Imam Baqir's (A.S.) Message
by: Muhammadi Rayshahri
Yazid ibn Abd Allah quoting a tradition: Imam al-Baqir (A.S.) wrote to Sa'd al-Khayr:
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I instruct you to practice piety, because piety makes one immune from corruption; and provides gaining benefit m the next World. Allah, the Glorious and Majestic, keeps away dangers from a pious person, of which he himself has no idea and because of piety He removes his ignorance and blind-heartedness too. It was because of piety that Prophet Noah and his companions in the ship were rescued from the Deluge, and Prophet Salih and his followers were not harmed by the thunderbolt. Because of piety, the patient ones were saved, those noble and selected people [Prophet Noah and Prophet Salih and their followers and all those people who were patient] were saved. [Now] they have brothers who follow the same path and seek the same virtue. Because of hearing of the punishments of the sinful, they controlled their passions and praised Allah for what has destined for them, because He is worthy of praise. They reproached themselves for their shortcomings as they always feel that they deserve reproaches. They knew that Allah, the Blessed the High, knowing and patient gets angry with those who were not living for His satisfaction. He denies His Divine mercy from those who would reject His bounty and let go astray only those people who would reject His guidance. He gave them opportunity to repent by replacing their bad deeds with good actions, and repeatedly invited His servants to do this, and made no limitation for their prayer. Allah's damnation is upon those who deny what has been sent by Him. Allah has made it incumbent on Himself to be Merciful, so His mercy precedes His wrath, thus his justice became manifest. So he does not become angry with them unless they would arouse His anger. This is clear enough to those who are pious, learned and faithful. Whenever a nation denied the knowledge of the Book, Allah made them deprived of it too. He also made their enemies rule over them, when they themselves accepted their rule.
One of the signs of ignoring the Book is to give too much attention to the words and accents and distort their meanings. They recite the verses, but do not apply them to their lives. The ignorant are happy with mere memorizing; but the learned people are sorrowful of seeing that the verses are not put into practice.
Another sign of ignoring the Book is that a group of ignorant persons are chosen responsible for the Book of Allah, and they direct people toward whims and lusts and thus paved their way to destruction, they changed the religion's guidelines and left it behind to a group of ignorant and stupid people. Thus the "Ummah" refer to men's commands and follow them whereas they must refer to the commands of Allah the Blessed and the Most High.
Woe to the cruel persons who substituted men's mastership for Allah's and are expecting men's rewards and seek men's gratification instead of obeying Allah's orders. Among the Ummah are people who are devout practitioners of Islamic rules, but are gone astray. They are enchanted by the Satan and their worship is a source of confusion and sedition, both for themselves and for those who follow them.
There are pieces of advice and lessons for the worshippers of Allah [in the sayings of] Allah's Messengers. A prophet obeys Allah in each and every aspect, but when in one case disobeys Him then Allah cast him away from the Paradise, or throws another prophet into the whale's belly, and saves him only after he has repented. Then you [O Sa'd] know these pseudo scholars and pseudo priests who have concealed and falsified what was in Allah's Book. They were not led to the right path and their transactions incurred nothing for them but loss.
Know then their similar ones among the Ummah' those who watched the words in the Holy Qur'an, but distorted their meanings and commentaries. These people are always walking behind the superiors of the society, and when these latter ones are dispersed they follow those who have more and better worldly means. Their ultimate knowledge is not further than this. They always wallow in greed and infamy; and always talk vain words and the voice of Satan is heard from their mouths. The true learned men are patient with them when they hear harsh and offensive words from them. These people criticize the learned men, when they advise them to perform what has been ordered by Allah. Whereas the learned men feel treacherous if they leave guiding the people, or lead the ones who go astray or not revive one who is spiritually dead. How they got bad! Allah the Blessed and the most High has taken the pledge from them in the Holy Quran to enjoin the good and to prohibit doing what is forbidden, and cooperate with each other in doing what is good and virtuous, and not to help them in doing what is sinful and transgression. The learned men are put out of patience in harassment by these ignorant people. Because if they give a piece of advice, the ignorant persons will say they have become rebellious and if they teach the truth which is left unknown, they say that they are against the truth; if they lead the life of a recluse, people say they've separated themselves from the "ummah" If they ask for the reasons, they say they've become hypocrites; and if they follow and obey them they say: They've disobeyed Allah the Supreme and High.
May these ignorant people be annihilated! They don't have a clear understanding of what they read in the Book of Allah, they deny the Book and only half heartedly accept what's written in it and distort its meanings and do not think that what they do is immoral. They are similar to the priests, forerunners in pursuing their caprices and whims and the great men of the land of destruction. There is another group which is standing at the junction of guidance and misleading, who do not recognize the saved ones from those who go astray. They say that people did not have different ideas concerning the religion [at the time of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)]. They are right. When the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) passed away, he left behind him a clear and distinct Shariah. Not even a tradition was changed then and not an evil innovation appeared among them. They were not against one another. But when the darkness of sins enveloped the people, two Imams (leaders) appeared: One leading to Allah the Magnificent and High; and the other to the Hell Fire.
At this time Satan started to speak and his voice was heard by his followers who were increasing and entered into the partnership with him in wealth and offspring. Thus they neglected the Book and the Sunnah and the heretical practices were increasing. But Allah's friends clung to the Book and wisdom and started reasoning with their opponents. From that day on the followers of the right path and the evil doers separated their ways and those who were guided refused to cooperate and were reluctant to take side with the righteous ones, but those who had gone astray supported one another, in a way the mob inclined toward such-and-such. So know well this group.
There is another group, observe them delicately, the noble ones, and do not separate from them, so that you would join these who dwell in the Paradise because: "Truly, those in loss are those who loose their own souls and their relatives on the Day of Judgment: Ah! That is indeed the (real and) evident loss!" (39:15).
Source: Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) in The Qur'an and Hadith by: Muhammadi Rayshahri
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