Imam Ali's Words to Kumayl bin Ziyad
Imam Ali's Words to Kumayl bin Ziyad
From the Book "Tuhaf al-Uqool"
O Kumayl, these hearts are containers. The best of them is that which preserves (its contents). So, preserve what I say to you. People are of three types: One is the scholar and divine. Then the seeker of knowledge who is also on the way to deliverance. Then (lastly) the common rot who run after every caller and bend in the direction of every wind. They seek not light from the effulgence of knowledge so as to be guided, and do not take protection of any reliable support so that they will be saved.
O Kumayl, knowledge is better than wealth. Knowledge guards you, while you have to guard the wealth. Wealth decreases by spending, while knowledge multiplies by spending. Knowledge is the ruler while wealth is ruled upon.
O Kumayl, adoration to the knowledgeable is belief, which is acted upon. With it man acquires obedience during his life and a good name after his death. The benefit of wealth vanishes when wealth vanishes. Those who amass wealth are dead even though they may be living while those endowed with knowledge will remain as long as the world lives. Their bodies are not available but their figures exist in the hearts. Look, here is a heap of knowledge (and Amirul-Muminin pointed to his bosom). I wish I could get someone to bear it. Yes, I did find (such a one); but either he was one who could not be relied upon. He would exploit the religion for worldly gains, and by virtue of Allah's favors on him he would domineer over the people and through Allah's pleas he would lord over His devotees. Or he was one who was obedient to the hearers of truth but there was no intelligence in his bosom. At the first appearance of doubt he would entertain misgivings in his heart. So, neither this nor that was good enough. Either the man is eager for pleasures, easily led away by passions, or is covetous for collecting and hoarding wealth. Neither of them has any regard for religion or wisdom and conviction in any matter. The nearest example of these is the loose cattle. This is the way that knowledge dies away with the death of its bearers.
O my Allah, Yes; but the earth is never devoid of those who maintain Allah's plea either openly and reputedly or being afraid. As hidden in order that Allah's pleas, proofs, and relaters of His Book should not be rebutted. Where are they? By Allah, they are few in number, but they are great in esteem before Allah. Through them Allah guards His pleas and proofs till they entrust them to others like themselves and sow the seeds thereof in the hearts of those who are similar to them. Knowledge has led them to true understanding and so they have associated themselves with the spirit of conviction. They take easy what the easygoing regard as hard. They endear what the ignorant take as strange. They live in this world with their bodies here but their spirits resting in the high above.
O Kumayl, they are the trustees of God on His creatures, and the vicegerents of Allah on His earth, His lamps in His countries, and callers to His religion. Oh, oh, how I yearn to see them! I seek God's forgiveness for you and me.
Imam Ali's Brief Commandment for Kuayl bin Ziyad
O Kumayl, begin every day with mentioning God's Name and saying, "All might and power belong to God." Depend upon God. Mention us, utter our names, and seek God's blessings for us. With the previous sayings, encircle yourself and whatever is under your custody so that you will be saved from the evil of that day.
O Kumayl, God educated the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family); he educated me and I educate the believers and leave behind me the good education to the honorable people.
O Kumayl, I am the originator of every aspect of knowledge and Al-Qa'im (peace be upon him) will be the sealer. O Kumayl, we are the offspring of one another. God is All-hearing and All-seeing. O Kumayl, follow no one but us, and you will be one of us.
O Kumayl, you need knowledge in every movement.
O Kumayl, before you have food, mention the Name of Him whose Name bans every malady and presents remedy for any ailment.
O Kumayl, share others with you on dining tables generously, because you will never endow anything to people. If you do so, God will reward you widely. When others sit with you for a meal, use good traits, relieve your sitter, and do not blame your servant.
O Kumayl, when you are on a dining table, take as long as possible time so that your companion will have his sufficiency and others will be bestowed from your food.
O Kumayl, when you have enough food, praise God for His provisions to you raising your voice, so that others will imitate you and your reward will be doubled.
O Kumayl, do not fill in your stomach with food, and leave a place for water and flatus. Do not leave a meal unless you still covet it. This will bring you health, since the source of physical health is few food and water.
O Kumayl, blessing is in the wealth of him who defrays zakat, offers to the believers what they need, and regards the relatives.
O Kumayl, give your faithful relatives more than what you give to the other faithful believers. In addition, treat them more compassionately and more kindly. Give alms to the poor.
O Kumayl, never disappoint a beggar. Give him even a grain of grapes or a half single date. With God, the almsgiving are growing.
O Kumayl, modesty is the best dress of the believers, chastity is his best beauty, learning is his honor, and negligence of gossips is his dignity.
O Kumayl, there is a degree of superiority with every people. Beware of discussing with the lowly even if they invite you to a discussion. Be tolerant and be one of those whom God describes in His saying: "When addressed by the ignorant ones, their only response is, ‘Peace be with you.'"
O Kumayl, say the truth in every situation. Cherish the God-fearing ones, desert the sinful ones, avoid the hypocrites, and dissociate with the traitors.
O Kumayl, do not knock the doors of the unjust for associating with them and earning from them. Beware of respecting them or attend their sessions for God's wrath will befall you. If you have to attend there, you should mention God uninterruptedly, depend upon Him, and seek His guard against them. Turn the head down, deny their deeds secretly, and glorify God openly so that you will be supported and saved against their evils.
Chastity, tolerance, and patience are the most favorable characters that the servants offer to God after their faith in Him and His vicegerents.
O Kumayl, do not show your poverty to people. Forbear it for God's sake dignifiedly and secretly.
O Kumayl, you can inform your brotherly friend of your secret. Who is your true brotherly friend? He is that who does not disappoint you in misfortunes, does not leave you alone in troubles and sins, does not wait until you ask him for help, and does not let you inform him of your problem. You may lead him to straightforwardness when he is leaning.
O Kumayl, the believers should be the mirrors of each other; when they look at others, they should meet the needs and settle the problems.
O Kumayl, the believers are brothers. Brothers should never prefer anything to each other.
O Kumayl, if you do not like your brother, then you are not his brother. The true believer is he who follows our sayings. He who fails to reach him is acting imperfectly to us. He whoever acts imperfectly to us will not catch up with us. He whoever is not with us will be in the lowest class of Hell.
O Kumayl, every concealed matter should be divulged in some way. If we divulge one of our secrets to you and order you to keep it, you should never show it to others. If you do so, then no repentance will promote you. When no repentance will promote you, your fate will be Laza –a class of Hell-.
O Kumayl, the divulgement of the secrets of Mohammed's family (peace be upon them) is unforgivable and intolerable. Except the faithful believers, do not narrate their sayings to anyone.
O Kumayl, in problems, say: "All might and power belong to God," so that they will be solved. In graces, say: "All praise is due to God," so that they will be doubled for you. If your sustenance is slowed, you should seek God's forgiveness so that it will be increased to you.
O Kumayl, by being loyal to us, save yourself from letting the Shaitan have a share in your wealth and sons.
O Kumayl, faith is either steady or shaky. Beware of having shaky faith. You will have steady faith only if you fit tightly to the patent path that will not lead you to a bend and will not take you away from the course.
O Kumayl, in obligatory acts, there is no permission. In recommendable acts, there is no force.
O Kumayl, your sins are more than your good deeds. Your oblivion is more than you reference to God. God's graces to you are more than your deeds.
O Kumayl, there is no single piece in you empty of God's graces and bestowment of good health. You should never neglect commending, glorifying, praising, thanking, and mentioning Him in every situation.
O Kumayl, do not be one from them about whom God says:
They forget about God. He will make them forget themselves.
Hence, He ascribes sinfulness to them. He says:
These are the sinful people.
O Kumayl, the high ranks will not be obtained through offering the prayers, fasting, and giving alms. The most important is to offer the prayer with pure intendment, acceptable act, and sound submission. You should regard when and what for you are offering the prayer. If it is not offered correctly and legally, it will not be accepted.
O Kumayl, the tongue receives from the heart, and the heart supplies the soul. Consider that with which you feed your heart and body. If the source is illegal, God will not accept your praising and thanking Him.
O Kumayl, you should realize and know that we do not permit anybody to breach the trust of anybody. He whoever relates that I have permitted anybody to breach the trust is surely wrong and sinful and his result will be Hell. I swear I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) say to me frequently just one hour before his death: "O Abul-Hasan, give back what you are entrusted to its owner, whether he is pious or sinful, in big and small things even if it is a thread or a needle." He repeated this thrice each time he said it.
O Kumayl, jihad should be only under the leadership of the just imam and spoils are legal only if a virtuous imam gives.
O Kumayl, without the advent of a prophet, the advocacy to God of any person including the pious believers will be either right or wrong. Moreover, it will be surely wrong unless God selects him for such an advocacy.
O Kumayl, the religion is God's; therefore, He does not accept for anyone to call for it except the apostles, prophets, and successors of prophets.
O Kumayl, God is certainly generous, clement, great, and merciful. He attracts our attentions to His traits and orders us to follow them and invite people to adopt them. We did perform without slackness, put them into practice without hypocrisy, believe in them without disloyalty, and accept them without doubt.
O Kumayl, by God I am not slavish flatterer so as to be obeyed, I am not awakener of desires so as not to be disobeyed, and I am not coveting the food of the Bedouins –money of zakat- so as to be called and given the name of ‘Amirul-Muminin' (Leader of the believers).
O Kumayl, the seekers of the worldly pleasures will gain a vanishing and ending life, while we will gain a steady and continuous life.
O Kumayl, the all will be to the next life. We only hope for God's assent and the high ranks of Paradise that He gives to the God-fearing only.
O Kumayl, he who will not live in Paradise will surely suffer a painful agony and permanent shame.
O Kumayl, thank God for His giving you success and for everything.
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