Imam al-Baqir's Commandments to his Shi'ites
Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, and all the Ima`ms of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, took great care of their Shi'ites. They wanted them to follow their guidance and behavior.
They wanted them to be pious in their earnings. Moreover, they wanted them to cleave to the affairs of their religion to be an example to all Moslems. For the Shi'ites have bright Islamic abilities. With these abilities they are able to illuminate the way to the perplexed, and to show the great position of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.
It was reported on the authority of Ima`m al-Sa`diq, peace be on him, who said to one of his Shi'ites: "Be an adornment for us. Do not be a disgrace for us.
So, people say: May Allah have mercy on Ja'far b. Mohammed. For he has educated his Shi'ites."Ima`m Mu`sa` b. Ja'far, peace be on him, knew that one of his Shi'ites misbehaved and committed what Allah prohibited. So, he, peace be on him, gave him this wonderful piece of advice: "The good (thing) from everyone is good, and from you is better. The ugly (thing) from everyone is ugly, and from you is uglier, for you follow us, and we are the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt).
As for Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, he took great care of his followers (Shi'ites). He educated them. He gave them high pieces of advice and noble teachings. He asked them to follow his teachings and pieces of advice. The following are some of his commandments:
1. His Commandments to his Shi'ites
It is incumbent on those who adopt the doctrine of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, to follow these immortal commandments. They should put into effect their bright items to be an example to people. This is the text of his commandments:
"O People of our Shi'ites, listen and understand our commandments and our covenant to our followers. Be truthful in your talk. Fulfill your oath to your friends and your enemies. Help each other with your properties. Love each other with your hearts. Give alms to your poor. Come together in your affairs.
Do not cheat nor betray anyone. Do not have doubts after certitude. Do not escape out of cowardice after intrepidity. Do not turn away from the people whom you love. Your desire should not be for the love of other than you nor should your love be for other than you nor should your act be for other than your lord nor should your faith and purpose be for other than your Prophet.
Ask for the help of Allah, be patient. Indeed the earth belongs to Allah. He gives it to His servants whom He wants. And the final result is for the pious.
He, peace be on him, added:
Indeed, our Shi'ites, the friends of Allah and the friends of His Apostle, are those who tell the truth when they speak. They fulfill (the promise) when they promise. They pay (the deposit) when they are deposited. They endure with justice when they are forced to endure. They give when they are asked for the obligation. And do justice when they are asked (to do it). Our Shi'ites are those whose ears do not pass over their knowledge.
Our Shi'ites are those who do not praise those who find fault with us, nor do they make friends with those who hate us, nor do they associate with those who betray us. When our Shi'ites meet a believer, they honor him. When they meet an ignorant person, they leave him. Our Shi'ites are those who do not growl as the dog does, nor are they greedy as the crow is, nor do they ask anyone (for alms) except their brothers even if they die of hunger. Our Shi'ites are those who believe in our doctrine, separate themselves from their beloved ones for us, approach the strangers who love us, and turn away from the strangers who hate us.
One of those who were sitting with the Ima`m admired these words concerning the Shi'ites. Thus, he asked the Ima`m:
Where are such as these (people)?
The Ima`m replied:
They are in the ends of the lands. It is they whose livelihood is easy, who are delighted. When they are present, no one knows them.
When they are away, no one misses them. When they become ill, no one visits them. When they propose (marriage), no one marries them. When they enter a way, they do not deviate from (it). When the ignorant ones address them, they say : peace. And they pass the night prostrating themselves before their Lord and standing.
One of those who were sitting with the Ima`m blamed the Shi'ites who were contemporary to the Ima`m, saying:
"Oh son of Allah's Apostle, what about those who follow you with their tongues while their hearts are contrary to that?
Thus, the Ima`m replied:
The tribulation will bring about droughts against them to destroy them utterly, spites to ruin them completely, and disunion to kill them. By Him Who supported us at the hands of His angels, no one except Allah will kill them at their hands. Therefore, cleave to acknowledgment when you speak (to people). Leave quarreling, for it divides you. Beware, He (Allah) will raise you from the dead before the fixed time.
So, your blood will appear, your souls will go, those who will come after you will dispraise you, and you will be an example to the beholders. Indeed the best of the people in action is the one who leaves the people of the world- such as the father, the friend, and the adviser- and associates with his brothers in Allah even if they are Abyssinians or Negroes. No one of the believers will be raised a Negro from the dead. Rather they will be as white as hail. They will be washed with the water of the gardens.
They will win immortal Paradise. They will sit with the close angels, and accompany the prophets. No servant is more honorable with Allah than the servant who is rendered homeless for Allah till he meets Allah. Such are our Shi'ites who are the warners in the earth. They are lamps, signs, and light for those who seek what they seek. They are the leaders of the people of obedience to Allah. They bear witness against those who oppose their summons. They are tranquillity for those who come to them. They are kind to those who follow them. They are generous, forgiving, and merciful. So, such are their attributes in the Torah, the Bible, and the Holy Qur'an.
The learned man is from our Shi'ites when he keeps his tongue, obeys his leaders, shows enmity towards his enemies with his heart, knows their defects, does not show them what is in his heart, looks at their bad deeds with his own eye, and hears their offenses with his own ear. Those who hate his enemies are his friends. And those who love his enemies are his enemies.
So, one of those who were present asked the Ima`m: "May my father and mother be ransom for you, what is the reward of the one whom you have described when he walks peacefully, gets up peacefully, and spends the night protected? What is his rank and his reward?
Thus, the Ima`m, peace be on him, said: "The Sky commanded him to be protected, the Earth commanded him to be honored, and the Light commanded him to be believed.
So, it was said to the Ima`m:
What is his attribute in the world?"
He, peace be on him, replied: "When he is asked (for alms), he gives. When he is invited, he accepts. When he seeks (something), he obtains (it). And when he supports an oppressed person, he strengthens him.(Ayun al-Akhbar wa Funun al-Athar, pp. 223-225)
I think that no commandments were reported on the authority of the Ima`ms of the pious such these commandments that raise man to the level of the righteous and the pious. For they summon man to cleave to high moral standards and to refrain from bad manners. If Moslems put them into effect, they would be the lords of nations and leaders of people.
Indeed these commandments are among the treasures of Islam. They contain the aspects and essence of Islam. They denote that Islam has good, mercy, and guidance for all people. So, the Moslem must follow them throughout his life.
2. The Early Shi'ites
Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, praised the foremost Shi'ites. He mentioned their high moral standards and their high good qualities. He, peace be on him, said:
Our friends and Shi'ites were the best of their period. The Ima`m of the mosque in the district was from among them. The caller to prayers (mu'azin) in the direction to the Kaaba (Qibla) was from among them. The possessor of the deposit was from among them. The possessor of the trust was from among them. The religious scholar whom the people asked about their religious affairs was from among them.(Da'a'im al-Islam, vol. 1, p. 71)
These commandments show the qualities of the early Shi'ites, such as asceticism, piety, religious devotion, and cleaving to the religion. So, the people trusted them. They prayed behind them. Moreover, they regarded them as custodians over their properties and religion. Generally speaking, the early Shi'ites were famous for piety and righteousness.
It was reported that a Shi'ite stood before the judge as a witness. However, the judge refused to accept the Shi'ite's testimony, for he belonged to the Rafida. So, the Shi'ite burst into tears. Thus, the judge was astonished at him. He thought that the Shi'ite wept for his refused testimony. He asked him about that. So, the Shi'ites replied:
"You have deviated from the truth. You have ascribed me to this sect. No one joins it except the prophets and the righteous.
3. The Attributes of the Shi'ites
In many of his traditions, Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, mentioned the high qualities which those who believe in the doctrine of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, should follow. The following are some of the traditions reported on his authority:
1. He, peace be on him, said: "Our Shi'ites fear Allah and obey Him. They are humble and pious. They pay the trust. They praise Allah very much. They perform the prayers and the fasting. They obey the parents. They take care of the poor neighbors, the needy, the debtors, and the orphans. They are truthful in talking. They recite the Koran. They hold back their tongues from (speaking against) people except good. Thus, they are the custodians of their tribes over all things.( Tuhaf al-'Uqul, p. 295)
No one has such qualities except the righteous and the pious who fear Allah, and are afraid of His punishment.
2. He, peace be on him, said: "The Shi'ites of 'Ali, peace be on him, sacrifice their lives for our authority. They love each other, for they love us. They visit each other to enliven our affair. When they become angry, they do not do wrong. When they are pleased, they do not go too far (in pleasure). They are a blessing for him who is their neighbor them. And they are peace for him who associates with them.( Tuhaf al-'Uqul, p. 300)
The Shi'ites who have such qualities are blessing and mercy for those who are their neighbor. They are a safety and a peace for those who associate with them. For they do nothing except good for all people.
3. He, peace be on him, spoke to Abu` al-Muqda`m about the high moral standards of the Shi'ites of Ima`m 'Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him. He, peace be on him, said: "O Abu` al-Muqda`m, the Shi'ites of 'Ali are pale, thin, and withered. Their lips are faded, their abdomens are slim, their colors are changeable, and their faces are yellow. When it becomes dark, they use the ground as a bed and receive the earth with their foreheads. Their prostration is much, their tears are many, their supplications are many, and their weeping is plentiful. The people become happy and they become sad.
(Al-Khisal, p. 413)
These are the attributes of the Shi'ites of whom were 'Amma`r b. Ya`sir, Abu` Dharr, Hijr b. 'Adi, Maytham al-Tamma`r, and the like.
4. Al-Ba`qir's Commandments to Shi'ites
Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, supplied Shi'ites
with excellent commandments and valuable teachings. The following are some of them:
A. Ja`bir b. Yazid al-Ju'fi reported. He said: "We went in a group to Abu` Ja'far, peace be on him. We ended our ritual prayers. Before we saw him off, we had said to him: 'O Son of Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, command us.'"He peace be on him, said: "Your strong one should help your weak one. Your rich one should be kind to your poor one. The man should be loyal to his brother as he is loyal to himself. Keep our secrets. Do not force the people to follow us. Consider carefully our affair and what has been mentioned on our authority. If you find it in agreement with the Koran, then put it into effect. If you find it contrary to the Koran, then leave it. If you doubt the affair, then stop and ask us to explain it to you.(Diya' al-Amilin, vol. 3)
Al-Ba`qir, peace be on him, commanded the Shi'ites to cling to high moral standards. He guided them to what reformed their life in this life and the hereafter. He also commanded them to compare the traditions reported on the authority of the Ima`ms with the Koran. So, they were able to put into effect the traditions that were in harmony with the Koran.
Meanwhile, they were able to leave the traditions that were contrary to the Koran. He ordered them to do that because many traditions were fabricated. Those who were indifferent to religion fabricated these traditions to defame the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and to distort their precepts.
B. He, peace be on him, said: "Cling to piety, hard work, and truthful talk. Pay the trust to him who trusts you, whether he is righteous or a sinner. If the murderer of 'Ali b. Abi Ta`lib gave a trust to me, I would pay the trust to him.(Tuhaf al-'Uqul, p. 299)
Are there commandments higher and nobler than these valuable commandments that lead man to good behavior among people?
C. He, peace be on him, sent one of his companions to some of his Shi'ites, and ordered him to tell them the following:
He, peace be on him, said: "Recite my greetings to my Shi'ites. Order them to fear Allah, the Great. Their rich one should visit their poor one. Their sound one should visit their ill one. Their living one should attend the funeral of their dead one. They should meet each other in their houses. Indeed their meeting each other enlivens our affair.
May Allah have mercy on the one who enlivens our affair and puts into effect the best of it. Say to them: We will suffice nothing for them with Allah except through the good deed. They will not obtain our intercession but through piety and hard work. Indeed the most intense of all people in regret on the Day of Judgment is the one who describes a certain deed, and then he does other than it.
Al-Ba`qir, peace be on him, advised Shi'ites to do all kinds of good, to support each other, and to refrain from discord and division.
D. He, peace be on him, said: "May Allah have mercy on the servant who makes people love us, and does not make them hate us. By Allah, if they report what we say on our authority- if they do not distort it nor do they change it against us according to their opinions, no one will comment on it.
However, the one of them who hears the word, and then he adds ten (words) to it and explains it according to his own opinion. Therefore, may Allah have mercy on the servant who hears some of our hidden secret, and then he buries it in his heart. By Allah, Allah will not bring together our followers and our enemies in one house.(Ayun al-Akhbar wa Funun al-Athar, p. 223)
In this tradition, al-Ba`qir, peace be on him, warns Shi'ites from distorting or changing the traditions of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. For that will harm and defame them.
5. Love for Ahl al-Bayt
In a group of his traditions, Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, spoke to some of his companions about the love for the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. He denoted that a great reward from Allah would result from the love for them. The following are some of his traditions on that:
A. Some of his Shi'ites from Khurasa`n came to him. He, peace be on him, looked at a man of them. He saw that the man's feet split open. So, he, peace be on him, asked him: "What is this?" "O Son of Allah's Apostle, the remote distance (has brought it about). By Allah, nothing has brought me from where I came except the love for you, ahl al-Bayt,"replied the man.
"Be cheerful! By Allah, you will be raised from the dead with us,"said the Ima`m, peace be on him.
The Khurasa`ni man was so happy that he asked:
O Son of Allah's Apostle, will I be raised from the dead with you?"
The Ima`m, peace be on him, replied: "Yes. The servant who loves us, Allah will raise him from the dead with us. Religion is nothing except love (for us).
Surely, Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, said in His Book: 'Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.
(Ayun al-Akhbar wa Funun al-Athar, p. 223)
B. Ziya`d al-Aswad came to Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him. He came to him from a remote distance and a far-off place. He walked so much that his feet split open. So, Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, asked him: "Ziya`d, what is this?"
My master, I came on the back of a weak young camel. So, I walked all the road. I had nothing to buy a camel. I added a thing to a thing so that I have bought this young camel,"Ziya`d replied.
Ima`m Abu` Ja'far, peace be on him, felt pity for him. He wept for him. Then Ziya`d said to him: "May Allah make me ransom for you. By Allah, I have extremely committed sins. Perhaps I said: 'I have perished!' Then, I remember my love for you, ahl al-Bayt. With that I wish for forgiveness."So, the Ima`m turned to him, and then he said to him with kindness and affection:
"Glory belongs to Allah. Religion is nothing but love (for us).
Indeed Allah, the Blessed and Exalted said in His Book: 'Allah has endeared the faith to you and has made it seemly in your hearts.The Holy Qur'an, al-Hujurat, 7)
He said: 'If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you. (The Holy Qur'an, Al-Umran, 31)
He said: 'They love those who have fled to them. ( The Holy Qur'an, al-Hashr, 9)
A man from the desert came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and said to him: 'O Allah's Apostle, I love those who pray but I do not pray. I love those who fast but I do not fast.' So, Allah's Apostle said to him: 'You are with those whom you love.' Whom do you seek?
By Allah, If something occurred to people, they would not resort to anyone except us. And we would not resort to anyone except our Prophet. You are with us. Be cheerful, be cheerful! By Allah, Allah will not make you equal to other than you.(Ayun al-Akhbar wa Funun al-Athar, p. 226)
C. He, peace be on him, said: "Surely, the garden longs for and its light becomes intense for the coming of the family of Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, and their followers (Shi'ites). If a servant worshipped Allah between the rukn (the corner of the Kaaba) and the maqam (the standing place of Abraham) to the extent that his bodily members cut off, Allah would not accept his worship unless he adopts our authority and loves us.(Ayun al-Akhbar wa Funun al-Athar, p. 227)
D. He, peace be on him, said to a group of his Shi'ites: "The one of you who becomes happy when his soul reaches here. He pointed to his mouth with his hand. The angel of death comes down to him and says to him: 'As for what you wish for, it has been given to you. As for what you fear, you are safe from it.' He will open the door of his abode in the garden and say to him: 'Look at your abode in the garden! Those are Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, 'Ali, al-Hasan, and al-Husayn. They are your friends.' This is what the words of Allah, the Great and Almighty, confirm: 'Those who believe and guard (against evil), they shall have good news in this world's life and in the hereafter.(Ayun al Akhbar wa Funun al-Athar, p. 227)
In this connection, many traditions were reported on the authority of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and the pure Ima`ms. The books of traditions have mentioned them.
6. Why have Shi'ites been called ra`fida?
Abu` Basir related. He said: [I said to Abu` Ja'far:]
May I be ransom for you. We have been given a name. Through the name, the rulers have regarded as lawful our blood, our properties, and our torture." He, peace be on him, asked:
What is it?"
He, peace be on him, answered: "Allah has given you this name.(Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin, p. 119)
This name has become a signpost for the Shi'ites who spare no effort to spread social reform in the earth. However, those who have no morals find fault with them. The Shi'ites boast of it, for it has become a proof for their love of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, "from whom Allah has taken away uncleanliness and whom He has purified completely.
"Ima`m al-Sha`fi'i boasted of this name when he said:
If the love for the family of Mohammed is rafd,
then let jinn and men (thaqala`n) testify that I am ra`fidi.
7. Al-Ba`qir's Supplication for his Shi'ites
Ima`m Abu` Ja'far, peace be on him, was very loyal to his followers (Shi'ites). So, he supplicated for them with this supplication:
Oh Near, not slow! Oh Most Merciful of all merciful! Make protection for my Shi'ites against the Fire. Be pleased with them.
Forgive them their sins. Make easy their affairs. Conceal their defects.
Forgive them the cardinal sins that are between You and them. Oh You Who is not afraid of oppression! Oh You Who slumber does not overtake, nor sleep! Relieve my worry, and remove my grief!(Muhajj al-Da'awat, p. 18)
He, peace be on him, recited the following supplication for his Shi'ites:
O Allah, If I have pleasure and love (with you), then forgive me and those who follow me from my brothers and my Shi'ites. Make good that which is in my loins. By Your mercy, oh Most Merciful of the merciful.(Al-Kaf'ami, Musbah, p. 161)
Imam al-Baqir(A.S.) Explains The Ima`mate
The Ima`mate is a breath of Allah's spirit. It is a favor of His favors. He has bestowed it on man to lead him to belief and good and to guide him to the right path. The Shi'ites believe that it is among the fundamentals of the religion and the pillars of Islam. That is because it is the strong base on which Islamic social justice depends. Ima`m Abu` Ja'far (al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, talked about many dimensions of the Ima`mate. The following are some of them: