Islamic Culture

Islamic Culture


الناشر: دار السراج للثقلفة والنشر

تاريخ الإصدار: 2018-03

النسخة: 0


الكاتب

Sheikh Akram Barakat, PhD.


Introduction

 In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

May Allah’s blessing and peace be upon the one, sent not save as a mercy for the peoples, Muhammad, and upon his purified and virtuous household and his chosen companions.
 
What is the reason behind the shunning of many Muslims from Islam?
 
Does this issue relate to the extent of one’s conviction of the Islamic Ideology?
 
Do the boundaries that Islam designed for the believers play a role?
 
I believe that the main reason behind this case lurks somewhere else, the misunderstanding or false comprehension of the true religion of Islam, which occurred due to certain deformities. Part of these deformities came from outside and the other part was due to the wrong practices of some Muslims.
 
In this case, the significance of explaining the true image of this religion and discussing the original Islamic culture become a necessity. This is also our aim in this book, the titles of which were chosen carefully by the lecturers who
 
 
 
 
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Introduction

  have good knowledge of the true religion and are well acquainted with the students. The lecturers were the choice of the deanery studies of the Islamic University and I was privileged for being assigned with the task of recording and preparation.

In order to achieve our aim, we adopted, while preparing this academic book, the clear statement with a diversity of languages that collect the intellect, the scripture, and the heart. 
 
Moreover, we focused on the language of the holy Quranic Scripture and the Noble Prophetic Tradition in order to avoid the complications of the reasonable proof while leading the heart back to a corroborated speech, supported by quotations of poetry, touching stories and evidence.
 
I beseech the almighty Allah to make this book beneficial to the noble students in the way that will help them in their world and their afterworld. I also hope that it will be treasured for my benefit on the Day of Judgment; He is the Hearer and the Responsive.
 
 
Akram Barakat
Beirut, Lebanon
 
 
 
 
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Introduction

 SUMMARY: 

The Concept of Culture in Language
 
The word culture is an ancient term as it comes to the Arabic language. It is used in different forms and different meanings. These meanings can be summed within two circles:
Firstly: The meanings that relate to tangible issues such as using the culture in the form of the metal that one uses to make spears.(1) In order to harmonize with this meaning there is a saying that reads, “The canal has been cultured, which means its curvature has been straightened.”(2)
 
Secondly: The meanings that relate to spiritual issues such as in these words, “Thaqafa –R– Rajulu Thaqfan Wa Thiqaafan (The man became self-educated and cultured),” which means he became smart.(3) Another example reads, “Qalbun Thaqif (a cultured heart),” which means quick in learning and understanding.(4) Another example reads,
 

(1)        Refer to: 1) Al-FARAHIDI, Al-Khalil, Al-‘Ayn (The Eye), reviewed by Dr. Mahdi Al-Makhzoumi and Dr. Ibrahim As-Samirrani, first edition, Beirut, Al-A’lami Foundation, 1988, vol. 5, p. 138.. 2) AL-JAWHARI, Ismael, As-Sihah (The Corrections), fourth edition, Beirut, Dar Al-‘Elm Lil Malayin publishing house, 1987, vol. 4, p. 1334.
(2)        IBN FARIS, Ahmad (died 395 AH), Mo’jam Maqayees Al-Lugha (Language Standards Dictionary), reviewed by Abdul Salam Muhammad Haroun, publishing edition unknown, Qum, Islamic Information Bureau, 1404 AH., vol. 1, p. 382
(3)        AL-JAWHARI, Ismael, As-Sihah (The Corrections), vol. 4, P. 1334.
(4)        Al-FARAHIDI, Al-Khalil, Al-‘Ayn (The Eye), vol. 5, p. 138.
 
 
 
 
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  “Ghulamun Laqinun Thaqifun (A lad prone to digestion and education),” which means a lad of acumen and brightness.(1) Another example reads, “Rajulun Thaqifun (A cultured man),” which means he digests whatever he hears with straightness.(2) 

Another example reads, “Thaqiftu Katha Etha Adraktuhu Bil Basar Li Hithkin Fi –N– Nathar (I will digested it if I visualize it due to smart visualization),” which means a man with sharp eyes. This issue has been utilized for people with utter capability of digesting issues,(3) such as in His words, “Aynama Thuqifu Ukhithou (they will be seized wherever found).”(4) Moreover, some linguists said that these words have been used in the sense of teaching manners and decorum, such as in this example, “Hal Tahathabtu Wa Tathaqaftu Ella ‘Ala Yadika (Have I ever been cultured and taught save by you).”(5)
We can understand from the previous explanation that
 

(1)        IBN MANTHOUR, Muhammad, Lisan Al-Arab (The Arabs’ Tongue), publishing edition unknown, Beirut, Dar As-Sadir (publishing house), publishing date unknown, vol. 9, p. 19.
(2)        IBN FARIS, Ahmad (died 395 AH), Mo’jam Maqayees Al-Lugha (Language Standards Dictionary), vol. 1, p. 182.
(3)        AR-RAGHIB AL-ASFAHANI, Hussein, Mofradat Alfaz Al-Quran (The Terms of the Phonations of the Quran), reviewed by Safwan Adnan Dawoodi, second edition, Qum, Tale’at An-Nour Foundation, 1427 AH, p. 173.
(4)        The holy Quran, chapter 33, verse 61.
(5)        AZ-ZAMAKHSHARI, Asaas Al-Balagha (The Foundations of Eloquence), publishing edition unknown, Cairo, Dar Wa Matabei’ Ash-Sha’b (publishing house), 1960, p. 96.
 
 
 
 
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  the linguistic connotations concerning education addresses two aspects. One is cognitive relating to high ability of perception. The second is behavioral relating to cultivation and education while both link to man on one hand and to the material on the other hand.

Culture Based on Terminology
In spite of the ancientness of culture as part of the Arabic language, yet still, none of the Arab scientists in the past has ever been famous in calling any science by the name of culture and based on a clear definition of its concept. Instead, the Arabic expression was the result of modern studies and researches through which the Arabs became acquainted with the western sciences and philosophies. They quoted from them several names and terms amongst which exists the term culture that became famous in the western ethics by the British anthropologist,(1) Edward Taylor (1832-1917) in his book “Primitive Culture.” His definition of the word culture became an inspirational principal of its rooted definitions by several people afterwards. For instance, he defined it as, “… that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.”(2)
 

(1)      The term anthropology derives from the Greek words ánthrōpos (ἄνθρωπος, “human”) and lógos (λόγος, “study”). Refer to Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. “anthropology, n.” Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1885. 
(2)      ATIF, Muhammad, Qamous ‘Elm Al-Ejtima’ (The dictionary of Sociology), a cultivation matter.
 
 
 
 
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 Based on such definition, the following outcomes become obvious:

Culture is more general than science and knowledge
Culture differs from one society to another. Societies, although they may affiliate to one religion or one sect, yet this issue does not mean that they share one culture.
 
Relating a culture to a certain religion requires an investigation when this term is applied since it can be necessarily limited to subjects that are the outcome of such religion against the outcome of the men affiliated to it, which does not relate to their religious affiliation.
 
Based on these results, we can now begin with the definition of the Islamic culture.
 
 
Islamic Culture
From the previous explanation, we understand that the term “Islamic culture” can be defined as a knowledge of the general ingredients of the Islamic nation with its past and present reactions concerning religion, language, history, civilization, values and common issues. This definition becomes more suitable if it refers to the culture of the Muslims rather than referring to the Islamic culture that is the coherent general thesis. Islam came to address the fields of faith and behavior relating to the regulations of life in its entirety, including the path of the individual and community as well as the world and the afterworld. This
 
 
 
 
 
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  book represents our attempt to approach the subject through several keys that the religion of Islam addressed and as the university curriculum allows. We hope that it will benefit our dear students and we hope that Allah the Exalted will accept such service of ours.

 

 

 

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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

 LESSON 1: 

Religion and the Human Life
 
 
– Position and Role –
Lesson Objectives
1-         The student must understand the truth of perfection that he must seek in order to achieve happiness.
 
2-         Must recognize that the religion is the way to his perfection; hence, his true happiness.
 
3-         Must learn that reaching his happiness requires that he recognizes the way to perfection on the level of individuality in order to purify his soul and on the level of community in order to cultivate the earth and develop the society.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

 Natural Knowledge

A human starts building his knowledge after his birth through his five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell. These senses share one tendency through which the child becomes attached to his mother, exchanging with her a deep emotional trend that generates within the mother herself towards her baby. This mutual exchanged tendency does not differ from one child to another or from one mother to another concerning any time or any place. Moreover, this issue takes place without any need for learning or training by either of them in order to discover it. The source of this inclination is termed as the nature, which means the innate character(1). In other words, man is born with it, and it will escort him along the journey of his life. Based on the previous issue, the nature can be defined as something that is ingrained within each human at any time and in any place without the need for learning or training.(2)
 
 

(1)      IBN MANTHOUR, Muhammad, Lisan Al-Arab (The Arabs’ Tongue), publishing edition unknown, Qum, published by Adab Al-Hawza, 1405 A. H., vol. 5, p. 56.
(2)      For more knowledge regarding the meaning of nature refer to: Al-MUTAHHARI, Murtada, Al-Fitrah (The Nature), first edition, translated by Ja’far Sadiq Al-Khalili, Beirut, Mo’assasat Al-Ba’thah (publishing house), 1412 AH, Ps. 5-33.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

 The Human Natural Inclination towards Perfection

The role of the nature (inborn characteristics) does not solely attract the child towards its mother and vice versa; in addition, we can realize that the human, ever since childhood, remains naturally attracted towards that which can accomplish its perfection. Therefore, each person will constantly pursue this goal. For instance, the little child, on noticing that the others operate independently, its nature will call it to operate independently; hence, it will attempt to crawl.
 
However, it will realize that crawling does not achieve perfection; therefore, it will start walking in the hope that this will achieve perfection towards which its nature is pulling. Nonetheless, once it starts walking it will aspire another perfection, talking like others and hoping it will achieve its perfection. Once it begins talking with ease, it will eventually realize that the natural drive continues to invite it towards another different perfection.
 
 
The Transient Perfection
In this manner, a human seeks to achieve perfection through money sometimes, and other times, through fame, power, and other similarities. However, each time it achieves an issue it will discover that it has not reached its utter perfection. Consequently, it will aspire a different perfection that can generate assurance within its heart and cause its true happiness in order to live in happiness.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

 The holy Quran presents that which a human considers a perfection that can achieve happiness during its consecutive life stages. Allah the Exalted said, “Know that the life of the world is only play, and idle talk, and pageantry, and boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children…”(1)

Childhood is a period of play, followed by adolescence, the period of pastime. At the stage of youth, the period will be the most prominent, the love of adornment. At this stage, a young individual will give attention to its physical beauty and dress plus other similar issues. After the stage of youth, the human will seek glory and loftiness. In the end, it will reach the fifth stage, increasing money and children.
 
The holy Quran draws attention explaining that these aspired issues are transient such as the rain that attracts the farmers. Allah the Exalted said, “… as the likeness of vegetation after rain, whereof the growth is pleasing to the husbandman, but afterward it drieth up and thou seest it turning yellow, then it becometh straw.”(2)
 
The True Perfection
Against the false perfection, the holy Quran guides man explaining that the true and absolute perfection does not exist in all that which man seeks in the world; that a human’s inclination towards perfection will not stop even
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 57, verse 20.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 57, verse 20.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

  if man handled the possession of all that exists in this life. Why? Not all that exists in this life expresses the true and flawless perfection. This sort of perfection belongs to the one and only, Allah, the lord of the worlds. The holy Quran confirms that the happiness of a human being can only be achieved once it marches towards Allah Who is perfect and transcends above all flaws. Thereon, its soul will calm down, its heart will find rest, and it will experience the aspired happiness. To this issue the words of Allah the Exalted guided us reading, "Verily in the remembrance of Allah hearts do find rest!"(1)

Nature Leads to Allah
Stressing on the previous explanation, the holy Quran drew attention to the fact that the human nature – despite the obscurities that can strike it causing its passivity – can still bypass them and leads the human being towards Allah the Exalted. This issue happens as soon as a person senses that disaster is surrounding him. Therefore, Allah the Exalted said, "Say: Can ye see yourselves, if the punishment of Allah come upon you or the Hour come upon you, (calling upon other than Allah)? Do ye then call (for help) to any other than Allah? (Answer that) if ye are truthful."(2) "Nay, but unto Him ye call, and He removeth that because of which ye call unto Him, if He will, and ye forget whatever
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 13, verse 28.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 06, verse 40.
 
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

  partners ye ascribed unto Him."(1)

A beautiful story tells us that a man visited Imam As-Sadiq (pbuh) asking him, "O son of the messenger of Allah, guide me to Allah by defining Him because my arguers have multiplied and have caused my irresolution. The Imam (pbuh) asked him O servant of Allah, have you ever boarded a ship? He said yes. The Imam (pbuh) asked him did it stall somewhere with no other ship that can save you or swim that can help you. He said yes.

The Imam (pbuh) asked did you become attached to something that is capable of saving you from your trouble. He said yes. Imam As-Sadiq (pbuh) said this thing is Allah, the Capable of saving where there is no savior, and of helping where there is no helper."(2)

Nature Leads to Religion
What is the meaning of the absolute perfection of Allah? It means that He is characterized by all the perfect characteristics such as richness versus poverty and neediness as well as wisdom in the sense that He places each thing in its proper position. Therefore, He did not create us out of His need of us because He is altogether Independent. Instead, it was for our perfection because He is Wise. Since we cannot identify the way that leads to our perfection and
 
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 06, verse 41.
(2)      AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, Ma’ani Al-Akhbar (News Meanings), reviewed by Ali Akbar Al-Ghafari, printing edition unknown, Qum, Mo’assasat an-Nashr Al-Islami (Publishing Foundation), 1379 AH, Ps. 4-5.
 
 
 
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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

  to which our nature attracts us, the Wise Creator explained it for us. The holy Quran stressed on this issue telling that the way that leads a person to his perfection based on such nature is the religion, which remains to be the divine teachings.(1) Allah the Exalted said, "So set thy purpose (O Muhammad) for religion as a man by nature upright - the nature (framed) of Allah, in which He hath created man. There is no altering (the laws of) Allah’s creation."(2)

Because of our previous discussion, now we understand that religion is:
·           The issue to which the human nature invites.
·           The way to the everlasting true perfection versus the transient false one.
·           The issue that achieves human happiness.
 
 
The Religion’s Role Concerning Integration and Happiness
The integration and happiness that the religion wishes humanity to achieve include six issues:
1. The human body.    2. The human soul.
3. The human individual life.  4. The human social life.
5. The human world.   6. The human afterworld.
 

(1)      AT-TABA’TABA’EI, Muhammad Hussein, Al-Quran Fil Islam (The Quran in Islam), publishing edition unknown, publishing place unknown, publisher unknown, publishing date unknown, p. 12.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 30, verse 30.
 
 
 
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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

 Religion and Knowledge

Man usually seeks answers for questions concerning his existence, which might cause anxiety should he not find the satisfying answers. The most important questions are: Wherefrom? Wherein? Whereto?
 
The religion took interest in answering these questions informing that Allah the Exalted remains the origin of all existence while guiding to His descriptions and explaining how He created the heavens and earth with all creation. It also explains His management of all existence clarifying the wisdom and purpose behind it while focusing on the orbital role of humanity in this world, which sheds light on man’s relationship with Allah the Exalted. To these issues the commander of the faithful Ali Bin Abi Talib (PBUH) indicated saying, "The foremost of the religion is in the acknowledgement of Him."(1)
 
Moreover, religion explained the reality of the life that we live. It explains that life remains a station that precedes an everlasting life, and that a human’s role in it is in being the successor of Allah the Exalted concerning its progression and investment. It is a place of the human plantation in order to harvest its fruit in another life, which Allah the Exalted wishes it to be an everlasting bliss for humanity but at the same time warns of the evil choices (doings) that will make the afterlife a suffering hellfire.
 

(1)      IBN ABI TALIB, Imam Ali (pbuh), Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), reviewed by Sheikh Muhammad Abdu, first edition, Qum, Dar Ath-Thakha’er (Publishing House), 1412 AH, vol. 1, p. 14.
 
 
 
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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

 Religion and Behavior

In order to reach the aspired happiness in the world and afterworld and while man acts with consideration towards his body, soul, individuality and community, the religion draws the roadmap for the behavior that will lead to the target. It includes two issues: jurisprudential items, and ethical values.
 
The jurisprudential items are included in the Sharia laws that focus on the interests and corruptions that mirror benefits and harms on man himself. The science of jurisprudence detailed these issues.
 
The ethical values on the other hand are a group of psychological habits or practices that a person uses to cultivate himself, build his behavior, attain moderation concerning his trends and instincts, and preserve the praised and balanced relationships with the community. These values are included in the science of ethics.
 
The Prophet (PBUH&HH) pointed to these two standard sciences concerning the dogmatic background when he divided science into three sections: "A solid verse, a just obligation, or an existing tradition…"(1)
 
A solid verse refers to the science of the faith through which religion will nourish a human being with the
 

(1)      AL-KULAINI, Muhammad, Al-Kafi (The Sufficient), reviewed by Ali Akbar Al-Ghafari, fifth edition, Tehran, Dar Al-Kutub Al-Islamiyah (Publishing House), 1363 AH, vol. 1, p. 32.
 
 
 
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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

  necessary knowledge pertaining the secret and aim behind its existence. A just obligation refers to the science of ethics that clarifies the values that the human being must consider during its course on the path to its perfection. An existing tradition simply refers to the laws explained by the science of jurisprudence, which will lead the human being adhering to them to his happiness, individually and communally, and in the manner that conforms to his body and soul in this world and the afterworld.

Science Divides into Two Parts
The human being passing through the channel of his succession on earth with its progression and social role necessitated the noble prophet (pbuh&hh) to explain that the necessary science is not limited to the human individual alone. Instead, there had to be an endeavor in order to attain the sciences that relate to the needs and progression of the society. Therefore, the prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Al-‘Elmu ‘Elman: ‘Elmul Adyan wa ‘Elmul Abdan (Science is two sciences: The science of the religions and the science of the bodies)."(1)
 
The science of the bodies, although it refers to medicine, yet it sets an example for the sciences that the society requires. Therefore, Imam Ali (pbuh) added a third science that was extremely necessary during his stage. He was
 

(1)      Al-KARAKJI, Abul Fateh, Kanzul Fawa’ed (The Treasure of Benefits), second edition, Qum, Al-Mustafawi printery, 1369 SH, p. 239.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 1: Religion and the Human Life

  quoted as saying, "Science is three things: Jurisprudence regarding the religions; medicine regarding the bodies; and grammar regarding the tongue."(1)

Final Word
Allah the Exalted explained the marks of the religion with guidance to His Sharia (law) for the sake of our happiness. Nevertheless, a large number of people continue to walk away from religion due to their ignorance regarding its trueness and objectives.
 
Our situation is similar to that of the child that feels disturbed when its parents instruct it to go to school for education, to take the medicine for cure, and to stay away from evil to avoid harm. Both simply seek its happiness. However, we can see it being troubled because of their instructions and prohibitions, and it will attempt to disobey them due to its ignorance concerning the outcome. If it had the knowledge of the truth it would have obeyed them because in such obedience lurks its happiness.
 

(1)      ASH-SHAHROUDI, Ali, Mustadrak Safinat Al-Bihar (The Supplement of the Oceans’ Ship), reviewed by Hassan Bin Ali An-Namaazi, publishing edition unknown, Qum, Mo’assasat an-Nashr Al-Islami (Publishing Foundation), 1418 AH, vol. 3, p. 406.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 2: The Stages of the Human Life

 LESSON 2: 

The Stages of the Human Life
 
 
- The World and the Afterworld –
Lesson Objectives
1-         The student must understand that the remaining reality of the human being is his soul.
 
2-         Must understand that life is not limited to this world. Instead, it will continue in the life of the barrier, followed by the resurrection, and finally to heaven or to the hellfire.
 
3-         Must learn that the world is not praised or dispraised. Instead, the human relationship with it results in praise or dispraise.
 
4-         Must be convinced with the significance of balancing his deeds between this world and the afterworld.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 2: The Stages of the Human Life

 The Four Stages of Humanity

In the holy Quran, Allah the Exalted spoke of the course of humanity saying, "Verily We created man from a product of wet earth [clay]; Then placed him as a drop (of seed) in a safe lodging; Then fashioned We the drop a clot, then fashioned We the clot a little lump, then fashioned We the little lump bones, then clothed the bones with flesh, and then produced it as another creation. So blessed be Allah, the Best of creators! Then lo! After that ye surely die. Then lo! On the Day of Resurrection ye are raised (again)."(1)

These verses describe a course that includes four stages:
First stage – This stage of matter with the following consecutives: clay, sperm, clot, lump, bone, flesh.
 
Second stage – In this stage the spirit is created with the body.
 
Third stage – This is the stage of death, the separation of the spirit from the body.
 
Fourth stage – This is the stage of resurrection, the spirit reunites with the body in order to face the final destiny.
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 23, verses 12-16.
 
 
 
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LESSON 2: The Stages of the Human Life

 Human Reality amid the Body and Soul

Although a human being remains tangible in its first stage of the matter, yet its course tells us that its remaining reality manifests in the second stage, the stage of the creation of the soul. A human being is born tiny with small weight and fragile features. Its father gives it a name. Let us assume that it is "Ahmad (male)" or "Fatimah (female)." The child will grow and go to school in order to terminate high school education and join the university at the age of eighteen. Graduation takes place at the age of twenty-five, assuming a doctor, after which a human grows older and older.
 
The eye-catching issue of this life extension is in the confirmation of the modern medicine(1) that the cells of "Ahmad" have changed several times since his birth. For instance, his hands, legs, and the rest of his body have changed at the age of twenty-five. They repeatedly changed since his birth when they were completely different. Nevertheless, Ahmad the child remains the same Ahmad the doctor. In other words, the truth of Ahmad does not reside in the physical change. Instead, it resides in the soul that keeps cultivating and growing without any change of its reality. This soul will be the same soul in the third human stage when it will separate from the body by death.
 

(1)      CLARLSON. BM. Principles of Regeneration – Elsevier 2007, p. 152.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 2: The Stages of the Human Life

 The World of Death (the dead)

The eye-catching issue in the previous verse ("Then lo! After that ye surely die"(1)) is in the several tools (styles) of confirmation although the reality of death remains an axiom that does not require any confirmation. Perhaps, this issue took place for two reasons:
Firstly – A large number of people in this life never think much of death, as if they are immortal and as if they doubt the doubtless death. On this issue, Imam Ali (PBUH) said, "Other than death, Allah the Exalted did not create a doubtless certainty that is more similar to an uncertain doubt."(2)
 
As one Poet says:
Death comes after all this as if…
 
It targets someone else other than us…
 
Secondly – In order to point to the world after death – before resurrection – that is the world of the barrier, Allah the Exalted mentioned this subject in the holy Quran saying, "…and behind them is a barrier until the day when they are raised."(3)
 
The aim behind it was to encourage man to prepare himself for that moment, when his spirit will separate from his body, and when his situation will not even be as that
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 23, verse 15.
(2)      AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, Al-Khisal (The Qualities), reviewed by Ali Akbar Al-Ghafari, publishing edition unknown, Qum, Jama’at Al-Modarriseen (publishing house), 1403 AH, p. 14.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 23, verse 100.
 
 
 
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LESSON 2: The Stages of the Human Life

  of the fetus which, on assuming it is given the force of understanding and dialogue, if asked: What is the size of the world in your eyes? It would answer: It equals the size of the womb of my mother. Then it is told that a bigger world exists outside the womb of your mother, more spacious with all kinds of delicious food and fun games. However, the fetus believes neither in better food than that of the blood of his mother nor in better games than his rotation inside his mother’s womb or in more spacious world than the womb. Therefore, when the midwife begins the process of extraction by force and on seeing the size of the outside world and its situation outside the womb, the baby screams out of surprise.

The case of a person who does not believe in the world after death is similar to that of the fetus. However, instead of the midwife, the angel of death comes seeking the extraction of his soul to another form of life. However, he clings on to his spirit, making the extraction more difficult. On the other hand, the believer who believes in that life surrenders his soul making death easier: "Like a beautiful odor that he smells making him feel an ecstasy that will cause tiresome and pain to vanish," a quotation from Imam As-Sadiq (pbuh).(1)
 

(1)      AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, ‘Elal Ash-Sharae’ (Reasons behind Laws), reviewed by Muhammad Sadiq Bahr Al-Ulum, printing edition unknown, holy Najaf, Manshourat Al-Maktaba Al-Haidariyah (publishing house), 1385 AH, vol. 1, p. 298.
 
 
 
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LESSON 2: The Stages of the Human Life

 The Day of Judgment

After the emphasis that all people will die, Allah the Exalted stresses in the previous verses saying, "Then lo! On the Day of Resurrection ye are raised (again)." (1) The aim behind such resurrection following death is to try the tyrants for their tyranny whereas remunerate the well doers for their good deeds. There will be accurate accountably for each person, presented in a sheet of deeds before him in order to read to himself the details of his deeds in this world. Allah the Exalted said, "And every man’s augury have We fastened to his own neck, and We shall bring forth for him on the Day of Resurrection a book which he will find wide open. (And it will be said unto him): Read thy Book. Thy soul sufficeth as reckoner against thee this day."(2) Allah the Exalted also said, "And the Book is placed, and thou seest the guilty fearful of that which is therein, and they say: What kind of a Book is this that leaveth not a small thing nor a great thing but hath counted it! And they find all that they did confronting them, and thy Lord wrongeth no-one."(3)
 
 
In light of the recorded deeds of man, he will find himself accountable based on such record. Therefore, anyone whose scales are loaded with good deeds will be saved in order to live the bliss of the afterlife unlike the person who exhausted his soul with wrong doings. Allah the Exalted said, "Then, as for him whose scales are heavy (with good works); he
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 23, verse 17.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 17, verses 14-15.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 18, verse 50.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 2: The Stages of the Human Life

  will live a pleasant life. But as for him whose scales are light; a bereft and Hungry One will be his mother; Ah, what will convey unto thee what she is! - Raging Fire."(1)

On that day, the people will stand in the arena of the resurrection after which each person will meet his final destiny. This is:
·           Either paradise that is described as, "…a paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth…"(2) "…and Gardens underneath which rivers flow…"(3) Its food is described as, "And flesh of fowls that they desire."(4) Its drink is described as, "…Therein are rivers of water unpolluted, and rivers of milk whereof the flavor changeth not, and rivers of wine delicious to the drinkers, and rivers of clear-run honey…"(5) Its fruit is described as, "Neither out of reach nor yet forbidden."(6) Its raiment and ornament are described as, "…wearing armlets of gold and pearl and their raiment therein is silk."(7) Briefly, it is described as, "Therein things no eye has ever seen, nor ear has ever heard of, or human mind has ever imagined."(8)
 
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 101, verses 6-11.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 3, verse 133.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 3, verse 136.
(4)      The holy Quran, chapter 56, verse 21.
(5)      The holy Quran, chapter 47, verse 15.
(6)      The holy Quran, chapter 56, verse 33.
(7)      The holy Quran, chapter 22, verse 33.
(8)      AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar Al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), reviewed by Ali Akbar Al-Ghafari, second edition, Beirut, Mo’assasat Al-Wafaa (publishing house), 1403 AH, p. 92. AN-NAISABOURI, Muslim, Sahih Muslim, publishing edition unknown, Beirut, Dar Al-Fikr (Publishing House), publishing date unknown, vol. 8, p. 143.
 
 
 
 
 
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 ·           The hellfire on the other hand, its food is described as, "The food of the sinner! Like molten brass, it seetheth in their bellies. As the seething of boiling water."(1) Its drink is described as, "Water like to molten lead which burneth the faces the seething of boiling water."(2) And its raiment is described as, "…garments of fire…"(3)

The Truth of the World
The previous discussion places us before the truth of the life of humanity, a life that does not end in death. Instead, it continues in the world of the barrier followed by the Day of Judgment and lastly either in paradise or in the hellfire. This way, we understand that the world is a station of the consecutive stations of the human life. 
However, it is a crucial station where the outcomes of the deeds of man are recorded in a book. Based on this book, Allah the Exalted will decide the destiny of man in the afterlife. At this point, it is necessary to define the right concept regarding this world and define how man should deal with it.
 
 
A World Created for the Sake of Humanity
The holy Quran confirmed that Allah the Exalted created
 
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 44, verse 44-46.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 18, verse 29.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 22, verse 19.
 
 
 
 
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  the world for the sake of humanity. We can read this issue in several verses of the Quran.

"And He hath constrained the night and the day and the sun and the moon to be of service unto you, and the stars are made subservient by His command. Lo! Herein indeed are portents for people who have sense."(1)
 
"And whatsoever He hath created for you in the earth of divers hues…"(2)
 
"And He it is Who hath constrained the sea to be of service that ye eat fresh meat from thence, and bring forth from thence ornaments which ye wear."(3)
 
"He it is Who sendeth down water from the sky, whence ye have drink, and whence are trees on which ye send your beasts to pasture."(4)
 
"And the cattle hath He created for you..."(5)
 
In order to confirm these Quranic meanings, the Noble Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "The world was created for you while you were created for the afterworld."(6)
 
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 16, verse 12.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 16, verse 13.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 16, verse 14.
(4)      The holy Quran, chapter 16, verse 10.
(5)      The holy Quran, chapter 16, verse 5.
(6)      AR-RAYSHAHRI, Muhammad, Mizan Al-Hikmah (The Scale of Wisdom), first edition, reviewed and published by Dar Al-Hadith (Publishing House), 1416 AH, vol. 2, p. 891.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 2: The Stages of the Human Life

 The Correct Relationship with the World

In light of the previous discussion, it becomes obvious that man makes a mistake if he establishes a relationship with the world as an aim, not a means. In fact, man himself is the aim. The world on the other hand is the dispraised aim.
 
For instance, Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "The world is the market of losing."(1) "The world is the farm of evil."(2) "The world is the killer of minds."(3) The world that the human being treats, as a means to achieve the purpose of his integral existence is praiseful. For instance, Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "The world is the place of sincerity for whosoever remains sincere to it; the place of good health for whosoever remains unconcerned in it; the place of richness for whosoever is provided from it; the place of advice for whosoever is advised by it; the worshiping place of the adorers of Allah; the praying place of the angels of Allah; the ascending place of the revelation of Allah; and the trading store of the guardians of Allah. There, they acquired mercy, and there, they gained the paradise."(4)
 

(1)      AL-WASITY, Ali, Oyoun Al-Hikam Wa-l- Mawa’ez (Eyes of Wisdoms and Sermons), first edition, reviewed by Hussein Al-Birjandy, Dar Al-Hadith Wath-Thaqafah (Publishing House), publishing date unknown, p. 18.
(2)      Same previous source, p. 38.
(3)      Same previous source, p. 35.
(4)      IBN ABI TALIB, Imam Ali (PBUH), Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), vol. 4, p. 32.
 
 
 
 
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 Life and the Afterlife

The previous Islamic scripts guidelines concerning man’s relationship with the world can be summarized as follows:
1.         Islam did not invite man to abstain from this world and its wealth in a complete manner. How can we say so when Allah the Exalted says, "Say: Who hath forbidden the adornment of Allah which He hath brought forth for His bondmen, and the good things of His providing? Say: Such, on the Day of Resurrection, will be only for those who believed during the life of the world."(1)
 
2.         The religion invites man to focus on the afterlife associated with the enjoyment in this life. Allah the Exalted said, "But seek the abode of the Hereafter in that which Allah hath given thee and neglect not thy portion of the world…"(2)
 
3.         Islam wants man to set a standard concerning his work in this life and the afterlife based on the code of Imam Ali (pbuh) who said, "Work for your life, as if you will never die, and work for your hereafter as if you will die tomorrow."(3)
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 7, verse 32.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 28, verse 77.
(3)      Al-HILLI, Al-Hassan, Tahrir Al-Ahkam (Editing the Verdicts), first edition, reviewed by Ibrahim Al-Bahadri, Qum, Mo’assasat Al-Imam As-Sadiq (publishing house), publishing date unknown, vol. 2, p. 249.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 3: The Guides to Perfection (Part 1)

 LESSON 3: 

The Guides to Perfection (Part 1)
 

– The Holy Quran –
Lesson Objectives
1.         The student must understand the distinguishing characteristics of the message of Islam.
 
2.         The student must recognize the secret of the inimitability of the holy Quran.
 
3.         The student must learn that which can enhance his relationship with the holy book.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 3: The Guides to Perfection (Part 1)

 Allah the Exalted created man for the sake of his happiness that can be achieved when he takes the way to his integration. However, man alone cannot recognize the landmarks of such way. Therefore, the Omni-Wise and Creator guided him to these landmarks through the messages that he revealed to His prophets (pbut). These messages came consecutive based on the progression of the human societies until Allah the Exalted concluded them with the holy Quran.

The Characteristics of the Holy Quran
Firstly – It is Universal
The holy Quran is a universal message that Allah the Exalted revealed for the sake of all humanity without designing it for one nation without the other, or for one man without another. Allah the Exalted said, "Lo! It is naught but a Reminder to (His) creatures."(1) Allah the Exalted also said, "Lo! This is one of the greatest (portents); as a warning unto men."(2) Allah the Exalted also said, "…And this Qur’an hath been inspired in me, that I may warn therewith you and whomsoever it may reach…."(3)
 
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 6, verse 90.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 74, verses 35-36.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 6, verse 19.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 3: The Guides to Perfection (Part 1)

 Secondly – It is an Everlasting Miracle

The heavenly messages that preceded the holy Quran had a limited time (each message expires as soon as the next message reveals. On the contrary, the holy Quran remains the everlasting message that remains distinctive throughout all the ages by being a miracle that no man can produce the like of it. Why? It penetrates the laws of nature and signals the sincerity of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh) upon whom it was revealed. Allah the Exalted guaranteed to preserve it from distortion when He said, "Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and lo! We verily are its Guardian."(1)
 
The holy Quran presented several elements denoting its everlasting inimitability. Here we present two of them:
 
The Elements of Inimitability
A.        High Knowledge and Super Eloquence of an Illiterate Person
 
The holy Quran challenged all people since its revelation at the era of the popular literature and poetry, asking them to produce the like of it. Allah the Exalted said, "Say: Verily, though mankind and the jinn should assemble to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof though they were helpers one of another."(2) In fact, it challenged them to produce the like of ten verses. Allah the Exalted said, "Or they say: He hath invented it.
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 15, verse 9.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 17, verse 88.
 
 
 
 
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  Say: Then bring ten surahs, the like thereof, invented, and call on everyone ye can beside Allah, if ye are truthful!"(1) It even challenged them to produce the like of one verse. Allah the Exalted said, "Or say they: He hath invented it? Say: Then bring a surah like unto it, and call (for help) on all ye can besides Allah, if ye are truthful."(2) 

With all these challenges, history recorded not even one successful attempt proving the ability of the people to produce the like of one verse of the holy Quran.
 
Among the beautiful stories recorded in the history of Islam was the story of Al-Walid Bin Al-Mughirah Al-Makhzoumi who was renowned as one of the most eloquent man among the Arabs. He came to the Prophet (pbuh&hh) who in turn recited to him the Quran. Hence, the heart of Al-Walid became touched with it. The news reached Abu Jahl who consequently came to seduce him with money in order to take a negative attitude against the Prophet (pbuh&hh). However, his answer was, "What can I say! I swear in Allah, no man among you has better knowledge in the poetic rhymes than I have, better knowledge in paganism, or even have a better poem than I have, or even better knowledge in the poetry of the Jinn. I swear in Allah, what he says likens nothing of these. I swear in Allah, his words are sweet and elegant; and its top is fruitful while its base is luxuriant. It excels everything while



(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 11, verse 13.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 10, verse 38.
 
 
 
 
 
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  nothing excels it and it crushes that which is beneath it."(1)

 

These Quranic and eloquent molds of the graceful knowledge arrived for a sublime purpose. This is a number of these molds:
 
1.         The Principle of Existence with His Unity and Wisdom
Allah the Exalted said, "He is Allah, the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifieth Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise."(2)
 
2.         Allah Sending the Prophets (Pbut) With Charts of Perfection
Allah the Exalted said, "Mankind were one community, and Allah sent (unto them) prophets as bearers of good tidings and as warners, and revealed therewith the Scripture with the truth that it might judge between mankind concerning that wherein they differed. And only those unto whom (the Scripture) was given differed concerning it, after clear proofs had come unto them, through hatred one of another. And Allah by His Will guided those who believe unto the truth of that concerning which they differed..."(3)
 

(1)      AL-HAKIM AN-NAISABOURI, Abu Abdullah, Al-Mustadrak (The Supplement), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Yusuf Abdul Rahman Al-Mar’ashli, Beirut: publisher unknown, publishing date unknown, vol. 2, p. 507.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 59, verse 24.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 2, verse 213.
 
 
 
 
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 3.         The Human History, First Man and the End Of Times

Allah the Exalted said, "And We created you, then fashioned you, then told the angels: Fall ye prostrate before Adam! And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis, who was not of those who make prostration."(1)
 
After the holy Quran presented the traditions of the Prophets (pbut), it foretold the victory of the way of the divine truth. Allah the Exalted said, "He it is Who hath sent His messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion, however much the idolaters may be averse."(2)
 
4.         Basic Legislations Concerning Human Society, Such As:
4-1.      Judging with Justice. Allah the Exalted said, "…if ye judge between mankind, that ye judge justly…"(3)
 
4-2.      The originality of respecting the human life. Allah the Exalted said, "…whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind…"(4)
 
4-3.      Forbidding assault. Allah the Exalted said, "Say: My Lord forbiddeth only indecencies, such of
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 7, verse 11.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 9, verse 33.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 4, verse 58.
(4)      The holy Quran, chapter 5, verse 32.
 
 
 
 
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  them as are apparent and such as are within, and sin and wrongful oppression…"(1)

4-4.      Blaming solely the guilty with the guilt. Allah the Exalted said, "No laden soul can bear another’s load…"(2)
 
4-5.      The originality of peace in the human community. Allah the Exalted said, "And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it…"(3)
 
4-6.      Authorizing defense against sedition and aggression. Allah the Exalted said, "And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is for Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against wrong-doers."(4)
 
 
5.         The Human March towards Perfection
The holy Quran explained the path of human integration beginning with the purification of the soul about which Allah the Exalted said, "He is indeed successful who causeth it to grow."(5) This issue indicates the significance of raising a family about whom Allah the Exalted said, "And of His signs is this: He created for you helpmeets from yourselves that ye might find rest in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy."(6) The Quran explains that rivalry for
 
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 7, verse 33.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 17, verse 15.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 8, verse 61.
(4)      The holy Quran, chapter 2, verse 193.
(5)      The holy Quran, chapter 91, verse 9.
(6)      The holy Quran, chapter 30, verse 21.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 3: The Guides to Perfection (Part 1)

  precedence or superiority does not depend on sex, race, family, money, prestige or authority. Instead, it depends on perfections that are available for all people. Allah the Exalted explained these perfections saying:

"Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct."(1)
 
"Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Are those who know equal with those who know not?"(2)
 
"Unto each Allah hath promised good, but He hath bestowed on those who strive a great reward above the sedentary."(3)
 
The eye-catching issue is that this diversified and upper knowledge arrived intermittently over a period of 23 years in different circumstances and occasions, in daylight and at night, at home and while traveling, and in times of peace and war. However, this issue did not affect the existence of contradiction or incongruity concerning them. The holy Quran indicated this issue when Allah the Exalted said, "Will they not then ponder on the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much incongruity."(4)
 
The other eye-catching issue was in the surprise that the person, who brought this supreme knowledge of super eloquence, was illiterate and no man could ever doubt his illiteracy. They all knew well that he never read a book in his
 
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 49, verse 13.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 39, verse 9.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 4, verse 95.
(4)      The holy Quran, chapter 4, verse 82.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 3: The Guides to Perfection (Part 1)

  life and never wrote a script. The holy Quran provided this issue without anyone’s protest. Allah the Exalted said, "And thou (O Muhammad) wast not a reader of any scripture before it, nor didst thou write it with thy right hand, for then might those have doubted, who follow falsehood."(1)

B – Scientific Inimitability
The holy Quran holds several verses concerning the scientific discoveries that took place hundreds of years after its revelation, such as:
 
1- The Birth of the Universe
Allah the Exalted said, "Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe?"(2)
 
This previous verse is clear concerning the origin of the universe, which was one cohesive mass, the meaning of the Arabic term "Ritq." Later, Allah the exalted caused its division, the meaning of the Arabic term "Fitq." This issue remains consistent with the discoveries of the scientists in their researches and their observation of the phenomena of the universe. They discovered that the material was a mass in the beginning, in the image of a consistent and condense hot gas. Later, a huge explosion happened causing its extremities to expand and divide.(3)
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 29, verse 48.
(2)      The holy Quran, chapter 21, verse 30.
(3)      The Expanding Universe: Astronomy‘s ‚Great Debate‘, 1900-1931, Author Arthur Eddington. Edition illustrated, reprint, reissue, revised Publisher, Cambridge University Press, 1933, p. 102.
 
 
 
 
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 2- The Law of Gravity

Allah the Exalted said, "Allah it is Who raised up the heavens without visible supports…"(1) Asked about the meaning of the verse, Imam Ar-Ridha (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "There are pillars. However, you cannot see them."(2) English scientist Newton unraveled this issue in 1687 when he discovered the general law of gravity (Gravitation Pull).(3)
 
3- The Role of the Mountains
Allah the Exalted said, "Have We not made the earth an expanse. And the high hills bulwarks?"(4) The bulwark comes here in the sense of the stake that holds the tent with one end penetrating deeply into the ground in order to hold the tent.(5) Scientifically, it has been proven that the mountains are not solely the part that we see on the surface of the earth. Instead, they have extensions deeply embedded in the earth for two reasons. The first is to protect the mountains from sliding and falling. The second is to hold the layers of the earth together, preventing them from disorder and inclination.(6) This issue leads us to the words of Allah the Exalted that read, "…and hath cast into the earth firm hills, so that it quake not with you…"(7)
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 13, verse 2.
(2)      AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 57, p. 79.
(3)      Chandrasekhar. Subrahmanyan – Newton’s principia for the common reader – Oxford University press – 2003. P19.
(4)      The holy Quran, chapter 78, verses 6-7.
(5)      IBN MANTHOUR, Muhammad, Lisan al-Arab (The Arabs’ Tongue), vol. 3, p. 444.
(6)      Yamatip. Kaus, BJP. Moutherauf and Castelltrots Dynamic constraints on crustal scalek Giology (2011) vol. 39. N9, p. 815-818.
(7)      The holy Quran, chapter 31, verse 10.
 
 
 
 
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 4- The Lack of Oxygen in High Altitudes

Allah the Exalted said, "And whomsoever it is Allah’s will to guide, He expandeth his bosom unto the Surrender, and whomsoever it is His Will to send astray, He maketh his bosom close and narrow as if he were engaged in sheer ascent."(1)
 
This verse indicates the scientifically proven words that oxygen decreases as we climb upwards. For instance, at a level of 3.5 miles above the surface of the sea, the level of oxygen in the air decreases 50% than the level at the surface of the sea. This issue causes the person, who climbs up to this level of elevation, feel tightness in the chest due to the lack of oxygen and decrease of air pressure. Therefore, breathing becomes difficult and the blood vessels inside the lungs might explode causing death.(2)
 
5- The Fertilizing Wind
Allah the Exalted said, "And We send the winds fertilizing…"(3) This verse indicates the discovery of the scientists that the trees and plants require fertilization in order to produce. The wind plays a significant role concerning this process of fertilization.(4)
 
6- Human Fingerprints
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 6, verse 125.
(2)      Frisancho A.R.: Human Adaptation and Accommodation. University of Michigan. P. 175.
(3)      The holy Quran, chapter 15, verse 22.
(4)      A. VI. Shuvila M. R. VIgaraghavan – Abiotic Pollination – Biology of Pollen. APH Publishing. P. 67-69.
 
 
 
 
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 Allah the Exalted said, "Thinketh man that We shall not assemble his bones? Yea, verily. We are Able to restore his very fingers!"(1) The modern science in the nineteenth century discovered that fingerprints are the most complicated parts of the human body. Therefore, it became one of the tools of identification, distinguishing one individual from another.(2)

Relationship with the Holy Quran
Because of the previous perfect characteristics of the holy Quran, Islam encouraged man to give interest to the holy book, as we will see next.
 
Reciting the Quran
The Noblest Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Enlighten your houses reciting the Quran."(3)
 
It is commendable to improve the voice when reciting the Quran. The Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Everything has an ornament; the ornament of the Quran is the beautiful voice."(4)
 
Listening to the Verses of the Quran
Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Anyone listening to a letter of the book of Allah the Exalted
 
 

(1)      The holy Quran, chapter 75, verses 3-4.
(2)      FBI. Fingerprint Recognition. National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). Page 100. 
(3)      AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 610.
(4)    Same previous source, P. 613.
 
 
 
 
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  without [his own] recitation Allah will dictate for him a good deed, remove from him a bad deed, and will take him one grade up."(1)

Keeping the Quran at Home
Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "I like the holy book inside the house, where Allah the Exalted expels with it the evil."(2) The Imam (pbuh) warned in another speech about the abandonment of the Quran inside the house. For instance, he (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Three issues will complain to Allah the Exalted: a ruined mosque where no prayer is established, a scholar amongst ignoramuses, and a displayed holy book covered by dust without recitation."(3)
 
Memorizing the Quran
The noble tradition stressed on the significance of the memorization of the holy Quran. For instance, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Behold the Quran, behold the Quran, the verse and chapter of the Quran arrive on the Day of Judgment in order to ascend a thousand level – meaning paradise – and says: Had you memorized me I would have reached with you to this point."(4)
 

(1)    Same previous source, p. 612.
(2)    Same previous source, p. 613.
(3)    Same previous source.
(4)    Same previous source, p. 607.
 
 
 
 
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 Pondering the Meanings of the Quran

Allah the Exalted said, "Will they then not meditate on the Qur’an, or are there locks on the hearts?"(1)
 
Imam Zein el-Abideen (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "The verses of the Quran are treasures of knowledge. Therefore, each time you open its treasures you should observe what is inside."(2)
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 47, verse 24.
(2)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 609.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 4: The Guides to Perfection (Part 2)

 LESSON 4: 

The Guides to Perfection (Part 2)
 
– The Messenger (pbuh&hh) and his Household (pbut) –
 
Lesson Objectives
1.         The student must understand the meaning of the Prophetic Sunnah (The way of the Prophet) plus its role in perfecting the religion.
 
2.         Must recognize the characteristics of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh), which made him the primary paradigm for the people.
 
3.         Must conceive the role of Ahlul Bayt (pbut) in preserving the Prophetic Sunnah (tradition).
 
4.         Must consider the efforts of Ahlul Bayt (pbut) in uniting the Muslims and bringing close their sects.
 
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 4: The Guides to Perfection (Part 2)

 The Prophetic Sunnah

There is no doubt that Islam is the perfect religion, Allah the Exalted informed us of its perfection when He said, "This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al-Islam."(1)
 
However, the question remains concerning the accomplisher of such perfection. Did the Quran alone perfect the religion? Alternatively, is there a need to refer to another source?
 
The holy Quran itself answers this question and guides us to the other existent source, which plays a significant role in the perfection of the religion. This is the Noblest Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh). Allah the Exalted said, "And whatsoever the messenger giveth you, take it. And whatsoever he forbiddeth, abstain (from it)."(2) This verse brings together the sayings of Allah’s messenger (pbuh&hh) and the holy Quran under a title that describes them as the material that leads man towards the completion of the religion. Because the Prophet (pbuh&hh) is infallible, his
 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 5, verse 3.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 59, verse 7.
 
 
 
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  actions will mirror his sayings. For example, if he embarks on any act, this act at minimum remains unforbidden. His decision, meaning his silence, concerning an incident in his presence mirrors the same verdict. In other words, an incident happening in his presence remains unforbidden, otherwise, he (pbuh&hh) would have intercepted as an act of forbidding it.

Therefore, the sayings, actions, and decisions of the prophet came under the term "The Prophetic Sunnah."
 
The Prophet (pbuh&hh), the Paradigm
In order to achieve the aim behind the creation of humanity, which leads the human being to happiness, a roadmap is required in order to show the way towards perfection. The Quran and the Prophetic Sunnah represent such roadmap in the sense explained previously. 
 
However, another crucial issue plays a prominent role in order to achieve such aim. It is the position of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh) in being the paradigm for people. 
 
The holy Quran stressed on this issue when Allah the Exalted said, "Verily in the messenger of Allah ye have a good example…"(1) Following his way includes all the merits that he (pbuh&hh) enjoyed such as in being:
·           A servant of Allah the Exalted. The accounts report that a wife of his witnessed his hardworking servitude
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 33, verse 21.
 
 
 
 
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  hence she would ask: O messenger of Allah: why tire yourself when Allah the Exalted forgave thee of thy sin that which is past and that which is to come? He (pbuh&hh) replied, "Lo! Should I not be a thankful servant?"(1) The accounts report as well that Allah the Exalted, due to his hardworking servitude, inspired him with the words, "Ta. Ha. We have not revealed unto thee (Muhammad) this Qur’an that thou shouldst be distressed."(2)

·           A husband and a father. For example, he (pbuh&hh) was reported to have said, "The best of the people concerning faith is the best concerning ethics and the kindest to his family; and I am the kindest of you to my household."(3) Moreover, Anas Bin Malik was quoted as saying, "I never saw anyone who is mostly kind to his children than Allah’s messenger (pbuh&hh)."(4)
 
·           A good neighbor. The accounts reported that He (pbuh&hh) wrote to the Muhajireen (migrants for the cause of Allah), the Ansar (partisans), and anyone attached to them of the citizens of Yathrib (Medina), "That the neighbor is like the soul; neither injury should be inflicted upon him nor harm. The wife of
 

(1)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 95.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 20, verses 1-2.
(3)    IBN Ali, Zeid, Musnad Zeid Bin Ali (The Predicate of Zeid Bin Ali), publishing edition unknown, Beirut, Dar wa Maktabat Al-Hayat (publishing house), publishing date unknown, p. 475.
(4)    AN-NAISABOURI, Muslim, Sahih Muslim, vol. 7, p. 76.
 
 
 
 
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 a neighbor is like one’s own mother."(1) In addition, Imam Ali (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Beware Allah concerning your neighbors; they are the trust of your prophet. He continued commanding me to care for them to the point where I thought he wanted to bequeath them."(2)

·           An elegant amongst the people. Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Allah’s messenger (pbuh&hh) spent more on perfume than on food."(3) Besides, Jabir was quoted as saying, "If the Prophet (pbuh&hh) passes a certain road with another person passing later the same road he will recognize the perfume and that he (pbuh&hh) passed this road earlier."(4) The Prophet (pbuh&hh) would appear handsome in front of his companions and say, "Allah the Exalted desires that should His servant decide to visit his brothers he should be prepared for them appearing with handsomeness."(5)
 
·           Modest concerning his livelihood. The Prophet (pbuh&hh) would serve himself, patch his own cloak, mend his own shoes, sweep his house, carry his merchandize, and eat with the poor while feed
 

(1)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 661.
(2)    Same previous source, vol. 7, p. 51.
(3)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 16, p. 248.
(4)    Same previous source, p. 192.
(5)    Same previous source, p. 249.
 
 
 
 
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 them with his own hand.(1) During a journey with his companions, they started preparing a sheep for food; the story reads, "A man said: messenger of Allah, I will slaughter it. Another said: I will skin it. Another said: I will cook it. And he (pbuh&hh) said: I will collect the firewood. They said: messenger of Allah, we suffice instead of you. He (pbuh&hh) said: I know you suffice instead of me. However, I hate to be distinguished from you; Allah hates his servant to be distinguished among his companions. Hence, he rose and collected the firewood."(2)

·           Steadfast regarding his attitude. It is he (pbuh&hh) who said to his cousin Abu Talib, "O Uncle, I swear in Allah, had they placed the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left in exchange of abandoning this issue I would never have abandoned it until Allah brings it to the surface or I die."(3)
 
·           Lionhearted warrior at the battlefield. Imam Ali (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Whenever the fighting intensifies, we would seek refuge with the Messenger of Allah while none of us is nearest the enemy than he is."(4)
 
 

(1)    Al-QUMMI, Abbas, Kihl -il- Basir fi Sirat Sayyid -il- Bashar (Feasting the Insightful Eyes on the Biography of the Master of Humanity), publishing edition unknown, Qum, Ar-Rasoul Al-Mustafa (publishing house), 1404 AH, p. 74.
(2)    Same previous source, p. 68.
(3)    AL-MO’TAZILI, Ibn Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha (Explaining the peak of eloquence), second edition, reviewed by Muhammad Abul Fadl Ibrahim, Qum, Mo’assasat Isma’elyan (Publishing House), 1387 AH, vol. 14, p. 54.
(4)    Same previous source, vol. 19, p. 116.
 
 
 
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 ·           Kind to his dissenters. In Makkah for example, the infidels stoned him until he bled. His wife Lady Khadijah (RIP) told him: May I shield you with my father and mother. Let the blood feed the ground. He (pbuh&hh) said: "I fear that the Lord of the land might anger with those on it."(1) Moreover, in the city of Taif, the people followed him and caused his bleeding. Yet, he would say: "My Allah, guide my people for they do not know."(2)

·           Lenient with the errant. From his blessed biography, one can read that an Arabian came to him and pulled his cloak harshly leaving a mark on his blessed body. Next, he said: Muhammad, load these two camels of mine with the money of Allah that you carry; you are not carrying your own money or the money of your father. The Prophet (pbuh&hh) stopped and said, "The money is the money of Allah and I am his slave." He added, "Is this conduct of yours O Arabian towards me a usual habit of yours?" He said: no. He (pbuh&hh) asked, "Why?" He said: because you do not repay the bad deed with another bad deed. Consequently, the Prophet (pbuh&hh) laughed and commanded that one camel be loaded with barley and the other with dates.(3)
 

(1)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 18, p. 243.
(2)    Same previous source, vol. 11, p. 298.
(3)    Al-ADI, Ayyadh, Ash-Shifa Bita’rif Huquq Al-Mustafa (Healed by Defining the Rights of the Chosen), publishing edition unknown, Beirut, Dar Al-Fikr (publishing house), 1988, vol. 1, p. 108.
 
 
 
 
 
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 ·           Kind to the animal. Abul Rahman Bin Abdullah was quoted as saying, "We were accompanying the Messenger of Allah on a journey. After the prophet went to relieve nature, we saw a bird with two chicks. We grabbed the two chicks, the bird started flapping, and spreading its wings. Suddenly the Prophet (pbuh&hh) arrived and said, ‘Who caused this one to suffer the loss of its child. Give her child back to her." (1)

Due to the previously explained characteristics of Allah’s messenger (pbuh&hh) plus other merits, Allah the Exalted revealed in his favor His words:
"And lo! Thou art of a tremendous nature."(2)
 
The tradition narrated a beautiful story telling that a Jewish man came to Bilal Al-Habashi asking: Tell me about the nature of your messenger. Therefore, he led him to Lady Fatima (pbuh), whom he asked. She pointed him to the commander of the faithful, Ali Bin Abi Talib (pbuh), who asked the Jewish man first, "Describe to me the comfort of this world so that I can describe his nature to you." The man said: this is difficult for me. At this point, Imam Ali (pbuh) said, "You failed to describe the comfort of
 

(1)    AL-MUTTAQI AL-HINDI, Alaa Ed-Dean, Kanz Al-Ummal (The Treasure of Workers), vol. 16, p. 15.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 68, verse 4.
 
 
 
 
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 this world whereas Allah testified that it is scant as He said, ‘Say (unto them, O Muhammad): The comfort of this world is scant’(1). Therefore, how could I describe to you the nature of the Prophet (pbuh&hh) when Allah the Exalted described it to be tremendous as He said, ‘And lo! Thou art of a tremendous nature’(2)."(3)

The previous words tell us that had Allah the Exalted revealed the Quran in a single volume unassociated with the traditional life of the prophet (pbuh&hh) Islam would never have managed to take great leaps in life. For instance, the people would listen to the prophet (pbuh&hh) as he read the Quran while observed its materialization in the form of a living image in his lifetime.
 
Did the Quran and Prophetic Tradition Complete Islam?
The seventh Imam of the Imams of Ahlul Bayt(4), Al-Kathim (pbuh) answered this question when someone asked him: Does everything exist in the book of Allah and the tradition of His prophet (pbuh&hh) or do you question it? He (pbuh) said, "Rather everything exists in the book of Allah and the tradition of His prophet."(5)
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 4, verse 77.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 68, verse 4.
(3)    AR-RAZI, Fakhr Ed-Dean, Tafsir Ar-Razi (The Exegesis of Ar-Razi), publishing edition unknown, review by As’ad Muhammad At-Tabib, publishing date unknown, Beirut, Dar Al-Fikr (publishing house), vol. 32, p. 21.
(4)    Ahlul Bayt: the members of the household of the Prophet (pbuh&hh).
(5)    AL-MAZANDARANI, Muhammad, Sharh Usul Al-Kafi (Explaining the Principles of the Sufficient), first edition, Beirut, Dar Ehyaa At-Turath Al-Arabi (publishing house), 2000, vol. 2, p. 303.
 
 
 
 
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 Who Guarded the Prophetic Tradition?

We explained previously that Allah the Exalted guaranteed the guarding of the holy Quran saying, "Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and lo! We verily are its Guardian."(1)
 
However, the question remains concerning the guarding of the Noble Prophetic Tradition.
 
This question arises especially that the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh) continued for twenty-three years after his mission. Thirteen years he lived in Makkah in the shade of tremendous pressure and extreme sanctions, which resulted in only four hundred faithful followers who believed in his message.(2) This situation caused the prophet at this stage to deliver merely the principles of the faith with a fraction of the Sharia (laws). For instance, the duty of fasting with its significance was delivered by the Prophet (pbuh&hh) in the holy city of Medina, where he lived about ten years, during which his life was interrupted by invasions and wars that counted seventy-four.(3)
 
These wars added to the cunnings of the hypocrites and Jews at the time created hindrances against informing the details of the Noble Prophetic Tradition to all Muslims. Therefore, based on the previous discussion, we need to address the question regarding the one who guards the Prophetic Tradition.
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 15, verse 9.
(2)    AL-MUTAHHARI, Murtada, Al-Imamah (The Imamate), first edition, translated by Jawad Kassar, Qum, Manshourat Um Al-Qura (Publishing House), 1417 A. H., p. 77.
(3)    Al-HASSANI, Hashim Ma’rouf, Sirat Al-Mustafa (Life of the Chosen), publishing edition unknown, Beirut, Dar At-Ta’aruf (publishing house), 1986, p. 306.
 
 
 
 
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 The ideology of the Shiite Imamate addressed this issue saying that guarding the Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition) has been achieved through the preparation of an exceptional individual who had to grasp the knowledge of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh) and preserve his Noble Sunnah as well as guard the original religion. This person was Imam Ali (pbuh), a worthy individual of receiving the special prophetic teachings. This was the secret behind the non-stop adherence of Imam Ali (pbuh) to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh). Imam Ali (pbuh) would describe it saying, "I would follow him like the young camel that follows the tracks of its mother."(1) This was also the secret behind his words, "If I ask him he would respond and if I withhold ending my questions he would address me first."(2) The accounts confirmed that this special tuition was due to the divine commandment. Abu Na’eem Al-Hafiz Ash-Shafe’ei (430 AH) narrated quoting Allah’s messenger (pbuh&hh) to have said,

"O Ali, Allah commanded that I keep you and teach you in order to understand, with this verse revealing: "…and that remembering ears (that heard the story) might remember."(3) And you are the remembering ears of the knowledge."(4) In this framework, the prophetic guidance
 

 

(1)    IBN ABI TALIB, Imam Ali (PBUH), Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), vol. 2, p. 157.
(2)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 1, p. 64.
(3)    The holy Quran, chapter 69, verse 12.
(4)    AL-ASFAHANI, Abu Na’eem Ahmad Abdullah, Holyat Al-Awliyaa (The Jewelry of the Guardians), first edition, Beirut, Dar Al-Kutub Al-‘Elmiyyah (publishing house), 1409 AH, vol. 1, p. 67. AL-JUWAINI, Fara’ed As-Simtain (The Two Rare Threads), reviewed by Al-Mahmoudi, Beirut, Mo’assasat Ar-Risalah (publishing house), 1409 AH, vol. 13, p. 136. AL-HILLI, Al-Hassan, Kashf Al-Yaqeen (Revealing Certainty), first edition, reviewed by Ali A’l Kawthar, Qum, Majma’ Ehyaa Ath-Thaqafah Al-Islamiyah (publishing house), 1411 A. H., p. 52.
 
 
 
 
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 comes with the Prophet (pbuh&hh) saying, "I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate."(1)

The special guarding of the Sunnah was not limited to Imam Ali (pbuh) alone. Instead, due to the historic circumstances and the needs of the nation, these laws were entrusted to the two Imams Hassan and Hussein (pbut), which explains the words of the Prophet (pbuh&hh), "Hassan and Hussein are both Imams whether they rose (against the unjust) or forbore."(2) The same issue of entrustment applies to the remaining nine Imams, descendants of Imam Hussein (pbuh). In this form, the twelve Imams (holy guardians) added to their leadership over the nation, became the guardians of the Prophetic Sunnah. They coupled with the holy Quran represent the roadmap towards the happiness of humanity. To this issue Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh) pointed saying, "Behold, I am leaving with you the two weights, the book of Allah and my family, my household, to whom if you adhere you will never go astray after my departure. They will never part until they advance towards me by the river basin."(3) 
 

(1)    AT-TARMATHI, Muhammad, Al-Jame’ As-Sahih (The Authentic Volume), Beirut, Dar Ehyaa at-Turath (publishing house), 1983, vol. 5, p. 637. AL-HILLI, Al-Hassan, Kashf Al-Yaqeen (Revealing Certainty), vol. 1, p. 113. AL-MUTTAQI AL-HINDI, Alaa Ed-Dean, Kanz Al-Ummal (The Treasure of Workers), vol. 13, p. 148. AL-QANDOUZI, Suleiman, Yanabei’ Al-Mawadah (The Fountains of Affection towards the Relatives), first edition, reviewed by Sayyid Jamal Ashraf Al-Husseini, Dar Uswah (publishing house), 1416 AH, p. 70.
(2)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 43, p. 291.
(3)    AT-TABARI, Muhammad, Al-Mustarshid (The Guidance Seeker), audited by Ahmad al-Mahmoudi, first edition, Qum, Mo’assasat Ath-Thaqafah al-Islamiyah (publishing house), 1415 AH, p. 560. Refer to the book “Hadith Ath-Thaqalayn (The two weights hadith)” that was printed in Cairo by Dar At-Taqreeb Bainal Mathahib al-Islamiyah, and it collected the attributions of this speech in the books of the Sunnites.
 
 
 
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 Ahlul Bayt (pbut) Role in Converging the Islamic Sects

Being the guardians of the Sunnah, Ahlul Bayt (pbut) endeavored to converge the scholars of the Islamic sects while prevented the widening of the sectarian gap between them.
 
In this context, and in order to seize the scientific opportunity that became available for Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh), he (pbuh) embarked on circulating the sciences of Islam, especially that which relate to the Noble Sunnah. At the same time, he gave the chance to senior scholars in order to nourish from the fountain of his knowledge. Among those who graduated from the religious school of Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was the Imam of the Hanafī Sect, Abu Hanifah An-No’man. He was famed for describing the two years that he spent at Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) by saying, "Lawla As-Sanatan La Halka An-No’man (Had it not been for the two years An-No’man would have perished."(1) He would also say, "I never saw a better jurist than Ja’far Bin Muhammad."(2) Another graduator from the school of Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) is the Imam of the Mālikī Sect, Mālik Bin Anas, who said, "I swear in Allah, my eyes never saw anyone better than Ja’far Bin Muhammad pertaining to asceticism, virtue, worship, and godliness."(3) He added,
 
 

(1)    AT-TOUSI, Muhammad, Al-Khilaf (The Disagreement), second edition, reviewed by: Ali Al-Kharasani, Jawad Ash-Shahrastani and Muhammad Mahdi Najaf, Qum, Mo’assasat An-Nashr Al-Islami (Publishing House), 1420 AH, vol. 1, p. 33.
(2)    ATHAHABI, Muhammad, Tarikh Al-Islam (Islam History), first edition, reviewed by Omar Abdul Salam Tadmuri, Beirut, Dar Al-Kitab Al-Arabi (publishing house), 1407 AH, vol. 9, p. 89.
(3)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad Bin Ali, Al Amali, first edition, reviewed and published by Mo’assasat Al-Ba’thah, Beirut, 1417 AH, p. 636.
 
 
 
 
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  "No eye ever seen, no ear ever heard, and no human mind ever imagined someone better than Ja’far Bin Muhammad pertaining to knowledge, worship and godliness."(1)

The two Imams of the two sects, the Shāfi’ī and the Hanbalī, are the protégé of these two previous Imams. For example, Muhammad Bin Idris Al Shafe’ei studied at the hands of Malik Bin Anas.(2) Besides, there existed other students of Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) such as Sufyan Bin Uyaynah.(3) Ahmad Bin Hanbal, on the other hand, learned at the hands of Al Shāfi’ī.(4) In this array, the Imams of the four sects would have all graduated from the school of Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh).
 
Ahlul Bayt (pbut) Call to the Unite of the Muslims
In addition to the endeavor of Ahlul Bayt (pbut) concerning the scientific convergence of the Islamic sects, they called to Islamic unity, uniting the children of the sects. Therefore, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) would encourage his Shiites saying, 

"I command you with: fearing God, religiousness, piety regarding your religion, struggling for the cause of Allah, speaking the truth, returning the trust to the
 

(1)    AT-TOUSI, Muhammad, Al-Khilaf (The Disagreement), vol. 1, p. 33.
(2)    Ash-Shafe’ei, Muhammad, Ar-Risalah (The Message), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Ahmad Shaker, Beirut, Al-Maktaba Al-‘Elmiyyah (bookshop), publishing date unknown, p. 7.
(3)    Same previous source, p. 3.
(4)    Same previous source, p. 6.
 
 
 
 
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 creditor, the dutiful and the villain, long prostration, and good neighborliness. Muhammad (pbuh&hh) came with these issues. Pray with their clans, attend their funerals, visit their ill, and pay their rights; if the one of you acts with piety regarding his religion and speaks the truth, return the trust and behave to the people, it would be said: this is a Shiite; and this pleases me."(1)

Final Word
The issue that can help a person reach his perfection, consequently his happiness, is in his imitation (following the good example), and in being guided by the perfect human being who is the nearest to Allah the Exalted, the best creature and the master of the children of Adam, Muhammad Bin Abdullah (pbuh&hh). Therefore, let us follow his guidance ideologically and behaviorally as well as follow the ones whom he (pbuh&hh) commanded us to follow their guidance. They are the lanterns of guidance and the arks of salvation.
 

(1)    Al-HARRANI, Tuhaf Al-Uqul ‘An Aal Ar-Rasoul (Great Minds of the Household of the Messenger), second edition, Qum, Mo’assasat An-Nashr Al-Islami (publishing house), 1404 AH, Ps. 487-488.
 
 
 
 
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 LESSON 5: 

Rise for the Sake of the Religion
 
 
– The Revolution of Imam Hussein (pbuh) –
 
Lesson Objectives
1-         The student must understand the role of the Husseini revolution played in preserving the religion and reviving the human values.
 
2-         Must be acquainted with the meaning of the conquest that the revolution of Imam Hussein (pbuh) produced.
 
3-         Must know how to plan the revolution in order to achieve its objectives.
 
4-         Must recognize the methods that Ahlul Bayt (pbut) employed in order to immortalize the revolution of Karbala.
 
 
 
 
 
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 Following the great sacrifice of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh) with the support of his infallible household (pbut) and his noble companions (RIP) for the sake of establishing the religion and justice, a historic carnage took place in 61 A.H. It was the time when the grandson of Allah’s messenger (pbuh&hh), Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh), the son of Ali (pbuh), rose in Karbala, sacrificing himself and most of those whom he accompanied of his household and companions. The bloodiest scenes took place mirroring all that contradicts with humanity. After the carnage, his women were taken into captivity, including the granddaughter of the noblest messenger (pbuh&hh), the daughter of the sons of Hashim, Zeinab the daughter of Ali (pbuh&hh).

The eye-catching issue in this revolution was in the fact that its leader did not define military victory as its aim. Instead, he raised slogans pertaining to the guarding or preservation of the religion and human values. The revolution managed to accomplish these issues despite the fact that the military weight in this battle was in favor of the Umayyad ruling regime. Moreover, the sacrifices of Imam Hussein (pbuh) and his companions managed to shake the pillars of the Umayyad reign when consecutive revolutions took place later leading to its extinction. In addition,
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 these sacrifices managed to immortalize the revolution as a method of life from which people, regardless of their origins, managed to extract the best merits and values.

The Universality of the Revolution
Christian writer Antoine Bara said, "No human epic in both histories, ancient and modern, such as the epic of martyrdom in Karbala was capable of gaining admiration, learning and compassion. It reached the level of the greater conscientious incidence of the Islamic nation… If it were not for it, Islam would have become a gray sect that lurks inside the outer zone of the heads without any established dogma with profoundness and a faith that lives within the conscience of each Muslim. It was a quake, and what a quake. It shook the pillars of the nation from one extremity to the other, opening the eyes and wakening the consciences."(1) 
 
 
Next, he described the revolution as, "The first of its kind because it paved the road for a revolting spirit and spiritual revolution that summed the hearts of Muslims, reminding them in their sleep as in their wakefulness of the meaning of dignity… Lonely because it engrossed the consciences of the Muslims for leaving behind great dogmatic effects… Immortal because it is humane firstly and lastly, emanating from the human being and returning to him crowned with laurel and painted with
 

 (1)    BARA, Antoine, Al-Hussein fi-l- Fikr Al-Maseehi (Al-Hussein in the Christian Ideology), second edition, Kuwait, published by the author, 1980, p. 60.
 
 
 
 
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 the sacred blood."(1)

Great scholars and leaders of the world recorded words expressing their influence by the rise of Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh).
 
Gandhi, an Indian Hindu liberator, said, "I learnt from Hussein how to be wronged in order to triumph."(2)
 
A Christian priest once said, "Had Hussein been ours, we would have lifted in each country a flag of his, raised in each village a rostrum of his, and invited all nations to Christianity in the name of Hussein."(3)
 
Professor Omar Abu Al-Nasr said concerning the epic of Ashura, "This is the story of a family of Quraish… It carried the flag of sacrifice, martyrdom and heroism from the east of the globe to its west… A story with charters written by young people, who did not live like the rest of the people or die like the rest of the people because Allah honored this group by placing prophecy, revelation and inspiration inside their homes and more. Therefore, He did not wish that they be granted the luck of the ordinary person of his slaves. Instead, he wanted them… To be regarded as high examples… Moreover, they were ordained to lead the brigade of piety and righteousness to the last of their descendants."(4)
 

(1)    Same previous source, Ps. 60-61.
(2)    Al-BAYANI, Ja’far, Al-Akhlaq Al-Husseiniyya (The Husseini Morals), first edition, Qum, Anwar Al-Huda (publishing house), 1418 AH, p. 336.
(3)    BARA, Antoine, Al-Hussein fi-l- Fikr Al-Maseehi (Al-Hussein in the Christian Ideology), p. 72.
(4)    Al-BAYANI, Ja’far, Al-Akhlaq Al-Husseiniyya (The Husseini Morals), p. 328.
 
 
 
 
 
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 Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Aal Kashif Al-Ghataa said, "If it were not for the rise of Hussein (pbuh) and his companions (RIP) on the day of the battle, no pillar of Islam would have risen or a branch would have become green."(1)

The Secret of the Revolution
Perhaps, the best way to shed light on the reasons behind the Husseini revolution can be found in the statements of its leader (pbuh). The underlined statements can be counted as:
 
1- Guarding the Religion
In a number of his letters, Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) explained the main reason for his revolution, which was guarding the religion, especially the Prophetic Tradition (Sunnah). He (pbuh) wrote to a number of the chiefs of Kufa, "I simply invite you to the book of Allah and the Sunnah of His prophet. The Sunnah (tradition) has been suppressed whereas Bid’ah (innovation) has been revived."(2)
 
Innovation means adding something to the religion while in fact it does not belong to the religion. Suppressing the Sunnah while reviving innovation mirror a serious issue once it is put into practice. However, the issue that was more
 

(1)    Al-SUBHANI, Ja’far, Al-Aemmah Al-Ethna ‘Ashar (The Twelve Imams), publishing edition unknown, publishing place unknown, publisher unknown, publishing date unknown, p. 88.
(2)    AL-AMEEN, Mohsen, A’yan ash-Shi’a (Lords of Shi’a), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Hassan Al-Ameen, Beirut, Dar At-Ta’aruf (Publishing House), publishing date unknown, vol. 1, p. 590.
 
 
 
 
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 serious existed in the changing of the concepts and laws. In his speech to the army of Al-Horr Bin Yazid Al-Riyahi that surrounded him and forced him to go to Karbala, Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) confirmed this issue as being the reason for his revolution. There, he (pbuh) said to them, "Lo! These people dedicated their obedience to the wicked whereas abandoned submission to the Merciful… They made the lawful of Allah unlawful and His unlawful lawful."(1)

2- Removing Oppression and Establishing Justice
In his previous speech, Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) explained another reason for his revolution, the oppression of the rulers of the Umayyads plus their withdrawal from social justice. He (pbuh) said, "Anyone who encounters an unjust ruler, a maker of the unlawful of Allah lawful, a breaker of the promise of Allah, a violator of the Sunnah of the messenger of Allah (pbuh&hh), a spreader of wrongdoings and oppression amongst the slaves of Allah, with no one opposing him through deeds or words, at this point, Allah has to right to tie them to the same destiny. Lo! These people dedicated their obedience to the wicked whereas abandoned submission to the Merciful, and they spread corruption, violated the taboos, and monopolized the gains."(2)
 
History recorded several examples during which those kinds of rulers demonstrated their corruption and tyranny 
 

(1)    AL-AZDI, Lot, Maqtal Al-Hussein (The Slaying of Hussein), second edition, Qum, Hassan Ghafari (publisher), 1364 SH, p. 85.
(2)    Same previous source.
 
 
 
 
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 against people using death threat, killing, burning houses, plundering capitals. In Makkah and Medina they killed thirty thousand people let alone others burnt by fire.(1) On the other hand, the citizens of Kufa were murdered and buried beneath each stone and soil. Their extremities were separated, eyes blinded, crucified on palm trees, with a large number expelled from Iraq.(2) Some historians mentioned that fifty thousands have been displaced from Kufa.(3)

3- Restoring Human Values
Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) addressed the army that he fought with words denoting that it (the army) did not solely lose its religion. Rather, it lost the human values, which emanate from the humanity of the human being. He (pbuh) said to them, "If you have no religion, at least be free in your world."(4) Perhaps, the most prominent demonstrations of the loss of humanity was the perpetrations of that army in Karbala. It slew the suckling child whose father Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) brought asking them to provide it with some water. Instead, they stroke it with an arrow that hit its jugular vein."(5)
 

(1)    SHAMS ED-DEAN, Muhammad Mahdi, book’s Arabic title translates “Al-Hussein’s Revolution and its Social Circumstances and Human Effects,” fifth edition, Beirut, Dar At-Ta’aruf (publishing house), publishing date unknown, Ps. 68-70.
(2)    Same previous source.
(3)    Same previous source, p. 74.
(4)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 45, p. 51.
(5)    AL-AZDI, Lot, Maqtal Al-Hussein (The Slaying of Hussein), p. 173.
 
 
 
 
 
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 Muslim Community on the Eve of Revolution

The policy of the Umayyad regime that ruled for twenty years before the revolution led to the division of the Muslim community into two sects:
1-         One sect was affected by the policy of religious misleading resulting in the tarnation of its concepts and values.
 
2-         The other sect was not affected and its concepts and values did not change. Therefore, terrorization, killing, displacement and forced separation have been inflicted upon it. Consequently, it became a defeated community concerning its morale. There are several examples that clearly depict the psychological defeat of this community. For example, four thousand revolting soldiers were defeated by an army of no more than thirty soldiers stationed inside the surrounded castle of the emirate in Kufa. This issue resulted in the withdrawal of the thousands of frightened soldiers.(1)
 
The other example on the state of the deterioration in the morale of the community were the words of those whom Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) met of his adorers. It happened at the time when he was determined to leave to Kufa or during his journey to Kufa. For instance, Omar Bin Lothan would tell the Imam (pbuh), "I beseech you in the name of Allah, O son of the messenger of Allah, if you go you
 
 

(1)    Same previous source.
 
 
 
 
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 will encounter nothing but spears and swords’ edges."(1) Moreover, Al-Farazdaq describes to Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) the situation of the citizens of Kufa saying, "Their hearts support you but their swords are against you."(2)

The Husseini Conquest
Briefly, the community that Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) coexisted with before his revolution consisted of misled and frightened sections of the community. This happened at the time when Islam became a target of the most powerful cultural war that targeted its original context without any action by anyone.
 
The minds were shut by delusion and hearts were locked by fear. Therefore, Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) wanted to shake such community by the blood of the greater martyrdom that could open the minds and hearts again. This exactly what he meant in his letter to the sons of Hashim, which reads, "…Anyone who follows me will be martyred with me, and whosoever stays behind will not achieve conquest."(3) Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) was not aiming for a military victory. Instead, his aim was to open the minds and hearts of the nation. Without it, no trace of Islam would have survived.
 
 

(1)    AL-MUQARRAM, Abdul Razzaq, second edition, Maqtal Al-Hussein (The Slaying of Hussein), Qum Dar Ath-Thaqafa (publishing house), 1411 AH, p. 210.
(2)    Same previous source, p. 174.
(3)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 42, p. 81.
 
 
 
 
 
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 Planning the Revolution

1. Complete Transparency
Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) did not promise any mundane gains to whomever he invited to support his revolution. Instead, he was clear right from the beginning that his revolution requires sacrifice and the offerings of lives. Therefore, the night before his departure from Makkah to Iraq and prior to the fall of Kufa, he addressed the people saying, "Lo! Anyone willing to sacrifice his blood with us, preparing himself to meet Allah, he can leave with us. I am leaving at the first light of morning God willing."(1)
 
Based on this transparency and after Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) knew of the fall of Kufa on his way to Iraq, he addressed the people informing them of the news. He said to them, "Anyone who wishes to leave he can leave without embarrassment or debt."(2)
 
With such transparency, Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) wished to keep merely the loyal ones with the will to sacrifice and give everything for the sake of the religion and human values.
 
2. Diversity of Companions
The companions of Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) counted seventy-two men in Karbala, said a number of historians.(3)
 

(1)    Same previous source, vol. 44, p. 367.
(2)    At-TABARI, Muhammad, Tarikh Al-Muluk wal Umam (The History of Kings and Nations), publishing edition unknown, Cairo, Al-Maktaba At-Tijariyya Al-Kubra (Bookshop), 1939, vol. 4, p. 300.
(3)    SHAMS ED-DEAN, Muhammad Mahdi, Ansar Al-Hussein (The Partisans of Hussein), second edition, Beirut, Ad-Dar Al-Islamiyah (publishing house), 1981, p. 44.
 
 
 
 
 
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  Most of them were young. Besides, there were old men with others whose ages varied, fifties to sixties. There were also children whose ages were more than ten years, or less than ten years.(1) Companions of the messenger of Allah (pbuh&hh) were amongst them such as Anas Bin Al-Harith, Muslim Bin Awsajah, and scholars and reciters of the Quran such as Burair Bin Fudail, plus leaders of security and military apparatuses such as Al-Horr Bin Yazid Ar-Riyahi who was a military commander. There were also Hallas Bin Omar Ar-Rasibi, a former police chief plus chiefs of tribes like Habib Bin Muthahir as well as high ranking social characters like Nafei’ Bin Hilal. John the servant was also attendant.

The companions varied concerning their national and demographic affiliation. Some were Turks such as Aslam whom Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) embraced before his death, which caused him to say, "Who resembles me while the son of the messenger of Allah places his cheek on my cheek?"(2) Others were from Hejaz, Basra, Kufa, Yemen, and Adnanians (Arabs of the North).
 
Companions varied also in color, white and black such as John about whom Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) said while he was dying, "My Allah, whiten his face, sweeten his odor, gather him with the righteous ones, and let him
 
 

(1)    AL-MUQARRAM, Abdul Razzaq, second edition, Maqtal Al-Hussein (The Slaying of Hussein), p. 235. SHAMS ED-DEAN, Muhammad Mahdi, Ansar Al-Hussein (The Partisans of Hussein), p. 98.
(2)    AL-MUQARRAM, Abdul Razzaq, second edition, Maqtal Al-Hussein (The Slaying of Hussein), p. 249.
 
 
 
 
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 be acquainted with the household of Muhammad (pbuh&hh)."(1)

Before the tenth of the month of Muharram, among his companions was a non-Muslim, Wahab Bin Abdullah, who was a Christian.(2) 
 
These people were distinguished by their high values and qualities, which were described by one of the leaders of the army of Omar Bin Sa’d while addressing his companions, "Damn you fools. Do you know whom you are fighting? You are fighting the knights of the countries, the visionary and death-defying people."(3)
 
History recorded the most magnificent example of the servitude of these companions to Allah the night before the tenth of Muharram. "Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) and his companions spent that night sounding like the bees, kneeling, prostrating, rising and sitting."(177)
 
Such variety and characteristics mirrored the great effect on the circulation of the values of the revolution and the achievement of its aims.
 
3. Companionship of the Women
Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) had a clear aim when he insisted on accompanying the women with him to Karbala.
 
 

(1)    AL-AMEEN, Mohsen, A‘yan ash-Shi‘a (Lords of Shi‘a), vol. 3, p. 303.
(2)    SHAMS ED-DEAN, Muhammad Mahdi, Ansar Al-Hussein (The Partisans of Hussein), p. 111.
(3)    Same previous source, p. 186.
(4)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 44, p. 392.
 
 
 
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 He described this issue saying, "Allah willed that He sees me killed and that He sees the women captured."(1) Why? The women played a prominent role in delivering the values and aims of the revolution to the people afterwards. This issue can be clearly seen in the speeches and words of Lady Zeinab (pbuh) and Fatimah the daughter of Hussein (pbuh) plus others in Kufa, the Levant and Medina. This mirrored great influence upon the nation, causing it to wake up from its hibernation.

The Immortalization of the Revolution
Ahlul Bayt (pbut) worked on circulating the values and aims of the revolution in different ages and stages such as:
1-         Circulating awareness regarding these values and aims.
 
2-         Moving the sentimental feelings that could cause the heart react with the mind in order to celebrate these values; at this point, encouraging people to cry in order to achieve this issue. For example, Imam Ali Bin Moussa, Ar-Ridha (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "For someone like Hussein, let the wailers wail; crying him removes the greater sins."(2)
 
3-         Encourage the celebration of the Husseini rituals, making them beam inside the minds and hearts in order to move the human being to rejuvenate the
 

(1)    AL-MAZANDARANI, Fadil, Sharh Ziyarat Ashura (Explaining the Visitation of Ashura), first edition, reviewed by Hassan Al-Musawi Ad-Drazi, Qum, Dar As-Saddiqa Ash-Shahida (publishing house), 1433 AH, p. 9.
(2)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 44, p. 284.
 
 
 
 
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 values of the revolution and the establishment of its aims. At this point, people were encouraged to visit the tomb of Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh), recite Hussein-related poems, and wear black as an expression of reacting with this revolution.

Final Word
The battle of Ashura is a school that calls us to lift tyranny, endeavor the achievement of social justice, and sacrifice the precious for the sake of religion and human values with an aim to lead humanity to its happiness.
 
 
 
 
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 LESSON 6: 

The Perfection of Humanity
– The Nation of Al-Mahdi (may Allah expedite his advent) –
 
 
Lesson Objectives
1-         The student must understand that the faith of the savior of humanity in the end of times exists in several texts of the previous religions.
 
2-         Must learn that one’s faith in the advent of Al-Mahdi is axiomatic pertaining to all the Islamic sects.
 
3-         Must be acquainted with the features of the modern development in the age of Al-Mahdi.
 
4-         Must recognize the meaning of laying the foundations for the state of Al-Mahdi plus the characteristics of the founding people for his advent.
 
 
 
 
 
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 One’s belief that Allah the Exalted created the human being for the purpose of perfection that leads to happiness draws a question concerning this aim. Does this issue refer only to the perfection of the human individual? Alternatively, does the wisdom of Allah the Exalted necessitate that the aim behind the creation of man be in the integration of the human community in the form that ends with a path where this community should witness a complete scene through which the happiness of all humanity will be accomplished? It is obvious – based on the observation of the present situations of the human communities and their history – that tyranny and corruption are spreading. Therefore, will this issue remain in this form until the end of the world? Alternatively, does the wisdom of Allah the Exalted necessitate that He concludes the future of all humanity in the form that will accomplish the happiness of all people by spreading justice and virtuous values, long longed for by the free people of the world?

Answer: Religions agree that the happy conclusion of the world will occur at the hands of a divine leader, who will lead it and spread justice and values. This leader is describe as the savior or the promised savior.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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The Savior in the Past Religions
The concept of the word savior circulated in the past religions. We will present some examples.
 
1- The Savior in Judaism
The Genesis reports, "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his."(1)
 
Its interpretation reads, "The words refer to the arrival of a person who is surrounded by secrets and obeyed by nations. Prophecy awaits an ideal messiah king."(2)
 
2- The Savior in Christianity
The bible of Matta reads, "As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. Tell us, they said, when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age? Jesus answered, ‘... Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations...’"(3)
 

(1)    Genesis 49:10. The Old Testament, fourth Arabic edition, Beirut, Al-Maktaba Ash-Sharqiyya (bookshop), 1997, p. 145.
(2)    Same previous Arabic source.
(3)    Mathew 24:1. Same previous Arabic source, Ps. 102-103.
 
 
 
 
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 3- The Savior in Hinduism

The Hindus divided the world into four ages. They mentioned that the world will be overwhelmed in the fourth age by tyranny and darkness, and the tyrants will gain power over the lives and capitals of people. At the end of this age, "A descent of the divine into the material realm emerges in the Avatar’s self-same form. The Garuda Purana lists ten avatars, with Kalki being the tenth [and last]. Popular images depict him riding a white horse with wings, known as ‘Devadatta’ or God given. In these images, Kalki is brandishing a brilliant sword in his left hand, eradicating the decadence of Kali Yuga. Lord Kalki will remove the darkness of Kali Yuga and establish a new Yuga (age) called Satya Yuga (Age of Truth) on the earth. He will overcome all the opposing forces."(1)
 
 
4- The Savior in Buddhism
The concept of the promised savior came in the teachings of Buddhism under the title Maitreya. To them, he is the fifth and last Buddha on the surface of this earth. He did not emerge yet, but will emerge later for the sake of the salvation of all.(2)
 

(1)    Vishnu Purana, Book Four, Chapter 24. Also refer to the Arabic source: ATTAR, Ali Muwahidyan, Nathariyat Al-Mahdawiya Fi Addiyanat (The Theory of the Savior in the Religions), translated by Muhammad Al-Razzaq, part of curriculum 15, first edition, Beirut, Ghadir Center, 2009, Ps. 54-55, quoted from: The bider encyclopedia of eastern philosophy and religion. Bider books, also published by Shamphala, Kalki in.
(2)    Same previous source, p. 56K quoted from Hans and Lufkank, Shuman, Abin Buddha, translated by Bashabi, P. 121.
 
 
 
 
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 5- The Savior in the Belief of the Ancient Greeks

The concepts of the ancient Greeks recounted discussions concerning security and peace following the outbreak of several wars. They brought glad tidings concerning a universal state, led by a man who will emerge in order to rule humanity in its entirety. The Greek messengers, from 165 BC until 168 BC, prophesied a government of holy princes, destined to rule the whole world. They gave glad tidings regarding the advent of a king in the east, who will fill the earth with security and peace.(1)
 
6- The Savior in Islam
The holy Quran spoke of the inevitability of perfecting the divine light and the emergence of the religion (of Truth) that will prevail over all religion. Allah the Exalted said, "Fain would they put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah disdaineth (aught) save that He shall perfect His light, however much the disbelievers are averse."(2) Moreover, the Quran confirmed that the destiny of the earth is in its inheritance by the righteous servants plus their guardianship and Imamate on it. Allah the Exalted said:
 
1.         "And verily we have written in the Scripture, after the Reminder: My righteous slaves will inherit the earth."(187)
 

(1)    Same previous source, Ps. 68-69, quoted from (A dictionary of Hinduism, Margaret and James Stutly: Kalki in.)
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 9, verse 32.
(3)    The holy Quran, chapter 21, verse 105.
 
 
 
 
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 2.         "Allah hath promised such of you as believe and do good work that He will surely make them to succeed (the present rulers) in the earth even as He caused those who were before them to succeed (others); and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He hath approved for them, and will give them in exchange safety after their fear. They serve Me. They ascribe no thing as partner unto Me."(1)

3.         "And We desired to show favour unto those who were oppressed in the earth, and to make them examples and to make them the inheritors. And to establish them in the earth..."(2)
 
The Prophetic Tradition by all Muslims with all their sects stressed on this general concept, introduced by the previous verses, explaining the occurrence of such divine promise by the appearance of a reformer individual who will deliver the promise of Allah the Exalted as well as fill the earth with justice after it has been filled with tyranny. They named him "Al-Mahdi."
 
The scholars of the Sunnite community recounted hundreds of stories concerning the advent of Al-Mahdi at the end of times. One recounted by Ahmad Bin Hanbal in his predicate quoting Abu Saeed Al-Khidri, "The hour does not rise until the earth fills with injustice and wrongdoing. Next, a man of my progeny, or my household, emerges to fill it with equity and justice as it has been filled with 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 24, verse 55.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 28, verse 5-6.
 
 
 
 
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 injustice and wrongdoing."(1) In addition, the collection of the Prophetic Tradition (Sunan Abi Dawood) quotes Saeed Bin Al-Masib to have quoted Umm Salamah saying: I heard the messenger of Allah saying, "Al-Mahdi derives from my progeny, from the children of Fatimah."(2)

In addition, the scholars of the Shiite community recounted hundreds of stories concerning this issue. One story recounted by As-Saddouq quoting Imam Ali (pbuh) to have said that the messenger of Allah said: "The Imams after me are twelve. Their first is you O Ali, and their last is the one who rises and with his hands Allah the Exalted will open the easts and the wests of the earth."(3)
 
The stories confirmed that Imam Al-Mahdi (May Allah hasten his advent) will appear after a long period of occultation. For example, Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "The messenger of Allah said: Al-Mahdi, a descendent of mine, will have an occultation and a puzzle in which nations will be lost; he brings the treasure of the prophets (pbut), and fills it (the earth) with justice and equity as it was filled with wrongdoing and injustice."(4)
 
 

(1)    IBN HANBAL, Ahmad, Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal (The Predicate of Ahmad Bin Hanbal), publishing edition unknown, Beirut, Dar Sadir (publishing house), publishing date unknown, vol. 3, p. 36.
(2)    AS-SIJISTANI, Suleiman, Sunan Ibn Abi Dawood (Ibn Abi Dawood Collection of the Prophetic Tradition), reviewed by Saeed Muhammad Al-Laham, first edition, Beirut, Dar Al-Fikr (publishing house), 1410, vol. 2, p. 310.
(3)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, Kamal Ad-Dean wa Tamam An-Ne’mah (Perfection of Religion and Completion of Grace), reviewed by Ali Akbar Al-Ghafari, Publishing edition unknown, Qum, Mo’assasat An-Nashr Al-Islami (publishing house), 1405 AH, p. 282.
(4)    Same previous source, vol. 1, p. 287. AL-QANDOUZI, Suleiman, Yanabei’ Al-Mawadah Li Thawi Al-Qurbah (The Fountains of Loving Kindness among Kinsfolk), vol. 3, p. 396.
 
 
 
 
 
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 The Age of Al-Mahdi, Milestones of Civilized Development

The Islamic tradition is enriched with reports recounting several topics concerning the modern development with which the world human communities will enjoy in the age of Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent). Here we present a number of these topics.
 
1- Social Justice
Previously, the Prophetic Tradition (Sunnah) stressed on the fact that Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent) shall fill the earth with equity and justice after it has been filled with tyranny and wrongdoing.(1)
 
In addition, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "…Who will purify the earth from all tyranny and wrongdoing."(2) Moreover, Imam ar-Ridha (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "….And he sets the standards of justice among the people. Therefore, no one will wrong anyone."(3)
 
2- Economic Welfare 
The Prophetic Tradition indicated that Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent) will equally distribute the
 
 

(1)    IBN HANBAL, Ahmad, Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal (The Predicate of Ahmad Bin Hanbal), vol. 3, p. 36. AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, Kamal Ad-Dean wa Tamam An-Ne’mah (Perfection of Religion and Completion of Grace), p. 287.
(2)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, Kamal Ad-Dean wa Tamam An-Ne’mah (Perfection of Religion and Completion of Grace), P. 336
(3)    Al-KHAZZAZ, Ali, Kifayat Al-Athar (Evidence Suffices), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Abdul Latif Al-Khoei, Qum, Bidar (publishing house), 1401 AH, P. 275.
 
 
 
 
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 fortunes of the world. For example, Abu Saeed Al-Khidri was quoted quoting the Prophet (pbuh&hh) to have said, "I give you good tidings of Al-Mahdi. He will be sent while my nation disagrees with the people coupled with quakes; and he will fill the earth with equity and justice as it has been filled with tyranny and wrongdoing. The residents of the skies will be pleased with him, as will be the residents of the earth. He divides the money truly. A man asks: What does truly mean? He (pbuh&hh) says: equally among the people."(1) Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) describes the situation of the societies at the time of Al-Mahdi saying, "…And the man of you seeks someone who could tax his money and take from his charity, but none is to be found who could accept it from him. The people are satisfied with what Allah had provided them of his generosity."(2)

Sheikh Al-Mufid reported Ali Bin Uqbah quoting his father to have said, "The man of you at then will find no place for his charity or generosity; richness overwhelmed all the believers."(3)
 
3- General Security 
One of the particularities of the universal government of 
 
 

(1)    IBN HANBAL, Ahmad, Musnad Ahmad Bin Hanbal (The Predicate of Ahmad Bin Hanbal), vol. 3, p. 37. IBNN TAWOUS, Ali, At-Tashrif Bil Minan Fi At-Ta’feef Bil Fitan [Al-Malahim Wal Fitan], first edition, Asfahan, Sahib Al-Amr foundation, 1416 AH, P. 323.
(2)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 52, p. 337.
(3)    AL-MUFID, Muhammad, Al-Ershad (The Guidance), second edition, reviewed by Mo’assasat A’l Al-Bayt, Beirut, Dar Al-Mufid (publishing house), 1993, vol. 2, p. 384.
 
 
 
 
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 Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent), as indicated by the Prophetic Tradition, is the security that overwhelms the world in its entirety. At the beginning of the previous story of Sheikh Al-Mufid, one can read, "If Al-Qaem(1) rises he will rule with justice, lift oppression, and with him all ways will be secure."(2) Moreover, Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "…Even the old and weak woman departs the east aiming for the west with no one obstructing her."(3)

4- Scientific Development 
At the time of Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent) scientific development will reach a high stage. Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) described it saying, "Science is formed of twenty seven parts… People discovered until today only two parts. If Al-Qaem(4) rises he will uncover the remaining twenty five parts, circulating them among the people."(5)
 
5- Inclination towards Religiousness 
One of the most important aspects of progression at the time of Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent) is in peoples’ inclination towards religiousness. Imam Ali (pbuh)
 

(1)    Al-Qaem: an Arabic term which mean: the one sent to rise.
(2)    Same previous source.
(3)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 52, p. 345. Al-AYYASHI, Muhammad, Tafsir Al-Ayyashi (The Exegesis of Al-Ayyashi), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Hahim Ar-Rasouli Al-Mahallani, Tehran, Al-Maktaba Al-Elmiyyah (bookshop), publishing date unknown, vol. 2, p. 61.
(4)    Al-Qaem: an Arabic term which means: the one sent to rise.
(5)    AR-RAWANDI, Qutub Ed-Deen, Al-Kharaej Wal Jaraeh, first edition, reviewed by Imam Al-Mahdi foundation, Qum, 1409 AH, vol. 2, p. 841.
 
 
 
 
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 was quoted as saying, "…And the people embark upon worship, religious law, religion, and praying in groups."(1)

Paving for the Reign of the Universal Justice
Shiite Muslims believe that Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent) is the twelfth Imam, the son of Al-Imam Al-Hassan Al-Askari (pbuh), and that he vanished in his smaller occultation that lasted almost seventy years, during which he communicated with the people via four consecutive legates.
 
Later, he vanished to spend his greater occultation that continued until our present time. One of the reasons behind this greater occultation is in the necessity of preparing the community which qualifies to bear the flag of the world change under his reign, and upon such community Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent) will depend regarding his greater revolution.
 
Based on this logic, the Shiite concept addressed the issue of laying the foundation and preparation for the advent of Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent) under the term, "The Anticipation." It does not mean that we linger and avoid working until the emergence of the Imam (pbuh). Instead, the aim is in the positive anticipation, in the sense of preparing the conditions and the environment willing for world change. Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Whosoever wishes to be one of the companions of Al
 

(1)    AL-QURASHI, Baqir, Hayat Al-Imam Al-Mahdi (The life of Imam Al-Mahdi), publishing edition unknown, Amir (publishing house), 1417 AH, P. 292.
 
 
 
 
 
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 -Qaem, let him wait (in anticipation)."(1) In this sense, the words of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hh) have been explained, "The best deeds of my nation is in anticipating relief."(2) Another Prophetic Tradition reads, "Waiting relief is a worship."(3)

The Preparers of the State of the Divine Justice
The Characteristics of the Preparers
The people who must pave the road for the universal state of Imam Al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his advent) must enjoy certain characteristics such as:
1-         Faith and Loyalty. Imam Muhammad Al-Jawad (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "His advent is anticipated by the loyalists."(4) It is they who wish to pave the road in order to exalt the word of Allah the Exalted on earth.
 
2-         Strength and Courage. Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "He appears not save among people of strength."(5)
 

(1)    AT-TABARSI, Hussein, An-Najm Ath-Thaqib (The Piercing Star), first edition, Qum, Anwar Al-Huda (publishing house), 1415 AH, vol. 2, p. 445.
(2)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, Kamal Ad-Dean wa Tamam An-Ne’mah (Perfection of Religion and Completion of Grace), P. 644. AT-TABARSI, Al-Mirza Hussein Al-Nouri, Khatimat Al-Mustadrak (The Conclusion of the Supplement), first edition, Qum, Mo’assasat A’l Albayt (Publishing House), 1416 AH, vol. 3, p. 277.
(3)    AL-MUTTAQI AL-HINDI, Alaa Ed-Dean, Kanz Al-Ummal (The Treasure of Workers), vol. 3, p. 272.
(4)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, Kamal Ad-Dean wa Tamam An-Ne’mah (Perfection of Religion and Completion of Grace), P. 378.
(5)    Same previous source, p. 654.
 
 
 
 
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 3-         Insight and Awareness. Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh) described the group that survives following affliction and riddle as, "Untouched by the sedition."(1) They enjoy insight and awareness that shield them; hence, they do not deviate from righteousness.

4-         The Universal Vision. A person who works for the sake of a just government that will rule the world cannot have a limited vision. Instead, he must look forward to the salvation of all humanity with all its different kinds, races, homelands, and religions.
 
 
Final Word
Believing in the necessity of paving the road to the universal state of justice encourages us to create a community of justice. It begins with the individual justice. Imam Ali (pbuh) indicated this issue saying, "May Allah have mercy upon a servant… Who committed himself to justice; hence, his first act of justice was in protecting himself from lust."(2) The continuity is in demonstrating justice towards others, family and community. This way, we can design the pattern that should work as a paradigm and as a facilitator for the greater state of justice.
 

(1)    AN-NO’MANI, Ibn Ibi Zeinab, Al-Ghaibah (The Occultation), first edition, reviewed by Faris Hassoun Karim, Qum, Anwar Al-Huda (publishing house), 1422 AH, p. 218.
(2)    IBN ABI TALIB, Imam Ali (PBUH), Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), vol. 1, p. 153.
 
 
 
 
 
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 LESSON 7: 

The Return to Allah
– Repentance –
 
 
Lesson Objectives
1-         The student must be acquainted with the consequences of his committed sins.
 
2-         Must recognize the way to salvation from the aftermath of his sins.
 
3-         Must learn a program designed for a behavior that leads him to salvation and the restoration of his inner purity.
 
 
 
 
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 The White (Pure) Heart

A human is born with a heart as white as a white paper of sheet, pure and clear. However, he may defile it because of the sins and wickedness. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) warned us about this issue saying, "If a servant sins a black dot appears in his heart."(1) Moreover, Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "No servant exists unless a white spot exists in his heart. On committing a sin, a black dot appears in that spot. On repenting, the blackness vanishes. If he continues sinning the blackness increases until it covers the whiteness. Once the whiteness is covered its owner will never return to goodness. This matches the words of Allah the Exalted, ‘Nay, but that which they have earned is rust upon their hearts’(2)."(3)
 
The consequences of the Sins
Sins lead to negative results. The tradition counts them such as:
 

(1)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 271.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 83, verse 14.
(3)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 273.
 
 
 
 
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 1-         Cruelty of the heart. Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Tears dry simply because of the cruelty of the hearts; and hearts become cruel simply because of the increasing sins."(1)

2-         The vanishing graces. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "A servant sins causing his denial of provision that was eased for him."(2) Moreover, Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "…No grace or comfort of life vanishes but by the sins committed. Allah is not at all a tyrant to His slaves."(3)
 
3-         The divine retribution. Allah the Exalted said, "And whoso doeth good an atom’s weight will see it then. And whoso doeth ill an atom’s weight will see it then."(4)
 
Pondering the Beginning of the Return
The beginning that saves us from wickedness is in contemplation that warns the heart and takes it back to its pure nature, the initial creation of Allah the Exalted. Imam Ali (pbuh) encouraged this issue when he said, "Warn your heart through contemplation."(5) Moreover, the Noble 
 

(1)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, ‘Elal Ash-Sharae’ (Reasons behind Laws), printing edition unknown, reviewed by Muhammad Sadiq Bahr Al-Ulum, holy Najaf, Manshourat Al-Maktaba Al-Haidariyah (publishing house), 1966, vol. 1, p. 81.
(2)    Same previous source, p. 337.
(3)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, al-Khisal (The Qualities), p. 624.
(4)    The holy Quran, chapter 99, verses 7-8.
(5)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 54.
 
 
 
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 Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "One hour of contemplation is better than one year of worship."(1)

Of the issues that one must think about in contemplation are the divine graces bestowed upon us by Allah the Exalted out of his generosity. How do we treat the generosity of Allah the Exalted knowing that He is the All Seeing, All Knowing, and Omnipotent? Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) guided us concerning this issue when a sinner asked him about the issues that he should avoid in order to save himself from sins. He (pbuh) said to him: "If you accept five qualities from me and you managed them no sin can harm you…"
 
The Man said: At last, relief.
Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) said: "If you wish to disobey Allah the Exalted do not consume his provision."
 
The man said: How? Where can I find food when all that is on land belongs to Him?
 
Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) said: "Lo! Is it kind on your part when you eat His provision while disobeys Him?"
 
The man said: No harm. Tell me the second issue. Perhaps it will be my solution and relief.
 
Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) said: "If you wish to disobey Him, do not reside in His counties."
 
The man said: Praise Allah! This one is harder than the
 

(1)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 68, p. 326.
 
 
 
 
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 other one. Where can I reside when to Him belongs the East and the West and all that is between them?

Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) said: "Mr. Is it appropriate on your part to consume His provision and reside in His countries while you disobey Him."
 
The man said: There is no strength or might save in Allah. Give me the third one, perhaps it is the easiest of the three.
 
Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) said, "If you wish to disobey Him, find a place where He cannot see you and do there whatever you wish."
 
The man said: What are you saying? No secret can be hidden from Allah.
 
Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh): "Why eat His provision, reside in His countries, and disobey Him while He sees and hears you?"
 
The man said: Give me the fourth one; to Allah is my complaint.
 
Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) said: "If the angel of death comes to you wishing to reap your soul tell him: Delay me until I repent."
 
The man said: How can I when I am helpless in his attendance?
 
Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh): "If you cannot push him away then repent before it is too late."
 
The man said: Anyhow, you have not told me the fifth one.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 Imam Al-Hussein (pbuh) said: "If the guards of hell arrive on the Day of Judgment to take you to hell, do not go with them."

The man said: In Him I seek protection. I ask Allah forgiveness and repent to Him. After this day, He will not see from me what He resents."(1)
 
Repentance Purifies the Heart
In conclusion, contemplation leads one to search for that which can purify man’s heart. Imam Ali (pbuh) pointed to this issue when he said, "Repentance purifies the heart and washes away the sins."(2)
 
Guaranteed Repentance
Allah the Exalted encouraged the wrongdoers, who commit the sins because of their oblivion and ignorance not because of stubbornness, to repent quickly promising He will accept it in this case. Allah the Exalted said, "Forgiveness is only incumbent on Allah toward those who do evil in ignorance (and) then turn quickly (in repentance) to Allah..."(3) The words (incumbent on Allah) 
 

(1)    AL-HASANI, Hashim Ma’rouf, Sirat Al-A`emmah Al-Ethnai Ashar (Biography of the 12 Imams), publishing edition unknown, Qum, Ash-Sharif Ar-Radhi, publishing date unknown, vol. 2, Ps. 35-36. IBN QUDAMAH, Abdullah, Kitab At-Tawabeen (The Book of the Penitents), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Abdul Qadir Al-Arnaout, Baghdad, publishing date unknown, p. 285.
(2)    AN-NOURI, Hussein, Mustadrak Al-Wasa`el (The Supplement of the Means), vol. 12, p. 129.
(3)    The holy Quran, chapter 4, verse 17.  
 
 
 
 
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 inform us that Allah the Exalted obliged Himself to accept the quick repentance following the sin out of ignorance.

The Meaning of Repentance
Imam Ali (pbuh) defines repentance saying, "Remorse is the remorse by the heart, asking forgiveness by the tongue, controlling the organs, and willingness not to return (to wickedness)."(1) In order for a human being to repent to Allah, he must achieve four issues:
 
Firstly: That he feels remorse deeply inside his heart.
 
Secondly: That he uses his tongue to react regretfully with his heart.
 
Thirdly: That he abandons wickedness that blackened his heart.
 
Fourthly: That he truly and decisively decides not to return to wrongdoing.
 
The Outcome of Repentance
In addition to the purity of the heart, the traditional scripts indicated that there are positive outcomes resulting from man’s repentance such as:
 
1- Allah Loves the Repenter.
Allah the Exalted does not treat the repenter using the 
 
 

(1)    AT-TABARSI, Hussein, Mustadrak Al-Wasa`el (The Supplement of the Means), vol. 12, p. 137.
 
 
 
 
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 tone of justice. Instead, He uses the tone of compassion to the limit where the repenter becomes dear to Allah the Exalted. The holy Quran stipulated this issue when Allah the Exalted said, "Truly Allah loveth those who turn unto Him…"(1) Therefore, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Allah is happier at the repentance of His slave than a barren person fathering, a loss being found, and a thirsty person arriving to water."(2)

2- Allah Veils the Repenter.
The religious scripts reported that when the human sins, three parties will record his sin and act as witnesses against him on the Day of Judgment.
 
A- The Two Accompanying Angels. Allah the Exalted said, "He uttereth no word but there is with him an observer ready."(3) He also said, "When the two Receivers receive (him), seated on the right hand and on the left."(4)
 
B- Body Organs. Allah the Exalted said, "This day We seal up their mouths, and their hands speak out to Us and their feet bear witness as to what they used to earn."(5) He also said, "And they say unto their skins: Why testify ye against us? They say: Allah
 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 2, verse 222.
(2)    AS-SOYOUTI, Jalal Ed-Dean, Al-Jame’ as-Saghir (The Small Collection), first edition, Beirut, Dar Al-Fikr (Publishing House), 1401 AH, vol. 2, p. 397.
(3)    The holy Quran, chapter 50, verse 18.
(4)    The holy Quran, chapter 50, verse 17.
(5)    The holy Quran, chapter 36, verse 65.
 
 
 
 
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 hath given us speech Who giveth speech to all things, and Who created you at the first, and unto Whom ye are returned."(1)

C- The Earth. Allah the Exalted said, "When Earth is shaken with her (final) earthquake. And Earth yieldeth up her burdens. And man saith: What aileth her? That day she will relate her chronicles."(2) The tradition regarding the chronicles of the earth was explained as a testimony by the earth against the deeds of men.
 
Because Allah the Exalted loves the repenters, He conceals their sins on the Day of Judgment commanding the three previous subjects to conceal their affair and avoid exposure of such. For example, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "If a servant truly repents Allah loves him. Hence, He will shield him in this life and the afterlife. When asked how He shields him he (pbuh) replied: He makes the two angels that recorded his sins forget, inspires his organs to conceal his sins, and inspires the terrains of the earth to conceal the sins that he committed on them. Hence, he meets Allah when he meets Him with nothing that can testify against him concerning the perpetrations."(3)
 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 41, verse 21.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 99, verses 1-4.
(3)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 731.
 
 
 
 
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 Time Limit Concerning the Acceptance of Repentance

Out of the mercy of Allah the Exalted and His kindness towards his servants, He maintains the door of repentance open to them until the time when they will receive a knowledge that they are about to depart this world. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Whosoever repents one-year prior to his death Allah accepts his repentance. He continued saying a year is a long time. Whosoever repents one-month prior to his death Allah accepts his repentance. He continued saying a month is a long time. Whosoever repents one-week prior to his death Allah accepts his repentance. He continued saying a week is a long time. Whosoever repents one-day prior to his death Allah accepts his repentance. He continued saying a day is a long time. Whosoever repents prior to his examination (by the angel of death) Allah accepts his repentance."(1) On the other hand, whosoever repents at the time of death he becomes included in the following words of His Exaltedness, "The forgiveness is not for those who do ill-deeds until, when death attendeth upon one of them, he saith: Lo! I repent now; nor yet for those who die while they are disbelievers. For such We have prepared a painful doom."(2)
 

(1)    
(2)
 
 
 
 
 
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 The Program of Repentance

On top of remorse, asking forgiveness, abandoning wickedness and willingness not return to ill doing, Imam Ali (pbuh) pointed to two main conditions concerning repentance as he spoke to one of the repenters. He (pbuh) said:
 
1-         "That you give the creatures back their rights in order to meet Allah the Exalted without a crime."(1) The condition required for the repentance of a thief or money usurper stipulates that he gives back the owners their properties.
 
2-         "That you examine each task of yours that you had lost (missed) hence, make up for it."(2) The condition required for the repentance of someone who abandoned prayer and fasting plus other tasks is that he reviews them and make up for what he had missed.

Final Word
Allah the Exalted promised the repenters with forgiveness and absolution and included them in His kindness. Therefore, let us avoid tarrying and procrastination without feeling any despair. The mercy of Allah the Exalted is more spacious than all things. Let us step forward towards Allah the Exalted and He will open to us the door of happiness and perfection.
 

(1)    IBN ABI TALIB, Imam Ali (PBUH), Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), vol. 4, p. 98.
(2)    Same previous source.
 
 
 
 
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 LESSON 8: 

The Perfection of the Human
– Soul Purification –
 
 
Lesson Objectives
1-         The student must understand that the aim behind His creation is in worshiping Allah the Exalted, which leads to piety, and ends with gain and success.
 
2-         Must recognize the truth of the greater struggle (Jihad Akbar) coupled with its arena, program and rule, considering that it is the necessary way to success.
 
 
 
 
 
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 Worship is the Aim of Creation

The holy Quran defined the purpose behind the creation of Allah the Exalted. It is the worshiping of Allah. His Exaltedness said, "I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me."(1) The Arabic word ib?dah (عبادة) or ibada (usually translates "worship") is connected with related words such as "Ubudiyyah" ("slavery"), and has connotations of obedience, submission, and humility. The word linguistically means "obedience with submission" and is flawless of any disobedience. This is why the paved road became flawless of any obstructions, such as stones or thorns, was named "At-Tariq Al-Mo’abadah (which translates "the paved road"). In other words, the submissive and passive.(2) Therefore, worshipping Allah the Exalted means obeying Him with submissiveness and humility. It contradicts with the other worships offered to other than Allah the Exalted. The holy Quran gave some examples of these worships.
 
1.         Worshipping Lust. Allah the Exalted said, "Hast thou 
 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 51, verse 56.
(2)    Refer to: IBN FARIS, Ahmad (died 395 AH), Mo’jam Maqayees Al-Lugha (Language Standards Dictionary), reviewed by Abdul Salam Muhammad Haroun, publishing edition unknown, Qum, Islamic Information Bureau, 1404 AH, Ps. 205-206.
 
 
 
 
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 seen him who chooseth for his god his own lust?"(1) A servant who serves his lust becomes submissive and humiliated to it. This is why he becomes disobedient towards his Lord. Acting with leniency towards lust associates disobedience towards Allah the Exalted.

2.         Worshipping Humankind. The holy Quran presented several examples of such worship such as:
 
2.1.      Worshipping the Sultan. Allah the Exalted said through Prophet Moses (pbuh) to Pharaoh: 
 
"And this is the past favour wherewith thou reproachest me: that thou hast enslaved the Children of Israel."(2) The prophet of Allah Moses (pbuh) describes the work of Pharaoh as an act of enslaving the children of Israel. It comes in the sense of humiliating them to the point where they became submissive to him with humility and leniency. It happened without any resistance on their part and after he forced them to this issue and confiscated their rights.
 
2.2.      Worshipping the rabbis and monks. Allah the Exalted said, "They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks…"(3) Some of the people of the Scripture obeyed their rabbis and monks with humility and submissiveness without Allah the Exalted. Therefore, Allah the Exalted 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 25, verse 43.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 26, verse 22.
(3)    The holy Quran, chapter 9, verse 31.
 
 
 
 
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 called that there be agreement between Muslims and the people of the Scripture, the worshipping of Allah the Exalted without worshipping the humankind. Allah the Exalted said, "Say: O People of the Scripture! Come to an agreement between us and you: that we shall worship none but Allah, and that we shall ascribe no partner unto Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords beside Allah."(1)

Piety is the Aim of Worship
After he confirmed that worshipping Allah the Exalted is the aim behind creation, the holy Quran explained the aim behind worship, which is piety. Allah the Exalted said, "O mankind! Worship your Lord, Who hath created you and those before you, so that ye may ward off (evil)."(2) Piety means protection, immunity, security, and prevention. Its aim is to protect man and shield him from wickedness. Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "The pious is he who protects himself from wrongdoing."(3)
 
The holy Quran showed the positive results behind piety, such as:
1-         Sustenance and Relief. Allah the Exalted said, "And whosoever keepeth his duty to Allah, Allah will 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 3, verse 64.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 2, verse 21.
(3)    AL-WASITY, Ali Oyoun al-Hikam Wal-Mawa‘ez (Eyes of Wisdoms and Sermons), p. 56.
 
 
 
 
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 appoint a way out for him… And will provide for him from (a quarter) whence he hath no expectation."(1)

The holy Quran confirmed that the piety of the society sets the reason for the happening of its economic welfare. Allah the Exalted said, "And if the people of the townships had believed and kept from evil, surely We should have opened for them blessings from the sky and from the earth…"(2)
 
2-         Guidance to righteousness. Allah the Exalted said, "O ye who believe! If ye keep your duty to Allah, He will give you discrimination (between right and wrong) and will rid you of your evil thoughts and deeds."(3)
 
3-         The acceptance of deeds. Allah the Exalted said, "Allah accepteth only from those who ward off (evil)..."(4)
 
4-         Atonement and glorifying the reward. Allah the Exalted said, "And whoso keepeth his duty to Allah, He will remit from him his evil deeds and magnify reward for him..."(5)
 
Success is the Aim of Piety
We can understand from the previous discussion that worship is the aim of creation, and that piety is the aim of 
 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 65, verses 3-4.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 7, verse 96.
(3)    The holy Quran, chapter 8, verse 29.
(4)    The holy Quran, chapter 5, verse 27.
(5)    The holy Quran, chapter 65, verse 5.
 
 
 
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 worship. On the other hand, Allah the Exalted explained the aim of piety when he said, "So be mindful of your duty to Allah, O men of understanding, that ye may succeed."(1) Success means being triumphant and winning that, which brings comfort in this life and the afterlife.

Purification is the Secret of Success
In order to succeed Allah the Exalted showed the path that leads to it, which is the growth of the soul (in goodness). Allah the Exalted said, "He is successful who groweth (in goodness)."(2) Growing has two meanings. The first refers to purity. The second refers to making progression. The latter is the one meant by the words of Imam Ali (pbuh) that read, "Knowledge towers above disbursement."(3) In other words, it grows and completes. Therefore, purifying oneself means making it grow to reach its integration. When man purifies his soul, he achieves his perfection.
 
Soul Purification, a Greater Struggle
The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) termed the purification of the soul as "the greater struggle." This issue happened as he (pbuh&hh) addressed his returning brigade from jihad (the war) saying, "Welcome to the people who accomplished the smaller struggle and now they are left with the greater struggle. Asked: O messenger of Allah: what is 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 5, verse 100.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 87, verse 14.
(3)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 75, p. 76.
 
 
 
 
 
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 the greater struggle? He (pbuh&hh) said: Struggling against the soul."(1)

The scholars exploited the word jihad in order to present the purification of the soul in the form of a battle in which the human being struggles in the midst of two camps: the camp of the Beneficent Who tries to draw him to goodness versus the camp of Satan who tries to drive him towards wickedness.(2)
 
The Two Battlefields of the Greater Struggle
There are two fields concerning this battle:
·           The obvious field, which is the human body with its seven parts:
1. The eye. 2. The ear. 3. The tongue. 4. The stomach. 5. The private parts. 6. The hand. 7. The leg.
 
These seven parts or organs have the susceptibility of being drawn towards both camps:
The eye can stay up late at night learning or it can gaze at that which Allah forbade.
 
The ear can listen to the holy Quran and beneficial science or listen to backbiting and nonsense conversation.
 
The tongue can utter remembering Allah or utter lies.
 

(1)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 5, p. 12.
(2)    AL-KHOMEINI, Ruhullah, Al-Arba’oun Hadithan (The Forty Speeches), publishing edition unknown, translated by Muhammad Al-Gharawi, Qum, Dar Al-Kitab Al-Islami (Publishing House), publishing date unknown, p. 29.
 
 
 
 
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 The stomach can fast for Allah the Exalted or consume the forbidden food.

The private parts can push its owner towards marriage and raise a family or throw its owner in the swamp of adultery.
 
The hand can hold the quill of knowledge and rifle of the resistance or work as a method to rob the people.
 
The leg can walk towards the mosque or walk towards the forbidden places of entertainment.
 
In conclusion, the human being with his seven organs experiences a battle in the midst of two camps. He will emerge triumphant if he reacts with the camp of the Beneficent by becoming drawn towards it. On the other hand, he loses battle in two conditions:
Firstly: If he is drawn towards the camp of Satan.
 
Secondly: If he acts with negligence and does not resist he will surely be drawn towards the camp of wickedness.
 
·           The internal field or the field of the internal forces such as:
1.         The sensual force, which is the source of lusts such as the desire of eating and eroticism plus other similarities.
 
2.         The force of furiousness, which is the source of fury or anger that can result in beating, murder and other similarities.
 
 
 
 
 
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 These two forces can be a source of goodness. With the first, the human race can continue. With the second, the human being can defend itself and its country. They can also be a source of evil. With the first, adultery can happen; and with the second killing unjustly can happen. Therefore, each of the camp of the Beneficent and that of Satan will try to attract these two forces.

3.         The force of intellect, which helps chose between the good with its benefits and the evil with its wickedness. With the force of intellect, the soul can grow strong and avoid being drawn into lust and anger.
 
Therefore, in his definition of the intellect, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "…That with which the Beneficent is worshiped and the gardens are earned."(1) Moreover, he (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Allah is better worshiped with intellect."(2) This is why the camp of the Beneficent was named the camp of the intellect whereas the camp of Satan was named the camp of ignorance.
 
The Triumphant in the Battle of the Greater Struggle
The secret for winning the battle of the greater struggle lurks in strengthening the intellectual aspect of the human being by a process of pondering this creation with the aim behind its existence as well as by considering the way that 
 

(1)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 1, p. 11
(2)    Same previous source, p. 18.
 
 
 
 
 
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 can lead the human to happiness. Based on this issue, when a certain matter is offered to someone, he must consider its outcome, consequence, and decide how to act in light of such consideration. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) stressed on this issue in his commandment to someone. It reads, "When…deciding on an issue consider its sequel."(258) At this point, the intellect becomes the ruling power concerning the human internal forces through which man can control the seven organs of the body.

The Program of the Greater Struggle
To help the intellect maintain its victory while in the battle of the greater struggle, the moral scholars obtained from the tradition a program that consists of three matters:
1-         Conditionality: that a person sets the terms for himself not to commit any sin on his first day and must insist on this issue.
 
2-         Observation; that a person observes himself all day long in order to avoid wrongdoing without letting this issue cumber other affairs of his life such as studying, working and other similarities.
 
3-         Accountability; that a person regards himself accountable at the end of the day in order to examine whether he violated any of the terms. If he discovers that, he succeeded meeting the terms he should praise 
 
 

(1)    Same previous source, vol. 8, p. 150
 
 
 
 
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 Allah the Exalted. If he violated any term he should ask forgiveness from Allah the Exalted and seek His pardon with his willingness to repeat practicing conditionality, observation, and accountability on the following day. He must act in this form each day without any despair even if the sin repeated on his part. Adhering to such program can be sufficient in helping man open the gates of success and happiness.

The Rule of Balancing the Greater Struggle
In the battle of the greater struggle, Islam invited us to give interest to balancing between two issues. The first is the individual and spiritual integration. The second is the social integration. A person limiting his consideration to the individual integration without regarding the social life represents a deviation from the straight path and vice versa. This is why Allah the Exalted addressed His prophet (pbuh&hh) saying, "Lo! The vigil of the night is (a time) when impression is more keen and speech more certain."(1) The night for example is convenient to man’s solitude with Allah the Exalted in order to enhance the spiritual aspect of the human being. On the other hand, daylight is convenient to dealing with the society and other human works relating to this life and the afterlife. Therefore, Imam Ali (pbuh) described the life of the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) saying, "Whenever he returns home he divides his entrance into three parts, a part for his Lord, a part for his household, 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 73, verse 6.
 
 
 
 
 
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 and a part for himself, which he divides between him and the people and answers the common and the private without keeping anything from them."(1)

Final Word
Whosoever wishes to win and succeed in his life and the afterlife must know that the Quran designed the way by purifying the soul in the battle of the greater struggle. In this struggle, the intellect emerges triumphant by directing the internal forces and the seven organs of the body while considering the issue of balancing between individual spirituality and social life. In this manner, man can accomplish his happiness and perfection.
 

(1)    At-TARMATHI, Muhammad, Ash-Shamael Al-Muhammadiyya (The Muhammadian Merits), first edition, reviewed by Abbass Al-Juleimi, Beirut, Mo’assasat Al-Kutub Ath-Thaqafiyah (publishing house), 1412 AH, p. 181. AL-AMEEN, Mohsen, A’yan ash-Shi’a (Lords of Shi’a), vol. 1, p. 222.
 
 
 
 
 
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 LESSON 9: 

The Other Based on Islam
– View and Consideration –
 

Lesson Objectives
1-         The student must understand that Islam rejected rivalry for precedence among the people based on social classification and national or factional affiliation. This includes race and color.
 
2-         Must learn that Allah the Exalted does not question the faith of the people based on the dogmatic sequels. Instead, He takes the prefaces of the faith into consideration.
 
3-         Must realize that Islam respects the human qualities that result into good behavior, even if it came from the faithless.
 
 
 
 
 
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 Viewing and dealing with the others depend on the background of the viewer towards the other person. This issue can relate to the formation such as sex, color and age, or to the social class such as the financial status and position, or to the national and tribal affiliation, or to the ideology such as the faith that a person embraces, or to the practical behavior that a person sustains.

Islam weeded such background while building the human structure that must be considered when viewing and dealing with the others. This issue is further digested in the following points.
 
1-         Sex
At the time of the pre-Islamic paganism, the people in the Arabian Peninsula, treated the female with a dark view, which the holy Quran describes reading, "When if one of them receiveth tidings of the birth of a female, his face remaineth darkened, and he is wroth inwardly. He hideth himself from the folk because of the evil of that whereof he hath had tidings, (asking himself): Shall he keep it in contempt, or bury it beneath the dust. Verily evil is their judgment."(1)
 
 
Islam arrived in order to rescind the integrative distinction between man and woman and make them equal concerning the attitude for perfection. Allah the Exalted said, "… Lo! I suffer not the work of any worker, male or female, to be lost. Ye proceed one from another…"(2)
 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 16, verses 58-59.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 13, verse 195.
 
 
 
 

 


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 The teachings of the Prophet (pbuh&hh) came in order to stress on the positivity concerning the girl among the children.

For example, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "The best of your children are the girls."(1) He (pbuh&hh) was also quoted as saying, "Anyone who visits the market in order to buy a present to bring to his children is like the one carrying a charity to the needy; and let him start with the females before the males."(2)
 
 
2-         Color
The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) took to the rostrum presenting the view of Islam towards the other saying, "People, since the time of Adam until this day of ours, are like the teeth of the comb. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab, and no red-colored is superior to a black-colored save by piety."(3)
 
 
In order to establish this view, the Prophet (pbuh&hh) chose Bilal the Abyssinian, a black man, for the task of calling for the best task, which is the prayer. Austrian orientalist, Oberman Joseph (1884-1956) said, "The life of Muhammad is one of the most difficult studies for a researcher or studier; his genius is one of the weird and complicated form. Truly, he was the first man to 
 

(1)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 101, p. 91.
(2)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad Bin Ali, Thawab al-A’mal (The Rewards of Deeds), p. 201.
(3)    Al-KUFI, Ibrahim, Al-Furat (The Euphrates), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Jalal Ed-Dean Al-Armoun, Iran, publishing date unknown, vol. 2, p. 823.
 
 
 
 
 
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 end racial distinction in one simple and comprehensive word: ‘A Muslim is a Brother of a Muslim.’ He resolved the issue in three words (referring to the Arabic). On the other hand, today, the racial issue is a reason for holding tens of conferences and writing hundreds of books, without any benefit. I am certain the solution will only come in the next century. However, Muhammad resolved it thirteen centuries ago."(1)

3-         Age
Perhaps the issue that sums the view of Islam concerning one’s respect towards the other is the age. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) said, "Revere your elderly and be kind to your young."(2)
 
The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) expressed his practical value of the youths when he appointed the 18-year-old Osama Bin Zeid as a commander of the Muslim army despite the protest of some people who said, "He forwarded a boy to lead a group of the Muhajireen (migrants) and Ansar (partisans)."(3)
 
4-         Financial Status
Islam marked neither richness as a negative issue nor poverty as a shameful issue. Instead, it invited the rich to help the poor and exploit his money for the purpose of integration. It also invited the poor to exert efforts concerning 
 

 (1)    AS-SAFFAR, Salem, Sirat Ar-Rasoul (The Life of the Messenger), p. 260.
(2)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad Bin Ali, A’mali As-Saddouq, p. 154.
(3)    IBN HISHAM, Muhammad, Sirat An-Nabi (The Life of the Prophet), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Abdul Hamid, Beirut, Dar Al-Fikr (publishing house), vol. 4, p. 328.
 
 
 
 
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 providence and patience and that the rich and the poor regard not each other based on the view of advantage and disadvantage. Instead, there is a rule that the commander of the faithful, Imam Ali (pbuh) mentioned. It reads, "It is not asceticism that you should not possess anything; rather, asceticism is that nothing should possess you."(1)

5-         Hierarchic Position
Islam rejects the notion that regards the hierarchic position and responsibility as a criterion of superiority. Instead, it embraces the following slogan, "All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock."(2) It also emphasized that the value of responsibility exists in the zone of service by being beneficial to the public and based on the following prophetic rule, "All people are dependents of Allah, and the most beloved to Allah is the one that is mostly beneficent to His dependents."(3)
 
6-         Tribal Affiliation
Islam invited the human being to consider his blood relation and kinsfolk. For example, Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Be generous to your kinsfolk, they are the wing that makes you fly and the origin from which you 
 
 

(1)    AT-TABA’TABA’EI, Muhammad Hussein, al-Mizan Fi Tafsir al Quran, vol. 4, p. 2990.
(2)    ZEIN ED-DEAN, Ali, Muniat Al-Murid (The Desideratum of the Desirer), first edition, reviewed by Ridha Al-Mukhtari, Qum, Maktab Al-E’lam Al-Islami (publishing office), p. 381.
(3)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 72, p. 38.
 
 
 
 
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 derive and the hand (power) with which you attack."(1) However, he rejected the criterion that sets the kinsfolk to be the issue that defines superiority and the right attitude.

For instance, Imam Zein el-Abideen (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Tribalism upon which a person is condemned is in him seeing the bad among his people better than the good among other people. A man’s love for his people does not mean fanaticism; rather, fanaticism is when he aids his people to do wrong."(2)
 
7-         Race
We mentioned previously that the Prophet (pbuh&hh) had said, "…No Arab is superior to a non-Arab… save by piety."(3) Islam practiced this merit when the holy Quran dispraised the uncle of the prophet (pbuh&hh). Allah the Exalted said, "The power of Abu Lahab will perish, and he will perish. His wealth and gains will not exempt him. He will be plunged in flaming Fire."(4) It also practiced this merit when the prophet (pbuh&hh) praised Salman the Persian saying, "Salman is one of us, we the Household."(5)
 
A poet said:
By your age, a human is valued not save by his religion
Leave not piety by depending on the ancestry
Islam raised Salman of Persia
 
 

(1)    Same previous source, vol. 71, p. 105.
(2)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 308.
(3)    Al-KUFI, Ibrahim, Al-Furat (The Euphrates), vol. 2, p. 823.
(4)    The holy Quran, chapter 111, verses 1-3.
(5)    AL-MUFID, Muhammad, al-Ekhtisas (The Specialization), p. 341.
 
 
 
 
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 Whereas paganism dispraised the noble Abu Lahab(1)

8-         Tenet
After Islam’s confirmation that it represents the true tenet and that the truth resides within it without the other religions, yet it did not discuss the inevitability of Allah’s condemnation of all non-Muslims and irrespective of the preludes that may have led someone to the wrong conviction.
 
The conclusive human intellectual considers the ugliness of condemning the underage person who did not fail in any of the preludes of the outcome to which he reached. The holy Quran stressed on this issue reading, "Lo! As for those whom the angels take (in death) while they wrong themselves, (the angels) will ask: In what were ye engaged? They will say: We were oppressed in the land. (The angels) will say: Was not Allah’s earth spacious that ye could have migrated therein? As for such, their habitation will be hell, an evil journey’s end. Except the feeble among men, and the women, and the children, who are unable to devise a plan and are not shown a way. As for such, it may be that Allah will pardon them. Allah is ever Clement, Forgiving."(2)
 
Expert Scholar AT-TABA’TABA’EI commented on these verses saying, "It is obvious from the verses that one’s ignorance in the religious knowledge, if it came 
 
 

(1)    At-TABARSI, Hussein, Nafas Ar-Rahman Fi Fada’el Salman (The Beneficent Spirit within the Merits of Salman), first edition, reviewed by Jawad Al-Qayoumi Al-Asfahani, publishing place unknown, Mo’assasat Al-Aafaq (publishing house), 1411 AH, p. 521.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 4, verses 79-81.
 
 
 
 
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 from failure and fragility and unmade by the ignorant person, it remains an excuse with respect to Allah the Exalted."(1)

Based on this issue, Ahlul Bayt (pbut) rejected the culture of the categorization of people based on the outcomes irrespective of their preludes. For example, Zirarah was quoted saying that he visited with one of his companions Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh) and said to him we are stretching a Mitmar (plumb line). He (pbuh) said, ‘What is the Mitmar?’ I said At-Tirr. Therefore, anyone agreeing with us, whether Alawite or not, will gain our support. Anyone disagreeing with us, whether Alawite or not, will be disavowed by us. He (pbuh) said to me, ‘Oh Zirarah, the words of Allah are more truthful than your words. Where are those about whom Allah the Exalted said, "Except for the oppressed among men, women and children who cannot devise a plan nor are they directed to a way. As for such, it may be that Allah will pardon them. Allah is ever Clement, Forgiving"(2) Where are those inspiring hope in Allah’s ordinance? Where are those who mixed a good deed with another bad deed? Where are the highly ranked people? Where are those, whose hearts are reconciled to the truth?’"(3)
 
Briefly, as for Allah the Exalted the destiny of the human 
 

(1)    AT-TABATABAEI, Muhammad Hussein, Tafsir Al-Mizan (An Exegesis of the Quran), publishing edition unknown, Qum, Mo’assasat An-Nashr Al-Islami (publishing house), publishing date unknown, vol. 5, p. 51.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 4, verses 98-99.
(3)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 383.
 
 
 
 
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 being concerning his tenet manifests in the following four conditions:

First condition: That he possesses the knowledge of the truth yet he denies it and renounces it for a certain reason such as jealousy, scornfulness and other similar issues. This kind of denial was mentioned in the holy Quran, Allah the Exalted said, "And put thy hand into the bosom of thy robe, it will come forth white but unhurt. (This will be one) among nine tokens unto Pharaoh and his people Lo! They were ever evil-living folk. But when Our tokens came unto them, plain to see, they said: This is mere magic. And they denied them, though their souls acknowledged them, for spite and arrogance. Then see the nature of the consequence for the wrong-doers!"(1) These verses are obvious concerning the denial of Pharaoh and his subjects in spite of their certainty that what they saw was the sign (act) of Allah the Exalted.
 
Second condition: That he does not possess the knowledge of the true religion or somehow aware yet did not search for the truth that was available for him. In this case, the unfaithful remains negligent because even if he did not reach the condition of knowing the true religion it was simply because he did not exert any effort of research in order to reach a subjective outcome.
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 27, verses 12-13.
 
 
 
 
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Third condition: That he initially lacks or does not lack the knowledge yet did not search for the truth because of his conviction in that which contrasts with the true faith.

Fourth condition: That he initially lacks or does not lack the knowledge yet did not search for the truth because of an intellectual deficiency that voids any need to search for the truth.
 
Concerning the first and second conditions (denial and negligence), judging them results in earning punishment by the denier due to his denial and by the negligent due to his negligence. However, earning punishment does not mean its inevitability. The intellect judges that Allah the Exalted will deliver His promise if He promises forgiveness. On the other hand, if He promises punishment He still possess the volition to drop it out of His mercy, favor and benevolence.
 
A researcher of the scholars of the Shi’a Imamate, Nasir Ed-Dean At-Tousi (RIP) said, "… The perpetuity of punishment is designed for the denier; pardon being His own right remains factual allowing its relinquishment. There is no harm on His part dropping it knowing there is harm upon its receiver; its dropping denotes benevolence, intellectually and comprehensively."(1) The aim behind saying comprehensively is that in addition to the intellectual evidence to the possibility of dropping the 
 
 

(1)    AT-TOUSI, Muhammad, Tajreed Al-E’tiqad (The Abstraction of Concept), first edition, reviewed by Muhammad Jawad Al-Hussein Al-Jalali, Qum, Islamic Media Bureau, 1407 AH, Ps. 304-305.
 
 
 
 
 
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 punishment of the denier, there are religious scripts that pointed to this issue also.

The third condition on the other hand is a condition of the existence of complete certainty concerning that in which the denier believes. This issue makes him lose the motive to search for another tenet. It is similar to the rest of the convictions of the humans upon which the punishment of a human being does not correct the outcomes of his disbelief in the tenet against which he embraces a conviction of another faith. He cannot be addressed based on this tenet; hence, how can he be questioned upon it? The conclusive intellect that leads to the divine wisdom does not permit the punishment of this convinced person plus his questionability concerning his conviction in a contrasting belief.
 
The fourth condition, a condition of intellectual failure, is similar to the third condition pertaining to the intellect that conclusively judges the ugliness of punishment by Allah the Exalted. It regards it as a kind of wrongness. How can the just ruler punish anyone who is incapable of knowing the truth, not negligent in searching for it, and does not believe in it because of such incapability? How can we not observe that this sort of punishment is similar to the punishment of the insane or the child for the perpetration without them being aware of its wrongness?(1)
 

(1)    BARAKAT, Akram, At-Takfir (Deeming the other as Heretic), first edition, Beirut, Dar Al-Amir (publishing house), 2014, Ps. 2011-2016.
 
 
 
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 9-         Behavior

Islam considers that the tenet of the human being remains the basis upon which he earns the reward of Allah the Exalted. However, several scripts of the Prophetic Tradition report that Allah the Exalted respects the human characteristics from which good deeds emanate. Moreover, He, out of His generosity and favor, treat the owners of these deeds with lenience and kindness. We can find this issue in the following two reports:
 
Imam al-Baqir (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "A faithful man lived in the kingdom of a tyrant who wanted to kill him. The man escaped to a polytheistic country and sought refuge at one of the polytheists. The host gave him shelter and treated him well. When death came to the polytheist, Allah the Exalted inspired him saying: I swear in My pride and magnificence, if I had a house for you in My heaven I would have given you that house, but it is forbidden for anyone who dies a polytheist. However, [Allah addressing the fires], hell, spare him and do not hurt him. Besides, his sustenance comes to him day and night."(1) 
 
Imam al-Kazim (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "A faithful man of the children of Israel had an unfaithful neighbor who treated the faithful with kindness and befriended with him in this world. When the unfaithful man died, Allah the Exalted built a mud house for him
 
 

(1)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 189.
 
 
 
 
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 inside Hell. The house protected him from its hotness and his sustenance came from other than it (the fire). He was told this was because you used to bring upon your faithful neighbor friendliness with kindness in the previous world."(1)

Final Word
Allah the Exalted considers that the main criterion for superiority among the people lurks in piety. Allah the Exalted said, "…Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct…"(2) Piety is a quality of the heart. Therefore, its Quranic attribution is in the words of Allah the Exalted, "…devotion of the hearts."(3) Since this criterion remains latent (unseen), one must be considerate when dealing with others irrespective of their superficies. For example, Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Allah the Exalted… concealed his guardian among his slaves. Therefore, do not scorn any slave of the slaves of Allah; perhaps he is His guardian while you know it not."(4)
 

(1)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad Bin Ali, Thawab al-A’mal (The Rewards of Deeds), p. 169.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 49, verse 13.
(3)    The holy Quran, chapter 22, verse 32.
(4)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, Ma’ani al-Akhbar (News Meanings), p. 113.
 
 
 
 
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LESSON 10: 
The Ethics of Communication with People


Lesson Objectives
1-         The student must recognize the value and reward of serving people.
 
2-         Must become aware of the value of tolerance while comparing it with the different methods of dealing with others.
 
3-         Must learn the meaning of good intention and its value, philosophy and boundaries.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 Islam explained the structure of the correct relationship with the others through the words of Imam Ali (pbuh) when he described the people as, "Either a brother in religion or an equal in humanity."(1) Based on this rule, Islam invited us to a number of ethics when communicating with the people such as:

A- Serving the Public
The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) confirmed that the size of love that Allah the Exalted holds for a human being is defined by his good work that benefits the people. There are many examples such as feeding the poor, teaching the ignorant, lending money to the needy, help curing the ill, help wedding the bachelor, building roads, building schools, etc… He (pbuh&hh) said, "All people are dependents of Allah, and the most beloved to Allah is the most beneficial to His dependents."(2) 
 
Another speech reports the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) answering a question, which reads, "Who of the people is mostly beloved to Allah? He (pbuh&hh) said: ‘The people that are mostly beneficial to the people’."(3)
 

(1)    IBN ABI TALIB, Imam Ali (PBUH), Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), vol. 3, p. 84.
(2)    AL-HORR AL-‘AMILY, Muhammad Bin Al-Hassan, Wasa’el ash-Shi‘a (The Means of the Shiites), vol. 16, p. 345.
(3)    Same previous source, p. 409.
 
 
 
 
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 The Reward of Serving the Public

The Prophetic Tradition confirmed that the great reward that Allah the Exalted remunerates in the afterlife is in the public service and compliance with the needs of the people.
 
For example, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "I will be standing by the judging scale of whosoever complies with the needs of his brother; either it weighs or I will intercede in his favor."(1) Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Allah have servants of his creation to whom the creatures return concerning their needs. They are the safe ones on the Day of Judgment."(2) Moreover, Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "On the day when the feet stumble Allah will make firm the feet of whosoever endeavor to deliver a need of his Muslim brethren."(3)

Expressing Story
One night, expert scholar Sayyid Abdul Hussein Sharaf Ed-Dean (RIP) saw a man in his dream, and told that he was from the town of "Hanin", and that he is your peer in paradise. Sayyid Abdul Hussein woke up and decided to visit the town hoping he will find this man; consequently, he found him. However, the shocking surprise was that this person was a common person like the rest of the peasants and poor people in that region. There were no signs of 
 

(1)    At-TABARSI, Hussein, Mustadrak Al-Wasa’el (The Supplement of the Means), first edition, Beirut, Mo’assasat Aal Al-Bayt (publishing house), 1987, vol. 12, p. 405.
(2)    Same previous source.
(3)    Same previous source, p. 409.
 
 
 
 
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 science, knowledge or religiousness apparent on him. He asked him about his occupation. The answers were not out of the ordinary. He insisted on knowing details while questioning him in the hope that he will discover the secret behind him being his peer in paradise. Finally, the man told him about an incidence that gave the sign to Imam Sharaf Ed-Dean (RIP) about the reason that will make him his peer in the paradise of Allah the Exalted. The villager told this story. It reads, "In the year 1948, when the Palestinians were displaced from their countries to the Mount of Amil, I went to the front between Lebanon and Palestine. There, I saw among the immigrants two old spouses exhausted from walking. Hence, I carried the old man and took him forward. Then, I returned and carried his wife and took her forward. I repeated the task until I brought them to my residence where I served them." This is how the man earned that he be the peer of the revered scholar.

B- Managing the Public
In order to discover the required ethical character to deal with others, we will present five headlines that we can divide among the people when they deal with each other.
 
1- Rudeness
Some people are characterized of being rough, fierce, rude, and stern when dealing with others, which could cause the others’ reluctance towards them. Allah the Exalted explained the negativity of such attitude saying, "…for if 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 thou hadst been stern and fierce of heart they would have dispersed from round about thee…"(1)

2- Coax
Next to rudeness, some people behave with the others by trying to persuade them to do something to the extent of adulation (extreme admiration), which has been confirmed by the traditional scripts to be negative plus describing it as an ill deed. For instance, Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "The wicked of your brothers is the one who adulates you and blinds you from your fault."(2)
 
3- Flattery
Next to adulation, flatter is another negative issue when dealing with the others. Imam Ali (pbuh) defined it saying, "Praising beyond entitlement is a flattery."(3) Moreover, several reports of the traditional scripts forbid it. The commander of the faithful, Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Flattery is not an ethic of a believer."(4)
 
4- Acumen
The aim behind the word acumen is extreme intelligence and perception against oblivion. Based on linguistics, the oblivious is someone who does not have acumen.(5)
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 3, verse 159.
(2)    AL-WASITY, Ali Oyoun al-Hikam Wal-Mawa‘ez (Eyes of Wisdoms and Sermons), p. 294.
(3)    IBN ABI TALIB, Imam Ali (PBUH), Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), vol. 4, p. 81.
(4)    At-TABARSI, Hussein, Mustadrak Al-Wasa’el (The Supplement of the Means), vol. 8, p. 467.
(5)    Al-FARAHIDI, Al-Khalil, Al-‘Ayn (The Eye), first edition, reviewed by Dr. Mahdi Al-Makhzoumi and Dr. Ibrahim As-Samirrani, Beirut, Al-A’lami Foundation, 1988, vol. 4, p. 419.
 
 
 
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 It is obvious that being insightful is good and favored. However, we must focus on good insight concerning all issues. Therefore, would it be better for a human to be intelligent, sharp and perceptive concerning all his relationships?

It is obvious that dealing with the others based on sharpness and accuracy concerning all fields is a tiring issue for both parties. Therefore, the Imams of Ahlul Bayt (pbut) were reported advising to keep a margin of oblivion and indulgence concerning our relationship with the people. For example, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "The improvement of coexistence and association is in filling the scales with two thirds of acumen and one third of oblivion."(1)
 
Therefore, acumen, although happens without rudeness, counters adulation and blandish. However, Islam placed these four headlines in the margin of the absolute or partial negativity. We can notice this issue from the previous discussion. Therefore, it invited us to a fifth one, which is management.
 
5- Management
The management that Islam requires is compliance with the moods of the others but without violating righteousness. Otherwise, it will become a resentful adulation. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) pointed to this issue when he was quoted 
 

(1)    Al-HARRANI, Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf Al-Uqul ‘An Aal Ar-Rasoul (Great Minds of the Household of the Messenger), p. 359.
 
 
 
 
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 as saying, "The crown of the intellect, after believing in Allah, is in managing the people without disregarding any right."(1) Therefore, should you respect the boundaries of righteousness you would be crowning your intellect. This issue was mentioned (as an example) in the reported words of the commander of the faithful, Imam Ali (pbuh), which read, "The title of the intellect is in managing the people."(2)

The Background of Management
One can notice that when a person complies with the desires of his household such as his parents, children, and brothers, it is simply due to family ties. Therefore, they tolerate each other’s mistakes whereas they cannot tolerate them from other people. They treat each other with leniency. On the contrary, a person may act with cruelty when dealing with others. At this point, Islam cultures the Muslim to treat all Muslims like his own family. Hence, he tolerates and complies with their desires equally as he treats his kinfolk. For example, Imam Zein el-Abideen (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "You must regard the Muslims as you regard your household. Hence, you must regard their elder as you regard your father; regard their young as you regard your child, and regard the one of your same age as you regard your brother. Which one of these do you like to wrong? On which one of these do you wish harm? 
 
 

(1)    Same previous source, p. 42.
(2)    AL-WASITY, Ali Oyoun al-Hikam Wal-Mawa‘ez (Eyes of Wisdoms and Sermons), p. 339.
 
 
 
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 Moreover, which one of these do you wish to disclose his secret? Should Satan (Allah damn him) whispers telling that you have a favor upon anyone of the people of the Kiblah, you should think and see: If he was older than you say that he advanced me concerning faith and righteous practice; hence, he is better than I am. If his age equaled yours say that I am certain of my guilt and have doubts concerning his; hence, how can I ignore my certainty in favor of my doubt…? If you do so, Allah will ease your life, increase your friends, and you will be joyful when they visit you and will not be sad when they avoid you."(1)

C- Good Faith in People
One of the psychological merits to which Islam invited is one’s "good faith" in the others, wagering the positive or at least the non-negative side concerning the deeds of the people that may look negative when analyzed. For instance, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Think well of your brethren…"(2)
 
In order to explain the good thinking, we present two examples:
1- One of my colleagues passed by without greeting me. Therefore, I begin to speculate: Why did he do that? 
 
 

(1)    AT-TABARSI, Ahmad, Al-Ehtijaj (The Demurral), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Muhammad Al-Kharasan, holy Najaf, Dar An-No’man (Publishing House), 1966, vol. 2, p. 52.
(2)    Refer to Mesbah Ash-Shari’ah (The Lantern of Laws) that was attributed to Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh), first edition, Beirut, Al-A’lami (publishing house), 1980, p. 173.
 
 
 
 
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 Is he treating me with insolence? Does he hate me? Alternatively, did he not see me as he passed by? My good speculation tells me to think that he did not see me; perhaps he was distracted as he passed by me.

2- The manager of the institution where I work asked to see me. He reproached me for what I have done, knowing that I was not alone at the time of the incident. In fact, my colleague was with me. I begin to speculate: Did my colleague report me to the manager or does the manger have another source? My good speculation tells me to establish my judgment based on the second assumption.
 
In some cases, we might find difficulty in justifying work absence. However, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) encouraged us to find excuse for the absent person and judge him based on good intention. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Ask that your brother be excused. If you cannot find an excuse for him, then solicit one for him."(1) Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Value your brother’s matter at its best until you receive that which can overcome you. Never think an evil thought when a word comes out of your brother while you can find goodness in the assumption."(2)
 
This kind of conversations can be approached by contemplating that the tip you received with the resulting attitude based on its ground will pass by a psychological
 

(1)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, al-Khisal (The Qualities), p. 622.
(2)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 362.
 
 
 
 
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 and mental channel, which can be influenced by the backgrounds and internal tendencies of the person that were influenced by his private life, environment and culture. Hence, this issue will mirror itself on the adopted attitude.

Good Faith amid Obscurity and Subjectivity
Some people might think that good faith in people mirrors a negative kind of obscurity that screens the truth. Is this issue correct?
 
Answer: We admit that a good opinion remains to be a kind of ambiguity; however, it is positive concerning two issues. Firstly, it can be subjective in replacement of bad opinion. Secondly, it is one of the elements of self-assurance and ease of heart. 
 
Concerning the first issue of subjectivity, simply bad opinion results mostly from the wrong understanding of the subject, such as in the cases of the previous two examples. Sometimes, a person’s mind occupied in several issues can result in his inattention; hence, passing by without saluting. Moreover, the manager might receive information from a source other than my colleague. The other negative probability, if it exists, may result from the mental channel from the time of receiving the news on the incident until the time of its comprehension.
 
Concerning the ease of heart, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) suggested this issue when he said, "Have a good faith in your brothers and you will cease with it the 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 clarity of heart…"(1) Besides, Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Good faith results in the ease of heart."(2)

The Limits of Good Faith
Good faith in people, despite its great positivity, necessitates limits that must be kept in mind such as:
1- Good faith should happen when there are two facing probabilities, not when there is certainty concerning the evil. For instance, a person might attain certainty concerning the ill deed of another person. At this point, a person must be clever in his reaction and within the boundaries of the Shari’ah. Imam Ali (pbuh) explained this demand when he was quoted as saying, "Think good of your brother until you receive from him that which overrules you."(3)
 
2- Good faith does not necessitate that you exaggerate in dealing with the others out of complete trust. For instance, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Trust your brother not completely; the mode of excessiveness is unmanageable."(4)
 
 

(1)    Refer to Mesbah Ash-Shari’ah (The Lantern of Laws), attributed to Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh), p. 173.
(2)    AL WASITI, Ali, Oyoun Al-Hikam wa Al-Mawa’ez (Fountains of Wisdoms & Sermons), p. 229.
(3)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 362, overrules you means that his ill deed became preponderant towords you.
(4)    Al-HARRANI, Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf Al-Uqul ‘An Aal Ar-Rasoul (Great Minds of the Household of the Messenger), p. 357.
 
 
 
 
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 Final Word

The ethics, which Islam encouraged when dealing with the people, contribute to psychological tranquility and assurance of heart. Both are the origin of the happiness of humanity. Moreover, they contribute to the establishment of a flawless society, the members of which exchange kindness. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) denoted this issue saying, "Good faith establishes goodwill."(1)
 
 

(1)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 74, p. 148
 
 
 
 
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 LESSON 11

Polite Communication with People
 
 
Lesson Objectives
1.         The Student must understand eleven subjects that Islam presented under the title of polite communication with the others.
 
 
 
 
 
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 Islam called upon a series of politeness and good social behavior towards the others such as:

1- Cheerfulness
There is no doubt that first meeting gives first impression, consequently affecting a person’s opinion of the other. Therefore, the Noble Tradition called upon cheerfulness, expressing happiness by using body language. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "You will not occupy the people with your money; therefore, meet them with cheerfulness and smiling faces."(1) Moreover, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "A man came to the messenger of Allah saying: O messenger of Allah, command me. In one part of his commandment he said: meet your brother with a smiling face."(2) To explain the significance of cheerfulness, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Smiling in your brother’s face is a charity."(3)
 
On the other hand, the tradition (Ahadith) warned us about scowling in the faces of our friends and brothers. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Allah resents the person who frowns in the faces of 
 

(1)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 103.
(2)    Same previous source.
(3)    AL-MUTTAQI AL-HINDI, Alaa Ed-Dean, Kanz Al-Ummal (The Treasure of Workers), vol. 6, p. 410.
 
 
 
 
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 his brothers."(1) Moreover, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Hoarding and frowning faces cause alienation from Allah."(2)

2- Tidiness
Receiving a visitor with a tidy costume expresses one’s interest in him. Therefore, Imam Ali (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Let the one of you tidy up for his brother if he visits him as he tidies up for the stranger whom he wishes to see him in his best shape."(3)
 
3- Subdued Voice
The holy Quran instructed us to consider the proper voice during a conversation with others. Allah the Exalted said, "… be modest in thy bearing and subdue thy voice. Lo! The harshest of all voices is the voice of the ass."(4)
 
4- Greeting
Among the good manners to which Islam invites is greeting with peace. Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "A Muslim has the right that his Muslim brother greets him if he meets him."(5) Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) stressed that each conversation begins with greetings. For example, he (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Greeting advances the conversation."(6) 
 

(1)    AL-MIRZA AN-NOURI, Mustadrak Al-Wasa`el (The Supplement of the Means), vol. 8, p. 321.
(2)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 103.
(3)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 76, p. 308.
(4)    The holy Quran, chapter 31, verse 19.
(5)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 188.
(6)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 73, p. 12.
 
 
 
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 Moreover, the holy Quran called upon exchanging the greeting of a person with the same or with a better one. Allah the Exalted said, "When ye are greeted with a greeting, greet ye with a better than it or return it…"(1)

The Noble Tradition explained the benefits of greeting such as:
·           The believers’ bestowal of affection upon each other. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Will I guide you to something that if you do will make you love one another? Circulate the greetings amongst each other."(2)
 
·           Projecting the spirituality of modesty. Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Modesty means that you greet the one whom you meet."(3)
 
·           Adding good deeds. The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Greet whomever you meet and Allah will increase your good deeds."(4)
 
5- Handshake
The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "If you meet together start with greeting and handshake; and if you part, separate with asking forgiveness."(5)
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 4, verse 86.
(2)    At-TABARSI, Hussein, Mustadrak Al-Wasa’el (The Supplement of the Means), vol. 8, p. 362.
(3)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 646.
(4)    Al-MUFID, Muhammad, Al-Amali, second edition, reviewed by Hussein Al-Astadouli and Ali Akbar Al-Ghafari, Beirut, Dar Al-Mufid (publishing house), 1414 AH, p. 60.
(5)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 73, p. 5.
 
 
 
 
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 The accounts of the Noble Tradition confirmed that handshake mirrors positive results such as the removal of the heart negative feelings of the believers towards each other. For example, the Noble Tradition reads, "Shake hands, a handshake removes the rancor of the hearts."(1)

6- Goodness of Saying
The Noble Tradition called on the selection of good words when communicating with the others based on the goodness of saying, "Dutifulness mirrors easiness, cheerfulness and lenient saying."(2) The goodness of saying is an essential issue concerning the reality of the good nature of the human. For example, Ibn Mahboub quoted one of his companions who quoted Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) to have said, "I asked him: what is the limit of good nature? He said: that you soften your wing, sweeten your words, and meet your brother with cheerfulness."(3)
 
The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) explained the great value of the goodness of saying on several occasions. Here are a number of these sayings:
 
"A good word is a charity."(4)
 
"Beware the fire by simply offering a piece of dates; 
 

(1)    AD-DAINOURI, Ibn Qutaibah, Oyoun Al-Akhbar (The fountains of News), third edition, Beirut, Dar Al-Kutub Al-‘Elmiyyah (publishing house), 2003, vol. 3, p. 41.
(2)    IBN ABI AD-DUNIA, Abdullah, As-Samt wa Aadab Al-Lisan (Silence and Manners of Talking), first edition, reviewed by Abi Isaac Al-Huwaini, Beirut, Dar Al-Kitab Al-Arabi, 1410 AH, p. 173.
(3)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 103.
(4)    AL-HORR AL-‘AMILY, Muhammad Bin Al-Hassan, Wasa’el ash-Shi‘a (The Means of the Shiites), vol. 5, p. 232.
 
 
 
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 if the one of you cannot find it then by a goodly saying."(1)

"In paradise, there are chambers, the outsides of which can be seen from inside and the insides of which can be seen from outside. Of my nation, it is dwelled by whosoever sweetened the words and offered food."(2)
 
In contrast with the goodness of saying, Islam warned us forbidding the use of bad and obscene words. For example, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Entrance to paradise is forbidden to each slanderer."(3) He (pbuh&hh) was also quoted as saying, "Four will add harm to the harm of the residents of the fire: a man whose mouth drips with puss and blood… Hence, it is asked: Why must the furthest add harm to our harm? And it is answered: The furthest used to mimic; hence, he would examine each evil word that he attributes and circulates…"(4)
 
7- Do Not Interrupt a Spokesman
One of the good merits of a person is in listening to the other and avoid interrupting his conversation before he ends. Some accounts of the tradition narrated that interruption equals in value the hurting of the pride. For example, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Anyone 
 

(1)    AR-RAWANDI, Fadlullah, An-Nawadir (The Rarities), first edition, reviewed by Saeed Askari, Qum, Mo’assasat Dar Al-Hadith (1 house), publishing date unknown, p. 86.
(2)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad Bin Ali, Al Amali, first edition, reviewed and published by Mo’assasat Al-Ba’thah, Beirut, 1417 AH, p. 407.
(3)    AL-MUTTAQI AL-HINDI, Alaa Ed-Dean, Kanz Al-Ummal (The Treasure of Workers), vol. 3, p. 598.
(4)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad Bin Ali, Al-Amali, p. 677.
 
 
 
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 who interrupts the conversation of his Muslim speaking brother it is as if he hurts his pride."(1)

8- Calling by the Finest of Names
The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) mentioned issues that can help exchange affection among the people and purify the love of a person towards his Muslim brother. For example, "That he meets him with a smile if he meets him… and call him by the names that he mostly loves."(2) In other words, avoid calling him by a name that he dislikes. One must choose the name, nickname or proper title that the other loves to be called by.
 
9- Avoid Confidential Conversation
Some of the reports of the tradition warned about a negative habit that might harm the attendant, two people talking confidentially while the third is unable to hear them. For example, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "If the people counted three, the two of them should not talk confidentially without their third partner; this issue saddens and harms him."(3)
 
10- Keeping Secrets
The holy tradition stressed on the secrecy of the content of a session regarding it as a trust. Therfore, telling a secret becomes a treason. For example, the Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as say, "Sessions are a trust. Telling your 
 

(1)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 660.
(2)    Same previous source, p. 643.
(3)    Same previous source, p. 660.
 
 
 
 
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 brother’s secret is a treason, avoid it."(1)

11- Choosing the right place for sitting
The accounts of the Tradition described in detail the place that a person must choose to sit when joining a session. There are two ways:
Firstly: That a session be held in his honor and that people be invited to it. In this form, it would be better for him not to reject the invitation considering that this issue comes in the form where he respects the brother who invited him. The owner of the house is the person who has the best knowledge of the suitable place for his guest as well as the places for the rest of the seated guests plus his household.
 
Secondly: If he were not shown the way to sit in a particular place, it would be nearer (most worthy) for him to choose the place where the session ends regardless of its position and as long as it provides a space for him and others.
 
For example, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Once the people have taken their seats, and a man calls his brother while widening the space in his seated place, he must go to him; it is a grace with which he dignified his brother. If no one shows him the way, let him examine the most spacious place that he can find and 
 
 

(1)    AL-TOUSI, Muhammad Bin Al-Hassan, Al Amali, first edition, Qum, reviewed by the Department of Islamic Studies, Dar Ath-Thaqafah (publishing house), 1414 AH, p. 537.
 
 
 
 
 
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 sit in it."(1) Another Prophetic Tradition reads, "If the one of you attends a session, let him sit where the session ends."(2)

On the other hand, Allah the Exalted called on those attendants to make room in assemblies for the new arrivals. Allah the Exalted said, "O ye who believe! When it is said unto you, make room in assemblies then make room; Allah will make way for you (hereafter)."(3)
 
Moreover, the accounts of the Noble Tradition called on considering politeness concerning the seating method. It must be set in the form that suits the dignity of the attendants. For example, one of the goodly patterns of the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was described as, "He was never observed stretching his legs before a seated person of his."(4)
 
Final Word
The previous discussion and other examples of conduct array in the frame of formality. However, Islam gave the issue another higher dimension of value. In fact, some of these conducts were categorized to describe the good nature that represent half the value of the religion. For example, in his reply to the essence of the good nature, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "That you soften your wing, sweeten your words, and meet your brother with cheerfulness."(5)
 
 

(1)    Same previous source, p. 393.
(2)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 16, p. 240.
(3)    The holy Quran, chapter 58, verse 11.
(4)    AL-MAJLISI, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwar (Oceans of Light), vol. 16, p. 236.
(5)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 2, p. 103.
 
 
 
 
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 LESSON 12: 

Public Order
 
 
Lesson Objectives
1-         The student must learn that Islam stressed on the necessity of public order in the society.
 
2-         Must read a number of the Islamic legislations pertaining to causes relating to public order such as cleanliness, beauty, and the preservation of natural resources.
 
 
 
 
 
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 The holy Quran tells us about the magnificent system or order of Allah the Exalted in several verses such as:

"And the sun runneth on unto a resting-place for him. That is the measuring of the Mighty, the Wise."(1) "And for the moon We have appointed mansions till she return like an old shrivelled palm-leaf."(2) "And of His signs is this: He showeth you the lightning for a fear and for a hope, and sendeth down water from the sky, and thereby quickeneth the earth after her death..."(3) Etc…
 
In order to identify with the cosmic order, Islam established the pillars of regulation regarding the life of mankind. Therefore, Imam Ali (pbuh) says in his commandment to his sons, Al-Hassan and Al-Hussein, "I command you and all my children, household and whoever receives this letter of mine with the fear of Allah and the regulation of your affairs."(4)
 
The regulatory system begins with the individual order and continues with the social order. Islam stressed on these two important issues. Among the examples found 
 

(1)    The holy Quran, chapter 36, verse 38.
(2)    The holy Quran, chapter 36, verse 39.
(3)    The holy Quran, chapter 30, verse 24.
(4)    IBN ABI TALIB, Imam Ali (PBUH), Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), vol. 3, p. 76.
 
 
 
 
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 in the Hadith (Tradition) concerning the regulation of the human affairs individualistically is in the words quoted from Imam Al-Kathim (pbuh), which read, "Make effort dividing your time into four hours (parts): One hour to secretly converse with Allah. One hour to make a living. One hour to socialize with the trusted brothers who will help you identify your flaws and act with an inward loyalty. And one hour during which you retire to your lusts in an unforbidden manner."(1)

Public Order
Islam’s call to social order is notable in several titles to which the Islamic scripts invited such as:
1- Avoid Hurting People
The nature of the social life where the interests of the people interlace necessitates the enaction of laws that aim to favor the public interest of the majority of people such as civil regulations, traffic law, and other laws designed by the foundations, etc… Islam established the basic principle of these laws, which is the avoidance of causing harm to others. The Prophetic Tradition stressed on this issue when the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) said, "Neither harm nor mischief concerning Islam."(2) For example, all people share Public streets. Therefore, it is forbidden to cause harm 
 
 

(1)    Al-HARRANI, Ibn Shu’bah, Tuhaf Al-Uqul ‘An Aal Ar-Rasoul (Great Minds of the Household of the Messenger), p. 409.
(2)    AL-HORR AL-‘AMILY, Muhammad Bin Al-Hassan, Wasa’el ash-Shi‘a (The Means of the Shiites), vol. 26, p. 14.
 
 
 
 
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 to the pedestrians while on it, such as a person parking his car in the form that causes traffic jam, or a pedestrian throwing objects that cause harm to other pedestrians. The Islamic law forbade this issue; rather, it may necessitate a guarantee of compensation by the ill doer for the harms inflicted. For instance, one report narrates Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) being asked about an object placed to obstruct the way of the Muslims such as in the case of a riding animal that startles and throws its rider off its back due to an annoying obstacle. He (pbuh) said, "Anything that causes harm to the path of the Muslims, its owner guarantees the compensation for any harm inflicted on him."(1) A person who parks his vehicle in the street and leaves it in the form that causes traffic jam may result in a series of damages that he must consider as a liability, such as:

·           Burning extra fuel by the other cars because of his obstructing vehicle.
·           The delay of some people concerning their jobs, schools and universities.
·           Annoying the people due to the horns of the cars.
 

(1)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad Bin Ali, Man La Yahdoroho Al-Faqih (Unattended by the Jurisprudent), vol. 4, p. 155
 
 
 
 
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 ·           The possible increase of illnesses due to such jam, such as tensions relating to the nervous system.

·           The consequences that might arise because of the rushing cars.
 
In contrast to the previous discussion, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) called on doing that which could help benefit the people on public streets. For example, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "A man went to heaven simply because he removed a branch of thorns that was in the path of Muslims."(1) He (pbuh&hh) was also quoted as saying, "Jesus son of Mary (pbuh) passed by a grave with its dead suffering simply to pass later again while it was no longer suffering. So he said: Lord, I passed by this grave last year with its dead suffering and I passed this year while it is not suffering! Hence, Allah the Exalted inspired him saying: O spirit of Allah, he left behind a righteous son who fixed a road and provided shelter to an orphan; hence, I forgave him due to the deed of his son."(2) He (pbuh&hh) was also quoted as saying, "Whosoever builds on the surface of a road a shelter for a pedestrian Allah will resurrect him like a highborn dressed in pearls and jewels with his face illuminating to the people in assembly."(3)
 
2- Public Cleanliness
Islam encouraged both personal and public cleanliness. For instance, the Prophetic Tradition narrates, "Allah is 
 

(1)    Same previous source, p. 49.
(2)    AL-HORR AL-‘AMILY, Muhammad Bin Al-Hassan, Wasa’el ash-Shi‘a (The Means of the Shiites), vol. 16, p. 338.
(3)    AL-HORR AL-’AMILY, Muhammad Bin Al-Hassan, Hidayat Al-Ummah Ela Ahkam Al-Aemmah (Guiding the Nation to the Rules of the Leaders), first edition, Mashhad, Majma’ Al-Buhuth Al-Islamiyah (Research Center), 1414 AH, vol. 5, p. 602.
 
 
 
 
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 kind and loves kindness, clean and loves cleanliness."(1) Cleanliness is a part of the merits that Islam stressed upon considering that:

A. It is a part of the ethics of the Prophets (pbut). For example, Imam ar-Ridha (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Part of the ethics of the Prophets is cleaning oneself."(2)
 
B. It is one of the elements of the intellect. In his commandment to Hisham Bin Al-Hakam on the subject of counting the elements of the intellect, Imam Al-Kathim (pbuh) said, "Cleanliness opposes Dirtiness."(3)
 
C. It is one of the pillars of the Islamic structure that reflects upon the hereafter. For instance, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Clean yourselves anyway you can; Allah the Exalted erected Islam based on cleanliness, and no entry is allowed into heaven save the clean."(4)
 
Domestic Cleanliness
After its emphasis on personal cleanliness, the reports arrived from the Prophet (pbuh&hh) and his household 
 

(1)    AR-RAYSHAHRI, Muhammad, Mizan Al-Hikmah (The Scale of Wisdom), vol. 4, p. 3302.
(2)    Same previous source, p. 3022.
(3)    AS-SADDOUQ, Muhammad, ‘Elal Ash-Sharae’ (Reasons behind Laws), printing edition unknown, reviewed by Muhammad Sadiq Bahr Al-Ulum, holy Najaf, Manshourat Al-Maktaba Al-Haidariyah (publishing house), 1966, vol. 1, p. 115.
(4)    AR-RAYSHAHRI, Muhammad, Mizan al-Hikmah (The Scale of Wisdom), vol. 4, p. 3303.
 
 
 
 
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 (pbut) stressing on the significance of giving attention to the cleanliness of homes with accuracy. We can read this issue in the following sayings:

Quoted from the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh), "Do not keep the trash inside your homes overnight, and take it outside during daylight. It is the seat of evil."(1)
 
Quoted from Imam Ali (pbuh), "Clean your houses from the spider webs; leaving it inside the house brings poverty."(2)
 
Quoted from Imam Al-Baqir (pbuh), "Brushing the houses removes poverty."(3)
 
Quoted from Imam Ali (pbuh), "Do not shelter the dirt behind the door."(4)
 
Street Cleaning
The narrations condemned those who harm the people by throwing the garbage on the streets and public roads. For instance, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Whosoever fowls a paved road of the roads of Muslims, on them is the curse of Allah and of angels and of men combined."(5)
 

 

(1)    Same previous source.
(2)    Same previous source.
(3)    Same previous source, p. 3302.
(4)    Same previous source, 
(5)    AL-HAKIM AN-NAISABOURI, Abu Abdullah, Al-Mustadrak (The Supplement), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Yusuf Abdul Rahman Al-Mar’ashli, publisher unknown, publishing date unknown, vol. 1, p. 186.
 
 
 
 
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 In another part of the Prophetic Tradition, the Prophet (pbuh&hh) said, "Beware the three curses: Fowling in the resources, shades, and the middle of the road."(1)

Moreover, the narrations encouraged the removal of objects that harm Muslims from public streets. For example, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Each Muslim is obliged to a charity each day. Someone asked: Who can bear this issue? He (pbuh&hh) said: Your removal of harm from the road is a charity."(2)
 
3- The Beauty of Scenery
In addition to cleanliness, Islam encouraged beautification and the demonstration of beauty on both the individual and social levels. For instance, the Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "Allah is beautiful and loves beauty."(3) Moreover, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Allah the Exalted loves beauty and beautification."(4)
 
4- Botanical Preservation and Growth
The noble traditional accounts stressed on this issue. For example:
 
The Noble Prophet (pbuh&hh) was quoted as saying, "
 

(1)    AL-HAKIM AN-NAISABOURI, Abu Abdullah, Al-Mustadrak (The Supplement), publishing edition unknown, reviewed by Yusuf Abdul Rahman Al-Mar’ashli, publisher unknown, publishing date unknown, vol. 1, p. 167.
(2)    AR-RAYSHAHRI, Muhammad, Mizan al-Hikmah (The Scale of Wisdom), vol. 2, p. 1597.
(3)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 6, p. 438.
(4)    Same previous source.
 
 
 
 
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 Muslim planting a plant that feeds a man, an animal or a bird, will translate a charity in his favor."(1)

It is obvious that planting trees does not confine to the benefit of eating from them. Rather, they include that which equals a current charity because it purifies the environment. Therefore, some narrators called on plantation. For instance, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Plant and saw, I swear in Allah, no act of people is more permissible and kinder than it is."(2)
 
On the other hand, there are scripts that forbid the cutting of fruitful trees. For instance, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "Do not cut the fruit (Referring to fruitful trees) or Allah will pour doom on you."(3)
 
5- Animal Preservation
Islam called on the exploitation of the animal wealth while rejecting it to be treated as a method of amusement and entertainment. For instance, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was asked about the man going hunting and traveling for one or two days: Does he shorten his prayer or practice it in full? He (pbuh) said, "If he departs aiming for his aliment and the ailment of his children, he must break the fasting and shorten (the prayer); and if he departs asking surplus then no, and there is no dignity (in such)."(4)
 

(1)    AL-BRUJARDI, Hussein, Jame’ Ahadith as-Shi’a (The Volume of the Shi’a Accounts), publishing edition unknown, Qum, Al-Matba’ah Al-“Elmiyyah (Printery), 1399 AH, vol. 18, p. 431.
(2)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 5, p. 260.
(3)    AL-HORR AL-‘AMILY, Muhammad Bin Al-Hassan, Wasa’el ash-Shi‘a (The Means of the Shiites), vol. 19, p. 39.
(4)    AL-KULAINI, Muhammad Bin Ya’coub, al-Kafi (The Sufficient), vol. 5, p. 260.
 
 
 
 
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 6- Water Preservation

Islam called on avoiding prodigality concerning the use of water. For instance, Imam as-Sadiq (pbuh) was quoted as saying, "The lowest of prodigality is in throwing the remainder inside the pot."(1)
 
 
Final Word
The order and regulations of the community spring out from the respect and consideration of one human towards another equally as one considers and respects his own self. Perhaps, the words that point out this value is in the saying quoted from Imam Ali (pbuh), which reads, "Make yourself as a balance between you and the others; therefore, whatever you like for yourself, like for others, and whatever you dislike to happen to you, spare others from such happenings."(2)
 
 

 

(1)    Same previous source, vol. 6, p. 460.
(2)    IBN ABI TALIB, Imam Ali (PBUH), Nahjul Balagha (Peak of Eloquence), vol. 3, p. 
 
 
 
 
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