that the Prophet (s) said: “He who loves us—the Ahl ul-Bayt should thank Allah for the foremost grace. It is the legal birth. Only will the legal sons love us.” ( 17 )

Imam al-Baqir narrated on the authority of his father and grandfather that the Prophet (s) said: “The love for my household and me will help in seven situations whose horrors are enormous: at death, in the grave, in the Resurrection, in the Recorded Account, in the Judgment, in the Balance, and on the Path.” 18 )

“Any servant who worships Allah for one thousand years and then is slaughtered (wrongfully) like a sheep, but he attends before Allah bearing malice against us—the Ahl ul-Bayt, Allah will certainly reject all his acts of worship.” ( 19 )

“On the Day of Resurrection, a servant’s feet will not move before he is asked about four matters: He will be asked how he had spent the age of his youth, how he had finished his age, what earnings he had got and where from he had got them and how he had spent them, and he will be also asked about his affection to us—the Ahl ul-Bayt.” ( 20 )

 

Al-Hakam ibn Utaiba related the following:

I was with Imam al-Baqir (a) in his house, which was suffocated by his people when an old man came leaning on a stick. As he stopped at the door of the house, he said: “Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you, son of God’s Messenger.” Abu Ja’fa r (a) replied: “Peace and Allah’s mercy and blessings be upon you, too.” The old man turned his face to the others and said: “Peace be upon you,” and each one answered him. He then turned his face towards Imam al-Baqir (a) and said:

“Son of God’s Messenger, let me approach you, God may make me your sacrifice. By God I swear, I do love you and love everyone who loves you. By God I swear, my love for you and my love for him who loves you is not purposed for a worldly desire. I also hate and disavow your enemy. By God I swear, my hatred and disavowal of your enemy is not for a previous personal enmity between him and me. By God I swear, I deem lawful all that which you decide as lawful, deem unlawful all that which you decide as unlawful, and expect your Affair. Do you –may God make me your sacrifice- accept me, then?”

Having heard these words, Imam al-Baqir (a) said to him: “Come to me, come to me.”

When the man sat next to him, the Imam (a) said: “Old man, my father Ali ibn al-Hussein (a), once, was visited by a man who asked him the same question that you have just put. My father’s answer was, ‘If you die bearing these beliefs, you will be receive d by the Messenger of Allah, Ali, al-Hasan, al-Hussein, and Ali ibn al-Hussein (a), and you will be pleased, delighted, and cheerful. And when your soul reaches your mouth –i.e. about to depart your body-, you will be greeted with rest and happiness by t he Honorable Recording Angels. And if you live, Allah will show you delighted things, and you will be with us on the Highest     Peak… etc. ( 21 )

Regarding narrations that are recorded in the reference books of our Sunni brothers, we cite the following as examples:

Ibn Hanbal and at-Tirmithi, as recorded in as-Sawaaiq ul-Muhriqa; page 91, narrated the following:

The Prophet (s), once, took al-Hasan and al-Hussein from the hands and said: “He who loves me, these two, their father, and their mother will stand in a rank as same as mine on the Day of  Resurrection.” ( 22 )

Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet (s), once, looked in the face of Ali (a) and said: “You are sayyid in this world as well as the world to come. Your disciple is my disciple, and my disciple is Allah’s disciple. And your enemy is my enemy, and my enemy is Allah’s enemy. Woe unto him who will hate you after my departure.” ( 23 )

In his book titled Kitab ul-Wilaya, At-Tabari records the following:

Ali (a) said: “Three persons will never love me: the bastards, the hypocrites, and those whom were composed during their mothers’ periods of menstruation.”

At-Tabarani, in his book titled al-Mu’jam ul-Awsat, as-Suyouti, in his book titled Ihyaa ul-Meyt, and ibn Hagar, in his as-Sawaaiq ul-Muhriqa; Chapter: Urging on the love for the Ahl ul-Bayt, recorded the following hadith:

The Prophet (s) said: “Cling to the love for us—the Ahl ul-Bayt, for anyone who meets Allah bearing love for us will be in Paradise due to our Right of Intercession. I swear by Him Who prevails on my soul, unless our right is recognized, none’s deed will be useful (for him).” ( 24 )

The term of the Ahl ul-Bayt includes the twelve sinless Imams (a), because such lofty characteristics are deserved by no one at all except them, since they are the representatives of God and the auspicious successors of the Prophet (s).

1. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 6 (Chapter: Moralities and Physical features of the Prophet).

2. Quoted from Safinat ul-Bihar; vol. 2 page 414.

3. Ansar (the supporters) are the people of Medina who received, welcomed, and protected the Prophet (s) and the Muhajirs.

4. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 6 (Chapter: The Obligation of the love for and the obedience to the Prophet).

5. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 6 (Chapter: The Obligation of the love for and the obedience to the Prophet—as quoted from Ilal ush-Sharaayi).

6. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 pages 143-4.

7. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 19/78 (as quoted from Meaani al-Akhbar).

8. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 5 pages 228 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

9. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 5 pages 227 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

10. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 5 pages 228 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

11. Quoted from Fadhaail ul-Khamsa min as-Sihah is-Sitta. (This narration is recorded in as-Sawaaiq ul-Muhriqa; page 87).

12. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 7/389 (as quoted from Sheikh al-Mufid’s al-Majalis).

13. Imamite Shia are those who believe in the divine leadership of the twelve Imams (a).

14. Ahmed ibn Hanbal was the founder of the school of Hanbalism; one of the four major schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Besides, he was one of the most master traditionists. At-Tabarani was also one of the most master traditionists whose books are

considered as references of narrations and traditions. Al-Hakim (of Nisapur—a city Northern Persia) was also a famous traditionist whose books are considered as references of narrations and traditions.

15. Abdullah ibn Abbas (the Prophet’s cousin) is renowned for his knowledge of both sacred and profane tradition and for his critical interpretations of the Quran. From his youth, he gathered information concerning the words and deeds of the Prophet (s) from other companions and gave classes on interpretation of the Quran.

16. For more, refer to Sharafuddin’s al-Kalimat ul-Gharraa fi Tafdheel iz-Zahraa, 18.

17. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 7 page 389 (as quoted from Ilal ush-Sharayi, Meaani al-Akhbar, and al-Amali).

18. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 7 page 391 (as quoted from al-Khissal).

19. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 7/397 (as quoted from al-Barqi’s al-Mahassin).

20. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 7/389 (as quoted from Sheikh al-Mufid’s al-Majalis).

21. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 139 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

22. Quoted from Imam Sharafuddin’s al-Fussoul ul-Muhimma; page 41.

23. Quoted from Fadhaail ul-Khamsa min as-Sihah is-Sitta; part 1 page 200. (In the book titled al-Mustadrak ala as-sahihayn; part 3 page 127, this narration is recorded).

24. Quoted from Sharafuddin’s al-Muraja’at; page 22.

 

RIGHTS OF THE IMAMS

The Immaculate Imams of the Ahl ul-Bayt (a) preceded everyone else in the fields of virtue and perfection and won the loftiest honor of lineage and ranks. They were brought up in the houses of the Prophet’s successor, grew up under the shadow of the divine mission, and received the facts and principles of Islam from their great grandfather, and, hence, became the heirs of his knowledge, keepers of his wisdom, protectors of his code, and his auspicious representatives.

For sake of supporting the religion and guarding Muslims, they presented unparalleled examples of jihad—they sacrificed themselves for sake of God until they won martyrdom in the cause of the belief and principles. They had no fear of anyone's accusation s and they were not deceived by the false vanities of this worldly life. Their rights against Muslims are too numerous to be counted. I, however, may refer to some of them in the following points:

1. Recognition of the Imams

The two major sects of Islam relate uninterruptedly the following hadith:

“He who dies before he recognizes the Imam of his age is reckoned with those who died before Islam.”

Since the Imam is the Prophet’s representative who conveys the laws of Sharia, it is obligatory upon every Muslim to recognize him so that the belief and Sharia will be deliberately understood and the true guidance will be pursued.

In case a Muslim neglects the recognition of the Imam, he will surely go astray from the course of Islam and, thus, will die as disbeliever and hypocrite.

Returning to the aforementioned hadith, it refers to the necessity of the existence, as well as recognition, of the Imam all over lifetime, because attaching the Imam to the age requires continuity of Imamate and its renewal all over times and ages. In t he same manner, many hadiths that are related by both sects of Muslims confirm the necessity of recognizing the Immaculate Imams and taking them as guides. For instance, the Prophet (s) is related to have said:

“With every generation, there must be decent individuals from my household whose mission will be to save this religion from the distortion of the deviants, the alteration of the wrong, and the misrepresentation of the ignorant. Your Imams are your representatives before Allah. You therefore should select proper representatives.” ( 1 )

“This religion will continue to exist up to the coming of the Hour of Resurrection, and there will exist twelve successors, as leaders—all will be from the tribe of Koreish.” ( 2 )

This hadith is clear-cut evidence on the unquestionable existence of the twelve Imams of the Ahl ul-Bayt (a) exclusively. Because they were more than this fixed number, neither the Umayyad nor are the Abbasid caliphs included.

2. Loyalty to the Imams

Recognition of the Imams is meaningless unless loyalty to them is added. In other words, if recognition of the Imams is bare of loyalty to them, it will be worthless. This is because the Imam, whose mission is to confirm the realities of Sharia, elucidate its rulings, guard it against trickeries and false interpolations of the atheists, and exert all efforts for protecting, supporting, and pleasing Muslims spiritually and materially in this world as well as the life to come, is the Prophet’s representative and the pioneer towards the Islamic idealities. Such being the case, any negligence of the loyalty to the Imam will lead to deviation. This fact was frequently confirmed by the Prophet (s) who, in more than one occasion, declared that the right guidance and triumph will completely accompany the loyalty to the Immaculate Imams, while deviation will be the share of him who leaves and dissents from them:

“The like of my the Ahl ul-Bayt is Noah’s ark—he that embarks on it will be saved, while he that falls behind will be sunk.” ( 3 )

“I will leave with you things that will save you from deviation so long as you adhere to: the Book of Allah, which is a cord extended from the heavens to the earth, and my family—the Ahl ul-Bayt. These two will never depart each other until they join me on the Divine Pool. Consider how you will regard me through them.” ( 4 )

On the authority of his fathers, Imam as-Sadiq narrated that Amir ul-Mu'minin (a), once, was asked about the meaning of ‘my family’ in the Prophet’s saying, ‘I will leave with you the two weighty things: the Book of Allah and my family’?

He answered: “This refers to me, al-Hassan, al- Hussein, and the nine Imams from the descendants of al-Hussein. The ninth will be al-Mahdi al-Qa’im. They will not contradict the Book of Allah, and the Book of Allah will not contradict them until they will join the Prophet (s) on His Pool.” ( 5 )

This hadith substantiates the fact that the Ahl ul-Bayt and the holy Quran are full twins that never depart each other. Like the Quran’s being the constitution and the argument against Muslims, an imam from the Ahl ul-Bayt (a) must exist in every age to hold the position of Muslims’ leadership and guide them to prosperity. The Prophet (s) said:

“He who desires to live like me, die like me, and be taken to the paradise of eternity of which my Lord has promised me, must be loyal to Ali and his descendants, for they will never take you out of the door of right guidance and will never take you to a door of deviation.” ( 6 )

3. Obedience to the Imams

God says:

“Believers, obey Allah, His Messenger, and your (qualified) leaders. If you have faith in Allah and the Day of Judgment, refer to Allah and His Messenger concerning matters in which you differ. This would be a more virtuous and a better way of settling differences. (4:59)”

In this holy Verse, God imposes as duty on Muslims to obey the Imams in their capacity as the Prophet’s successors, Muslims’ leaders, and pioneers of the Islamic ideology. Like imposing as duty the obedience to His Messenger and Him, God imposes the obedience to the Imams. This fact makes clear that they are the true successors of the Prophet (s) and are protected against sins, because no one deserves the absolute obligatory obedience except the sinless leader.

Thus, it is a big mistake to state that ‘the qualified leaders’ to whom the previous Verse refers includes the other individuals who led the Islamic states, because most of such ones contradicted the instructions of God and the practices of the Prophet ( s) and, moreover, went astray from the line of Islam.

Zurara; one of the most celebrated traditionists, relates the following narration that indicates the merit and necessity of loyalty and obedience to the Imams of the Ahl ul-Bayt (a):

Imam al-Baqir (a) said: “The supports of Islam are five: the prayer, zakat, fasting, hajj, and Wilaya.” ( 7 )

I asked: “Which one of these is the most favorable?”

The Imam (a) answered: “It is the Wilaya, because it is the key to the other four supports. The Imam is the guide to these supports… After the recognition of the Imams, the obedience to him is the summit, climax, key, and door to the things. It achieves satisfaction of the All-beneficent Allah, Who says: ‘One who obeys the Messenger has certainly obeyed Allah. You have not been sent to watch over those who turn away from you (4:80).’

Verily, if a man spends nights with rites of worship, observes fasting during days, gives his whole wealth as alms, and performs the hajj permanently, but he does not know what is the Wilaya and, hence, does not declare loyalty to Allah’s Disciples so th at all his deeds must be originated from that Wilaya, Allah will not reward him for anything and he will not be attached to people of  faith.” ( 8 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “Allah has attached the obedience to the Leaders to the obedience to His Messenger, and attached the obedience to His Messenger to the obedience to Him. Hence, he who neglects the obedience to the Leaders is neglecting the obedience to Allah and the obedience to His Messenger.” ( 9 )

4. Fulfillment of the Khums

God says:

“Know that whatever property you may gain, one fifth belongs to Allah, the Messenger, the kindred, orphans, the needy and those who need money while on a journey. (8:41)”

The right of Khums is obligatory upon Muslims, because God has passed it as law for the Ahl ul-Bayt and everyone who has family relation with them. It is, moreover, a natural right accepted by reason, conscience, and Islamic Sharia. All governments used to award their officials by giving them pensions that they receive when they become old and their sons inherit, as an expression of appreciating their efforts in fields of serving their nations. Similarly, God imposes on Muslims to pay one-fifth of the profits of their properties –under definite rules- to the descendants of the Prophet (s) as an appreciation of his giant jihad and precious sacrifices for sake of his nation. Besides, the right of Khums is imposed so as to save the descendants of the Prop het (s) from taking alms and money of the zakat.

 

Explaining the concept of ‘the kindred’, Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said:

“By Allah I swear, it is we whom Allah intended in His saying ‘the kindred,’ and attached to His Messenger and Himself in his saying:

‘Whatever Allah grants to His Messenger (out of the property) of the people of the towns, belongs to Allah, the Messenger, the kindred… (59:7)’”

This is exclusively for us, because Allah did not dedicate a share of alms to us, out of honoring His Messenger and saving us from being fed from dirt of people.” ( 10 )

Abu Bassir narrated:

I, once, asked Imam al-Baqir (a) about the least thing due to which one may be in Hell. He answered: “It is to consume the properties of the orphan wrongfully. It is we whom are intended by ‘the orphan’.”

Many disputations, however, occurred between Imamites and the other Islamic sects regarding the question whether ‘spoils’ refers to the booty of wars particularly or includes the other profits in every respect. To discuss this matter will lead us to go far away from our main topic; namely, ethics. Anyhow, one may refer to the reference books of jurisprudence for more information in this regard.

 

5. Kind Treatment to the Prophet’s Descendants

To attend to, treat kindly, and do good to the descendants of the Immaculate Imams prove one’s love for and loyalty to the Imams (a). The Prophet (s), in many occasions, expressed his pleasure and love for anyone who would respect his descendants and, in the same manner, expressed his denial and malice against one who would injure and mistreat them.

The Prophet said: “On the Day of Resurrection, I will intercede for four persons: one who respects my descendants, one who settles their needs, one who helps them meet their needs in exigencies, and one who loves them heartily and verbally.” ( 11 )

“When I stand on the Praiseworthy Standing (on the Day of Resurrection), I will intercede for the individuals of my umma who committed grand sins, and Allah will pass my intercession. By Allah I swear, I will not intercede for those who injure my descendants.” ( 12 )

6. Praising and Publicizing the Imams’ Merits

The high-minded people used to appreciate the great personalities, for their merits, by several means among which is to use words of praise that express their virtues. Since the Immaculate Imams were the most highborn, the most virtuous, and the foremost in fields of merits and glories, they have been worthy of expressions of love and loyalty and words of admiration. Besides, the Imams were the relief and shelter of Muslims in ordeals, as they spared no efforts in saving them from despots and wrongdoers .

Opposite to the Ahl ul-Bayt (a), people are of two groups: a group shows malice towards them, denies their merits, and pretends not to see their lofty idealities, despite their brightness and beauty.

This group can be described by sying:

He whose mouth is ill and bitter will find bitter even the fresh pure water.

The other group is spellbound by the love and loyalty to them, infatuated with their merits, longs for listening to their virtues, and mentions continually their worth even if this costs to encounter horrible disasters.

To this variance, Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) refers by saying:

“If I strike the nasal of the believer with my sword so as to make him hate me, he will not do. And if I pour all the pleasures of this world on the hypocrite so as to make him love me, he will not do. This is because it is a finalized matter that is uttered by the Ummi ( 13 ) Prophet (s), who said: ‘Ali, a believer will never hate you, and a hypocrite will never love you.’”

Thus, those who have full awareness of the Imams’ virtues and have adhered to the loyalty to them competed with each other in praising and publicizing their traits as expressions of their true love, without anticipating the Imams’ worldly awards. In retu rn, the Imams (a) used to receive the eulogists so warmly, appreciating for them their profuse emotions and nice eulogies, and used to award them by means of charity and prayers.

Saaid; the servant of al-Kumayt—the famous poet, narrated the following:

Accompanying my master; al-Kumayt, we, once, visited Ali ibn al-Hussein (a). Before him, al-Kumayt said: “I have eulogized you hoping that it will be a means that takes me near to the Messenger of God (s).”

Al-Kumayt, then, recited his poem. When he finished, the Imam (a) said to him: “I cannot reward you properly, but God will surely reward you properly.”

The Imam then supplicated to God to forgive al-Kumayt and could gather for him four hundred thousand dirhams.

Al-Kumayt said: “If you have given me a single daniq, ( 14 ) it will be great honor for me. I, however, wish you would give me pieces of your clothes through which I will seek blessings.”

Thus, the Imam (a) gave him his clothes and supplicated: “O Allah my Lord, al-Kumayt has done well for the sake of Your Messenger’s family when others have fallen behind, and declared the right that others have concealed. Hence, I implore to You to give him nice life, make him die as shahid, show him Your rewarding very soon, and grant him the great rewards thereupon. I am too short to reward him properly.”

All his lifetime, al-Kumayt felting the blessings of the Imam’s supplication. ( 15 )

Diibil al-Khuzaai; the famous poet, narrated the following:

One day, in Khurasan, I visited Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (a) who asked me to recite some of my new poem. Hence, I went on reciting my poem, which contained the following Verse:

If they –the Ahl ul-Bayt- are oppressed, they extend towards their oppressors hands that are too lofty to oppress others.

When he heard this verse, Imam ar-Ridha (a) wept so heavily that he fainted. A servant who was standing behind the Imam asked me to stop, and I did.

After a while, the Imam (a) asked me to repeat the poem. When I recited the very verse, the Imam (a) wep so heavily that he fainted, and the servant asked me to stop, and I did.

After a while, the Imam (a) asked me to repeat my poem. When I finished, he expressed his admiration by saying, three times, ‘Well done.’

The Imam then ordered to give me ten thousand dirhams on which his name was pressed. I was the first one who would receive such dirhams. Besides, his family members gave me many jewels.

When I arrived in Iraq, I sold these dirhams, each with ten ordinary dirhams, to the Shia. Hence, I could gain one hundred thousand dirhams, which was the first sum I had ever gained. ( 16 )

 

7. Pilgrimage to the Imams’ Shrine

To visit the holy shrines of the Imams and to greet them are within the rights against their adherents, as an expression of loyalty to them. The Imams are the same whether they are alive or dead. Referring to this aspect, Sheikh al-Mufid said:

((After their death, the Prophet and the Imams of the Ahl ul-Bayt have full acquaintance with their adherents’ manners in this life that their acquire by God. Moreover, they can hear the words of him who speaks to them in their holy shrines. This is also an honor that God confers upon them so as to distinguish them from others. Many narratives have proven that they can also hear the words that are addressed to them wherever they come from. All the Imamite jurisprudents believe in so. As a proof, yet general, on the authenticity of this belief, we cite God’s saying:

“Do not think of those slain for the cause of Allah as dead. They are alive with their Lord and receive sustenance from Him. They are pleased with the favor from their Lord and have received the glad news that those who follow them will have no fear nor will they be grieved that they will be rewarded with bounties and favors from their Lord and that Allah will not neglect the reward of the true believers. (3:169-71)”

Telling the story of the believer of the Pharaoh’s family, God says:

“(Having been murdered by the disbelievers) he was told to enter paradise (wherein he said), "Would that people knew how my Lord has granted me forgiveness and honor" (36:26-7).”

 

The Prophet (s), too, said:

“I will certainly hear him who greets me near my tomb, and I will surely respond the salaams of him who greets me from any place.”

Finally, many texts said by the Imams of the Ahl ul-Bayt (a) deal with this topic in details.))

Uninterruptedly, there are tens of narrations related to the Ahl ul-Bayt (a) with regard to the great rewarding and grand credit obtained due to the pilgrimage to the Imams’ shrines.

Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) narrated: We served the Prophet (s), who was visiting us, some of the milk, butter, and dates that Ummu Ayman had given to us. After he had had some, he moved to a corner to offer a prayer. During the last prostration of that prayer, he wept very heavily. As we used to respect and honor him greatly, none of us could ask him. Al-Hussein then approached him and said: “Father, the greatest pleasure that we had ever felt was at these moments when you visit us. But we also felt great sorrow when we noticed you weeping. What for are you weeping?” “Son,” answered the Prophet (s), “The angel Gabriel has just come to me to foretell that you all will be killed in different areas of this earth.” “Father,” asked al-Hussein, “What will be the reward of him who visits us in such different areas?” The Prophet (s) answered: “There will be groups of my umma visiting your tombs for seeking blessings. I engage myself with the pledge that I, on the Day of Resurrection, will come to save them from the horrors of the Hour of Resurrection that they will suffer because of their sins. Allah will surely make Paradise their abode.” ( 17 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “He who visits one of us is as same as him who visits the Messenger of Allah (s).”( 18 )

Imam al-Kadhim (a) said: “On the day of Resurrection, there will stand on the Divine Throne four individuals from the past generations and four from the later generations. Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus are the four individuals from the past generations . Mohammed, Ali, al-Hasan, and al-Hussein are the four individuals from the later generations. Then, food will be served. Those who visited the shrines of the Imams will be invited to that food. The visitors of my son’s shrine will be the foremost and the most favorable.” ( 19 )

Imam ar-Ridha (a) said: “The followers and Shia of each Imam are involved in a pledge that they should fulfill for him. The pilgrimage to the Imam’s shrine is a sign of the perfection of fulfilling that pledge. Hence, the Imam, on the Day of Resurrection , will intercede to him who visits his shrine out of desire and credence to the Imam.” ( 20 )

1. Quoted from Sharafuddin’s al-Muraja’at.

2. Muslim, in his book titled as-Sahih, records this saying of the Prophet (s).

3. Quoted from Sharafuddin’s al-Muraja’at; page 17.

4. Quoted from Sharafuddin’s al-Muraja’at; page 14.

5. Quoted from Safinat ul-Bihar; (as quoted from Meaani al-Akhbar and Uyounu Akhbar ir-Ridha).

6. Quoted from Sharafuddin’s al-Muraja’at; page 156.

7. Wilaya stands for the loyalty to the Imams of the Ahl ul-Bayt (a), as considered as an obligation.

8. Quoted from Safinat ul-Bihar; part 2 page 691.

9. Quoted from Safinat ul-Bihar; part 2 page 691.

10. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 6 page 38 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

11. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 20/57 (as quoted from Uyounu Akhbar ir-Ridha).

12. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 20 page 57 (as quoted from as-Saduq’s al-Amali).

13. Ummi: The inhabitant of Umm ul-Qura: Mecca.

14. Daniq is a part of dirham.

15. Quoted from al-Ghadir; 2/189. (The narration is recorded in Khuzanat ul-Adab).

16. Quoted from al-Ghadir; part 2 page 350-1.

17. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 22/ 7 (as quoted from Kamil uz-Ziyara and al-Amali).

18. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 22 page 6 (as quoted from uyounu Akhbar ir-Ridha, Ilal ush-Sharaayi, and Ibn Qawlawayh’s Kamil uz-Ziyara).

19. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 22 page 6 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

20. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 22 page 6 (as quoted from uyounu Akhbar ir-Ridha, Ilal ush-Sharaayi, and Ibn Qawlawayh’s Kamil uz-Ziyara).

 

Rights of Parents

It is absolutely impossible for any writer to depict the parents’ grandeur and favors on their sons, since they are the supports of merits and success. Parents have done their best and suffered a variety of difficulties for sake of supervising their sons . Mothers, for instance, have suffered the burdens of pregnancy, giving birth, suckling, and the troubles of education. Fathers, on the other hand, have stood the hurdles of seeking earnings for sake of saving the means of good livelihood for their sons. They have also engaged themselves in the troubles of educating and bringing up sons and preparing comfortable lives. Suffering all these difficulties, parents have been feeling happy, without expecting praise or reward from their sons. Out of their abundant love for their sons, parents have worked diligently for making them precede others in fields of virtue so that they will be the objects of admiration. This nature is in violation of man’s tempers. From this cause, parents’ favors are regarded as the greatest after God’s, and their rights against their sons are very considerable.

Filial Piety

It is binding on noble sons to appreciate their parents’ favors by rewarding them with the most deserved for of loyalty, reverence, respect, piety, good turn, nice treatment, and suitable honoring:

“(Concerning his parents), We advised the man, whose mother bears him with great pain and breast-feeds him for two years, to give thanks to Me first and then to them, to Me all things proceed. If they try to force you to consider things equal to Me, which you cannot justify, equal to Me, do not obey them. Maintain lawful relations with them in this world and follow the path of those who turn in repentance to Me. To Me you will all return and I shall tell you all that you have done. (31:14-5)”

“Your Lord has ordained that you must not worship anything other than Him and that you must be kind to your parents. If either or both of your parents should become advanced in age, do not express to them words which show your slightest disappointment. N ever yell at them but always speak to them with kindness. Be humble and merciful towards them and say, "Lord, have mercy upon them as they cherished me in my childhood." (17:23-4)”

The two aforementioned Quranic texts have expressed the parents’ favoring and lofty standing and the necessity of rewarding them by means of many thanks and treating them with suitable piety and kindness. In the first Verse, God, after thanking Him, orders to show gratitude to them, and in the second Verse, He attaches kindness to them to worshipping Him. This is in fact the highest degree of endearment and honoring.

The Prophet (s) said to the man who asked him for advice: “Do not associate anything with Allah (in worship) even if you are burnt with fire and tortured unless your heart is full of faith. You should, too, obey your parents whether they are alive or dead, even if they order you to leave your family and your property. This is surely a part of faith.” ( 1 )

“If you are pious (to parents), Paradise will be your share. If you are impious (to them), Hell will be your share.” ( 2 )

“Sons’ looking at their parents, out of love for them, is a sort of worship.” ( 3 )

Imam al-Baqir (a) said: “Allah does not give permission in three things: keeping the trust of both the pious and the sinful, fulfilling the pledge that is given to both the pious and the sinful, and treating parents kindly whether they are pious or sinful.” ( 4 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “He who desires that Allah will save him from agonies of death must regard his relatives and treat his parents obediently. Allah will surely save him who carries such traits from suffering the agonies of death and will also save him from harshness of poverty as long as he is alive.” ( 5 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated that one of the Prophet’s foster sisters visited him. He received her so warmly, laid his personal quilt, asked her to sit on it, and went on facing her and smiling in her face. When she left, her brother came. The Prophet (s) did not treat him as same as his sister. When the man left, the attendants asked him why he had treated the woman so warmly, but had not done the same with her brother. He answered: “She was more obedient to her parents than he was.” ( 6 )

Since mothers exert giant efforts and suffer insensitive ordeals for sake of their sons, the Islamic Sharia has conferred upon them with greater deal of obligatory care and piety:

Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated that, once, a man asked the Prophet (s), ‘whom must I treat piously first, God’s Messenger?’ The Prophet (s) answered, ‘you must first treat your mother piously.’ ‘Then?’ asked the man. ‘Your mother,’ answered the Prophet (s).

‘Then?’ asked the man. ‘Your mother,’ answered the Prophet (s). ‘Then?’ asked the man. ‘Your mother,’ answered the Prophet (s). ‘Then?’ asked the man. ‘Then comes your father,’ answered the Prophet (s).

Ibrahim bin Muhazzim narrated:

After I had left Imam as-Sadiq, one night, I came to my house in Medina and quarreled with my mother who was living with me. The next morning, I visited him after I had offered the Fajr Prayer. He addressed to me, before I said anything, “Abu Muhazzim, w hat was your matter with Khalida? Last night, you addressed bad words to her. You should have known that her womb was the abode in which you resided, her lap was the cradle in which you slept, and her breast was the bowl from which you drank.”

“Yes,” I answered, “I have known all these.”

“Then,” said the Imam (a), “You should not be coarse with her any ore.”

Imam as-Sejjad (a) said in his Treatise of Rights:

“The right of your mother is that you know that she carried you where no one carries anyone, she gave to you the fruit of her heart that which no one gives to anyone, and she protected you with her hearing, sight, hand, leg, hair, and skin as well as all her organs. She was highly delighted, happy, eager, and enduring the harm, pains, heaviness, and grief until the hand of power saved her from you and took you out to this earth. She did not care if she went hungry as long as you ate, if she was naked as long as you were clothed, if she was thirsty as long as you drank, is she was in the sun as long as you were in the shade, if she was miserable as long as you were happy, and if she was deprived of sleeping as long as you were resting. Her abdomen was y our container, her lap your seat, her breast your container of drink, and her soul was your fort. She protected you from heat and cold. You should thank her for all that. You will not be able to show her gratitude unless through Allah’s help and giving success.”

Filial piety becomes nicer and more influential when it is done to the aged parents who are in exigent need for affection:

“If either or both of your parents should become advanced in age, do not express to them words which show your slightest disappointment –such as ‘ugh’-. Never yell at them but always speak to them with kindness. Be humble and merciful towards them and say, "Lord, have mercy upon them as they cherished me in my childhood." (17:24)”

It is related that a man asked the Prophet (s), “God’s Messenger, I am treating my aged parents as same as their treatment to me when I was child. Have I now performed their rights that are imposed upon me?” The Prophet (s) answered: “No, you have not, because, when they treated you kindly during your childhood, they wanted you to live. But, now, while you are treating them kindly, you wish they would die.” ( 7 )

Ibrahim ibn Shuaib narrated: I told Imam as-Sadiq (a) that I used to carry my aged and weak father when he wanted to relieve nature. The Imam commented: “If you can do more than this, you must do it. You should feed him bit by bit, because he will guard you (from Hell) in the morrow.” ( 8 )

Filial piety is not restricted to the living parents. It becomes more necessary for the dead parents, because they are in need for piety more than the alive do.

The Prophet (s) said: “On the Day of Resurrection, a man who treats his parents piously after their departure of life will be regarded as the chief of the pious.” ( 9 )

Imam al-Baqir (a) said: “A servant who is pious to his parents during their lifetimes may be, later on, decided as impious. This may occur when such a servant neglects settling the debts of their dead parents and neglects seeking Allah’s forgiveness for them. Likewise, a servant who is impious to his parents during their lifetimes may be decided as pious. This occurs when such a servant settles the debts of their parents, after their death, and seeks Allah’s forgiveness for them.” ( 10 )

Imam as-Sadiq said: “Nothing of the rewarding follows the dead except three: a continuous alms that was dedicated during lifetime, an instruction of right guidance that is followed by others, and a righteous son who supplicates to Allah for him.” ( 11 )

 

Filial Impiety

Ingratitude and bad turn are ill manners denied by reason and law and disapproved by sound conscience. Through this criterion, we can feel the hideousness and horribleness of filial impiety, which is a crime taking to Hell. In addition to its being in violation of human principles, reason, and law, filial impiety is an indication to emotionlessness, faithlessness, and fading of human values. Parents exert giant efforts for educating and securing every means that achieves material and mental prosperity f or sons who, whatever they do, cannot appreciate their endeavors. How is it then possible for sons to neglect such emotions and repay with mistreatment and impiety?

The Prophet (s) said: “The punishment for three sins is immediate and not postponed to the Hereafter: filial impiety, oppression against people, and ingratitude.” ( 12 )

Imam al-Baqir (a) said: “My father, once, saw a man leaning to his father’s arm while they were walking. Out of his detestation of this scene, my father did not speak to him forever.” ( 13 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “If Allah had known something more trivial than ‘ugh’, ( 14 ) He would have used it in warning against filial impiety. To look at parents sharply is a sort of impiety to them.”

Disadvantages of Filial Impiety

Serious disadvantages are expected from filial impiety. One of these is that the impious son will unavoidably be the subject of his sons’ impiety.

Al-Asmaee conveyed the following story from a Beduin:

I, once, decided to wander in the quarters searching for the most pious of people and the most impious (to his parents).

One day, I passed by an old man in whose neck there was a rope, and he was trying to pull a bucket from a well, while it was so hot that even camels were trying to find shadows to sit in. Furthermore, a young man with a rope as thick as a strap in the ha nd was beating that old man on the back so cruelly. Astonished by such a scene, I shouted at the young, “Do you not fear God when you treat this weak old man so cruelly? The rope that is in his neck is a sufficient suffering for him, why do you then add to it the suffering of your beating?”

The young man answered: “What is more is that this man is my father!”

I replied: “God may show you no goodness for this!”

He said: “Keep silent! He used to do the same thing that you see to his father. Likewise, his father used to do the same thing to his father, and so on.”

I said to myself: “This is unquestionably the most impious to his parents,” and went on wandering.

One day, I saw a young man hanging a frail to his neck, and saw in that frail an old man who was as small as a young bird. That young man used to take down that old man from time to time and feed him like birds. I asked the young man: “What is this?”

He answered: “He is my father. As he became senile, I am taking care of him.”

Hence, I said to myself, “This is surely the most pious to his parents.”

One of the disadvantages of filial impiety is that the impious individuals live in incessant unhappiness and discomfort because their parents curse them.

The Prophet (s) said: “Beware of fathers’ imprecations, for they are sharper than swords.”

The impious, also, will certainly suffer horrible agonies of death.

Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated: One day, the Prophet (s) attended before a young man who was suffering death struggles. He tried severally to instruct him to say ‘la ilaha illa (a)llah—there is no god but Allah’, but the man became tongue-tied.

The Prophet (s) asked the lady who was standing nearer to him: “Is this man’s mother present?”

She answered: “Yes, it is I.”

The Prophet (s) asked: “Are you dissatisfied with him?”

She answered: “Yes, I am. I have not talked to him for six years.”

The Prophet (s) then asked her to be pleased with him.

She answered: “As long as the Messenger of God is pleased with him, I am pleased, too.”

Then, the Prophet (s) instructed the dying man to say ‘la ilaha illa (a)llah’, and, finally, he could speak it.

The Prophet (s) asked him: “What is before you, now?”

The dying man said: “I now can see an ugly black man with dirty clothes and bad smell. He is prevailing over me.”

The Prophet (s) instructed: “Say: O You Who accepts the few and pardons the much, accept my few (deed) and pardon my very much (evildoing). You are surely the All-forgiving the All-merciful.” ( 15 )

The young man said it.

Then the Prophet (s) asked: “Now, what do you see?”

The man said: “I now can see a white, pretty, sweet-smelling man come to me, while the black one left.”

The Prophet (s) ordered him to repeat reciting the previous supplication, and the man did.

The Prophet (s) then asked him what he could see.

The man answered: “I can see only the white man coming to me.”

Few moments later, the man departed life.” ( 16 )

Filial impiety is a grand sin for which God threatens hell.

It is worth mentioning that fathers are required to train and educate their sons by means of wisdom so as to save them from impiety to them.

The Prophet (s) said: “Like their sons, parents are required to avoid treating their righteous sons impiously.” ( 17 )

“Allah may curse the parents who cause their sons to treat them impiously. Allah may have mercy upon the parents who cause their sons to treat them piously.” ( 18 )

Rights of Sons

The righteous sons are the adornment of this life and the dearest and most precious hopes. Thus, the Ahl ul-Bayt (a), as well as people of wisdom and letters, praised them.

The Prophet (s) said: “The righteous son is one of the roses of Paradise.” ( 19 )

“To have a righteous son is a sign of happiness.” ( 20 )

Referring to a dead, a wise man said: “If this dead has a son, he is alive then, lest he is surely dead.”

Not only do parents benefit by their righteous sons during their lifetimes, but also they are advantageous for them after their death.

(Imam as-Sadiq (a) related:) The Prophet (s) said: Jesus (a), once, passed by a grave whose occupant was tortured. A year later, he passed by the same grave, but found that torture was ceased. He asked the Lord about this, and he was answered that the so n of the occupant of this grave paved a public way and had the custody of an orphan; therefore, Allah forgave the father for the son’s good deeds.

(The Prophet commented) The heritage that Allah gains from the believer is a son who worships Him after the father’s death.

(Imam as-Sadiq (a) then recited the Quranic Verse that tells the words of Zechariah the prophet)

“I am afraid of what my kinsmen will do after (my death) and my wife is barren. Lord, grant me a son who will be my heir and the heir of the family of Jacob. Lord, make him a person who will please you" (19:5-6).” ( 21 )

Righteousness of sons requires excessive attention in fields of education. On that account, it is obligatory upon fathers to train their sons on bases of virtue so that they, later on, will harvest pleasure through their commitment to good behavior. In t his regard, Imam as-Sejjad (a) said:

“The right of your child is that you should know that he is from you and will be ascribed to you, through both his good and his evil, in the immediate affairs of this world. You are responsible for what has been entrusted to you, such as educating him in good conduct, pointing him in the direction of his Lord, and helping him to obey Him. So, act toward him with the action of one who knows that he will be rewarded for good doing toward him and punished for evildoing. In his affairs, act like the actions of those who adorn their children with their good deeds and those who are justified before their Lord as long as they did well in the discipline and the custody of their sons.” ( 22 )

Fathers are responsible for disciplining their sons righteously, otherwise they expose them to various dangers of social and religious corruption. Fathers are recommended to begin with guiding their sons to uprightness from tender age, because they, in s uch ages, are more responsive than being older. Moreover, fathers must begin educating their sons before their eyes are opened on ill habits and immoralities, lest the mission becomes very complicated.

 

Wisdom of Discipline

Fathers are required to be moderate with their sons. They should neither subject them by means of excessive rudeness since this may cause them to suffer mental complexities, nor should they neglect punishing them when they show shortcomings, since this m ay lead them to disobey. It is said that ‘he who feels safety from punishment will behave improperly.’

The best method of education then is to rectify sons step by step, by way of encouraging them doing charity through words of praise and rewarding, and advising them not to misbehave. If this is useless, fathers should move to the stage of reproach. If this is also useless, then comes the role of punishment and harsh reproach.

The Child’s First School

The child’s first school is home, where he grows up, his personality rises to perfection, and traits mature. The parents’ behavior and morals have the greatest role in the child’s perfection and maturity of personality. As a result, they must behave as i deal examples of their children so that their traits will reflect on the children’s mentalities.

Course of Education

The first step in educating children is to lead them to the etiquettes of sitting to the dining-tables, such as washing the hands before and after each meal, eating with the right hand, chewing the food properly, avoiding looking in the faces of the other eaters, satisfying themselves with the available sustenance, and the like morals. Then, children should be trained on the rules of speech and should be trained to avoid obscenity, backbiting, gossip, and the like indecencies. They should also be trained on good attention and not to interrupt speakers.

The most important point in educating children, however, is to plant the religious concepts in their mentalities and bring them up on belief through teaching them the principles and branches of the religion in such a style befitting their intellectual levels, so that they will have acquaintance of their creed and doctrine and they will be immunized against the deviant suspects arisen by the enemies of Islam:

“Believers, save yourselves and your families from the fire which is fueled by people and stones and is guarded by stern angels who do not disobey Allah's commands and do whatever they are ordered to do (66:6).”

Fathers must also train their children on practicing the high moral standards, such as truthfulness, faithfulness, patience, and self-reliance, and to observe manners of intimate association with people, such as regarding the old, compassioning the young , thanking the favorer, overlooking the wrongdoer, and treating kindly the poor. Besides, children must be prevented from associating with the evils and the deviant and encouraged associating with the polite. Children in fact imitate their friends’ moralities and natures shortly.

 

The Prophet (s) said: “Man imitates his friend. You therefore must consider the one you befriend.”

People have witnessed and suffered many tragedies that occurred to the young who went astray and fell in depths of vices and corruption just because they befriended impolite and evil individuals. Consequently, fathers must search for the talents and qualifications of their sons and, then, guide them in the fields of life that best befit their physical and mental abilities and skills. This will certainly contribute in helping them face burdens of life and save comfortable livings.

1. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 91-2 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

2. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 155 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

3. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 16/4/24 (as quoted from Keshf ul-Ghumma).

4. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 93 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

5. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 16/4/24 (as quoted from al-Amali).

6. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 92 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

7. Quoted from Sharh us-Sahifat us-Sejjadiyya.

8. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 92 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

9. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 16/4/26 (as quoted from al-Imama wat Tabssira).

10. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 93 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

11. Quoted from al-Wafi; 3/92 (as quoted from al-Kafi and at-Tahtheeb).

12. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 16/4/23 (as quoted from Sheikh at-Tusi’s al-Amali).

13. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 155 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

14. This is an indication to God’s saying: “If either or both of your parents should become advanced in age, do not express to them words which show your slightest disappointment –such as ‘ugh’-. Never yell at them but always speak to them with kind ness. Be humble and merciful towards them and say, "Lord, have mercy upon them as they cherished me in my childhood." (17:24)”

15. This is a famous supplication whose original text is as follows:

(يا من يقبل اليسير ويعفو عن الكثير، إقبل مني اليسير واعف عني الكثير، إنك أنت الغفور الرحيم.)

16. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 16/4/23 (as quoted from al-Amali).

17. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 16/4/22 (as quoted from al-Khissal).

18. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 14 page 50 (as quoted from al-Faqih).

19. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 12 page 196 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

20. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 12 page 196 (as quoted from al-Faqih).

21. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 12 page 197 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

22. Quoted from Imam Ali ibn al-Hussein’s Treatise of Rights.

 

Merits of Knowledge and Scholars

Knowledge is the dearest thing for man, since it is the base of civilization and the honor of this world as well as the life to come. Scholars are the prophets’ heirs and supporters of the religion as they guide people to the recognition and obedience to God and lead them to honesty:

“Say, "Are those who know equal to those who do not know? Only the people of reason take heed" (39:9).”

Allah will raise the position of the believers and of those who have received knowledge. Allah is Well-Aware of what you do (58:11).”

Only Allah's knowledgeable servants fear Him. Allah is Majestic and All-pardoning. (35:28)”

“These are parables, which We tell to human being, but only the learned ones understand them. (29:43)”

The Prophet (s) said: “As for him who takes a way for seeking knowledge, Allah will lead him to the way that takes to Paradise. As a sign of their pleasure with the seekers of knowledge, the angels lower down their wings for them. Every creature that is in the heavens or on the earth, including the whales, seeks Allah’s forgiveness to the seekers of knowledge. The scholar is preferred to the worshipper in the same way as the full moon is preferred to the other stars. The scholars are the heirs of the prophets, who definitely did not bequeath dinars or dirhams. They only bequeathed knowledge. Thus, he who takes from that knowledge has surely taken a great thing.” ( 1 )

“On the Day of Resurrection, some individuals will have rewards as huge as clouds or as great as unshakable mountains. When they will wonder how they have obtained such rewards that they did not do things deserving them, they will be answered: “As you in structed people to do good deeds, we recorded for you the reward of every deed that those people carried out.” ( 2 )

Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: “Kumayl, those who amass wealth are dead even though they may be living while those endowed with knowledge will remain as long as the world lives. Their bodies are not available but their figures exist in the hearts.” ( 3 )

Imam al-Baqir (a) said: “A scholar whose knowledge is useful for others is preferred to seventy thousand worshippers.” ( 4 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a): “On the Day of Resurrection, all people will be gathered on one highland and the scales will be maintained. The blood of the shahids will be put in a scale and the ink of the scholars in the other. The ink of the scholars will outweigh the blood of the shahids.” ( 5 )

“On the Day of Resurrection, the worshippers and the scholars will be interrogated together. The worshippers will be permitted to be in Paradise, and the scholars will be asked to intercede for others whom they taught the high moral standards.” ( 6 )

The faithful scholars owe Muslims great rights that should be fulfilled. They are as follows:

1. Regard of Scholars

To show regard toward scholars is their leading right because of their being characterized by knowledge and virtue.

The Prophet (s) said: “To look at the face of a scholar, out of love for him, is a sort of worship.” ( 7 )

“You should be either scholar or seeker of knowledge or loving the scholar, and do not be of any other class. To hate the scholars leads to perdition.”

Husham ibn al-Hakam, the teenage, visited Imam as-Sadiq (a), who was encompassed by the celebrities of the Shia—such as Hamran ibn A’yun, Qays al-Massir, Younus ibn Ya’qoub, Abu Ja’far al-Ahwal, and others, in Mina. As soon as his eyes fell on Husham, Im am as-Sadiq (a) preceded him to all the others who were all older than him –i.e. Husham-. When he felt that the attendants were displeased by this act, Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “This man has been supporting us with his heart, tongue, and hand.” ( 8 )

Ahmed al-Bezanti, the scholar, narrated:

I responded to the invitation of ar-Ridha (a) and spent that night with him. After I had been served dinner, the Imam (a) ordered the servants to prepare my bed. The most excellent kinds of pillow, bedspread, and blanket were brought. When I finished my dinner, he (a) asked me whether I wanted to sleep. “Yes, I want,’ answered I. The Imam covered me with that blanket and supplicated God for me, ‘God may make you pass this night with good health.” When the Imam left me, I said to myself, ‘Verily, I have awarded with such unprecedented great honor by this man.’ ( 9 )

2. Charity to Scholars

The main concern of scholars is to serve the religion, publicize the Islamic enlightenment, and guide Muslims towards high moral standards. Such endeavors require time and giant efforts that divert from seeking earnings. It is then necessary for the believers who observe the religious affairs to save the means of good livelihood for the scholars, through supplying them with the Shariite rights of which God orders as well as the other charities. Scholars in fact are the worthiest of enjoying such rights that enable them to go on achieving their aims and carrying out their religious tasks without being distracted by any other factor.

Muslims, in the past, used to volunteer openhandedly to dedicate some money as waqfs ( 10 ) for saving the livelihoods of the scholars.

3. Compliance with Scholars

Rational individuals refer to the specialists in the various fields of life so as to benefit by their experts. In the same manner, Muslims should refer to scholars in fields of religious teachings and rulings. It is required to imitate and yield the fruits of the scholars’ studies who devoted themselves to servicing the Islamic Sharia, propagandizing its rulings, and guiding people to uprightness. Following so, people will have full awareness of their doctrine and will be able to resist the rumors of enemies. But if they neglect reference to scholars, people will ignore the reality of their religion, principles, and rulings and, subsequently, will be the subject of deviation.

The Prophet (s) said: “To sit with the religious people is the honor of this life as well as the life to come.” ( 11 )

“To sit with scholars is a sort of worship.” ( 12 )

“Knowledge is stored in safes whose key is question. Hence, you—Allah may have mercy upon you—must put questions, for your questions will bring rewards for four persons: the asker, the instructor, the listener (to the question and answer), and the one who loves those three.” ( 13 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “People perish so long as they do not put questions.” ( 14 )

Luqman the wise instructed his son: “Son, sit with the scholars and stick your knees to them, for Allah enlivens the hearts –i.e. intellects- with the illumination of wisdom in the same way as He enlivens the barren lands with heavy rain.” ( 15 )

1. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 40 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

2. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 1 page 75 (as quoted from Bassaair ud-Darajat).

3. Quoted from Nahj ul-Balagha.

4. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 40 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

5. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 40 (as quoted from al-Faqih).

6. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 1 page 74 (as quoted from Ilal ush-Sharayi and Mohammed ibn al-Hasan as-Saffar’s Bassaair ud-Darajat).

7. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 1/64 (as quoted from ar-Rawandi’s an-Nawadir).

8. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 1/59 (as quoted from Sheikh as-Saduq’s al-Khissal).

9. Quoted from Safinat ul-Bihar; vol. 1 page 81.

10. Waqf is the endowment or settlement of property under which the proceeds are to be devoted to a religious or charitable purpose.

11. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 1/62 (as quoted from Thawab ul-A’mal and al-Amali).

12. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 1 page 62 (as quoted from keshf ul-Ghumma).

13. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 1 page 62 (as quoted from Sahifat ur-Ridha and Uyounu Akhbar ir-Ridha).

14. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 1 page 46 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

15. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 1 page 62 (as quoted from Rawdhat ul-Waizhin).

 

RIGHTS OF TEACHERS AND STUDENTS

Faithful teachers who enjoy good traits occupy a high position in the society because of the appreciative efforts they exert for educating and supplying individuals with knowledge and moralities. Besides, they are the pioneers of culture and guides of the coming generation. On account of that, they must enjoy definite rights against their students. First of all, students must respect their teachers in the same way as they respect their fathers so as to express their appreciation to them.

Alexander, once, was asked why he used to respect his teacher in a way better than his respecting his father. He answered: “My father is the founder of my transient life while my teacher is the founder of my changeless life.”

Imam al-Baqir (a) said: “He who teaches an item of knowledge that leads to the right guidance will be having the same rewards of them who apply that item to themselves, without any decrease in their rewards. And he who teaches an item of deviation will b e having to burden the same punishment that is decided for those who practice such an item without any decrease in their punishment.” ( 1 )

Students must appreciate their teachers’ efforts and reward them by means of showing gratitude and respect and following their recommendations. They also must pardon and neglect any situation of strictness or discipline that are intended for their good educationally and morally. The best comprehensive word that gathered the rights of teachers is the following saying of Imam as-Sejjad (a):

“The right of the one who trains you through knowledge is magnifying him, respecting his sessions, listening well to him, attending to him with devotion, avoiding raising your voice against him, avoiding answering any question before he answers, avoiding talking to anyone during his instructions, avoiding backbiting anyone before him, doing your best to defend him when he is backbitten and cover his flaws and publicize his good traits. Do not sit with his enemy and do not antagonize his friend. If you d o so, the angels will testify for you that you have attended to him and received his knowledge for the sake of Allah, not people.” ( 2 )

Rights of Students

Seekers of studies enjoy particular standings of virtue and honor because they exert diligent efforts for seeking, retaining, and conveying knowledge to the coming generations.

The Prophet (s) said: “The like of students among the ignorant is the alive among the dead.” ( 3 )

“Seeking knowledge is a duty that is imposed upon every male and female Muslim. It is most surely that Allah loves seekers of knowledge.” ( 4 )

“The scholar and the seeker of knowledge are partners in the same rewarding: two for the scholar and one for the seeker of knowledge. Any other class is worthless.” ( 5 )

Such merits traits are dedicated to the sincere students who aim at achieving self-discipline and moral conduct. The students who are empty of such intentions are deprived of such memorable traits and will have nothing more than transitory goals. Let us now refer briefly to some of the students’ rights:

 

First of all, fathers should choose well qualified, faithful, and well-mannered teachers for their sons, so that they will be good imitable examples.

 

Students are generally characterized by fondness of following the examples of their instructors whose qualities affect the students’ personalities very soon.

Second, students must be treated with kindness and compassion. Teachers are required to treat their students as if they are their sons and avoid humiliating and persecuting them, because such behaviors may make them disregard studying. To instruct and en courage students on studying, it is wise to reward the good-doers by words of praise and reproach the negligent by means of reprimand taking in consideration the condition that such matters must not injure their emotions or abuse their dignities.

Addressing to seekers of knowledge, Imam as-Sejjad (a) said in his Treatise of Rights:

“The right of your subjects through knowledge is that you should know that Allah made you a caretaker over them only through the knowledge He has given you and His storehouses, which He has opened up to you. If you do well the missions that Allah has cho sen you for, treat them as same as the treatment of the merciful caretaker who respects his master in the affairs of the slaves and the clement steadfast one who always offers money for the needy ones, then Allah will increase His graces to you and you will be on the right way faithfully, otherwise you will be regarded as betrayal, unjust to the creatures, and expose yourself to encounter Allah’s seizing His graces and power from you.”

Third, it is necessary for teachers to take in consideration the intellectual levels of the students and their readiness to receive knowledge. This consideration will help teachers choose the appropriate levels of study that befit each student and avoid providing information that are too high for them to understand. Furthermore, it is important for teachers to realize each student’s main concern so as to guide him to the fields that best suit his interest, since it is improper to coerce a student on definite fields of study, which he does not like.

Fourth, to secure an ideal rise for students, it is important to keep on guiding them incessantly in the scientific and moral fields. This is the only way to guarantees their being examples of decency.

Student must understand that the main purpose beyond studying is to achieve self-control and good sense so as to attain the honor of the obedience to God and, subsequently, the eternal pleasures will be won.

Neglecting such noble goals, a student fails to exploit science, loses all aspects of spirituality, and becomes the subject of the barren worldly whims.

The best example of such shortcomings is the current civilized nations whose individuals, though preceded others in fields of science and inventions, live humble lives suffocated by disintegrated morals, loose spiritual values, and prevalent evils—all be cause they pursue wholly material trends and free themselves completely from the religious and moral values. Owing to so, they have competed with each other using the most fatal weapons for terminating each other and, hence, they have turned this world into a volcano threatening ruination and perdition to humankind.

1. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 1 page 42 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

2. Quoted from The Treatise of Rights; Imam as-Sejjad (a).

3. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 1/58 (as quoted from at-Tusi’s al-Amali).

4. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 1 page 36 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

5. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 1/56 (as quoted from Bassaair ud-Darajat).

RIGHTS OF NEIGHBORHOOD

Cooperation and Mutual sympathy

Islam has used all means for enjoining Muslims to cooperate and sympathize with each other so that they will be an ideal nation able of achieving its aims and defending its individuals against dangers. Islam has also worked diligently for planting such noble concepts in Muslims’ mentalities so as to be powerful bearing the feelings of love and fraternity:

“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those with him are stern to the disbelievers yet kind among themselves. (48:29).”

“Cooperate with each other in righteousness and piety, not in sin and hostility. (5:2)”

Within the aspects of cooperation and mutual sympathy is good neighborhood on which Islam has stressed for sake of changing neighbors into a united group exchanging feelings of kindness and cooperating for gaining benefits and preventing dangers:

“Worship Allah and consider no one equal to Him. Be kind to your parents, relatives, orphans, the destitute, your near and distant neighbors, your companions, your mates, wayfarers, and your slaves. (4:36)”

The Prophet (s) said: “Forty houses from the front, the back, the right, and the left are neighbors.” ( 1 )

“The Archangel Gabriel continued in instructing me to keep the neighbor so importunately that I thought the neighbor will be given a share of the heritage.” ( 2 )

“Good neighborhood constructs the countries and postpones the deadline of ages.” ( 3 )

“He that passes a single night with satiation while his neighbor is hungry has not believed in me. On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will not regard the inhabitants of a town one of whose individual passes a night with hunger.” ( 4 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “He that violates neighborhood is not one of us.” ( 5 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated: When he lost his second son, Benjamin, Prophet Jacob supplicated to the Lord: “O Lord, is it not time to have Your mercy upon me? You have taken my sight and taken my sons away from me.” Hence, Allah revealed to him: “Even if I cause them dead, I will certainly give them new life so as to gather you all in one situation. But, you should remember that ewe, which you slaughtered, fried, and ate, while you did not give anything of it to your neighbor who was observing fasting.”

After that, Prophet Jacob used to call his neighbors, including those who lived more than one mile away from him, to every meal he would make. ( 6 )

 

Rights of Neighbors

Neighbor must be treated with kindness and courtesy, such as greeting him, visiting him during ailment, congratulating him in joys, consoling him in sorrows, casting the eyes down against his harem, overlooking his flaws, abstaining from harming him, aiding him if he his needy, borrowing him the household tools, and advising him when he goes astray from the right path.

It is related that one of the neighbors of Abu Dalaf, in Baghdad, had to sell his house because of debts and crises that had befallen him. ‘I sell it with one thousand dinars,’ he said to the purchasers. ‘But the real value of your house is only five hundred dinars,’ they said. ‘This is true,’ he asserted, ‘but the neighborhood of Abu Dalaf is the other five hundred dirhams.’

When Abu Dalaf heard this story, he defrayed the debts of his neighbor and aided him so as to save him from selling his house.

1. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 97 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

2. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 96 (as quoted from al-Faqih).

3. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 96 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

4. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 96 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

5. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 96 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

6. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 96 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

RIGHTS OF THE RELATIVES

Merits of the Relatives

Relatives are the family to whom one belongs. Man’s relatives are the most similar, affectionate, and helpful. Describing the relatives, Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said:

“Man, though wealthy, cannot dispense with his clan. He is in need for their defending him with hands and tongues. They are one’s greatest backers, best reuniters, and most affectionate when a misfortune befalls.” ( 1 )

The best relatives are those who love, sympathize, and cooperate with one another for achieving their goals and interests. For its elevated social rank and great influence on reforming the Islamic society, the Islamic Sharia has paid the greatest attention to the family affairs.

Regard of Relatives

The leading moral principles on which the Islamic Sharia has imposed and confirmed is the regard of relatives by means of showing kindness, rendering material aid, protecting against misfortunes, and participating in sorrow and joy:

The Prophet (s) said: “I advise every present and absent individual of my umma, including those who are in their fathers’ spines and mothers’ wombs up to the Day of Resurrection—I advise all these to regard their relatives, even if the way to them takes one hundred year walking. Regard of the relatives is part of the religion.” ( 2 )

“He who is pleased if Allah adds to his age and increases his sustenance must regard his relatives. On the Day of Resurrection, the family relation will say with glib accent: O Lord, regard him who regarded his relatives and disregard him who disregarded his relatives.( 3 )

“Warrant for me one and I warrant for you four: warrant for me that you regard your relatives and I warrant for you that Allah will love you, increase your sustenance, add to your age, and take you to the promised Paradise.” ( 4 )

Imam al-Baqir (a) said: “Regard of the relatives purifies the deeds, increases the wealth, repels misfortunes, makes the Judgment easier, and postpones the deadline of life.” ( 5 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “We do not know anything that adds to the age like regard of the relatives. It happens that a man whose age is decided to be three years may add to it thirty years if he regards his relatives. Hence, his age become thirty-three. A man whose age is decided to be thirty-three years may decrease to three years if he disregards his relatives.” ( 6 )

“Regard your relatives even by serving them a drink of water. The best way of regarding the relatives is to save them from harm. Regard of relatives surely postpones the deadline of life and endears to the family members.” ( 7 )

“Regard of the relatives and charity make the Judgment –on the Day of Resurrection- easier and protect agaist committing sins. Hence, you are advised of regarding your relatives and doing charity even by saying nice salaams and responding others’ salutations.” ( 8 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated that, once, a man said to the Prophet (s): “God’s Messenger, my relatives have rallied against me, disregarded me, and reviled at me. Should I disavow them?” The Prophet (s) answered: “If you do, Allah will disavow all of you.” He wondered: “How should I do, then?” The Prophet (s) instructed: “You should regard those who disregarded you, give those who deprived you (of their endowments), and pardon those who wronged you. If you do it, Allah will support you against them.” ( 9 )

A family contains individuals of various standings. There is the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, and the celebrity and the ignoble. Except by means of solidarity and mutual sympathy, a family cannot achieve might and luxury and cannot face the life problems with steadfastness.

In his last hours, Aktham ibn Saifi; the famous wise man, summoned his sons, collected a group of sticks, and asked each of them to break it. None could break that group. He then gave a single stick to each of them to break. They could break easily. Commenting on this situation, he said to them: “Like these sticks, always be together so that you cannot be broken.”

 

Disregard of the Relatives

Disregard of the relatives stands for any word or deed that oppresses the relatives, such as revilement, backbiting, alienation, and deprivation of feelings of sympathy. According to the Islamic Sharia, it is a grand sin threatened with punishment:

“If you ignore the commands of Allah would you then also spread evil in the land and sever the ties of kinship? (47:22).”

“Those who break their established covenant with Him and the relations He has commanded to be kept and spread evil in the land are the ones who lose a great deal. (2:27)”

The Prophet (s) said: “Four matters are the quickest in punishment: to recompense the favor with mistreatment, to trespass him who does not show hostility, to break the faith of the party who keeps up his faith, and to rupture the relations with the relatives who regard you properly.” ( 10 )

Imam al-Baqir (a) said that the following statements are recorded in Ali’s book: “The bearers of three ill manners will not die before they suffer the consequence of them: oppression, disregard of the relatives, and perjury against Allah. The reward of regard of the relatives is the most hastened. Even the sinful people will be enriched and wealthy when they regard each other (by means of good mutual relations). Perjury and disregard of the relatives change countries into deserted wastelands and cut off the progeny.” ( 11 )

One of the companions narrated that he, once, told Imam as-Sadiq (a) that his brothers and cousins had dismissed him from his house and that they would beat him if he disputed with them.

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said to him: “Be patient. Allah will surely relieve you.” 

The man was sufficed with these words; hence, he left.

In the year 131, people were affected by plague, and the man’s brothers and cousins were within its victims. When the man visited Imam as-Sadiq (a), he asked him about their manners. He told of their death. The Imam (a) said: “That was certainly the punishment for what they had done to you when they disregarded their relative. Do you wish were they alive even if they would mistreat you?” The man answered: “Yes, I do.” ( 12 )

• Shuaib al-Aqarqoufi narrated that Ya’qoub al-Maghzili, once, visited Imam al-Kadhim (a) who said to him: “Ya’qoub, you and your friend were engaged in disagreement in a place yesterday, and you reviled at each other. My fathers’ and my religion does no t accept such deeds. We, likewise, do not order any of such ethics. Hence, you should fear Allah alone. Death will separate you from your friend who will die during his journey before he arrives in his town. You will be sorry for your revilement at him. Because you have disregarded each other, Allah will cut off your ages.”

The man asked: “What about my time of death?”

The Imam answered: “Because you regarded your aunt, twenty years were added to your age.”

(Shuaib commented) After some time, the man told me that his friend had died during his journey. ( 13 )

1. Quoted from Nahj ul-Balagha.

2. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 93 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

3. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; Kitab ul-Ashara page 27 (as quoted from Uyounu Akhbar ir-Ridha and Sahifat ur-Ridha).

4. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 94 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

5. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 94 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

6. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 94 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

7. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 94 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

8. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 94 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

9. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 94 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

10. Quoted from al-Wafi; 3/63 (quoted from the Prophet’s commandment for Imam Ali).

11. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 156 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

12. Quoted from Safinat ul-Bihar; vol. 2 page 414 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

13. Quoted from Safinat ul-Bihar; vol. 1 page 5166 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

Merits of Friends

Man has longed for making friendships so that he can obtain individuals supporting him, alleviating his troubles, and sharing in his sorrow and joy.

Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: “Try to have as many as possible true friends, for they are the supplies in joy and the shelters in misfortunes.” ( 1 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “A friend occupies a great position to the degree that even the inhabitants of Hell will seek his help before the relatives. In this regard, Allah, conveying the words of the inhabitants of Hell, says: ‘so, we have no intercessors , nor a true friend. (26:100-1)’”

A wise man said: “The true friends are the most favorable gain in this world. They are adornment in luxury, support in misfortune, and aid for acquiring good living and good deeds.”

As a wise man was asked whether he prefers his brother or friend, he answered: “I prefer my brother when he is a friend of mine.”

 

Reality of Friendship

Some people may think that the true friend is the one who treats them courteously and bright-facedly, but if such one is tested, his falsity is proved. Old and modern writers have gone on complaining about friends’ alienations in spite of the love that i s born for them. This is because of:

(1) The ignorance of the reality of friendship and the incapability of making distinction between the true and false friends, or

(2) Most of the friends are characterized by common social weak points, such as changeableness and disloyalty.

Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: “There are two classes of friends: friends of confidence and friends of grimace. The friends of confidence represent the hand, the wing, the family, and the wealth. Regarding your relation with the friends of confidence, you should offer your wealth and body to them, act with sincerity towards him who acts with sincerity towards them, antagonize him who antagonizes them, conceal their secrets and flaws, and publicize their nice qualities… You should know that friends of confidence are as rare as red sulfur. Friends of grimace are those from whom you can gain pleasure; therefore, you should not prevent them from gaining pleasure through you. Do not expect anything more from them. As long as they show you good humor and good wording, you must show them the same.” ( 2 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “Friendship is nil unless its limits are kept. He who does not keep these limits should not be regarded as friend. The first limit is that the inner self and the appearance should be identical. The second limit is that the friend should regard your goodness as his goodness and your evil as his evil. The third limit of friendship is that a position or fortunes should not change the relation with the friends. The fourth limit is that the friend should not deprive his friend of anything that he is capable of doing. The fifth limit –which is the most comprehensive-, is that the friend should never leave his friend alone in calamities.” ( 3 )

Friends’ Selection

The characteristics of friends move between them very quickly. The bad, however, move in greater speed. It frequently happens that well-behaved individuals have gone astray because of the influence of their bad friends. So, it is important for every man of reason to choose friends that are characterized by good mannerism and behavior.

The Ideal Friend

The first characteristic of the ideal friend is intelligence. In fact, the companionship of the foolish is vicious and malicious because the foolish injures his friend when he intends to benefit him:

Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: “The foolish does not advise you of good and is not expected to save you from any problem even if he does his best. Moreover, he may harm you as he intends to benefit you. His death is better than his life, his silence is better than his words, and his remoteness is better than his closeness.” ( 4 )

Friends must be characterized by faith, uprightness, and well mannerism. Friends who are empty of such traits are insignificant since they are anticipated to mislead their associates:

“It will be a hard day for the unbelievers. It will be a day when the unjust will bite their fingers, (regretfully) saying, "Would that we had followed the path of the Messengers. Woe to us! Would that we had not been friends with so and so. He led me aw ay from the true guidance after it had come to us. Satan is a traitor to people." (25:27-9)”

The Prophet (s) said: “Man imitates his friends. Hence, you must consider them whom you want to befriend.” ( 5 )

Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: “To sit wit the

evils causes mistrust in the good. To sit with the good attaches the evils to the good. The sinful ones’ sitting with the good ones attaches the sinful ones to the good ones. If you cannot discern the belief of somebody, you should investigate his associates. If they are following the right creed, he will inevitably be on the right creed. If they are not, he then has no share in the religion of Allah. The Prophet (s) used to say: He who believes in Allah and t he Final Day should not fraternize with any disbeliever or associate with any sinful. He whoever fraternizes with a disbeliever or associates with a sinful one is certainly regarded as disbeliever and sinful.” ( 6 )

Imam al-Baqir (a) said: My father Ali ibn al-Hussein, once, advised me: ‘O son, do not associate, talk, or accompany five classes of people.’ ‘Who are they, father?’ asked I, and he (a) answered: ‘Beware of associating with the liar, for he is as same as mirage: he shows you the near as remote and shows you the remote as near. Beware of associating with the sinful, for he will disappoint you for a single bite or even something less valuable. Beware of associating with the stingy, for he will let you down when you are in urgent need of his property. Beware of associating the foolish, for he harms you when he intends to do you favor. Beware of associating with the disregardful of his relatives, for I found him cursed in the Book of Allah.’ ( 7 )

Friends should exchange expressive desires of affection and fraternity so that their handle of friendship will be firmer. But if such tendencies fade away, the relation will be enfeebled, and the alienated party will expose himself to criticism and revulsion.

Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: “To alienate the one who desires for making friendship with you is diminution of reason, and to desire for him who does not want you is humility.” ( 8 )

 

Standards of Love

Aspects of love may be confused among people in general and friends in particular. Suspect may creep into the relations of friendship. Solving this problem, the Ahl ul-Bayt (a) identified definite mental standards that reveal the actual feelings and hiddens.

Imam as-Sadiq (a) answered the man who asked him how he would realize the real feelings of those who claim bearing love towards him: “You should test your heart. If you really love him, he will really love you.” ( 9 )

Imam al-Baqir narrated that, while he was dying, Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) gathered al-Hasan, al-Hussein, Mohammed ibn al-Hanafiyya, and the other sons and commanded them: “… Sons, you should associate with people in such a way that they will long for you when you are absent and will weep for you when you depart this life. Sons, hearts are well-mobilized troops; they recognize each other by means of amiability as well as hatred. Hence, you should expect good from the one whom you love without seeing any good from him. Likewise, you should beware of the one whom you dislike although you have not seen any ill behavior from him.” ( 10 )

Friendship between Ebb and Flow

“Which is better: to have many friends or to be friendless?”

Answering this question, people of reason have had various opinions. Anticipating the pleasures of sociability and benefits of solidarity, some people have preferred having many friends to being friendless. Others, however, have opted for the opposite, claiming the many problems of friendship that originate hatred an enmity.

In fact, the question has nothing to do with the

number of friends. It is related to the traits of nobility and sincerity that friends must bear. However, the noble, sincere friends are, unfortunately, very few. A single sincere friend is of course better than thousand insincere ones. In this regard, Alexander said: “He who has many friends arbitrarily is as same as him who has many stones, and he who has few, but selective, friends is as same as him who has selective pearls.”

Rights of Friends

1. Material Care

It is incumbent to help the friend who suffers an economical crisis. This is in fact one of the obligatory rights of friendship and one of the proofs of loyalty. God, in the holy Quran, praises some peoples who showed altruism:

“They give preference to them over themselves - even concerning the things that they themselves urgently need. (59:9).”

Imam al-Kadhim (a), once, asked one of his close companions: “How do you behave concerning your mutual association and relief?” The man answered: “We are in the best manner in this regard.”

The Imam (a) asked: “Are you pleased when one of your needy associates come to your shop or house to take that which they need?” The man answered: “No, we are not.”

The Imam (a) commented: “Now, you are not behaving as I want you to do in this regard.” ( 11 )

• Abu Ismaeel narrated that he told Imam al-Baqir (a) that numbers of the Shia were great. The Imam (a) said: “Do the rich ones among them act with kindness toward the poor, the good-doers overlook the evildoers, and they help each other?” I answered: “N o, they do not.” The Imam (a) commented: “They are not Shia. The true Shia are only those who do these acts.” ( 12 )

 

Al-Waqidi related the following story:

The Eid day was about to come while I had no

single dirham in possession. My wife, noticing this manner, asked me to do something since our children would be very depressed if they saw the other children with new clothes. Hence, I had to send a letter to my Hashemite friend asking him for help. He therefore sent me a bag of one thousand dirhams. As soon as I received them, another friend of mine sent me a letter complaining about neediness. I had to send him that very bag. Because I was embarrassed to s ee my wife, I spent that night in the mosque. The next morning, I went home and told her of the story. She did not blame me for so. In fact, she praised me for such a doing.

After a while, my Hashemite friend came to me bearing the very bag of one thousand dirhams. He asked me to tell him the truth; therefore, I told the whole story. He said: “When I received your letter, I had nothing at all but that bag. Nevertheless, I sent it to you. I, then, wrote a letter to our friend asking for help, and he sent me the very bag. Hence, we may distribute that sum among us.”

This story was told before al-Ma’mun –the Abbasid caliph- who summoned me and gave seven thousand dirhams. The share of each of us was two thousand, and my wife was given one thousand.

2. Moral Care

Mental crises and misfortunes may befall some people who, in such cases, become in urgent need for aid and relief. The loyal friends are the first people who must hurry in providing such help by means of words and authorities. This is in fact the true st andard of love and the distinctive mark between genuine and false friends.

Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: “The true friend is only he who regards his friend in three situations: ordeal, absence, and death.” ( 13 )

3. Excusation

Like all people, friends, even if they enjoy the highest ranks of mannerism, are subjects to erring. Therefore, one must overlook and excuse so long as one trust their love and loyalty. Such overlooking will perpetuate the relation of friendship since ex cessive criticism leads to reluctance.

Amir ul-Mu’minin said: “Bear yourself towards your brother in such a way that if he disregards kinship, you keep to it; when he turns away, be kind to him and draw near to him; when he withholds spend for him; when he goes away approach him; when he is harsh be lenient; when he commits wrong think of (his) excuse for it, so much as though you are a slave of him and he is the benevolent master over you. But take care that this should not be done inappropriately, and that you should not behave so with an undeserving person. Do not take the enemy of your friend as a friend because you will thus antagonize your friend. Never use trickery. It is the manner of the evil ones. Give true advice to your brother, be it good or bitter. Help your brother in any cas e, and go with him wherever he goes, and never retaliate him even if he throws dust in your mouth. Prevail your enemy by doing favor to him. This is more successful. You will save yourself from people by good manners and swallowing the anger. I did not find a sweeter thing than swallowing one’s anger in the end, and nothing more pleasant in consequence. Never suspect in your brother and never leave him without blaming. Be lenient to him who is harsh to you for it is likely that he will shortly become lenient to you. Rupture of relations is very ugly. What an ugly thing is the alienation after brotherhood, enmity after affection, betraying those who trust you, disappointing those who expect your good, and cheating those who confide in you!

If you intend to cut yourself off from a friend, leave some scope for him from your side by which he may resume friendship if it so occurs to him some day. If anyone has a good idea about you prove it to be true. Do not disregard the interests of your brother depending upon your terms with him, for he is not your brother if you disregard his interests. Your family should not become the most miserable people because of you. Do not lean towards him who turns away from you. Do not turn away from him who leans towards you when he deserves association. Your brother should not be firmer in his disregard of kinship than you in paying regard to it. You should exceed in doing good to him than is evil to you, giving to him than is withholding, and favoring him than is ceasing. Do not feel too much the oppression of a person who oppresses you, because he is only busy in harming himself and benefiting you. The reward of him who pleases you is not that you displease him. Livelihood is of two kinds -a livelihood th at you seek and a livelihood that seeks you, which is such that if you do not reach it, it will come to you.” ( 14 )

Imam al-Hasan (a) said to one of his sons: “O son, do not befriend anyone before you know his means and sources. When you try him and please to associate with him, you should then befriend him on bases of pardoning his faults and consoling him in misfortunes.” ( 15 )

It is recommended to neglect the friend’s offense so as to show trust in him. This will certainly cause the offensive friend to admire his friend and try to keep good relations with him.

It is also required to accept the friend’s apologies without strictness or obstinacy so as to achieve the high moral standard.

Gentle reproof is recommended in this regard, because negligence of reproof may make the friend feel his friend’s negligence or hidden rage. Unless it is characterized by gentleness and sensation, reproof is useless and unappealing. Excessive reproof may lead to the friend’s alienation and dissatisfaction.

“Only through the Divine Mercy have you (Muhammad) been able to deal with your followers so gently. If you had been stern and hardhearted, they would all have deserted you a long time ago. Forgive them and ask Allah to forgive (their sins) and consult with them in certain matters. But, when you reach a decision, trust Allah. Allah loves those who trust Him. (3:159)”

“And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo! He between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend. And none are made to receive it but those who are patient, and none are made to receive it but those who have a mighty good fortune. (41:34-5)”

The Prophet (s) said: “In the same way as He has ordered me of performing the religious duties, my Lord has ordered me to treat people courteously.” ( 16 )

“The most intelligent are the most courteous with people.” ( 17 )

It is worth mentioning that within the strong factors of prosperity of friendly relations is that each party should avoid giving credence to the backbiters and talebearers who, according to the description of the Prophet (s), are the evilest of people.

Moderation with Friends

It is wise to choose moderation in dealing with friends. Excessive love and confidence in friends are unacceptable since it happens that a friend may change into an enemy and use the secrets that he had shown as weapons.

Imam Ali (a) said: “When you cherish someone you should cherish him moderately for he may be your enemy someday, and when you hate someone you should hate him moderately for he may be your friend someday.” ( 18 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a): “The secrets that you must show before your friends are only those through which your enemies cannot harm you, for a friend may change into an enemy.”

1. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; Kitab ul-Ashara; 51 (as quoted from al-Amali).

2. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 104 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

3. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 104 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

4. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; Kitab ul-Ashara 56 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

5. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; Kitab ul-Ashara; 52 (as quoted from al-Amali).

6. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; Kitab ul-Ashara; 53 (as quoted from Sifat ush-Shia).

7. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 105 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

8. Quoted from Nahj ul-Balagha.

9. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 106 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

10. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; Kitab ul-Ashara page 46 (as quoted from al-Amali).

11. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; Kitab ul-Ashara; 46 (as quoted from Qadhaa ul-Huqouq).

12. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; Kitab ul-Ashara 56 as quoted from al-Kafi.

13. Quoted from Nahj ul-Balagha.

14. Quoted from Nahj ul-Balagha: Imam Ali’s commandment for Imam al-Hasan.

15. Quoted from Tuhaf ul-Uqoul.

16. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 86 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

17. Quoted from Sheikh as-Saduq’s Meaani al-Akhbar.

18. Quoted from Nahj ul-Balagha.


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