I seek refuge from the accursed Satan
In the name of God the most Beneficent the most Merciful
God’s blessings upon Muhammad and his pure progeny
And God’s curse upon their enemies
The goal and reason behind the creation of the human being is that he should reach the station of servitude and slavery. That he considers himself the absolute servant and slave of the Creator, and that he traverses in the path of absolute servitude, to eventually submit that which he possesses in the existential world; submitting his existence, independence, life, knowledge and power to God. He should acknowledge and admit that all of this is owned by God. And he should realize that which is insufficiency, weakness, ignorance and non-existence is his. The human being is the absolute servant and slave of the Creator, both in regards to the stage of the origin of existence as well as in regards to the stage of action and obligation. This is the station of the Perfect Human and is the highest position that God the Highest of the high can favor him with.
All persons living in this world must move and reach this station, whether they have a religion and follow a divinely revealed law or not. The prophets came to invite us to this station. The prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his family) came to invite us to this station. The Qur’an invites us to this station. And if we abide by that which the Qur’an, the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) and the Imams (peace be upon them) teach us, and don’t delete or add anything to it on our own account, then we are traversing on the very path of servitude. Then and only then we shall reach this station.
The reason that some do not reach this station while they sometimes reach sixty, seventy or eighty years of age, is because that they are not practicing. They find some information from the Qur´an and narrations, and they use this information merely for the sake of worldly things. It does not matter whether it concerns money, rank and fame, power, love of authority, etc. This science of the Qur´an, exegesis, narrations, philosophy and metaphysics, and divinely revealed law; they sacrificed all of these for the sake of the vanities of this world. The vanities of this world manifest and parade itself to the human being in those things. And this is only a very-very small return of a tremendous investment. So in the end he receives only a little of what he could potentially gain.
فَأَعْرِضْ عَنْ مَنْ تَوَلَّى عَنْ ذِكْرِنا وَ لَمْ يُرِدْ إِلاَّ الْحَياةَ الدُّنْيا ذلِكَ مَبْلَغُهُمْ مِنَ الْعِلْم...
“(O Prophet!) Avoid those people that turned away from Our remembrance, who desire and understand nothing but the lowly life of lusts, senses and the irrational. They do not believe nor do they desire in anything other than this lowly life. In regards to their knowledge; the reach of their knowledge does not extend beyond utilizing it for attaining their lot from this worldly life...”
Turn away from them! They are of no use to you. That is the higher life; al-hayat ul-‘olya . The life of dunya means the lowly life. The higher life is the life of knowledge, piety, servitude, honesty, self-restraint, self-sacrifice and preferring others above one’s self, conscience and emotion. It is the life of servitude and walking in the path of the Presence of absolute Oneness. It is the path of destroying the desires of the devilish and carnal soul. That is the higher life.
So therefore we must move on this path in order that we may reach religion and divinely revealed law, and so that we may become acquainted with the reality of religion. The purpose of the mission of the prophets and the divinely revealed books must be realized within our beings. And we must realize God’s desire for our creation from the viewpoint of His generative and legislative will. We must travel on the path of growth and ascendancy, and not in the path of straying, error, transgression, ignorance, and the desires of the devilish and carnal soul. And if we practice other than what is in the book of God, the tradition of the Prophet and the Imams (peace be upon them), then there is nothing. Whatever there is, it is to be found here. And if a person transgresses this path even to the mere extent of the point of a needle, then he committed a mistake.
We believe that the Prophet, the commander of the faithful and his progeny (peace be upon them) are the most elevated instructors and teachers of humanity. We believe that if there was anything better available than the methodical approach, the manner of conduct from the Qur’an, the commands of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his family) and the Imams (peace be upon them), then we would have gone after that instead. But there is nothing better than this and surely their way is the most elevated, the most enlightened, the least dangerous and most straight path leading towards our destination. And the straight path is only one; between two dots you cannot draw more than one straight line.
اهْدِنَا الصِّراطَ الْمُسْتَقيمَ * صِراطَ الَّذينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَ لاَ الضَّالِّينَ
“Guide us on the straight path. The path of those that you bestowed with your blessings.”
(68) وَ إِذاً لَآتَيْناهُمْ مِنْ لَدُنَّا أَجْراً عَظيماً(67) وَ لَهَدَيْناهُمْ صِراطاً مُسْتَقيماً
“Then we would surely have given them a great reward from Us, and We would have surely guided them to a straight path.”
We must move in order to reach our destination. The first thing that is necessary on this road after alertness, being awake and aware, is that we should take a look at ourselves and look if we exist at all!? What are we!? Yes, we are human beings! In the morning we get up from our sleep, we labor, are busy and active until the evening, and then we will sleep once again. Tomorrow consists of nothing but repetition, the day after tomorrow consists of nothing but repetition as well. Days pass and every person of the sons of Adam (peace be upon him) preoccupy themselves with work without being aware of the reason why he is working. Why did he come into existence? What goal does he have and what is his destination? Why did today pass? This day was from the wealth of his lifetime that God bestowed him with. Why did it pass? What did he obtain in return of this day that passed? If he obtained something then blessed is he! Because on day of his life passed and in return he acquired something. And if he did not obtain anything then he has been deceived. The Prophet of God (peace be upon him) said:
من استوى يوماه فهو مغبون
“If two days in the life of a person were equal, then he has been deceived.”
Another day of his life has passed. How many organs were working in his body just in order that man might live another day? Only God knows.
ابر و باد و مه وخورشید و فلک در کارند – تا تو نانی به کف آری و به غفلت نخوری
همه از بهر تو سر گشته وفرمانبردار – شرط انصاف نباشد که تو فرمان نبری
“The clouds, the wind, the mist, the sun and stars are working
So that you gain bread in the palm of your hand and don’t eat negligently
All are perplexed because of your lot and obedient to you
The condition of equity is not that you don’t obey”
One day of our lives is dependent on the movement of the sun, the moon and other galaxies. The atoms of all trees in this world, all animals, and all other creatures are connected to each other and form one existence. All of these have an effect in the life of the human being today in a way that if one of these effects is taken out of the chain of causality then everything will collapse. So this is all for the sake that we might live another day, move forward another day and remove the curtains of negligence from our eyes. It is for the sake of enabling us to remove the veils from ourselves, so that we become acquainted with our Creator, our goal, our origin and end.
If things are like this then we will face the test calmly, serene, silently, gleesome, having benefited, enlightened and full of energy like a person that has passed the test on the day of examination. He feels gratified, because he was the best student. He takes the examination paper in his hand and is not anxious about anything since he has passed the test. But may God forbid if he passes his time in neglect, reaches the last night before the examination and wants to carry out one year’s work in one night. Then tomorrow this student shall appeal to his fellow students and say: “Please assist me, don’t forget about me!” All of these things are a cause for humiliation and shame.
Firstly we need to start moving on this road, and we should know that the road is God. We are travelers; we have a destination that we want to reach. Us being travelers means that our soul does the travelling, and the destination is God. The road that we travel upon is not some road in the desert or in the top of the mountains. Rather, it is travelling across the qualities of the soul, meaning the qualities that we should change. We should change negative qualities into positive ones, and bad ones into good ones. We should destroy the veils (between us and God). Day after day understanding and light should increase. We should free ourselves from the limitations and attachment to the material world and move close towards the world of the non-physical and light, meaning that we travel within the soul. Our destination is God. A traveler needs supplies and transportation. Our reliance on God is our supply. Us seeking help and assistance from the Creator, our practice of the Qur'an, the practice of the Prophet’s sunnah (peace be upon him and his family), the methodology of the Imams (peace be upon them); this is our transportation. All of these things are our supplies. It is possible to pass this road. This is a road that others have traversed. A human being must not say: "I am like this, like that, and I do not have the ability to do this." These are mere words. Do you think that this very same capability that someone else has was pulled out of his sleeve!? All of this came from God, and was favored upon us by Him. He gave this to us and will continue to do so. God does not hold any animosity or rancor towards us. God’s past record with us is not bad. Out of His mercy he brought us into being and we shall traverse and move back towards God’s mercy. God has created man through this long chain of events, from the state of being a sperm to the different states of the fetus and then life in this world. And now you imagine that He would ignore man and would not pay heed to him in some specific matters!? Do you think that he is telling him: “I want to ridicule and make fun out of you, oh you human!” May God forbid! If a person wants to act like this with another then people will find fault with him and will object to this.
God is absolute good and pure mercy and he invited us to this goodness and mercy. Anywhere where we see that our view differs from this, then this is not what God is like. We must search for Him within ourselves and correct our view of Him if this view is wrong, other than that God is absolute goodness.
God willing we will move in the way that He wants from us, and we will arrive at that desired destination. Then we shall see:
“How strange! That which they said turned out to be true! That which they said about heaven and houri’s of paradise, and “gardens in which rivers flow”
being like this turned out to be right. Strange indeed! It turned out to be true!” Likewise we find in the Qur’an that those in paradise say to those in hell:
...قَدْ وَجَدْنا ما وَعَدَنا رَبُّنا حَقًّا فَهَلْ وَجَدْتُمْ ما وَعَدَ رَبُّكُمْ حَقًّا
“…we found the promise of our Lord to be true. How about you? Did you find what your Lord promised you to be true as well?”
Similarly God says in the Qur’an:
وَ نَزَعْنا ما في صُدُورِهِمْ مِنْ غِلٍّ إِخْواناً عَلى سُرُرٍ مُتَقابِلينَ
“We will remove whatever rancor is in their breasts while they are like brothers, reclining on couches and facing one another.”
Rancor is a form of impurity. For example if they want make candy out of liquefied sugar, then a layer of impurity is formed on top. After this layer is formed they must pour a particular substance on top of it so that this impurity is removed. It is similar to cleaning agents that when poured on something it removes all dirt, cleans, smoothens and purifies. God similarly removes every type of rancor, darkness and tarnish from the hearts of the believers.
After that little by little a person reaches a stage where he looks at all people of this world with kindness and affection, even disbelievers and the wretched. He feels compassion for them and shows concern for the disbeliever and says: “Oh God, please come and guide this person! He is a disbeliever, but please guide him!” He undergoes the toil and hardship to guide them, and make them accept Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) would wage war, the Muslims would get killed and give lives so that others would become Muslim, find their own selves, find their own way and traverse on it. A person starts to look at the whole of creation with vast mercy and becomes benevolent towards all creatures. Every individual desires in correspondence with his own spiritual level for others that they might traverse the straight path, the way of acting as an actual human being and Islam. He wishes for them that that they might reach God. He wishes for them to take steps towards the right destination and to undertake the right course of action.
Rancor, jealousy, haughtiness, worry, deceit and anxiety in the self are then no more.
Once when we were lying in the hospital and they would bring us lunch during some days. In this place there would be these tissues. Very well! We tore off a piece of a tissue and put it in front of us. This was our dinner cloth. My son was there as well. We put some food on top of the tissue and ate some. When we started eating I said: “Oh Sayyid Mohsin, take this dinner cloth! I swear to you that the president of the United States does not have a dinner cloth like us. This cloth that we tore up, unfolded it in front of ourselves, and this food that we placed on it, with you sitting here with complete sincerity, faithfulness, joy and happiness. We are sitting here without feeling any distress or sorrow. I swear by God that not a single president in this world has such a thing! Namely they are unable to unfold a tablecloth without having to worry about something.
So if person is sane and sets this world as his goal then this is the wrong way without a doubt, because through moving towards this world they are in fact moving towards agony and hell. They are moving towards distress.
Any path that a person wants to traverse he does so for the sake of easing the power of imagination within his mind. When he sees that his imaginary path falls into pieces he sleeps during the night with discomfort. In the morning he gets up with discomfort, he plans a thousand cunning plans of deception so that he can beat and hammer the other party; what type of a life is this!? What type of world is he living in!? Now let’s say that he is one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world! What is better? If a person has a wooden cup and drinks cool and refreshing water from it, or has a golden cup in which he vomits blood? These presidents and these kings are dying and vomiting blood, aren’t they vomiting blood in a golden cup!? Now this poor unfortunate person that is living in some village who is a Muslim and a believer, and has a wooden cup from which he drinks cool and refreshing water together with his wife and children, and who says: “All praise is due to God.”… Is this better or that? Therefore I swear by God that all these lovers of this lowly material world are wrong! All of them!
اهل دنیا از کهین و از مهین – لعنة الله عليهم اجمعين
“The people who attach themselves to this lowly world,
be them great or be them small
God’s curse is upon them all.”
This expression “the people of this lowly world” stands in the opposite of the life of the saints. It means those individuals other than God’s people, be them big or small. God’s curse means: “Stay away from them!” God put His mark of “stay away” on them. They are ensnared in this world. This curse must be removed through spiritual combat and exerting the self, they must remove the veil and curtain from their selves and move with the success given by God. They must come to this path and say:
وَ قالُوا الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذي أَذْهَبَ عَنَّا الْحَزَنَ إِنَّ رَبَّنا لَغَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ
الَّذي أَحَلَّنا دارَ الْمُقامَةِ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ لا يَمَسُّنا فيها نَصَبٌ وَ لا يَمَسُّنا فيها لُغُوبٌ
“They will say: “All praise is belongs to God, who has removed all grief from us. Indeed our Lord is all-forgiving, most-rewarding who has settled us in the everlasting abode by His grace. In it we are untouched by toil, and untouched therein by fatigue.”
Praise belongs to God only, He who has placed us in this abode which is eternal and everlasting, in this place of permanency and safety. He put us there Himself by His grace. What is this place? There is neither difficulty nor hardship there. No trouble nor worry, nor restlessness. This is the world of peace and tranquility. Here is the world of security. This is the place where the attributes of the Creator are located, where His name ‘the Source of Peace’ is located.
“In it we are untouched by toil, and untouched therein by fatigue.”
Here none of these troubles are to be found. This is the abode of the person that departs and reaches that station. And this abode belongs to those persons traverse the path of the saints that in this world.
If a person lays dormant in this world and says: “I will reach these spiritual stations in the hereafter,” then this is wrong. This world is the world of labor and action. For example, assume that a person is studying medicine at university. There he must work and study hard. If he says: “I will get my degree first, then I will start working and studying for it,” then this is a mistake. It is here and now that he must work. If he studies hard, even if they will not give him his degree, then he will have amassed a wealth of knowledge. This wealth of knowledge he takes with him to whatever place in the world he goes. Even if he has a thousand degrees, but did not work for it, then these degrees are just worthless pieces of paper. He then has to go and sell ice-cream in some ice-cream salon. This is of no use.
This is the world of work and action. God created us with the goal that we become wakeful, clear-sighted and that we move towards the Good Creator.
All those spiritual stages that are mentioned and which we are ordered to achieve in the holy Qur’an, those stages belong to those who are striving and working towards it in this world.
اليوم عَمَلٌ ولا حسابٌ و غداً حسابٌ و لا عمل
“Today is the day of striving and action, not of reckoning. Tomorrow is the day of reckoning, not that of striving and action.”
Every work that we carry out has its revenue and its usefulness, in itself lies within the striving towards it. Every time that we mention God’s name with sincerity, within our remembrance of Him He is saying: “Here I am!” Every step that we take towards the Creator, we find the revenue lying and hidden within the action itself.
Very well! Now we want to traverse towards God. After God gave us notice, made us think and we opened our eyes and are seeing: “How odd! The sun has ascended, the caravan has departed and we stayed behind. All night until the morning we were sleeping. Woe! The caravan was together with us! They departed and they might have reached their destination already. Why did the sun rise!?” Now he says to God: “Oh God, what should I do now? The sun has risen! I am all alone, just by myself in this desert. I am not familiar with any place here, oh God! Please help me! Oh God! I put my reliance on you, and I have put my burden on your shoulders. I have entrusted you with my affairs and handed them over to You. I am left behind, help me!” This is the world of wakefulness and vigilance.
God helps and tells him: “Now that you have awakened, got up from your slumber, started to see and have been admonished, look at how much you are lagged behind! You were asleep from the night until the morning. You have to catch up with the distance that you should have traversed! You should not sleep any further! This place is a desert. Here there is calamity. Here there are lions, leopards, thieves and robbers. You need to get going!” He traverses with divine assistance and cries. He repents and returns to the Creator, returning to Him from that point that he was in a state of slumber. Repentance means returning to God. He is returning and traversing towards Him.
He takes into account those wrongful deeds that he committed and studies them. He returns and says: “Oh, God! Right now I admit my mistake and you are my God. You are my Lord and my Master. When I commit another mistake I must say that I put my reliance on myself. However, You are the one that I have put my reliance on. I have put my reliance on God.”
There is not a single place in the Qur’an where we find the expression ‘self-reliance’. I don’t have a clue where this word ‘self-reliance’ came from! Why should a person rely on himself? The Qur’an says: “Rely on God"! You must trample with the soles of your feet upon the Self and ego! Sacrifice this Self for your Lord. Self-reliance stands in opposition to reliance on God. This self-reliance is an idol that opposes Reality. That Self which is enlightened and is a sign of God, relying on it is relying on God. Within that self which has not yet gone through the stages of absolute sincerity and devotion lies hidden a thousand of hidden obstacles. If a person puts his trust in this self, then he has put his reliance in a thousand of hells! What good does this type of reliance do him!?
Therefore we do not find the expression ‘self-reliance’ in the Qur’an at all. Reliance is only upon God:
وَ تَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّه...…
“…put your trust in Allah..."
وَ تَوَكَّلْ عَلَى الْحَيِّ الَّذي لا يَمُوتُ وَ سَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِهِ وَ كَفى بِهِ بِذُنُوبِ عِبادِهِ خَبيراً
“Put your trust in the Living One that does not die.”
وَ قُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذي لَمْ يَتَّخِذْ وَلَداً وَ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ شَريكٌ فِي الْمُلْكِ وَ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُ وَلِيٌّ مِنَ الذُّلِّ وَ كَبِّرْهُ تَكْبيراً
“And say (o Prophet): “All praise belongs exclusively to God, who has neither taken any son, nor has He any partner in authority and rulership, nor has He taken an ally out of weakness, and magnify Him with a worthy magnification."
فَاسْتَقِمْ كَما أُمِرْت...
“So be steadfast (oh Prophet) just as you have been ordered...”
The meaning of all these verses is: “...and devote yourself to Him completely.” Cut off the attachments of your heart to this world. Attach yourself to God, move towards Him and make Him your one and only destination. This is what motivates you to start acting.
Human beings are all consumed until the end of their life by issues like: “What should I do? My money has become less.” “The neighbor damaged my wall.” “My business partner said something bad.” “I am not going there out of spite, because he acted bad with me.” “I won’t answer him, because at a certain day he did not greet me.” They are all ensnared in this type of talk. They are imprisoned within these very same thoughts and will die in this prison of thoughts, because the grave of man is his thoughts. The grave in which they place our bodies is not our real grave. It is the grave of the body. Our body is made out of dust and it will return to dust. Our self will stay in whatever state of elevation it has attained. If our self has been contaminated, then it will cause us not to develop spiritually. Our graves are our very thoughts. Our graves are those very imaginations that we have. Our graves are these very ‘you’s’ and ‘I’s’. We have to leave behind the ‘you’ and the ‘I’ and sacrifice them to God. That world which God gives to a person in the hereafter is befitting and runs parallel to a reality that lies within the human self at the time of death.
The commander of the faithful (peace be upon him) said:
قيمة كلّ امرئ ما يُحسِنُه
“The value of every man is in accordance with what he values in this life.”
If a the value of a person is this world and spent all his life purchasing and striving after it, then his worth is just that. But if a person comes to the understanding that God commands him to do as follows, and he then says: “Very well,” and acts accordingly; he then has attained a very-very high station which is incomparable to anything else. It cannot be exchanged for anything else. A person will not exchange it for anything in the world. All the passions and pleasures that the people of this lowly world experience combined; all of this does not even have the worth of a single moment of ecstasy that he is experiencing.
Then it will become as clear as the sun how marvelous these narrations of the Infallibles (may peace be upon them) are. These things that Imam Sadiq and Imam Ridha (may peace be upon them) said in ‘illal al shara’e and ‘uyoon akhbaar al Ridha, how marvelous it is! Until now we were thinking and imagining that these words were just fables, or something that gives us a prospect of a faraway future, or some encouraging words running contrary to reality meant to make us incline to false metaphysics and spirituality just to scare us away from doing certain things. No! This is truth itself, this is reality itself. And just to imagine that this is just an example and an indication! That what a person directly experiences differs from these words. Direct experience differs from narrating or hearing things from others.
Explain to a four year old child the pleasure of marriage. Marriage is a sweet experience. What does a child understand of this? If he exerts a lot of pressure upon himself to understand then he might think for example that marriage is candy. He does not understand other than this. But when he reaches the age of physical maturity and that feeling is awakened inside him, after that there is no need to tell him that marriage is a sweet experience because it is tangible to him and conscionably feels and experiences it.
The hereafter is like this. Until the time that we have not passed those spiritual ranks and stations and did not witness it directly, then we will think that these Prophets are informing us about something so far away from us that is not related to our daily lives. But when we go and see for ourselves that things are like this, then we will say: “How strange! May God reward them for their efforts! The Prophets took humanity by the hand and handed over to them reality itself. They made it possible for humanity to touch reality, meaning that heaven and hell became something tangible and that it can be witnessed through direct experience. After this it turned out to be something outside the borders of mere imagination and fantasy and they made humanity enter these realities by themselves.
At that time we will say:
...الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذي أَذْهَبَ عَنَّا الْحَزَن...
“…all praise belongs to God, who has removed from us all grief…”
And: “Oh God, bless Muhammad and the progeny of Muhammad.”
How great they are, and how much difficulty and hardship did they endure for our sake! Fatima az-Zahra’s (peace be upon her) hip was broken by a group of individuals while she was inside her own home, causing the miscarriage of her unborn child. This incident took place without a doubt, and she tolerated it for our sake. How much did they go through for our sake, until the extent that the Ahlul bayt (peace be upon them) sacrificed Ali Akbar for us!
The Messenger of God (peace and blessings upon him and his family) took seventy disbelievers captive during the war of Badr. They were tied up with ropes and were brought to the city of Medina. Amongst them was the uncle of the Prophet named Abbas, who was responsible for paying for the expenditures of a day of warfare during the battle of Badr. Eventually these expenditures were divided and he was tied up so that he could not run away. Abbas was wailing. The Prophet that night did not sleep until the next morning.
They told him: “O Messenger of God, why won’t you sleep? He said: “The sound of my uncle’s wailing prevents me from doing so.” They said: “Order us to free him!” He said: “Did you think that it is me who wanted to take him captive? This was done by the order of God. I did not take him captive on my own account. There is no difference between Abbas en the rest of the captives of war. All of them are war-prisoners and they have to stay like that.”
The Prophet arrived and passed in front of those taken captive. That what serves as an example lies in what I will tell you right now; the Prophet smiled and left. They were seventy persons. One of them said: “Look! They say that Muhammad is the mercy of the worlds, but he is smiling while he sees that we bound and shackled!”
The Prophet was standing and said: “I am happy because God has assigned me with the duty to pull humanity with me to heaven, even if it is necessary to be done so by the means of shackles and chains.” You know, every prophet has his own specific duty. God tells one of them: “Go, deliver and propagate My message! If they take heed; then good for them. If they don’t, then this is at their own expense and don’t insist.” Another He tells: “Go, deliver and propagate My message! But insist if they do not take heed!” And another he tells: “Go, deliver and propagate My message! Insist if they do not take heed, but hit them as well!” Someone else he tells: “Get up and go to a battle like Badr, get yourself injured and killed and take all of your family members and kindred with you as well, so that the polytheists will turn to Islam! Tell the idol-worshipping polytheists: “Sir, you should come and turn to Islam! Stop this nonsense!” The battle of Badr was one of the most difficult and most important wars that the Prophet and the Muslims had to fight. During this war the cousin of the Prophet, Hamzah, got his leg amputated. He is counted amongst the most outstanding companions, like the Commander of the believers (peace be upon him). He reached martyrdom while he was on the way back to Medina from Badr.
The Prophet said: “I smiled because God assigned me with the duty to drag you heaven, even if it is necessary to do so by the means of shackles and chains.” Sometimes a person must take certain individuals that do not want to move towards heaven out of their own free will by the force of shackles and chains, and drag them with him.
Until finally a verse was revealed by God:
“O Prophet! Set them free if you want to! And if you want strike the necks of all of them! These seventy individuals are from amongst the leaders of evil, sedition and corruption without exception. And if you want to strike their necks, then that is perfectly fine. But if you set them free and take ransom for doing so (meaning if you take blood-money in exchange for those whom they killed), then you can buy equipment, horses and swords with that plentiful amount of money, and create an army. But after a year another battle shall take place. And in this battle a number equal to the persons that you have taken captive right now shall be killed from amongst your followers.”
That battle was the battle of Uhud in which seventy people were killed as was predicted. The Prophet spoke to the people and said: “God has commanded me and said: “These seventy individuals are your captives and deserving of being killed. You can strike the necks of all of them if you want so; all of them are idol-worshipping polytheists. But if you want you can free them and take ransom in return for doing so;
...فَإِمَّا مَنًّا بَعْدُ وَ إِمَّا فِداء...
“…either set them free as a favor or let them ransom themselves...”
The Muslims said: “O Messenger of God! Permit us to take the ransom, because we are weak. We do not have any financial means. In this war that took place we did not have sufficient horses, camels and swords. (The Muslims’ number during this battle was 313 and they had only very few horses and swords at their disposal.) With their money, which is plenty, we can buy horses and produce swords. We can equip ourselves against the disbelievers. It is not important that seventy persons of us will be killed in the way of God the coming year and we are not concerned by this". The Prophet accepted. The captives were set free and ransom was taken in exchange for every single one of them. Now it was the turn of Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet: “Come and give us the ransom and you’ll be freed!” .
Abbas said: “O, light of my eyes! O, my dear nephew! You know very well that I do not have such money and that I cannot afford to pay this ransom! You know that I have a family to take care of!”
The Prophet said: “This is not possible.” His uncle insisted another time. The Prophet said: “This is not possible; you need to pay the ransom.” Actually, the price of his ransom was very high. Abbas said: “O Messenger of God! Don’t you know that I do not own such an amount of money?” The Prophet said: “Actually, you do. Hand it over.” Abbas said: “I don’t have so.”
The Prophet said: “There is a bag of gold that you told your spouse to hide at a certain place outside of your house. If I return then I know exactly where to find it. And if you see that I do not know where to find it, then you can do whatever pleases you. Now tell me, do you have this amount of money to pay for your ransom or not? I know very well that you have sufficient funds to pay for your ransom.”
Abbas cried out: “O Muhammad! Who told you this!?” He cannot believe it; this was between him and his wife! Only his wife was there when he went outside to hide it! The prophet is said: “It was Gabriel that came from God and informed me.“ Right then Abbas said: “I testify that there is not God but Allah and that you are the messenger of Allah.”
Now the point is that the Prophet is pulling them from hell and dragging them to heaven, even if this implicates that he needs to drag them by the means of shackles and chains. This is the station of the vast mercy of the Prophet. People must go to heaven; they have not been created for hell.
خُلقتم للبقاء لا للفناء
“You have been created for eternity, not for doom and perdition.”
If a person’s thoughts are these lowly and inferior thoughts, then this is which where he will get lost. Therefore you come across the expression ‘to be astray’ a lot in the holy Qur’an. They are lost within their own thoughts and they cannot progress beyond that. The polytheists and the disbelievers are astray, meaning that they have lost the way. It means that they are lost within their thoughts and intentions, and that they cannot move forward from beyond this state.
There are believers that do not get lost. They are progressing with the light that they have. And every single one of them is settled in some special place according to his spiritual rank and state. The stronger a person’s light, the more wisdom and insight he has, the more God-fearing he is, the more his spiritual purity is; the better his position in front of God.
This path should be traversed by a person based on his own choice and free-will. It does not make a difference whether it concerns the Prophet, the Imam, or regular people. Those spiritual stations and ranks that the Prophet attained, he did so through exerting the self in spiritual struggle which cannot be done other than through choice and free-will. A commandment came from God;
يا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ (1) قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلاَّ قَليلاً (2) نِصْفَهُ أَوِ انْقُصْ مِنْهُ قَليلاً (3) أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَ رَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتيلاً (4) إِنَّا سَنُلْقي عَلَيْكَ قَوْلاً ثَقيلاً (5) إِنَّ ناشِئَةَ اللَّيْلِ هِيَ أَشَدُّ وَطْئاً وَ أَقْوَمُ قيلاً (6)
“O you wrapped up in your mantle! Stand awake during the night, except a little. Half of it, or lessen a bit from it. Or add to it, and recite the Qur’an. Verily we shall soon cast upon you a heavy weighing word. Indeed the early night is firmer in tread and more upright in respect to speech."
Get up this very instance! The Prophet spent his worshipping and devotions in the mountain of Hira’. In that place of solitude and seclusion it was that he passed those spiritual stations and perfections during a period of four years. And after all those hardships that he underwent before he reached the station of prophethood God now tells him: “You must stay up half of the night! Or a little bit less, or a little bit more.”
To be standing in the sanctuary of worship, to supplicate, yearn, remember God and to direct your attention to Him during night is a good thing. When the day comes go and swim in this vast world of multiplicity. But when it becomes night, seize it and take advantage of it, and use up the day. It is the night that you need to seize! If you are sleeping during the night then you are unable to seize and take advantage of the night. At that time then what do you have saved up to spend during the day!? Your treasure-chest will be empty, what will you have to spend!? During the night you should fill it, so that you can spend it during daytime. Nothing of your capital will decrease, nor anything of your own being and existence. Your joy, happiness, esteem, power and spiritual perfection will be what remains. But if you want to spend and consume your own being because you stay asleep during the night, then it is this treasure-chest of yours will be wasted. All will be consumed and you shall be left empty-handed.
إِنَّ لَكَ فِي النَّهارِ سَبْحاً طَويلاً
“Verily we shall soon cast upon you a heavy weighing word.”
This is the obligation of the Prophet who is “The first whom God created,” and the most noble of humanity and creatures. A person’s religious duty comes based upon his spiritual station and rank, and the Prophet accepted his duty with open arms and says: “Very well, I will do it with pleasure! You are more than welcome! O God, I am your servant! O God, I am your slave! O God, assist me! O God, do not entrust me to myself! I am just a weak slave, destitute, lowly and needy!”
لا يَمْلِكُونَ لِأَنْفُسِهِمْ ضَرًّا وَ لا نَفْعاً وَ لا يَمْلِكُونَ مَوْتاً وَ لا حَياةً وَ لا نُشُوراً
“They have no power over what harms them or benefits them and have no power over their own death, or life, or resurrection.”
Dear sir, you are the person that we were placed under his scalpel. Isn’t it as clear as the sun that we are only a weak creature, helpless, incapable, needier than all and smaller than all; a cadaver basically. We were like a cadaver, or were we not? Sir, were we a corpse, or weren’t we? It is God that that gave us life. Or did we give life to ourselves? Are we really the ones that brought into being our own existences? It is life that is in His hands, and it is death that is in His hands. If He did not want to cause us to die, then we wouldn’t. If God did not want so then we would not be able to be anesthetized, even if all the doctors in the world would gather to attempt and do so. We will be anesthetized, if God wants. We will regain consciousness, if God wants. We will contract cataract in our eyes, if God wants. God will fix it, if He wants. We are continually under the command and prohibition of His generative will, internally and externally.
God the most high tells His Prophet: “O, My Prophet! In order to reach these high spiritual stations and the Divine Oneness that no other prophet has reached before you, that you must not see yourself the owner of any benefit, harm, death, life or resurrection."
...بِيَدِهِ الْمُلْكُ وَ هُوَ عَلى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَديرٌ
“…in His hand lies all dominion, and He is all-powerful.”
Therefore you should see what type of Divine Unity the holy Qur’an is expanding upon:
قُلِ اللَّهُمَّ مالِكَ الْمُلْك...
“Say (o Prophet): “O God, Lord of all dominion!”
Other than You no one holds any dominion:
...تُؤْتِي الْمُلْكَ مَنْ تَشاءُ وَ تَنْزِعُ الْمُلْكَ مِمَّنْ تَشاءُ وَ تُعِزُّ مَنْ تَشاءُ وَ تُذِلُّ مَنْ تَشاءُ بِيَدِكَ الْخَيْرُ إِنَّكَ عَلى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَديرٌ (26)
تُولِجُ اللَّيْلَ فِي النَّهارِ وَ تُولِجُ النَّهارَ فِي اللَّيْلِ وَ تُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَ تُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَ تَرْزُقُ مَنْ تَشاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسابٍ (27)
“…you give dominion to whoever You want, and strip of dominion whoever You want, You empower whoever You want, and You degrade whoever You want; all good is lies in Your hand. Verily, You have power over everything. You make the night turn into day and You make the day turn into night. And You bring forth the living from the dead and You bring forth the dead from the living, and You sustain whoever you want in uncountable measures.”
You give immeasurable sustenance. Sustenance given by God is not restricted to mere soup and bread. A person’s thoughts are His sustenance. A person’s intellect is the sustenance of God. A person’s life is the sustenance of God. A person’s beliefs are the sustenance of God. A person’s faith is the sustenance of God.
Therefore, we lowly human beings must raise and extend our hands to God and say: “O God! We are Your mere slaves. Whatever we want; we ask and want it from You. If we want bread, then we ask and want it from You. If we want clothes, then we ask and want it from You. If our clothes are torn and we want a needle to sow, then we do not want it from anyone else but from You. Anything we want, we want and ask it from You.”
‘We want and ask it from You only’ does not mean that we tell the tailor: “Don’t sew.” It means: “We do not see other than You within the tailor.” We don’t rely on the tailor. If that were the case then we will be kept waiting until the day of resurrection and our clothing will remain torn up. Like this we can neither do the sowing ourselves, nor will the tailor’s hand move.
This tailor, this grocer, this farmer, this laborer; all of them are Your signs and manifestations. All of these are Your obedient slaves. You ordered them to carry out these jobs in this manner. All of us are Your slaves, and everything lies in Your hands. The spiritual, the physical; it does not make a difference. All of it belongs to You. You clearly have bestowed these physical-material things upon us and have given us intellect. You guided us through the ups and downs of these dangerous gorges, these dangerous paths and bizarre accidents. And you did so while death was lying in wait to grab us a thousand times, or rather a million times. But now we think that all of these powers are ours. This house is ours, these trousers are ours, this car is ours, this ring is ours, and this table is ours. That time we will say: “O God! Give us these magnificent things! All of these things are entirely Yours. All of this belongs to You, all of that belongs to You; it does not make any difference. We thank and praise You that You made us understand. If You would not have made us understand, then we would have remained stuck until the end of our lives, thinking that all things should be divided into two parts.
One part that relates to the material and that what is brought into being by the potency and power of humans themselves. Then there is another part that is related to the spiritual which is related to the realm of God. The ancient Persian people were pagans and idol-worshippers that believed in the existence of two gods. The god of darkness and the god of light. They believed in Yazdan and Ahriman.
O God! There is no one who effects and causes the world of being to be in motion other than You. There is no power and no might other than You. You are the sole One that possesses knowledge. You are the sole One that possesses power, wisdom and sustenance. It does not make a difference whether You want to give us material or spiritual sustenance. Be it intellectual sustenance, or that of the soul or the spirit; it is all the same to You. For us it makes a difference. If I come and lift up this dish, then I will say it that its weight is light if it is 500 or 100 grams. But if it weighs 10 kilograms, then I will say it is heavy, because my strength is limited.
It with that limited power that I measure light and heavy, and based on this I call something heavy or heavier. But this limitation does not exist for You. For You there is no such thing as stronger and weaker. For You there is no such thing as more or less, plenty or few. Your power is on the same level in respect to all creatures. Whether You want to create Gabriel or a mosquito; for You it is one and the same.
This matter is important; whether God wants to create Gabriel, His messenger or some mosquito; it does not make any difference. Whether God wants to create an atom or a galaxy, whether He wants to destroy a galaxy or an atom; unto Him it is equal; His power is unlimited.
Now that this has become clear, now that we have opened our eyes and have awakened we admit that this awakening is from You. If You did not want us to awaken from our slumber of neglect then we would not have done so. Just like when we see that thousands of individuals similar to us are in this slumber. When they are not waking up it is because You did not want them to do so. You awakened us. We prostrate unto You, express our gratefulness to You, praise and extol You; “How excellent! What a kind, good, compassionate and gracious God we have! This will was Your will. Now my father was good, my mother and the way she cared for me was good, my grandfather and great-grandfather were good. Where does all this goodness come from, other than that You are the one that bestowed it? Therefore You are beautiful. You are absolute beauty; the Beautiful.
و كلّ جميل حُسنُه من جمالها – معارٍ له بل حُسنه كلّ مليجة
“Everything that is beautiful in this world
Its beauty was borrowed from Him
Or rather, the beauty and goodness of all things comely”
All beauties of this world, its beauty and goodness have been borrowed from You. Beauty and goodness reached them from You.
They are permeated by You. These are radiations, light from Your existence that touched these beings and was received by them. And we thank You for Your kindness to us. If You would have wanted You could have abstained from doing so, and there would be no one to stand in Your way.
لا يُسْئَلُ عَمَّا يَفْعَلُ وَ هُمْ يُسْئَلُونَ
“He is not questioned about what He does, but it is they that are questioned.”
You could have created us from some wretched and harsh creature whose father and mother, his grandfather were wretched similarly. You could have created us wretched and harsh like them. Eventually this affair lies in Your hands. This is Your command and how You created us. Now, from our own point of view we thank and praise You. We consider You to be source of our thanks and praise. We see the goodness of our mother coming from You. We see the goodness of our father coming from You. We see the goodness of ourselves coming from You. We see perfection coming from You.
Now that things are like this we beg You to let us thank and praise You after You favored us with faculties and powers, and made them reach their full potential in the stage of knowledge and perfection. You made us Muslims, believers and gave us certainty. You made us inattentive in regards to worldly matters and lusts. You made us disregard the love for rank, social status and position. You awakened us. You gave us insight.
O God, please let us maintain the state that we are in. Make us stand firm on Your path, because You can change our state whenever You want. You are able to change one’s state this very day. You can cause a disbeliever to become Muslim and a Muslim to become a disbeliever within the blink of an eye.
Being a slave means to beg, to beg God. Being a slave means that cutting off one’s self from the world of creation and not to beg and implore anything or anyone other than God. A slave to anything other than God does not beg or implore Him. A slave to something or someone other than God begs the whole world of creation for that what he needs. Even the kings and presidents of this lowly world; these are the lowest of all slaves and more needy than anyone else.
Bohlool was the insane son of Harun ar-Rashid’s maternal aunt, or his paternal uncle. At a certain day he had a dirham in his hand and entered Harun’s castle with great haste. He climbed on Harun’s throne, and they let him do so because he was well known there. He pushed forward and told Harun: “Take this!” Harun took Bohlool’s hand. Bohlool placed the dirham in the palm of Harun’s hand.
Harun said: “Tell me, what’s the matter?” He said: “Today a person gave me this dirham and told me to hand it over to the poorest and neediest of all people, and I saw that you are needier than anyone else!”
Harun said: “Come on, what is this non-sense!?” He said: “Very well, all people are begging. You are needier than they are, because they are begging for a hundred tomans and you are begging for a thousand tomans. A person from amongst them robs a mere caravan of travelers. But you are sitting here, begging and taking away by force the money and belongings of everyone. Therefore you are the neediest of all people.”
If God wanted to He could have made you to be like this. And all praise is due to God that He did not.
O God, we beg You to keep us maintain the state that we are in! And now that all these capacities and capabilities have remained unrealized we don’t feel any peace or tranquility. So again; we ask You, we beg You. We hope that you will make us realize these capacities and capabilities.
O God, it is You that we want and it is You that we hope for, it is You that we love and nothing else! We come to find ourselves when we are in reclusion and standing in front of You. Then we understand that in this world of existence there is nothing else other than reaching Your proximity and beauty, and seeing You that saturates us. Nothing other than this satiates us, makes us have our fill, or makes us feel at ease in this world. And since this has not taken place yet we ask You to realize this for us. You are the one that placed these capabilities within us, and if it were not for You then we would not have anything to ask for at all.
Seeking to realize this within ourselves will cause us to reach this perfection. You created us so that we may reach You. Now that things are like this we ask you to realize these capabilities. We ask You that You won’t take us from this lowly world while we are still incomplete and premature. Don’t take us away from this world until we have realized these capabilities. If we pass away and die while being premature and unripe, then we shall pass away crying with bitterness: my house was destroyed, what will happen to my child, what will my wife do, what will happen to my money…
But if God favors us with His kindness and we reach this stage, then we will be happy and smiling, because we will leave this constricting world and will pass into the world of immensity and vastness. We will move from the world of darkness into the world of light. We will move from this devilish world into the world of angels. Then the world shall be very good and very valuable. In that world will be great reward, there will be a pleasant breeze and smell. There will be the blessed paradise and God’s satisfaction. There will be the meeting of the saints and friends of God, meeting the Imams, meeting the prophets and reaching the spiritual station of:
“…closer than two bows.”
Veils shall be torn apart and removed. Man shall be:
في مَقْعَدِ صِدْقٍ عِنْدَ مَليكٍ مُقْتَدِرٍ
“...in the seat of truthfulness with a most Powerful King.”
He shall stand next to the pond of Kawthar, Zamzam, the station of the Commander of the faithful’s guardianship and get bestowed with:
" ما لا عَینٌ رَأَت و لا أُذُنٌ سَمِعَت و لا خَطَرَ عَلَی قَلبِ بَشَر "
“…that what no eye has seen, that what no ear has heard and that what did not occur to the heart.”
Man will dwell and take his abode there. Of course God grants these stations before death and gives them in this world. Now is there anything better than this a person can ask for? Really, the way to reach this is very simple.
Hatef Isfahani says:
هاتف! ارباب معرفت که گهی مست خوانندشان و گه هشیار
از می و جام و مطرب و ساقی از مغ و دیر و شاهد و زنّار
قصد ایشان نهفته اسراریست که به ایماء کنند گاه اِظهار
پی بری گر به سرّشان دانی که همین است سرّ آن اسرار
که یکی هست وهیچ نیست جز او وَحدَهُ لا إلَهَ إلّا هُو
“Hatef! Those endowed with knowledge and insight-sometimes they are called drunk and sometimes sober
From wine, cup and minstrel to cupbearer-from fire worshipper, priory and beholder to the disbeliever’s girdle
Their intent is secret, concealed- sometimes shown with a gesture
You will reach understanding if you get to know their secret-this is the very secret of secrets
That One is; other than Him there is nothing-He is the One and Only, there is no God other than He.”
Then in another place he says:
یار بیپرده از در و دیوار در تجلّی است یا أُولی الأبصار
“Is the friend he who is unhidden by door and wall-he who manifests himself, or those with insight?”
Until we reach here where Hatef says:
شمع جوییّ و آفتاب بلند روز بس روشن و تو در شب تار
گر ز ظلمات خود رهی بینی همه عالم مشارق الأنوار
“You are the seeker of a candle, the sun’s rays-only the day is shining but you are in the darkness of night
If you find a way out from the darkness within you-the whole world shall be the brightest of lights”
 Surah an-Najm (53), Ayah 29-30.
 Surah al-Fatiha (1), Ayah 6-7.
 Surah al-nisa (4), Ayah67-68.
 Wasa’il al-shi’ah, volume 16, page 94.
 Golestan of Saadi, dibache, verse 6 and 7.
 Surah al-Baqarah (2), Ayah 25: "...لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْري مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهارُ..."
 Surah al-Aaraaf (7), Ayah 44.
 Surah al-Hijr (15), ayah 47.
 A poem attributed to Mawlana.
 Surah Fater (35), Ayah 34/35.
 Surat Fater 35, Ayah 34/35.
 Nahjul balagha, speech 42.
 Surah al-Nisa (4), Ayah 81. Surah al-Anfaal(8)-Ayah 6. Surah al-Ahzaab(33), Ayah 3 and 84.
 Surah al-Furqaan (25), Ayah 58.
 Surah al-Israa (17), Ayah 111.
 Surah Hud (11), Ayah 112.
 Surah al-Muzammil (73), Ayah 8: (... وَ تَبَتَّلْ إِلَيْهِ تَبْتيلاً )
 Nahjul balagha, short sayings 81.
 Surah Faatir (35), Ayah 34.
 Refer for more information to Governance of the jurist within the Islamic state, volume 1, page 174
 Surah Muhammad (47), Ayah 4.
 Ghorar al-Hikam, page 133.
 Surah al-Muzammil (73), Ayah 1 to 6.
 Hera’ is the name of a mountain located in mountainous area named jabal al-nour, close to the holy city of Mecca. Within this mountain a cave is located in which the Messenger of God would spend his time in seclusion and spiritual retreat.
 Surah al-Muzammil (73), Ayah 5.
 Allah shenasi, volume 1, page 53***???
 Surah al-Furqan (25), Ayah 3.
 The person addressed here and with whom this discussion takes place is doctor Sajjadi, who was the eye-surgeon of Allamah Tihrani (may God be pleased with him).
 Surah al-Mulk (67), Ayah 1.
 Surah Ale-‘Imran (3), Ayah 26.
 Surah Ale-‘Imran (3), Ayah 26-27.
 The divan of ibn Faridh, page 44.
 Surah al-Anbiya’ (21), Ayah 23.
 Surah an-Najm (53), Ayah 9.
 Surah al-Qamar (54), Ayah 55.
 Man la yahduruhu al faqeeh, volume 1, page 295. Al mahajjat al baida, volume 8, page 371.
 The divan of Hatif Isfahani.