The Teachings of Imam Sadiq (A.S.) - Part I
Imam as-Sadiq(A.S.) asked the man who attended before him about his manner. "I am one of your followers and adherents," answered the man. Imam As-Sadiq(A.S.) said: Allah will surely accept the servant whom He loves and will surely give Paradise to him whom He accepts. Which type of our followers the Imam(A.S.), 'How many types of your followers,O son of the Prophet?'
Imam as-Sadiq(A.S.) spoke: Our followers are three types.
A type is those who pretend themselves our followers while the reality is the opposite, a type is those who cherish us secretly and do not follow us in public, and a type is those who cherish us openly and secretly. They are the highest group. They drank from the fresh water and had knowledge of the interpretation of the Book (of Allah), the distinction between the right and the wrong, and the causes of everything.
Therefore, they have become the highest group.
Poverty, destitution, and the varieties of crises are hastier than racehorses to them. They have suffered hardship and damage and they have been shaken and tested. Hence, they have been wounded and slain, scatterted in the remote countries. Through them, Allah heals the ailed and richens the deprived. Moreover, you gain victory, rainfall, and earnings only through them. They are the fewest, but the owners of the greatest standings with Allah.
The second group is the lowest group. They loved us in public, but they pursued the kings' practices, Their tongues are with us while their swords are unsheathed in our faces.
The third class is the middle group. They loved us secretly and ignored us openly. I swear if they love us secretly not openly, they are the fasting in days and the worshipers at night. The signs of seclusion are shown on their faces. They are peaceful and submissive people.
The man declared, 'I am one of those who love you secretly and openly."
The Imam (A.S.) said: Our followers in secret and openness enjoy a number of indications with which they are realized.
As the man asked about these indications, the Imam (A.S.) said: These are certain characters the first of which is that they knew monotheism perfectly, they excelled in the rules of Allah's oneness, and finally they believed in Allah's oneness and its description. Then they recognized the outlines, facts, provisions, and interpretation of faith.
The person intruded, 'O son of Allah's messenger, I have never heard you describing faith in such a form before.' The Imam (A.S.) answered: Yes, the asker should not ask about faith before he knows the One in Whom he must believe.
'O son of Allah's messenger,' asked that person, 'Would you please explain what you have said?'
The Imam (A.S.) spoke: He who claims that he knows Allah due to the imprint of the heart is polytheist. He who claims that knows Allah by name, not meaning, is declaring the contrary, because the name is new (created). He who claims that he worships the name and the meaning is associating others with Allah. He who claims that he worships the meaning by the description, not realization, is referring to something absent. He who claims that he worships the description and the desribed is nullifying Allah's oneness because description is something other than the described. He who claims that he adds the described to the description is belittling the great. They have no true respect of Allah.
'What is the course to the true believing in Allah's oneness, Then?' some asked.
He (A.S.) said: The door of search is opened and the pursuit of the exit is existing. The knowledge of the present should precede his description while the knowledge of the description of the absent should precede the knowledge of him.
'How can we know the witness before we know his descriptions?' they asked. He (A.S.) answered: You should first know him, know his knowledge, and know yourself through him. You should not know yourself through yourself. You should also know that whatever he has is to him and through him. As an example of this is Joseph's brothers when they addressed to him, 'Are you Joseph?' He said, 'Yes, I am Joseph and this is my brother.' They knew him through him. They neither knew him through others nor did they know him by themselves due to the imprints of their hears. Allah says: You could not even plant one tree. (Holy Quran 27:60)
This means that you should not appoint a leader for yourselves out of your whims and will. As for three categories, Allah will not speak to them, will not look at them on the Day of Resurrection, will not second them, and will arrange for them a painful chastisement. They are those who plant a tree that Allah did not plant, i.e. those who appoint a leader for themselves out of their own whims those who deny a leader that Allah appoints, and those who claim that those two persons have anything to do with Islam. Allah says: Your Lord creates and chooses to whomever He wants. They do not have the choice to choose whatever they want. (Holy Qur'an 28:68)
The Quality of Faith
Imam Sadiq(A.S.) said: The meaning of the quality of faith is the declaration, submission to Allah and seeking His favors through the declaration, and the fulfillment to Him through having knowledge of every obligatory matter, whether big or small, beginning with the outline of Allah's oneness up to the last chapter of obedience without missing anyone. All this should be connected and matched up to each other.
If a servant fulfills what is imposed upon him according to what we have recently explained, he will then deserve the quality of faith and will deserve the reward duly. This is because the meaning of faith is the declaration and the meaning of declaration is the sincerity of obedience. This proves that obedience as a whole is related to each other. A believer loses the quality of faith only when he ignores the matters due to which he deserved to have that quality.
He deserved the name and meaning of belief meritoriously only when he fulfilled the grand duties connectedly and avoided the acts of disobedience. He also will not abandon the quality of faith when he commits insignificant acts of disobedience to Allah and ignores the insignificant acts of obedience. Allah says: If you avoid the grand violating that which has been prohibited, your sins will be forgiven and you will be admitted into an exalted dwelling.(Holy Qur'an 4:31)
This holy saying proves the fact that we have recently indicated. Accordingly, forgiveness is obtained when the grand sins are avoided. If a grand sin is committed, all of the acts of disobedience, whether grand or insignificant, will be taken in the consideration of judgment. Hence, castigation and penalty of all the acts of disobedience (to Allah) will fall. This is the quality of faith and the quality of a believer who deserves the reward duly.
The Quality of Islam
The meaning of the quality of Islam is the submission and fulfillment of all the acts of obedience whose judgment is clear. If one declares the all acts of obedience publicly, even if he does not believe with the heart, he will deserve the name and meaning of Islam, warrant the public friendship, his testimony will be accepted, the rulings of inheritance will be valid for him, and he will enjoy the rights and obligations of the Muslims. This is the quality of Islam. The difference between the believer and the Muslim is that the latter will be believer when he is obedient intentionally along with his public declaration. If he obeys publicly only, he will be Muslim. If he obey publicly and intentionally, he will be believer provided that submission and seeking favors through knowledge will be present. It happens that a servant is Muslim but not believer. No one can be believer unless he is Muslim.
The Quality of Quitting Faith
Quitting faith occurs when one of five matters, all of which are similar and familiar, falls. These five matters are atheism, polytheism, deviation, immorality, and commitiment of the grand sins.
Atheism is every deed by which Allah is disobeyed due to renouncement, denial, disparagement, and underestimation, whether that deed is small or big. The doer of such deeds is atheist and bears the quality of atheism, Everyone, regardless of the religion or the sect, who commits disobedience of such characters, is atheist.
Polytheism is every act of disobedience that is committed and taken as a creed, whether small or big. The doer of such an act of disobedience is polytheist.
Deviations is the ignorance of the obligatory matters. It stands for ignoring one of the grand acts of obedience, without which faith is not materialized, despite the existence of proofs and evidences. The neglector of such an act is neither denying such acts' being obligatory nor betaking the denial of such obligatory acts as creed.
He neglects them due to laziness, inadvertence, and engagement in other affairs. He is deviant and swerving from the course of faith due to ignorance and misguidance. Thus, he deserves the name and meaning of deviations as long as the previous description applies to him. If the doer inclines to any aspect of disobedience desirably due to denial, belittlemen, and negligence, he will be regarded as atheist.
If he inclines to betake his own interpretations, pursuance, submission, and acceptance of the words of the fathers and forefathers as creed, he then will be regarded as polytheist. A man that pursues a deviation will rarely get rid of the inclination whimsically to having some of the above-mentioned qualities.
Immorality is every grand act of disobedience that is committed due to appetite, lust, and prevailing desire. The doer of such acts is regarded as immoral and swerving from the course of faith due to his immorality. He would be regarded as atheist if he kept on such immorality until he came under the forms of negligence and belittlement.
The commitment of the grand sins that voids the faith is the engagement wholly in committing the grand acts of disobedience without denial, taking as creed, appetite, or lust, but it is only due to fanaticism and rage that makes one accuse, vilify, kill seize fortunes, hold up rights, and commit the like grand sins that are perpetrated for reasons other than pursuance of appetite.
Perjury, usury, and the like sins that are committed for motives other than pursuing the appetite, such as consuming intoxicants, fornication, and forbidden amusement. The committer of such grand sins violates his faith and swerves from it while he is not polytheist, atheist, or deviant. He deserves the quality of ignorance if the descriptions are applied to him. If he inclines to the qualities of what we have described, the quality will attach him.
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