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Acquiring a Non-violent Discipline

The virtue of non-violence requires a substantial and, very often, a strenuous psychological and character forming education and training. "None shall be accorded this rank except one blessed with great good fo rtune." 65

Non-violence has many manifestations. It is not merely to refrain from swearing back at someone who swore at you, or to abstain from hitting back at whoever hit you or shot you. To stubbornly hold on to your views when amongst a group who have opposite views to yours, refusing the majority opinion, is also a manifestation of violence. Stubbornness is a kind of violence. Another kind of violence is to frown at others, and another is to pass by someone without greeting him.

All of these, amongst others, are manifestation of violence. Hence Islam actively encourages desirable behaviour and practices such as "making a bond with whoever severed with yo u, and giving generously to he who denied you". Examples of some of the reported traditions that encourage such virtues are as follows:

The Messenger of Allah (S) is quoted as saying, "Shall I inform you of the best morals of this world and the hereafter? (They are) To forgive he who oppresses you, to make a bond with he who severs from you, to be kind to he who insults you, and to give to he who deprives you."

Imam Zayn el-Abidin 66 (A) is quoted as saying: "On the day of Judgement Allah the Almighty assembles all the people in one location and then it is announced, "Where are the noble people?" A group of people rise, who are then asked,

"What distinguishes you from the rest?" In reply they say: "We used to make bonds with he who broke off with us, We used to give to he who deprived us, We used to forgive he who used to oppress us." They are then told; "You have said the truth, so enter the heaven."

In another tradition, Imam Saadiq 67 (A) is reported as saying: "Three noble qualities belong to this world and the hereafter: To forgive he who oppresses you, To make bonds with he who breaks off with you, To forbear when insulted."

In another tradition Imam Baaqir 68 (A) is reported as saying: "Allah the Almighty gives nothing but honour and esteem to the Muslim who has three qualities: Forgiving he who has oppressed him, Giving to he who has deprived him, and Making bonds with he who has severed links with him."

In another tradition, Imam Ridha (A) quotes the Messenger of Allah (S) as saying: "Let it be a duty upon you to observe the most noble of ethics, for my Lord has sent me to teach them. Of them are: To forgive he who has oppressed you, To give to he who has deprived you, To make bonds with he who has severed from you, and to visit he (when ill) who does not visit you (when you are ill)"

Imam Ali 69 (A) in his will to Muhammad ibn al-Hanafeyyah states: "Make sure that your brother is not stronger in his abandonment of you than your endeavour to keep your bond with him, and that he is not more persistent in his insult to you than your kindness to him." Imam Saadiq (A) is reported as saying: "The magnanimity of us the Ahl- ul-Bayt is to forgive he who oppresses us."

The above is a small sample of the enormous collection of traditions reported in this respect.

Notes:

65. The holy Qur'an: Well-Expounded (41): 35.

66. Imam Zayn el-Aabedeen, also known as Imam al-Sajjad, is the fourth infallible imam of the Muslims after the Messenger of Allah (S).

67. Imam Saadiq is the sixth infallible imam of the Muslims after the Messenger of Allah (S).

68. Imam Baaqir is the fifth infallible imam of the Muslims after the Messenger of Allah (S).

69 Imam Ali (A), also known by his exclusive title Amir-ul-Mu'mineen, is the first infallible imam of the Muslims after the Messenger of Allah (S).

Adapted from the book: "War, Peace & Non-Violence" by: "Sayyid Muhammad Sadiq Shirazi"