By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: ManalSamhat
Tomorrow, the 25th of Shawwal, marks the death anniversary of Imam Ja’afar As-Sadiq (a.s.), the Imam whose education and culture extended to all people; whether followers or not. He was the Imam who spread the Prophet (p.)’s knowledge and that of the Imams before him. His truthfulness was never doubted. He was so spiritual that non-Muslims used to describe him as a spirit that is revered by all those who met him.
The Imam was known to be willing to talk with anyone. He used to sit in the Haram mosque, and while others were busy going around the Ka’ba, he was busy talking about truth and Islam to draw others nearer to Islam. He used to meet groups of non-believers with an open heart and mind, and give them solutions to all the intellectual problems they were facing.
He was an Imam who mixed socially with all people, regardless of their social status, and he never lost an opportunity to tell others what he felt they ought to know about God about themselves and about everyday life. He was so tolerant that he used to meet those who hurt him with forgiving smiles.
Thus, the stage that Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) represented in progression of the Imamate was that of the knowledge of Islam. He wanted all people (intellectuals, jurists and even non-Muslims) to understand that Islam is a comprehensive religion that has solutions for every aspect of life and that there is nothing that people might need that Islam does not have something to say about.
This is what we discover when we study the life of the Imam and find out that there was nothing that anyone talked about which he did not touch upon. In addition, he used to take care of the people who followed Ahl El-Beit (a.s.) making sure that they were united and protected from liquidation.
That is why he emphasized the principle of Taqiyyah. We should not understand by Taqiyyahthat he wanted the followers of Ahl El-Beit (a.s.) to deviate from the right path; but rather, to be adaptable when faced with grave threats in order to stay alive and ensure that the beliefs of Ahl El-Beit will continue to exist. Therefore, the Imam did not agree with those who were over-excited. He wanted to tell them that when we are faced by a big threat,we have to study the objective circumstances first so that we can find the best course that ensures the continuity of our beliefs. This is what the Messenger (p.) used to do before Hijra, when he discouraged Muslims from taking any negative action that could lead to a confrontation with the leaders because he wanted that period to be one where the call was spread peacefully.
When we follow Ahl El-Beit (a.s.) we follow all of them as one unit since they all follow the beliefs of the Messenger (p.) and their sayings are the sayings of Muhammad (p.). Therefore, we ought to follow their advice and teachings concerning all matters of life especially as we are faced with a society full of lies, hatred and division.
So, let us hear what advice the Imam has for the Muslims. He said: “The Messenger (p.) said: ‘The ones who earn the greatest position on the day of judgment are the ones who give advice to their fellow humans in this world’”.
Notice that the Prophet said “tofellow humans” and not only to Muslims, which means that people should love their fellow humans and have no ill-feelings for them. Moreover, giving advice to fellow human beings will bring us the nearest to God on the Day of Judgment, which shows how important advice is in the eyes of God.
He also quoted the Prophet (p.) as saying:“If you ask the advice of a fellow believer and he does not give it, he has betrayed God and His Messenger (p.)”.
Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) also said:“To give advice to the believers is the best thing you could do.”
This is the principle that the Imam wants the Muslim community to follow so that the Muslim community will be formed on the basis of advice and honesty on all levels. This is especially true on a national level regarding political and social issues where we have to give advice as well as avoid whatever causes conflict or strife. Our hearts have to be filled with love, with no place for hatred or malice, for a heart that has room for hatred is a heart in which Satan has found a place to stay.
When God tells us about gambling and alcohol,He says that the devil wants to create hatred among us by these means. Therefore, hatred in all its forms, including partisan and sectarian, is the work of Satan that we ought to avoid.
Thus, following Ahl El-Beit (a.s.) does not just mean marking their anniversaries or attending Ashura gatherings, it means following what God’s Messenger said.
Imam Mohammad Al-Baqir (a.s.) said:“Is it enough for those who claim to be Shiites to love Ali and say that they follow him without abiding by his teachings? The messenger is better than Ali…To be a Shiite is to follow what God says. Whoever is a follower of God is one of our followers and whoever is an enemy of God is an enemy to us. Piety is the only way to follow us”.
Try to think about this when you face God on the Day of Judgment.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.