Say (unto your nation), I do not ask of you a reward for this (invitation) save love for (my) Household (the Ahl al-Bayt)…”2
By combining these two Qur’anic verses it is clear that the religion that the Exalted Lord wants of us and determines as the reward for the invaluable invitation of the Holy Prophet (S) is the religion that is fused with affection for his Ahl al-Bayt—specific members of his family.
The Holy Prophet (S) has explained the meaning of this fusion of the Ahl al-Bayt’s affection in the two widely-transmitted hadīths of safīnah (ark) and thaqalayn (two precious things)
: “The analogy of my Ahl al-Bayt is that of Noah’s ark. Whosoever embarks upon it is saved and whosoever turns away from it is drowned.”
“After I leave, I will leave among you two precious things: the Book of Allah and my Household, the Ahl al-Bayt. They will never be separated until they come to me (on the Day of Judgment) at the Pool [hawd]. As long as you cling fast to these two things you shall not be led astray.”
In a clear expression the Noble Prophet (S) teaches that Muslims must set his Ahl al-Bayt as their leaders and acquire their religion from them. This is the creed of Shī‘ah which today nearly one hundred million people of the world’s population identify as their official religion.
The Shī‘ah creed is that same pure religion that God, the Almighty, has made his Noble Prophet’s reward and the fruit of his prophethood.
The Shī‘ah creed is that same valuable religion whose continuity cost the pure blood of eleven Imāms—of the twelve leaders of the Infallible and Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt—foregoing which was the pure blood that spilled to the earth from the forehead and mouth of the Prophet in the battle of Uhud.
The Shī‘ah creed is that same tormented religion that has, in the fourteen centuries ensuing the passing of the Holy Prophet (S), lost at the hands of its opposers tens of thousands or rather hundreds of thousands of its followers among which are many prodigies and scholars such as the First Martyr, Muhammad ibn Makkī, the Second Martyr, Zayn al-Dīn Ihsā’ī, and the martyr Qādī Nūr Allāh Tustarī who rests in this radiant and glorious grave.
By observing these works, we must remember the endeavors and sacrifices achieved by our forerunners in the way of God to preserve and vitalize this religion of Truth.
Thus, we must strive to preserve, safeguard, and spread the religion that embraces the Truth that came to us at the price of, first and foremost, the pure blood of our leaders from the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), the blood of our great intellectuals and academics, and finally, the blood of hundreds of thousands of martyrs who were our innocent fellow Muslims—we must withhold nothing of our lives and wealth to uphold this path.
“Slack not, nor sorrow for you are superior if you are truly believers.”3
Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī
Qum, Rajab 10, 1390 AH4
1. Sūrat al-Furqān 25:57.
2. Sūrat al-Shawrā’ 42:23.
3. Sūrat Āl ‘Imrān 3:139.
4. Extracted from the annual “Ma‘ārif-e Ja‘farī”.