Fulfillment of Duties towards Others
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Sayyid Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim
The second aspect of doing favors to others is to carry out the duties that Almighty Allah has made obligatory upon Muslims towards each other and towards the faithful believers. Let us refer to another set of examples and applications that express the superstructure of this aspect, not to forget that some of these are obligatory and others recommended.
Lenience with Companions
When one accompanies another on a journey or associates with him in a school or a certain task, the two parties will be bound to observe certain duties towards each other. According to these duties, they are required to be lenient with each other and to do acts of kindness and favors to one another. These duties have been confirmed in many traditions reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have quoted the Holy Prophet (S) as saying: When two persons accompany each other, the one who is more lenient with his companion than the other shall be the one of greater reward and the dearest to Almighty Allah.¯1
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), on the authority of his fathers, is reported to have quoted the Holy Prophet (S) as saying: When one of your companions in a journey feels sick, you must reside there for three days.¯2
Granting the Brothers-in-Faith’s Requests
Another duty towards one’s brother-in-faith is to grant his requests, because this is one of the general duties of Muslims towards each other. Many traditions, reported from the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), have confirmed the recommendation of such acts in general and the abundant rewards obtained due to doing such acts, not to mention the positive and worldly fruits that are gained as a result of this act.
Imam al-Baqir (‘a) is reported to have said: It happens that a faithful believer feels upset because he cannot solve the problem of one of his brethren-in-faith. Because of this feeling, Almighty Allah allows him into Paradise.¯3
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said: No Muslim grants the request of his brother-in-faith but that Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, calls upon him, “Your reward shall be identified by Me, and I shall not accept for you anything less than Paradise.”¯4
Isma’il ibn ‘Ammar has reported that he once said to Imam al-Sadiq (‘a), “Is it true that a faithful believer is mercy for the other faithful believers?”
“Yes, it is true,” answered Imam al-Sadiq (‘a).
“How is that?” asked Isma’il.
The Imam (‘a) answered, Whenever one asks his brother-in-faith for a request, this will be mercy carried and brought forth by Almighty Allah to him. If he grants his brother-in-faith’s request, then he will have accepted that mercy, but if he rejects to help him while he has the power to do so, then he will have in fact rejected the mercy of Almighty Allah Who has carried it and brought forth to him. Then, Almighty Allah will save this mercy up to the Day of Resurrection when the one rejected shall judge about it. He will then have the right to take it for himself or to give it to anyone else. However, I know for sure that he shall not hesitate to take it for himself. O Isma’il, whoever rejects to grant his brother-in-faith’s request while he has the power to do so, Almighty Allah shall put him under the power of a serpent that will keep on biting him in his grave from the thumb until the Day of Resurrection, whether he will be forgiven or tortured.¯5
Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is likewise reported to have said: Any faithful believer who rejects to grant his brother-in-faith’s request while he has the power to do it, Almighty Allah shall put him under the power of a serpent that will keep on biting him in his grave from the fingers.¯6
Dispelling the Grief of a Faithful Believer
Another duty incumbent upon believers is to dispel the grief of one’s brothers-in-faith who are afflicted with a hardship or exposed to an ordeal or distress.
Zayd al-Shahham has reported that he heard Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying: Whoever relieves the agony of his aggrieved brother-in-faith, drives away his sorrows, and helps him achieve his goal, Almighty Allah will record for him seventy-two items of His mercy. One of them will improve his livelihood affairs, while the other seventy-one items will be stored for him when he faces the horrors and terrors on the Day of Resurrection.¯7
Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), is reported to have said: To render relief to the distressed and to help the oppressed make amends for great sins.¯8
Concealing the Flaws of Believers and Repelling Evil from them
Concealing the flaws, defects, and whatever sins their brothers-in-faith commit secretly or inadvertently, and deny whatever wickedness is ascribed to them as long as they refuse to admit it, and regard it as false accusation against them is another duty of Muslims.
In this respect, Shaykh al-Kulayni, in al-Kafi, has quoted Imam al-Baqir (‘a) as saying: It is obligatory upon faithful believers to conceal seventy great sins committed by their brothers-in-faith.¯9
In al-Ja’fariyyat, Imam ‘Ali (‘a) is reported to have said: Even if I find a believer committing a sin, I will certainly conceal him with my dress (or with his dress, according to another form of the tradition).
Al-Qutb al-Rawandi, in his book of Lubb al-Albab, has reported the aforesaid statement of Imam ‘Ali (‘a) within a dialogue with the Holy Prophet (S).¯1¯0
Imam ‘Ali (‘a) is also reported to have said: O people! If a person knows his brother to be steadfast in faith and of correct ways, he should not lend ear to what people may say about him. Sometimes, the bowman shoots arrows but the arrow goes astray. Similarly, talk can be off the point. Its wrong perishes, while Allah is the Hearer and the Witness. There is nothing between truth and falsehood except four fingers.
He was asked the meaning of this whereupon he closed his fingers together and put them between his ear and eye, and said: Falsehood is to say, “I have heard so.” The truth is to say, “I have seen it.”¯11
Giving Sincere Advice to the Believers
Among the duties of believers towards each other are to give them sincere advice and to act faithfully towards them. In this connection, Shaykh al-Kulayni, in his book of al-Kafi, has reported through a valid chain of authority that Imam al-Baqir (‘a) and Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) said: It is obligatory upon believers to act sincerely towards their brothers-in-faith, be they present or absent.¯12
It has been previously cited that the Holy Prophet (S) is reported to have said: Religion is to act sincerely… towards Almighty Allah, His Messenger, the leaders of the religion, and the community of Muslims.¯13
Through a valid chain of authority too, Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) is reported to have said: Any believer who acts insincerely while he is trying to solve the problem of his brother-in-faith, has in fact betrayed Almighty Allah and His Messenger.¯14
The third aspect in the topic of doing favors and acts of kindness to others is to concede one’s rights to others and avoid demanding them with one’s rights. This is in fact the most superior act of kindness and the most excellent exercise of courageous will in the conduct of affairs, as expressed by the Holy Qur'an that states, But, indeed, if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs. (42:43)
Besides, the reward of forgiving and pardoning others is received directly from Almighty Allah: The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto (in degree): but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah, for (Allah) loves not those who do wrong. (42:40)
1. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 8:492, H. 2.
2. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 8:492, H. 3.
3. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 11:576, S. 25, H. 3.
4. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 11:576, S. 25, H. 4.
5. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 11:577, S. 25, H. 5.
6. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 11:579, S. 25, H. 10.
7. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 11:578, S. 29, H. 1.
8. - Nahj al-Balaghah, Saying No. 23.
9. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa’il al-Shi’ah 11:593, H. 1.
10. - Sayyid al-Borujerdi, Jami’ Ahadith al-Shi’ah 16:187, H. 2 &3. In the same chapter, there is another number of traditions on the same topic.
11. - Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon No. 141.
12. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:549, S. 35, H. 2.
13. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:549, S. 35, H. 7.
14. - Al-Hurr al-’Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi’ah 11:596, H. 2.