Reinforcing the Social Structure
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim
At the level of reinforcing the social structure, we will notice a number of principles and methods, in addition to the previously cited ones, confirmed by Islam in general and the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in particular. These principles are as follows:
Seeing it as one of the most favorable methods of strengthening the construction of the virtuous community, the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) established organized meetings purposed to discuss religious and worldly affairs, because such meetings produce numerous beneficial consequences in the fields of religion, spirituality, and morality. These meetings were regarded as motivation for drawing near to Almighty Allah and as a form of invigorating the affairs of the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) in addition to being opportunities to relax and beg for forgiveness for sins. The Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) expressed love for all such meetings and their wish to have personally participated in them.
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said: (I advise you to) exchange visits, for such visits activate your hearts and make you mention our discourses. Verily, our discourses lead you to sympathize with one another. If you apply them to yourselves, you will be guided to the truth and you will be saved. However, if you abandon them, you will then be misled and steered towards perdition. So, apply our discourses and I guarantee your deliverance.¯24¯
In addition to the account of Shaykh al-Kulayni, reporting Maysir as mentioned on page 46 there are other traditions, such as the following:
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said: Whenever three or more faithful believers meet, angels of their same number are surely present with them. When they (i.e. the believers) pray, the angels support their prayers; when they seek Almighty Allah’s protection against an evil, the angels pray to Him to ward off that evil from them; and when they beseech Him for a request, the angels intercede on their behalf and pray to Him to respond.¯25¯
Mu’attab, Imam al-Sadiq’s manumitted slave, has reported that he heard his master saying to Dawud ibn Sarhan: O Dawud, convey my greetings to my adherents and tell them that I say: May Allah have mercy upon a servant (of Him) who meets with another servant and talks about us. Verily, the third of them will be an angel imploring Almighty Allah to forgive them. Whenever two persons meet to mention us, Almighty Allah will certainly praise them before the angels. Hence, whenever you meet, you must engage in mentioning us. Verily, your meetings and your mention of our affairs revives our Leadership. The best of all people after us are those who exchange views about our affairs and call others to mention us.26
Khaythamah has reported Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) as saying 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, the living must attend the funeral ceremonies of the dead, and they must assemble at their homes, for such meetings keep our issue alive. May Allah have mercy upon a servant who keeps our Leadership alive.27
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 Leadership, and keep it alive.28
Sincerity in Dealing with Muslims
The Holy Imams (‘a) taught their followers to act sincerely towards Muslims, to perform their duties towards them honestly, to advise them, to accept their advice, and to thank them when they inform them of their defects.
This principle is undoubtedly one of the most effective courses in reinforcing relations among individuals and firming up an unshakable foundation based on a sense of responsibility, mutual trust, and exchanging opinions to reach the truth.
Moreover, these principles must be applied according to the principle of wisdom and fair exhortation.29
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said: Sincerity in treatment is a duty imposed upon a faithful believer towards other faithful believers.30
He (‘a) is also reported to have said: It is obligatory upon every faithful believer to deal with the other faithful believers with sincerity, be they present or absent.31
The Holy Prophet (S) is reported to have said: True religiousness is to act sincerely…towards Almighty Allah, His Messenger, the leaders of the religion, and the community of Muslims.32
Abu’l-’Udays has reported that Imam al-Baqir (‘a) advised him saying: O Salih, follow him who causes you to weep and acts towards you with sincerity, but do not follow him who makes you laugh but is cheating you. When you all will be gathered by Allah, you will be made to know the truth.33
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported as saying: The dearest of my friends to me is he who reveals my defects to me.34
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is also reported as saying: A faithful believer is not complete when in need of three characteristics: (1) Divine aid, (2) self-exhortation, and (3) acceptance of one who advises him.35
Mutual compassion, sympathy, and visiting
The Holy Imams (‘a) ordered their followers to exchange feelings of compassion, kindness, and closeness and to exchange visits, because the emotional and spiritual aspects in building good social relations are the most important elements in strengthening and establishing a firm foundation for these relations.
The virtuous community that included the companions of the Holy Prophet (S) are described in the Holy Qur'an as: …harsh against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves. (48:29)
… humble towards the believers… (5:54)
As for the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other. (9:71)
An independent chapter has been dedicated to this principle in the book of Wasa'il al-Shi’ah. Let us now refer to some traditions that demonstrate this principle, reference to which has been made on various occasions in the previous books of this series.
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said: Muslims are brothers to each other. They neither wrong, nor disappoint, nor betray each other. The duties that are incumbent on Muslims towards each other are to exert effort in communication, agree on mutual sympathy, treat the needy as they treat themselves, and empathize with one another. If you abide by this, you will be exactly as Almighty Allah has ordered you to be; compassionate and merciful towards one another and feeling regretful when missing any opportunity to help your brethren-in-faith, just like the conduct of the Ansar during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (S).36
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said: May Allah have mercy upon a person who reconciles two of our adherents. O group of believers, adopt manners of affinity with each other and have sympathy for each other.37
24. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:567, S. 23, H. 3.
25. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:568, S. 23, H. 7.
26. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:568, S. 23, H. 10.
27. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 12:21, H. 6.
28. -Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 12:21, H. 9.
29. - Introducing the bases of promulgation, the Holy Qur'an reads, “Call unto the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. Lo! Your Lord is Best Aware of him who strays from His way, and He is Best Aware of those who go aright. (16:125)
30. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:594, S. 35, H. 1.
31. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:549, S. 35, H. 2.
32. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:549, S. 35, H. 7.
33. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:413, S. 12, H. 1.
34. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:413, S. 12, H. 2.
35. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:413, S. 12, H. 3.
36. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 8:542, H. 2.
37. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 8:542, S. 124, H. 5.