Learning from the heritage of our Imams

SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association) – When Imam Ali bin Musa Ar-Rida whom we are still celebrating his anniversary, was asked about the best servants whom Allah and His Messenger loved he said: those when they do good they are cheerful.
They love to do good, by obeying Allah and by helping His servants and they feel happy when they do so because Allah wanted them to do good and enjoin justice Surely Allah enjoins the doing of justice and the doing of good; when they sin or misbehave, they ask for forgiveness, because those who believe do not insist on their sin. And those who when they commit an indecency or do injustice to their souls remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their faults– and who forgives the faults but Allah, and (who) do not knowingly persist in what they have done.

Those when given they would be thankful. They are thankful for Allah’s graces and for the gifts of fellow humans, since as the Hadith says: “if you do not thank those who are created you will not thank the Creator”.

Those whom when tried they will be patient: “And We will most certainly try you with somewhat of fear and hunger and loss of property and lives and fruits; and give good news to the patient,Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return”.

Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord, and those are the followers of the right course; And those if angered they will forgive and will not do anything in revenge.

In another saying, it is narrated that Imam Ar-Rida -and probably the Messenger and Imam Al-Baqir, since they all say the same thing being the words of Allah and the Quran- said about the traits of the rational or wise Muslim he said: The mind of the Muslim is not complete except after he acquires ten merits: The good from him is hoped: If he lives in a community, this community will feel confident to expect good from him to everyone he lives with, whether his family who would expect that he would sustain them and care for them, or the bigger community he is expected to care for and provide every service he is capable of. “Evil from him is impossible “. He is a man who does not treat anybody with evil, for he respects them being his brothers and fellow citizens, whom he loves for what he loves for himself and hates what he hates for himself. In addition, His belief would prevent him from doing evil.

“He regards little good from others much”. If others do good to him he will appreciate it and consider it plenty.

“He regards his own good as little”. When he is good to others he does not feel it is more than what he ought to, this is because he believes that the potentials Allah has given him are but a trust that he should give back to its owners. He is not fed up with those who request favors or needs, since he knows that needing him is one of the graces Allah has bestowed on him. He is not tired of seeking knowledge throughout his life. Allah says: “O my Lord! Advance me in knowledge “and he differentiated between those who know and those who know not. Poverty in Allah is more lovable for him than richness with the enemy. If he has to choose between being poor while keeping his faithfulness towards God and between becoming rich through his relations with the enemies of God he would choose poverty, because Allah is the one who enriches him if he becomes poor, and He is the one who bestows on him His Mercy and makes his abode in Heaven… Humbleness in God is more lovable for him than high rank with His enemy… for Allah is the one who is the, Master of the Kingdom! Thou givest the kingdom to whomsoever Thou pleasest and takest away the kingdom from whomsoever Thou pleasest, and Thou exaltest whom Thou pleasest and abasest whom Thou pleasest in Thine hand is the good; surety, Thou hast power over all things”.

He believes that: “People are two men – one man is better than me and more pious, the other is more evil and lower than me. If he sees the one that is more evil and lower than him he would say: perhaps the good of this person is hidden, which is good for him, while my good is apparent which is bad for me which means that I might not be better than him. Then when he sees the one who is better and more pious than him, he would be humble to him to reach his state. If he does that, his glory becomes high, and he will become the lord of the people of his time.

This is some of what Imam Ar-Rida said: “This Imam (a.s.) who opened up on all people, He did not leave a chance that he did not make use of to teach the people their religion, their attitude towards various things in life and guide them to the straight path. This is the role that Allah, The Most Exalted, entrusted the Imams of Ahl el-Beit with, and this is the road they followed; the path of their grandfather, The Messenger of Allah who dedicated his life to raise the level of the people and to introduce them to God and to make them close to Him, turning this nation a strong and civilized one”.

Thus, dear loved ones, those who go and visit Imam Ar-Rida, should not be satisfied by visiting the sacred shrine and reading the supplications.

They should stand and think about the greatness of the Imam (a.s.). Then they should study the great heritage of knowledge he left them. The Imams (a.s.) may not be with us now but their heritage is. And those who claim to follow them should follow their path, by learning from them as if they were with us.

Peace be on Imam Ali bin Musa Ar-Rida the day he was born, the day he died, and the day he will be brought back to life.

* The aforementioned is an edited Friday sermon.

By: Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)

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