“Know that He in Whose hand are the treasures of the heavens and the earth has given you the permission for supplication and has guaranteed the acceptance of your requests. He has commanded you to ask Him so that He may grant you, and to seek His mercy so that He may have mercy on you. He has not placed anyone between you and Himself who will veil you from Him, and He has not entrusted you to one who will mediate for you before Him. He has not prevented you from repentance, if you sin, and He has not hastened with punishment to you, and He did not reproach you for repenting. He did not disgrace you when you were worthy of disgrace. He did not treat you with severity in the acceptance of (your) repentance. He did not take you to task for your sins and did not make you despair of (His) mercy. Rather, he has appointed your restraint from sin to be a good deed, and counted each of your evil deeds as one and each good deed as ten.
He has opened for you the door of repentance and the door of seeking a return to His pleasure. Thus, when you call upon Him he hears your call and when you whisper to Him, He knows your secret talk. You acquaint Him with your needs and reveal your self to Him, complain to Him of your sorrows, seek from Him the removal of your afflictions and ask for His help in your affairs. You ask Him (to grant you) from the treasuries of His Mercy an increase in lifespan, good health and the abundance of sustenance that none other than He is able to grant.
Then He placed in your hands the keys to His treasures such that He permitted you to petition Him for them. So whenever you wish, you seek to open the doors of His blessings through supplication, and ask for the downpour of His Mercy. Do not let the slowness of His response dishearten you, for the grant is in accordance with the intention; sometimes the response has only been delayed for you so that it may be a greater reward for the petitioner and a more abundant grant for the hopeful one. Sometimes you ask for a thing and you are not given it, but you are given something better than it now or later; or it is turned away from you for what is better for you, because sometimes in the fulfillment of what you ask for is the destruction of your religion. Therefore let your request be for that, the beauty of which remains for you, and the evil consequences of which pass away from you. For wealth does not remain for you, nor do you remain for it”.
In this part of the letter, Imam ‘Ali (as) puts stress on two points: Supplication and repentance, both of which are used for the spiritual reconstruction of man.
Man, due to his over-engagement in current daily affairs, gets self-centered and indulges in too much of self-reliance, with little attention for Divine bases, and erroneously assumes that he is mighty enough to carry on every action. He is not aware that in this world there are a thousand agents involved in the arrangement of affairs. Man, through his supplication and his obedience to God, could benefit a lot in order to surmount complexities of life.
For this reason, in this letter, Imam (as) teaches his son to be aware of the fact that in this world the worldly affairs are not effected solely through material and physical agents. Rather, spiritual factors, such as supplication and worship are also at work. The second point emphasized in this letter is the fact that if man, through his sins, temporarily distances himself from God, he can compensate for it through his repentance to gain, once again, God’s favour.
Adapted from: “Imam ‘Ali’s First Treatise on The Islamic Ethics and Education” by: “Zainol Aabideen Qorbani Lahiji”
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