Reality of Repentance
A great similarity is noticed between physical diseases and sins. This similarity is notably observed in the origination of the two. Most diseases are the result of the violation of the physical constitutions and, in the same manner, sins are the result of the violation of the divine regulations. Each disease has its peculiar effects that reflect on the diseased in forms of mixtures and pathological complications. In the same manner, each sin has its bad result that causes various sorts of tragedies. It is true that diseases and sins participate in the bad results that they cause; however, sins are more harmful, because it is easy to treat the diseased bodies, but it is difficult to treat the ill mentalities.
On that account, sins are fatal poisons and lethal germs that spoil man and expose him to various sorts of dangers and perditions.
The holy Quran provides horrible pictures concerning the inconveniences and dangers of the commitment of sins:
"When We decide to destroy a town We warn the rich ones therein who commit evil. Thus, it becomes deserving to destruction and We destroy its very foundations. (17:16)"
"Why do they not consider how many generations living before them We have destroyed. We established those nations in the land with abilities far beyond those given to you. We sent down plenty of rain from the sky for them and made streams flow therein, but, then, We destroyed them for their sins and established other nations after them. (6:6)"
"Had the people of the towns believed (in Our revelations) and maintained piety, We would have certainly showered on them Our blessings from the sky and the earth. But they called Our revelations lies, thus Our torment struck them for their evil deeds. (7:96)"
"Allah does not change the favor that He has bestowed on a nation unless that nation changes what is in its soul. Allah is All-hearing and All-knowing. (8:53)"
"Whatever hardship befalls you is the result of your own deeds. Allah pardons many of your sins. (42:30)"
"Evil has spread over the land and the sea because of human deeds and through these Allah will cause some people to suffer so that perhaps they will return to Him. (30:41)"
The Prophet (s) said: "How strange he who diets so as to avoid maladies is! How does he not diet from committing sins so as to avoid Hell?" 311
"Allah says: Son of Adam! You can never be just with Me. I endear Myself to you through the favors that I confer upon you, but you make Me hate you through the acts of disobedience to Me that you commit. My goodness is descending to you, while your evil is ascending to Me. Every single day and night, a noble angel carries to Me your evil deeds. Son of Adam! If you hear that somebody else bears these very characteristics, you will surely hate him. (However, I completely know that you bear such characteristics, but I do not hate you.)" 312
"If Allah is irate with a nation but they have not received His direct punishment, their prices will be exorbitantly expensive, their ages will be short, their trades will be profitless, their yields will not increase, their rivers will not be profuse, rainfall will not drop on them, and the evilest individuals will prevail on them." 313
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: "Be wary of committing sins. The reason of any misfortune, shortage in earnings, or even a scratch, injury or a wound is surely the commitment of a sin. Allah the Majestic says:
Whatever hardship befalls you is the result of your own deeds. Allah pardons many of your sins. (42:30)" 314
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "Allah decides to settle the need of a servant in a definite time, whether near or remote. But when that servant commits a sin, the Lord orders an angel to cancel the decision of the settlement of that need, and says: 'Deprive that servant of the settlement of his need, because he exposed himself to My wrath; hence, deprivation has become the punishment.'" 315
"In the book of the Messenger of Allah (s), the following is recorded: If fornication spreads publicly after me, sudden death will spread. If deficient and unjust measures are given, Allah will afflict with shortage in food for years. If they refrain from defraying the zakat, they will be deprived of the blessings of the earth, such as yields, fruits, and minerals. If they rule unjustly, they will cooperate in fields of wrong and oppression. If they breach the pledges, Allah will give a free hand to their enemies over them. If they rupture their relations, their treasuries will be in the hands of the evilest people. If they neglect bidding good and forbidding evil and following the pious men of my household, Allah will give authority to their evilest people over them, and when the righteous people among them supplicate to Him, they will not be answered." 316
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "My father used to say: Allah decided conclusively that He will not seize the favor that He confers upon a servant unless that servants commits a sin due to which he exposes himself to the punishment of the Lord."317
Imam ar-Rida (a) said: "Whenever the servants commit unprecedented sins, Allah creates unprecedented sorts of misfortunes for them." 318
The Devil may seduce some people by the false idea that if sins had been fatal and destructive, they would have destroyed those who commit sins incessantly while they are living in full luxury. To answer this false conception, we say that nothing at all can overcome God Who does not anticipate the escape of anyone. He only respites the disobedient and postpones the penalties that are decided for them out of His care for their interests, expecting that they may recover their senses and turn to Him in repentance, or that He gives them respite out of His sympathy with the innocent and weak individuals whom may be injured by such punishments. Finally, God may respite those who commit sins so that they will increase in acting disobediently to Him, and He then inflict them with severe punishment:
"The unbelievers must not think that Our respite is for their good. We only give them time to let them increase their sins. For them there will be a humiliating torment. (3:178)"
"Were Allah to punish people for their deeds immediately, not one creature would have survived on earth. However, He has given them a respite for an appointed time and when their term comes to an end, let it be known that Allah watches over His servants. (35:45)"
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "If Allah intends goodness to a servant, He inflicts him with a punishment after each sin he commits, and reminds him of seeking forgiveness. If Allah intends evil to a servant, He confers upon him with a grace after each sin he commits, so as to make him forget seeking forgiveness and exceed the limits in committing sins. This is the meaning of His saying:
I shall lead them step by step to destruction, without their being aware of it. (68:44)" 319
Imam al-Kadhim (a) said: "Allah appoints a caller whose mission is to say every day and night: Slow down, servants of Allah, in committing acts of disobedience to Him. Without the existence of grazing animals, suckling babies, and kneeling 320 old men, punishment shall be poured upon you so heavily, and it shall bruise you." 321
One may think that as long as the prophets are sinless, why do they suffer various sorts of ordeals and crises? To answer such wonderment, we say that sins are of various sorts. They vary according to the degree of faith, obedience, and worship. It happens that an innocent joy is considered as legal grace by somebody, but considered as sin by somebody else, because he regards it as matter that diverts him from the reference to God. Because the prophets (a) are the highest examples in the fields of believing in God and acts of worship, they consider definite acts, which are legal for ordinary people, as sins and shortcomings. It is said that good acts of the pious are regarded as sins for the intimate worshipers of God. Furthermore, to suffer ordeals does not necessarily originate from the commitment of sins. In some cases, the suffering of ordeals and misfortunes may be a means to test patience and steadfastness against acts of God. They also may be the means that increase the rewards.
Like the physical diseases that are treated by swallowing drugs and stopping eating delicious meals, sins should be treated by suffering repentance and turning to God and abstaining from the sweeping desires and the unruly whims so that the worldly and religious tragedies of the commitment of sins will not be encountered.
Reality of Repentance
True repentance can be achieved after it passes through three stages:
The first stage is the conscious awakening-the guilty feels sorry for his acts of disobedience to God. When the soul is full of this aware feeling, it moves to:
The second stage, which is turning to God and the true intention to cling to the obedience to Him. When this feeling covers the soul, it moves to:
The third stage, which is self-purification from sins, remedying the sins by acting righteous deeds and avoiding evildoings. Thus, true repentance is achieved.
Repentance however is not a play or an utterance. It is the true turning to God and the real avoidance of acts of disobedience to Him.
Imam ar-Rida (a) said: "He who seeks Allah's forgiveness from a sin that he keeps on committing is deriding his Lord."
Merits of Repentance
The merits of repentance are greatly numerous. They are pictured in the holy Quran and pointed out in the texts of the Prophet and The The Ahl ul-Bayt (a). The Divine Care has refused to neglect the disobedient floundering in the glooms of sins without surrounding them with high sympathy and noble amnesty. The Lord therefore has drawn their attentions to the turning to Him and paved the way of repentance to them:
"When the faithful come to you, say to them, 'Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed for Himself to be All-merciful. Anyone of you who commits a sin out of ignorance, then repents, and reforms himself will find that Allah is All-forgiving and All-merciful.' (6:54)"
"(Muhammad), tell my servants who have committed injustice to themselves, "Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is All-forgiving and All-merciful." (39:53)"
"Ask forgiveness from your Lord; He is All-forgiving. He will send you abundant rain from the sky, strengthen you by (providing) you wealth and children, and make gardens and streams for you. (71:10-2)" "Allah loves those who repent and those who purify themselves. (2:222)"
The Prophet (s) said: "The repentant from a sin is as same as him who did not commit it."
"Nothing is more favorable to Allah than a male or female repentant believer." 322
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "When a servant repents to Allah truly, He loves him; hence, He covers him up in this world as well as the world to come… To cover him up means that Allah makes the two angels (who recorded his deeds) forget the ill deeds that they knew about him. He then reveals to the servant's limbs to conceal the sins that he had done and reveals to the areas of this earth (on which he had committed sins) to conceal his sins. That servant therefore will meet Allah as if he had done no single offense and nothing will testify against him." 323
"Adam supplicated to Allah saying, 'Lord, You have made the Shaitan over me and made him run in my soul like blood. Give me something in opposite of this.' The Lord answered, 'Adam! If any of your descendants intends to do a wrongdoing, I will not allow to be recorded against him unless he practices it. If he does it, I will order to be recorded as a single evil deed. If he intends to do a good deed, I will order to be recorded for him as a single good deed. If he practices it, I will order to be recorded as ten good deeds.' Adam asked for more, and the Lord said, 'Any of your descendants commits a wrongdoing then seeks My forgiveness, I will forgive him.' Adam asked for more, and the Lord said, 'I will accept the repentance of any of your descendants even if his soul reaches his nose (i.e. in the very final hours of his life).' 'That is enough,' said Adam." 324
"Allah gives the believer who commits a sin seven hours as respite before he records that sin. If the believer seeks the Lord's forgiveness during these seven hours, his sin will not recorded. If he does not, a single evil deed will be recorded against him. The true believer remembers his offense twenty years after its commitment and seeks Allah's forgiveness, and he is forgiven. The disbeliever forgets the offense that he commits very soon after its commitment." 325
"Any believer who commits forty grand sins on a single day and seeks Allah's forgiveness, by uttering the following statement, with deep feeling of sorrow, Allah will forgive his sins. He who commits more than forty grand sins on a single day is hopeless. The statement is:
ÃÓÊÛúÝöÑõ Çááåó ÇáøÐí áÇ Åáåó ÅáÇø åæó ÇáÍóíøõ ÇáÞóíøæãõ ÈóÏíÚõ ÇáÓøóãÇæÇÊö æÇáÃÑúÖö Ðæ ÇáÌóáÇáö æÇáÅßúÑÇãö æÃÓúÃáõåõ Ãäú íõÕáøöíó Úáì ãõÍóãøóÏò æÂáö ãõÍóãøóÏò æÃäú íóÊæÈó Úóáóíøó.
astaghfiru (a)llah allathi la ilaha illa huwa (a)lhayyu (a)lqayyoumu badee'u (a)ssamawaati wa (a)l-ardhi thu (a)ljalaali wa (a)l'ikraami wa as'aluhu an yussalliya ala muhammadin wa aali muhammad wa an yatouba alayy(a).
I seek the forgiveness of Allah; there is no god but Whom, the Everlasting, the Eternal, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and the Lord of Glory and Grace, and I implore to Him to send His blessings to Mohammed and his family and accept my repentance.)" 326
Obligation and Immediateness of Repentance
The obligation of repentance is something beyond doubt, because logic and texts support it. Regarding logic, it is self-evident that protection against causes of harms is something logically necessary. On that account, it is obligatory to seek the guard of repentance against the bad results of sins in this life as well as the life to come. Regarding texts, the instructions of the Quran and hadith called unto repentance through various pictures of attraction and simplification.
The Prophet (s) said: "Anyone who repents a single year before death, his repentance will be accepted by Allah. A year is very much. He who repents a month before his death, his repentance will be accepted by Allah. A month is also very much. He who repents a week before his death, his repentance will be accepted by Allah. A week is very much. He who repents a day before death, his repentance will be accepted by Allah. A day is very much. He who repents before he closes his eyes for death, his repentance will be accepted by Allah." 327
"Allah possesses surpluses of His sustenance that He gives to whom he wills. With the rise of every dawn, Allah extends His hands for those who commit sins at night so as to accept their repentance (if they show repentance). With the sunset of every day, He extends His hands for those who commit sins in day so as to accept their repentance." 328
Repetition of Repentance
Some people find the right path after deviation and straighten up after aberrance. So, they try to make right the sins that they had committed by means of repentance and turning to God. Others, however, are deceived by the joys and seductions of this life; therefore, they commit new sins after repentance as they drift in the violent currents of offenses. Thus, they live in the midst of a brutal conflict between the intellect and desires. Once, they overcome their desires, but their desires prevail on them in other situations. This fact is the main reason that prevents many from repeating repentance, because they anticipate that they will anew return to the commitment of sins.
Such individual must understand that everyone is the subject of the seductions and sinful inspirations of the Devil, and that none may be saved totally from such inspirations except the Sinless (a). Accordingly, they should have turned and repented to God purely whenever such devilish inspirations attacked them, even if they go astray several times. They, finally, should have put before their eyes the saying of God:
"(Muhammad), tell my servants who have committed injustice to themselves, 'Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is All-forgiving and All-merciful.' (39:53)"
In view of that, the Prophet and The The Ahl ul-Bayt (a) affirmed the repetition of repentance and the incessant turning to God so as to save the victims of sins from plunging more in their offenses and to push them to put a new beginning to an honest life:
Mohammad ibn Muslim narrated that Imam al-Baqir (a) said to him: "Mohammed ibn Muslim, all the sins of the believer who repents to Allah will be forgiven. He therefore should put a new beginning for himself after his repentance and Allah's forgiveness to him. By Allah I swear, this is peculiar for people of faith." "What if one commits sins from which he had repented and then repeat his repentance?" I asked. The Imam (a) wondered: "Mohammed ibn Muslim, do you think that Allah does not accept the repentance of the believing servant who feels sorry for his sinning and seeks forgiveness and repents to Him?" I said: "What if that servant commits a sin repeatedly and repents to Allah repeatedly?" The Imam (a) answered: "Whenever a believer seeks forgiveness and repents, Allah accepts his repentance again. Allah is surely All-forgiving and All-merciful. He accepts the repentance and pardons the sins. You should never make the believers feel desperate of the mercy of Allah." 329
Abu Bassir related: I asked Imam as-Sadiq (a) about the exegesis of God's saying: 'Believers, turn to Allah in repentance with pure intention. (66:8)' He (a) said: "The pure repentance is to repent from the sin and decide not to commit it any more." I wondered: "None of us can give up a sin completely." The Imam (a) commented: "Abu Mohammed, Allah does love the servant who commits sins frequently and repents to Him very frequently." 330
Courses of Repentance
The repentant must know the courses of repentance so that he can expiate each sin properly. Sins, however, take various forms; some concern a servant and his Lord. These are classified into two parts:
(1) Negligence of the obligatory rites, and
(2) Commitment of forbidden acts.
As examples on the first, we cite the negligence of the obligatory prayer, fasting, hajj, zakat, and the like rites. The course of repentance from such sins is to work hard for settling them. Examples on the second are fornication, drinking of wines, gambling, and the like forbidden acts. The course of repentance from such acts is to feel sorry for committing them and intend truly to leave them.
Some sins concern an individual and people, such as usurpation of properties, killing respectful souls, and dishonoring the believers by means of revilement, beating, talebearing, and backbiting. These sins are the most dangerous and the most difficult in treatment. The course of repentance from such sins is to satisfy the other parties and give the usurped and seized properties back to their owners. If this is impossible, it is necessary to seek the forgiveness of God urgently, raise the balance of good deeds, and implore to God for making such wronged people be pleased with the wrong party on the Day of Judgment.
Acceptance of Repentance
The true qualified repentance is admissible. This fact is proved through many texts from the Quran and hadith:
"It is He who accepts the repentance of His servants, forgives their evil deeds and knows all about what you do. (42:25)"
"This Book is a revelation from Allah, the Majestic and All-knowing who forgives sins, who accepts repentance, whose punishment is severe, and whose bounty is universal. He is the only Lord and to Him all things proceed (40:2-3)."
The Prophet (s) said: "Had you not committed sins and sought the forgiveness of Allah, He would have created others who commit sins and then seek His forgiveness so that He will forgive them. A believer commits sins frequently, but repents to Allah very frequently. Listen to Allah's saying: Allah loves those who repent and those who purify themselves. (2:222)"
SELF-JUDGMENT AND SELF-CONTROL
Self-judgment is to call oneself to account every day regarding the good deeds and wrongdoings. If the scale of acts of obedience overweighs that of acts of disobedience, we must thank God, lest we must discipline ourselves.
Self-control stands for protecting oneself against breach of the obligatory religious rites and the commitment of the forbidden.
It is necessary for the rational to train himself on self-judgment and self-control, since all human souls are susceptible to evil. If they are neglected, they go away from the right, but if they are controlled by means of guidance, they shine with virtues:
"… And (I swear) by the soul and that (Power) which designed it and inspired it with knowledge of evil and piety, those who purify their souls will certainly have everlasting happiness and those who corrupt their souls will certainly be deprived of happiness. (91:7-10)"
The Prophet (s) said… "Before you do a matter that you intend, you should investigate its end result; if it is good, you then should keep on. If not, you should not do it." 331
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) related: "When he received the warriors that he had appointed for a campaign, the Prophet (s) said to them: "Welcome to the people who performed successfully the minor jihad. Their mission now is to perform completely the major jihad… The major jihad is self-control. The best form of jihad is to strive one's desires and whims." 332
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "If you want all your supplications to be answered, you should despair of people totally and hope for that which is in Allah's hands only. When Allah knows that a servant's intent is totally attached to Him, He will answer all his supplications. You therefore call yourselves to account before others call them. On the Day of Resurrection, there are fifty situations each of which takes one thousand years. This is the meaning of Allah's saying:
"On that Day (of Judgment), long as fifty thousand years, the angels and the Spirit will ascend to Him (70:4).
"You have been appointed as the physician of yourself; the malady has been shown to you, the signs of recovery have been shown to you, and you have been guided to the remedy; hence, you should consider how you will treat yourself."334
Imam al-Kadhim (a) said: "He who does not call himself to account everyday is not one of us. When he does so, he must ask Allah for more if he notices that he has done a good deed, and if he notices that he has committed an evildoing, he must seek Allah's forgiveness and must repent to Him." 335
Constitution of Self-Judgment
Ethicists have referred to the constitution of self-judgment in such a detailed method that it might be difficult for some to implement. I, however, can brief the matter in two precise and simplified points:
(1) First of all, to practice self-judgment properly, one must perform all the obligatory rites, such as the prayer, fasting, hajj, zakat, and the like. If such rites are performed properly, one must then thank God for so and hope for winning the great rewarding that He set for the obedient. If one, on the other hand, neglects such rites, he must remember the painful punishment with which God threatens the disobedient. He must also exert all efforts for settling them.
(2) Self-judgment must then be practiced on the sins that one committed, by means of severe reproach and censure. Regret and true repentance must then be felt so that they will help in avoiding the commitment of such sins.
The Prophet (s) set the most excellent example of self-judgment:
The Prophet (s), once, resided in a desert during a journey. He asked his companions to fetch firewood. They apologized that they were in a desert, but the Prophet (s) asked them to search and fetch whatever they might find. Hence, they scattered in every direction. Afterwards, each one fetched a small quantity of wood and threw on each other. On that scene, the Prophet (s) commented: "In this very way, sins are gathered. Beware of the insignificant sins, for there is an interrogator for each sin. That interrogator records 'the deeds of human beings and their consequences. We keep everything recorded in an illustrious Book.'336 "337
Some disciples practiced appreciative styles in the field of self-judgment. For instance, it is related that Tawba ibn as-Summah used to call himself to account in most times of his life. One day, he counted his past age, and it was sixty years. As he counted the days, they were about 21500. He then shouted: "Woe unto me! I will meet Malik 338 with twenty-one thousand sins." Suddenly after that, he departed life. 339
Seizure of Life's Opportunity
If man compares all desires and pleasures of this life to his age, he will find that the latter is more precious. He will also discover that nothing at all can come to the value of his age, since the pleasures of this world can be regained, while the lifetime cannot be elongated or extended to a single moment:
"All people can only live for an appointed time. When their term ends, they will not remain (alive) even for a single hour, nor will they die before the appointed time. (7:34)"
Likewise, it is impossible to regain the time that passes away in any way, including the possession of all the worldly pleasures. Because he is inattentive to his invaluable lifetime, man wastes his age uselessly, ignoring opportunities. For this reason, the Ahl ul-Bayt (a) provided a great deal of instructions dealing with the importance of seizing the opportunities of life.
The Prophet (s) said: "Abu Tharr, You must be stingy with regard to your lifetime, not with your dirhams and dinars (i.e. money)." 340
"Exploit four things before the falling of four: exploit your youth before the falling of your old age, exploit your health before the coming of your illness, exploit your richness before the falling of your poverty, and exploit your lifetime before the coming of your death." 341
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: "This world is only three days: one passed away with all its insides, the second is that you are living in; therefore, you should seize its opportunities, and the third is a day that you do not know whether you will catch it or not. The day that passed must be regarded as wise educator. The day that you are living in must be regarded as a departing friend. Regarding tomorrow, you have nothing of it except hope."
"Every new day that comes upon man says to him: I am a new day and I will witness you. Hence, you should say only good wording and do only good deeds so that I will testify for your good on the Day of Resurrection, for you will not see me ever again." 342
Imam as-Sejjad (a) said: "How poor son of Adam is!
Everyday, he is inflicted with three misfortunes. Nevertheless, he does learn lessons from any. Had he learnt a lesson, all the misfortunes of this worldly life would have been easy in his sight. The first misfortune is that the day which comes upon him decreases his age. If a decrease occurs to his wealth, he will become so depressed, while he can cover the decrease of wealth, but he cannot regain the decrease of his age. The second misfortune is that he takes the sustenance that is decided for him completely. If he gets it in a legal way, he will be interrogated about it, and if he gets it in an illegal way, he will be punished for it. The third misfortune, which is the most calamitous, is that each day that ends takes him a stage closer to the Hereafter, while he does not know whether his fate will be Paradise or Hell."
"On the day of his birth, man is the oldest." 343
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "Let not people deceive you in matters regarding yourself, because you exclusively will encounter your own matters. Do not spend your days with gossips and nonsense, for there are the angels who accompany you and record all your deeds. Do righteous deeds, because I have not seen anything better in result and remedying than a new good deed after an old sin." 344
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "Be tolerant in the acts of obedience to Allah and steadfast against the acts of disobedience to Him. This world is no more than an hour. You will not find the pleasures of what has passed away and you will not be able to recognize what is coming. Be patient in that hour and you will attain bliss." 345
A wise man said: "Man is like a traveler who has to pass by six stations. He, however, has already passed by three: the first is the transition from nonexistence to his father's loins and mother's ribs. The second is the transition to the mother's womb. The third is the transition from the mother's womb to the world. The three stations that man has not passed by yet are the grave, the field of the Resurrection, and Hell or Paradise."
We are now living in the third station whose distance takes our lifetime. Hence, days of our ages are miles, hours are meters and breaths are steps. Some of us have only few miles, others have only few meters, and others have only few steps.
In the previous discussion we referred to the invaluableness of time and proved that lifetime is more precious than the worldly pleasures. Such being the case, the rational must exploit time properly and spend it with matters that are as precious and significant as the age, such as righteous deeds: The Prophet (s) said: "The intelligent should not take care for anything except three: seeking the worldly earnings, getting supplies for the life to come, and gaining a legal pleasure." 346
Because man's whims prompt him, in nature, towards gaining earnings and tangible pleasures as well as the affairs that preclude him from acting righteous deeds and readying for the life to come, many texts from the Quran and hadith have enjoined him to arrange for his life to come:
"Whoever has done an atom's weight of good, will see it and whoever has done an atom's weight of evil, will also see it (99-8)."
"All righteous-doers among the believing male or female will be granted a blessed happy life and will receive their due reward and more. (16:97)"
"Whoever commits evil deeds will be recompensed to the same degree. The righteously striving believer, male or female, will enter Paradise wherein they will receive their sustenance without any account being kept (40:40)."
"One who acts righteously does so for his own benefit and one who commits evil does so against his own soul. To your Lord you will all return (45:15)."
The Prophet (s) said: "Abu Tharr, with the passing of days and nights, your age decreases and your deeds are recorded. Death comes suddenly. One who sows good will soon harvest good, and one who sows evil will soon harvest regret. In fact, each sower will gain that which he sows." 347
…"Qays, with dignity there is certainly humility, with life there is certainly death, and with this world there is certainly the world to come. Likewise, there is an interrogator for everything, there is a supervisor over everything, there is a reward for every good deed, there is punishment for every evildoing, and there is a deadline for every age. Moreover, Qays, there will definitely be a companion who will be buried with you alive and you will be buried with him when you are dead. If he is respectful, he will certainly respect you, and if he is disrespectful, he will certainly disrespect you. He will be resurrected with you and you will be sent with him, and you will be interrogated about nothing but him. Hence, you must make him righteous, because, if he is so, you will find pleasure with him, but if he is ill, you will feel an aversion for him. This is your deed." 348
"He who acts righteously in the coming of his age will not be punished for his past sins, but he who acts disobediently in the coming of his age will be punished for the past, as well as the coming, sins."
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: "When a servant is on his last day in this world and first step to the life to come, his wealth, sons, and deeds are presented before him. As he turns to his wealth, he says, 'I was very stingy and niggardly for you, what do you have for me, today?' His wealth will answer, 'Well, you can take from me only your coffin.' He then turns to his sons and says, 'I have loved you very much, and I have protected you so excessively, what do you have for me, today?' His sons will answer, 'Well, we will see you off to your hole to bury you there.' He then turns to his deeds and says, 'By Allah, I have neglected you and you were so unwelcome for me, what do you have for me, today?' His deed will answer, 'Well, I am your companion in your grave and on the day of your resurrection until you, as well as I, will be stopped before your Lord (for interrogation).'
If that servant has acted righteously in this world and has been one of the disciples of Allah, his deed will come to him in the form of a sweet-smelling handsome man and will say to him, 'I bear to you the good tidings of enjoying rest, happiness, and the beautiful Paradise, and you are coming to the best abode. When that servant asks about his personality, his good deed will answer, 'I am your righteous deed, and I will move you from this world to the world to come.'" 349
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "As soon as a dead is put in his grave, a person comes to him and says, 'we were three; one was your sustenance who ceased when your age was ceased. The other was your family who left you. The third was I; your deed, and I will stay with you. Nevertheless, I was the most disrespectful in your sight." 350
OBEDIENCE AND GOD-FEARING
Humankind is a genuine element and distinctive being in this cosmos because of the numerous traits and donations that God has given exclusively to him so as to prefer him to the other creatures:
"We have honored the children of Adam, carried them on the land and the sea, given them pure sustenance and exalted them above most of My creatures. (17:70)"
God appointed human beings as His representatives on the earth and chosen some of them as messengers and prophets whose mission is to convey the codes as well as the principles that organize their lives. Unfortunately, most people are enslaved by illusive whims. They therefore go astray in the lurks of disobedience to God and lose their ways in the glooms of deviation. Afterwards, they suffer horrible sorts of puzzlement and misery. If they respond to the calls of obedience to God and follow the divine regulations, they will certainly win great happiness:
"Had the people of the towns believed (in Our revelations) and maintained piety, We would have certainly showered on them Our blessings from the sky and the earth. But they called Our revelations lies, thus Our torment struck them for their evil deeds. (7:96)"
Because of its submission to God and pursuance to His regulations, this cosmos is working so consistently, its elements are working evenly, and its system is being applied to the millions of generations. Because they follow the will of God, the lives of all existents on this earth are prospering and settling straight.
People, likewise, are applying the directions of the inventers of the mechanical devices so that they can guarantee their maintenance. To gain treatment and cure, people submit to the prescriptions of physicians and suffer hardships of treatment.
Why does man, then, avoid acting obediently to his Creator Who has full awareness of the hiddens, benefits, and disadvantages?
It is absolutely impossible for man to win his goals by any way other than that of the obedience to God and application of His regulations:
"One who obeys Allah and His Messenger will certainly achieve a great success. (33:71)"
"Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to the gardens wherein streams flow. Allah will make whoever turns away suffer a painful torment (48:17)."
God has made the good of this world as well as the world to come contingent on fear of Him. He has made the dearest hopes dependent on it. Let us refer to some aspects, which God has made contingent on fear of Him:
(1) Love of God:
"God loves the pious ones. (9:4)"
(2) Escape from misfortunes and arrangement of the sustenance:
"God will make a way (out of difficulty) for one who has fear of Him and will provide him with sustenance in a way that he will not even notice. (65:3)
(3) Victory and support:
"God is certainly with the pious and the righteous ones. (16:128)"
(4) Acceptance of deeds:
"Believers, have fear of Allah and speak righteous words. Allah will reform your deeds and forgive your sins. One who obeys Allah and His Messenger will certainly achieve a great success. (33:70-1)
(5) Good tidings at death:
"Those who have faith and fear God will receive glad news both in this life and in the life hereafter. The words of God do not change. This alone is the supreme triumph (10:63-4)."
(6) Salvation from Hell:
"We will save the pious ones from the hell fire and leave the unjust people therein in crowded groups. (19:72)"
(7) Eternity in Paradise:
"Paradise, vast as the heavens and the earth, is prepared for the pious (3:133)"
From the previous, we conclude that God-fearing is a great treasure containing various sorts of worldly and religious expectations.
Reality of Obedience and God-Fearing
Obedience implies submission to God and carrying out His orders. God-fearing implies self-guard against that whichever will cause harm in the world to come:
Imam al-Hasan (a) said: "Work for your world as if you will live forever, and work for your life to come as if you will die tomorrow. If you seek power without the need for a clan and dignity without the need of authority, you should leave the humility of the disobedience to Allah to the honor of the obedience to Him."
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "If you want to know whether you are good or not, you should test your heart; if it is inclined to the people of the obedience to Allah and detests the people of disobedience to Him, they you are good, and Allah loves you. But if it (i.e. your heart) hates the people of obedience to Allah and is inclined to the people of disobedience to Him, then you are empty of goodness and Allah hates you. Man, however, will be attached to the one he loves." 351
"He who disobeys Allah does not know Him.
You disobey the Lord and show his love
This is surely strange deed
If your love is sincere, you will obey Him
Certainly, the lover obeys the one he loves"
Al-Hasan ibn Musa al-Wesha (of Baghdad) narrated:
In Khurasan, I, once, was with Ali ibn Musa ar-Ridha (a) while he was delivering a sermon in a session. Zaid ibn Musa -his brother- was attendant, but he was addressing words of pride to a group of the attendants. As the Imam (a) heard Zaid's words, he turned to him and said: "Zaid, do you, because you have heard my wording in Kufa that Allah forbids Hell to consume the offspring of Fatima (a) since she preserved her chastity, take pride against others? By Allah I swear, my previous wording is peculiar to al-Hasan, al-Hussein, and the other direct descendants of Fatima (a). You are too humble, in the sight of Allah, to be regarded, on the Day of Resurrection, as same as Musa ibn Ja'far -Imam al-Kadhim (a); the father of Imam ar-Ridha and Zaid the addressee- who used to spend his days with fasting and spend his night with worship to Allah while you act disobediently to Him. Ali ibn al-Hussein -Imam as-Sejjad (a)- used to say, 'One who belongs to us and does righteously will be rewarded twice as others, and one who belongs to us and acts evilly will be punished twice as others.'"
Imam ar-Ridha (a) then turned towards me and asked about the way we recite Allah's saying:
"His Lord replied, "He is not one of your family. He is a man of unrighteous deeds. Do not ask me about that which you have no knowledge. I advise you not to become an ignorant person." (11:46)"
I answered that some people recite it in a way showing that son of Prophet Noah was illegitimate, while others recite it in a way showing that he was his son, but he used to act unrighteously. 352
The Imam (a) commented: "No, by Allah. That son was Noah's. But Allah dismissed him from the family of Noah because he acted unrighteously. In the same manner, he who belongs to us in family relations but does not obey Allah is not belonged to us. So long as you obey Allah, you are one of us-the Ahl ul-Bayt." 353
Jabir related that Imam al-Baqir (a) said to him:
"Jabir, do you think that it is sufficient for those who claim being Shia to say that they cherish us; the Prophet's household?
By Allah I swear, our adherents -Shia- are only those who fear and obey Allah. Hence, you should fear Allah and work for the cause of obtaining that which He has in possession. There is no relation between Allah and anybody. The most favorable and honorable servants of Allah are the most God-fearing and the most pious.
Jabir, the only means through which a servant seeks to gain Allah's favor is the obedience to Him. We -the Ahl ul-Bayt - do not carry a patent for saving from Hell. Likewise, none of you has a claim against Allah. He who obeys Allah is only our disciple and whoever disobeys Him is our enemy. The loyalty to us cannot be gained except by means of diligent work and piety." 354
Al-Mufaddhal ibn Omar narrated the following:
"I, once, was with Imam as-Sadiq (a) when our subject of discussion was good deeds. I said, 'My deeds are very few,' but the Imam shouted, 'What is this saying? You should seek Allah's forgiveness. To have few deeds with God-fearing is better than many deeds that lack it.' I asked him about the meaning of his words, and he said, 'A man may serve food (to the poor), act leniently with his neighbors, and receive the guests hospitably, but as soon as a door to a forbidden act is opened before him, he enters there. This is the big deed that lacks God-fearing. Another man may not have such good deeds, but he keeps himself away from plunging in forbidden acts when he faces some. This is the few deed with God-fearing.'" 355