Allegories for the Benefit of the Believers
Bilohar says, that once a man was passing through a forest, when a wild elephant attacked him . The man was scared and started running, while the elephant also chased him. When the man saw that the elephant had neared him, he became disheartened (and lost hope of surviving). Suddenly his eyes fell on a nearby well, wherein the branches of a nearby tree were hanging in it. He caught hold of it and hung in the well. When he looked at the branches, he saw that two huge rats (one white and other black) were cutting at the stems speedily. When he looked towards the feet, he saw four serpents coming out of their holes. While when he looked inside the well, he saw that a large python was ready to swallow him, with it's mouth wide open. Again when he looked on top, he saw a branch filled with honey. The sweetness and saviour of the honey made him negligent about the danger of the pythons who could devour him any moment. The well (referred herein) in the world which is full of miseries and misfortunes. The branches being the life of man and the two rats being the days and nights which reduce a man's age. The four serpents are the four elements by which a man is created, viz. wind, bill, phlegm, and blood. Man is unaware of these and does not know as to which of these four would become the cause of his death. The huge pythone is death which is always prepared to devout man, while the branch full of honey are the pleasures and luxuries of this world (which man sucks negligently). This is the best example of a man remaining engrossed in the fancies of this world and being careless of death and the hereafter.
It is related from Imam Ali (A.S.) that once He was passing through the market of Basra and the saw some people busy in buying and selling. He started weeping and turned towards them and said, "O slaves of the word ! And to the kings of this world You are spending your days in false swearing, interest- eating, and sleeping a sound sleep at night. And these pleasures have made you forget the hereafter. when will you gather provisions for the journey, and when will you start thinking about the hereafter"?
(Here some couplets have been quoted which I do not include in my translation- translator)
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) says: "Those people who have become forty years of age, are like crops whose time of harvesting has neared. Those who become fifty years of age hear a voice calling out : What good deeds have you sent forth before you, and what are you leaving behind you? Those who reach sixty years of age are ordered to become ready for accounting in Qayamat, and those who become seventy years of age hear a voice calling out: Count yourself among the death".
It is related in traditions that a cock calls out daily: O negligent ones ! Take the name of your Lord and remember Him.
(Here the author quotes some couplets of Shaikh Jami I do not state -translator)
This allegory is regarding those people who love this world, but thereafter are deceived by it. Bilohar says, that there a town in which people had the habit of getting hold of a traveller (who would be totally knew there and unaware of their conditions), and make him the king. The king would be under the impression that he would rule over them all over his life. After exactly one year they would strip him off his belongings, and clothes and banish him empty handed from the town. The king would then roam alone hungry and thirsty and surrounded by miseries, lamenting; upon his misfortunes. One day a traveller entered the town, as usual the people caught hold of him and made him the king. The person due to his acuteness and talent concluded that he was totally unaware of their conditions and habits, and was a stranger. Hence he should not rely on them and attach himself to them. He called a wise man from that town and came to know of the people's intentions. He asked him about how would the people treat him. The man said that after one year they would banish him empty- handed and ruin him. Hence he counselled him, "Beware, and during this period (of your kingship) gather whatever provisions you can, and keep it at that place where they shall banish you. So that after they do as in tented, you do not have to regret, and can live a contented life". The king followed the person's advise. After one year the people banished him (as was their habit), and sent him to that place. But because he had gathered provisions there, he was saved from ruination.
Allah says in the Qur'an: "And whoever does good, they prepare (good) for their own souls". (Surah-ar-Room: 44)
Imam Ja'far-as-Sadiq (A.S.) says, that the good deeds of a person enters Paradise long before him, and prepares a house for him there. Imam Ali (A.S.) says, "O son of Adam! Master your rebellious self, and spend your wealth in a way which would benefit you even after your death, when you will have no wealth left".
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) says, "know that every man will return towards the deeds which he performed ( when alive), and will repent upon those that he left behind (unperformed)'
it is written in Amali' of Shaikh Mufeed and Tareekhe Baghdadi', that Imam Ali (A.S.) once saw Prophet Khizr (A.S.) in a dream and asked for His advise. Khizr turned His palm towards Him on which was written: you were a corpse, and Allah gave you life, and very soon you will turn into a corpse. Start building a home for the eternal world, and do not get engrossed in (preparing) the house of this world".
It is related that once there was an intelligent, wise and a kind king. He was dedicated to the well-being of his subjects and always inquired about their affairs. His vizier was also concerned about the people's welfare and assisted the king in this deed. Both of them were friendly towards one another and shared their views. The vizier remained busy in serving the scholars and virtuous men. He listened to their wise words and was ready to sacrifice his life for them. His heart was always inclined towards the abandonment of this world and it's vanishes. But for fear and of the king, he kept it in his heart and worshipped the idols to please the king, so that he would not harm him.He remained worried about the king's deviation and error, inspite of his kindness and mercy. He was always on look to get an opportunity to guide the king towards the right. One night when everyone slept, the king told his vizier, ".Come, we shall ride to the town and see in what state are my subjects living. "The vizier replied that it was a good idea. Both of them mounted and started going around the town. During their stroll they passed from near a garbage place and saw a light coming out of it. The king told the vizier, "We should follow this light and see as to what's happening inside". They came down from their mount and went to that place. When they, peeped inside the crevice, they saw an ugly and indigent man wearing dirty clothes sitting inside reclining on the garbage. He was beating a drum and in front of him was kept a glass of wine. An ugly woman wearing soiled clothes was standing opposite him. When the man asked for wine she served it, and when he played the drum she danced. When he drank wine, the woman praised him in a manner as people praise the kings. He too praised the woman and called her 'Sayyedatun Nisa' (Mistress of the women). They were glorifying each other's beauty and spending a life of peace and happiness. The king and his vizier stood there for some time and saw what they did . They were surprised at these two who were happy even though living a degraded and debase life. They returned back, and the king asked, Did you see them how happy they are, inspite of being in such a dirty condiction. Our happiness when compared to their's is nothing. And I think that they always remain like that . When the Vizier head these words from the mouth of the king , he found the time appropriate to advise and said King , In the eyes of those who recognize the True King , this world and it's luxuries are equal to this garbage place . The palaces and castle which we built bearing hardships, are equal to the ugly faces of these two whom we just saw. And the comforts and pleasures of this perishable world ( in their eyes) are like these two's rejoicing at no true happiness. The King asked the Vizier as to whether he knew such people . The Vizier replied, yes, I do know them. The king asked as to who there were and where they lived? The Vizier replied, They are those people who love the religion of Allah , and aware of the kingdom of the hereafter and it's bliss. They always remain eager for the felicity of the hereafter. The king then asked him as to what is the hereafter? He replied, It is a place of place and contentment, where there shall be no troubles and anxieties. It is such a wealth after which a person does not remain dependent of anyone. Then he briefed the king about the characteristics of the hereafter. The king heard his words and said, "Do you know the way and means to acquire this felicity"? The Vizier replied, "Yes, it is for those who strive to seek this road (to religion and the hereafter)".
The king was impressed and desired to seek the hereafter. He then told the Vizier why he never informed him about it previously nor related it's characteristics? The Vizier said that he was afraid of his kingship and dignity. The king replied, "Whatever characteristics (of the hereafter) you have related to me are not to be ignored. But one should strive to seek them, so that we may be characterised by it's characteristics and succeed", The Vizier said, "O king! If you permit me, I will relate these characteristics in detail to you, so that you may become fully acquainted with them, and your belief may become firm". The king was happy and said, "In fact I order you to do so day and night, so that I may not become engrossed in anything else and become negligent of it. One should not neglect this act, for it is a wonderful and excellent, and we should not avoid such a good duty". Thereafter the Vizier daily advised the king and guided him to the right path.
Here we quote a sermon of Imam Ali (A.S.) as a gift for the believers: "O people ! Beware of this deceitful world, for it has attracted the hearts towards evil by it's elegance and beauty. It has subdued your wishes by false promises. This world is like a woman has adorned herself only for marriage, and due to her beauty deceives men and attracts them towards her. She ultimately kills her husbands with her own hands. So the present people should take lessons from those people in the past who had fallen prey to it, and save themselves from it's conceit".
Imam Ja'far-as-Sadiq (A.S.) says, that once the world came to Prophet Isa (A.S.) in the form of a blue-eyed woman. He asked her as to how many husbands she had? She replied that she had infinite husbands. He then asked her, "Did you divorce all of them "? She replied, "No, rather I ruined them and killed them. Prophet Isa (A.S.) said, "Woe be to those men who shall marry you (who shall be tempted by your allurements), and do not take heed from her earlier husbands (the followers of the world who were ruined by it)". Imam Sadiq (A.S) then said, "Hence Allah has kept it (the world) friends and virtuous servants away from her, and left it for His enemies. Allah was happy to see His Prophet tie a stone on his stomach. Prophet Moosa ate grass, so much that the greenery was seen through his stomach, for his flesh had melted and his skin became thin". In praise of Allah's friends (Awliya) and His Prophets (Ambiya) He (A.S.) says, "Prophets compared this world to a garbage place where the corpses lay, eating of which is not lawful. Hence they never ate to their full, but only ate to extend that they could survive. In the sight of the Prophets it is such a corpse, that a person passing from near it, covers his mouth and nose to save him self from near it's bad odour. Hence they pursued that much that would make them reach their destination and never satiated themselves. The Prophets were astonished at the people who who strived to gather this world and filled the stomachs. The Prophets are pleased with their state, and are happy to be saved from the prosperity of this world. O my brothers ! By Allah ! This world has never been a well-wisher of anyone, in fact it is more dirty and polluted than a corpse. The person who does the job of colouring leather is not troubled by it's bad odour because he is used to it. But a man passing by will be offended by it. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) says, O men! When you see the people of this world running after it,do not follow them, because they quarrel with one another to seek it. They are barling dogs and are like the small ones. (here the author quotes some couplets of Hakeem Sanai which I do not quote - translator ). Imam Ali (A.S.) says that By Allah! In my eyes,this world is worse than the fleshless bone of a pig given in the hands of a leper. Bone is considered to be the most degraded part of a human body, and that too of a pig, which is in the hands of a leper, both being dirty and unclean than one another.
This is narrative of a person who was being blessed by Allah. But when the time of trials and tribulations came, he became ungrateful and left the door of the True giver of blessings, and went to the door of others, the deed which was not worthy. This incident has been quoted by Shaikh Bahai in his book Kashkol. We narrate below this incident briefly. A worshipper was passing his days in a cave on one of the mountains of Lebanon, like the people of Kahf. He had estranged himself from everyone except Allah, and he considered solitude to be the best treasure of his honour. He fasted during the day, and at night he got a loaf of bread, half of which he ate at the evening during 'Iftaar', while the other half during 'Sehar'. And this moderation had made his heart contented, He passed his days in such a state. He was never ready to leave the mountains and go to the town. It so happened that one night he did not get the bread to eat, and so he became weak and exshauted. He recited the evening prayers with difficulty for his mind was eager for food. Because of hunger he could neither pray nor sleep. When it dawned, the worshipper left the mountain and went to a nearby town whose inhabitants were fire worshippers and searched for food. He knocked at the door of a fire-worshipper and he gave him tow breads. He thanked him and left for the mountain. At the house of the fire-worshipper there was a dog whose bones and veins were visible due to starvation. The dog seemed quite hungry. When the dog saw the worshipper going with the bread, it ran after him and caught hold of his shirt. The worshipper was scared, and in order to save himself from the dog's bite, threw a bread at it. The dog ate the bread and again ran after him. The worshipper was all the more scared and threw the second bread towards it. After eating the bread, the dog again ran after him. It started barking and tore his clothes. When the worshipper saw this, he turned towards the dog and said, " I have never seen a more ungrateful creature than you. Your master gave me two breads only, which you wretched soul snatched away from me. Why do you now run after me tearing my clothes". The dog relied, ".O pious man ! I am not ungrateful nor shameless, it is you who are so. Since my childhood I have been living with this fire-worshipper, and look after his cattle. Sometimes he gives me bread, while sometimes a handful of bones. Sometimes he forgets to feed me and I starve due to hunger. It also happens that many days pass without me getting anything to eat. And many times this man himself does not have anything to eat I do not go to any other door, for I have grown up here and have got refuge. Whenever I am fed, I offer thanks, and when I have to remain hungry, I bear patiently (and do not grumble at my master). This is my habit. While when you did not get food for one night, the foundation of your patience broke. You left the door of the `True Sustainer', and came begging to the door of His enemy. You left your Lord for the sake of a morsel of food. O wise man ! Now you judge as to who is ungrateful and shameless, yourself or me"? When the worshipper heard these words. he deplored himself and repented.
(Here Shaikh Bahai addresses himself and says) O Bahai, having the soul of a dog. If you do not have patience (and trust in your Lord) you are worse than that dog.
It is appropriate to quote here the words of Shaikh Sa'adi : Man is the best creature (Ashraful Makhluqaat), while the dog is a wretched soul. And all wise men opine that a faithful dog is better than an ungrateful man. Because the dog never ever forgets a morsel of food fed to it, even though it is hurt a hundred times. While even if a man is fed throughout his life. then too he will be ready for combat for small things.
Imam Ja'far -as-Sadiq (A.S.) and His slave.
It is related that Imam Ja'far -as-Sadiq (A.S.) had a slave. Wherever the Imam went, he accompanied Him. And when Imam (A.S.) went to the Mosque, he would look after His mule. One day the slave was sitting at the door of the Mosque catching hold of the mule, when there came some travellers from Khurasan. One of them said, "O slave ! will you plead to your master Imam Sadiq (A.S.) to accept me as His slave in your stead, and we shall surely pay you for this". The slave replied, "Yes I shall plead for you and talk to my Master". He then went to the presence of Imam Ja'far-as-Sadiq (A.S.) and said, "O Master! May my life be your ransom. You are well aware of my services to you. If ever Allah gives me an opportunity of acquiring wealth, will you stop me from it"? Imam (A.S.) said, "I myself will give you that much wealth, but will not let you ask from anyone else". The slave then narrated the talk he had with the traveller from Khurasan. Imam (A.S.) heard it and said, "If you do not like living with me, I give you liberty to go, and accept him in your stead". After hearing these words, the slave turned his back and started going. Imam Sadiq (A.S.) called him back and said, "In exchange of your services, I would like to counsel you, which will benefit you. When the day of Qayamat comes, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.) will be connected to Allah by His light. And Ali (A.S.) will be joined together with the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.S.), and we (the Aimmah) will be attached to him (A.S.), and Our Shi'ahs in turn will be attached to Us. Wherever we go, Our Shi'ahs will be alongside Us". When the slave heard this, he said, "O Master! I will never leave you and go, and will not exalt this world over the hereafter". The slave then returned to the Khurasani man and he asked him, "O slave! What has happened, for you went to the Imam in a good mood, while you have returned with a sad face"? The slave narrated the whole incident and took him to the presence of Imam (A.S.). Imam Ja'far-as Sadiq (A.S.) accepted his friendship, and requested him to give one thousand Ashrafis to His slave.
This wretched soul (the author) also requests his Master Imam Ja'far-as-Sadiq (A.S.): O Master! From the day I have recognized myself I have been standing at Your door. My flesh and my skin are the outcome of Your blessings. And I desire that during the last days of my life, You will look after me and not turn me away from Your merciful door. How can I leave Your door, for the present honour has been given to me because of Your love. O Master! May I never see that day, when I have to leave Your door, and go somewhere else (I may die before this happens).
Allegory - 5:
Abul Qasim Raghib Isfahani writes in his book, "Zari'ah", that one day a wise man passed by the house of man who was sitting at the door. The interior of the house was beautiful and well decorated. But the master was in a dirty state, and was ignorant and foolish. When the wise man saw this false dignity, he detested the man and spitted on his face. The man became furious and said, "`What an ignoble and foolish act you have done. The wise man replied, "This is not foolishness, but whatever I have done is sound. Saliva is thrown in the most degraded place, and in your entire house your face seemed the most befitting for it". The wise man hence warned him against ignorance and stupidity. He advised him, that adornment and beautification of the (perishable) house is not the way to salvation (when the soul is not adorned with the ornament of knowledge and wisdom).
And it has to be borne in the mind, that knowledge without practise is vain, and the scholar who does not practise what he preaches is useless.
Prophet Isa (A.S.) says, "The most wretched amongst men is the one who is known among people for his knowledge, but is indolent with regard to practise".
In the end of the book, the author quotes some useful supplications (dua's)for the benefit of the believers. (1) Shaikh Mufeed in his book " Muqni'ah" relates from Ali bin Mahziyar who quotes Imam Mohammed At-Taqi (A.S.) as saying that, in the blessed month of Ramazan, the recitation of this dua' every day and night is highly recommended:
يا ذا الذي قبل كل شيء يا ذا الذي ليس كمثله شيء و يا ذا الذي ليس في السموات العلى ولا في الارضين السفلى ولا فوقهن ولا تحتهن ولابينهن اله يعبد غيره لك الحمد الا يقوى على احصائه الا انت فصل على محمد صلاة لا يقوى على احصائها الا انت
(2) Shaikh Kulaini and other scholars narrate that Imam Ja'far -as-Sadiq (A.S.) had recommended the following dua' to Zurara bin A'yan. He (A.S.) said that this dua' is useful to be recited by His Shi'ahs during the days of concealment (ghaibat) to be saved from troubles and anxieties:
اللهم عرفني نفسك فانك ان لم تعرفني نفسك لم اعرف نبيك اللهم عرفني رسولك رسولك فانك ان لم تعرفني رسولك لم اعرف حجتك اللهم عرفني حجتك فانك ان لم تعرفني حجتك فانك ان لم تعرفني حجتك ضللت عن ديني
(3) It is narrated by many great scholars that to remain safe from troubles during the days of concealment, the Shia'ah should recite supplications of Imam Mahdi (A.S.) and offer sadaqs on His behalf. One of the dua's is as follows: First praise Allah and send blessings upon Mohammad and His Progeny, then recite:
اللهم كن لوليك الحجة بن الحسن صلواتك عليه وعلى آبائه في هذه الساعة وفي كل ساعة ولياً وحافظاً وقائداً وناصراً ودليلاً وعيناً حتى تسكنه ارضك طوعاً وتمتعه فيها طويلا
By: Shaykh Abbas Qummi