By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Translated by: Ghassan RimlawiAllah says in His Glorious Book: “And commemorate the Chosen ones, Our servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, possessors of power and vision. Verily we did choose them for a special (purpose) - the remembrance of the Hereafter. They were, in our sight, truly, of the company of the elect and of the good. And commemorate Isma’il, Eisha, and Thul- Kifl: Each of them was of the company of the good.” (45-48)
In these Holy verses, we notice that Allah described those prophets as being the company of the good, suggesting that this attribute is an important one which Allah uses to describe His prophets. Therefore we ought to follow their example and try to develop ourselves and become of the same company; the company of the good whom Allah describes His prophets as being part of.
The Prophet (p.) and the Members of the House (a.s.) have left us many traditions in which they explain what is meant by the company of the good and how to become one of them.
The Messenger (p.) says: “Among the most good of you are the pious- who fear God and obey His commands; the pure, whose hearts and souls are void of any filth or hatred; the generous - who give from what Allah has given them… Who are kind to their parents, following Allah’s command: “And, out of Kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: “My Lord! Bestow on them Thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood”(17:24); and who do not let their wives and children need others to sustain them”.
Imam Ali (a.s) considered that the people of the Good in Allah’s view are “those who fear Allah most and obey Him, and those who are most ascetic in this world”. In this respect, we have said many times, that this does not mean that you shouldn’t enjoy what is lawful in this life, but it means you should not be a slave to these pleasures to the extent that you prefer them to your principles.
Asked about the practice that makes man among the company of the good, the Messenger (p.) said: “The best of people are those who benefit other people”; meaning that you should expand and broaden the life of others, especially the poor and the needy by the knowledge and wealth Allah has bestowed on you. And Allah has raised the issue of benefiting others to a very high level, when He made the difference between the right and falsehood as the difference between what benefits and what harms people. He says: “For the scum disappears like froth cast out; while that which is for the good of mankind remains on the earth.”(13:17). And when Allah instructed Mary to tell the people to ask her baby, Jesus (p.) said that: I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me revelation and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed where so ever I be” (19:30-33). The Members of the House explained the meaning of being blessed in that he benefits people.
Thus, man has to be unselfish and he has not to deprive people of his knowledge, wealth and strength, for all of these were given to him by Allah to give them to the people. (Give them something out of the means Allah has given to you” (24:33). “Spend in charity out of the where of He has made you heirs.” (57:7). This is what makes the society balanced and stable, with each member feeling that he has a duty towards the others, as well a right on them. Social life is thus a contract in which people pledge to support one another.
Both the Messenger (p.) and Imam Ali (a.s.) have said that the best man is the one who benefit others. This is something we should always remember and educate ourselves and our children on. We should also initiate civil education programs to establish a society that is well aware of its responsibility for its own welfare and the welfare of each of its members. Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) reminds us in one of his sayings that the best of us are the generous and the worst are the stingy. He also said: “The best worshipper is the one who enjoys five traits: He would be happy if he gives in charity, he would ask for forgiveness when he does wrong or commits sin. He would be thankful, if he is given something. He would be patient and tolerant in the face of trouble and hardships, and he would forgive if he is wronged”.
On another level, Imam Ali (a.s.) says: The best of you is he knows how fast his journey is and would therefore, supply himself with all what he needs. He would make sure that he had been pious all along, and abstain from everything Allah deemed unlawful.
The Messenger (p.) was asked who the best one to sit and chat with is. He said that it is he whom when you see him, he would remind you of Allah, and whose knowledge will increase yours. He also said: the men of good among you are those who call you to do good… They are those who promote peace and unity in the community, who reject partisanship and call for love and harmony.
There are also several sayings for the Prophet (p.) and the Imams (a.s.) that call upon us to watch over ourselves in everything we do or say, since we are going to stand before God on the Day of Judgment with nothing but our good deeds. Thus, we should not neglect to educate ourselves on the necessity of doing good and helping others, for the Messenger (p.) said: “The Muslim is the one who cares about the affairs of Muslims and he who does not is not a Muslim”.
* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.