By: Ayatullah Shaheed Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim
Relationship between the Virtuous Community and the Religious Referential Authority
The relationship between the individuals of the virtuous community and the religious referential authority is the basic organizational bond that takes charge of the affairs of these individuals because the religious authority represents the pivot while the individuals represent the foundation of this system.
The features of this relationship can be summarized in the following points:
(1) The representative of religious and political loyalty—the purport of the relationship in the system of the virtuous community—is the righteous individual with all his general and perfective qualities, exhibiting decency, experience, courage, and the basic feature, reason, which leads to the capability of deducing religious laws from their sources. This is a point that differentiates the religious referential authority from the Prophet or an Imam. A Prophet or Imam is designated by name for his office, while a religious referential authority is designated by specifications and qualifications.
This loyalty takes several forms at various levels: at the level of feelings like love, affection, and veneration; at the level of behavior and social conduct, such as respect and reverence; at the level of commitment and obligation, such as allegiance and covenant; or at the level of performance and practical conduct, including obeisance, compliance, support, listening to instructions, and submitting to commands.
In order to thrash out this topic, we have to refer to the fact that a religious referential authority can be a referential authority in the issuance of verdicts and the explication of religious duties; in adjudication and making judgments among disputant parties; or in management, social and political affairs where his orders must be carried out and his administration accepted.
All these responsibilities can be contained in one referential authority provided that he is qualified enough and able to undertake all of them. There can be more than one religious referential authority when proficiencies differ in their levels or when the general referential authority cannot undertake all these responsibilities at the same time or in the same region. In such cases, it becomes necessary to refer to the most skilled authority in a certain field—i.e., to refer to one authority in case of need of a religious answer about a certain issue, refer to another in case of judgment and to a third in social or political affairs—in a certain region. Such being the case, religious referential authority, as an office, can be individualized according to each well-qualified authority’s competence, qualification, and sound experience.
(2) Islam has determined the criteria for worthiness in such a way that the qualities become the organizational scale for the virtuous community. These qualities include belief in Almighty Allah, the message of Islam and Imamate; piety; hard work; knowledge; and precedence in sacrifice. The organizational relationship of the virtuous community with the referential authority and leadership and the assessment of individuals concerning the religious authority depend upon the above.
(3) The nature of this relationship is generally compulsory; that is, it is obligatory upon the individuals of the virtuous community to carry out the instructions and orders of the religious referential authority. Another feature is that each party must unavoidably undertake its own responsibilities, carry out its duties, and retain all the rights which are connected to and inspired by religious duties.1 Hence, there is no alternative for either of the two parties.
(4) This correlation can exist and be achieved through two converging activities: The first is carried out by the religious referential authority who undertakes the divinely commanded responsibilities, including propagating religion, sanctifying it and educating people.
The second activity is carried out by the faithful believers who are required to undertake the mission of investigating the nominees for holding the office of the religious referential authority so as to arrive at the truth, choosing the most qualified scholar for this office and bonding with this most righteous and most reliable person (i.e. the most upright and virtuous mujtahid). Having reached the truth, the faithful believers are then required to commit themselves morally and religiously to this bond.
Imam `Ali (‘a) has said: O people, I have a right over you and you have a right over me. As for your rights over me, they are to counsel you, pay you your dues fully, teach you so that you do not remain ignorant, and instruct you in the code of behavior that you must act upon. As for my rights over you, they are to fulfill the obligation of allegiance, give support whether present or absent, respond when I call upon you, and obey when I order you.2
To sum up, the religious referential authority (marji`) is required to undertake his religious, political, social, and juristic role, while the faithful believer (mu'min) is required to investigate whether the marji` meets the qualifications, terms, and regulations that must be enjoyed by the one who assumes this office so that the mu'min can realize the truth and take the exact stance that he is religiously required to take, on the basis of the indubitable Prophetic tradition which reads: Whoever dies before recognizing the authority (i.e. Imam) of his time has died as a non-Muslim.3
Another tradition confirms: You must then consider the source from which you take your knowledge.4
On the other hand, and as far as this relationship is concerned, the individuals of the virtuous community have always identified their referential authority and religious leader to the extent that such recognition has become one of the general religious matters that characterize the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) who commit themselves to it. This is known as taqlid (i.e. reference to a well-qualified scholar to learn the religious verdicts or positions on various affairs of life).
It is however not necessary for the referential authority and the religious leader to get to know all the individuals of the community, since he can undertake his responsibilities and duties towards the virtuous community without knowing each and every individual in person.
We can now make out the basic differences between the system of the virtuous community and other standard party organizations, in which loyalty is usually given to the organization not the righteous individual and privileges are given according to activities within the organization not according to the actual qualifications of the members. Moreover, the activities of such organizations are maintained through the undertakings of the founders to gain new members, while in the system of the virtuous community, the matter is the opposite–the faithful members of the virtuous community are required to investigate the validity of the leader and elect the one most qualified and appropriate for this office.
Another difference is that sometimes the leadership has to be revealed and sometimes concealed, while in the system of the virtuous community the leadership must be fully recognized by all the individuals.
Thus the organizational scene in ordinary parties, when aiming to form an all-inclusive structure from within, is quite the opposite of the organizational scene in the system of the virtuous community established by the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) (the system of the religious referential authority).
The rules for establishment of any party inside the system of the virtuous community will be discussed under the title of ‘establishment’.
Direct Connection and Deputy System
The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) established the limits and content of the relationship between the religious leadership and the nation after clarifying the significance of their authority and Imamate in the sphere of the virtuous community and the general sphere of their followers. They then embarked on organizing their followers by means of marking out the boundaries of the relationship between their followers and themselves.
They presented and confirmed the following two forms of relationships, which were required simultaneously, and declared that they complemented one another.
The first form of relationship is a direct connection of individuals of the virtuous community with the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and with the religious leadership by means of meetings, visits, correspondence, listening to their instructions and directives, undergoing the difficulties of journeys to reach them and taking advantage of possible opportunities to meet with them at times of congregational gathering, such as the Hajj season.
The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) paid much attention to such means of connection; therefore, they used to send letters, use messengers, and write precepts involving general instructions for their Shi`ah and followers.
A large number of traditions and texts can be observed focusing on this course and concentrating on using this form and style in order to embody the relationship between the leadership and the people. Other traditions imply that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their Shi`ah used to practice this type of relationship with dedication.
In this respect, there are many reported texts entailing that the acme of Hajj is to meet and visit the Holy Imams (‘a).
Through an authentic chain of authority, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a) as saying: Actually, people have been ordered to come to these stones and circumambulate them and then come to us to show their loyalty to us and offer their support for us.5
Jabir has reported Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying: The acme of Hajj is to visit the Imam.6
Yahya ibn Yasar has reported that he and his companions once went on Hajj and then visited Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) who said to them: O pilgrims of Almighty Allah’s House, visitors of His Prophet’s tomb, and partisans (Shi`ah) of Muhammad’s Household, congratulations!7
Dharih al-Muharibi is reported to have said that he once said to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “In His Book, Almighty Allah has ordered me something and I would like to carry it out.”
“What is it?” the Imam (‘a) asked.
Dharih replied, “It is His saying, ‘Then, let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and circumambulate the Ancient House. (22/29)’”
The Imam (‘a) explained: Completion of the rites is to meet the Imam, and performing of the vows is to do the rituals.
`Abdullah ibn Sinan said: When I heard this, I came to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) and asked him for the interpretation of this holy verse. He (‘a) answered: It means to cut some of the hair of your mustache, to trim your nails, and the like.
I said, “May Allah accept me as your ransom! Dharih al-Muharibi has told me that you had interpreted this verse into the meeting of the Imam and the doing of the rituals.”
The Imam (‘a) replied: Both Dharih and you are truthful. The Qur'an has exoteric and esoteric meanings. Who can comprehend what Dharih can?8
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is also reported to have said: When you go on Hajj, you must seal it with visiting us, because this is the acme of the Hajj.9
In addition to these narrations, there are others encouraging visiting the Holy Imams (‘a) during their lifetimes and after their death.
Muhammad ibn Sinan has reported on the authority of Muhammad ibn `Ali that the Holy Prophet (S) said to Imam `Ali (‘a): O `Ali, whoever visits me in my lifetime or after my death or visits you in your lifetime or after your death or visits your two sons in their lifetimes or after their death, I guarantee that I shall save him from the horrors and tribulations of the Day of Resurrection such that I bring him up to my rank.10
Other traditions that are reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) assert that they are in wait for and in expectation of their Shi`ah to visit them.
`Ali ibn `Abd al-`Aziz has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying: By Allah I swear, I do love your fragrance and your souls and I love meeting you on your visits to me. I am verily following the religion of Allah and of His angels, so help me continue this way by means of piety that you show. In al-Madinah, I live like a hair. I keep on shaking until I see one of you and feel comforted by his presence.11
Confirming this course, some traditions indicate that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) ordered their followers to wait until they would have an opportunity to meet them in the case where they (i.e. the followers) were in doubt concerning opposing narrations reported to them from their Imams.
In the last part of the famous accepted tradition of `Umar ibn Hanzalah, the Imam (‘a) instructed him saying: If such (doubt) takes place, you must suspend it until you meet your Imam. Verily, to stop at dubious matters is better than to engage oneself in matters that bring about perdition.12
This is one of the distinctive features of the system that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) founded for the virtuous community. Organizations, including the military and the secret service, depend upon the sequence of ranks in their connections with the members of their parties, and political or religious leaders of such organizations hide themselves behind curtains or closed doors. On the other hand, the religious and political leaders in the Ahl al-Bayt’s system insisted on direct connections or meetings with the individuals of this community. However, such connection must be made at an appropriate and wide open level within limits imposed for security, unless there is an exceptional situation such as the leader being imprisoned, besieged, or hidden.
The second form of relationship is represented by delegating trustworthy representatives (wakil) to the various regions in which followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) live, instructing the followers to refer to these representatives (or deputies) to receive the instructions of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in the case that it is difficult to contact the Holy Imams (‘a) directly. This method was especially employed after the area in which followers lived had expanded.
These deputies (who exercised authority for the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)) played various roles like updating religious laws, conveying political and social conditions, passing on instructions and ethical advice, collecting authorized funds and duties, solving disputations and conflicts that took place, or undertaking certain missions and duties that were connected to Imamate, such as custody of mortmain (i.e. waqf–they supervised the development of property for charitable or religious use) and guardianship of those underage who had no financial supporter. Some of these deputies used to undertake all these missions while others specialized in certain fields.
This system seems to have existed, although restrictedly, in the various ages of the Holy Imams (‘a); however, it manifested itself plainly in the age of Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) through the famous personalities whom the Imam (‘a) nominated to do various activities—in the field of jurisprudence as well as other fields. This has been previously discussed in the first chapter under the title ‘Issuance of Verdicts’.
In the age of Imam al-Kazim (‘a), this system expanded, as is demonstrated by the development of the incident of the al-Waqifah faction13 whose members had been the deputies of Imam al-Kazim (‘a) and seized the funds of the religious levies.
In the ages of the following Imams, the deputy system became so permanent that the general sense of this name ‘wakil’ came to express the very sense that entails exercising authority on behalf of the Holy Imams (‘a). In the Minor Occultation Age, this name took its perfect form when the Four Emissaries14 undertook a mission more far-reaching than mere deputies. This mission was the general deputation of the Awaited Imam—may Allah hasten his advent—during the Minor Occultation Age.
A deep investigation of the personalities of these Four Emissaries proves that the basic feature on the strength of which a certain person was designated was complete trustworthiness along with capability to undertake and continue the responsibility. Apart from this quality, a designated nominee had to be foremost in knowledge and social conduct. Some persons who lived at the same time as the Four Emissaries were matchlessly well-known for their knowledge and virtue, as proven by the heritage that they left. One of these is Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ya`qub al-Kulayni who is considered to be one of the reformists in the early third century. There were also other persons who enjoyed prominent positions with the Emissaries who had full trust in them to the extent that these persons were deputed to their offices. Nevertheless, this office was given to those who possessed the highest level of these qualities.
Bringing this fact up, Shaykh al-Tusi in his book, Kitab al-Ghaybah, has reported `Ali ibn Bilal ibn Mu`awiyah al-Muhallabi as saying:
Our mentors said: We had had no doubt at all that if anything happened to Abu-Ja`far Muhammad ibn `Uthman al-`Umari, none would take his office except Ja`far ibn Muhammad ibn Mattil or his father. Abu-Ja`far used to spend most of his time in Ja`far’s house to the extent that he, in the last years of his lifetime, would not eat any food except that which was cooked in the house of Ja`far ibn Ahmad ibn Mattil and his father. Hence, our mentors had no doubt at all that if anything happened to Abu-Ja`far, he would certainly designate Ja`far to the office of deputy. However, when Abu-Ja`far passed away and Abu’l-Qasim al-Husayn ibn Rawh was chosen for this office, our companions accepted the matter without objection. They then treated the new emissary in the same way they did Abu-Ja`far. As for Ja`far ibn Ahmad ibn Mattil, he put himself at the disposal of Abu’l-Qasim as he did with Abu-Ja`far until he passed away.15
This narration refers to the aforementioned fact and, at the same time, reveals the supreme level of sincerity and piety that characterized the personalities of Ja`far ibn Ahmad ibn Mattil and his father.
The Internal Relations of the Virtuous Community
Organizing the internal relationship of the virtuous community16 comes second in importance; therefore, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) endeavored to establish these relationships on fixed and clear-cut bases. Generally, this aspect is considered an important feature in the organizational framework of any group or community. The only way to perfect the structure of the virtuous community and to build it on clear-cut foundations that are capable of encountering, enduring, and acclimatizing various circumstances is to identify the nature of these relationships and make clear the responsibilities, duties, outcomes, consequences, and form of these relationships.
The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) did actually themselves identify the content, rights, and form of these relationships, which can be seen in the following points:
Content of the Relationship
The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) affirmed that the core of the relationship among the individuals of the virtuous community is the relationship of belief in Almighty Allah and in the message of Islam and loyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). In other words, this relationship is the same mutual relationship between two faithful believers, as cited by the Holy Qur'an: As for the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other. (9:71)
However, according to the Ahl al-Bayt’s teachings, faith must be perfect—a point that characterizes the virtuous community from other groups and communities. Such perfection can be attained only when belief in the divinely commissioned leadership of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and loyalty to them in the capacity of their being the leaders of the Muslim nation as designated by Almighty Allah is attached to the belief in Almighty Allah and His Prophet (S).
In its content, the mutual relationship among the individuals of the virtuous community is not mere faith-based and cordial commitment; rather, it extends to the feelings and emotions in the inner self so that it is characterized by a sense of mutual affection and love for the sake of Almighty Allah and, at the same time, for other believers.
In his book of al-Kafi, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported through an authentic chain of authority that Abu-`Ubaydah al-Hadhdha' reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying: He who loves, hates, and gives for the sake of Allah actually enjoys perfect faith.17
Sa`id al-A`raj has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying: One of the firmest handles of faith is to love, hate, give and withhold exclusively for the sake of Almighty Allah.18
Moreover, authentic traditions read that faith and religion are in fact nothing but this love.
In his book of al-Mahasin, al-Barqi, through an authentic chain of authority, reported that Fudhayl ibn Yasar asked Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) whether to love and to hate for Allah’s sake is part of faith.
The Imam (‘a) answered: Is true faith anything other than such love and hate?
Then, the Imam (‘a) cited the following Qur'anic verse to confirm his words: Allah has endeared the faith to you and has made it seemly in your hearts, and He has made hateful to you unbelief and transgression and disobedience; these it is that are the followers of a right way. (49:7)19
According to another authentic report, Imam al-Baqir (‘a) states that this love must be based on belief in Almighty Allah, His Prophet (S), and the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and it must also be based on love and fondness for the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).
Rights of Relationship
The relationship among the individuals of the virtuous community is a relationship of reciprocal rights, responsibilities, obligations, and duties towards one another among the faithful believers in particular and Muslims in general. These rights can be summed up as follows:
Mutual Support: Imam Ja`far al-Sadiq (‘a) on the authority of his fathers has reported the Holy Prophet (S) as saying: Whoever hears someone calling for the help of Muslims but fails to respond to him, is not actually a Muslim.20
Social solidarity: It is obligatory upon each Muslim to conceal the flaws of his brother-in-faith, to meet his needs for food, and to help him in his livelihood.21
Abu-Basir has reported Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying: Verily, if I provide for a Muslim family—satiate their hunger, cover their private parts with clothing, and save them from exposing themselves to others in begging—then this is more favorable for me than going on a Hajj pilgrimage and another Hajj pilgrimage up to ten times and even more up to seventy times.22
Al-Khattab al-Kufi and Mus`ab ibn `Abdullah have reported that Sadir al-Sayrafi visited Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) when a group of his companions were with him. The Imam (‘a) said to Sadir: O Sadir, our Shi`ah are safeguarded, protected, concealed, and sheltered as long as they have a good feeling about one another in their inner selves, between their Creator and them, and as long as they act with good intention towards their Imams and act sympathetically towards their brethren-in-faith by means of compassion for the weak among them and giving alms to the needy among them. Most surely, we never order you to carry out an unfair matter; rather, we always order you to be pious, be pious, be pious and to treat your brethren-in-faith the same way you treat yourselves. Verily, the true saints of Allah have been always deemed weak and few in number since Almighty Allah created (Prophet) Adam (‘a).23
Special Social Relations: A true faithful believer is required to attend to the affairs of his brother-in-faith when the latter is absent.24 Further duties have been mentioned in traditions reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), such as the following: Ibrahim ibn `Umar al-Yamani has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying: The right of one Muslim over another is that he must not eat his full while the other is starving; he must not quench his thirst while the other is thirsty; and he must not dress himself while the other is naked. How great then the right of one Muslim over another! Love for your Muslim brother what you love for yourself. If you need something, you should ask it from him, and if he needs something from you, you should give it to him. Do not deprive him of any good thing lest he deprives you of the same.
Be his support, for he is your support. You should defend him when he is absent and visit, respect, and honor him when he is present, because he is part of you and you are part of him. If he has words of blame for you, do not leave him before you ask his forgiveness. If he gains something good, then thank Almighty Allah for it, and if a tribulation befalls him, support him. If he is troubled, help him. If one says to one’s brother-in-faith, “ugh!” then their friendship has ruptured, and if one says, “You are my enemy!” then one of them has abandoned faith, and if one accuses one’s brother-in-faith of something, one’s faith will dissolve from one’s heart in the same way as salt dissolves in water.25
Form of the Relationship
This mutual relationship must take a specific form in social and political arenas. For that reason, we can see that the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) presented a certain natural formula to govern these relationships. This special formula was the authorization of holding special meetings that included the individuals of the virtuous community in particular. Having instructed their followers to hold as many meetings and assemblies as possible, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) advised them to dedicate these meetings to discussing various affairs, including both public and private affairs, as well as doctrinal, cultural and social issues.
Muhammad ibn `Ali ibn al-Husayn has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as asking Fudhayl, “Do you regularly gather and mention us?”
Fudhayl answered, “Yes, we do.”
The Imam (‘a) commented: I love these sessions. Enliven matters that pertain to us. May Allah have mercy upon him who revivifies our undertakings! Fudhayl, if one mentions us or listens to events we were engaged in and his eyes shed a tear as small as a fly’s wing, Almighty Allah will forgive all his sins even if they were as massive as froth of the seas.26
Maysir is reported to have said that Imam al-Baqir (‘a), once, asked him, “Do you (i.e. the Shi`ah) regularly withdraw together to freely discuss various matters?”
“Yes, we do. I swear it by Allah.” answered Maysir.
The Imam (‘a) commented: By Allah I swear, I have always wished I were also with you in some of these sessions…27
Khaythamah has reported that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said the following to him: Convey my compliments to my loyalists and advise them to show reverence to Almighty Allah: the rich among them must help the poor, the powerful must help the weak, those alive must attend the funeral ceremony of the dead, and they must assemble at their homes, for such meetings keep our activities alive. May Allah have mercy upon a servant who keeps our activities alive!28
Shu`ayb al-`Aqarqufi has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying to his companions: Be in awe of Almighty Allah and be devout brethren-in-faith who love each other for the sake of Almighty Allah, meet each other constantly, and have mercy on one another. Always exchange visits, meet each other, mention our affairs, and keep them alive.29
It is of note that these meetings were thereafter developed so broadly that they turned into a cultural foundation (as has been cited in a previous chapter) and definite rituals (as will be cited in coming chapters).
External Relations with Other Groups
The identification of the type and nature of relations between a certain group and other external groups and communities is very important. To apply this to the individuals of the virtuous community, it is important to single out the nature of their relations with other groups, including: (a) Muslims in general, (b) enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), (c) enemies of the followers of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), (d) despotic ruling authorities, and (e) enemies of Islam, including polytheists, Christians, Jews and Dhimmis30 that were hostile to Islam. The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) identified the character of the relationships required towards each of these categories.
As a general requirement, the individuals of the virtuous community are instructed to coexist with all Muslims; to cooperate, support, and try to maintain equal terms with them in common affairs related to interests of the Muslim nation and the common doctrines of Islam; to renounce the enemies of Almighty Allah, Islam, and the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a); and to address the hostility of their enemies. At the same time, however, they are required to protect themselves from the vices and aggression of other groups and avoid engaging in intense disputations with them (as will be discussed in the coming book on the Security System).
They are also instructed to avoid unjust ruling authorities and refrain from cooperating with them. As for heretic, evil, and wicked people, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) instructed their followers to not only boycott them but also resist them under certain conditions and circumstances.
Regarding their relationship with the general population of Muslims, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) confirmed abiding by the principle of coexistence and even taking the initiative to establish good relations based on firm foundations.
According to an authentic tradition, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported Mu`awiyah ibn Wahab to have said that he, once, asked Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “What should be the nature of our relations with our people and with those whom we meet?”
The Imam (‘a) answered: You must safeguard the trusts that they deposit with you, bear witness for or against them, visit the sick among them, and attend their funeral ceremonies.31
`Abdullah ibn Sinan has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying: I instruct you to be God-wary. Do not carry people on your shoulders (i.e. do not abase yourself before others), lest you become humiliated. Verily, Almighty Allah says in His Book, “Speak to people good words. (2:83)” Visit the sick among them, attend their funeral ceremonies, bear witness for and against them, pray with them in their mosques so that both they and you will be distinguished and set apart.32
Mu`awiyah ibn `Ammar has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying: Habituate yourself to excellent company of those who you befriend by demonstrating noble conduct, avoiding useless chat, suppressing your rage, reducing vulgarity, instilling forgivingness, and acting magnanimously.33
Regarding the relationship with despotic ruling authorities and their devotees, the Holy Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) insisted that their followers not approve of their deeds and not cooperate with them; on the contrary, they insisted that their followers boycott and resist them when they commit excess in acting unjustly.
Through his chain of authority, Shaykh al-Kulayni has reported on the authority of Talhah ibn Zayd that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said: The doer of injustice, his supporter, and those who approve of his act are all three partners in the act of injustice.34
`Abdullah ibn Sinan reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying: As to anyone who excuses a wrongdoer for his wrong deed, Almighty Allah shall set up over him one who wrongs him. Then, if he prays, his prayers will not be responded to and he will not be compensated for the wrong that has befallen him.35
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is also reported as saying: On the Day of Resurrection, a caller shall call out, “Where are the wrongdoers, their supporters and their associates, even those who sharpened a pen or filled an inkpot for them?” Then, all these shall be gathered in an iron casket and thrown into the Hellfire.36
Regarding relations with the anti-Shi`ah (Nawasib) and other enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) who perpetrate their hostility either purposefully or by ignoring the existence of the Imams, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) instructed their followers to renounce such groups in their hearts while at the same time being courteous to them in order to be saved from their evil and avoid their harm and aggression.
These instructions can be concluded in the traditions that were reported about the principle of taqiyyah, which will be cited in the coming book, Security System of the Virtuous Community. However, let us cite two traditions only: Through an authentic chain of authority, al-Barqi in his book of al-Mahasin has reported on the authority of Ibn Miskan that Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said to him: I believe that if `Ali (‘a) is insulted in your presence, you would even eat the nose of the insulter if you were able.
Ibn Miskan answered, “Yes, I would. May Allah accept me as your ransom! My family and I are such.”
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) instructed: Well, you must not be such! By Allah (I swear), if I hear someone insulting `Ali (‘a) while I am beside the column next to him (in a mosque), I will hide myself behind that column and when I finish my prayer, I will pass by, salute, and shake hands with him!(37)
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is also reported as saying: Fear for your religion! Conceal it by means of dissimulation. Verily, faithless is he who does not practice taqiyyah (i.e. pious dissimulation). Among people, you (i.e. the Shi`ah) are just like bees among birds. Had birds known what there was in the abdomens of bees, they would have devoured them. Likewise, had people known what faith you carry in your hearts concerning your love for us—the Ahl al-Bayt—they would have swallowed you with their tongues and disgraced you overtly and covertly. May Allah have mercy upon a servant from among you who abides by (the terms of) loyalty to us.38
Regarding relations with the heretic, the faithless, and their likes, the Holy Imams (‘a) instructed their followers to stay away from and resist this category of people. The same applies to atheists, polytheists, and Christians and Jews hostile to Islam.
An authentic tradition that is reported from Abu-Hamzah al-Thamali holds that Imam `Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-`Abidin (‘a), in a long discourse, said: Beware of befriending those disobedient (to Almighty Allah), helping transgressors, and neighboring the faithless. Be cautious of their seductions and keep yourselves away from their circles.39
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) reported the Holy Prophet (S) as saying: When you meet the people of dubiety and heresy (who shall come after me), you must openly denounce them. Curse them, condemn them, bring shame on them as much as you can, and denounce them so that they will not persist in corrupting Islam further and people will become wary of them and stop listening to their heresies. If you do so, Almighty Allah will record rewards for you and raise your rank in the Hereafter.40
The Holy Imams (‘a) also conveyed to their followers the necessity of staying at the borders of the Islamic state so as to defend it against the invasions of polytheists and anti-Islam militants.
Muhammad ibn Muslim and Zurarah have reported Imam al-Baqir and Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying: Ribat (guarding the borders) is three days at least and forty days as a maximum. If it exceeds this period, it is then jihad.41
In spite of this situation, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) granted their followers the opportunity to make use of polytheists, when necessary, in order to take refuge in the territories that are under their domination so as to avoid pursuit and persecution when such territories can grant them security against persecution which Muslim territories cannot.
Hammad al-Samandi has reported that he said to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “I usually travel to the cities of the polytheists, but some of our companions claim that if I die in these territories, I will be added to the group of their dwellers.”
The Imam (‘a) asked: O Hammad, do you mention our faith and invite people to it when you are there?
Hammad answered affirmatively, so the Imam asked again: When you live in the territories of Muslims, can you mention our faith and invite people to it?
Hammad answered negatively.
The Imam then said: So, if you die there, you will be resurrected alone in an independent group and your light will be running before you.42
Regarding the relationship with the Dhimmis, the Holy Imams (‘a) persistently instructed their followers to treat this category of people with care, mercy, and justice based on the teachings of Islam.
Muhammad ibn Abi-Hamzah has reported the following on the authority of a man who had seen Imam `Ali, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a).
One day, Imam `Ali (‘a) saw an old blind man begging, so he asked, “What is this?”
The attendants answered, “O Commander of the Faithful, he is only a Christian!”
Imam `Ali (‘a) replied: You exhausted his powers till he became too old to work and then you stopped supporting him! Now, provide him sustenance from the public treasury.43
In an earlier chapter (General Policies), we have referred to the details of some of these topics and we will refer to others in the following volumes (Security System and the System of Social Relations).
Concerning the main point of this topic, there are three forms of relationships that the virtuous community has with other groups and communities:
First Form: Coexistence, openness, and cooperation. This must be the attitude adopted with Muslims in general and with Dhimmis (With Dhimmis these characteristics must come together with caution against negative reactions).
Second Form: Renunciation along with dissimulation. This attitude is adopted with the persistent and ignorant enemies of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and the enemies of the virtuous community in an attempt to defend the individuals of the virtuous community on the one hand and maintain unity of the Muslim nation on the other.
Third Form: Resistance and renunciation. This approach should be adopted against the atheists, the unjust rulers, and the factions of heresy and deviation.
More light will be shed on this topic in a later volume of this series.
1. - This topic has been discussed in an independent thesis entitled the Relationship between the Islamic Leadership and the Muslim Community as Derived from Nahj al-Balaghah. This thesis has been published in an independent brochure.
2. - Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 34.
3. - Ahmad ibn Hanbal, al-Musnad 4:96; al-Tabarani, al-Mu`jam al-Kabir 10:35; al-Shahristani, al-Milal wa’l-Nihal 1:172; Ibn Abi’l-Hadid, Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah 9:155; al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-`Ummal 1:207-208; al-Qanaduzi, Yanabi` al-Mawaddah, pp. 137 (Ed. Najaf) pp. 117 (Ed. Istanbul).
4. - Shaykh al-Kulayni, Usul al-Kafi 1:32 H. 2.
5. - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 4:549, H. 1.
6. - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 4:549, H. 2.
7. - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 4:549, H. 3.
8. - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 4:549, H. 4.
9. - Shaykh al-Saduq, `Ilal al-Shara'i`, pp. 459, S. 221, H. 1.
10. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 10:257, H. 16.
11. - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:264, H. 510.
12. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 18:76, H. 1.
13. - Al-Waqifah (literally, those who suspend or cut short) is a faction including those who cut short the Imamate with Imam Musa ibn Ja`far al-Kazim (‘a) and did not believe in its extension to the following Imams. This name (i.e. waqifah) might also be given to those who cut short the Imamate with other Imams (‘a). However, the general sense of this name refers to those who cut short the Imamate with Imam al-Kazim (‘a). Although there were many reasons for the emergence of this faction, we will mention only three of them:
(1) They aspired for funds and gains which some deputies who had direct, albeit fairly secret, connections with Imam al-Kazim (‘a) used to levy. These funds, from khums (a one-fifth tax imposed on profits one time only), were paid by the Shi`ah expansively during the age of Imam al-Kazim (‘a)—a topic that will be discussed in the volume entitled Economic System of the Virtuous Community.
(2) The ample political movement of Imam al-Kazim (‘a) and the political changes in the `Abbasid dynasty at the time Harun al-Rashid came to power made many of the individuals of the virtuous community believe that Imam al-Kazim (‘a) would certainly be the Imam who would ‘undertake the Matter’ (i.e. he would be the expected Imam whom the Holy Prophet (S) had predicted to fill the earth with justice), so they lived in a state of waiting and expectation that the Imam would do so. However, the mysterious and surreptitious martyrdom of Imam al-Kazim (‘a) in prison brought to surface good grounds to believe in such claim.
(3) Imam `Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (‘a), Imam al-Kazim’s son and heir, had not yet had a male child to succeed him in Imamate, while the Shi`ah believe that each Imam must be succeeded by his male child up to the twelfth Imam. Seizing this opportunity, the suspenders of Imamate propagated their false claims. However, Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (‘a) was born a relatively long time after the Imamate of Imam al-Ridha (‘a). We therefore observe that Imam al-Ridha (‘a) was able to almost put an end to this faction through his own activities, especially after the birth of Imam al-Jawad (‘a).
14. - The Four Emissaries are `Uthman ibn Sa`id al-`Umari, Abu-Ja`far Muhammad ibn `Uthman ibn Sa`id, Abu’l-Qasim al-Husayn ibn Rawh an Nubakhti, Abu’l-Hasan `Ali ibn Muhammad al-Samari.
15. - Shaykh al-Tusi, Kitab al-Ghaybah, pp. 223 (Biography of al-Husayn ibn Rawh); Abu’l-Qasim al-Khu'i, Mu`jam Rijal al-Hadith 4:52.
16. - More details about the system of relationships among Muslims and the believers, along with its foundations, bases, regulations, and laws, will be cited in the sixth book of this series. Details of the superstructure of this system will also be cited. Therefore, we will only refer to the general outlines of this system in this chapter.
17. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah, 11:431, H. 1.
18. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah, 11:431, H. 2.
19. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:435, H. 16; al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:409, H. 930, published by the Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly.
20. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:108, S. 59, H. 1.
21. - Details of the rights of the Muslims over each other will be cited in the coming book, the Economic System of the Virtuous Community.
22. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 6:259-260, S. 2, H. 1.
23. - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:258, H. 492.
24. - This is only one of the obligations of the faithful believers towards each other. In the coming book of the System of Relationships, we will thrash out this topic over again, yet with further details.
25. - Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Kafi 2:170, H. 5.
26. - Al-Himyari al-Qummi, Qurb al-Isnad, pp. 36, H. 117; `Allamah al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar 44:282, H. 14 as quoted from the previous reference book.
27. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:20, H. 1.
28. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:21, H. 6.
29. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:21, H. 9.
30. - Dhimmi is a non-Muslim individual who enjoys protection of the Islamic state.
31. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:5, H. 1 (Ed. Al al-Bayt Foundation).
32. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:7, H. 6 (Ed. Al al-Bayt Foundation).
33. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 12:9, H. 2 (Ed. Al al-Bayt Foundation).
34. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:344, H. 1 (Ed. Dar Ihya' al-Turath).
35. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:345, H. 2 (Ed. Dar Ihya' al-Turath).
36. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 6:131, H. 16 (Ed. Dar Ihya' al-Turath).
37. - Al-Barqi, al-Mahasin 1:405, H. 917 (Ed. The Ahl al-Bayt World Assembly).
38. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:461, S. 24 (wujub al-taqiyyah), H. 7.
39. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:203, H. 3.
40. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:508, H. 1.
41. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:19, H. 1.
42. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:76, H. 6.
43. - Al-Hurr al-`Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi`ah 11:49, H. 1.