One day Imam Musa Kadhim was passing by the tent of a Nomad who was a black man. He went up to him and said “Salam-Alaikum”, in a warm and friendly manner.
Upon leaving he said good-bye to him in a very kind manner with these words: “If there is anything I can do for you, I”m more than willing to do it”.
One of the followers of the Imam who saw this attitude said “Is it suitable for you, the son of the messenger of Allah, to sit and talk with a man of no reputation and make such an offer as: If you need me in any work, I”m more than willing to do it? Is it right for a man of great dignity to talk to a man like that?”.
The Imam replied, “This is one of Allah”s creatures. Allah has created all men equal. Besides, as a Muslim, he is our brother in faith. After all, life does not remain the same forever. One who needs help today may be the one who will be able to help us tomorrow when we”ll need help! If we don”t pay any attention to him today, one day when we may need him we will be embarrassed to ask him for help”.
His Helping the Distressed
One of the most prominent qualities of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, peace be on him, was that he helped the distressed and saved them from the ordeals and misfortunes which befell them. This was one of the most beloved things to him. He gave a religious decision to his Shi”ites in order that they might join the government of Ha`run al-Rashïd, provided that they should be kind to people. He is well-known for this religious edict, which says: “The expiation of the work with the ruler is (showing) kindness to people.”
The narrators have said: “A person from among the people of al-Ray was in enormous debts to the government of al-Ray. He was unable to repay them and was afraid that the government would confiscate his properties and punish him severely, so he asked the people about the governor, and they told him that he was one of the Shi”ites of Ima`m al-Kadhim, peace be on him. He traveled to Medina (Yathrib). When he arrived in it, he met the Ima`m and complained to him of his state. Soon the Ima`m responded to him and wrote a letter to the governor of al-Ray, saying: “In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Know that Allah has shade under His Throne. None resides in it except him who shows kindness to his brother, relieves his sorrow, and delights him. This is your brother. Greetings.””
The man took the letter and went to Mecca in order to perform the hajj. After he had finished performing the hajj, he headed for his homeland. When he reached it, he went to the governor. He knocked at the door of his house. The governor”s retainer came out and asked him: “Who are you?”
“The messenger of the patient one, Musa bin Jafar,” was the answer.
The retainer hurried to his master and told him about that. The governor came out bare-footed. He received the man, embraced him, kissed him on the forehead, and eagerly asked him about the Ima`m. The man answered him and then handed him the Ima`m”s letter. The governor took it with admiration and kissed it. When he read it, he ordered all his money and clothes to be brought. Then he gave most of them to the man and asked him: “Brother, have I delighted you?”
“Yes, by Allah, you have increased me in pleasure,” retorted the man.
Then the governor ordered the record to be brought, his debts to be canceled, and him to be discharged from them. The man went out while waves of happiness and delight covered him. He decided to show kindness to the governor through going to the Sacred House of Allah, praying for him, and telling the Ima`m about his kindness toward him. When the time of the hajj came, he traveled to the Sacred House of Allah. When he arrived at it, he sincerely supplicated for the governor of al-Ray, and told the Ima`m about his kindness toward him. The Ima`m was very pleased with this attitude of the governor. Then the man turned to the Ima`m and asked him: “My master, has this (deed) delighted you?”
“Yes,” replied the Imam, “it has also delighted Allah, the Exalted, my grandfather Allah”s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Family, the Commander of the faithful, and me.”
This initiative represents the Ima`m”s care of helping the distressed, and with it we will end our speech about some of his qualities.
His Acts of Worship and his reverential Fear
The narrators have said: “He (Imam al-Kazim) used to pray supererogatory prayers throughout the night so that he would make them extend until the morning prayer, then continue them until the sun rose. He would remaining prostrating himself before Allah without raising his head from prayer and praising Allah until the sun came near to descending (from its midday zenith).”
Another example of his acts of worship is that at the beginning of the night, he entered the mosque of his grandfather, Allah”s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household, prostrated himself before Allah, and said with fear of Him: “How great sin is with me! Therefore let forgiveness seem good to You, O Worthy of reverential fear, O Worthy to forgive!”
He continued this supplication with turning to Allah in repentance, sincerity, and weeping until the morning.
When the unjust “Abba`sid tyrant, Ha`ru`n al-Rashïd, put him in a dark prison, he devoted himself to worshipping Allah and thanking him for this trial, saying: “O Allah, You know that I used to ask You to give me free time to worship You. O Allah, You have done that. To You be praise. “
The tyrant, Ha`ru`n, towered over the prison from the top of his palace and saw a garment thrown in a certain place and did not change its place. The garment amazed him, and he asked al-Rabï”: “What is that garment which I see in that place every day?”
Al-Rabï” answered him, saying: “That is not a garment. That is Musa bin Jafar. He prostrates himself (before Allah) every day from the sunrise until the sun came near to descending (from its midday zenith).”
Al-Rabï” answer amazed Harun, the tyrant, and he said: “He is indeed among the monks of the Hashimites.”
Al-Rabï” asked Harun to release the Ima`m and not to oppress him in prison, saying: “O Commander of the faithful, why have you imprisoned him?”
“How far! That is necessary, ” retorted Harun.