ETERNAL LIFE - Introduction Part 1

 

Infinite praise and gratitude deserves the Eternal One whom by the wisdom of creation, set the revealed Sharia a guide of human race for the journey from the abyss of summation and talent to the abode of actualization and the divine vision. In this process, those who have reached the home of the beloved, those who have experienced the clear pure surrounding of the beloved, those who have lost in area of bewilderment and the thirsty persons circling around multiplicity are led to the promised destination. The Sharia with its firm rules and unshakeable laws helps the pure human nature (fiṭrat), the divine soul, and the light-seeking wisdom to attain the intimate knowledge (ma’rifa) and reach to the complete immateriality (tajarrud). Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) says:

 

فَبَعَثَ فیهِم رُسُلَه، و وَاترَ إلیهم أنبِیائَه، لِیَستَأدوهم میثاقَ فِطرَتِه، و یُذَکِّروهم مَنسِیَّ نِعمَتِه، و یَحتَجّوا علیهم بِالتَّبلیغِ، و یُثیروا لهم دَفائِنَ العُقولِ ..

“Allah sent among them from time to time Messengers to help people re-find the covenant latent in their dispositions for the truth of Oneness and admit the divinity of the Supreme Truth and their servitude to Him; remind them the forgotten blessing of being connected to divine religion; and propagate the fundaments principles of the intimate knowledge by reasoning and clear proof, open the buried treasure of hidden wisdom so that facts of existence be revealed to them; be connected to the active wisdom, and attain the wealth of ma’rifa (the intimate knowledge).”[1]

 

Further, most deserved salutation to the pure and clean soul of the standard-bearing man of monotheism and the sole contender of detachment, the essence of existence and the fruit of creation by the Lord of Existence, the seal of near-stationed ambassadors, the end of law-making by prophets and messengers, Mohammad ibn Abdullah, and his Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Prophet’s House, blessing of God be upon all of them). They, by explaining facts, opened the gate for the wayfarers of monotheism to reach God and reside in His Essence. Their words are as sublime and radiant sunshine removed the dark realm of wonder and eradicated the fatal effects of ignorance and cast the light of hope in the bewildered hearts of men. They give glad tidings from the origin of divine lights to astonished hearts that are bewildered in multiplicity of this ignoble earthly world.

قَدْ جَاءَكُم مِّنَ اللَّـهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ  يَهْدِي بِهِ اللَّـهُ مَنِ اتَّبَعَ رِضْوَانَهُ سُبُلَ السَّلَامِ  .

"There has come to you from God a light and a clear Book, by which God guides those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace."[2]

Praise and thanks to Almighty God for the success of translation and publication of one of the most valuable works of infallible Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them), the Last Will and Testament of Imam Ali, Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him). The almighty God has honored me to let my many-decades-wish to become true and publish this miraculous-looking testament that certainly and convincingly must have an origin in vahy (divine revelation). Although my worldly desire and intention of this humble slave of God was to write an account on that, but I was too occupied, and also diversity of my engagements prevented me from achieving that ambition. So, I contended myself to this short account along with some explanations and commentaries. Thus, I present it to the enthusiasts of Alavi school and the lovers of the eternal beauty.

Our father, the late Allameh Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ḥusaynī Ṭihrānī, (May God sanctify his spirit), after returning from the holy city of Najaf, used to explain and interpret this testament to his friends on Fridays. He used to recommend and stress the themes and facts, and encouraged all to read and contemplate on its phrases and directions. In his view, practicing this will and testament of Imam Ali is a religious duty and the essence of the wayfarer’s journey toward the Almighty God. In his last will and testament, Allameh Hosseini Tehrani says:

“I intended to write a long will containing important moral issues, but I noticed that considering the excellent issues and sublime facts that Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) has written in his last will and is addressed to Imam Hassan Mojtaba (peace be upon him), it would be a source of shame to think that a bit more can be said about the moral virtues and right paths.”[3]

In this will which deserves to be called the bylaw of prosperity and salvation, Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) has considered both worldly and otherworldly aspect of personal and social views to take human to the highest level of perfection. Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) by his full mastery over the human soul and by his complete knowledge about the natural social life, has clearly revealed, codified and classified secrets of sayr (journey toward God) to reach actualization [of one’s potentialities], and secrets of acquiring perfect happiness in this world and hereafter in the context of social security and moderation.

It seems that this distinguished character of the world of existence has been associated with all beings individually from the beginning of creation, the heaven and the earth, and has been very well acquainted with the mysteries and secrets of any single of them. It appears that he was present in all circumstance and events objectively and intuitively and made the fruit and essence of these rare experiences available to all generations and to those who are thirsty to find the path of salvation, and even to those seeking temporal security and well-being, especially at the present time.

Not only those who have based their existence according to the teaching of Divine Awliyāʾ (friends of God) and the revealed truth, persons who see no destination but meeting with God, should fully comply and adhere to His Holiness commands, but also non-followers of Sharia principles, believers of other religions, and even those who deny the existence of a creator too must practice this will and its golden tips, because it leads them toward a life away from social concerns where any person with legitimate and reasonable demands, feels absolutely safe and secure.

Today, the Western societies admit that the path trod by them in their social relations had been a decadent path deviated from man’s needs and his sublime aims. In fact, their impressive civilization and charming attraction have yielded nothing but the collapse of the family relations and failure of the principles of the sublime civilization. Their society is destined to fade in materialism and they have forgotten the purpose of life.[4]

Alexis Karl, in a relevant paragraph of his book “Man, the Unknown” says:

“I wish the Western Civilization had dealt with promotion of virtues, revival of inner traits, and strengthening the spiritual aspect rather than focusing on technology promotion and uncovering the apparent mysteries of life. If the Western Civilization had done so, the Western man would not have suffered so much from moral damages and increased distance to supreme values."[5]  

Of course, this important point must not be overlooked that inclination of West toward the superficial aspects of life and its magic acceleration toward higher levels of technology and techniques, was due to fact that their society felt hopeless when effectiveness of Christian teachings and the manner by which churches [with no opponents] promote Christianity failed. This failure resulted in the emergence of the Renaissance and the Christians started to revise their beliefs and thoughts.

 In the viewpoint of this humble author, although separation from the churches and the Christian clergies drove the West toward fecklessness and unbridled freedom far from man’s dignity, but simply, disconnection from the fallacious Christian surrounding that was filled with absolute deception and was polluted by gold, coercion, and deceit, has been a blessing movement toward rationality and adherence to innate standards and valuable principles.

Secularism is an inauspicious phenomenon and devastating calamity that cannot be paralleled and compared to any threat, tragedy, disaster, obstacles and barriers that exist in human life and cannot be studied or judged along with any of them.

The informed innate disposition of man toward virtues and his inherent intellect cannot be diverted to serve sensual desires, anti-man animal wishes, and anti-spiritual values. But with decoration of wrong aims and covering the creativity of the institutional knowledge in providing a growth path, only walking on a wrong path will continue. Even in most repugnant crime and cruelty, the innate disposition and the wisdom of perpetrators will reveal their ugly and obscene cruelty and by this revealing fulfills its responsibility to the Almighty God.

But, when religious tools are utilized for animal passions, lusts, and evil desires, and are used to hide ugly and obscene intentions, people with little knowledge of the fundaments of religion become susceptible and the risk of such devastating calamity can overwhelm their innate natures and underdeveloped wisdoms.

Although this disaster more or less was evident in the prophecy period of divine prophets and intervention of the authorities of synagogues and churches in social affairs of people under the pretext of religious teachings, and instrumentalization of people’s beliefs were vividly observed and felt, but this procedure showed its inauspicious and ugly face without any concealment after the death of Islam Prophet when events as enumerated here occurred: usurping on Caliphate title from its true owner, attacking the house of Prophet’s daughter and setting fire on the door of the house on the pretext of ba’ya (giving allegiance) to the Caliph of Muslims, martyring the Messenger of God’s daughter and causing her abortion, driving out the people who were sitting in the house of Prophet’s daughter including Amīr al-Mu'minīn, Ali ibn Abi Talib on whom be peace, and pushing them to the mosque for forced ba’ya (giving allegiance).

Misuse of religion due to insufficient awareness of people and using reasons and excuses, such as opposition to consensus of Muslims, creating division  among the united Muslims, being prejudicial to security and order of the society of Muslims, and insulting Islam rulers and chosen Muslim Caliph successor of the Messenger of God (May the blessing and the peace of God be upon him and his family); War against Allah and His Messenger, apostasy from Islam religion and faith, creating doubt in religious beliefs of people, undermining the pillars of Islamic system; setting the stage for intervention of foreigners in domestic affairs and policy of Islamic countries; dependency to beyond-the-border enemies, conspiracy and paving the way for transformation of Islamic government, . . . were among what the usurper rulers (who also were misconstruer of God’s words) did against the Household of vahy (divine revelation) and Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Prophet’s House) and committed every imaginable crime against them.

In a letter to Amīr al-Mu'minīn, Mu’awiya Ibn.Abi Sufyan blames and insults him by writing:

كنتَ تُقادُ، کما یقادُ الجَمَلُ المَخشوشُ.

“You were dragged to the Mosque for ba’ya (giving allegiance) like a camel having a rope passed through its nose.”[6]

 

Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) replies:

و قلتَ أنّی کنتُ أُقادُ کما یُقادُ الجَمَلُ المَخشوشُ حتّی أُبایِعَ، و لَعَمرُ اللهِ لقد أرَدتَ أن تَذُمَّ فمَدَحتَ،

 و أن تَفضَحَ فافتَضَحتَ؛ و ما علَی المُسلمِ مِن غَضاضَةٍ فی أن یکون مظلومًا، ما لم یکن شاکًّا

 فی دینِه و لا مُرتابًا بِیَقینِه

“O, Mu’awiya you compared me to a camel having a rope in his nose and being dragged for ba’ya (giving allegiance). I Swear to God, you intended to dishonor me but you praised and dignified me. You wanted to disgrace me while you disgraced yourself. For a Muslim it is not a shame to be oppressed and tyrannized (shame, fault, and scandal is with oppressor and tyrant, Not with the person who has become object of oppression and cruelty) as long as he has not hesitated and caught in doubt, and as long as he is firm and unwavering in his beliefs and his certainty has not changed into deduction and uncertainty.”[7]

 

From this letter, the depth of a tragedy that occurred in the history of Islam after the death of its founder can be realized. This tragedy still after more than 1400 years, has kept the path of Islam in deviation, and has infected the life of hundred millions of Muslims.

In this regard, it can be claimed openly that in the history of Islam, all crimes of the rulers have happened due to this devastating tragedy, i.e. secularism and deception have taken place by religious means and instruments.

Some of the scholars and public jurists have misused this tool and therefore contaminated their hands with bloods of thousands of innocent Muslims [only for being Shiites] and created shameful page in the history of Islam. While the owner of Caliphate title as rightful successor of the Messenger of God (may the blessing and peace of God be upon him and his family) in meeting the Jewish theologians and in discussing with them, addresses them “O Jewish brother”, others on the pretext of the differences in religion, issued fatwa (judicial opinion) to kill the followers of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) and therefore committed such dreadful crimes and disasters of great magnitude, and the bloods of many innocents and even children were poured on earth, and this deviated path still continues.

This form of deviation and misuse to fulfill earthly purposes, is not exclusively seen by some theologians of Sunnites, but such deviations and abnormalities are seen in the history of Shiites too.

If great and unrivaled scientists such as the First Martyr, the Second Martyr, and Ghazi Noorollah Shoushtari were hanged or beheaded by judicial order of corrupt and ungodly Sunnite jurisprudents, the great and venerable theologians, the late Sheikh Fazlollah Noori was too hanged by Shiite theologians and their judicial order.

By whose judicial decree and by which persons the honorable Allameh (the most learned scholar), Godly mystic and incorrupt jurisprudent, the late Soltan Mohammad Gonabadi (May he rest in heaven) was martyred and the bird of his soul flew to the council of angels?   

By which group or sect did murdering and hanging the great figures of mysticism took place in pretext of Sufism?

By permission and silent gesture of which persons did the indecent assault, indignity, and all kinds of restrictions on Ayatollah Seyed Ali Qazi Tabatabaei in Najaf Ashraf happened?

By order of which religious authority was the late Allameh (the most learned) and renowned philosopher and scholar, Ayatollah Seyed Hassan Masqati banished and exiled?

By which impolite religious authority, was my father, His Holiness, Allameh Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn Ḥusaynī Ṭihrānī, (May God enhance his status) insulted and shamelessly attacked in moral books and in the books related to purification of the carnal soul?

By which group and what persons were theologians and great scholars such as the late Ayatollah Ansari, and the genuine of time, absolute Allameh (the most learned), the late Akhund Mulla Hossein-gholi Hamedani (may God be pleased with all of them) excommunicated and called profligate and were accused of apostasy?

Oppressing single members of society and committing crimes on them with pretext of none-acceptability and tendency toward special direction and aim are acts of which people?

The main point of all these calamities and unpleasant events, whether in the framework of Judaism or Christianity, Sunnism or Shiism, is only one thing and that is selfishness or egoism. This evil and inauspicious trait may appear in a Jewish or Christian scholar as well as in jurisprudence scholars of Sunnism or Shiism, and there is no difference among them in this respect.

About 1400 years ago, they set fire to the house door of the Prophet’s daughter, aborted her fetus, and deprived her from living because of her demanding truth, and nowadays the blood of innocent people are traded ‘generously” and “extravagantly” for the same reason.

The school of Shiism is the Alavi School of truth, justice and liberty where deception, hypocrisy and plunging into lusts, have no place. It is a school for soul exaltation, ma’rifa (the intimate knowledge), monotheism and a place to attain the highest degree of actuality and acquisition. In this school, there is only one red line and that is “wrath of God and committing an act which displeases Him. In this school, moving towards excellence and growth in the context of security and justice takes place. Under the auspices of this golden opportunity, everyone is associated with a life in accordance with the cosmic plan and personal capability. In this school, respect for the good of this world and hereafter bliss, are evaluated as two indivisible elements in human life, and none will prevail over the other,

Life program at the school of Shiism is based on the defined supremacy over the man's soul, knowledge of his innate characteristics, full understanding of his traits and his positive and negative entities. Strict observance of this program facilitates acquisition of ma’rifa (the intimate knowledge) in the light of the security and comfort in the man's life.

In the school of Ali ibn Abi Talib, all orders and assignments are based on the real intuition. They are codified by the Creator of man, the Almighty God and presented to mankind by his chosen slaves.

قُلْ هَـٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّـهِ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي

“This is my Way: I call on God with sure knowledge, I and whosoever followed me."[8]

The last will and testament of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) is in line with actualization of this aim and destination. This testament covers all angles of man’s life and relates to everyone irrespective of nationality, religion, and social class whether educated or illiterate. In the testament of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him), the interest of temporal and eternal salvation have been considered and no one is exempted from adhering to its fundamental instructions. This is especially true for public figures, such as politicians, jurisprudents, and scholars who must study this testament at least once a month and use its instruction to improve their deeds and behaviors. It is very appropriate if phrases could be translated eloquently and placed on walls in homes and offices.

The words of infallibles (peace be upon them) are faultless and differ from other words and statements, because infallibility equals eternity and eternity is continuous, firm, stable, fixed and deeply-rooted. Therefore, their words shall always be seen and exposed to the eyes and minds of individuals as divined and revealed statements differ from any other words and metaphors.

Today, more than ever, our society needs to review the works and sayings of Infallibles (hadith), and should compensate for past neglect and adhere to all moral codes and instructions received by them. The only way out of difficulties, suffering, plunging into plurality, moving around the valley of darkness, egoism and ignorance, is to follow commands and statements of Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Prophet’s House), may peace be upon all of them.

We must not think about why others do not pay attention to these principles and what impact our adherence to this will could have? We should know that this will is a remedy for all pains and sufferings, and is a healing elixir of eternal life, and we must not think about the negligence of other people.

Regretfully, I have to admit that if our leaders and responsible men had adhered to this testament, today's tragic events and issues far from the dignity of our society would not have existed.

Selective approach to the use of the statements of infallibles, and accepting what is consistent with our personal tastes and rejecting what is against our thoughts and personal preferences, all lead us and our society to misery, confusion and devastation.

I remember after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, a respected scholar published a smooth and fluent translation of the Last Will of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) in one of the country newspapers. Unfortunately, his statements about the dignity of women and the quality of interaction between the individual and the community, was completely eliminated in both the Arabic text and its Farsi translation.

What was in the remarks of the infallible (peace be upon him) that had to censured and altered so arbitrarily and non-tastefully?! Wasn’t his deed a clear and explicit example of the Quran verse?

نُؤْمِنُ بِبَعْضٍ وَنَكْفُرُ بِبَعْضٍ

 “We believe in some and disbelieve in others.”[9]

Is the content of the Last Will of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) unique to time of its declaration and does not apply to other times including our era? And is human nature different with the past? And have the issues concerning men and women changed?

Annie Rood, a famous British writer, says:

“I wish my country would be like Muslim countries where women live in chastity, wear hijab(veiling), and have a most convenience life. This is a disgrace to the UK for girls to mix with men in public positions and drawn to unchaste behavior. What prevents us from trying to make the women’s duties and responsibilities in harmony with their nature, marital and maternal responsibilities? Let’s assign manly tasks to men to obtain dignity and value of women.”[10]

Mrs. Clive Olson, the famous psychologist, says:

“Researches have confirmed that women like to work under supervision of others. They prefer to be subordinate and work under supervision of others. They are followers of their feelings while men follow wisdom and logic. It is often seen that women have higher intelligence than men, but their disadvantage is their strong passion. Men always think more practical, judge better, and are better organizers and leaders than women. Spiritual superiority of men over women is what the Almighty God has designed. And how women want to fight this reality, it is useless. Because women are more sensitive, they should accept supervision of men in their lives. Works requiring constant thinking and accurate decisions make women tired and weak. "Being supported by men" is the women's biggest goal in life and when this goal is reached they withdraw from all activities.”[11]

Some may say that the Master of Virtuous, Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) gave such recommendation and advice to the people of those days [with limited social constraints on male-female relationships]. But, certainly and absolutely one may admit that with advancement in technology , confusion in relations between men and women, in the most hideous and ugly way is happening at the present time.

The honorable translator who deleted and distorted themes related to male-female relationships, claimed that the present society is not accepting such propositions, and stated that some verses may cause insult to infallible (peace be upon them), but he didn’t realize that his alteration is causing desecration and insult to the realm of human values, chastity, social security, and purity of human soul, and such sentences are more vital at the present time than any other time.

The effect of today's advancement in telecommunication, internet and mobile phone industry on marital relationships and family ties has been enormous. I admit that in the limit of my own relationship with people, I have been witnessing dozen cases of family disintegrations related to these form of ​​social communication.

Today, the revelatory verdict of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) in his last will and testament, which is an Alavi miracle in social arena and in the field of ethical and family issues, must be announced in a loud voice, audible to the whole world that:

 

و إنِ استَطَعتَ أن لا یَعرِفنَ غَیرَک، فافعَل

“If you can manage that they would not know anyone other than you, do so”[12]

 

What we hear about marital and family relations, through the rise of internet and mobile phenomena, is so terrible and shameful that the mind and intellect of man is stunned. Thus, there is no difference in compliance and non-compliance with the code of Ethics and principle of human and religious duties between people's past and present. And if this testament was formulated for those peoples who had some degree of dedication and commitment 1400 years ago, today should be emphasized hundreds and even thousand times greater.[13]

Today, we are faced with the divine teachings of Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Prophet’s House, peace be upon them) where al-Siddeeqah al-Kobra(The greatest Truthful Lady), Fatima al-Zahra (peace be upon her), toward male-female relationships says; “The best woman is the one who sees no man, and no man sees her.”[14]

Some may say that these issues are difficult or even impossible to observe, and in today's social conditions, where man and woman talk and joke freely, it is perhaps inevitable. Why! Do social conditions descend on us from heaven above or from the bottom of a well? Aren't we the makers and developers of such conditions? The society that is reluctant to approve every imposed phenomenon is no different from the society of quadrupeds and wildlife.

Today, in some Islamic countries, there are several universities and scientific centers whose entire staffs, from janitor to the dean are male. These centers are among the most successful scientific centers of the world in respect to scientific level and awarded science degree.[15]  I recall that such policy was adapted in Emam Reza Hospital of Mashhad for six months and the results were incredible. However and regretfully, due to occurrence of some deviated tastes, it did not last and returned to its original state.

Here, a noteworthy and important point must be mentioned: Are those in charge of teaching the fundaments of religion and propagating Islam and Islamic laws more Catholic than pope, or more royalist than the king? Their duty is merely and legally nothing but notifying the rules and duties ordered by God and religion, neither a word more or less. Did God put us in charge of law to remove or add some regulations in our best interest? No. We have never been and will not be given such authority.

Trustee and authority of law is just one person, and it is a sacred, pure and holy entity, Mahdi, progeny of Mohammad, Hojjat ibn al-Hassan al-Askari (may our sole be sacrificed on his soil). No other person has the right to add or delete even one word, or else must be held responsible. In al-Baqarah (The Cow) Sura, Verse 75, Almighty God says:

أَفَتَطْمَعُونَ أَن يُؤْمِنُوا لَكُمْ وَقَدْ كَانَ فَرِيقٌ مِّنْهُمْ يَسْمَعُونَ كَلَامَ اللَّـهِ ثُمَّ يُحَرِّفُونَهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا عَقَلُوهُ وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ

“Have ye any hope that they will be true to you when a party of them used to listen to the word of God, then used to change it, after they had understood it, knowingly?”

 

Further, in An-Nisa (Women) Sura, Verses 150 and 151, we read:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن يُفَرِّقُوا بَيْنَ اللَّـهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَيَقُولُونَ نُؤْمِنُ بِبَعْضٍ وَنَكْفُرُ بِبَعْضٍ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَّخِذُوا بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ سَبِيلًا. أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ حَقًّا وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُّهِينًا

“Indeed, those who disbelieve in God and His messengers and wish to discriminate between God and His messengers and say, "We believe in some and disbelieve in others," and wish to adopt a way in between,  Those are the disbelievers, truly. And we have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment.”

 

In these verses, Almighty God clearly and expressly blames and scorns those who explicitly seek to distort His commandments and revelations and He deprives them from the divine mercy and favor. Regretfully, this calamity and affliction has fallen into the body of Islam history and has penetrated the works of historians and authors and as such may reduce the degree of credibility and authenticity of Islamic texts.[16]     

Among the instances that regretfully had not been immune from this calamity, is the part of the Last Will and Testament of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) where the relationship of men and women is mentioned. Also in some other sermons of Nahj al-Balaghah, for example the sermon after the Jamal Battle about Aisha, the Prophet’s wife, woman's lesser degree of wisdom and intellect is mentioned. Those who are faced with these items, deny, distort or justify them, or use phrases such as "we do not know" or "we do not recognize the matter" or "perhaps these words were added later on in the sermon", avoid their commitment and responsibility.

Dealing so unfairly with the miraculous remarks of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) by our authorities is not surprising because even some verses of Glorious Qur’an have been faced with such approaches too.

Our master, the late Ayatollah Gharavi-Tabrizi (on whom be the mercy of God) used to relate as follows:

In a trip to Hamburg for medical reasons, I met few Iranian physicians and engineers who were residents of that city. There, some moral and religious issues were discussed. One of the guests said: ‘After salat al-Isha (bed-time prayer), someone asked the clergy-administer his opinion about the following noble verse;

 

الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

 “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what God has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what God would have them guard.” [17]

 

That clergyman said: ‘As far as I know, in Islam, men and women are equal.’

This means deletion and distortion of revealed verses of Quran both implicitly and allusively? The same person about Nahj al-Balagha said; “we do not understand these words!” It is natural that these people do not understand these terms, do not even know, and will never know, because their understanding of Islam is one hundred eighty degrees away from Islam, Qur’an, prophetic sharia and its revelatory teachings. Their view of Islam is an invented Islam made in a disturbed mind and soul. As Sheikh Mahmoud Shabestari, God promote his place, says:

رمد دارد دو چشم اهل ظاهر              که از ظاهر نبیند جز مظاهر

Both eyes of the followers of formal religion are inflamed

They see nothing, but manifestation.[18]

 

These people are blind to see the brilliant truth of revelation. They cannot perceive the truth and consequently drive everyone in a path away from truth, a place where loss of talents and opportunities is inevitable.

Someone should ask them: are you a law guardian or a Sharia custodian to distort the fundaments of religion deliberately? Why do you teach people the religion of God and his prophet incomplete, distorted, and useless?

They know that deleting some part of the revealed teaching can have significant effects on someone who is completely oblivious to what is going on around him? If Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) had apparent life now, would he delete some part of his sermon? Would he declare that some part of his sermon belong to a fourteen hundred years ago and is not related to present-day societies?!

The problem with this group is that they think they are religion guardians, and consider themselves responsible for questions and ambiguities, and imagine themselves fully authorized representatives of the religion. They account their dignity as religion’s dignity and their disgrace as religion’s disgrace. In short, they consider themselves as representatives of God on the earth, His messenger to people, and of course not as prophets, but one level lower.

             If we can find our true place in respect of propagation as a mediator, not as a custodian, then we will not be worried for like or dislike of people. Their luck or misfortune, their encouragement or blames and their motions and thoughts, would not affect us. All these calamities are due to the fact that we have replaced our status with the status of Imam of the Time.

Recently, a book has been published that contains memories of a great figure[19].  In a part of the book, we read:

“Once, in the regime of Pahlavi Dynasty, he was sent into exile in a city of Kurdistan Province. Accidentally, in a season of the year, when people urgently needed precipitation, and were worried for the wastage of their cultivation, some people asked him to say the prayer for rain. He did not accept and people’s insistence had no effect.”

Few days after that refusal, he explains the reasons of his refusal as follow:

“I noticed that if I perform prayer for rain and did not rain, since majority of people were Sunni, that failure would weaken Shiite creed, so I preferred to refuse from saying that prayer.” 

The story is quite remarkable, and proves the validity of our claim.

We should reflect on the following points: In view of our assignment and duties, we evaluate them based on personal preferences and interests, not based on Sharia fact and evidence. And where individual tastes and personal interest, instruct to do so, we act, and wherever it is opposed, we refuse. we realize that the purpose of the honor of Islam and Shiism, is our own reputation, not the reputation of religion, because Sharia and faith, is owned by God and his pure servant, the guardian of revelation, the ruler of universe, the Imam of the Time (may our souls be sacrificed on his soil). What has happened to us that we allow ourselves to intervene in the realm and limits of guardianship and set ourselves in place of Him? What is the relevance of us to the matter that His religion is disgraced or exalted?

Here many issues are discovered, and the purpose and motivation behind many concealed phenomena, intention, and justifications, become clear. 

خوش بود گر محک تجربه آید به میان       تا سیه روی شود هرکه در او غشّ باشد

“Happy the time when the touchstone of experience is revealed’

That shame befalls on him who is deceptive.”[20]  

            

The day will come, whether in this world and or the world after, that our concealed intentions, aims, inclinations, and act will be disclosed, then, it will be clear like shinning sun to all the purpose behind the sweet words, deceiving metaphors, smiles, and friendly gestures; and all ill-intentions, self-centeredness, double-dealings, and hypocritical traits will be known.

What happened to us that we don’t want to tell people, the exact word of God which is received by Prophet and Infallibles, without any additions or deletions, interpretation or justification, and without any changes or transformations?

We should not follow the path that our ordinary have gone astray and lost, and have spent many years into ruin and perdition. We should not examine their painful and bitter experience and end up with the same destiny.

The religious scholar who despite his knowledge about “prescribed times of prayer” issues fatwa (judicial opinion) to perform them together, in order to distinguish Shiites fro Sunnites, What is his answer to the Imam of Time and the Sharia guardian?

And if Imam asks him: “Are you a religious authority and do you have a free hand in intervening with Sharia law, that contrary to the Prophet tradition and conduct of the infallible Imams (peace be upon them), solely in opposition to the public, alter God’s decree, what would be his answer ?” And if Imam asks him: “Don’t you think that the fatwa (judicial opinion) against tradition, causing loosening of Shi'ism against public religion? Is this the meaning and purpose of safeguarding Ahl al-Bayt (People of the Prophet’s House)? Wouldn’t this fatwa cause separation of the parties, create opposing thoughts, and raise suspicion among Shia community?

Therefore, the main duty of all Muslims, especially the Sharia scholars, is strict observance and fulfillment of obligations of civil, social and personal laws. In this regard, those prone to accept religious teachings and moral principles of Sharia , and obedience to God’s commandments, are not deprived; and in the other world, in front of the Divine Justice, they may make us shameful by accusing us to deprive them from comprehending the vital issues and not to clarify to them the divine orders.

The approaches, insights, and outlook of missionaries of the immutable religion shall be only and only based on monotheism and fulfillment of ordered duties. They must not be terrified of criticism and derisions by immoral persons. They must continuously put the noble verse  وَلَا يَخَافُونَ لَوْمَةَ لَائِمٍ  “and fearing not the blame of any blamer.”[21], on top of their acts, movements, and thoughts, and believe that the responsibility of protecting the consistency of Sharia and the faith rests on the infallible living Imam (may God hasten his glad advent). They must not set themselves in his place and therefore be a source of embarrassment in this world and punishment in the world after.

In this testament, Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) declares that the welfare of society lies in avoiding free-mixing between men and women, and the security of society depends on the observance of this fundamental principle. According to him, spiritual training and soul purification are possible in the context of moral security and observance of chastity; and peace of mind and harmony of the inner essence, are achieved when destructive relationships and falling into lust are avoided.

In this condition, people achieve actualization and will be promoted to the unseen levels and ma’rifa (the intimate knowledge). It is very difficult or even impossible to earn ma’rifa (the intimate knowledge) and attain spiritual perfection in poor conditions.

Some may think that the mixing of male-female relationship, their encounter and socializing, would not affect their minds and behaviors, and no unusual feelings would be sensed. They not only perform their routine spiritual duties, but also there will be no negative feeling in such contacts. In mixed company, they talk with each other and make jokes, sit at the same table, relate stories, and exchange compliments, and meanwhile no bad behavior beyond the custom is seen and no event contrary to moral criteria occurs. Now that is so, then why the last will and testament discourages free mixing between men and women?

The answer lies in the human’s instincts that tend to connect and belong to the opposite sex. And in this case there is no difference between men and women. Of course, in some instances, this tendency is stronger in men and in some other instances in women. No one can deny this fact, because the existence of such behavior is necessary and is proven in the system of the created world.

 

ذرّه ذرّه کاندر این ارض و سماست      جنس خود را هچو کاه و کهرباست

Every particle and atom of, the earth and heaven,

Seeks after its pair,

It is matter of straw and amber (magnetism)[22]

 

It should be added that the inward personal state and physical and mental dispositions of individuals change and do not remain stable over the time. It happens that a person in certain circumstances is not emotionally prepared to deal with the opposite sex and has no willingness to talk or connect, but the same person, in some other situation, may become eager to do so. This issue obviously answers the above doubt and question because:

Firstly, affected by the latent instincts and concealed inclinations, many times this relationship allows inappropriate images and concepts to penetrate into mind and soul (of one of the parties or both) little by little, slowly, unclearly, and non-blatantly. And later when the fantasies and imaginations become firm, they conquer the person’s heart and mind and become landlords. They fade away the person’s spiritual atmosphere and peace of mind. At this stage it is all over and the die has been cast. The man, ignoring all his religious rationalistic, social, and inborn nature, now is dominated and possessed by those evil feelings which are now new landowner.

I, myself, have seen this problem in many different peoples and in different trades. It must be acknowledged that in this subject, there is no difference between ignorant individuals and theologians, between illiterate and educated, and between persons with different personalities. The reason is that the inner instincts and traits and disposition of the person are not bound to obey and follow his will in such case.

Therefore, the Messenger of God (may the blessing and peace of God be upon him and his family), said;

النَّظرَةُ سَهمٌ مِن سِهامِ إبلیسَ

“Casting a glance at the face of a woman is an arrow from the arrows thrown by the Satan (the Devil) that sits on the heart of man, disable it, and decays it.”[23]

 

Once a youth at the time of Prophet Muhammad (may the blessing and peace of God be upon him and his family), attended before him and said: “O Messenger of God, what goes inside us that when we are at your service and are listen to your words, advice, and explanations we feel as f we are flying in the sky and we have no attachment to the world and its people, and we see ourselves in a certain spiritual condition that we have no desire to come out of this space. And always want to remain in this appeal and divine realm. But once we get discharged from your service, and return to street and notice a woman, all those spiritual entities vanish at once; we descend to the lowest state of the plurality of thought, lusts, and desires. The Prophet said: “If you stay in the same situation for a while, you'll see what I see! And you'll hear what I'm hearing.”[24]

Secondly, based on the assumption that man is able to overcome his earthly desires, drives, and sensuality, and this relationship does not affect his inner thoughts and the man will stay firm and stable and will continue to develop and progress in the right path, can he block the effects of such relations and communications on other party?

Therefore, in cases where human actions cause someone else to sin, the act of a man by itself is haram (forbidden).

Let me give an example. It is been said that it is not necessary for a man to cover his entire body. Covering special part suffices and man could appear in public and out of the house without covering the whole body. This is not the case. It is so only if no unrelated woman sees him. Otherwise, is incumbent upon man to cover himself, because the woman may commit an unlawful act by looking at the man. Therefore, the cause of such sin is non-compliance of man.

Thirdly, the notion that the relationship between men and women will have no effect on the mind, mood, and behaviors of the parties is completely void, because in many cases, a person may at his discretion, make mistake in distinguishing right from wrong and so does not realize that what he is doing is harmful to him and will prevent him from moving in the right path. Even in physical aspect of man, similar phenomena exist. For instance, the defense of body against entrance of disease is accompanied by pain. Pain warns the man about the danger of disease. In fact, before malfunctioning of the limb, the nervous system warns by pain. Pain drives the man to seek remedy and cure. However, this is not always the case. Tooth is one of the exceptions. When a tooth is decaying, there is no pain and so the man does not notice that inside of tooth is rotting. He notices this event when is beyond remedy and the nerve of the tooth is dead.

Another example is auto-regulation of the nervous system which controls blood pressure and gives warning about hypertension. But sometimes this system fails to give warning and hypertension, or “The Silent Killer” develops while the patient feels healthy. Since he does not seek for remedy and cure, the symptoms of disease will appear.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       For this reason, many great authorities declare that, it is “unlawful” to reside in land of the infidel. Because living in the land of the infidel and being far from the spiritual atmosphere of Islam, the dominant atmosphere of that land prevails but many times the individual will not feel or realize these spiritual-traits changes. He will not believe that he is been affected by culture and atmosphere of the place. He feels no weakness in his religious beliefs nor does any change in his manner because he continues his praying and fasting. He gives alms, goes to Mecca for Hajj pilgrimage, and fulfills the duties ordained by God.

This has happened to a lot of people around the writer of these lines. While people in such circumstances, their moral and spiritual beliefs may not sink into the lowest level, but fades away and their actions and worships become like a dry wood lacking any spiritual elects and delight. The wealth of life would be gone, and the person empty handed, will leave the world to reach the final destination, the world after.

Therefore, the duty of every individual, and especially the duty of Islamic government is to provide a basis for earning morality and spiritual balance in an environment where each responsible and wise person, can reach to the highest levels of human perfection and no obstacle prevent him from reaching such state.

It is true that the last will and testament is apparently addressed to Imam’s noble son, Imam Hassan Mojtaba (peace be upon him), but the intention and purpose of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) had not been just Imam Hassan (peace be upon him) and the will is addressed to all Shi’as and non-Arab converts to Islam, and more than that, to all single persons of the world who wish to live a wise and suitable life in security, peace of mind, and serenity of soul.

In his most recent will and testament, Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) says:

أُوصیکما و جمیعَ وُلدی و أهلی ومَن بَلَغَه کِتابی بتَقوَی الله و نَظمِ أمرِکم ..

“I make my will to both of you, Hassan and Hossein, all my children and relatives, and any other person who will see or hear this will for divine purity and self discipline . . .”[25]

 

Also, the protocol he wrote to Malik al-Ashtar clearly shows that what he has written is apparently addressed to all. Certainly, Amīr al-Mu'minīn (peace be upon him) knew that his friend and companion, Malik, would be martyred on the way to Egypt by poison given by agents of Mu'awiyah. So, why did he write that protocol? The protocol that, according to unanimous opinion of all connoisseurs, politicians, and legislators of social and political laws, is unique in respect of comprehensiveness and sufficiency.

Why the Imam (peace be upon him), who knew that Malik al-Ashtar will not reach Egypt, wrote that protocol? The reason is that Imam is the father, instructor, guide, and helper of all children of Adam, one by one, until the Day of Judgment. This is a responsibility that is a burden on his shoulder because he has reached the level of absolute infallibility and his words have been graced with eternity. Therefore, he feels responsibility toward all generations. This is a duty assigned by the Almighty God only and only to the Infallible Imam (peace be upon him) and not to any other person (even if that other person has reached high levels of spirituality, knowledge, and experience).

Therefore, the last will and testament of Imam has been written and addressed to all people who come to this world.

 


[1] Nahj al-Balaghah, Muhammad Abduh, Vol.1, page.13.

[2] Al-Ma'idah Sura ((The Table Spread) (5), verse 15 and beginning of 16.

[3] Matla al-Anwar (the beginning of lights), Vol.1, p.111

 

[4] For more information and discussion about this issue, see “Heavenly Light of Qur’an”, Vol.2, p.223.

[5] Introduction of “Man, the Unknown”, re-translated from Persian into English. So, what quoted above are not exact words of Alexis Karl, but the idea given by him at introduction of his book.

 

[6] Bihar al-anwar (The Ocean of Lights), Vol.28, p.367.

[7] Nahj al-Balagha (Way of Eloquence), Muhammad Abduh, Vol.3, p.38.

[8] Joseph Sura (12), Opening Part of Verse 108.

[9] An-Nisa (Women) (4), Part of Verse 150.

[10] Quoted from “Al Meraat fi Zel al Islam (a mirror in the shade of Islam) written by Maryam Nooreddin Fazlollah, p.45.

[11]  The System of Women’s Rights in Islam, p.185.

[12] Nahj al-Balaghah, Muhammad Abduh, Vol.3, page 61.

[13]  Recently, in one summer camping in Germany, about 170 juvenile teenagers, mostly too-young girls were raped by the young boys of the camp; and this scandal was complained by the parents of the girls.  

[14] Kashf al-Qamah, Vo.1, p.466 and Bihar al-anwar (The Ocean of Lights), Vol.10, p.238.

[15] Saudi Arabia, Jiddah

[16] This issue has been explained more in Volume 1 of the book of this humble writer titled “Mysteries of Malakut”.

[17] An-Nisa (Women) Sura (4), Beginning of Verse 34.

[18]  Golshan-e-Raz (Rose-Garden of Secretes).Part 5, Analogy of the Latent Mystery of Truth, While Being 

     Visible.

[19] The Late Ayatollah Montazeri (on whom be the mercy of God).

[20]  Anthology of Hafiz Shirazi

[21] Al Ma’idah (the Table Spread) (5),Part of Verse 54.

[22] Masnavi-ye Manavi (The Spiritual Masnavi), Book 6

[23] Man lā yahduruhu al-Faqīh , Vol 4, P.18.

[24] Al Kafi, Vol.2, p433.  

 

[25] Nahj al-Balagha (Way of Eloquence),  Muhammad Abduh , Vol.3, p.85

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