On What Imam ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) wrote for Al-Ma’mun Regarding Islam and the Religious Decrees
Source: Uyun Akhbar ar-Ridha Volume 2
35-1 Abdul Wahid Muhammad ibn Ubdoos al-Neishaboori al-Attar - may God be pleased with him - narrated in the (Arabic) month of Sha’ban of the year 352 A.H. (962 A.D.) in Neishaboor that Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Qutayba al-Neishaboori quoted on the authority of Al-Fadhl ibn Shathan that Al-Ma’mun asked Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) to write a brief account of the pure Islam for him. Then he (a.s.) wrote, “In pure Islam it suffices to confess that there is no god but God the One for Whom there exists no partner; the Only God; the One and Only; the Eternal; the Self-Existent; the All-Hearing; the All-Seeing; the All-Powerful; the Ever-Existing; the Ever-Lasting; the All-Knowing for Whom there is no ignorance; the All-Powerful for Whom there is no incapability; the All-Sufficient for Whom there is no need; the All-Just for Whom there is no wrong. He is the One who created everything. There is nothing like Him. There is no one similar to Him. There is no one opposed to Him. There is no one equal to Him. He is the subject of all worshipping, supplications, desires and fears.
And that Muhammad is His Servant, Messenger, Trustee, and Appointee among His creatures. He is the Master of the Messengers, the Seal of the Prophets, and the Noblest of the people of the Two Worlds. There are no Prophets after him and there will be no changes in his Islamic Laws.
And that everything with which Muhammad ibn Abdullah (the Prophet) (a.s.) came is the evident Right. We believe in him as well as all the Messengers, Prophets, and Proofs of God that preceded him. We believe in his Truthful Book in which it is stated, ‘No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: It is sent down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of all Praise.’1
And that his Book supercedes all of the other Divine Books. It is correct from the beginning up to the end. We believe in all its verses whether they are decisive, allegorical, particular, general, promising, threatening, repealing, repealed, or express news. No creature can ever create its equivalent.
Moreover, the evidence for the believers after the Prophet (S), the manager of the affairs of the Muslims, the spokesman of the Qur’an, the knower of its decrees is his brother, successor, and Trustee - Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.). His position relative to Muhammad (a.s.) is the same as that of Aaron’s position relative to Moses (a.s.). He is the Commander of the Faithful Believers, the Leader of the God-Fearing ones, the Leader of the lustrous ones2, the best of the Trustees of the Prophet (S) and the inheritor of the Knowledge of the Prophets (a.s.) and the Messengers (a.s.).
After him comes Al-Hassan (a.s.) and Al-Husayn (a.s.) - the Masters of the Youth in Heaven. Then there is Ali ibn Al-Husayn - the adornment of the worshippers. Then there is Muhammad ibn Ali (a.s.) - the analyser of the Knowledge of the Prophets3. Then there is Ja’far ibn Muhammad As-Sadiq (a.s.) - the inheritor of the Knowledge of the Trustees. Then there is Musa ibn Ja’far Al-Kazim (a.s.). Then there is Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.). Then there is Muhammad ibn Ali (a.s.). Then there is Ali ibn Muhammad (a.s.). Then there is Al-Hassan ibn Ali (a.s.). Then there is His Proof - the Riser; the Awaited One. May God’s Blessings be upon them all. I bear witness to their Trusteeship and Divine Leadership. And the Earth will never be left without the Sublime God’s Proof for His creatures present. They are the Reliable Grip4, the Leaders towards guidance, and proofs for the people of the world for as long as the Earth and whatever is on it lasts.
Anyone who opposes them (the imams) is deviant, misleading, and the deserter of the Truth and Guidance. The Imams (a.s.) are the interpreters of the Qur’an and the spokespersons of the Prophet (S) with explanations. Whoever dies without acknowledging them has died as one who died during the Age of Ignorance.
Piety, chastity, honesty, goodness, perseverance, diligence, returning what we are entrusted with to either the pious or wicked persons, extended prostration (to God), fasting in daytime, worshipping at nighttime, avoiding forbidden acts, patiently expecting the Relief5, patience at times of calamities, and good companionship are all among the features of their religion.
The ritual ablution - as the Sublime God decreed in His Book - is washing the face and the hands from the elbows, and pouring water over the head and the feet once. What invalidates the ablution is defecating, urination, farting, sleeping or going into a state of major ritual impurity6.
Whoever wipes water over his slippers or shoes (in the ritual ablution) is opposing the Sublime God and His Messenger (a.s.), and abandons what is obligatory and His Book.
The ritual bathing (ghusl) on Fridays is based on tradition. So is the ritual bathing on the two ‘Eids (al-adha and al-Fitr); upon entering Mecca or Medina; going on pilgrimage, entering the state of ritual consecration for the Hajj (or ‘Ihram), on the first night of the (Arabic) month of Ramadhan, the 17th night, the 19th night, the 21st night, the 23rd night of Ramadhan. All these are based on traditions. However, the ritual bathing for major ritual impurity is obligatory. So is the ritual bathing for menstruation.
The obligatory prayers include the noon prayer that is four units, the afternoon prayer that is four units, the evening prayer that is three units, the night prayer that is four units, and the morning prayer that is two units. These are seventeen units of prayers. The recommendable prayers consist of thirty-four units. Eight units are for before the noon prayer, eight units are for before the afternoon prayer, four units are for after the evening prayer, two units that are to be said while sitting after the night prayer7, eight units for dawn, even and odd - three units (odd) for which the ending ‘Salam is said after the second unit (making it even), and two units for the morning.
Prayers said at the onset of their established times are nobler. The reward for congregational prayers is twenty-four times that of individual prayers. Do not pray behind a sinful congregational prayer leader. Pray only behind congregational prayer leaders who believe in Divine Leadership8. Do not pray while you are wearing skins of dead animals9 or beasts.
It is not permitted to say ‘As-salamu alaina wa ala ibadillah as-saleheen’ in the first ‘tashahud of the prayer since saying so implies termination of the prayer and once you say that your prayer ends.
Shortening the prayers is valid after you travel four ‘farsakhs away from your home. When prayers are shortened while on a journey, fasting should be broken. If not, the fasting is void and should be made up later when you are no longer on a journey. ‘Qunut is obligatory in the following prayers - the morning prayer, the noon prayer, the afternoon prayer, the evening prayer and the night prayer.10
There are five times of saying God is the Greatest (takbir) required in funeral prayers. Whoever says it fewer times has opposed the tradition. When the corpse is being put into the grave, they should deliver it slowly with its feet going in first.
It is a tradition to say ‘Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim’11 in a loud voice in all prayers. The obligatory alms-tax on each two-hundred Dirhams is five Dirhams. There is no alms-tax on less money. No alms-tax is required on property unless one years passes. It is not proper to pay the alms-tax to non-Shiites. The one-tenth levy on wheat, barley, dates and raisins is obligatory when they amount to as much as five wasqs. Each wasq equals sixty ‘saa’s each of which equals four mudds (3 kilograms)12
The alms-tax for fasting (zakat al-Fitr) is obligatory on everybody, whether they are young or old; free or a slave; male or female. It is prescribed on wheat, barley, dates, and raisins. It is four times half a bushel. It is not permitted to be given to anyone who is not from among our followers. The maximum period of menstruation is ten days, and the minimum period is three days. A semi-menstruant person should use cotton pads and perform the ritual bathing before she performs any prayers. The menstruant quits saying her prayers, and does not have to make up the prayers that she misses during her period of menstruation. She quits fasting, however, she should make up for the days of fasting that she misses.
Fasting should be observed during the (Arabic) month of Ramadhan only when the new moon is seen, and should be stopped when the new moon (of the next month) is seen. It is invalid to offer the recommendable prayers in congregations as this would be an innovation (in religion). All innovations in religion result in our loss and we end up in the Fire. It is recommendable to fast during three days of every month - one day for each 10 days of the month: a Thursday from the first ten days, a Wednesday from the middle ten days, and a Thursday from the last ten days of the month. It is recommendable for one to fast during the (Arabic) month of Sha’ban. It is acceptable to make up the missed days of fasting of Ramadhan in different days.
The Hajj pilgrimage to the Holy House of God is obligatory upon one who finds a way to do it. ‘Way’ in this regard stands for the needed funds and a way to go there - i.e. a means of transportation, and good health. Any forms of Hajj pilgrimage except for that of ‘Tamattu (major) Hajj pilgrimage are not allowed13 except for the people of Mecca and those present there. It is also not allowed to opt for Hajj Ifraad or Hajj Al-Kiraan except for the people who live there. Entering the state of ritual consecration (or wearing ‘Ihram) is not allowed before reaching the ‘miqat. The Sublime God says, ‘And complete the Hajj or 'umra in the service of God…’14 It is not allowed to offer for sacrifice a castrate sheep because it is imperfect. It is also not acceptable to offer for sacrifice a sheep whose testicles have been pressed between two rocks such that it has lost its libido.
Jihad (the Holy War) is obligatory only under the leadership of a just leader. Whoever gets killed for defending his wealth is considered to be a martyr. It is not allowed to kill any atheists or imposters during their concealment of faith, except for murderers or aggressors who cause corruption; and only when you have no fear for the safety of yourself and your companions guaranteed from the aftermath. The concealment of faith is obligatory when needed. There is no expiation for telling lies in order to fend off oppression from oneself as a part of concealment of faith.
Divorce is valid only when it is implemented according to Islamic laws that the Sublime God mentioned in His Book or according to the tradition of the Prophet (S). Any other form of divorce is invalid, including the forms that oppose the Book. Similarly, any form of marriage that opposes the Book is invalid. It is not allowed for a man to marry more than four free women at the same time. It is not allowed for a husband who divorces his wife three times to marry her again, until after she marries someone else.15 The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) said, ‘Stay away from women (i.e. do not try to marry them) who were divorced three times at once, for they are still married women.’16
It is obligatory to send blessings upon the Prophet (S) in every situation, including when sneezing, slaughtering animals, and so on.17
It is obligatory to cherish the friends of the Sublime God and to hate and disavow the enemies of God, avoid them and their leaders.
It is obligatory to treat one’s parents with kindness.18 In case the parents are polytheists, you may not obey them regarding disobedience to the Exalted the Honorable God. Neither should you do so by following others, as it is not allowed to obey any creatures by disobeying the Creator!
The legality of a fetus (of an eatable animal) is proven when the legality of (a.s.laughtering of) its mother is proven.
And the two allowed things for which the Sublime God has sent down decrees to you in His Book, and which God’s Prophet (S) has established as his traditions are temporary marriage19 and Hajj20.
The laws of the obligatory acts are exactly as they have been descended by the Sublime God in His Book. There should be no reduction in inheritance21. No one inherits from one except for one’s parents and children. The only exception to this rule is for one’s husband or wife. The possessor of the share is more entitled (to inheritance) than him who has no share; and there exists no ‘asabah22 in God’s religion.23
An offering should be slaughtered for a newborn baby, whether male or female, on the seventh day after birth. On the same day, the baby’s hair should be cut, his name should be chosen, and charity equal in weight to his cut hair should be given in either gold or silver. Circumcision is a commendable and obligatory act for boys and is an honorable deed for girls.24
God the Blessed the Sublime said, ‘On no soul doth God Place a burden greater than it can bear…’25 The people’s deeds are created (by the Sublime God) as optional deeds, not compulsory ones. The Sublime God created destiny, not indeterminism. God is the Creator of all things. Do not believe in fatalism or indeterminism. God the Majestic does not punish an innocent person instead of a sinful one. Likewise, He does not torment the children for the sins that their fathers have committed. God the Exalted says, ‘…No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another…’26 He also says, ‘That man can have nothing but what he strives for...’27 God forgives, never treats (anyone) unjustly, never orders His servants to obey somebody that He knows would oppress them and lead them to deviation. He never chooses anyone to convey His Message whom He knows would disbelieve in Him and follow Satan.
Islam is something different from faith. Every faithful believer is a Muslim. However, every Muslim is not a faithful believer. A thief is faithless the moment he commits robbery and an adulterer is faithless the moment he is committing adultery. The individuals who are subject to religious punishments are neither believers nor atheists - they are Muslims. The Sublime God will not submit the faithful believers to Hell after He has promised them Paradise. Any atheist who is submitted to Hell will not depart from the Fire, since he has been promised the Fire and an eternal stay in it. He will not forgive anyone who associates partners with Him. However, He will forgive anyone else He wills for any other sins. Those who commit sins but believe in the Unity of God will not remain in the Fire. They will be taken out of it. Intercession is permissible for them. Nowadays is the time of concealment of faith since this land is only the land of Islam (and not the land of faith). It is neither the land of atheism nor is it the land of faith. It is obligatory to enjoin good and forbid evil when possible - that is when it would not threaten one’s own life. Faith includes returning what we are entrusted with, and abstaining from all major forbidden acts. It includes acknowledgement by the heart, verbal declaration, and acting according to the major principles (of the religion).
Declaring that God is the Greatest is obligatory on the two ‘Eids. It is obligatory to say God is the Greatest after all the five prayers on ‘Eid ul-Fitr starting from the evening prayer on the day before the Eid. It is obligatory to say God is the Greatest after ten prayers on ‘Eid ul-Azha28 starting from the noon prayer on the day of the Eid. If one is at Mina, it is obligatory to say it after fifteen prayers.
A woman during the puerperal state29 should not abandon saying her prayers for more than eighteen days. She should offer prayers if she becomes clean before the end of this period. However, if these eighteen days pass and she does not get clean, she should perform the ritual bath (ghusl), pray and act as the semi-menstruant does.
And the belief in the agony of the grave, the angels Munkar and Nakeer30, resurrection after death, the Scale, and the Bridge.
All of the following are obligatory: The belief in the disavowal of those who oppressed (and still oppress) the Members of the Holy Household of Muhammad (a.s.) - especially those who tried to force them out (of their homes), began oppressing them; and changed the traditions established by their Prophet (S). It is obligatory to disavow those who breach their covenants (nakitheen), the hypocrites, and the Kharijites who dishonoured the veil of the Household of God’s Prophet (S) by breaking their covenants with their Leader, having that lady (Aa’isha) ride a camel, (and taking her to Basra); started to fight with the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.); killed the pious Shiites whom God may forgive. It is also obligatory to disavow those who denounced the good companions and deported them, honored those who had abandoned God’s Prophet (S), distributed government funds among the rich and put the fools in charge of the Muslims’ affairs such as Mo’awiya and Amr ibn al-‘Aass - who were both damned by God’s Prophet (S). It is also obligatory to disavow those of their friends who fought with the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), killed the Helpers (Ansar), the Immigrants (Muhajireen), the noble ones and the good doers from the past. It is also obligatory to disavow those who believe in the setting up of the council31, and disavow Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, and those of his friends - ‘those whose efforts have been wasted in this life, while they thought that they were acquiring good by their works. They are those who deny the Signs of their Lord…’32 They disbelieved in the authority of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and in this state they will meet their Lord! They disbelieved and they will meet God while not believing in his Divine Leadership. Thus they have ruined their deeds. Then we will not set up any Scale of Deeds for them on the Resurrection Day for their deeds to be weighed! They will be the dogs which reside in the Fire. It is also obligatory to disavow the first and the last one of those built-up idols who were the leaders into corruption and loss, the forerunners of oppression. It is also obligatory to disavow those who ham-strung the she-camel of Salih33 - they were the oppressors of the first and the last, and of anyone who is friends with them.
And the friendship with the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and with those who followed the way of their Prophet (S), and who did not change their way such as Salman al-Farsi, Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, al-Miqdad ibn al-Aswad, Ammar bin Yasir, Hothayfa al-Yamani, Abil Haytham ibn al-Tayyihan, Sahl ibn Honayf, Ubada ibn As-Samit, Abi Ayyoub Al-Ansari, Khozayma ibn Thabit Thull-Shahadatayn, Abi Sa’eed al-Khodri and the like - may God be pleased with and have Mercy upon them - is obligatory. And the friendship with their followers who have been guided along their path - may God be pleased with them - is obligatory.
And the forbiddance of alcohol - whether a little or a lot, the forbiddance of all intoxicating drinks - whether a little or a lot, the forbiddance of any small amount of whatever a lot of is intoxicating. Even if one is compelled to drink, he should not since it will kill him. Canine beasts and all birds with claws are forbidden to eat. Eating spleens is forbidden, since it is like eating blood. The eating of all floating (dead) fish, eels, sheatfish, and scaleless fish is forbidden.
It is also obligatory to believe in (the necessity of) the abstinence from the forbidden deeds - which include killing that the Sublime God has forbidden; fornication; stealing; drinking alcohol; ingratitude to parents; fleeing from the battle-field; wrongful use of orphans’ property; eating dead animal’s meat; drinking blood; eating pork; or eating the meat of any animal that is slaughtered and consecrated in the name of someone (or something) other than God - except in states of utmost necessity. Furthermore, it is furthermore obligatory to believe in the forbiddance of usury after getting to know about it, unlawful trade; gambling; cheating in weighing and measuring; false accusation of married women; sodomy; perjury; being despaired of receiving God’s Comfort; feeling of security from God’s unexpected plans; losing hope in God’s Mercy; supporting oppressors and relying upon them; false swearing; not paying back other people’s rights even though one is able to do so; deceit and arrogance; being wasteful or miserly; treachery; belittling the pilgrimage to the Kaaba; fighting with the Sublime God’s friends; engaging in licentious acts; and finally (but not last) insistence on committing sins.
Moreover, Hamza ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn Zayd ibn Ali ibn Al-Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) narrated that Abu Nasr Qanbar ibn Ali ibn Shathan quoted on the authority of his father Al-Fadhl ibn Shathan, narrated a similar account on the authority of Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) - with the exception that he did not mention that the Imam (a.s.) wrote (a letter) to Al-Ma’mun. In addition, in his tradition the letter also states that “The alms-tax for fasting is one bushel of wheat34 or two bushels of barley, dates or raisins.35” In addition it mentions that, “When making ablutions, washing once is obligatory, but washing twice is recommendable.” It also states that, “The sins of the Prophets (a.s.) are minor ones and are forgiven.” It was also written that the alms-tax is due on nine things being wheat, barley, dates, raisins, camels, cows, sheep, gold and silver.” However, the tradition narrated by Abdul Wahid ibn Muhammad ibn Abdoos - may God be pleased with him - is more reliable in my opinion.
And al-Hakim Abu Muhammad Ja’far ibn Nu’aym ibn Shathan - may God be pleased with him - narrated the same on the authority of his uncle Abi Abdullah Muhammad ibn Shathan, on the authority of Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) just as Abdul Wahid ibn Muhammad ibn Abdoos had narrated.
And al-Hakim Abu Muhammad Ja’far ibn Nu’aym ibn Shathan - may God be pleased with him - narrated that his uncle Abi Abdullah Muhammad ibn Shathan quoted on the authority of Fadhl ibn Shathan, a tradition similar to that narrated by Abdul Wahid Muhammad ibn Ubdoos on the authority of Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.).
And among the other traditions from Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.), we can cite the following ones:
35-2 Al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi narrated that Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli quoted on the authority of al-Mobarrid, on the authority of al-Riashi, on the authority of Abu Asim who quoted on the authority of Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) that Musa ibn Ja’far (a.s.) once spoke well to his father (a.s.). His father (a.s.) said, “O my son! Praise be to God who designated you to be the successor of your forefathers, and as a source of pleasure among my children, and in return for my lost friends.”
35-3 Al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi narrated that Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli quoted on the authority of Oun ibn Muhammad al-Kindi, on the authority of Abul Husayn Muhammad ibn Abi Ibad - who was known for drinking wine and listening to music - that he asked Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) about listening to music. He (a.s.) replied, “Those of Hijaz36 consider it to be legitimate. However, it is considered to be among the wrong and useless things. Have you not heard the Sublime God’s words, ‘Those who witness no falsehood, and, if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honorable (avoidance).’37”
35-4 Al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi narrated that Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli quoted on the authority of Oun ibn Muhammad al-Kindi, on the authority of Sahl ibn Al-Qasim al-Noshajani, “In Khorasan Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) told me that there are ties of kinship between you and I.” He asked, “O Master! How is that?” Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, “When Abdullah ibn Aamer ibn Kariz conquered Khorasan, he captured two of the daughters of Yazdgird, the Persian King and sent them to Othman ibn Affan. He granted one of them to Al-Hassan (a.s.) and the other one to Al-Husayn (a.s.). They both died during childbirth. The wife (a.s.harBanu) of Al-Husayn (a.s.) delivered Ali ibn Al-Husayn (a.s.). Since she died during delivery, one of the maids - who was Umm Walad38 of one of Al-Husayn’s (a.s.) grandchildren took care of him (while another woman breast-fed him). The Imam (a.s.) grew up and knew no one else to be his mother, but later he realized that she had only been his care-taker. The people considered her Umm Walad to be his mother. When he married her, they thought that he has married his own mother. Take refuge in God! It was not so. This woman was living in Ali ibn Al-Husayn’s (a.s.) house. Once after Ali ibn Al-Husayn (a.s.) had finished making love to one of his wives and was leaving the room to go and make the ritual ablutions, that woman saw him. He asked her, “If you also wish to be married, fear God and tell me.” She replied, “Yes.” Then the Imam (a.s.) married her, too. Since the people considered her to be his mother, they spread the rumors that Ali ibn Al-Husayn (a.s.) had married his own mother.”
(Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli added,) “Oun told me that Sahl ibn Qasim that all of Abu Talib’s descendants had narrated this tradition of Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) from me.”
35-5 Al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi narrated that Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli quoted on the authority of Oan ibn Muhammad, on the authority of Abul Husayn Muhammad ibn Abi Abbad that one day he had heard Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) say, “O servant! Bring us our early meal.” I thought that maybe he was not using proper language. He noticed this from my face and recited the following verse (of the Qur’an), ‘…Bring us our early meal;…’ 39”40
35-6 In the year 285 A.H. (897 A.D.), al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi narrated that Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli quoted on the authority of Abu Thakwan Al-Qasim ibn Isma’il in Seiraf on the authority of Ibrahim ibn Abbas al-Sowli al-Katib in (the city of) Ahwaz in the year 227 A.H. (841 A.D.), “One day we were in the company of Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) and he (a.s.) told me, ‘There is no true joy in this world.’ Some of the jurisprudents present there said, ‘It is not so. Did not God the Honorable the Exalted say? ‘Then, shall ye be questioned that Day about the joy (ye indulged in
.’41 Is it not just the cold water we drink in this world?’” Then Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) told them in a loud voice, ‘That is how you interpret it and bring about several forms of interpretation for it.’ Some said, ‘It is cold water.’ Others said, ‘It is delicious food.’ Still others said, ‘It is good sleep.’ Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, ‘I quote on the authority of my father (a.s.), on the authority of his father Abi Abdullah As-Sadiq (a.s.) that what you said about the Sublime God’s words, ‘Then, shall ye be questioned that Day about the joy (ye indulged in
’ were told to him.
Then Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) got angry and said, ‘The Exalted the Honorable God will neither question His servants about what He has nobly bestowed upon them, nor will He mention it to them. Even mentioning a good deed is bad for the people to do. How could they ascribe to God the Exalted the Honorable what God’s creatures will not be pleased with? However, the true joy is the love for us - the Members of the Holy Household. This is what God will question the people about after questioning them about the Unity of God and the Prophethood. If one has been loyal to this he will be rewarded with Heaven which is the Eternal Joy. My father had indeed hear this from his father (a.s.) who had heard it from his forefathers (a.s.) all the way back to the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) who said, “God’s Prophet (S) said, ‘O Ali! Indeed, the first thing that one will be questioned about after death is to testify that ‘There is no god but God’ and that ‘Muhammad (a.s.) is God’s Messenger.’ He will also be questioned about testifying that ‘You (Ali) are the one with authority over the believers due to the authority which God has established and I have established for you.’ Whoever believes in these will be sent to the Joy in which there is no end.’”
(Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli added,) Abu Thakwan narrated this tradition for me without me asking him to do so. When he finished, he said, “I told you this tradition for several reasons. First of all, you have come to visit me from Basra42. Secondly, its narrator is your uncle (Ibrahim bin Abbas al-Sowli). Thirdly, I was always interested solely in poetry and linguistics and did not pay any attention to anything else, until I dreamt of the Prophet (S). The people were greeting him, and he greeted them back. I went forward and greeted the Prophet (S) but he did not return my greetings. Al-Sowli asked, “O Prophet of God! Am I not from among your nation?” He (a.s.) said, “Yes, you are. But tell the people the tradition about “joy” that you have heard from Ibrahim.” Al-Sowli said, “This is the tradition which the people narrate on the authority of God’s Prophet (S). However, there is not such a description of “joy” in it with verses and interpretations. They just say that God’s Prophet (S) said, “The very first thing one is questioned about on the Resurrection Day is to testify to the Unity (of God), the Prophethood and the Authority of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).”
35-7 Al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi narrated that Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli quoted on the authority of Muhammad ibn Musa al-Razi, on the authority of his father that one day Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) mentioned the Qur’an and talked about the greatness of the proofs in it, its verses and the miracle in its order and said, “It is God’s Strong Rope. It is the Reliable Grip. It is the ideal way. It guides you to Heaven, and saves you from the Fire. It will not age as time goes by. It will not lose its value in different languages, since it has not been revealed for a specific era of time. It is established as the proof of reasoning. And it is a proof for all mankind. ‘No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: It is sent down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of all Praise.’43”
35-8 Al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi narrated that Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli quoted on the authority of Sahl ibn Al-Qasim al-Nowshajani that a man told Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.), “O son of God’s Prophet (S)! They have narrated that Orwat ibn al-Zobayr had said that God’s Prophet (S) passed away while he was in a state of concealment of faith!” Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) replied, “After the following verse from God the Exalted the Sublime was revealed, ‘O Apostle! proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And God will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For God guideth not those who reject Faith.’44, all the requirements for the concealment of faith between him and the people were eliminated by the Honorable the Exalted God’s guarantee. However the Quraysh (tribe) did as they wished after his demise. However, he (a.s.) might have been practicing the concealment of faith before this verse was revealed.”
35-9 Al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi narrated that Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli quoted on the authority of Al-Qasim ibn Isma’il, on the authority of Ibrahim ibn Al-Abbas that Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) narrated on the authority of his father (a.s.), on the authority of Ja’far ibn Muhammad (a.s.), “When the world’s affairs run in one’s favor, he even reveals other people’s good traits, but when the world’s affairs run against someone’s favor, he even forgets about his own good traits.”
35-10 Al-Hakim Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad al-Bayhaqi narrated that Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Sowli quoted on the authority of Abu Thakwan, on the authority of Ibrahim ibn Al-Abbas that he had heard Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) say, “Two decades of friendship will cause close ties, and knowledge will bring about more for its possessor than what his parents might leave for him.”
35-11 Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Al-Husayn ibn Yusuf al-Baghdadi narrated that Abul Hassan Ahmad ibn Al-Fadhl - the congregational prayer leader of (the city of) Ahwaz quoted on the authority of Bakr ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al-Qasri - the servant of al-Khalil al-Mahlami who quoted on the authority of Al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Musa (a.s.), on the authority of Ali ibn Musa (ar-Ridha’) (a.s.), on the authority of his father Musa ibn Ja’far ibn Muhammad (al-Kazim) (a.s.), “The Riser will be none but an Imam - the son of an Imam and a Trustee - the son of a Trustee.”
35-12 According to the same chain of documents on the authority of Ja’far ibn Muhammad (a.s.), on the authority of his father Muhammad ibn Ali (a.s.) it is narrated that in his will the Prophet (S) advised the people to follow Ali (a.s.), Al-Hassan (a.s.) and Al-Husayn (a.s.); and said the following regarding the following verse from the Holy Qur’an, ‘O ye who believe! Obey God, and obey the Apostle, and those charged with authority among you.’45 What is meant by this verse is the Imams (a.s.) from the progeny of Ali (a.s.) and (the Blessed Lady) Fatima (a.s.) until the Hour (the Day of Resurrection) arrives.
35-13 Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Al-Husayn ibn Yusuf al-Baghdadi narrated that Ahmad ibn Al-Fadhl quoted on the authority of Bakr ibn Ahmad al-Qasri, on the authority of Abu Muhammad Al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn Musa (a.s.), on the authority of his father (a.s.), on the authority of Al-Husayn ibn Ali (a.s.) that he (a.s.) heard God’s Prophet (S) say, “On the Night of the Journey46 when my Lord caused my Ascension, I saw an angel in the midst of the Throne holding a sword of light with which he played just as Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) played with his sword - the Zil-Faqar. I saw that whenever the angels were eager to see the face of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), they looked at that angel. I asked, O my Lord! Is this my cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib? The Lord replied, “O Muhammad! This is an angel whom I have created like Ali. He is busy worshipping Me in the midst of the Throne. All the reward for his good deeds, glorifications and sanctifications are recorded for Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) all the way up until the Resurrection Day.”
35-14 Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Al-Husayn ibn Yusuf al-Baghdadi narrated that Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Anbasa quoted on the authority of Al-Hassan ibn Soleiman al-Malti that Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) quoted on the authority of his father Musa ibn Ja’far (a.s.), on the authority of his father (a.s.), on the authority of his forefathers (a.s.), on the authority of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), “God’s Prophet (S) said, ‘Jealousy is about to overtake Divinely-Ordained Destiny.’”
35-15 Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Al-Husayn ibn Yusuf al-Baghdadi narrated that Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Anbasa quoted on the authority of Darim ibn Qabeesa an-Nahshali that Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) quoted on the authority of his father (a.s.), on the authority of his forefathers (a.s.), on the authority of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), “God’s Prophet (S) said, ‘O Ali! None but the pious, the immaculate, the devoted and the sincere ones would honor you as you deserve to be honored. However, there are rarely any such people in my nation. They are as rare in numbers as there are white hairs on a black cow in the darkness of the night!’”
35-16 Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Al-Husayn ibn Yusuf al-Baghdadi narrated that Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Anbasa quoted on the authority of Al-Husayn ibn Muhammad al-Alawi at Johfa that Ali ibn Musa Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) quoted on the authority of his father (a.s.), on the authority of his forefathers (a.s.), on the authority of Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), “God’s Prophet (S) came to us having an agate ring from Yemen on his finger. He (a.s.) prayed with us. When he finished praying, he gave it to me and said, ‘O Ali! Pray while wearing this. Don’t you know that praying with an agate ring (on one’s finger) has the reward of seventy prayers? The agate recites glorifications, repents and its reward will be given to its owner. Piety is due to God and by Him we may succeed.’”
1. Qur’an, 41:42
2. God’s Prophet (S) said that God the Exalted the High revealed to him on the night of his ascension three things about Ali: that he is the Master of the believers, the Leader of the pious ones, and the Leader of those with white-foreheads or “Qa’ed al-Qur-Il-Muhaj’jelin” - those who are proud of their deeds. Some have interpreted this term to refer to those whose hands, feet and foreheads are white due to extended prostrations.
3. Deeply versed in the knowledge of the Prophets (a.s.)
4. To hold onto the Divine Path
5. By the coming of the Riser (a.s.)
6. ‘Janabah, i.e. major ritual impurity caused by sexual intercourse or the like
7. Although they are considered to be one unit
8. ‘Wilaya which has various meanings in Arabic. It may refer to leadership, loyalty…etc. In this regard, it refers to believing in the Divine Leadership of the twelve Immaculate Imams (a.s.).
9. A skin of an animal cannot be tanned and worn unless that animal is dead. However, ‘dead animal’, here, stands for the animals whose flesh in legally eatable but were not slaughtered according to the Islamic Law, such as the animals that are found dead.
10. ‘Qunut is performed before ‘ruku and after ‘qira’a.
11. In the Name of God, the Beneficent the Merciful.
12. Each mudd equals 750 grams. Thus each ‘sa’ equals three kilograms.
13. There are three types of Hajj as follows: 1- Hajj Al-Kira'an ;2-Hajj ‘Tamatu; 3-Hajj Ifra'ad. They are as follows: 1- Hajj Al Kira'an: A pilgrim puts on ‘Ihram and goes to Mecca during the months of Hajj i.e. Shawa'al, Dhul-Qadha, Dhul-Hajja). After perfoming ‘Umra he stays in ‘Ihram till he finishes all the steps of Hajj and on 10th of Dhul-Hajja removes his/her ‘Ihram. 2- Hajj ‘Tamatu: A pilgrim puts on ‘Ihram and goes to Mecca during the months of Hajj i.e. Shawa'al, Dhul-Qadha, Dhul-Hajja). After perfoming ‘Umra he removes the ‘Ihram and then puts it on again on the 8th of Dhul-Hajja when he leaves for Mina. 3- Hajj Ifra’ad: A pilgrim who lives within the bounds of Haram (for Ahnaf it is upto the ‘Miqat) puts on the ‘Ihram (the two cloths) and goes directly to Mina on the 8th of Dhul-Hajja. Those who do Hajj Ifra’ad will not sacrifice an animal on the 10th of Dhul-Hajja.
14. Qur’an, 2:196
15. Then if the new husband divorces her or dies, she can marry her previous husband again.
16. This means that it is not proper to divorce women three times at once in order to get totally rid of them. The above requirement was designed for when a man divorces his wife on three separate occasions.
17. ‘God and His angels send blessings on the Prophet: O ye that believe! Send ye blessings on him, and salute him with all respect.’ [Qur’an, 33:56]
18. God says, “And We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command),Show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to Me is (thy final) Goal. But if they strive to make thee join in worship with Me things of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not; yet bear them company in this life with justice (and consideration), and follow the way of those who turn to me (in love): in the end the return of you all is to Me, and I will tell you the truth (and meaning) of all that ye did." [Qur’an, 31:14-15].
19. “Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess: Thus hath God ordained (prohibitions) against you: except for these, all others are lawful, provided ye seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property,- desiring chastity, not lust, seeing that ye derive benefit from them, give them their dowers (at least) as prescribed; but if, after a dower is prescribed, agree mutually (to vary it), there is no blame on you, and God is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [Qur’an, 4:24]
20. “And complete the Hajj or 'Umra in the service of God. But if ye are prevented (from completing it), send an offering for sacrifice, such as ye may find, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches the place of sacrifice. And if any of you is ill, or has an ailment in his scalp, (necessitating shaving), (he should) in compensation either fast, or feed the poor, or offer sacrifice; and when ye are in peaceful conditions (again), if anyone wishes to continue the 'Umra on to the hajj, He must make an offering, such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, He should fast three days during the hajj and seven days on his return, making ten days in all. This is for those whose household is not in (the precincts of) the Sacred Mosque. And fear God, and know that God is strict in punishment.” [Qur’an, 2:196].
21. Al-'awl: The Sunnis believe in al-'awl (reduction); which means that reduction must include each of the possessors of the shares according to the ratio of his share. As for the Shï'ites, they say that reduction includes some inheritors, not all of them, and they have given proofs of that in the researches on inheritance.
22. There is no 'asabah in inheritance according to the viewpoints of the Shiites. As an example of that, we can cite the case when the deceased leaves behind one daughter. Then she will inherit half of what he has left behind. She will inherit the second half by virtue of distribution. The view of those other than the Shiites is that the second half of the inheritance should be given to al-'asabah or the males who are related to the deceased such as the daughter’s uncles.
23. Here, the Imam (a.s.) has presented some precepts regarding inheritance: Firstly, there is no reduction in the religious duties and inheritance which God has imposed on men. This can be explained as follows. If the inheritors are numerous and their shares are more than the religious share, for example, if the deceased leaves behind a wife, two parents, and two daughters then the shares in this religious duty is one-fourth, two one-sixths, and two one-thirds. Accordingly, the Sunnis believe in ‘al-'Awl (reduction); meaning that reduction must include each of the possessors of the shares according to the ratio of his share. As for the Shiites, they say that reduction includes some inheritors, not all of them. Secondly, the first degree in inheritance is of two types: One of them is the parents apart from the grandfathers and grandmothers; the other is the children. The wife inherits along with these two types, for she inherits one-fourth (of the wealth) when there are no children, and one-eighth when there are children. As for the husband, he inherits one-fourth (of the wealth) when there are children, and half of the wealth when there are no children.
24. To cut off the prepuce of a male or a similar fold enveloping the clitoris of a female
25. Qur’an, 2:286
26. Qur’an, 6:164
27. Qur’an, 53:39
28. ‘Eid ul-Adha is a festival that is celebrated on the 10th of Dhul-Hajja and marks the close of the Hajj ceremony or Pilgrimage to the Kaaba. The ‘Eid is celebrated with great solemnity and reverence everywhere. Like ‘Eid ul-Fitr, Muslims make preparations several days before the festival. The animals to be sacrificed are bought well before the ‘Eid day by those who can afford to do so.
29. "Puerperal" means the six weeks after having a baby.
30. Who question one in the grave
31. This refers to the council to choose a Caliph from among its members. These members were: Ali, Othman, Abdurrehman bin Auf, Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, az-Zubair bin al-Awwam and Talha bin Ubaydillah.
32. Qur’an, 18:104-105
33. Then they ham-strung the she-camel, and insolently defied the order of their Lord, saying, "O Salih! Bring about thy threats, if thou art an apostle (of God)!"[Qur’an, 7:77].
34. One and a half Kilograms.
35. Three Kilograms.
36. Referring to the jurisprudents
37. Qur’an, 25:72
38. Umm Walad in Arabic is used for a slave-wife who delivers her master's child.
39. Qur’an, 18:62
40. When they had passed on (a.s.ome distance), Moses said to his attendant, "Bring us our early meal; truly we have suffered much fatigue at this (a.s.tage of) our journey."
41. Qur’an, 102:8
42. All the way to Seiraf which took about seven days to travel to at that time
43. Qur’an, 41:42
44. Qur’an, 5:67
45. Qur’an, 4:59
46. “Glory to (God) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the farthest Mosque.” [Qur’an, 17:1]
This refers to the Ascension of the Prophet of God (a.s.) via a creature called Al-Boraq which carried the Prophet from the al-Haram Mosque in Mecca to the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The Arabic word ‘Al-Boraq’ comes from the word ‘Barq’ which means light. We also know that the angels are created from light and therefore this might imply that the Ascension was a transportation based on the speed of light, as we see in the modern theory of relativity by Albert Einstein.