Testifying of Faith is Desirable
By: Ayatullah Dastghaib Shirazi
The explanation of this verse is mentioned in some narrations of the Prophet and Imams (‘a). They have recommended that when a believer falls ill and is likely to die he should open the door of his house for worshippers. Then when he feels he is returning to his or her Lord the faithful person should reiterate his faith in “There is no god, except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”, and in the finality of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet and in Ali being the friend (Wali) and vicegerent of Allah.
It is emphatically mentioned in traditions that one should say, “Hasan and Husain are the sons of the Prophet of Allah and the nine descendants of Husain are the saints of Allah and the Imams of the believers. And indeed the death is truth and the Paradise and the Hell is truth…These are my beliefs. So give witness tomorrow on the Day of Judgment.”
Regarding the meaning of the verse:
They shall not control intercession, save he who has made a covenant with the Beneficent God. (19:87)
Some narrations on this are recorded in Usul Kafi and Tafsir of Ali bin Ibrahim Qummi. They asked, “How to make a will better?” The Imam replied, “First narrate your true beliefs clearly. At that time, if you have minor children, appoint a guardian for them, if you have a lot of money, make a will in respect of one third of it so that it may be given in charity after you pass away. If you do not have much wealth then let the said one third remain with your legal heirs so that they may benefit from it.
If among your relatives there are some who are poor and also do not have heirs then fix something from the said one third for them.”
In Urwathul Wuthqa it is mentioned in the chapter about the rules regarding the wills that the dying person should announce his beliefs.
It is written in Shaykh Tusi’s Misbah that witness should be called from the audience around the death bed and a written testimony should be obtained from them that so and so, son of so and so, gives witness and testifies his belief in the Oneness of God and the messengership of Muhammad (‘s) and the Imamat of Ali (‘a) and his eleven sons and about the truth of death and Resurrection on the Day of Judgment and paradise and hell…
The signed paper is then placed with the two green branches and buried along with the dead. I can’t say what is the exact explanation for this.
An amazing story about testifying to faith
Haji Noori writes in Darus Salam: Once in Najaf-e-Ashraf a man named Syed Muhammad Faqihi who was a good scholar, told me one night, “If possible please lend me the book Misbahul Faqih (by Shaykh Tusi).” I said, “Well, I will bring it for you tomorrow evening.” Next day I brought Misbah, which is about supplications, and handed it over to that person. He came again the next night and said, “I request you to do something for me. Please do it.” Noori said, “I am at your service.” He said, “Please you and the great Jurist (Maraja) come to my place and have breakfast with me tomorrow morning.” I told this to the late scholar who accepted the invitation. When we arrived the next morning, I saw two great scholars, the late Shaykh Jawwad Najafi and Syed Muhammad Husain Kazmi and his two students sitting there. Thus we were six persons in all. After the breakfast, the host went in and brought the same book of Tusi (Misbah) and said, “Dear Sirs! Please hear these beliefs of mine and then be witnesses.”
The late Haji Noori says, “I took Misbah from him and read.” I said, “Imam has said, ‘The one who is about to die should do this’ while you are hale and hearty.” Thus implying that he was not covered by this narration. But Shaykh Muhammad Tabrizi said very humbly, “Why do you restrain me from a good deed? May be this narration applies to me.” I said, “All right, you know better.” Then he reiterated his beliefs one by one with such humility that it made all of us weep. Then he said, “Now it is your turn to give testimony.” All those present there also gave witness.
That evening he returned the Misbah of Shaykh to me and said, “I am also giving you this letter. Please give it to the respected scholars and others to put their seals on it.” I took the letter and had it attested by the respected scholars. The following night a man came and said, “Sir, your friend is not able to attend the dawn prayer, you should visit him.” Next day, I went to see him with the scholars. He passed away on the seventh day.
Haji says, “I wonder how he knew that he was nearing his death!”
Today’s death of adversity
Nowadays sudden deaths overtake more and more people and one is unable to make a will because of unexpected and sudden heart failure or accident etc. However, one must try ones best to act on this narration and keep the Hereafter in mind. If possible you may act as per this narration.
Majlisi (r.a.) acted cautiously and wrote down his beliefs while he was hale and healthy and asked forty people to witness it. They also endorsed his note by writing: There is not doubt in the faith of Majlisi.
In this age, is it done this way in our hospitals? How pitiable is this condition? Worse is that they expect health from the physician and medicines, that is, they die in polytheism.