In the Name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful Know ¬God have mercy upon you¬ that God has rights incumbent upon you and that these encompass you in every motion through which you move, every rest which you take, every waystation in which you reside, every limb which you employ, and every instrument which you use. Some of these rights are greater than others. And the greatest of God’s rights incumbent upon you is what He has made incumbent upon you for Himself ¬the Blessed and the Exalted¬ from His rights. That which is the root of all rights from which others branch out. Then those which He has made incumbent upon you in yourself, from your crown to your foot, according to the diversity of your organs. He established for your sight a right incumbent upon you, and your hearing a right incumbent upon you, and your tongue a right incumbent upon you, and your hand a right incumbent upon you, and your legs a right incumbent upon you, and your stomach a right incumbent upon you, and your private part a right incumbent upon you. These are the seven organs through which deeds take place. Then the Mighty and the High established for your deeds rights incumbent upon you. Then He established for your ritual prayer a right incumbent upon you, and your fasting a right incumbent upon you, and your charity a right incumbent upon you, and your offering a right incumbent upon you, and your deeds a right incumbent upon you. Then the rights extend out from you to others who have rights incumbent upon you. And the most incumbent of them incumbent upon you are the rights toward your leaders, then the rights toward your subjects, and then the rights toward your relations of kin. And from these rights branch out other rights. The rights of your leaders are three-fold: The one most incumbent upon you is the right of him who trains you through authority, then the right of him who trains you through knowledge, then the right of him who trains you through property. And each trainer is a leader. And the rights of your subjects are three-fold: The one most incumbent upon you is the right of those who are your subjects through authority, then the right of those who are your subjects through knowledge, ¬for the man of ignorance is the subject of the man of knowledge¬ And then the right of those who are your subjects through property, such as wives and those owned by the right hand1. And the rights of your relations of kin are multi-fold: they hold according to the degree of closeness of the relationship. Then the most incumbent one upon you is the right of your mother, then the right of your father, then the right of your child, then the right of your brother, then the next nearest, and then the next nearest, and the most worthy, and then the next most worthy. Then there is the right of your master who favors you2 , then the right of the slave the servant whose favors reach you 3, then the right of him who treats you kindly, then the right of your caller to prayer, then the right of your prayer leader, then the right of your sitting companion, then the right of your neighbor, then the right of your companion, then the right of your partner, then the right of your property, then the right of the debtor who must pay you back, then the right of your creditor who demands his debt to be paid back, then the right of your associate, then the right of your adversary who has a claim against you, then the right of your adversary against whom you have a claim, then the right of him who seeks your advice, then the right of him whose advice you seek, then the right of him who seeks your counsel, then the right of him whose counsel you seek, then the right of him who is older than you are, then the right of him who is younger than you are, then the right of him who begs from you, then the right of him from whom you beg, then the right of him who wrongs you either verbally or physically, then the right of him who does something to make you happy either verbally or physically whether intentionally or unintentionally, then the right of the people of your creed, then the right of those under the protection of Islam, then all rights hold which are incumbent upon you according to the vicissitudes of life and the availability of means. Therefore blessed be the one whom God helps fulfill the rights which He has made incumbent upon him and whom He grants success therein and guides him.
RIGHTS OF GOD
1-THE GREATEST RIGHT OF GOD
Then the greatest right of God incumbent upon you is that you worship Him without associating anything with Him. When you do that with sincerity, He has made it binding upon Himself to give you sufficiency in the affairs of this world and the next and to keep for you whatever of them 4 that you like.
2- THE RIGHT OF YOURSELF
And the right of yourself incumbent upon you is that you employ it in obeying God; then you deliver to your tongue its right, to your hearing its right, to your sight its right, to your hand its right, to your leg its right, to your stomach its right, to your private part its right, and you seek help from God in all that.
3- THE RIGHT OF YOUR TONGUE
And the right of the tongue is that you consider it too noble for obscenity, accustom it to good, direct it to politeness,5 do not use it except in situations of needs and benefits of the religion and this world, and refrain from any meddling in which there is little to be gained, and there is no security from its harm that accompanies its small benefits. It6 is the witness to and the evidence of the existence of the intellect. The demonstration of an intelligent person’s intellect is through his reputation of good speech7. And there is no power but in God the High, the Great.
4- THE RIGHT OF YOUR HEARING
And the right of hearing is to keep it pure by not making it the direct pathway to your heart, except for noble words that establish some good in your heart or grant you a noble trait. Indeed hearing is the gateway through which various concepts reach the heart -whether good or evil. And there is no power but in God8.
5- THE RIGHT OF YOUR SIGHT
And the right of your sight is that you lower it before everything, which is unlawful to you. And that you abandon using it, except in situations in which you can take heed in such a way that you gain insight or acquire knowledge by it. Indeed sight is the gateway to learning.
6- THE RIGHT OF YOUR LEGS
And the right of your legs is that you walk not with them toward that which is unlawful to you. And you should not direct them in the way that will lead the person they carry to being debased. Your legs will carry you in the direction of the religion and they will help you go ahead. And there is no power but in God9.
7- THE RIGHT OF YOUR HAND
And the right of your hand is that you stretch it not toward that which is unlawful to you. Should you do so, you will be chastised by God in the future. And you are not secure from the blameful tongue of the people now, either. Do not prevent your hands from performing what God has made obligatory for them. You should honor your hands in such a way as to prevent them from engaging in many of the deeds that are not allowed for them. You should let them engage in many deeds that are not harmful for them. If they10are now used by the intellect and with honor now, then they are bound to receive a good reward inthe future 11.
8- THE RIGHT OF YOUR STOMACH
And the right of your stomach is that you make it not into a container for a little of that which is unlawful to you or a lot of it. You should be determined to eat what is lawful and not exceed the bounds of strengthening to the extent of belittling your stomach12 to the point that you loose your manliness. And you should restrain it whenever you are extremely hungry or thirsty, since getting really full will cause indigestion, sluggishness, indolence, and it will hinder you from nobility and any good deeds. And drinking too much will make you feel drunk, light-headed, ignorant, and take away your manliness.
9- THE RIGHT OF YOUR PRIVATE PART
And the right of your private part is that you should protect it from everything that is unlawful for you and help it by lowering your eyes- this is certainly the best way to help it. And you should also remember death often, And threaten yourself with God and try to make yourself fear God. 13
Maintaining one’s decency and receiving help in so doing are possible by God’s help. There is no strength or power but in Him.
* By: IMAM SAJJAD Ali ibn al-Hussein (May God Bless Him). Research and Translation by: Dr. Ali Peiravi Ms. Lisa Zaynab Morgan
2. by freeing you from slavery
3. by the fact that you free him
4. The pleasures of this world and the life to come
5. In the other version we read: “and refrain from any meddling in which there is nothing to be gained, express kindness to the people, and speak well concerning them.” And then the rest follows.
6. The tongue
7. His tongue and good speech are like an ornament for his intellect
8. In the other version it is followed by: “The right of your hearing is to keep it pure from listening to backbiting and listening to that to which it is unlawful to listen”
9. In the other version it is followed by: “You have no escape from standing upon the narrow bridge (al-sirat [over Hell]), so you should see to it that your legs do not slip and cause you to fall into the Fire.”
10. The hands
11. If the hands are not opened to engage in what is forbidden.
12. by over-eating and over-drinking
13. In the other version it is followed by: “The right of your private part is that you protect it from fornication and guard it against being looked upon.”
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