Which Path to Allah
Man is Weak
O Brother who is too indifferent to reform himself, ignorant of his own reality! You, poor soul, have two facets and considerations:
One of them concerns your own self, you as you are. To this facet have both your vision and observation been absent. From this facet, you are a diminishing and perishing person of no value or worth; nobody is concerned about you; you are nothing!
As for your other facet, you are tied to the Divine might; you are the manifestation of the Greatness of the Lord; you are a creature made by this Great Creator, the most Exalted One, the most Great. From this facet, you are tied to all the world starting from the `Arsh and ending with the earth, from the seventh high heavens to the seventh lowest earth, in addition to what is between the east and the west and all parts of the earth.
So, if you are good to your own soul, you do well to the whole world and vice versa . If this confuses you, there is a likeness for you under the `Arsh which does similarly to what you do. If you do something ugly, Allah puts a shield on your likeness lest you should be scandalized by those around the `Arsh. And if you do something good, Allah manifests it for them. This is the meaning of this statement:
‘O One Who manifests what is beautiful and covers what is ugly’ reported by our mentor, al-Bahai, in his Muftah where he quotes Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) saying, ‘Each and every believer has a likeness in the `Arsh. If he is busy bowing, prostrating and the like, his likeness does the same. It is then that the angels see him, pray and seek forgiveness for him. And if the servant is busy committing an act of disobedience, Allah lowers down a curtain on his likeness so that the angels may not see it.’ (Muftih al-Falah, p. 156).
Also, there is no doubt that your daily deeds, every morning and evening, are displayed before the Prophet (‘s) and before the Imams (‘a), especially the Imam of the Time (‘a), may Allah hasten his reappearance, who is Waliyy al-Amr. Anything good in these deeds pleases them, so much so that one of them has said, ‘By Allah! The Messenger of Allah (‘a) is more pleased when a believer does his brother a favor than the one in need of the favor’ (Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 156).
There is no doubt that the Prophet (‘s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) are the pillars and the corners of the world while the whole world, including the angels and others, are their subjects. Whoever pleases the sultan of the world pleases all the subjects on account of pleasing the sultan and the sultanate, so the whole world supplicates to such a benevolent servant saying, ‘May Allah please you just as you pleased us!’ And if he commits a wrongdoing, he displeases the Prophet (‘s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (‘a); therefore, the trees will dry, the fruits will spoil, the rain will stop falling and prices will keep rising.
So, O wretch! The impact of your act of obedience or disobedience on the whole world has become clear to you, in addition particularly to the angels assigned for you. Add to this what we have already pointed out above regarding the effect of obedience and disobedience on one’s offspring and on the offspring of the offspring, and so on. Contrariwise, the benefit encompasses all the bygone believers as well as those still living who recite this supplication: ‘Lord! Forgive the believing men and women,’ so much so that it has been reported that all the believing men and women intercede for the person who thus supplicates and say, ‘This is the one who used to seek forgiveness for us!’ (Al-Wasa’il, Vol. 4, p. 151).
It is reported that everyone in the heavens and on earth seeks forgiveness for the scholar, including the fish in the ocean (Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 34). The most Praised One has said,
‘Those who bear the throne (of Allah) and those near to Him glorify and praise their Lord. They believe in Him and implore His forgiveness for those who believe’ (Qur’an, 40:7).
It is well known that if one is a famous mujtahid, those in the east and in the west benefit from emulating him, finding his books and compilations useful, and so are his means of guiding them when alive and even after his demise.
Thus, it becomes clear to you how you can bear an impact on the whole world from the second facet in you, from your being tied to the Holy One, the manifestation of His Greatness; so, how do you justify, O wretch, your indifference and lack of concern when you turn to the other facet whereby you are nothing at all?!
Surely our master, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), has said the truth when he said (the following verses of poetry):
Your remedy is within you, though you do not see it;
And your ailment is from you, though you do not feel it:
Do you think you are but a small heavenly body,
While in you the Greatest World unfolds?!
And you are the clear book which,
Through its signs, what is hidden is revealed. (Diwan Amir al-Mu’minin [‘a], p. 175)
If you neglect yourself, your Lord does not neglect you; Allah Almighty has said,
‘Does man think that he will be left uncontrolled (without a purpose)? (Qur’an, 75:36).
Wake up, then, from your indifference, and pay attention to the second facet whereby you become a human being; thus did your Lord call upon you to do. If you regard yourself among the wretched folks, being distant from any chance for happiness, be informed, poor soul, that Allah effaces whatever He pleases and so does He fix, and with Him is the Mother Book. Beware lest you should be a devil in a human form. Bbe informed that if you choose this for yourself, you will have lost the opportunity of earning the Divine Care, corrupted the whole world on account of your own corruption, cast grief in the hearts of the prophets and the messengers, the angels near to Allah and all those in the heavens and on earth. The earth complains from your walking on its surface, and the heavens complains from shading you.
It has been reported that the earth complains to Allah for forty mornings about one who is not circumcised and who urinates on it (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 101, p. 110), one of the deeds held in contempt; so, what is wrong with you?!
As a whole, you, O wretch, become an enemy of Allah. All those who live in the domain of Allah are your foes . They seek permission to have their revenge against you. So, how can you have the might that can withstand them all, the insignificant weakling that you are? Who will shelter you if you duel with Him and fight Him?! Surely there is no escape route for you except one leading to Him:
‘Then hasten (at once) to Allah: I am a plain warner to you from Him!’ (Qur’an, 51:50).
Anyone who is afraid of anyone flees away from the latter except one who is afraid of Allah: he flees to Him. If you flee to Him, the most Exalted and Great that He is, listen to what Imam al-Sadiq (‘a) has narrated from his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (‘a) who quotes Allah Almighty saying,
‘Whenever I look at the heart of one of My servants and come to see how he loves to be sincere in his obedience to Me, seeking My Pleasure, I undertake to reform him and to guide him.’ (Al-Jawahir al-Saniyyah, p. 133).
The Prophet (‘s) has quoted Allah Almighty as saying,
‘Once I come to know that My servant is concerned about Me, I direct his desire to ask Me and to plead to Me. If My servant is as such, and if he inclines to be off-guard, I stop him from losing his guard. Such are My true servants. Such are the true heroes, those who, if I want to penalize all the residents of the earth, I spare them all the penalty for the sake of such heroes.’ (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 90, p. 162).
Look carefully into this tradition and see how it concludes with Allah sparing all the people of the earth from the penalty and the perdition only because of the presence of such servants of His. Their mere presence is a blessing to the whole world. It safeguards everyone from annihilation.
As a whole, everything in this world is interconnected with each other, and it is like the one individual: If pain afflicts one of his parts, all other parts will feel the pain as well. If the same pain is removed from that single part, the pain will be removed from all the others.
One hadith states that if a servant praises Allah, he will be included in the supplication of all other participants in the congregational prayer service because the latter say,
‘Allah listens to those who praise Him.’ (Al-Wasa’il, Vol. 4, p. 2).
So look and see how such a servant is connected to all others in the world who pray: Their supplication includes him in theirs by virtue of one single statement... Likewise, if one does something good, and if he does it well, he will be included in the supplication of the Prophet (‘s) who has said,
‘May Allah have mercy on one who does something and does it well.’ (Kanz al-`Ummal, p. 9128).
There is no doubt that the supplication of the Prophet (‘s) is answered, and one who is included in the mercy of Allah (‘a) is saved from perdition.
There are some in our time who wish they had lived during the time of the Prophet (‘s) so that, perhaps, they could have been included in one of his supplications, imagining that such an opportunity had passed and cannot be compensated. This assumption is wrong. Their being included in the supplication of the Prophet (‘s), and such a supplication reaching them in our time, is quite easy: Just as we said, if one does something well, he will be included in the Prophet’s supplication for mercy. And if one fasts one day during the month of Sha`ban, for example, he, too, becomes included in the supplication of the Prophet (‘s) wherein he says,
‘Sha`ban is my month; may Allah have mercy on anyone who assists me to undertake my month.’ (Al-Wasa’il, Vol. 10, p. 492).
The Prophet (‘s) is far from depriving the people of this time of the blessings of his honorable supplication. Rather, he has made many honorable supplications for many different occasions. Whoever wishes to include himself in any of such supplications, he will then be included in such a supplication which is sure to be answered [upon his recitation thereof].
Look at yourself, Brother, and see how he has touched you with his mercy by including you under such honorable supplications which paved for you the path to be included in them. When you are indifferent and absent-minded, you wish to include yourself under foul titles; the whole world will then supplicate against you. Anyone who causes a believer to grieve actually grieves the Messenger of Allah (‘a), then Ali, (‘a) then al-Hasan (‘a), then al-Husain (‘a), then the rest of the Imams (‘a), then the whole world, causing the world to shout against him in one voice:
‘May Allah cause you to grieve just as you grieved us!’ (Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 90).
So, Brother, you are very important, very significant, and you are between two of your facets in all your conditions and circumstances: You may either seek Allah or turn away from Him . If you turn to Him, He will turn to you, too. And if you turn away from Him, He, too, will turn away from you. As a result, everything else will turn away from you as well. You are helplessly positioned between this and that.
O One Who turns to those who turn to Him, granting them His kindness out of His favor! We plead to You to grant us success to acquire what obligates Your continuous turning to us! Do cultivate our conduct, O most Merciful One of all those who are merciful! And Allah surely blesses Muhammad (‘s), the best of His creation, and blesses his righteous and purified Progeny (‘a).
. This statement, despite its brevity, reveals the secret of the truth about the impact of some righteous servants of Allah on certain matters and with the permission of Allah Almighty. This cannot be denied due to its quite frequent occurrence and to the transmitted incidents in the past and in the present in its regard. If a servant of Allah is loved by his Master, all the affairs of such a servant will be dear to Him, including his wishes and pleas. Allah Almighty, because of the intensity of His love for him, makes His Divine will in agreement with the will of such a servant of His which necessitates a positive response, barring obstacles. It is from here that Allah Almighty has permitted the bringing of the dead to life, a most unusual thing, attributed to Christ with His own permission. This is the equation which removes the amazement about super-natural events in all accurately reported incidents.
. This, indeed, is a frightening fact and is not the childbirth of one’s imagination. Everything in existence, with the exception of mankind, is by nature subservient to Allah. It is well known that one who becomes the exception from the movement of obedience is an enemy of the Lord of the Worlds Whose army is made up of the hosts of the heavens and of the earth. Are not the hosts there to do anything but follow the orders of their Commander?! Thereupon, if the disobedient ones remain in safety and security, it is so due to the interference of the Compassionate Lord Who stops His hosts from seeking revenge against His foes. The fire of Hell and how it encircles the unbelievers is nothing but a manifestation of the Lord’s hosts, for He has permitted this fire to seek revenge, hence it inquires: ‘Are there any more (to torment)?’
. This meaning is one of those, if absorbed by a servant as it should be, which can cause a radical change in one’s life. The soul may entice one to procrastinate because the Divine torment in the Hereafter is put off, but how can one ignore it when the Almighty turns away from him at the time when he commits an act of disobedience? Our Imam, al-Sajjsd (‘a), said the following to his wife when her son fell into a well while the Imam (‘a) was absorbed in his prayers,
‘If I turn away from Him, He will turn away from me; so, who do you think has more mercy on His slave than Him?.’ (Dal’ail al-Imamah, p. 198).
This is an obvious fact for particular people, that is, a servant suffers a pain greater than anything physical when his Lord turns away from him.
What Path Should God’s Servants Take to Reach Their Lord
Be informed that anything big dwarves when compared to something bigger. Anything hard dwarves when compared with something harder. It diminishes and disappears, becoming nothing. One who is pricked by a thorn then bitten by a scorpion sees the thorn as nothing compared with the sting of the scorpion, something not worth mentioning at all. The Creator, Praise and Exaltation belong to Him, has subdued everything by creating something else higher than it.
Take a look at the greatness of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), his might and prowess, his attainment of the extreme limit of perfection, and how he humbles himself when the name of Muhammad (‘s) is mentioned, admitting that he is his slave. Says the Imam (‘a),
‘I am one of the slaves of Muhammad (‘s)’ (Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 89).
Such is the tangible principle about everything possible or in existence. So, if you want to think less of the life of this world and its hardships, take a look at what is harder. Imagine if you add to your hardship another hardship much harder for you; what would you then do? It is then that everything becomes easy when compared to what is harder. And it is then that you will count your blessings and say, ‘Praise be to Allah Who did not expose me to a hardship! Had He so willed, He would have done just that.’
Likewise, if you wish to appreciate a good deed which you have done so as to rid yourself of the elation, which is the substance of conceit and bragging, compare this good deed with others undertaken by those who are higher in status, those who are better than you. Or suppose you are elevated in your status; you will then see such a good deed as wrong and as indicative of your shortcoming, so you need to apologize for it. You will feel ashamed of being associated with it, let alone being proud of and elated about it.
If you become accustomed to such a habit, by the will of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Exalted One, you should incessantly keep seeking Allah, for there is no goal nor an end greater than loving Him: Whenever you ascend the ladder of being sincere in serving Him, you will see a higher, a more magnificent, a more bright and a more sublime station18. So, if you wish to reach the end, there is none to reach, none to stop at. But if you want to stop without any obstacle in your way to continue your ascendance, this is something which does not suit you. It is so because the most Glorious One, Praise is all due to Him, invites you with His munificence and generosity to get even closer to Him. Who else would you prefer over Him?! For what gain would you turn away from Him?! Lord! Whoever seeks anyone but You shall meet disappointment, and whoever wants to turn away from You shall be a loser!
Since it has become rationally accurate that there is no alternative for seeking a path to Allah through incessant obedience to Him, be then informed that you can achieve this by seeking another facet of obedience to Him if you stop observing another facet: Allah, the Praised One, loves to be asked for permission just as He loves those who uphold His commandments. One who seeks to win the love of Allah, the most Praised and Exalted One, Allah shall open this gate for him and make its undertaking sound and hopeful adoration as means to attain His love, the most Exalted and the most Great that He is, for it is just so. Also, the same takes place if he abandons them at a station where he fears lest boredom and lack of attachment should hinder him from such an obedience, as is the human nature. He will then be excused by Allah Who loves to be sought to grant permission. His abandonment of such a station will then earn him the love of the most Exalted and the most Great One even if one does not thus expect. A servant of Allah will then be subject to His love, the most Exalted and the most Great that He is, in whatever he does or does not do. Such is the great success, and for this should the doers of good strive.
A testimonial to such a meaning is a narrative variably reported from the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) and from our master, al-Hasan son of Ali (‘a). The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) is quoted as having said,
‘When two options, both pleasing Allah, are offered to a person, he [the good believer] should opt to undertake the one which is harder for him.’
Imam al-Hasan (‘a), however, says that such a believer will opt for the one easier to undertake.
The second view is interpreted by arguing that Allah loves to be sought for permission just as He loves His servants to observe His commandments, and He loves moderation in one’s form of adoration. It also falls under the category of those who say that
‘The creed is strong; so, you should delve into it gently, and do not force Allah’s servants to obey Allah’ (Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 70)
and under the category of self-deception by attracting the soul to obey Allah. The first, too, gives the impression that it falls under the category of resisting one’s temptation which is the key to all blessings.  Both admonish the servants of Allah and guide His creation. Hence, their status in the hearts cannot be realized by the minds or by the dreams, and they know it best.
Also, one must take the time to contemplate upon his actions so that he may perform them in the best way. This will be prompted by sincerity. This often requires some time, although anything you postpone is subject to Satan’s coveting, and postponement incorporates detriments including missing an opportunity.
So, if you see both these issues as contradicting each other, since through postponement you are apprehensive of missing the opportunity, while with haste you are apprehensive of spoiling the task which needs taking the time to contemplate on and to perform. Add to this the deception of Satan the Accused who tries to present it to you as an act of obedience while it is in reality for the satisfaction of one’s own desire, and to please Satan, so it will be a form of transgression. The way to get rid of such a contradiction is that you ought to know whether the postponement will be an opportunity for Satan. If so, such a postponement is indicative of one’s ineffectiveness and laziness. It is out of love for wealth. It should remain in your hand: you will not spend it, for then it will get out of your hand. Such a postponement is the one that is detrimental to the scholar, and there is no doubt about its ugliness. The self (nafs) must be fought and outsmarted so that the soul may save itself.
As regarding postponing the doing of something for the sake of taking the time to achieve its perfection, it is desired, liked and mandated by the Lord of Dignity. It is not to be followed by regret, nor does it cause missing an opportunity to do something good because you are thus a man of righteousness when you assess the issues properly: ‘There can be no grounds (for complaint) against those who do what is right...’ (Qur’an, 9:91). 
Nevertheless, if you wish to do something with precision and perfection, accompany your postponement of doing it with reliance on Allah, praying He will enable you to accomplish doing it when you actually undertake it. When you are dragged by laziness and the desire to postpone doing it, make advancing it accompanied by reliance on Allah to assist you to be sincere in such an undertaking and to accomplish it in a way that pleases Him and earns His Pleasure.
If you accompany the matter with reliance on Allah whether you postpone or advance its doing, exerting an effort to identify the motive in each case, if your concern is prompted by a selfish reason or by laziness, desiring to keep what is already in your hand, you will not be deputed [by the Almighty] for such a bad undertaking. But if the motive for either advancement or postponement is a sound one which it requires, you will be doing what is right whether you advanced or postponed doing it, and you are not to blame; you will earn the love of Allah in either advancement or postponement case, just as we have already told you that you will earn the love of Allah if you did or did not do it. If a servant of Allah earns the love of Allah when he does or does not do something, or when he advances or postpones doing it, he will have accomplished his march towards Allah by continuously treading the path of obeying Him. Far, far away it is from Him to shun one who seeks Him and who knocks at His door. 
Do not ever be misled into thinking that the hearts’ path to Allah is confined to prayers, fasting, the recitation of the Qur’an, learning, educating, the recitation of supplications, the performing of ziyaras, and the like, so much so that they consider anything other than such pronouncements as ‘idle talk’ and ‘a waste of time’ as thought by our ‘righteous’ brothers. This is nothing but short-sightedness and some people being confused. 
Be informed that the essential requirement of the legislator with regard to mature people is to be strong in foresight so that they may obey their Lord with their full foresight and ample knowledge. Anything that has anything to do with strengthening foresight and increasing awareness is included in the legislator’s objective and is expected of him. Actually, he more than anyone else seeks and underscores this.
Anyone who restricts himself to the rituals mentioned above, eying them in such a limited way, stagnation will make the most of him. His awareness of the subjects of the Shari`ah, of the Qiblah, of time, etc., will decrease. Anyone who wishes to deceive him with regard to his creed, be he a human or a jinn, can do so. This is the opposite of what is sought by the person responsible for the Shari`ah, and it runs contrarily to his goal. This is the opposite of one who buys and sells, learns ethics, debates, the commendable manners relevant to making a question or answering one, in addition to his own manifestations of adoration, supplications, knowledge and teaching..., such a man is truly a man, a very good man; one’s conscience is the best testimony for all of that.
Just as you carefully looked into learning some tangible crafts, Allah opened gates for you on the knowledge of what makes sense. The essence in this is that Allah, the Praised One, connected what is tangible to what is rational, the matters of the Hereafter with those of this life.
So, one who seeks what is in the Hereafter without employing what is available in the life of this world will never achieve his objective: Allah has made the Hereafter issues attainable only with what is available in this life, making the life that is intended to attain the Hereafter as part of the Hereafter, something which is not to be condemned among the things relevant to this life. One hadith states the following:
‘Condemned is one who abandons his Hereafter for the sake of his life in this world, and condemned is one who abandons his life in this world for the sake of the Hereafter.’
The life the abandonment of which for the sake of the Hreafter is condemned is actually the one that leads one to the good things in the Hereafter, and it is the one that does not stand in the way of anything good. The first type of ‘dunya’ cannot be avoided to reach the goal, and it is mandatory. Discussing it, therefore, is considered useful for one’s awareness. Such a discussion strengthens one’s understanding and foresight, a meaning embedded in the traditions relevant to trade. (Most references state that it contributes to reason as stated on p. 148, Vol. 5, of Al-Kafi.)
It has also been reported in hadith that adoration is comprised of ten parts: nine about trade and one about all acts of obedience (to Allah). What supports this argument is the fact that the Prophet (‘s), prior to the inception of his mission, took to trade, and so did other prophets and messengers.  The divine wisdom decreed that such perfections be scattered worldwide and that many of them are currently being discussed by people so that everyone may get his share thereof. This is why He has commanded that the wise word must be accepted no matter who articulates it, so much so that Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) have said,
‘Take wisdom even from the people of hypocrisy’
according to Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 2, p. 99. They (‘a) have also said,
‘Learn from the mouths of men’
as we read on p. 105, Vol. 2, of Bihar al-Anwar. When the Wise Legislator wanted His servant to earn an ample share of pieces of wisdom and branches of knowledge, He disseminated them throughout the world so that they could be accessible to them, ordering them to accept such pieces of wisdom from whoever brought them. Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) required their Shi`ah to get to know people through their righteousness rather than righteousness through people. Their Imams (‘a) have said,
‘Look into what one says, and do not look into who said what’ (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 1, p. 355).
They (‘a) have also said,
‘Two things are unusual: a word of wisdom coming from a shallow-minded person, a word which you have to accept, and shallow-mindedness from a wise person which you have to forgive’
according to Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 2, p. 44.
Perfection, then, all perfection, is absorbing statements and actions, or they may be dealings, experiences, etc. Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) are cited as having said,
‘Reason is the storehouse of experiences, and the best experience is that which teaches you a lesson’
according to Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 74, p. 208, and that an experience is knowledge earned, according to Ghurar al-Hikam. Anything sparked inside a number of brethren, so they restricted themselves to following the well known rituals, limiting their outlook only to them, is something which we have put to the test. We looked into the past conditions of previous generations, those whose tales reached us, and we found the above to be an indication of a limited mentality, a lack in awareness, something which does not elevate anyone, nor does it help one reach lofty stations. We, therefore, would like to attract one’s attention to the fact that it is one of the deceptions of Satan the Accursed which the latter uses to confine one from moving to lofty stations and coveted plateaus. What makes a thing easier compared with something else is to look at life in this world and at its affairs to see how insignificant these are compared with the matters of the Hereafter, circumstances and development stages.
One who seeks Allah has to get the worries relevant to this life out of his mind, so he is not excited about anything which he achieves, nor is he grieved by anything which he loses. He simply contemplates on these issues, looking into how fast they will disappear, how swiftly they will alter, how they will never remain the same. A wise person ought not be too concerned about something which is so unstable, something which in fact is... nothing!
Secondly, if we look at life in this world as ‘something’ this is what Satan the Accursed insinuates, Satan who has deceived this creation, making people believe that life by itself is something good. But there is no doubt, and by way of necessity, it cannot be compared with the pleasures of the Hereafter which are much better than its pleasures and which Allah has in store for His obedient servants, selecting them from among all others.
If we suppose that life has something good, this ‘something good’ diminishes when compared to the good things of the Hereafter. If you prolong your look and carefully contemplate, it will become quite clear to you that one who pays his full attention to the issues of this life as it is, not in order to thereby reach the good things of the Hereafter, will be paying attention to mere nothingness, to a vanishing falsehood. 
So, our dear Brother! Be informed that the way of Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) is not ‘a thing’ by itself. If you look at it as a ‘thing’, wishing to leave it for something better, you are not guided at all to the way of Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)..., period. Gather your thoughts, then, and supplicate to your Lord to help you get to know what life is according to Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) so that you may be among those who follow in their footsteps and adhere to their method; otherwise, we will be in a valley while our critics will be in another.
If some sound vision, a fixed and commendable way of thinking that life is not to be sought for what it is, nor should it be one’s ultimate objective..., becomes available to you, you will then have no choice except to confine your objective and inclination to what is rendered to Allah, to what Allah is sought for. If it so happens that you will after that do something not for the sake of Allah, praise to Him, but to go along with your own nature, out of your own inclination, or because of the deception of Satan the Accursed, this is something which you did not intend to do in the first place, nor does it fall under your own will and determination. Rather, it is much like an unintentional slip of the tongue. You will still, despite this, have the right to state the following in the ‘inclusive ziyarah’:
‘... obedient to you [to Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)].’
This is so because in the case of intention to do or not to do something, you obey none but them (‘a). You see none others from among their foes as being worthy of your obedience except when you are deceived, or when you flee away or become unmindful. You will only then make a mistake and do something unintentionally, something contrary to your objective. You will then sincerely repent, truly seek forgiveness, for you always are determined not to fall into sinning again but to continue on your course of obedience.  Do not include yourself among those to whom the following tradition hints:
‘One who keeps committing the same sin while still seeking forgiveness is like one who ridicules his Lord’ (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 90, p. 281).
You will then be excluded from those thus labelled. It is as though this same meaning was hinted at by the Master of Martyrs (‘a) in his `Arafa supplication thus:
‘Lord! You know that although my obedience to You has not been continuously positive, yet it has continued in the form of love for You and determination to seek You’ (Iqbal al-A`mal, p. 348).
All of this hinges on the love for the life in this world exiting from one’s heart even in the meaning which we have just stated, that is, your decision and determination are bound on not doing any worldly deed in order to thereby seek this dunya as your ultimate goal. Such is not sought by any wise person, so much so that if you do so, you will look at yourself as having joined the company of the unwise and left the wise behind you. If you master this to the extent that you start with it whenever you contemplate upon doing something, yours will be the objective which we have stated as well as others similar to its gist; so, take advantage of it, and do not be among the unmindful.
. The compiler’s expression ‘going against one’s inclinations is the key to all blessings’ is not exaggerated. One of the principles of the path to Allah Almighty, a principle which never falters, is the impossibility of undertaking such a journey without self-control, for how can anyone other than the animal’s owner control the animal’s path? The first step in the movement, therefore, is to accustom one’s human existence, in all its parts and senses, to one’s will. It is well known that this stage can be regarded as crossing half the distance: Inclination, desire and fantasy are all among the doors which drag a servant of Allah to the bottomless pit no matter how serious such a servant is in making the entire distance. The matter is not accomplished through belief, conviction in addition to hopes. Imam al-Kazim (‘a), hence, says the following:
‘I have come to know that the best of provisions of one who seeks You is a determined will whereby he prefers You; it is through the strength of will that my heart has addressed You.’ (Al-Iqbal, Vol. 3, p. 277).
. Getting to know the right timing for proceeding to do something or withholding doing it needs, in reality, a foresight and assistance from Allah Almighty. Quite often, we lose the opportunity to earn great benefits because we do not watch for the opportunity which passes away like a summer cloud. Harvesting fruits on time is the concern of anyone who treads the path. What a loss it is when the farmer wakes up after the harvest season or when what is to be harvested has already withered?!
. This statement, though brief, is very precise. He combines earning the love of Allah, the basis of the divine attraction to the servant of Allah, with the practical conduct while doing what is obligatory and avoiding what is prohibitive. Some people erroneously think that demonstrating such love without actions earns a servant of Allah degrees of nearness to Allah. So you find them aimlessly soaring spiritually, employing poetry once and once prose just to return from their soaring to their living reality which contains what brings about the wrath of the Lord on account of their individual, social or family dealings.
. This is one gate that opens many gates of knowledge and insight in seeking a way to please Allah Almighty. We find some people summarizing such a path in a number of thikrs and certain sections of the Qur’an (wirds), forgetting that a creed is not merely talk. A creed, rather, is based on knowledge and treatment which prompt the saying of what agrees with the Shari`ah. Quite often, being occupied with wirds (in a way not followed by Ahl al-Bayt [‘a]) causes the intoxication of one’s subconsciousness, so he thinks he is doing great while he is not doing anything. Add to this the fact that the reality of a supplication is the movement which stems from the heart and which is prompted by the meanings of what is articulated. The articulated supplication is nothing but the manifestation of its hidden meanings. If a pronouncement is empty of prompting the meanings suitable for them, what is revealed ought not be revealed... And what is the value of a structure which has no content?
. Such is the condition of incorporating all fields in the requirements of worship. Inclusion of acting upon the Shari`ah is one of the characteristics of one who truly seeks a path to his Lord, unlike one who wishes to fly with one wing, let alone one who wishes to fly with one single feather! What is tested by reason is that the defect caused by falling short of one’s effort to secure livelihood is the result of one’s distraction to many things rather than the concentration on one. A path seeker, more than anyone else, needs to shun such a distraction and any multitude of burdens in his life. Anything vacant is like a rope heavily tying a servant of Allah down to earth. All this excludes what such a servant may have to undergo of pure fate and destiny. He will be rewarded for it, even if it forces him to be distracted. Allah, the most Exalted, the most Great One, helps His servant achieve that from which he is distracted and compensates him [for his loss] with what such a servant can never imagine.
. Paying attention to the fact that life is temporal and will terminate is one of the important reasons why one should not set his heart on it. What is contemptible is loving its pleasures; otherwise, life itself cannot be described as beautiful or ugly. Since Allah Almighty is the One Who beautifies it, nobody has the right to speak ill of it. How can one do so since Allah Almighty rebukes anyone who prohibits the enjoyment of its good things? But if the one who beautifies it is Satan, mankind then ought to be cautious in its regard just as he may be of a snake: It is soft when touched, while inside her is the deadly venom. It is necessary to overcome one’s deception in this regard. Nurture your soul with the hope for a much greater reward and a much lasting one so that you may not be distracted by what is little and vanishing. Imam Ali (‘a) is quoted as having said,
‘Had life in this world been filled with gold while the Hereafter is filled with baked clay, I would have opted for the baked clay of the Hereafter in preference over the gold of this life because such a clay lasts forever, whereas life’s gold is temporal.’ So, what if the gold of the Hereafter is everlasting while the clay of this life vanishes? (Shajarat Tuba, Vol. 2, p. 422).
. This is one of the realistic portraits painted by the author as he outlines his ethical path. A slippage resulting from unmindfulness or unawareness ought not instill despondency in the heart of one who seeks Allah. By nature, one’s heart quite often fluctuates, and Allah Almighty loves those who often return to Him just as He loves those who seek to purify themselves. Some traditions have made a similitude between a believer (mu’min) and an ear of grain which keeps falling then straightening itself. People of knowledge are fully aware of the fact that the complementing movement of a servant of Allah, following each time he returns to Allah and repents, may intensify in order to make a reason for being compensated for the stages during which he lost on account of unmindfulness or submission to desire.
How do we Tread the Path to Allah?
Be informed that one who seeks the Path of Allah, who aims at achieving what is with Allah, has to observe certain matters so that he may reach his destination. The Guides to this Path, who are the Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), have guided us to certain matters which will facilitate the achievement of this goal when one becomes familiar with them; otherwise, he will not reach his destination; he will go back on his heels and retreat.
First: One must be aware of the fact that everything good is with Allah; so, he must not seek it from anyone else, nor should he seek anything but such goodness. If you befriend everyone and initiate your friendly ties with people, let this be out of your desire to seek what is with Allah, hoping to please Allah by making your concern to be good to them, to be of benefit to them. People are the dependents of Allah. The one who is loved the most by Allah is that who is the most beneficial to His dependents (Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 131), as we are told by Ahl al-Bayt (‘a). 
If you seek the sublime status [with Allah] by becoming the one who is loved by Allah the most, according to the sacred hadith, you have first and foremost to be fully aware of this: Be informed that the benefit which you derive from people [to whom you have done favors] is much greater than any favor you have bestowed upon them. It is because of them that you were able to reach a status of being the most loved by Allah; so, do not ask them for any benefit other than this, and do not look at anything else, for there is no other town beyond Abbadan. If the goal of your befriending them is to be of benefit to them, and when your favors reach them, set your mind upon accepting their ill treatment and do not deal with them likewise, for this is the very first of your favors on them. Furthermore, if you set your mind on abstention of rewarding an evil doer with a similar measure, do not be satisfied with just this. You wish to emulate Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and their method of being benevolent even to those who mistreated them. They forgave those who treated them with injustice, visited those who severed their ties from them and gave those who deprived them. You, then, have to set your mind on wishing that one of them would mistreat you so that you would be benevolent to him, so that through him will you earn the virtue of being good to those who treat you badly. It is then that you emulate the Prophet (‘s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), for such is their attitude. Our master, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), has said,
‘One who is the most loved by Allah is the one who emulates His Prophet (‘s)’ (Nahjul-Balagha, sermon 160).
When you reward his mistreatment of you by being benevolent to him, you first earn such a lofty station. Then, despite your poverty, want and need, if you reward a wrong-doer with benevolence, Allah, the Praised and the most Exalted One, through His generosity and plentitude, is more apt to reward you when you respond to a bad deed with a good one. You will then, secondly, have won the proof of being worthy of His generosity. He, Praise to Him, ordered you to be benevolent to one who is mean to you. He did so in order to admonish you that since you did that, He is more worthy than you of benevolence. You are more worthy of being thus treated; so, He thus ordered you to adopt such a way of treating others.
The benefit which you reap from such a treatment is much greater than the benefit which He ordered you to bestow upon the person with whom you beautifully dealt. If you discern well, you will see his mistreatment of yourself. What raised your status is a favor worthy of being appreciated, in addition to rewarding an evil deed with a good one.  All of this is based on the assumption that the others have mistreated you; otherwise, it is assumed that you are the oppressor, or you feign being oppressed, as can be seen when observing the conditions of most people, for then the matter is much more clear. We have seen how everyone complains and charges others of oppressing him, yet we have never seen two opponents, be they from among the righteous or the evildoers, admitting oppressing or trespassing on each other. Rather, we still see men of righteousness and piety disputing, each claiming as being oppressed by the other, and that he is the one who had done favors to the other, tolerated him, never lied or dared to antagonize him. Be informed that this is one of the schemes of the evil-insinuating ‘nafs,’ its way of making wrong look right so that the matter will be confused.
For this reason, the Wise Legislator rendered the testimony of justice to Himself. He did not permit reliance in this regard on His Justice. Hence, a fair and wise person ought to indict himself with regard to his own self (nafs) and reject its testimony in his favor, a testimony which the Legislator rejects. Such is not the one you are accustomed to, the one friendship with whom you initiate, if the purpose of your friendship is to be of benefit to him rather than to benefit from him. You have set your mind at ease when you lost your hope from people, putting an end to coveting what they have. This, indeed, is the greatest wealth, the wealth of one’s nafs. Moreover, the first charity which you bestow upon people is that you spare them your own harm. The first is that you do not hurt them; you do not cause them any harm, then you set your mind on tolerating theirs. Furthermore, let your concern be how to get goodness to reach them. So, if your soul is determined to do that, and if you receive a reward on account of a good deed which you did, this is a blessing which is not expected, something which you enjoy, something that will deeply impress you. And if you see that they have disregarded it, hoping you would accept it from them, accept it. Accepting it is doing them a good deed even when you have no need for it, for returning it to them will make them unhappy and is a bad deed while you yourself have decided to do no bad deed to them, and thus you are ordered.  And if their goodness was a token of appreciation of getting to know you, and if they expect you to return it to them, accept it from them then return it to them as a new present according to their own wish. But if their intention is that you accept it from them then you reward them with something else even better, accept it from them and reward them with something more. Such is goodness to them. Do not make them aware of you knowing their intention that they gave it to you in order to get something else in its place; rather, let it look natural, for such is goodness on your part to them.
The outcome, my Brother, is that Allah orders you to be fair, to be benevolent, and just as you treat others, so shall you, too, be treated. And be informed that the cornerstone of being good to people is not giving them money, for we have seen many people spending a lot of money, while such spending is not benevolence at all; rather, it is followed by harm, by causing people grief. It fits the category of an act of charity followed by the doer with an act of harm as an outcome, even if the goal is benevolence. They simply do not know how to do it properly. All of this is the result of neglecting the principles laid down by Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) and not paying attention to their methodology.
If you want to take care of the need of your believing Brother according to the way of Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), be informed that they (‘a) have said,
‘Taking care of someone’s need is done through different ways: either minimizing it so it will get maximized, or hastening it so that it will bring happiness, or keeping it as a secret so it will come out into the open.’ (Tuhaf al-`Uqul, p. 403, in almost the same wording).
If these issues are not combined, taking care of the need cannot be accomplished; rather, it will be incomplete, tinted with displeasure; it may even bring harm to the one in need.
People are such that when they take care of one’s need, they violate all these issues. Their actions will not take care of anyone’s need as it should be. This is the main reason why they have to swallow the bitterness of spending so much of their wealth without earning the desired outcome which is: bringing happiness to the heart of a believer. You can see how when they do someone a favor, first they promise to do it for him, then they take their time, so he starts tasting the bitterness of waiting which is more harsh than killing. Then he tastes the bitterness of many times losing hope that his need will be taken care of. After some time, his need is taken care of, after having tasted the bitterness of asking for help, the bitterness of embarrassment, the bitterness of waiting, the bitterness of losing hope, and the bitterness of feeling embarrassed before the people whom he promised, relying on the promise with which he was given, a promise which was not fulfilled... What pleasure, then, remains after all of this?! Actually, its harm proved to be more than its benefit! Such is people’s habit when someone needs them. They do not minimize it and say,
‘This is nothing compared to the dignity of a believer whose dignity, according to some traditions, is regarded as greater than that of the sanctity of the Ka`ba’. (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 64, p 71).
Rather, they demonstrate the attitude that they did such a great favor to him, expecting him to abandon his worship of Allah, the most Exalted One and the most Great, and worship them as a slave instead!
Also, they do not hide it from the public so it may be closer to sincerity and distant from hypocrisy, becoming a purely intended action hinted at in the qudsi hadith which says,
‘Yours is the task of hiding it [from the public], whereas Mine is to make it manifest.’
Instead, they tell the whole world about it. This is one of people’s contemptible habits, and observing it needs no explanation.
Be informed, therefore, from what we have already stated, that benevolence does not depend on spending funds but on observing the issues which we have mentioned. Benevolence to a person is doing something according to his own wish while taking precautions against displeasing him.  Anyone whose goal is that you accept what he gives you, your own benevolence is when you do accept it from him. If you wish your hand should be the uppermost, reward him with something better or with the same, actions which are not hidden from those who carefully look into and observe the particulars of the recommendations and norms of conduct of Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).
When you socialize with people, base your intention on your desire to be of benefit to them. Have no intention whatsoever to benefit from them, so much so that if you hope for any benefit from them, you should desire it from the One with Whom you do not ever feel disappointed, nor is miserliness near to Him. Do not let people take most of your time, making them your concern and source of worry, for you are thus ordered by Ahl al-Bayt (‘a):
‘Decrease the number of those whom you know, and deny knowledge of those whom you came to know.’ (Al-Mustadrak, Vol. 11, p. 387).
The wisdom in all of this is that they should not divert you from paying your full attention to your Creator. Dedicating one’s self to worship, keeping the mind concentrated on doing so rather than on anything else besides it that may distract one from Allah, is a goal that cannot be achieved by too much socializing, and what heat cures is different than that cured by grapes. Someone said to one of the Imams (‘a),
‘You have sought seclusion at the Aqeeq and rushed to be all by yourself.’
The Imam (‘a) answered him by saying,
‘Had you tasted the sweetness of [such] seclusion, you would have desired to leave your own self alone!’ (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 75, p. 254).
The goal is that although you do need the people with whom you live, such coexistence should be just as we have described for you.
The goal is not to let yourself be involved in the affairs of the people. One has to divide and distribute his time. You need time to plead to Allah and time to socialize provided such socializing brings you the Pleasure of Allah and is intended just to seek such a Pleasure. Let your share of the first be the most, and let it be your primary concern and objective, for it is required of you in the first place  and so that you may render the second to the first. If you do not, you will be inclined to please your own self with it, thus it becomes a catastrophe on you. You will then fail to earn anything useful for yourself, be it in the life of this world or in the Hereafter, and you will have fallen into the same oppression and complaint about oppression wherein people have fallen. And you will painfully complain from all those whom you befriended. They, too, will continue to complain against you, so you will never win their pleasure at all.
There is neither goodness nor peace of mind except when one fully sets his heart on Allah, turning to Him wholeheartedly. It is thus that every worry about the responsibilities of this life or about those of the Hereafter becomes easy. Every weariness, distress, hardship and depression results from one being distracted from Allah and running away from Him. This is relevant to the First issue of those which bind anyone who wishes to tread the path to Allah.
Second: He has to observe people’s rights with regard to Allah. Observing people’s rights with regard to Allah is actually observing Allah’s rights. Likewise, neglecting them means neglecting the right of Allah.
If you seek this, be informed that people have numerous rights with which you must be familiar so that you may not be ignorant of Allah’s right in their regard. Once you get to know them, you will seek help from Allah to carry them out, to undertake them. If you are incapable of observing them, your own admission of your incapability will stand as your own observance thereof.
One such rights is that they say ‘Ali (‘a) is a servant of Allah.’ How do you discharge your responsibility towards one who says this sacred statement? Rather, how can you know which rights you are obligated to be familiar with? Rather, how can you even imagine what his right is?! Far, far away! The right of one who believes in this statement is connected to the right of the one to whom it is attached, namely Ali (‘a), and the right of Ali (‘a) is connected to the right of the Messenger of Allah (‘a), and the right of the Messenger of Allah (‘a) is connected to the right of Allah Almighty; so, how can anyone undertake the right of Allah while the Messenger of Allah (‘a) has said to Abu Tharr,
‘The rights of Allah, the most Praised One, are greater than can His servants carry out, and the blessings of Allah are more numerous than His servants can count?! But you must welcome the night repentant and welcome the morning repentant.’ (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 74, p. 76). 
The Messenger of Allah (‘a) once said to some of his companions as he (‘a) pointed to Ali (‘a), ‘
Befriend the friend of this man even if he had killed your father and offspring, and be the enemy of this man even if he were your father or son.’ (Was’ail al- Shi`ah, Vol. 16, p. 178).
So, if he recognizes his connection with Ali (‘a) and his acceptance of the Imam’s mastership, you are obligated to forgive him for having killed your father or offspring. What would you say, then, about something much less than that?! Rather, it is not enough if you simply forgive and forget but you have, moreover, to love, to be generous to and to respect him just as the said mastership requires. Actually, even if you offer your own life to be sacrificed for his sake, it will still be little compared to the right of the one to whom he is connected. A poet has done well when he said,
Not the love for the houses did occupy my heart,
But it is the love for those who lived therein.
When you demonstrate forgiveness for one who loves the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), Allah is more apt to forgive all your sins as His way of appreciating your acceptance of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) as your master, for Allah more than you loves the Commander of the Faithful (‘a). When you see that one is falling short in his obedience of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), yet you take into account the mere connection with the Imam, your respect for the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) will thus weigh even heavier in such a case, for it by itself is worthy of respect. Perhaps you respect him on account of his own merits that are worthy of respect, not for the mere connection (referred to above), your respect will hence be indicative of the strength of your veneration. Without such strength and intensity, you would not have been able to overcome the objections.
This covers one of the rights, and it by itself suffices, yet you will not be able to carry it out! So what would you say if you add to it the fact that he belongs to the progeny of Ali (‘a)?! And what would you say when you add to this his being one of his guests, or one of his neighbors, or one of the servants of his shrine, or his name is the same or is the same as that of one of his offspring, or his name is indicative of his connection to them, such as Athe servant of Ali (‘a),’ or the Aslave of al-Husain (‘a)’?!
Besides the above are the rights of kinship, neighborliness, companionship, supplication, teaching the Qur’an, teaching a branch of knowledge or a norm of perfection, age, your mujtahid, Imam of the jama`ahaha, one who is benevolent to some of your kinsfolk or neighbors or even inquiring about your well-being, a student, someone who thinks well of you... up to the end of the list of those included in Risalat al-Huqooq (bill of rights) of our master Ali (‘a) son of al-Husain (‘a). All are considered as great rights by Ahl al-Bayt (‘a), rights about which one will be questioned on the Day of Judgment (as we read on p. 255 of Tuhaf al-`Uqul).  How can you ever be saved from them or find an excuse about them since it has been said that three will complain to Allah on the Day of Judgment: a deserted mosque, a copy of the Qur’an lying down in a house with dust covering it and nobody reading it, and a scholar in his place with nobody listening to him?! (`Iddat al-Da`i, p. 272). What is the condition of one who is brought to judgment and against whom three lodge complaints with the Just Ruler: (1) a house of Allah, (2) the Book of Allah and (3) a wali of Allah?! Whose complaint will not be heard? And which of them will deny a right or a sanctity with Allah? These are all great rights; so, how can you seek any excuse about them during that momentous situation? It has been quoted that a person may sneeze but nobody invokes Allah’s mercy for him, so he comes to complain, and injustice to him on the Day of Judgment will be redressed.
So, my Brother who is seeking the right guidance! If you rationally discern through your intellect, the intellect which Allah granted you so that you may see things as they are, you will be concerned about nothing more than admitting your shortcoming and exerting the effort to save your neck from your responsibilities. You will see that even if they exaggerate in demanding their rights of you, still, you are questioned about the rights which they have against you. Your concern will be to beg for an exemption therefrom. You will apologize to them and go over-board in being benevolent to them as much as you can, hoping Allah will overlook your shortcoming and please them on your behalf with regard to some of their rights.
If you look at people with such discerning foresight with which Allah blessed you, it will be easier for you to seek the path leading to Allah. This covers the Second issue.
Third: One must feel uneasy being with people and find ease and comfort being with Allah. A wise person looks after his most important undertaking, safeguarding his tongue, being knowledgeable of the people of his time, feeling uneasy being with the most trusted of his brethren. Anyone who has such merits is included in a supplication by Imam Ali (‘a) who said,
‘May Allah strengthen him and grant him His security on the Day of Judgment’
as we read in Al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 49. In the same reference, Jabir [ibn Abdullah al-Ansari] is quoted as having said,
‘I visited the father of Ja`far, Ali (‘a), who said to me, ‘O Jabir! By Allah! I am grieved, and my heart is upset. ‘I said to him, ‘May I be sacrificed for your sake! What is the cause of your grief, and why are you depressed?’ He said, ‘O Jabir! If anyone’s heart is filled with pure adoration of Allah, such a heart will be distracted from embracing anyone else besides Him.’ (Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 107).
In a letter to one of his followers, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) wrote saying,
‘One who fears Allah is honored and empowered, satisfied and is never thirsty. He diverts his attention from the people of this world; so, his body is with them while his heart and mind are looking at the Hereafter.’ (Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 136).
If a believer, then, feels at ease with the boons granted to him by Allah, having tasted the sweetness of mentioning Allah, he will surely feel uneasy when he departs from such a condition, so he refuses to abandon it. If Allah blesses one of His servants with His support, He would let his heart conform to this condition, occupying him thereby, enabling him, nevertheless, to pay attention to other aspects as they come up. But if his original concern is paying attention to this condition, so he feels uneasy with such a treasure, desiring to dedicate himself to what he is originally required to do, what is for his own sake first and foremost, such a feeling of uneasiness will not bear an impact on his senses.33 Also, describing a believer, the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) has said the following:
‘His grief is hidden inside his heart, while his elation manifests itself on his countenance’ (Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 64, p. 305).
And he may reveal them if the situation demands it, as has been quoted in the dialogue between Imam al-Baqir (‘a) and Jabir. Such is the meaning of a believer feeling uneasy even with the most trusted of his brethren.
If you do not encounter such a situation, that is, when you occupy yourself with worshipping Allah, feeling uncomfortable with being with anyone but Him, including the closest of your brethren, being unable to make your social life an excuse for seeking nearness to Allah because the natural disposition will have overcome you, it is then that you will have your share of feeling comfortable with the human race [rather than with Allah]. You will in the latter case become a slave of your own ‘self, i.e. nafs.’ You will feel pleased when it is pleased and angry when it is angry. You will exit from the honor of worshipping none but Allah, which is why Allah created you in the first place. He, the most Exalted and Great One, has said, ‘I have created the jinns and mankind only so that they may worship Me’ (Qur’an, 51:56).
. Such a meaning may be absent from the minds of many people, including the elite among them. When they bestow favors upon people, they undergo an unaware state of feeling that people owe them for such favors, and this becomes clear when their tongues slip and eyes wander around. The meaning mentioned by the author is one of the requirements of a deep comprehension of the right of Allah Almighty and of the right of those [saints] connection with whom Allah has mandated. It is also one of the requirements of a precise supervision of what goes on inside people’s minds. A heart can never be a station for the angelic noors unless it gets rid of such hidden impurities which are regarded as sins by those who are close to Allah even if they appear to look good to the virtuous.
. This statement is the outcome of one who seeks his Lord and who changes his attitude towards existence and the movement of life. It is from here that knowledge and insight serve as the first introduction to walking towards perfection; so, look into how one who treads the path changes a dispute, which carries a great measure of oppression, into a tool of seeking closeness to the Master, the True One. Through it, a servant of Allah proves to his Master in all his mobility and immobility, especially when he is angry or when stirred by desire, that they cause feet to slip, the feet of the commoners as well as those of the elite. Quite often, both of these bring about a continuous trial and tribulation, through either the fire or through being distant from the truth, the latter no less inflammatory than the first if one only has a heart and listens, and he is a witness.
. This is another portrait of reality in the methodology of the author. Kindness and good manners are among the essential attributes of one who seeks to tread this path [of seeking Allah]. Quite often have we seen how those who do not have the insight and are seeking the same path causing others harm with a statement or an action, or weakening them, or causing them to be worried in the pretext of elevating them above the life of this world and forsaking people. Thus, they are being unmindful of the fact that anyone who breaks a Muslim has to mend him (Al-Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 45). Without such mending, Allah may break something of his own self, a breaking for which there is no mending neither in the life of this world nor in that of the Hereafter.
.The issue of avoiding displeasing others, especially innocent people, is one of which anyone who seeks this path must be mindful, for it often is a cause of failure. Whenever a servant of Allah purifies his intention and gets nearer to his Lord, the seriousness of the offense of displeasing him gets even greater. Allah Almighty is always with those who are displeased (according to Da`awat al-Rawindi, p. 120). And He is swift in supporting His believing servant. It is narrated once that a woman was hurled into the fire of hell on account of a pussy-cat which she confined. She neither fed her, nor did she let her eat of what the earth produces (Al-Had’aiq, Vol. 7, p. 271); so, what would you say about someone in whose heart Allah manifests Himself, so He becomes one of his own concerns?
. The main responsibility of mankind must not be forgotten. We notice how some beginners occupy themselves with doing what originally pleases Allah, then they get occupied with what distracts them from Allah Almighty. For example, when one enters a mosque in order to reconcile between two disputants, so he thus gets involved to the extent that he starts acting as though he had been one of the disputants; therefore, he starts becoming harsh in making his statements. He may even permit himself to listen to what he is not supposed to, such as one of the disputants going too far so as he reveals a hidden injustice unrelated to the oppressed person. Thus, one starts something for the sake of getting close to Allah as a first step, not as an ongoing process. The solution is: continuation is harder to undertake than initiation, as is well known.
. Notice this gradual process to which the author attracts our attention and how one who seeks to tread the path which leads to Allah does not look at matters lightly or naively. He moves from the principles till he reaches the objectives, looking at all issues as related to Allah Almighty. And whenever his connection with Him intensifies, so does his realization of His right. Doing injustice to the right of a believer is by no means doing injustice to an individual whose link from his Master is cut off. Rather, it is injustice towards an individual regarding whom Allah Almighty undertook a pledge to defend. And who can confront one whose defender and supporter is Allah Almighty Himself?!
. The ‘bill of rights’ [of Imam Zainul-`Abidin (‘a)] cannot be ignored by those who seek a path to Allah Almighty. And who is more capable than Zainul-`Abidin (‘a) in explaining the rights of Allah and those of His servants?! It is very necessary for one who seeks this path to be familiar with the collection of texts and rights cited from the Imams of Guidance (‘a) in the field of seeking the pleasure of Allah Almighty, for they are the most knowledgeable of all people of what brings one closer to Allah. What a disappointment and a loss it is if one exhausts his life-span in repeating the words of one who make claims to have had such knowledge, abandoning those who inhabited houses wherein Allah permitted that He is adored and His Name is lauded?!
Al-Siraj: The Lantern on the Path To Allah Almighty
By: Husain ibn 'Ali ibn Sadiq al Bahrani