Sunday 3rd of March 2024
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Love of Ali ibn Abi Talib (A.S.)


There is a well-known tradition:
“Love of `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib is a good deed with which no evil deed can bring harm.”
In answer to the first argument, it must be said that the difference between Shī`as and non-Shī`as becomes apparent when a Shī`a acts on the program his or her leaders have given him or her and the non-Shī`a also acts on the teachings of his or her own religion. In such a case, the precedence of the Shī`a, both in this world and in the other, will become clear. That is, the difference should be sought in the positive side, not the negative side. We shouldn’t say that if the Shī`a and non-Shī`a put the teachings of their religion under their feet, there must be some difference between them – and if there is no difference in that case, then what difference is there between Shī`as and non-Shī`as?
This is exactly as if two patients were to refer to a doctor, one referring to an expert doctor and the other to a doctor with less expertise, but when they receive the doctor’s prescription, neither of them acts in accordance with it. Then the first patient complains, saying, “What difference is there between me and the patient who referred to the non-expert doctor? Why should I remain sick like him, even though I referred to an expert doctor and he referred to a non-expert doctor?”
Just as in the example of the two patients, it is not correct for us to differentiate between `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as) and others by saying that if we don’t act according to his commands, we will see no harm, but for them, whether they act according to the words of their leader or not, they will be in loss.
One of the companions of Imām Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) said to the Imām: “Some of your Shī`as have gone astray and consider forbidden actions to be permissible, saying that religion is recognition of the Imām and no more; thus, once you have recognized the Imām, you may do whatever you want.” Imām as-Ŝādiq (as) said:
“Verily we belong to God and to Him shall we return. These unbelievers have interpreted that which they don’t know according to their own ideas.”
The proper statement is, “Acquire recognition [of the Imām] and do whatever good deeds you want, and they will be accepted of you, for God does not accept actions without recognition.”[94]
Muhammad Ibn Mārid asked Imām Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as): “Is it true that you have said, ‘Once you have recognized (the Imām), do what you please’?” The Imām (as) replied, “Yes, that is correct.” He said, “Any action, even adultery, theft, or drinking wine?!” The Imām (as) replied: “Verily we belong to God and to Him shall we return. I swear by God, they have wronged us. We [the Imāms] ourselves are responsible for our actions; how can responsibility be lifted from our Shī`as? What I said is that once you have recognized the Imām, do what you wish of good deeds, for they will be accepted from you.”[95]
As for the tradition that says:
“Love of `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as) is a good deed with which no evil deed will cause harm,”
We must see what its interpretation is. One of the eminent scholars – I think it was Wahīd Bihbahānī – has interpreted this tradition in a noteworthy way. He says that the meaning of the tradition is that if one’s love of `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as) is true, no sin will bring harm to a person. That is, if one’s love of `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as) – who is the perfect example of humanity, obedience, servitude, and ethics – is sincere and not out of self-centeredness, it will prevent the committing of sins; it is like a vaccine that brings immunity and keeps sickness away from the vaccinated person.
Love of a leader like `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as), who is the personification of good deeds and piety, causes one to love `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib’s character; it chases the thought of sin from one’s mind, with the condition, of course, that one’s love be true. It is impossible for one who recognizes `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as) – his piety, his tearful prayers, his supplications in the heart of the night – and one who loves such a person, to act in opposition to his command, he who always commanded others to be pious and do good deeds. Every lover shows respect to the wishes of his or her beloved and respects his or her command. Obedience to the beloved is a necessary result of true love; thus it is not exclusive to `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as); true love of the Prophet Muhammad (S) is the same way. Thus, the meaning of the tradition:
“Love of `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as) is a good deed with which no evil deed can cause harm”
Is that love of `Alī (as) is a good deed that prevents evil deeds from bringing harm; that is, it prevents their occurrence. It doesn’t indicate the meaning that the ignorant have understood, which is that love of `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as) is something alongside of which any sin you may commit will not have an effect.
Some dervishes on the one hand claim to love God and on the other hand are more sinful than all other sinners; these, too are false claimants.
Imām Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) said:
You disobey God while claiming to love Him,
This by my life is an incredible deed.
If your love were true, you would obey Him;
Verily the lover shows obedience to the beloved.
The true friends of Amīrul Mo’minīn `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as) would always abstain from sins; his patronage (wilāyah) would protect from sin, not encourage it.
Imām Muhammad Ibn `Alī al-Bāqir (as) said:
“Our patronage is not attained except through deeds and piety.”[96]
Now, some traditions in support of this point:
1. Ťāwūs al-Yamānī says: “I saw `Alī ibnil Ĥusain (as) perform the circumambulation the House of God and busying himself in worship from the time of `Ishā prayers until the last part of the night. When he found himself alone, he looked toward the sky and said, “O God! The stars have disappeared in the horizon and the eyes of the people have slept, and Your gates are open to those who seek…”
Ťāwūs narrated many sentences in this regard from the humble and worshipful supplications of the Imām (as) and has said {in regards to the Imām(as)}: “Numerous times in the course of his supplication, he wept.” He

#356;āwūs) then said:
“Then he (the Imām) fell to the earth and prostrated on the ground. I approached and, putting his head on my knees, wept. My tears flowed and fell on his face. He rose, sat, and said: “Who has busied me from the remembrance of my Lord?” I said: “I am Ťāwūs, O son of the Messenger of God. What is this agitation and disquiet? We, who are sinners and full of shortcomings, should do thus. Your father is Ĥusain Ibn `Ali, your mother is Fāťimah Zahrā, and your grandfather is the Messenger of God (S) – that is, with such a noble ancestry and lofty link, why are you in discomfort and fear?” He looked to me and said:
“Not at all, O’ Ťāwūs, not at all! Leave aside talk of my ancestry. God created Heaven for those who obey Him and do good, even if he be an Abyssinian slave, and He created Hell for those who disobey him, even if he be a Qurayshī lad. Have you not heard the words of God: “So when the trumpet shall be blown, there will be no relations among them, nor shall they ask one another?” By God, nothing shall benefit you tomorrow except what good deeds you send forth.”[97]
2. The Messenger of God (S), after the conquest of Makkah, ascended the hill of al-Ŝafāā and called out: “O sons of Hāshim! O sons of `Abdul Muťťalib!” The descendents of Hāshim and `Abdul Muťťalib assembled; when they came together, the Messenger (S) addressed them:
“Verily I am God’s Messenger to you; verily I am your well-wisher. Don’t say that Muhammad is from among us, for I swear by God, my friends from among you and from among others are only the pious ones. So do not let me see you come to me on the Day of Judgement carrying the world on your shoulders, while the people come carrying the Hereafter. Aye, I have left no excuse between myself and you, and between God the Exalted and you. Verily, for me are my deeds and for you are your deeds.”[98]
3. Books of history have written that the Noble Messenger (S), in the last days of his life, went out alone at night to the cemetery of al-Baqī` and sought forgiveness for those buried in it. After that, he said to his companions, “Each year Jibrā’īl would show the Qur’ān to me once, and this year he recited it for me twice. I think this is a sign that my death has approached.” The next day he went to the pulpit and declared, “The time of my death has approached. Whoever I have made a promise to, let him come forward so that I may fulfil it, and whoever is owed something by me, let him come forward so that I may give it.”
Then he continued his words thus:
“O people! Verily there is no kinship between God and any person, nor is there anything on account of which He will do good to a person or cast away evil from him except deeds. Aye, let no one claim or wish (otherwise). I swear by Him Who sent me with the truth, nothing will give salvation save (good) deeds along with mercy, and if [even] I were to disobey, I would perish. O God! I have conveyed.” [99]
4. Imām `Alī Ibn Mūsā al-Ridhā (as) had a brother known as Zayd al-Nār. The character of this brother of the Imām (as) was not very pleasing to the Imām. One day, during the time that the Imām was in Marw, Zayd was present in a gathering in which there was a large group of people who were speaking to each other. While the Imām was speaking, he noticed that Zayd was talking to a group of people and speaking of the station of the Messenger’s family, and in a proud manner would constantly say, “we this” and “we that.” The Imām (as) cut short his own words and said, addressing Zayd: “What are these things that you are saying? If what you say is correct and the descendents of the Messenger of God (S) have an exceptional status; that is, if God is not to punish their evildoers and will reward them without their doing good deeds, then you are more honourable near God than your father Mūsā Ibn Ja`far (as), because he would worship God until he attained the stations of Divine proximity, whereas you think that without worship you can attain the station of Mūsā Ibn Ja`far (as).”
The Imām (as) then turned to Ĥasan Ibn Mūsā al-Washshā’, one of the scholars of Kūfah who was present in that gathering, saying, “How do the scholars of Kūfah recite this verse:
“O Nuh! Verily he is not of your family; he is a (doer) of unworthy deeds.”
He replied: “They recite it thus:
“That is, he is not your son and is not from your seed; he is the son of an unrighteous man.”
The Imām (as) said, “Such is not the case. They recite the verse incorrectly and interpret it incorrectly. The verse is thus:
That is, your son himself is unworthy. He was actually the son of Nūh; he was driven away from God and drowned because he himself was unrighteous, even though he was the son of Prophet Nūh(as).
Thus, being descended from and related to the Prophet or Imām has no benefit; good deeds are required.”[100]


Creational Conditions and Conventional Conditions
Usually, people compare the Divine rules in creation, reward and punishment, and salvation and perdition to the human societal rules, even though these affairs are in accordance with creational and actual conditions and are a portion of them, whereas social conditions and rules follow conventional, man-made rules. Social rules can follow conventional conditions, but the rules of creation, and among them Divine reward and punishment, cannot follow these conditions, and instead follow creational conditions. To clarify the difference between a creational system and a conventional system, we present an example:
We know that in social systems, every country has its own particular rules and laws. Social rules, in some issues, differentiate between two people who are equal in physical and creational conditions, but different with respect to conventional conditions.
For example, when they wish to hire someone in Iran, if an Iranian and an Afghani apply for the job and both are equal in terms of creational conditions, it is possible that the Iranian will be hired rather than the Afghani, simply because he is not an Iranian. In this case, if the Afghani says that I am completely equal in terms of physical conditions to the Iranian who was hired – if he is healthy, I too am healthy, if he is young, so am I, if he is a specialist in such-and-such a field, so am I – he will be given the answer that administrative rules do not permit us to hire you.
Based on a conventional and man-made decision, the position of this same Afghani individual can change and become like others; that is, he can apply for and receive Iranian citizenship. It is obvious that citizenship papers have no effect on his actual personality; but from the view of social rules, he has become another person. Normally, the observance of conventional conditions is concurrent with a lack of observance of equality in actual and creational conditions.
But in issues that do not follow social and conventional rules and instead follow only creational conditions, the case is different.
For example, if – God forbid – an illness or an epidemic comes to Iran, it will not differentiate between a citizen of Iran and that of another country. If an Iranian and an Afghani are equal with respect to temperamental, environmental, and all other conditions, it is impossible for the bacteria that cause illness to discriminate and say that since the Afghani is not a citizen of Iran, I have nothing to do with him. Here, the issue is of creation and nature, not society and societal conventions; the issue pertains to creation, not to legislation and rule-making.
The Divine rules with respect to reward and punishment and salvation and perdition of individuals are subject to actual and creational conditions. It is not the case that if someone claims, “Since my name is recorded in the register of Islām and I am Muslim by name, I must have special treatment,” it will be accepted of him or her.
Let there be no confusion; here we are concerned with the discussion of reward and punishment, salvation and perdition, and the conduct of God with His servants; we are not talking about the laws that Islām has legislated in the Muslims’ social life.
There is no doubt that the laws of Islām, like all other legislations of the world, are a series of conventional laws, and a series of conventional conditions has been observed within them. And in these laws which are related to their worldly life, human beings, out of necessity, must follow a set of conventional conditions.
But the actions of God, and the operation of Divine will in the system of creation – including the granting of salvation and leading to perdition of individuals and rewarding and punishing them – do not follow social rules, and instead are of another type altogether. God, in carrying out His absolute will, does not act on the basis of conventional rules. Conventional matters which naturally have a major effect on social systems have no role in the creational will of God.
From the viewpoint of the rules which Islām has legislated that pertain to the social conduct of human beings, whenever a person recites the two testimonies[101], he or she will be recognized as a Muslim and will benefit from the advantages of Islām. But with regard to the rules of the hereafter and from the viewpoint of God’s conduct, the laws of:
“Whoever follows me, is from me…”[102]
“Verily the most honourable of you near God is the most pious of you.”[103]
The Messenger of God (S) said:
“O people! Verily your father is one, and your Lord is One. All of you are from Adam, and Adam was from dust. There is no pride for an Arab over a non-Arab, except through piety.”[104]
Salmān al-Fārisī , who strove to reach truth, reached such a station that the Noble Messenger (S) said of him,
“Salmān is one of us, the People of the House.”
There are some who have come under the influence of satanic whisperings and have contented themselves with the thought: “Our name is among the names of `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib’s (as) friends. However we may be, we are considered his subjects. Or we will make a will that a large sum out of the money that we have acquired through wrong means or that we should have spent in our lifetime in good causes – but didn’t – should be given to the caretakers of one of the holy shrines in order for us to be buried near the graves of God’s saints, so that the Angels don’t dare punish us.”
Such people should know that they have been blinded and the curtain of negligence has covered their eyes. Their eyes will open when they will find themselves drowned in Divine punishment and they will suffer from such regret that if it were possible to die, they would do so a thousand times. So let them awake from the slumber of carelessness today, repent, and make up for what has passed.
“And warn them (of) the day of regret, when the affair will be decided while they are negligent and don’t believe.”[105]
From the point of view of the Qur’ān and the Islāmic traditions, it is definite that the sinner, even if Muslim, will be punished by God. True, since he or she has faith, he or she will in the end achieve salvation and liberty from Hell, but it may be that this salvation will only come after years of hardship and punishment.
Some people’s account of sins will be cleansed by the hardships of dying; another group will pay the penalty for their sins in the grave and barzakh (intermediary realm between this world and the next); another group will get their retribution in the horrors of Resurrection and difficulties of accounting for their deeds; and yet others will go to Hell and linger there for years in punishment. It has been narrated from the sixth Imām, Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) that the verse:
“…lingering therein for ages…”[106]
Pertains to those who will attain salvation from Hell.[107]
Here we mention some examples of traditions which talk of the punishments of the time of death and after death so that they may help us take notice, awaken, and prepare ourselves for the daunting and dangerous stations which we have ahead of us.
1. Shaykh Kulaynī narrates from Imām Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) that `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as) was once suffering from pain in the eye. The Prophet Muhammad (S) went to visit him at a time when he was crying out from the pain. He said, “Is this cry from impatience, or because of the severity of pain?” Amīrul Mo’minīn `Alī Ibn Abī Ťalib (as) replied, “O Messenger of God, I have not suffered any pain like this until today.” The Prophet (S) began to narrate the terrifying account of what happens to unbelievers when they die. Upon hearing this, `Alī (as) sat up and said, “Messenger of God, please repeat this account for me, for it made me forget my pain.” Then he (as) said, “O Messenger of God! Will anyone from your community face such a death?” He replied, “Yes: a ruler who oppresses, one who usurps the property of an orphan, and one who bears false witness.”[108]
2. Shaykh Ŝadūq narrates in the book ‘Man Lā Yah°uruhu al-Faqīh’ that when Dharr, the son of Abū Dharr al-Ghifārī , died, Abu Dharr stood by his grave, put his hand on the grave, and said: “God have mercy on you; I swear by God that you were good to me and now that you have left me I am pleased with you. I swear by God that I am not worried because of your leaving; nothing has been diminished from me, and I am in need of none but God. And were it not for the fear of the time of notification, I would wish that I had gone in your place. But now I wish to compensate for what has passed and prepare for the next world, and verily my grief for your sake has prevented my grief over you. [That is, I am absorbed in thinking about doing something that could benefit you, and so I have no time to grieve at being separated from you.] I swear by God that I have not wept on account of your separation, but I have cried thinking about how you are and what you have gone through. I wish I knew what you said and what was said to you! O God! I have forgiven the rights that You had made obligatory on my son for me, so You too forgive him Your rights over him, for magnanimity and generosity are more befitting of You.”[109]
3. Imām Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) narrates from his noble ancestors that the Prophet Muhammad (S) said, “The squeezing in the grave for a believer is an atonement for the shortcomings he or she has committed.”[110]
4. `Alī Ibn Ibrāhīm narrates from Imām Ja`far Ibn Muhammad as-Ŝādiq (as) regarding the verse:
“…and beyond them is a barrier until the day they shall be resurrected.”[111]
that he said:
“I swear by God, I fear nothing for you except barzakh; as for when the affair is committed to us, we are more worthy of you.”[112]
That is, our intercession is related to after barzakh; there is no intercession in barzakh.
In general, there are so many Qur’ānic verses and clear traditions regarding the punishment for sins such as lying, backbiting, false accusation, treachery, oppression, usurping other’s property, drinking, gambling, tale-bearing, defaming, abandoning prayer, abandoning fasting, abandoning pilgrimage, abandoning Jihād, and so forth that it is beyond reckoning; none of them are exclusive to the unbelievers or non-Shī`as.
In the tradition of the Mi`rāj (Prophetic ascent to Heaven), we find many examples where the Prophet Muhammad (S) says: “I saw various groups of my community, men and women, in different forms of punishment, who were being punished on account of various sins.”
[94] Mustadrak al-Wasā'il, Volume 1, Page 24
[95] al-Kāfī, Volume 2, Page 464
[96] Bihārul Anwār, Volume 12 (Kumpānī print)
[97] Ibid., Volume 11, Page 25, “Chapter on the Noble Morals of the Fourth Imām”
[98] Bihārul Anwār

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