Rafed English

The Young Man Of Certainty Who Knew The Secrets

Adapted from: "Imam 'Ali's First Treatise on The Islamic Ethics and Education" by: "Zainol Aabideen Qorbani Lahiji"

In his book "The truth behind Faith and Certainty," al-Kulayni reports two traditions on the issue of the extraordinary effects of certainty. It seems both cases refer to a single person. However because of the significance of the issue, both are given here:
1. Ishaq b. ‘Ammar says: I heard Imam Sadiq (as) saying: The Prophet (S) performed the Morning Prayer with people. He saw among the crowd a young man who was dozing off and his head was leaning towards his breast. His skin was yellow, his body thin, and his eyes deep in his skull.
The Prophet (S) asked him: “O young man, how did you spend last night”? He replied: “O Messenger of Allah, I spent it with certainty”. The Prophet (S) was surprised at his reply.
Then, he told the youth: “For each certainty, there is a truth. What is the truth behind your certainty”?
He answered: “These are the effects and consequences of my certainty: It has made me sad; it keeps me awake for night prayers; it has made me go on fasting during the day. I have become disinterested in the worldly affairs. It is as if now I saw my God in the sky. I realize He is after the affairs of people. People, it seems, are gathering in the Doom's Day, I am among them, I feel. It seems as if I saw the inhabitants of paradise enjoying the blessings and having good time. It seems as if I saw the inhabitants of Hell crying and asking for help. It is as if I heard the noise of the people of Hell”.
Then the Prophet (S), hearing these statements, told his followers: “God has illuminated this man's heart with light”. Then he told the youth: “Continue with this state of mind."
Then the youth said, "O Messenger of Allah, ask God to make me a martyr in your holy wars. The Prophet (S) prayed for him. Some time later, he joined one of the prophet's holy wars and was the ninth martyr in that war."7
2. Abu Basir narrates from Imam Sadiq (as) who said, ‘The Prophet (S) saw Harith Ibn Malik Ibn Nu'man al-Ansari, and asked him: “How are you, Harith”?
He replied: “I am a true believer”. The Prophet (S) said. "For everything there is a truth. What is the truth beyond your speech”?
He answered, "O Messenger of Allah, I lack interest in this world. At night, I am awake for prayers, during the days, due to fasting and the heat, I am extremely thirsty. It is as if I saw my God in the Heaven. He is there to keep people accountable for what they do. I see the people of paradise meeting each other. It seems as if I heard the groans of the people of Hell."
The Prophet (S) said, regarding this youth: "He is God's servant whose heart has become illuminated by Him". Then, he told the youth: "You have got the insight. Be steady and firm."
The youth told the Prophet (S): “Please ask God to make me one of the martyrs among your army”. The Prophet (S) asked God to provide Harith with martyrdom.
Some time later Harith was among the army dispatched for war. He killed 8 persons and then was martyred."8


7. Usul al-Kafi, vol. 2, p.53.

8. Usul al-Kafi, vol.2, p.54. Mawlana Rumi, in Volume One of the Mathnawi attributes this story to Zayd b. Harithah, and not to Harithah b. Malik. Mawlawi writes:

The prophet asked Zayd,

How did you wake up, O loyal friend?

He answered a believer subject to God, He asked again

What are the signs of faith, if they have blossomed?

He answered: I was thirsty for days,

At nights I couldn't sleep because of my love,

He asked: what gifts did you bring us?

Which could be appreciated by people here.

He answered in the same way that people see the sky.

I can see the Heaven dwellers.

All of them I can see like the Doom's Day

Clearly, I see both men and women

Now tell me, shall I continue?

Mustafa hinted to him to be silent [Mathnawi, p.92.]


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