SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- “He wrote this letter for his companions and ordered them to read it for each other, ponder about it, renew their promise to their Imam and try to practice it.”(1)
Kuleini, one the great Islamic scholars, has narrated a series of recommendation in his book al-Kafi from Imam Sadiq (PBUH) to his companions in the form of a letter. These recommendations are so important that before starting the advices, Imam (PBUH) asks his followers to read it for each other repeatedly and ponder and practice what is told in this letter. Imam Sadiq (PBUH) orders his followers to treat non-believers with good temper in a part of this letter:
“Treat non-believers with good manner and leniency, and tolerate their disturbance and irritation.”
The word used in the original narration (in Arabic) is “Mujamalah” which means treating one nicely. In this term a bilateral relationship is assumed. It can be inferred from this bilateral relationship that if we treat non-believers with good temper and high respect, we could have a positive impact on the other person. Furthermore if they do not have a polite interaction our good interaction might lead in a good bilateral relation.
Imam Sadiq (PBUH) is asking the believers to enforce their best virtues when interacting with non-believers. The goal of all messengers and prophets is to guide mankind and this mission is achievable with high morality and great virtues.
There are many educational examples in the life of the Great Prophet and his progeny where they had to interact with their enemies. The approach of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), who is the true resemblance of Allah’s (SWT) mercy, in facing non-believers is spectacular. As an example, after Muslim population and power had grown dramatically, one day Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) passed a Jew and greeted him warmly. A few days passed and the Prophet heard that man has become very sick. Prophet went to visit him. That man died shortly after but he died after becoming a Muslim.
After asking believers to treat non-believers with good temper, Imam Sadiq (PBUH) continues in the following manner: “tolerate their irritations and annoyances”. He explicitly advises his followers to be patient on unkind or any sort of unpleasant interaction from non-believers; as the great Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) did when one of the tribes cursed and threw stones on him. He only prayed and asked Allah for their guidance (2).
Imam Sadiq (PBUH) was raised in the atmosphere of such a school of thought where Allah (SWT) told his Messenger: “Indeed you possess the sublime manners.”(3) Only by considering and practicing such guidelines Muslims can reach the standards of Islam regarding moralities.
(The above is a selection taken from,” Book of Lessons Learned from Imam Sadiq (PBUH)”, by Ayatullah Sayyed Sadiq Shirazi (with little changes))
1. Al-Kafi, vol. 8, p. 2.
2. “O Allah! Guide my people; they do not know about their wrong path.” Bihaar al-Anwaar, vol. 11, p. 298.
3. The Holy Quran, (68:4).