THE COMPANIONS OF KISA

May Allah curse the prejudice, jealousy and enemity of Ahle Bayt (a.s.), as no indisputable fact of Islam remained certain, and at every place the faithfuls of the government created doubts. And who is ignorant of it that, Aayat-e-Tat-heer, is in the glory of the pure Ahle Bayt (a.s.), and by Ahle Bayt it means the five noble souls. But in the olden and modern times such persons are, by all means born whose function is to suspect realities and to devote the certainties of Islam at the alter of doubts. They wanted to take the help the matter of before and after part of the verse and connect it to the wives of the Prophet (s.a.w.a), and in the meantime have confessed this also that, the circle of Ahle Bayt (a.s), is far more expensive than wives, and in it there is also place for Hazrat Ali, Janab-e-Fatemah, Hasan and Husayn (a.s). As after which such a group was born which emiminated this possibility too, and in his crude ideas established the proofs that the application of Ahle Bayt cannot be to the infallible, by it is meant only the wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a). And prepared one or two narrations also in which the narrators have tried to relate the Ahle Bayt to wives, and have overlooked all those Traditions against this, in which there was no place for doubt or suspicion, on the contrary stopping Umme Salamah itself was a proof that, wives are not a part of it. Anyway, it is the impertinence of times, as the wife of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a), who tried to enter was stopped by the Messenger (s.a.w.a), and in the mark or sign of the one who was not even present at this moment, was made a participant of the verse from the unknown. Now, for a study, the references of Ahmad ibne Hambal and his contemporary or the later authentic scholars of the Ahle Sunnat are being quoted, who have mentioned Hazrat Ali, Fatemah, Hasan, Husayn (a.s.) name by name and the revelation of the verse in their glory after which there remains no place for any doubt or refutation:

1. Hafiz Abu Dawood al Teyasi Sulayman ibne Dawood ibne Jaroodal Basri, author of the book Musnad vol. 8 page 274, published Hyderabad.

2. Allahah Hafiz Abu Abdullah Ahmad ibne Mohammed ibne Hambal Shaybani, author of Musnad, vol. 1, page 331, published at Cairo.

3. Hafiz Mohammed ibne Eisa Tirmiza, author of Sahih Tirmizi, as traced by ibne Hajar.

4. Hafiz Mohammed ibne Usman ibne Abi Shayba Kufi, author of Musnad, ref. Of Falakun Najaat, page 43.

5. Allahmah Abu Abdir Rehman Ahmad ibne Sho’aybun Nisaai, author of Khasaais, p.4.

6. Hafiz Mohammed ibne Jurayr Tabari, author of Tafseer, vol. 22, p.5. printed in Egypt.

7. Hafiz Abdur Rehman ibne Abi Hatim Mohammadar Razi, ref. of Falakun Najaat.

8. Sulayman ibne Ahmad ibne Ayyub Tabrani, author of M’ojam, ref. of Sawaaiq.

9. Allamah Jasaas. Author of Ehkamul Qur’an.

10. Hafiz Hakim Abu Abdillah Mohammed ibne Abdullah Neshapoori, author of Mustadrak. vol. 2, p.416. v. 3, p.146. v. 3, p.159. v. 3, p.172.

11. Allamah Mohaddis Ahmad ibnal Husayn ibne Haroonal Muwayd billah, author of Amali page 23.

12. Hafiz Ahmad ibnil Husayn ibnal Ali al Bahiqi, author Sunan Kubra. v.2, p.149.

13. Allahamah Hafiz Abu Bakr Ahmad ibne Ali Thabital Khateebal Baghdadi, author of Tareekhal Baghdad, vol.10.

14. Allahamah Hafiz Abu Umro Yusuf ibne Abdullah ibne Moha. Ibne Abdul Birral Andesi, author of Isti’ab vol.2, p.460.

15. Allahamah Mohaddis Sheikh Abul Hasan Ali ibne Ahmadal wahidi Neshapoori, author of Asbabun Nuzool, page.267.

16. Hafiz Delmi. Author of Kitab Firdaws, referred by Sawaaiq.

17. Hafiz Husayn ibne Sa’udash Shafe’I al Baghwa, author of Masaabehus Sana v.2, p.204.

18. Allamah Mehmood ibne Umar az Zamakhshari, author of Kashshaaf v.1, p.193.

19. Allamah Qazi Abu Bakr Mohd ibne Abdullah ibne Mohd ibne Abdullah al Shubayli, author Ehkamul Qur’an. v.2, p.166.

20. Abul Muwayd Muwaffaq ibne Ahmad Akhtab Khutaba Khawaarazm. Manaqib p.35

21. Allamah Ali ibnil Husayn ibne Hebtullah Damishqi, famous as ibne Asaakir, Author of Tareekhe Damishq.

22. Allamah Fakhruddin Raazi, author of Tafseere M’aroof.

23. Abul Sa’aadaat Mubarak ibne Mohd ibne Atheeral Jazri. Jami’ul Usool. v.1, p101.

24. Allamah Mohaddis Sheikh Hassan ibnal Husayn ibne Ali ibne Mohd ibne Batreeq al Asadi, author of Nahjul Uloom.

25. Allamah Sheikh Azaddin Abul Hasanb Ali ibne Athrreal Jazri. Bk. Usdul Ghaaba.

26. Allamah Yusufal Waa’ez ibne Abdullah al Mushtaharba ibne Jawzee. Tazkerah khawasul Aammah.

27. Allamah Ganji Shafe’I, author of Kifaayatut Talib.

28. Allamah Kamaluddin ibne Mohd ibne Talha Shafe’I, author of Matalibus So’ool.

29. Allamah Sheikh Abu Abdullah Mohd ibne Ahmad al Ansari al Qartabi, author of Jami’ul Ehkamil Qur’an.

30. Allamah Sheikh Yahya ibne Sharafuddin Damishqi, author of Sharaful Mahzab.

31. Allamah Qazi Bayzawi, author of Tafseer M’aroof.

32. Hafiz Mohibuddin Ahmad ibne Abdullah al Batri, author of Zakhaaerul Uqba.

33. Allamah Nasfi, author of Tafseere Madaarik.

34. Allamah Waliudiin Mohd ibne Abdullah al Khateeb al Amri Tabrizi, Mishkatul Masabih.

35. Allamah Jaleel Abul Fida Ismaeel ibne Katheer Damishki, author of Tafseere M’aroof.

36. Hafiz Nooruddin Ali ibne Abu Bakr al Haythmi, author, Majma’uz Zawaaid.

37. Sheikhul Imam Ali ibne Mohammed famous as ibne Sabbaagh al Maliki, al Fusool al Mohmmah.

38. Hafiz Shahabuddin Ahmad ibne Ali ibne Mohd ibne Mohd ibne Ali al Asqalani famous as ibne Hajar, author of Asaaba.

39. Shamsuddin Abu Abdillah Mohammed ibne Ahmad Zahabi, author Talkheesul Mustadrak.

40. Allamah Sheikh Hamid ibne Ahmad al Mohalla Imani, author of Hadaaeqal Waradiya.

41. Allamah Nizamuddin al Hasanal E’raj al Qummi, author of Tafseere Neshapoori.

42. Mohaddise Jaleel As Sayyaed Ataaullah al Husayni, author of Rawzatul Ahbab. 43. Allamah Jalaaluddin Suyuti, author of Durre Manthoor. 44. Allamah Muwarrikh Ghiyasuddin ibne Humamuddin, author of Habibus Sayr.

45. Ash Sheikh Ahmad ibno Hajaril Makki, author of Sawaaeqe Mohreqa.

46. Allamah Mir Mohd Saleh Kashfi, author of Manaaqibe Murtazwi.

47. Mohaddis Jaleel Alauddin ibne Abdul Malik Hisamuddin, famous by Muttaqi al Hindi, author of Muntakhab Kanzul Ummaal.

48. Allamah Mohammed Shurbayni al khateeb, author of Tafseere Siraje Muniir.

49. Allamah Sheikh Mohammad ash Shafe’I al Yamaani, author of Manzooma.

50. Allamah Mulla Ali al Qari, author of Sharhul Faqihil Akbar.

51. Author of Arjahul Mataalib.

52. Allamah Burhanuddin Shafe’I, author of Seeratul Jaleeya. 53. Mohaddith Zarqani, author of Kitabe Ma’roof.

54. Allamah Abdullah ibne Mohammad ibne Aamir. 55. Allamah Sheikh Mohammed Sabaan Misri, author of As’aafur Raaghebayn.

56. Allamah Qazi al Husayn ibne Ahmad ibnal Husayn al yamaani. Ar Rawza an Nazeer. 57. Allamah Sheikh Mohammed ibne Ali Shawkani, Fathul Qadir. 58. Shahaabuddin Mehmood al Aaloosi, author of Roohul Ma’aani.

59. Allamah Shablanji, author of Noorul Absar.

60. Allamah Siddiq Hasan Khan Bhopali, author of Tashreeful Bashar. 61. Sheikh Yusuf ibne Ismaeel Bahani, author of Sharaful Muwayd. 62. Allamah Abu Bakr ibne Shahabuddin ash Shafe’I Rashkatus Saadi.

63. Allamah Sayyid Alavi al Hidad Sadiqi Al Hazrami ash Shafe’I, author. Al Uqoolal Fasl.

Ayatollah Jawadi and Tahreef Quran

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Following is the summary (all not his exact words) of what Ayatollah Javadee Amulee (Hafazah-uL-LAH) said during his lecture about ‘Tahreef-e-Quraan’:
“The Holy Quran is protected from any alteration, and is our hands without any addition or deduction (due to many arguments established by him).

Neither the Sunnis have any right to say that Shias believe its contents were changed, nor the Shias have any right to do this with respect to Sunnis. Because the highest ranking scholars and researchers of both the sects, strongly reject this view and only a few, from both the sides, have said otherwise. And if this discussion or exchanges of accusations continue, the one thing in danger would be the Holy Quran’s authority itself, and if this happens it will leave the religion empty handed ’cause the most basic source of Islam is Al-Quran Al-Kareem”.

———————————————————————————————

Any one who believes that there has been an addition, omission or
interpolation in the Qur'an is indeed misguided, and if he persists in that
belief, he commits a sin by dishonouring the word of Allah.

Scholars of both Sunni and Shia schools have written about the change
having occurred. They have been critically studied and their errors have
been made manifest. Asgharali M M Jaffer

The Shi`ah ‘ulama’ and maraji’ al-taqlid generally reject the belief in tahrif. The works that have been written on this subject are so many that mentioning them is not an easy task and would need a separate section. Now, for the sake of information, it will suffice to mention some of them below:

1. Ayatullah Riya’ ad-Din Araki, Al-Usul, vol. 3, p. 93;

2. Ayatullah Musawi Bujnurdi, Muntahi’l-Usul, vol. 2, p. 81;

3. Firuzabadi, ‘Inayah al-Usul, vol. 3, p. 120; and

4. Akhund Khurasani, Kifayah al-Usul, vol. 2, p. 63.

Ayatullah al-‘Uzma Sayyid Abu’l-Qasim al-Khu’i says in this regard: Tahrif of the Qur’an in the sense of the deletion of some of its verses or words is a fictitious affair as there is no truth in it.

“We have sent Quran, and We are its Protector and Caretaker.” [Surah Hijr 15:9]

REF

Breaking up relations… QAT-E-RAHMI

Breaking up relations

The seventh Greater Sin is the breaking up of relations with one’s kith and kin. This is clearly verified by Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) as well as Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.), Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) and Imam Muhammad al-Taqi (a.s.). The Quran has also decreed Hell-fire and the curse of Allah upon those who cut off ties with their relatives.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

"Beware of those who cut off relations because I have found them cursed thrice in the Quran."

1) Surah Baqarah, Ayat No.27

"Whoever break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder what Allah has ordered to be joined, and make mischief in the land, these it is that are the losers."

In the Quranic terminology when the word Khaasir (loser) is used it denotes the one who is to be in loss, or rather the one who is cursed.

2) Surah Raad, Ayat No.25

"And those who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder which Allah has ordered to be joined and make mischief in the land; (as for) those, upon them shall be curse and they shall have the evil (issue) of the abode."

3) Surah Muhammad, Ayat No.22-23

"But if you held command, you were sure to make mischief in the land and cut off the ties of kinship. Those it is whom Allah has cursed, so He has made them deaf and blinded their eyes."

The Denouncement of "Cutting Off Kinship Ties" in the Traditions

Numerous traditions have reached us in this regard. A few of these reports are quoted here:

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) states:

There is destruction in enmity, especially with the relatives. I do not mean the destruction of the law but rather the destruction of the religion. (Enmity among people not only harms the hair and the body, but it also destroys one’s religion.

(Al Kafi, Chapter of Qate-Rahem)

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

"Protect yourself from ‘Haliqa’ for it destroys the people." The narrator asked "What is ‘Haliqa’", Imam replied, "To sever relations."

The Worst Deed in the Eyes of Allah

A man approached the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and enquired, "What is the worst deed in the eyes of Allah?"

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied,

"To attribute partners to Allah."

The man then asked, "After this which is the worst sin?"

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:

"To sever relations".

After this the same person asked, "After this which is the worst sin?"

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied:

"To enjoin the evil and to forbid the good (deeds)."

(Al Kafi)

Goodness in Return of Ill-Treatment

A man complained to Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) about his relatives. Imam (a.s.) said,

"Swallow your anger and behave nicely with your relatives."

The man said, "My relatives give me all sorts of troubles and there is hardly any cruelty they have not committed upon me."

The Imam (a.s.) told him,

"Do you also want to cut off relation with them? If you also become like them, then Allah will never have mercy for you."

Allama Majlisi (r.a.) says, "If one behaves kindly to the relatives who are bad, they would at one time or the other regret their behaviour. Then the Mercy of Allah will be upon both of them. If the ill-behaved relatives do not rectify their ways then at least the Mercy of Allah will be upon the one who continues kindness to them (the relatives).

It is very clear to us that we must not sever relations even with those relatives who are unkind to us and who want to cut off the relationships.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:

"Do not sever relation with your kindered even if they cut off relations with you."

(Al Kafi)

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) states:

"There are three sins whose punishment has to be borne in this world itself: The first is injustice, the second is breaking of relationships and the third is false oath."

(Al Kafi)

Life is Shortened

Hazrat Ali (a.s.) says in one of his sermons: -

"I seek refuge from the sins which cause the hastening of death."

Someone asked him, "Maula, Is there any sin by which the death is hastened?" He replied,

"Yes, the breaking up of the family ties."

Families who live with co-operation and care for each other are given increase in sustenance by Allah and those who remain divided and are aloof from each other, Allah removes the bounty from their sustenance and their lifespan shortens even if they are all pious (in other respects).

Death Due to Qat-e-Rahmi

A companion of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) complained about the ill-treatment given to him by his relatives,

"My own brother as well as my paternal cousins are harassing me. They have snatched the house that rightfully belonged to me and have given me only a room to live in. If I complain to the government, I shall be able to recover all my property.

Imam (a.s.) said,

"Be patient, everything will be alright."

The man returned satisfied. In the year 131 A.H. there was a terrible plague. All the relatives of the man perished. Thereafter when he arrived before Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.), he (Imam a.s.) asked,

"How are your relatives?"

The man said, "By Allah all of them are dead." The Imam (a.s.) said,

"Their deaths have been due to their ill-treatment and Qat-e-Rahmi of relatives like you, not recognizing your right and cutting off relationships."

Bereft of Divine Mercy

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) relates from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that he said:

"When people claim to possess knowledge but do not act upon it, when they claim to profess love but harbour malice in their hearts and sever relations, in such a condition Allah removes mercy from them and makes them undiscerning to logic.

(Behaarul Anwaar)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:

"Among the various sins, injustice and cutting off relationships are such that one who commits these is punished in this world itself. Apart from this the punishment for these sinners has already been prepared in the Hereafter."

(Mustadrak)

At another occasion the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has informed:

"One who severs relationships will not enter Heaven."

Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ansari (r.a.) has related from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) that he quotes the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as follows:

"Jibraeel (a.s.) has informed me that even at a distance of a thousand years man will be able to smell the fragrance of Heaven , but one who disobeys his parents, the one who breaks ties with the kith and kin, or the aged adulterer will not be able to smell it. In fact, the fragrance of Paradise will be felt even at a distance of two thousand years, but not by those who disobey their parents and those who break ties with the relatives."

The exalted Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.s.) has also informed that the invocation of the person who breaks family ties shall not be answered.

"In the chapter on the merits of Shab-e-Qadr the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has stated that in the night of Qadr Allah forgives the sins of all the people except of those who drink wine, who disobey their parents, and those who break ties with the relatives or harbour enmity towards the believers."

Kindness to Relatives is Obligatory

The Almighty Allah says in the Quran:

"…and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, by Whom you demand one of another (your rights), and (to) the ties of relationship;"

(Surah Nisa 4:1)

According to Imam al-Baqir (a.s.), the notable point in this verse is that the fear of Allah is mentioned alongwith the fear one should have about breaking relations with kith and kin.

In the book Al Kafi there is a tradition from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.). He says:

"The relatives in this Ayat, include all, and not only the nearest ones. Certainly Allah has ordered kindness towards all the relatives. Allah has given so much importance to this deed that he mentions it with his exalted name."

Kindness to Relatives is Commanded in the Same Way as Namaz and Zakat

It is related from Imam Ali-ar-Reza (a.s.):

"Allah has ordered three things along with three others, in the glorious Quran:

1) Namaz is ordered along with Zakat. If one offers Namaz but does not pay Zakat (when it is due upon him) then his Namaz will not be accepted.

2) Allah has ordered thankfulness to Himself along with the thankfulness to one’s parents. If one is not grateful to one’s parents it is as if he has not been grateful to Allah.

3) Allah has ordered piety along with kindness to ones kith and kin. Then one who is not kind towards the relatives is not pious."

Rights of the Relatives and the Ease in Reckoning

The Creator of the Universe, Almighty Allah remarks in the Holy Quran:

"Certainly Allah orders equity, kindness (to people) and the giving (of what they need) to the relatives."

(Surah Nahl 16:90)

In Surah Raad is the following verse:

"And those who join that which Allah has bidden to be joined and have awe of their Lord and fear the evil reckoning."

(Surah Raad 13:21)

The expression ‘reckoning’ in this Ayat denotes the accounting of one’s deeds with regard to his duty of kindness towards relatives. This Ayat shows that kindness towards the kith and kin shall be an important factor to ease the difficulty of the accounting for one’s deeds.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) explains as follows:

"Kindness to relatives makes the reckoning (of the Hereafter) easy."

(Behaarul Anwaar)

The Inimical Relative of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.)

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) made a will in his last moments:

"Pay seventy Dinars to my paternal cousin Hasan Aftas."

He was asked, "Master you are making a gift to someone who has attacked you with a sword?"

Imam (a.s.) replied,

"Do you think I should not be included among those concerning whom the Quran says:

‘And those who join that which Allah has bidden to be joined and have awe of their Lord and fear the evil reckoning"

(Surah Raad: 13:21)

Allah has created Paradise, purified it and made it fragrant. Its fragrance is felt at a distance of two thousand years (of travel). But the one who disobeys his parents or breaks ties with the kin will be so far away from Paradise, that he will not even experience its fragrance.

(Behaarul Anwaar)

Traditions Regarding Kindness to Relatives

There are numerous traditions to the fact that Sileh Rahmi is obligatory. In one of such traditions Imam Baqir (a.s.) relates from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that he said:

"I will (command) all the people of my Ummat, whether present or not, and those generations which are to come till the Qiyamat, who are still in the loins of their father and wombs of their mothers, that they should be kind to their relatives (and visit them) even if they live at a distance of a year’s journey. Because kindness to relatives is one of the commands which is made an integral part of the faith (Imaan)."

One Who is Kind to the Relatives Will be Able to Cross the Bridge of Siraat Smoothly

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) relates from Hazrat Abu Zar Ghaffari (r.a.) who quotes the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) to have remarked:

‘Siraat (the bridge passing over Hell that everyone has to cross) will have on each side (of it) ‘Sileh Rahmi’ and ‘Amanat’ (keeping a trust) one who performs the act of Sileh Rahmi and maintains trusts (Amanat) shall be able to cross the ‘Siraat’ easily and will reach Paradise.

None of the good deeds will benefit those who have broken ties with relatives or committed breach of trust. They will slip from the bridge of ‘Siraat’ and drop into Hell-fire.

(Al Kafi)

The Worldly Benefits of Kindness to Relatives

Numerous reports (Rawayaat) testify that Sileh Rahmi (kindness to one’s relatives) also has worldly benefits. Like, increase in the life-span, postponement of death, increase in the number of descendants etc., Hazrat Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) related three traditions from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in the court of Mansur Dawaniqi (l.a.).

1) "A man who has only three years of life remaining, performs an act of kindness to his relatives and Allah increases his life by thirty years. In the same way a man has thirty years of life but due to his breaking off the ties of relationship, his (remaining) life is decreased to three years. Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Whatever Allah wills He erases and whatever He wills He writes. It means that if Allah wills He can alter (certain destinies) due to one’s actions and deeds."

(Behaarul Anwaar)

2) "Fulfilling the rights of kith and kin increases the life-span even if the relative is a sinner."

(Behaarul Anwaar)

3) Sileh Rahmi (kindness to relatives) is a cause for the easy accounting of one’s deeds on the day of Qiyamat and it (Sileh Rahmi) protects one from sudden death."

Hazrat Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has told Maysar:

(O’ Maysar) the time of your death has arrived many times but Allah has postponed (your death) due to your kindness to the relatives and good behaviour towards them.

‘Sileh Rahmi’ Prolongs Life

It is reported from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said to Maysar,

"O Maysar, truly your lifespan has increased, what good actions have you been performing?"

Maysar replied, "In my youth I used to earn from my labours an amount of five Dinars a day and I used to give these to my maternal uncle."

Yaqoob Magribi was once in the presence of Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.). Imam (a.s.) said,

"You and your brother had an argument over the ownership of a house. So much so that you abused each other and broke up the ties of relationsip. Such a thing is not from my religion, neither is it from the religion of my ancestors. Then fear Allah , the One Who is without any partner. Fear the Divine Punishment. Due to this sin, death shall soon separate you (two). Your brother will die in this journey and you shall regret you actions."

The man asked, "May my life be sacrificed upon you, when will I die?"

Imam (a.s.) replied,

"Your death had also arrived but you did an act of kindness to your father’s sister (your aunt) and thus your lifespan increased by twenty years (or months)."

As Imam (a.s.) has predicted, Yaqoob’s brother died before he could reach home and was buried on the way.

(Safinatul Behaar)

The Benefits of Sileh Rahmi in the Hereafter

The practice of Sileh Rahmi (kindness to kith and kin) accrues worldly advantages, spiritual benefits and bounties of the Hereafter.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq says:

"Sileh Rahmi perfects the morals and encourages charity. When one performs Sileh Rahmi he has to be benevolent towards his relatives. The continuous practice of Sileh Rahmi brings refinement in his morals. In the same way repeated acts of kindness inculcate a benign and compassionate feeling in the person, and the soul is purified (from the sin of jealousy and enmity).

(Safinatun Behaar)

Sileh Rahmi Causes All the Good Deeds to be Accepted

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) states:

Sileh Rahmi (kindness to relatives) purifies deeds. Purification of deeds means, that the shortcomings in all the good deeds of a person practicing Sileh Rahmi are naturally compensated and all his good deeds are accepted by Allah.

It increases wealth, wards off difficulties and calamities. The accounting of your actions on the day of Qiyamat is made easy. Even the ordained time of death is postponed.

Extending Hand of Friendship Towards Those Who Want to Break the Ties (Qat-e-Rahem)

Imam Sajjad (a.s.) says:

There are two actions, towards which, a step taken is liked by Allah more than anything else. One is the step taken to join a row formed in the name of Allah (for Jehad or Namaz); the second is the one taken to extend a hand of friendship towards kith and kin who want to break relations.

(Behaarul Anwaar)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:

"Certainly there is a section in Paradise which can not be attained except by three kinds of people. First the just Imam, second, the one who does Sileh Rahmi, and third the one who has family (and children) but remains patient (in poverty and difficulties).

(Behaarul Anwaar)

The Reward of Sileh Rahmi

The reward for Sileh Rahmi has been described by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in one of his traditions. He says:

"When a person goes towards his relatives so that he can fulfill his rights with his life and his wealth, Allah bestows upon him the reward of a martyr at every step he takes. He (Allah) writes down forty thousand Hasana (the unit of Divine rewards) and He erases forty thousand of his sins and He elevates him by forty thousand grades. The person achieves the position of one who has worshipped Allah for a hundred years."

(Behaarul Anwaar)

At another place the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says, regarding the rewards for Sileh Rahmi:

"The reward for Sadaqah in the way of Allah is ten times, whereas the reward for giving a loan is twelve times (because in giving a loan the dignity of the Loanee is maintained). The reward for the good behaviour to the believing brothers is twelve times and the reward for Sileh Rahmi is twenty four times."

(Behaarul Anwaar)

The Meaning of Sileh Rahmi and Qat-e-Rahmi

The Shariat of Islam has not provided any fixed definition for these two terms. In this case the meaning as judged by common sense and reason must be accepted. We must consider all the relatives from the father’s side and mother’s side, irrespective of whether they are close or distant, to be our kith and kin who have a right on us. In the same way the children of the daughters and their descendant also come in this category as the Quran says:

‘Those who join together (do Sileh Rahmi) those things which Allah has commanded to be joined."

(Surah Raad 13:21)

Urwah Ibne-Yazeed asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) the meaning of this Ayat (Surah Raad 13:21), the Imam (a.s.) replied;

"You have been commanded to do Sileh Rahmi towards all your relatives. Whether they are Mehram (in the prohibited category of marriage) or Namehram, (not in the prohibited category) whether they are distant relatives or closely related, whether they are immediate relatives or separated by several generations."

(Al Kafi)

No Discrimination Between the Affluent and the Poor Relatives

It is generally observed that people tend to behave graciously towards their wealthy relatives and avoid the poor ones. The faith of Islam does not differentiate or discriminate between the rich and the poor relatives. What is important is the closeness of relationship. The more closely a person is related to you, the more important and necessary it is to fulfill his rights.

What is Sileh Rahmi?

Any behaviour which is generally regarded by people as good, kind, gracious or obligatory, when directed towards your relatives is Sileh Rahmi.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:

"The kindness towards relative and goodness towards the believing brother makes easy your reckoning on the Day of Judgement and protects you from sins. So you should be kind to your relatives and be good to your believing brothers even if it is as little as a sincere ‘salaam’ (salutation) or a hearty reply to a salaam."

(Al Kafi)

At another place the Sixth Imam (a.s.) remarks:

"Do Sileh Rahmi towards your relatives and the near ones even if it is just by offering a glass of water to them."

(Wasaelush Shia)

The Different Grades of Sileh Rahmi

Shaheed-e-Thani (r.a.) describes the grades of Sileh Rahmi in the following words:

It is deduced from the traditions that the highest stage of Sileh Rahmi is to consider the relatives as our own selves. That is, we should wish for our relations whatever we wish for ourselves.

The next stage of Sileh Rahmi is to help relatives overcome the difficulties and hardships they may be facing. Next, we must earnestly try to benefit our kith and kin as much as possible, in areas where they need help and of course in a manner permitted by religion. This benefit can be either economic or by way of making a person independent, by securing for him a job or initiating him into a trade. It can also be in the form of a sound advice, spiritual guidance and religious teachings.

The fourth stage of Sileh Rahmi is towards those people who are dependents of our relatives. For example, the brother’s wife or the step-mother.

The simplest kind of Sileh Rahmi consists of salutations, a lesser kind is the conveying of Salaam (through someone). The smallest kind of Sileh Rahmi is to pray for relatives in their presence and to encourage them.

The Difference Between Breaking Relations With Nearest Kin and With Distant Relatives

Qat-e-Rahmi and Sileh Rahmi with respect to the close kith and kin could be different from that with the distant relatives. It is possible that a certain action or attitude towards close relative would amount to Qat-e-Rahmi but the same towards a distant relative may not be regarded as such. Also a certain behaviour with a knowledgeable and a pious relative may be termed as Qat-e-Rahmi but with respect to other relatives it may not be so. It is best to refrain from every act that could possibly amount to Qat-e-Rahmi. We must observe extreme precaution in this matter lest we bring upon ourselves the severe punishment of a Greater Sin.

Arrogance Towards Poor Relatives is Qat-e-Rahmi

The ones most guilty of Qat-e-Rahmi are the rich and affluent who do not acknowledge their connections with their poor relatives and deal with them with pride and arrogance, while they are polite and kind to their wealthy relatives. To neglect one’s duty and give importance to material possessions, contradicts the laws of Islam both in the letter and spirit.

What is the Least Amount of Sileh Rahmi That is Wajib

Every kind of Sileh Rahmi, the failure of which is viewed as a sort of Qat-e-Rahmi, is obligatory for us. For example, if a person is unable to fulfill his needs due to poverty or is unable to get medical aid for any reason, or is in debt; and he approaches a rich relative for help; it is obligatory on the rich person to help him. Even if the rich person is not approached directly but comes to know the predicament of his poor relative, it is obligatory on him to help this less fortunate relative. The wealthy man who fails to carry out these obligations will be guilty of Qat-e-Rahmi.

It is however not obligatory for a person to help his poor relative if he himself is not in a sound position to do so and fears that his finances will be constrained or that he himself may become a destitute. Also, Sileh Rahmi is not obligatory, if by doing so he will violate the laws of Islam. For example one need not pay a visit to a relative, if by doing so one would be in the midst of Na-mehram or may be compelled to hear music.

Sometimes we may be in doubt whether a particular action could be considered as Sileh Rahmi or Qat-e-Rahmi. In this case the reference point is to see how the people in general view it. The criteria for deciding that a particular behaviour is Sileh Rahmi or Qat-e-Rahmi therefore depends on the general feeling for it. If a small lapse like not saluting or non-compliance with a small request is Qat-e-Rahmi according to those around us, then it is so. By the same token if observing small niceties are considered as Sileh Rahmi, then it is so.

Sileh Rahmi With Certain Relatives is Mustahab if Not Wajib

At times some obligations towards distant relatives are not considered Sileh Rahmi and accordingly are not Wajib (obligatory) for us. But these obligations are bound to be Mustahab. In any event, it is best to conduct ourselves in a manner that we totally eliminate the risk of committing a Greater Sin.

Breaking Ties Even With Those Who Wish to Break Up Ties With us is Haraam

Although one would not be at fault from a worldly point of view, according to Shariat, breaking ties even with those who want to do so is Haraam.

It is natural for a person who, finding that his relative does not acknowledge him nor fulfills his rights, reacts by remaining aloof and allowing the bonds of kinship to be broken.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:

"Do not break ties with your relatives even if they break them with you."

The Order of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) Regarding Qat-e-Rahmi

Abdullah Ibne Sinan says that I pleaded to Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.), "I have a cousin, I do Sileh Rahmi (kindness) towards him and do not wish to break ties with him. But he wants to break ties with me. (Master!) I want to maintain relations but he wishes to sever them. Due to this behaviour of his I am also inclined to cut off ties with him. Can you permit me to do so?"

Imam (a.s.) replied:

"(Remember) If you behave kindly with this relative of yours inspite of his Qat-e-Rahmi (then it is possible that one day this will affect him and he too will begin to fulfill his obligations). In this way the Mercy of Allah shall be upon both of you. But if you break ties with this cousin of yours then neither of you shall be eligible for the Mercy of Allah."

(Al Kafi)

Goodness in Return of Ill-Treatment

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:

"If any one betrays trust with you, do not betray trust with him or you will also become like him. Similarly, do not break ties with your relatives even if they do so."

(Behaarul Anwaar)

It means that if we reciprocate the malice of a relative we shall also be like him (i.e. sinful). In the same way the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has invited us to perform kindness in lieu of misdemeanor. He remarks, "Do you wish me to tell you (about those qualities) which shall benefit you in this world as well as Hereafter?"

The people said, "O Prophet of Allah! Please do so."

The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said,

"The three such qualities are, firstly, to do Sileh Rahmi with one who does Qat-e-Rahmi with you. Secondly, fulfill the needs of one who has deprived you. Thirdly, forgive those who have oppressed you."

(Al Kafi)

Breaking of Ties With the Muslim and the Kafir Relatives

The traditions of the Masumeen (a.s.) leave no doubt whatsoever that the fulfilling of the rights of one’s relatives is obligatory. Whether the relatives are Shia or Sunni, pious and religious or sinful and transgressors or whether they are Muslims or Kafirs. It is compulsory to perform Sileh Rahmi with them. Even if a Muslim relative apostises and becomes a kafir, his rights are not invalidated.

Ibne-e-Hamid enquired from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.): "My relatives are not of my religion. Are any of their rights upon me?" Imam (a.s.) gave the following reply:

"Why not? The rights of the relatives do not become invalid for any reason (even if the relatives are unbelievers) but if the relatives are Muslim then their rights are twice as much. One is due to their being relatives and second because of their being Muslim."

(Al Kafi)

Dawood Raqqi the Companion of the Sixth Imam (a.s.)

Dawood Raqqi says: "I was sitting in the company of Imam (a.s.) when Imam (a.s.) himself started speaking and said:

"Dawood, on Thursday the report of your deeds was presented to me and I saw among your deeds the Sileh Rahmi which you have performed with your cousin (brother), I was very pleased. However, I know that this Sileh Rahmi of yours will (because of his Qat-e-Rahmi towards you) be the cause of his early death."

(Behaarul Anwaar)

Dawood, the companion of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: "My cousin used to bear enmity towards me. He was an evil person. When I came to know about his destitution, I went to Makkah and gave him some money so that he could manage himself for some time. It was this action of mine about which Imam (a.s.) was informed and he told of it on my return to Madinah."

The Behaviour of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) Towards His Inimical Relatives

Certain relatives of the Holy Imam (a.s.) not only failed to acknowledge his rights but even bore enmity against him in their hearts. Although the enmity against Imam (a.s.) makes him a disbeliever. Yet Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) willed that seventy Dinars be given to Hasan Aftas. Hasan Aftas was an evil person and had such deep malice against Imam (a.s.) that he had once tried to attack Imam (a.s.) with a sword. The goodly behaviour of Imam (a.s.) towards his enemy was due entirely to his relationship.

Conversation of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) With Abdullah Hasani

Once Abdullah Hasani, a relative of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) met him on the streets of Madinah. He had a meaningless argument with Imam (a.s.) and spoke ill of him. Imam (a.s.) replied to this misbehavior in the best way. He went to the house of this person the very next day and said, "Yesterday I recited the following Ayat of the Quran,

"And those who joined that which Allah has bidden to be joined and have awe of their Lord and fear the evil reckoning.

(Surah Raad 13:21)

I became very fearful because of it." Abdullah understood that Imam (a.s.) was intending to correct him. He began to weep and said, "I have willfully forgotten this verse. After this, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and Abdullah embraced each other.

(Al Kafi)

The Grief of Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) on the Oppression upon the Descendants of Imam Hasan (a.s.)

When Mansoor Dawaniqi arrested and imprisoned Abdullah Mahej and other Hasani Sadaats, Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was grief-stricken. Although the Hasanis were opposed to Imam (a.s.), the Imam’s (a.s.) distress was such that he was confined to bed for twenty days. He wrote a lengthy letter to them to express his sorrow and to offer comfort and consolation. He sent this letter to the prison of Kufa and was in regular contact with them to know their well-being. Often he wept on their imprisonment.

It Does Not Matter if We Are Kind to Certain Relatives Who Are Not Muslim

It is simply clear by now that for Sileh-Rahem and Qate-Rahem, the Shariat does not distinguish between a Muslim and a Kafir or between a pious and a sinful person. At the same time we also know that Islam exhorts us to shun infidels and to dissociate with them. These contradicting views will cause some confusion in our minds and a word of explanation is in order.

Undoubtedly Islam orders us to detest kafirs, hence it is improper to behave well with them. Good behaviour towards a Kafir is an outward act and at a social level. While hating him for being an Kafir is how you feel and think about him at a spiritual level. Since Sileh-Rahem is obligatory, we must behave well with our Kafir relatives, but at no stage should we be oblivious of the fact that they are non-believers and deserve to be hated for being Kafirs.

Sileh Rahmi to Kafir Relatives Should Not Encourage Them in Their Disbelief

If Sileh Rahmi towards a Kafir relative, in some way, strengthens his conviction towards his own religious views; or if Sileh-Rahem towards a sinful relative provides him with opportunity and encouragement in his unlawful ways, then this kind of Sileh Rahmi is forbidden. In fact, if Qat-e-Rahem induces a disbeliever to introspect and reconsider his disbelief, then, Qat-e-Rahmi is obligatory on us. In the same way Qat-e-Rahem is obligatory if it discourages or dissuades a relative in his sinful ways.

Dissociating With the Enemies of Islam

There is another situation where Qat-e-Rahem is Wajib (obligatory). That is when the kafir or sinful relative harbors malice towards the religion of Islam. Allah says in Surah Mujadila:

"You shall not find people who believe in Allah and the latter day befriending those who act in opposition to Allah and His apostle, even though they were their (own) fathers, or their sons or their brothers or their kinsfolk…"

(Surah Mujadila 58:22)

This verse clearly indicates that one must abstain from Sileh Rahem towards even the closest of relatives if they are inimical towards Allah or the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) or the Islamic faith.

Sileh Rahmi is Wajib if the Relative is not Overtly Inimical

A Quranic verse from the chapter Mumtehana says:

"Allah does not forbid you from respecting those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion, and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness and deal with them justly, surely Allah loves the doers of justice. Allah only forbids you from respecting those who made war upon you on account of (your) religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up others in your expulsion, that you make friendship with them and whoever makes friends with them, these are the unjust."

(Surah Mumtehana 60:8-9)

Thus it could be concluded from the above two verses that if a relative does not openly oppress us or exhibit enmity, then Sileh Rahmi is Wajib towards him.

Sileh Rahmi is Wajib Even if One Has to Travel Far to Perform it

It is highly recommended to fulfill the duty of Sileh Rahmi even if one has to travel a long distance to do so. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) told Ali (a.s.):

"O Ali! Even if you have to travel for two years to do good to your parents, do it, even if you have to travel for one year to perform Sileh Rahmi to your kinsfolk, do so. Even if you have to journey a mile to see a sick person, do it. Even if you have to walk two miles to attend a funeral, do it. Even if you have to travel four miles to meet a believing brother, do it."

(Behaarul Anwaar)

Traditions have stated, as mentioned earlier, that for every step a person takes to visit his relatives, he gets forty thousand rewards, forty thousand of his sins are forgiven and his status is raised by forty thousand grades.

Maintain Cordial Relations But Do Not Reside Close to Each Other

Amirul Momineen (a.s.) writes a letter to one of his officers,

"Order the relatives to visit each other but ask them not to reside in the same neighborhood."

The late Scholar, Naraqi, explains in his book, ‘Meraj us Sadaat': "Staying next to each other breeds malice and jealousy and results in Qat-e-Rahem."

It is much easier for relatives to maintain harmony and goodwill by staying apart from each other. Proximity often results in friction and enmity.

There is a Persian proverb that says that distance and friendship are proportionate to each other.

Sileh Rahmi With the Spiritual Father

We are indeed indebted to our parents for our physical, mental and spiritual development. But mankind could not have been guided right, without a spiritual father. The essence of spiritual guidance which consists of rules of conduct as approved by Allah have come to us only through the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and it was the sustained and unsparing effort of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) which guided mankind to the path of salvation and eternal happiness. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was the spiritual father of the Muslims in his time and later Ali (a.s.) took his place. It is only through love and obedience to them that one can hope to achieve spiritual eminence.

This is corroborated by the statement of Allah to the effect that whoever enters the ‘fort’ (protection) of these exalted personalities, his spiritualism becomes evident in his behaviour. The doors of knowledge and awareness are open. The fountain of sagacity flows in his heart and the reality becomes manifest for him.

The Advent of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) – A Fabulous Blessing

It is not possible for a man to achieve spiritual excellence without the love and obedience of a spiritual father.

"Certainly Allah conferred a benefit upon the believers when he raised among them an apostle from among themselves, reciting to them His communications and purifying them, and teaching them the book and the wisdom, although before that they were surely in manifest error."

(Surah Aale Imran 3:164)

This verse signifies the importance of the advent of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) by Allah for the guidance of mankind. We must acknowledge it as the greatest blessing of Allah and a favour that He bestowed upon His creatures.

The Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and the Worldly Comforts and Blessings

Yunus Ibne Abdul Rehman told Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.):

"The love and Wilayat of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) has been prescribed as your right upon us by Allah. I consider this blessing to be much superior to the worldly blessings."

Imam (a.s.) was distraught and he replied:

"You have made an inappropriate comparison. What are the worldly blessings? What is it more than eating, drinking and dressing? And you compare all these transient things with our love which is an everlasting reality?"

We have seen in the discussion on the rights of parents, that we can be ‘Aaq’ of our spiritual fathers if we fail to fulfill their rights. Not all of us may be capable of fulfilling this duty to the fullest extent. But we should sincerely try our utmost to obey their commands. At the same time we should be fully aware of our deficiencies and failings and continually implore our infallible guides to pardon us.

Who Are the Spiritual Fathers?

Sileh Rahmi is Wajib and Qat-e-Rahmi is Haraam towards our spiritual relatives also. Our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and our Imams (a.s.) are our spiritual fathers. So, the descendants of our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the Imams (a.s.), that is the Sadaat, are our spiritual relatives. Also, since the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the Imams (a.s.) are the spiritual fathers of all believers and Shias, we all are related to each other, and are like brothers of each other.

"Certainly the Believers Are Brothers of Each Other."

(Surah Hujarat 49:10)

The verse clearly indicates that everyone is somehow related to a common spiritual father.

Rights of Sadaat

Allama Hilli in his book ‘Qawaidul Ahkam’ counsels his son Fakhrul Muhaqqiqain in the following words:

"You should practise Sileh Rahmi with the pure descendants of the Sadaat also. The Almighty Allah has emphasized upon this duty so much that he has made the love of relatives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as a compensation of the prophetic mission."

"…Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my near relatives…."

(Surah Shuara 42:23)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:

"I shall intercede for four types of people even if they carry the sins of all humanity."

1) A person who has helped my descendants and progeny.

2) A person who has spent his wealth upon my descendants when they were in need.

3) A person who has loved my Progeny with his tongue and his heart.

4) A person who has considered the wants of my descendants when they were surrounded by enemies and were homeless."

Does Anyone Have a Right Upon the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)?

Hazrat Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said:

"On the day of Qiyamat a caller will announce, ‘O people, keep silent, because Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) is to say something to you.’ Then the Messenger will arise and say, ‘O people! If anyone of you has any right or favour upon me, or if there is any obligation upon my neck then he should stand up. I will see that he is compensated.’ The people will reply, ‘May our parents be sacrificed upon you. What right? What favour? And what obligation? Rather the rights and favours are of Allah and His Prophet upon all the creatures.’

Goodness to Sadaat and Paradise

Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) shall say:

"No, they do have a right. Whoever has provided shelter and help to anyone from my Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) or did good to them or gave them clothes in their need or fed them when they were in need, should stand up so that I can recompense him."

Some people who had performed such deeds will arise. Then the voice of the Almighty shall be heard.

"O Muhammad, my loved one! With due regards to your position I have fixed the reward for their deeds. They shall be given whatever position you intend for them in Paradise." Then Allah shall give them a place near the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his Ahlul-Bayt (a.s.) and there would be nothing to obstruct their view."

Rights of the Brothers in Faith

There are numerous traditions in connection with the rights of the believers and brothers-in-faith. A few of such traditions are quoted below:

Mualla Bin-Khanees asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.): "What are the rights of the believing brother?"

Imam (a.s.) replied,

"Seven rights of the believers are Wajib – If one fails to fulfill even one of these rights, he is externed from Allah’s obedience. He shall not receive any reward from the Almighty."

"What are those seven rights?", enquired Mualla.

Imam (a.s.) said,

"I fear that you may fail to act upon them."

Mualla said, "La Quwwata Illa Billah." There is no power except of Allah. (He meant, It wouldn’t be so).

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said,

"The foremost right is that you wish for the believing brothers whatever you wish for yourself."

Imam (a.s.) then related the other six rights,

"The second right is that you must refrain from angering him and try to seek his pleasure and obey him. The third right is that you help him with you life, your wealth, your tongue, and your hands. The fourth right is that you guide him and teach him that which is beneficial for him. The fifth, is that do not eat till satiation when your believing brother is hungry, and do not drink to satiation if he is thirsty, and do not dress nicely if he is deprived of good clothes. The sixth right is that if you have a servant you should send him to do his work. The seventh right is that if the believing brother says something on oath you should believe him, if he invites, you accept his invitation, if he is sick, visit him, if he dies, accompany his bier, if you come to know any of his needs, fulfill them it before he asks."

(Al Kafi)

Sileh Rahmi with the Imam (a.s.)

Imam Reza (a.s.) has informed,

"Those who cannot come for our Ziarat must visit our virtuous followers. They shall get the reward of performing our Ziarat. And those who wish to do Sileh Rahmi towards us but are unable to do so must do Sileh Rahmi towards our pious devotees. They shall be given the reward of our Sileh Rahmi."

Respect and honour for the believing brother is the same as respect and honour for the spiritual father (Imam [a.s.]). In the same way, insult and disrespect of the believing brother is equivalent to insult and disrespect to the spiritual father, (the infallible Imam [a.s.]). It is for very reason that insulting a believer brings the wrath of Allah upon us and makes us deserving of severe punishment.

We shall conclude with the prayer that Allah may give Tawfeeq to all of us for doing Sileh Rahmi and fulfilling the rights of others.

Social Independence of Women

Woman And Her Rights Ayatullah Murtada Mutahhari

INDEPENDENCE OF CHOOSING DESTINY

One day a girl, who looked very perturbed, came to the Holy Prophet and said: "O Messenger of Allah! My father has done me a great injustice".

"What has your father done?"

"He has a nephew and he has married me to him without taking my consent".

"If so, agree to what he has done and be the wife of your cousin

"I don’t like my cousin. How can I be the wife of a person whom I don’t like".

"Then nothing has gone wrong. If you don’t like him, go and choose another person whom you like".

"By the way, I like him very much. I don’t like any other person. I won’t he the wife of anybody else. But, because my father gave me in marriage without taking my consent, I intentionally came over to have a talk with you. I wanted you to say what you have said. I wanted all the women to know that the fathers no longer had a right to decide as they pleased and give their daughters in marriage to whomsoever they liked".

The incident has been narrated by eminent jurists in such books as the Masalik (by Shaheed Thani) and the Jawahirul Kalam. During the pre-Islamic period the Arabs, like all other people of those days, thought that they ‘had full authority in regard to their daughters and sisters and sometimes even in regard to their mothers. They did not acknowledge the rights of women to choose their husbands, this choice being the exclusive privilege of the fathers or the brothers and, in their absence, of the paternal uncles, so much so that prospective fathers could give their daughters in marriage even before they were actually born. A man could enter into a contract with another man pledging that if a daughter was born to the former, she would, when grown up, be the wife of the latter.

MARRIAGE BEFORE BIRTH

One day, during his last pilgrimage, while the Holy Prophet was riding and had a whip in his hand, a man approached him on the way and said:

"I have a complaint to make".

"Yes, what’s the matter?"

"Years ago, during the pre-Islamic days, Tariq ibn Murqa’a and I took part in a battle. During the fighting he came to require a lance and cried: "Is there anybody who will give me a lance and take a reward?" I went to him and asked him what reward he would give. He said that he would bring up for me the first daughter that was born to him. Since then years have passed. Recently, on inquiring, I found out that he has a grown up daughter in his house. I went to him and reminded him of the promise. But he went back on his promise and demanded a fresh dower. Now I have come to you to find out whether he is right, or I am right".

How old is the girl?"

"The girl is grown up. Grey hair has also appeared on her head".

"If you ask me, neither you nor Tariq is right. Go after your business and leave the girl alone".

The man was taken aback at this reply and stared at the Prophet for several moments. He wondered what sort of verdict it was. Even if he paid a fresh dower to the girl’s father and he willingly gave his daughter to him, still the deal was not proper.

The Prophet observed his wondering looks and said: "Don’t worry. If you do things the way I have told you, neither you nor your friend, Tariq, will be doing anything wrong".

EXCHANGE OF DAUGHTERS

During the pre-Islamic days there was a form of marriage in vogue in Arabia under the name of Shighar marriage, (exchange of daughters) which was a manifestation of the absolute authority of the fathers over their daughters. A man would give his daughter in marriage to another man in consideration of the latter giving his daughter in marriage to him. In such a form of marriage neither of the wives would get a dower. Islam abolished this custom. It is worth noting that the Holy Prophet allowed full liberty to his daughter Fatimah Zahra (Peace be upon her) in choosing her husband.

He gave in marriage several other daughters also, but he did not deprive them of their freedom. When Ali Ibn Abi Talib, (peace be on him), approached the Holy Prophet, seeking Fatimah’s hand, the Prophet said that several other people had already approached him and that he had conveyed their proposals to Fatimah, but she turned her face away, as a mark of disapproval. The Prophet assured Ali that he would convey to her his proposal as well.

The Prophet went to Fatimah and told his beloved daughter what Ali wanted. This time she did not turn her face away, but kept quiet and thus expressed her consent. When the Prophet came out, he was happy. He exclaimed, "Allah is the Greatest!"

THE ISLAMIC MOVEMENT FOR WOMEN’S LIBERATION

Islam has done a great service to women. It not only put an end to the absolute control of the fathers, but gave women freedom, a personality and independence of thinking and opinion.

It officially recognised her natural rights. However, there are two basic differences between the steps taken by Islam and what is happening in the West and is being followed by others.

The first difference concerns the psychology of man and woman. Islam has done and revealed wonders in this respect. We shall further discuss this question in the subsequent chapters.

The second difference is that, while Islam made the women aware of their rights and gave them an identity, a personality, freedom and independence, it did not instigate them to revolt and harbour malice against the male persons.

The Islamic movement for women’s liberation was white. It was neither black nor red; neither blue nor violet. It did not put an end to the respect in which the daughters held their fathers and the wives their husbands. It did not upset the basis of the family life and did not make women suspicious of their responsibilities in regard to their fathers and husbands. It did not provide any opportunity to the unmarried men who are always after enticing women. It did not snatch away the wives from their husbands and the daughters from their parents and did not hand them over to the sensual executives and the moneyed magnates. It has done nothing similar to what has caused a hue and cry across the oceans that the sacred family system has broken into pieces. There the paternal protection has vanished. No one knows what to do with all the corruption that is rampant, with the ever-growing cases of infanticide and abortion, with 40 per cent illegitimate children and with those new-born infants whose fathers are not known and whose mothers do not want to have anything to do with them, because they were not born in lawful wedlock. The mothers of such children simply hand them over to some social organisations and then never come back to inquire about them.

No doubt, we in our country are in need of a movement for women’s liberation, but what we need is a clean Islamic white movement and not a movement of the European brand with a dark and gloomy taint. We want a movement in which sensual young men should have lesser part and which should spring directly from the lofty teachings of Islam and be based on the deep and logical study of the Muslim society.

THE FATHER’S PERMISSION

The question, which needs examination from the point of view of the authority exercised by fathers over their daughters, is whether the father’s consent is essential in the case of a maiden’s first marriage.

From the Islamic point of view certain things are indisputable.

The boy and the girl both are economically independent. Every sane adult is entitled to have full control of his or her property, provided he or she is mentally mature, that is, capable of taking care of themselves. A father, a mother, a husband or a brother has no power of supervision or intervention in this respect.

Another point, which is indisputable, relates to marriage. The adult and mature boys have full liberty in this respect and nobody else has any right of intervention. The position of the girl, who has been married once and is now without a husband, is the same. But the case of a maiden, who wants to marry for the first time, is a little different.

It is beyond any doubt that the father cannot force even a maiden to marry any person against her will. We already know what the Holy Prophet told the girl whom her father had given in marriage, without taking her consent. The Prophet said that if she was not happy, she could marry someone else. But there exists a difference of opinion among the jurists as to whether a maiden can contract a marriage without the consent of her father and whether the validity of her marriage is in any way conditional to the consent of her father.

There is one more point about which there is absolutely no dispute. If the father withholds his consent without a sound reason, he loses his right. The jurists are unanimous that in such a case the daughter is free to contract a marriage with anyone of her choice.

But otherwise, as we have pointed out, the jurists differ on the point, whether the validity of the marriage of a maiden depends on the consent of her father. Most of the jurists, especially the later ones, are of the view that it does not. But still there are some who are of the opinion that it does.

This being a disputed point, it is not possible to discuss it from the Islamic point of view. Anyhow it can be discussed from a social point of view.

MAN IS AFTER SEX, WOMAN IS AFTER LOVE

The basis of the rule that the maidens must not or, at least, should not marry without the consent of their fathers is not that they are considered to be less mature than the boys. Had it been so, there should have been no difference between a 16 year old girl, who had previously been married, and as such does not require her father’s consent, and a 17 year old maiden who requires it according to the view of some jurists. Moreover, had Islam considered girls to be immature it would not have regarded the transactions, involving money and properties, made by them independently, as valid. Apart from the legal arguments, this point has a definite philosophy which cannot be ignored.

It is not a question of the immaturity or intellectual inadequacy of woman. It is related to a definite aspect of the psychology of the two sexes i.e. man’s instinct of alluring and woman’s instinct of credulity in regard to man’s faithfulness and truthfulness.

Man is after sex and woman is after love. Man is overpowered by his sexual urge, whereas, woman, according to the psychologists, has a greater capacity of controlling and concealing her desires. It is the melody of love, sincerity and faithfulness which subdues woman and brings her to her knees. That is what we mean by credulity of woman.

As long as the woman is a maiden and has had no experience of men, she can easily be lured by his love songs.

Professor Reeck, the American psychologist, says that the best sentence which a man can say to a woman is ‘Darling, I love you’. He says that good luck for a woman means to be able to win the heart of a man and to retain it for the rest of her life.

The Holy Prophet, the divine psychologist, clearly expressed this truth 1,400 years ago. He has said that if man expresses his love to a woman, she never forgets that.

The men who are after enticing a woman fully exploit this womanly feeling. The words, ‘I am dying for you’ are the best lure for enticing girls who have had no experience of men.

That is why it is essential that a girl, who has had no experience of men, should consult her father and should obtain his consent prior to contracting a marriage. Fathers know the mentality of men better and, leaving aside very exceptional cases, wish their daughters well.

In this case, the law has in no way degraded woman, but has taken a step to protect her interest. To raise an objection against the necessity of obtaining a father’s consent in the case of girls is more illogical than to ask why a father’s or mother’s consent has not been made necessary in the case of boys.

I wonder how the people, who daily come across incidence of the evils of free romance between boys and girls, still advise the girls to revolt against and he indifferent to the advice of their guardians.

In our view this act amounts to a sort of collusion between those who claim to have sympathy with women and those who are after enticing them. The former prepare the ground for the latter and make their job easier.

The girls have an absolute option in the matter of marriage. Only its validity depends upon the consent of the father, provided that he does not withhold it with any bad intention, or because he is not competent to exercise his judgement rightly for any special reason. Can anything be wrong with such a rule, or can it be regarded as against the basic concept of human liberty?

It is just a precaution to safeguard the interests of inexperienced girls and is based on a sort of suspicion about the male nature.

In this respect no objection can be raised against the Islamic law as such. What is objectionable is the custom prevailing among the Muslims. Most of the fathers still think that they have absolute authority and regard it as against her modesty, if a girl expresses her views about the selection of her partner in life, who is to be the father of her future children. They mostly do not pay attention to the intellectual maturity of the girl, which, according to the Islamic law, is an indisputable necessity. Many marriages, which take place before the girls are mature, are legally invalid and void. Mostly no inquiry is made about the maturity of the girl and puberty is considered enough. But we know what the great jurists have written about testing the intellectual maturity of the girls. Some jurists have regarded religious maturity also as a condition of marriage. They hold that only those girls who know the principles of religion with reason and proof are fit for marriage. Unfortunately, most of the guardians and those who preside over the religious ceremony of the marriage do not observe these conditions.

It may be mentioned that in all old marriage deeds the words ‘adult, sane and mature’ are found along with the names of the bride and the bridegroom.

Anyway, according to the Shi’ite law, a woman who is adult and mature and has once been married does not require her father’s consent.

Justice By Muhsin Qara’ati

In the first chapter we have dealt with world-view, monotheism and polytheism. Now we deal with justice which is the second fundamental principle of belief.

It is through the wisdom and intelligence with which we have been endowed by Allah that we differentiate between a good and a bad thing and we understand that oppression is a bad thing and justice is a good thing.

It is our belief that Allah does not do any harm to us nor does He oppress us.

The Causes of Injustice

(i) Ignorance: Sometimes ignorance becomes the cause of oppression as for example man does not know that there is no difference between a white race and the Negroes and hence a white man under his feeling of superiority oppresses the people belonging to the black race. Thus by his ignorance and defective thinking a man starts doing things which result in oppression and persecution. But how the Almighty Allah Who is above all defects such as ignorance and Whose Knowledge is infinite, can do an act of oppression!

(ii) Fear: Sometimes it is fear which is the cause of oppression as for example one strong power is scared of another strong power which is its enemy and knowing that if it does attack the other power, the same would attack it and therefore in order to forestall this possible danger it commits oppression by making an attack on the other power. Similarly a despotic ruler in order to be in a formidable position persecutes the people who want freedom from his oppression. But the Almighty Allah has no one as His rival so as to indulge in an act of oppression’

(iii) Wants: Sometimes the cause of oppression is based on one’s sense of deprivation and thus from the psychological point of view one is obliged to an act of oppression for fulfilling his wants.

(iv) Meanness: Sometimes it is the inner meanness that some people oppress others or when they see the deprived and oppressed people, they derive pleasure in seeing them so.

After knowing the various causes of oppression you can decide as to which one of these can be attributed to Allah? In this context, the Holy Qur’an says:

Allah does not wish injustice for any of His creatures. (Surah Ale Imran, 3:108)

How could it be that Allah Who commands us for doing justice can Himself be an oppressor? The Holy Qur’an says:

Allah commands people to maintain justice, kindness, and proper relations with their relatives. (Surah an-Nahl, 16:90)

How is it possible that Allah Who commands man who is weak and who leads his life under the dictates of his unruly passions, not to become the cause of injustices if he receives injustice at the hands of his nation, may Himself Who possesses unlimited power and Who is not under the domination of any instinct, perpetrate injustice?

The Attributes of Allah

The acquiring of knowledge about the Attributes of Allah is closely related to our knowledge of recognition of Allah. As for example just as we trace the writer from his writing as well as from his style of writing and identify him by particular words and phrases which he uses as his style and which indicate his mental attitude also, in the same way every creation performs the following two main functions.

(i) Identifying its creator

(ii) Projecting the attributes of its creator and explaining the objective of its creation.

Justice—One of the Principles of Religion

When Almighty Allah possesses innumerable attributes, e.g. Wisdom, Knowledge and Power of creation why is it said that justice is one of the principles of religion? Why is it not said that first the Belief in monotheism and then existence, or first the Belief in monotheism and then Knowledge? But on the contrary it is said first the belief in monotheism and then justice!

The answer to this question is as follows:

A small section of the Muslims known as Ash’ari sect do not consider that Allah is Just. They think that whatever Allah has done is correct no matter it may be wrong or cruel. Further, the Ash’arite say that if Allah sends Imam Ali to Hell and his assassin the accursed Ibn Muljam to Paradise, nothing can stop Him, He can do so. But we do not accept this logic as we consider Allah’s Justice as one of the cardinal principles of our faith and according to Qur’anic reasoning and our own commonsense we say that all the acts of Allah are based on Justice and Wisdom and that Allah does not commit any act of cruelty or does anything wrong.

Moreover the belief that Allah is Just plays the following important role in building man’s personality:

Advantages of Believing in the Justice of Allah

Self-restraint: From the point of view of self-control and abstaining from sins especially when man knows that his words and deeds are in the knowledge of Allah and not even a fraction of his deed however small it may be ignored from being taken into account, and that he will be paid back for his noble and evil deeds, he will then not consider himself independent in this world (Many Qur’anic verses can be cited in this behalf).

Cheerful Outlook: Anyone who has belief in the Justice of Allah in all worldly affairs possesses a cheerful outlook of life and as such when he considers Allah to be Just he has cogent reason and a satisfactory answer of the unpleasant things. He accepts the unpleasant things without hesitation. Such a person never suffers from disappointments and despair.

Justice Plays its Role in Individual and Collective Life: The faith in the Justice of Allah helps to lay the foundation of justice in individual and collective life. Such a person prepares himself to accept justice in his personal and social life.

The Meaning of Justice

In the discussions on justice the basic problem is to give satisfactory answer to its criticism. We would present some explanation in the light of Qur’anic verses and the traditions.

(i) The first point is that Allah is Just and Allah never deprives anyone of his rights and according to the rationality of the laws, Allah bestows His Kindness on all His creatures and never does Allah oppress anybody.

Now we can see whether there exists somebody’s right on Allah or whether there is any right of the creatures from the very beginnings so that cruelty has arisen out of the suppression of this right? Were we present beforehand or did we have something beforehand which has been taken away from us? True, there is some differentiation between the creatures. Some are minerals, some are plants, some are animals and some are human beings, but none of these creatures possessed any existence or right before its birth and which is supposed to have been usurped.

Take for example a big carpet which we cut into small pieces. It will then be said that this carpet which originally was big has lost its originality of being big by having been cut into pieces. But in the case of a carpet which was already made small it cannot be complained as to why it has been made small because before that it had no existence at all and when it was brought into existence it was made small already. Thus this small carpet from the beginning had no quality of being big so that it was deprived of something which it possessed.

Allah, the All-Wise, has created all his creatures with difference when none of them had existed beforehand or had any claim or right. Allah established a system of life—cycle with cause and effect and set a particular line of action for every creature. He never makes any discrimination between His two creatures or two nations in as far as His expectations from them are concerned in regard to their obligations and responsibilities. Similarly His reward or punishment is also based on justice for all. He has taken into consideration the respective capabilities and capacities of each creature in His commands and accordingly He has fixed proportionate punishment for each so that there is no partiality or injustice done to anyone of his creatures.

Again take an example of a factory which manufactures spare parts of small machine and tires of big motor cars also. Would you brand the factory owner tyrant because he manufactures small parts and big tires? Or can the small machine parts themselves complain of the differentiation? The answer to this is certainly in negative. It is so because in this Machine Age we need machine parts as well as tires. But there was a time when none of them existed before and the factory owner made them or brought them into existence according to the need of the time for two different functions. Here the kind of cruelty exists only when the machine parts would bear the burden of tires. Now that when each one of them were brought into existence for its specific purpose and functions and no extra burden was put on it beyond its capacity the question of cruelty does not arise at all.

At this stage when the meaning of justice and cruelty has been abundantly clarified it is necessary to ponder over the following important point:

At every place and every occasion the concept of justice is not equality. For example, if a teacher without taking into consideration the abilities and the hard work of each student, gives equal marks to all of them, he actually commits cruelty. Similarly if a physician gives the same medicine to all of his patients without considering the nature of their diseases and conditions he does the same cruelty. In both these examples the demand of justice is that the teacher and the physician should treat his pupils and the patients differently according to their merits and ailments respectively. It should not admit any consideration, recommendation, favourtism etc, but this different attitude of treatment in different cases is according to the demand of the occasion. It does not come under the definition of cruelty.

(ii) The second point is that the objections to the Justice of Allah are only motivated by hasty decisions. Some of the examples are given below:

Suppose an Islamic Government out of necessity and in consideration of public welfare takes a decision to build a fortyfive kilometer long road as every road has its utility for providing a means of communication for the smooth flow of traffic and for the convenience of pedestrians, but by laying down each and every road people have to undergo some sort of hardship until the time compensation for the demolition of houses and the construction of new houses at alternate places is effected. Thus for the sake of avoiding hardship of a handful of people the overall interest of the people and the programme for the public welfare cannot be ignored. In Islam despite the importance of individual rights and ownership of the people the overall rights of the society have been greatly emphasized.

The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali said to Malik Ashtar. "Call those people who have hoarded the things of public utility and remind them of doing good and abstaining from evil and if they still do not pay heed to your advice, bring them to task". He further said: "Hoarding is useful to a hoarder only, but it is harmful to the good of the society".

At yet another place, the Holy Imam said: "In the matter of administration your attention should be towards the comforts and benefit of the common people irrespective of the annoyance and displeasure of a selected few". (See: Letter—53, Peak of Eloquence, ISP, 1985)

An Incident: A man had a pet dog. He went out to fetch something from the bazaar leaving his infant child in the care of his dog. When he returned to his house his dog welcomed him outside the house with blood-stained mouth. He thought for a moment that the dog had devoured his child and under the heat of passion he fired his gun and killed the dog there and then and went inside hurriedly. There he found his child hale and hearty. In fact a wolf used to visit the town and since the door of his house was wide open it went inside and wanted to devour the child. The dog jumped upon the wolf and in a grim battle he overpowered it and tore it into pieces and thereby saved the child from the wolf’s clutches. But the man in his extreme haste fired at his faithful dog which had saved the life of his child.

The man repented of his action and came to rescue his dog but it had already died. The man said that he looked into the eyes of his dog which were lamenting over his wisdom and saying: "O man! How hasty you happen to be? You make a hasty decision. You should have first entered the house and seen for yourself the true situation. Why have you killed me? ‘ After this tragic event the man wrote an article captioned "O man! How hasty you are in taking a decision!"

There may be some people who may have prayed for something and it was not granted, but afterwards they thought that it was better that their prayers were not granted.

The Dangers of Hasty Decision

The Holy Qur’an warns man against taking a hasty decision as often man’s action is based on baseless thoughts and speculations. There are many things which appear to be harmful but actually they are of benefit to man and similarly many things appear to be very good but actually they are harmful to man.

As for example the Holy Qur’an says about Jihad that man apparently considers it to be not good but actually it brings good to him.

Fighting is made obligatory on you but you dislike it. You may dislike a thing yet it may be good for you; or a thing may haply please you but may be bad for you. Only Allah has knowledge, and you do not know. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:216)

Fighting for the sake of Allah perfects man’s abilities and brightens his capabilities. Those who put on airs and those who are men of action are distinguished in the battlefield. Fighting unites the scattered forces which are dedicated to the common cause and confers upon man honour and dignity. Basically fighting is the purpose of life for the people who have been oppressed and tyrannized.

The Holy Qur’an says:

It may be that you dislike a thing though Allah has placed abundant good in it. (Surah an-Nisa, 4:19)

If we look into the meaning of the word "husban" and collect its derivatives we learn that the Holy Qur’an warns that we should not think such and such thing, guess such and such thing, and conjure such and such thing. It tells us about things which contradict the decisions cursorily and hastily taken.

We read in the Holy Qur’an about the angels that, as they did not possess thorough knowledge about man, they pleaded to Allah that as they already worshipped Allah why He was creating man. But since Allah had willed to appoint His vicegerant on earth he bestowed upon man knowledge and brought out a stunning spectacle and established that their (the angels) decision about man was a hasty one.

In short, if we doubt about the Justice of Allah and say that if Allah is Just why and how such and such thing happened, then we should keep in mind that our speculations and decisions are mostly false and wrong because in most of the cases the causes and the effects of problems remain hidden from us as our knowledge and experience are very limited. It is for over several centuries that we have been considering the existence of forests as useless, but with the passage of time we have now realized that we obtain a number of useful things from these very forests.

Had not the people been saying for a long time that the glands in our body are quite useless? But now they say that these glands produce in the blood useful cells technically called phagocytes which devour the invading microbes in our body.

For years people thought that vermiform appendix, the blind pouch at the junction of the small and the large intestine was a useless thing but nowadays it is claimed that this appendix plays an important role in the prevention of cancer.

If we are reading a book which deals with highly important subjects and we come across a difficult word whose meaning is not known to us, we should not arrive at a hasty decision about the book and should not blame its author, but on the contrary we should review our understanding of the meaning of that word.

Now that we have comprehended the true meaning of justice and that our criticism of it is based on our superficial and hasty decision, we deal with the third point, that is, why we should try to know the causes of our troubles.

(iii) The third point is that while counting our troubles we altogether ignore our own doings and blame Allah for all that. We complain to Allah and say, "O Allah! if you are Just why am I faced with these troubles?" Obviously many of the troubles and hardships are due to our own faults as for example if we do not take care of our health by hygienic methods we are sure to fall sick. Similarly according to the principle of doing good and preventing others from doing evil and if we do not prevent the evils the evil doers will overpower us and in that case our supplications, implorations and invocations would be of no use. On this subject too we take the guideline from the following verses of the Holy Qur’an:

Whatever misfortune befalls you is a consequence of your own deeds. (Surah ash-Shura, 42:30)

When We let the people taste mercy, they rejoice in it, but when some misfortune befalls them because of their own doings they at once become desperate. (Surah Rum, 30:36)

As for man, whenever his Lord tests him by bestowing favour on him and blesses him, he says, ‘My Lord is kind to me’. But when He tests him by stinting his means of living, he says my Lord has disgraced me. (Surah al-Fajr, 89:15—16)

As a matter of fact we should try to find out the cause and reason of our misfortunes and afflictions within ourselves and in the latter part of the preceding verse as we read, "Since wealth does not necessarily guarantee everlasting happiness then why do you not honour the orphans, or urge one another to feed the destitute?" Thus your carelessness resulted in the wrath of Allah. This verse too tells us about our deeds being the cause of our misfortune and deprivation of Allah’s Mercy. The Holy Qur’an says:

Eat of the lawful and good things which Allah has provided for you and give thanks for His favours if it is He Whom you worship (Surah an-Nahl, 16:114)

In this verse Allah tells of a place where Allah’s blessings and bounties were in abundance but its inhabitants became ungrateful to Allah and thus became guilty of infidelity. And Allah plunged them into hunger, poverty and terrible fear. This verse also establishes that ungratefulness to Allah becomes the cause of afflictions.

We have already mentioned before that the misdeed of the people is the cause of their troubles and afflictions and consequently Allah’s wrath befalls them. Here the following two questions arise.

(i) We see that those who indulge in all sorts of misdeeds, cruelties and oppression are leading a very prosperous life! Why is it so?

(ii) We say that it is due to our misdeeds that misfortune and afflictions befall us but those people whose misdeeds are even worse than ours are not subjected to any afflictions! Why is it so?

In the eyes of Allah, all the people are not accounted for in the same way, because:

(i) Allah punishes some people or a nation at once.

(ii) Allah gives a time to some people or a nation.

(iii) Allah does not punish a certain group of people or a nation at all and despite their misdeeds they lead a comfortable life until the Doomsday as according to the Divine Outlook on the Universe and life this world is not separated from the Hereafter.

It is possible that a teacher may be having different standards of reprimanding his pupils. He may punish some at once as a result of his anger, but he may leave some alone for a certain period of time; and against some who are the worst he may take no action at all, and leave them to themselves until the end of the session for the purpose of awarding the marks. This sort of categorization is based on wisdom endowed by Allah because all the guilty ones are not equally responsible nor the nature of their deeds and mentality is similar so that we may deal with them equally from the point of view of punishment. Sometimes the teacher reacts violently on the negligence of one of his best pupils because he did not expect such negligence from his best pupil while in the case of his unworthy pupils he does not crack down on them severely.

We read in the Holy Qur’an that Allah on certain occasions reprimanded his Prophets and Messengers for their actions though these were not under the commitment of sins because He would not have expected of so august a personage an unexpected action, but we read about the common people differently. The Holy Qur’an says:

We destroyed the inhabitants of certain towns only when they transgressed and did not repent before our deadline. (Surah al-Kahf, 18 59)

It is explained that Allah does not hasten the punishment for those who commit the sins by putting them into misfortune but from the side of Allah there remains a deadline within which they can repent of their misdeeds. The Holy Qur’an says:

They want you to bring upon them their punishment without delay. Allah never disregards His promise. One day for Allah is equal to a thousand years for you. To how many unjust towns have we given respite and then seized with torment. (Surah al-Hajj, 22:48)

I granted temporary respite to the unbelievers (so that they would repent, but they did not). At last I seized them with a terrible retribution. (Surah ar-Ra’d, 13:32)

However, Allah gives the following reasons for His giving respite to the unbelievers:

The unbelievers must not think that our respite is for their good. We only give them time to let them indulge in their sins, and suffer an ignominious doom. For them there will be a humiliating torment. (Surah Ale Imran, 3 :178)

After the martyrdom of the Chief of the Martyrs, Imam Husayn, when the accursed Yazid thought himself victorious and successful, the revered sister of the Holy Imam, Lady Zaynab recited this very verse of the Holy Qur’an and pointed out to him that his seeming victory, freedom, comfort and power were only increasing the burden of his sins so that these should become the source of terrible torment for him as the Holy Qur’an says that Allah provides the people greater comfort so that they should become used to it and then He strikes them suddenly with a painful torment. The Holy Qur’an says.

When they neglected what we exhorted them, We opened to them the gates to all the worldly gains so much so that they became immensely rejoiced with that and then we caught them suddenly and they became utterly surprised and dejected. (Surah al-An’am, 6:44—45)

Such sort of people are like those who climb a tree higher and higher and think that they are getting more successful but when they fall down from it they realize that their going up was the beginning of their torment. Thus Allah treats some people in the similar way save those who have the capability of reforming themselves. The Holy Qur’an says:

Evil has spread over the land and the sea because of corruption and hence, Allah will cause some people to suffer so that perhaps they will return to Him. (Surah ar-Rum, 30:41)

In answer to the question as to why people are in comfort despite their flouting the Divine commands and why some receive punishment on that account, the above-mentioned verses from the Holy Qur’an will suffice.

In this context we would take the opportunity of referring to some ahadith (traditions) which warn the people to fear Allah if despite their sins they have not been faced with Allah’s wrath so that the matter may not go too far away and they may lose a golden chance of retrieving and the punishment is meted out to them in the Hereafter by their being thrown into the Fire of Hell. It is like that sometime a patient reaches such a stage of his disease that the physician gives up his efforts by losing all hopes and he then issues no instructions to the patient and allows him to eat whatever he likes whether it is harmful to him or not. Thus there are people who have committed many sins and to whom Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

Act as you wish; Allah is Well Aware of whatever you do. (Surah Ha Mim as-Sajdah, 41:40)

The Holy Prophet also when became disappointed with the people used to say:

My people, do as you wish and I will do what I believe. (Surah Hud, 11:93)

From the supplications of the Holy Imams we often read the following words. "O Allah! Do not leave me on my own".

In short Allah’s wrath befalls the transgressors whom worldly comfort and pleasure prevented from getting warned and the punishment of the Doomsday awaits them eagerly.

(iv) The fourth point is that sometimes man despite the fact that he had not committed any sin or fault becomes afflicted with troubles. What is the analytical approach of the Holy Qur’an about the Justice of Allah?

Explanation: Allah’s putting people on trial has been mentioned about twenty times in the Holy Qur’an. Thus one of the methods of Allah putting man on trial and hardships have been described above are just the means of that trial. Similarly, happiness and pleasure are also one of the means of trial. The Holy Qur’an says:

We shall test you through fear, hunger, loss of life, property and crops. Muhammad, give glad tidings to the people who have patience. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:155—156)

Here the following points should be given due consideration:

(i) Does Allah not know the type and kind of man that He puts him on trial?

(ii) What is the means of trial?

(iii) People’s reaction to unpleasant incidents!

(iv) Method of overcoming the difficulties.

The First Question: Obviously our trial is not for the purpose of His knowing our state of mind, mentality and reactive tendency because Allah already knows all this. He knows how we think and how we react but the purpose of the trial is to make us react by counteraction so that according to our deeds the question of recompense with reward or punishment is determined, because Allah never rewards or punishes a person on the basis of His Knowledge about his being good or bad, but He bases His decision on the deeds performed by that person.

The Second question: We said earlier that pleasant and unpleasant happenings are the source of man’s trial. The Holy Qur’an says:

We test you with both misfortune and blessings. (Surah Anbiya, 21:35)

You (believers) will certainly be tested by the loss of your property and lives. (Surah Ale Imran, 3:186)

The Third Question: A friend of ours says that the people who face ordeals and misfortune can be divided into the following four groups:

1. Those when confronted with unpleasant incidents start complaining and finds fault with Allah’s Justice, His Grace, Wisdom and His method of working things in this Universe. The Holy Qur’an tells of such a group of people as follows: When misfortune befalls him, he is perturbed. (Surah al-Ma’arij, 70:20) It means that when misfortune befalls such people they start grumbling and crying.

2. Those who bear hardship with patience and forbearance and they only declare: We are the servants of Allah and to Him we shall return. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:l56)

3. Those who exceed the second group in this respect as these people not only remain patient and steadfast but they also thank Allah about what befalls them . We recite in Ziyarat ‘ashura as follows: "O Allah! I thank you in the same way as the companions of the Holy Imam Husayn had done".

Indeed, there are people whose main ambition is to bear hardships and martyrdom in the path of Allah and when they achieve their goal, they offer their sincere gratitude to Allah.

4. Those who are on a still higher plane than those of the third group and who not only do not complain or show patience and steadfastness but they also yearn for bearing hardships and misfortune.

We read in the Holy Qur’an that when the companions of the Holy Prophet asked him to provide them with means and materials (horses, swords etc.) for Jihad and the Holy Prophet said that he had no such means available with him, they returned crying that they had not been able to lay their lives for the cause of Islam. The Holy Qur’an says.

Those who come to you (Muhammad) asking to be taken to the battle, but you cannot find the necessary means for them, are exempt from the duty of fighting for the cause of Allah and they go away in tears grieving that they are not being able to keep the cause of Allah. (Surah al-Tawbah, 9:92)

People generally react to unexpected incidents very violently. If you hand over a peeled onion to a child, he shouts as soon as he puts it in his mouth and throws it away because he feels uneasiness in his eyes, but the father of the child goes out in the market and buys the onions for the kitchen use. The hardships in life are like that. One runs away from them while the other welcomes them.

The Fourth Question: We have said that Allah is Just, and our misfortunes and sufferings are sometimes for our trial, so that our inner faculties become perfect. Now let us find out what we should do in order to come out successful in our misfortunes. Here also we have to seek guidance from the Holy Qur’an.

Methods of Solving the Misfortunes

(i) To Have a Divine Outlook of the Universe The Holy Qur’an has praised the people who show patience. Since they consider the worldly affairs subservient to Divine control, and when they were in difficulties they say that they are for Allah, and they are only short-lived; they do not demand anything from Him; their coming in this world and all the bounties are from Him alone. They are only His trustees. This world is not their permanent abode; it is a passage for the next world (the Hereafter). On arrival of death they shall return to Him, and shall not be perished. They exist in this world but there will be no change in their existence after death; only a place of their abode will be changed. This type of outlook on Universe prepares the man to face the hardships and difficulties in an appropriate manner. This outlook is reflected by the following Qur’anic verse:

We are the servants of Allah and to Him we shall all return. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:156)

(ii) Familiarity with the Ways of Allah The Holy Qur’an asks us whether we should like to attain Paradise bearing hardships and making efforts like the other former nations who exercised patience in the extreme state of unpleasantness! Would we think that without experiencing all these things we would attain Paradise though like the people of the former nations, we have not yet experienced the ordeals like hunger, poverty, sickness, earthquakes, etc.! The Prophets as well as the believers only awaited Allah’s Mercy to rescue them from all their troubles. The Holy Qur’an assured them of Allah’s help to come to them ultimately and says:

Do you think that you will find your way to Paradise without experiencing the kind of suffering others have experienced before you? Distress and afflictions battered them until the Messenger and the believers sadly said, ‘When will Allah send help?’ Certainly Allah’s help is near. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:214)

This verse of the Holy Qur’an points out to the fact that in the long period of history believers in Allah had to undergo great sufferings. Now that it is our turn to suffer as it is evident that the grinding wheel of time has to repeat its cycle anyway. It is the normal way of history that it has to repeat the events. The Holy Qur’an at a number of places says to the Holy Prophet to look into the condition of such and such groups of people so that they may not get the impression that they are not the only persons to be afflicted by sufferings.

Indeed, if man understands that the afflictions and suffer ings are the result of a process of a general rule, he will be in a better position to accept them and exercise patience. You observe fast during the month of Ramazan without any difficulty because it is commonly done by everybody during that month. But if in other months you have to observe fast, you will find it difficult to do so.

The Holy Qur’an which gives command for observing fasts says that other nations before you also observed fasts.

The knowledge of the past events of history helps man to bear things with patience and similarly the knowledge of the future happenings, too helps to strengthen one’s capacity of exercising patience. The Holy Qur’an says:

Prophet Khizr said to Prophet Musa: How can you remain patient with that which you do not fully understand. (Surah al-Kahf, 18:68)

Thus the thing that enhances man’s power of exercising patience is the knowledge about the patient people and their method of exercising patience. Knowledge about the patience and steadfastness of the previous people is an effective means to face misfortunes and afflictions. The Holy Qur’an has mentioned number of such things and has cited the examples of patience of the people of former nations. The Prophets of Allah used to say to their adversaries as follows:

We shall bear with patience the hardships you inflict upon us. (Surah Ibrahim, 14:12)

When the magicians, who were called by Fir’aun to humiliate Prophet Musa, realized his righteousness they embraced his faith and despite Fir’aun’s threats and intimidations replied as follows:

We cannot choose you in the face of the clear testimony we have received, and over Him who created us. So do what you are determined to do. All that you would do will only be confined to our short-lived life on earth. (Surah Ta Ha, 20 72)

Hence, they meant to tell Fir’aun to do whatever he wanted. They would endure all the misfortunes that he inflicted upon them as they had discovered the right course leading to Paradise and were determined not to give up their stand.

(iii) Depending only on Allah The remembrance of Allah and the belief that He hears our implorations, watches our deeds and solves our problems by rescuing us from afflictions is like looking only at Allah. Allah in the Holy Qur’an says to Prophet Musa and Prophet Harun as follows:

Be not afraid; I am verily with you all the time, and I hear and see. (Surah Ta Ha, 20:46)102

Allah commanded Prophet Nuh: To build the Ark under the supervision and guidance of hisLord. (Surah Hud, 11:37)

As soon as Prophet Nuh started building the Ark, the crowd of the infidels which passed by him made a fun of him and passed sarcastic remarks by saying that the Prophet had turned a carpenter but Prophet Nuh paid no heed to their taunts which became the means of his steadfastness, and reminded him that he was present before Allah and that Allah was supervising his work. Such firm determination and spirit of steadfastness instils a new life in man.

(iv) Concept of Reward and Punishment The fourth thing that inculcates in man the spirit of steadfastness is the concept of reward and punishment because forbearing the hardships in this world ensures a big reward in the Hereafter. The Holy Qur’an gives frequent examples in this regard.

(v) To Seek Help Through Prayers and Patience The fifth thing which makes a man steadfast is to seek help by Prayers, supplications and patience. The following verses of the Holy Qur’an asks us to take the support of prayers and patience:

Help yourselves (in your affairs) with patience and prayers. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:45)

Believers, help yourselves through patience and prayers. Allah is with those who have patience. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:153)

In Surah al-A’raf, 7:128, also it is said that we should seek help from Allah.

Besides, the traditions too indicate that in the face of difficulties Imam Ali used to get himself busy in prayers. Prayers bring the small one nearer to the great one and makes the. weakest one the strongest, and creates serenity and satisfaction. The following verse says that remembrance of Allah creates serenity of the heart:

Remembrance of Allah certainly brings comfort to all hearts. (Surah ar-Ra’d, 13: 28)

The gist of this discussion is that Allah is Just and whatever hardships befall us are from Allah; and they are for the purpose of putting us on trial and as already mentioned before, the people who face hardships are divided into four different categories. The course of action which leads us to success has also been stated.

(v) The fifth point is that the doubt about the Justness of Allah arises out of our misgiving and wrong conclusions as without pondering over the thing in its right perceptive we attribute our objections to Allah. As for example we know that death is the ultimate end of man’s life and yet we object to Allah as to why such and such man died? Sometimes we assume that this world is an everlasting abode and yet we complain as to why people die of floods, earthquakes, diseases etc.? Then we assume that this world is the place of comfort and we complain as to why we are afflicted with hardships and difficulties.

We are like a man who enters a lecture hall and starts questioning as to why tea and snacks are not available because of one particular thinking, which is a wrong one, it was thought that the hall was meant for a reception function. If we tell him that the hall was meant for delivering lectures he will withdraw his objections and will feel sorry for that. Therefore, we should consider this world as it is. We should know the purpose of our existence and in that case all our objections will be nullified. We must be certain of the fact that this world is not a place of our permanent abode but it is a passage of our life. If we adhere to this conviction then all our objections such as with regard to the dying of people on account of disease, floods, and earthquake etc. will be removed because we have come over here not to live for ever but for departing from here. It is a different matter by what means we happen to depart from here, either through disease, floods or earthquakes etc.

Example: A customer entered a glassware shop where the glasses were arranged in an upside-down position. He looked at them minutely and said the mouth of the glass was closed. He picked up a glass in that condition and remarked that it had not even its bottom. The shopkeeper laughed at this and took the glass from his hand and put it into upright position and said, "Sir, the glass has its bottom as well as the mouth".

In the same way our objections are due to our wrong thinking and defective approach of things. So to say we see all things with coloured glasses. If we put on red glasses on our eyes we will take turnips as beets.

In short, all our objections originate from wrong thinking and incorrect interpretations. First we think that the world is a place of comfort and then we start making objections when we are faced with disappointments. As a matter of fact this world is a place of development and progress. This is a place where we sow the seeds. Obviously such a process involves hard work, hardships and difficulties.

Differences Develop the Society

If we accept some principles we shall realize that our basic differences play an important role in our life. First of all8 man’s life is a social life, that is, we are not like self-growing grass which perishes all by itself. We are not born all by ourselves and do not perish all by ourselves without having any relation with somebody else. Another point is the social life cannot function without mutual cooperation and cooperation only comes in the face of differences. It is because a certain man is perfect in a certain profession or field of activity and is weak in another. The difference of capabilities, courage and perfection necessitates the improvement of the society so that one set of people or individuals should help to fulfil the wants and deficiencies of others. It is for that reason that differences give rise to necessities which develop the society.

Difficulties Build up Personalities

The Holy Qur’an says that unpleasant events and accidents in life are the danger signs for man. A life without difficulties and hardship makes man lethargic and pleasure-loving. It is said that if the road is smooth and straight, the driver falls asleep. We have read in the Islamic narrations that Allah afflicts His noble servants with difficulties and hardships.

The Holy Prophets have been subjected to the most trying and severest types of difficulties and their devout followers with hardships of a lesser degree. We read in the tradition that Allah nurtures His servants by afflicting them with difficulties in the same manner in which a mother nurtures her child by suckling. Difficulties not only help to build up man’s personality but the experience of the past difficulties also does the same.

We read in the following verses of the Holy Qur’an.

Did He not find you as an orphan and take care of you? Did He not find you perplexed and show you the way? And did He not find you in need and enrich you? So do not oppress the orphans, and do not drive the beggars away, and proclaim the bounties of your Lord. (Surah az-Zuha, 93:6)

Allah considers it good to revive the memory of past difficulties and hardships. The Holy Qur’an stresses that difficulties and hardships are meant for offering supplications and purifying the soul as is evident from the following verses.

We had sent Our guidance to the nations who lived before you and afflicted them with distress and adversity so that they might submit themselves to Allah. ( Surah al-An’am, 6:42 )

In every town in which We sent a Prophet, We tested its inhabitants through distress and adversity so that perhaps they would submit themselves to Us. (Surah al-A’raf, 7:94)

The traditions say that had there been no poverty, diseases and death, no power on earth could subdue man and he would have been proud of his transgression. Really, comfort and luxuries make man without having any purpose and aim of life. Imam Ali says: "The wood obtained from the trees of the forest is comparatively strong". (See: Letter—45, Peak of Eloquence, ISP, 1985)

Imam Hasan Askari says that in a way there is some goodness in misfortunes (Biharul Anwar, vol. 78, p. 374) in the sense that these misfortunes establish a link between Allah and us on the one hand and on the other divert our attention to doing something good. Hardships affect our bodies with the result that our soul is strengthened. As for example the host has to undergo some sort of hardship in treating his guest with genero. sity but by this his personality is developed in attaining the quality of being generous and kind.

There is a tradition which says that hardships and adversities are warning signals to the cruel people. And for the believers they are a means of their trial and their betterment. For the pious and the saints they are a source of their attaining dignity and perfection. (Biharul Anwar, vol. LXXXI, p. 108)1ll

An Example: The following are the three ways of prompting a soldier to work:

(i) When a soldier commits any irregularity he is ordered to do a difficult job by way of punishment.

(ii) Sometimes he is reformed by giving him a strenuous training so as to improve his abilities.

(iii) Sometimes when his rank and status are to be elevated he is sent on leave or is assigned a difficult job so as to justify his promotion to the higher rank.

Hence, suffering is a trial for the believer and on this basis the bounties of Allah are not the proof of one’s honour, nobility and virtue, for sometimes the best of pious and devout people are afflicted with misfortunes and adversities so that these people should derive strength to make themselves perfect, because unless sandal-wood is not burnt its scented smell will not be felt. Undergoing such sort of ups and downs in life is the means of gaining perfection for unless metals are not put into a furnace, they are not purified. Unless the soil is turned up with a plough it cannot be worthy of cultivation. Unless the grass is chewed by the teeth of a goat it does not get converted into flesh. Unless mutton is cooked on fire it is not fit to be eaten by human beings so as to become human protoplasm.

Similarly, unless man also suffers hardships and adversities and endures them bravely he cannot attain his spiritual purity and perfection. Our existence is not for the sake of eating and relaxing, for this thing is also common among the animals. What distinguishes us from the animals is the qualities of human attributes that we possess, e.g. the remembrance of Allah by way of worship, fraternity, and the spirit of sacrifice. Obviously we cannot achieve these qualities without undergoing hardships.

Hardships Lead to Inventions

If you are not faced with any difficulty you will not be able to make something new or invent anything. If we had not happened to fall sick, the science of medicine would not have been so developed. If we had not experienced cold and hot weather we would have not been able to invent means to protect ourselves from cold and heat. In some branches of science and technology such as medicine, military science, and industries, etc. we have become so advanced because we had to face enormous difficulties. This is such an established fact that one need not to go into details.

(vi) The sixth point is that man should not always keep an eye on the negative aspect of things only. There is a wise saying that if you lay hand on a lemon do not throw it away because it is sour but instead prepare a lemonade out of it. It is wise to see the positive aspect also and benefit from it.

Prophet Yusuf was thrown into a well by his brothers. Thereafter, he was rescued by some people of a passing caravan and was sold by them as a slave. He was accused of an ugly charge in Egypt and was sent to the prison. After all after these calamitous happenings he became the king of Egypt. After a long time when he met his father, the latter asked him what treatment was meted out to him by his brothers? Prophet Yusuf replied to his father: "Do not ask me of the treatment of my brothers but only ask me of the Kindness and Benevolence that Allah had showered on me, how He took me out of the difficulties, that is conspiracies, serfdom, slander and the prison cell, and how He freed me from the baseless charge that had been levelled against me".

This is one way of thinking that man does not always think on the negative aspect of things, but he looks into the positive aspect of the things too.

We do not forget the tradition which has come to us from Imam Hasan Askari. He said: "There is no misfortune which does not have with it some goodness which overpowers it. (Biharul Anwar, vol. LXXVIII, p 374)

However the objections of some people against the Justice of Allah are based on the fact that they always look into the problem from one aspect only.

Here I quote an example narrated by a scholar: "The sun shines on the ocean and raises the water vapours, which are converted into clouds, laden with rain drops. The earth’s gravitational force attracts these rain drops downward. These rain drops together flood the small drains which turn into rivers. Man builds dam on these rivers and generates electricity which helps the irrigation of agricultural lands. Now? if anyone out of sheer laziness or stupidity touches the live-wire and is electrocuted or if while ploughing the fields an ant-hill is destroyed, will somebody allow that man or the ants to blame Benjamin Franklin who discovered electricity and put it to useful purposes. Will the ants be justified in cursing the sun, the clouds, the rains, the man and the cultivation of lands because its home was destroyed in the process. Is it not that these objections are based on selfishness? Do such objections not indicate that we look into a problem from one aspect only and are motivated by selfish desires only as if the whole Universe should work for our own personal interest and that too for the temporary gain? Sometimes the difficulties that we face today turn to our benefit tomorrow, but we do not feel satisfied unless they give us fruitful result only today".

Another Explanation: In regard to Allah’s Justice about unpleasant happenings is that we should accept one of the two concepts regarding the Universe. That is, we should either accept the well-balanced system of the working of the Universe or we should treat that system as defective. If in the Universe things are working on a set pattern and system, then there must be some unpleasant incidents also, or else one should try to find out any irregularities in it. To understand this if we think over some unpleasant happening we shall come to know that they are governed by such fixed rules and harmonies that to accept them will amount to accepting those unpleasant happenings too. Take an example of a house which collapses over the heads of its inmates. Let us try to find out the reasons of such a mishap in the following manner:

(a) The ball with which the children were playing in the street falls down on the roof of a house.

(b) The ball after rolling down on the roof of the house reaches the mouth of a drain and blocks the flow of rain water.

(c) When it rained, the rain water did not pass through the mouth of the drain and instead got accumulated on the roof and the inmates of the house remained quite unaware of this.

(d) The rain water was soaked through the roof and the bricks also became wet and weak.

(e) The roof of bricks which had become heavy with water gave way and collapsed. Some of the inmates of the house died because of the falling down of the roof.

The ball, its rolling, the slope of the roof, the narrowness of the hole on the roof, the weight of the accumulated water, the weakening of the bricks, the heaviness of the roof, the distance above the heads of the inmates who were sleeping under the roof, their bone structure and such other things are regulated by a fixed system. If one accepts the general principle of a fixed system one will have to accept the happenings of the mishap as a result of falling down of the roof over the inmates of the house. But if one wished that such an unpleasant accident should have not occurred, then it will amount to accepting a disruption and irregularity in the set system; as for example:

(a) The ball should have been so heavy as to not fall on the roof, or

(b) the arms of the children should have not been strong enough to handle the ball, or

(c) the mouth of the hole on the roof had been so wide as to let the ball pass through it, or

(d) the rains should have not occurred, or

(e) the water should have lost its property of getting absorbed into the bricks, or

(f) the bricks would have been hard enough in not absorbing the water inside them, or

(g) the gravitational force of earth would have ceased to function on that particular night so as to avoid the falling down of the roof over the inmates of the house, or

(h) the bones of the inmates of the house should have been as hard as steel, so that the falling down of the roof would have not crushed them, or

(i) the heavy roof should have been as light as feather, so that by falling down over the inmates it would not have hurt them. From this it is proved that if we accept a definite system of cause and effect and order of working, we shall have to accept the happenings of accidents and mishaps as a natural consequence, and to defy the happenings of such mishaps would amount to breaking the natural laws and physical phenomena which have been established by Divine Wisdom.

In short, if this Universe has certain set principles and rules it envisages mishaps and accidents also. If it is decided that there should occur no mishaps or accidents, then there would be no definite principles and set rules of working of everything. One should remember that if there are irregularities and disorders the chaos thus caused would lead to manifold evils and mishaps.

Great Caution: In our discussion about the Justice of Allah and the variation found in the human faculties, we should also give attention to the fact that some people who consider themselves lacking in one or the other faculties may be having capabilities in other spheres of activities. There are people who for the sake of personal benefit or greed or enmity adopt a certain profession or vocation in which they do not succeed, and bring frustration, they blame the Universe and consequently are embittered by failures and anxieties. On the other hand other people despise them and consider them as useless though such people show exemplary success in other departments.

It is said that the father of Charles Darwin was a physician and he wanted his son to adopt the same profession but Darwin could not make any progress in that field. His father got very much dejected and he forced him to acquire religious learning so that he could have become a good priest but he proved a failure there too. After failing in these two different fields, he chose natural sciences and became the pioneer in propounding a theory known as ‘The Theory of Evolution".

We read in the tradition that if a man faces failure in a certain field or profession he should change it; possibly in the other field he may attain distinction.

There is some hidden defect in every perfection, and in every defect there is a hidden perfection.

Imam Ali says: "Often physical characteristics and features do not respond to mental capacities. Many a time it is seen that very handsome persons are slow-witted and dull. Many tall and well-built persons are found to be cowards and un-aspiring while one often comes across very ugly and sinister-looking people who are good tempered, honest and pious. Similarly, short and stumpy men may be very intelligent and foresighted. It is often found that men of good character have accidentally addicted themselves to bad habits". (See: Sermon—238, Peak of Eloquence, ISP, 1985)

Therefore, every successful man is not successful in all the fields, nor he who is unsuccessful in one sphere of activity is necessarily unsuccessful in all his activities.

There are some people who join a particular field of activity on account of sheer jealousy, despite the fact that they have no aptitude or interest in it, but when they prove to be a failure they blame the Justice of Allah by saying: "O Allah! Why such and such man was successful and I met with failure?" If such a man had adopted a profession in which he had some interest and which was in keeping with his inborn faculties he would have met with sure success. Thus it can be said that a man can be unsuccessful if he had been unable to recognize his own talents and mental disposition in a certain field of activity which he chooses for himself and if we give a careful thought to the success achieved by a person we can discover certain weaknesses, failures, and defects along with that success.

There are other questions which come to our mind in regard to our discussions on the Justice of Allah.

The First Question: Is the creation of Satan in line with the Wisdom and Justice of Allah? Was the creation of man not for the purpose of worshipping Allah, and accordingly was the creation of Satan the negation of this purpose? Apart from that man performs a certain deed after undergoing great efforts but errors and false notions on his part nullify such a deed in three different ways. Firstly, such a deed loses its real image as envisaged by Divine Will from the very beginning because of its showy character. Secondly, in the course of performing such a deed an element of pride defeats the very purpose of its accomplishment; and thirdly, because of the sins committed after its accomplishment the very deed is brought to naught. Can in such a case the creation of Satan be in consonance with the Wisdom and Justice of Allah?

Answer to the Question: The existence and the qualities that Allah gave to Satan were all good, and for a long long time he had been worshipping Allah. Satan’s wickedness lay in his disobedience to the command of Allah and even worse than that his disobedience became his sin as he did not feel sorry for his misbehaviour and did not repent of his sin. Not only that he became arrogant and moreover he objected to the command of Allah by saying that His command was unjust because he was made of fire and Adam was made of earth, and hence he was superior to Adam. Accordingly Satan’s flouting the Divine command was due to his arrogance.

In the case of man, however, his unfounded fears are not such that he may become forced to commit sins. The strength of these unfounded notions leads to inclinations only. That is all. It does not kill our intention. And also there is a useful aspect of these fears, because our training and firmness of character lies in our fighting against our wicked desires and devilish notions. If a dumb man does not commit backbiting, it does not give him any credit. We give a man title of a strong man because he lifts a heavy weight from the ground against the greater force of earth’s gravity. Indeed the sign of strength lies in opposing or counteracting the gravitational force.

The Holy Prophet said, "If anger draws a man towards doing an evil thing and he controls himself, he actually is as strong as a wrestler".

Apart from that if a man-falls a prey to the evil thoughts there is a door of repentance open to him up to the last hour and he can repent of his sins. On the other hand if we had been left alone with Satanic thoughts, it would have been a difficult thing, but as against the evil temptations induced by Satan we are blessed with wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Prophets which lead us to tread the straight path. But for distracting us from this path we are followed by Satanic temptations. It is not that Satan draws us towards him but the fact is that we too attract him towards us. It is for this reason that the Holy Qur’an narrates the following incident of a depraved scholar:

Muhammad, relate to them the plight of the person whom We inspired with Our guidance, but he passed them by, so that Satan came after him and he went astray. (Surah al-A’raf, 7:175)

From this verse it is established that Satan reaches the people who by their own deed show their inclinations towards Satan. The man referred to in this verse was Bal’am a scholar, who belonged to the tribe of Bani Isra’il. Allah had endowed him with some kinds of knowledge by virtue of which his supplications used to be granted by Allah, but he established his contacts with the court of Fir’aun and thus for the sake of attaining worldly gain and power he was detached from knowledge and the signs of Allah and fell into the trap of Satan.

We learn from the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:

Satan has certainly no control over the Believers who have trust in their Lord. The only authority he has is over his followers and those who consider things equal to Allah. (Surah an-Nahl, 16:99-100)

The fact that Satan has no power over the believers does not mean that he does not tempt them into wrong ways, but the fact is that those, who know the Satan quite well, are the true believers. They do not fall a prey to his temptations but resist them with full force and they are never influenced by him in any way. The Holy Qur’an describes the believers’ resistance against the Satan in the following verses:

Those who are pious remember Allah when assailed by the instigations of Satan, and certainly they begin to understand, even though their (devilish) brothers would like them to continue in error and would not desist. (Surah al-A’raf, 7: 201—202)

Therefore, the believers are the antagonists of Satan and the transgressors are his friends and patrons. The Holy Qur’an says:

We shall make Satan the companion of whoever ignores the remembrance of the Beneficent Allah. (Surah az-Zukhruf, 43:36)

In short, Satan is such a creation of Allah that he could make the best use of his abilities but owing to his pride and obduracy he ruined himself for nothing. His ruination concerns him alone. The Satanic thoughts cannot, therefore, compel us to transgress and abandon the right path. Thus for those, who fall under his trap, the door of repentance is open and the Satanic influences only come through our own doing. From all that has been stated now it cannot be said that the creation of Satan was against the Justice of Allah.

The Second Question: Another thing which is often asked in respect of the Justice of Allah is the problem of those unfortunate individuals who pass their lives under agony and hardship, and are subjected to humiliation by the people. They ask as to why such individuals have been created at all?

The answer to the second question can be found from the foregoing discussions as we have already stated before that the very cause of our unpleasant happenings is our own doing. The less fortunate people are also the product of our indifferent and lethargic attitude. It is the parents who should abide by the hygienic and psychological principles. It is by their ignoring them that abnormal and retarded children are born. Fortunately, instructions on these principles have been laid down in the narrations of our infallible Imams. Cohabitation in the state of intoxication, menstruation, or food poisoning can have an adverse effect on the foetus. It is necessary that for the purpose of enlightening the young men and women in the family planning centres, sex education, in line with Islamic teachings, be imparted so as to produce healthy children, and bring them up properly according to Islamic standard.

What is the Fault of a New-born Child?

The question arises: "What is the fault of the new-born child?" Our answer is: "What is the fault of Allah?" Here both, the new-born child and the Beneficent Allah are faultless. Those who are at fault are the parents, but the new-born child is the sufferer. This is not so only in the case of a new-born child, but in all cases of oppressions and cruelties the fault is of the oppressors and the oppressed have to suffer.

If I throw a stone at you and you are wounded, then neither you nor Allah are at fault, but the fault is only mine and you suffer. Similarly when the question is raised as to why the offspring should suffer on account of the faults of the parents, the same question can be raised in case of the oppressors, who have committed oppression but the oppressed suffer.

If you brought a saltish or bitter yeast to a baker to make the bread for you, would you blame the baker who gave you the saltish or bitter bread?

If you sowed the seed of a watermelon and you got a watermelon will anybody raise an objection to it?

Would you expect to reach your destination in the north if you happen to travel southward?

Every food and every disposition has its natural effect and to save oneself from those effects one will have to defeat all the natural laws (which is impossible). To expect something else from the seed of a fruit or from the sperm is contrary to reason. Again the question that the parents’ fault was a temporary error but the damage done to a deformed baby was a permanent one has no concern with Allah. You cap blind yourself in a moment with a knife and you remain blind for the lifetime. The fault was for a fraction of a moment but you suffered the agony for the whole life. You smash a glass in a moment but the glass is broken forever. Similar are the psychological problems. If you abuse a man, he severes his connections with you for the whole of his life, and an apology made for a moment annul the lifelong rancor and enmity. I had cited an example of a man who was very careful about his health but when he took a spoon of poison he nullified all his efforts of maintaining his good health.

Here arises another point to consider that the parents did not know that their action according to the Divine laws would have an adverse effect on the new-born baby. The answer to this is that the parents awareness or unawareness does not affect the natural consequences. It is immaterial whether or not we know that a certain wire is a live-wire and if we touch it we are sure to be electrocuted. Electricity would not stop its function if we are unaware of its existence, and would not leave us alive. If by mistake we drink wine taking it to be water, we shall certainly be intoxicated because it is the effect of the wine to make one intoxicated. Hence the innocence of the parents is in the sense that they did not commit a mistake intentionally, but after all the natural effect of a certain action must follow its own course.

The second question that arises is with regard to humiliation of the physically-handicapped persons who are born as such. The matter of their humiliation by the people is not connected with Allah or anybody else but it is a matter of their own way of thinking. We should not look down upon the people born with congenital physical defects. The sacred teachings of Islam have given many instructions in this regard.

In fact, it is the responsibility of the Government in power that it should take care of them with due respect and solemnity and provide them suitable work according to their individual capacity and ability so as to provide reasonable means for their livelihood and also ensure that their efforts are rightly rewarded by giving them maximum return. We wish to conclude this topic but not without making a request to our readers.

A Request: We should not entertain any doubt about the fundamentals of our beliefs and ideology. Whenever a problem regarding faith and ideology crops up and we cannot answer it we should better refer the matter to a religious scholar. We should note down the telephone numbers of a few religious scholars so that we may seek their guidance on even small objections. Just as sometimes a small nail pierces our foot and makes us unable to walk, a small objection disturbs our mind and makes us skeptical about our faith and makes our life miserable although apparently it looks like a very trifle thing. Our youngsters who are often confronted with some such objections and criticisms raised by some vested interest should in particular be in touch with a well-informed, virtuous and pious scholar so that he may give them proper advice and guidance.

A Reminiscence: Once I happened to come across a few friends of mine who told me that the Islamic laws do not fall in line with the true spirit of culture and civilization because according to Islamic jurisprudence the four fingers of a thief are to be chopped off while communism says that if we change our financial system and satisfy everybody’s wants, there would be no possibility of thefts. When I inquired of them how they have formed such an opinion they told me that one of their teachers who was a supporter of socialism had told them such a theory which appealed to them and which they took to their heart.

However, I replied to them that Islam does not allow chopping off the hands of every thief; on the contrary in Islam there are twenty conditions before a thief’s hand can be chopped off. I asked them who amongst them knew those conditions. All of them said that they did not know those twenty conditions. I told them that had they acquired some knowledge about Islamic laws they would have questioned their teacher in the classroom and told him that if he did not know the true facts about that matter he should have not poked his nose without having acquired proper knowledge about it. I told my friends that they should have invited their teacher to, a frank discussion on the point or they should have consulted an Islamic scholar. After I told them a few of those conditions they started pondering over it and then we parted company.

I invite the attention of my esteemed readers on the statement that the Holy Qur’an claims that in the long run Islam would be triumphant against evil forces and the people of the entire world would ultimately embrace Islam, and Imam Mahdi, the Imam of the Age will rule over the whole world. But there are some certain conditions with this claim as follows:

(i) People’s attention towards Islam.

(ii) Identification of Islam.

(iii) Mental preparedness to understand Islam.

Indeed, the martyrs of the Islamic Revolution in Iran have turned the attention of the people towards Islam and in that way they have initiated a major step towards that direction. It is our duty now that we move forward to acquaint the people with the true spirit of Islam and then it is the duty of the other people who have been disappointed with different faiths and ideologies and are inclined towards Islam. Therefore, it is necessary that we read at least one good book every week so that we keep ourselves abreast with the Islamic learnings.

Imam Ali Riza said: "If people become familiar with Islamic guidance they would be easily inclined towards it".

In the study of books priority should be given to those books which deal with faith and general outlook on the Universe, because our deeds are based on our thinking, and therefore considering other schools of thought we should choose for ourselves a proper line based on solid arguments.

In concluding our discussions on the Justice of Allah we should like to invite the attention of the reader to the following important points:

Categorization—The Means of Recognizing Allah

Just as undue preference is cruelty, in the same way rational categorization is real justice besides being a source of recognition of Allah. The Holy Qur’an says:

Among other signs of His existence is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the differences of languages and complexions. (Surah ar-Rum, 30:22)

Thus if a draftsman makes the same type of lay-outs and blueprints, an architect the same type of buildings, and the poet writes the verses of the same style, it will show his weakness and lack of knowledge, but if all these people show some originality in style and crafts it will speak of their creative faculty.

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FAQ on Zakatul Fitrah

FAQ on Zakatul Fitrah..hujjatul islam Sayyid Mohammad Moosvi

Q. What is Zakatul Fitrah?
A: It is religious tax/alms (zakat) paid on the day when Muslims break the fasting period at the end of the month of Ramadhan. This alms is known as Zakat al-Fitrah.
Q. What do the Qur’an and Hadith say about Fitrah?
A: Imams (a) say that the verses: Indeed whosoever purifies himself shall achieve success, and glorifies the Name of his Lord and prays (87:14 & 15) refer to giving of Fitrah and saying prayers on Eid al-Fitr. Imam Ja`far as- Sadiq (a) said: for your fast to be accepted, give zakât.
Q. When does Fitrah become wajib?
A. Payment of Fitrah becomes obligatory after sunset on the eve of Eid al- Fitr. The Fitrah should be kept aside and paid on Eid al-Fitr before Eid prayers or before midday for those who cannot say their Eid prayers. It is necessary to have obligatory intention (niyyah) of giving Fitrah for God’s pleasure only.
Q. What happens if someone forgets or does not give Fitrah on time?
A. If one does not give out or set aside the Fitrah within the due time, he should give the Fitrah later, on the basis of precaution, without making the niyyah of adaa or qadhaa but only Qurbatan Ilallah.
Q. Can we give Fitrah in advance?
A. Giving Fitrah before the eve of Eid al-Fitr is not permissible. However, if you wish to send Fitrah earlier so that it reaches the needy on time, then you can send it as a temporary loan to the needy and then change your intention from loan to Fitrah on the eve of Eid al-Fitr.
Q. To whom is Fitrah obligatory?
A. Paying Fitrah is obligatory on every Muslim who is mature (baligh), sane, financially able, and conscious on the eve of Eid al-Fitr. Fitrah should also be paid on behalf of all dependents (e.g. wife, children) whom one supports financially.
Q. When is a host required to pay Fitrah for his guest?
A. If a person invites another person to his house on the eve of Eid al-Fitr and if the guest is present at the host’s place at the time of the sunset then it is obligatory for the host to pay Fitrah for his guest.
Q. What happens if the guest arrives after the sunset on Eid night?
A. In this case the guest will pay his/her own Fitrah and it is not obligatory on the host to pay Fitrah for the guest.
Q. What happens if a guest comes uninvited and is present at the time of the sunset on the eve of Eid al-Fitr?
A. Ayatullah Sayyid As-Sistani says that the host should still pay the Fitrah as an obligatory precaution. However, Marhum Ayatullah Sayyid al-Khui was of the opinion that is recommended for the host to pay Fitrah of an uninvited guest.
Q. How much should we pay for Fitrah?
A. Fitrah for a person is given on a weight of three kilograms (one sa`a) on any food commodity like wheat, barley, rice, millet, raisins or dates. Ayatullah Seestani is of the opinion that the item that is not a staple food in your town should not be given in Fitrah. Say, for example, if millet is not a staple in Vancouver then Vancouver mumineen should not pay Fitrah on millet.
Q. Can we give cash value of any commodity mentioned above?
A. Yes, cash value in lieu of any foodstuff mentioned can be given as Fitrah. Thus, if a kilo of rice costs $2.00, the cash value of Fitrah on rice per person would be $6.00. We recommend, Fitrah on basmati rice to be Canadian Dollars 7.00 for residents of Canada and US Dollars 6.00 for US residents. (Please check prices for other items in your areas.)
Q. Whom should we give the Fitrah to?
A. It is given to the needy who are unable to meet their own or their dependants annual living expenses, nor do they have the means to do so through earning. Ayatullah As-Seestani says that the needy who is given the fitrah must be a Shi`ah Ithna `Ashari.
Q. Who should not be given the Fitrah?
A. A needy who: consumes alcohol, does not say his daily prayers (salat), commits sins openly, or he who is known to use the Fitrah in sinful way.
Q. Are there any additional rules that we need to be aware of?
A. Following are some important rules: (i) Fitrah should not be sent outside the town one resides in, if there are deserving mumineen in that town. (ii) Fitrah from a non-Sayyid cannot be given to a needy Sayyid; the reverse is permissible. (iii) A needy should be given at least one Fitrah (iv) Amongst the needy, relatives should be preferred over others when giving Fitrah, next in line are neighbours and then the learned.