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the Message Continues ... 9/179
Newsletter for October 2016
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Taqwa (Piety) Advice of Ahl
The Effects Of Piety
We can realize the worth and significance of everything from its achievement and assess its value with the quality and quantity of its fruits. Beyond doubt, everything which is of more fruits will be naturally of more value and everything with least fruits will be of least value.
There may be things which are of abundant results quantitatively but qualitatively they may not be important.
Fortunately, one of the subjects important in terms of quality and quantity is ‘Piety’ or Taqwa. Hence numerous fruits have been mentioned for it in the holy Quran and narrations each of which is significant and worthy by itself.
As God Himself says: “… and whoever respects the signs of Allah, this is (the outcome) of the piety of hearts.”
The Arabic word “Sha’a’ir” is the plural of “Sha’eerah” used in the Quran on different occasions and several meanings. One of them is used for the Hajj rituals including the stops (in certain places), circumambulation, and sa’iy (the running between Safa and Marwa). The second meaning is the camel which is fattened for sacrifice. The third meaning is the religion of God; and the fourth meaning would be anything signifying obedience to God for the performance of which man rises and any negligence of it is not permissible. In this relation, God says: “… do not violate the sings appointed be Allah.”
Therefore, when it is said one of the fruits and effects of piety is to observe religious rituals, it means that a pious man has to perform duties in relation to the religion that God has determined and the holy prophet (SAW) and the imams of guidance have elaborated, that too, with devotion and love. Even if one fails to perform such duties, he has to ask God to help and give him the blessing of its performance.
The above-said verse is used to show that the Hajj rituals being an example of the divine decrees is the result of piety of hearts, for when a heart is purified, it has the capacity to direct a man to act according to the rules of religion and decrees of God. Only a diseased heart disobeys and rebels against the path of guidance.
This is one of the other achievements of piety and self-restraint. In this relation, God says:“Whoever fulfills his promise and guards (against evil), then surely Allah loves those who guards (against evil).”
The fact that God loves the pious can be seen elsewhere in the holy Quran including the verses 4 and 7 of the chapter “Repentance (9)”.
What are the results and fruits of being loved by God? When a person loves another person, he will do his best to please him and never does anything to hurt him. Now, when God loves someone, you can guess what He will do. We may love someone but we may not have all the possibilities and our hands may be tied. However, what God, Who has everything under His control, Who is Omnipotent, and Who has created the universe without labor, will do with one whom He loves? Imagine what God will do with one who extends his hands towards Him!
About the guardians of the Inviolable Mosque (the Ka’aba), we read: “And what (excuse) have they that Allah should not chastise them while they hinder (men) from the Inviolable Mosque and they are not (fit to be) guardians of it; its guardians are only those who guard (against evil), but most of them do not know”.
From this rule, it is inferred that leadership in all parts of the world is the right of the pious and the leadership of transgressors is wrong and an act of usurpation. Hence, Muslims’ affairs should be administered by the pious. Imagine what will be the result if the reins of affairs are put in the hands of such people!
It is for the same reason that we believe human leaders have to be the pious, for they are the true example of the prophets and saints.
The Lord of the universe has said: “Say: The provision of this world is short, and the hereafter is better for him who guards (against) evil; and you shall not be wronged the husk of a date stone.”
In another verse, He has said: “…the abode of the hereafter is better for those who guard (against evil) ;do you not then understand?”
The same meaning is repeated in the verse 109 of the Quranic Chapter of “Yusuf (12)”. In this chapter, we read: “And certainly the reward of the hereafter is much better for those who believe and guard (against evil).”
Elsewhere, He has said: “And if they had believed and guarded themselves (against evil), reward from Allah would certainly have been better; had they but known (this).”
In another verse, God says: “…if you believe and guard (against evil) He will give you your rewards, and will not ask of you your possession.”
On piety, God says: “Those among them who do good (to others) and guard (against evil) shall have a great reward.”
Again in another verse, He has said: “A parable of the garden which those guarding (against evil) are promised: therein are rivers of water that does not alter, and rivers of milk the whereof does not change, and rivers of drink delicious to those who drink, and rivers of honey purified; and for them therein are all fruits and forgiveness from their Lord.”
After describing the gardens of Paradise, God says: “The gardens of perpetuity, they shall enter them, rivers flowing beneath them; they shall have in them what they please. Thus does Allah reward those who guard (against evil).”
Elsewhere, He has said: “But (as for) those who are careful of (their duty to) their Lord, they shall have lofty halls, above them lofty halls, built (for them), beneath which rivers flow; (this is) the promise of Allah: and Allah will not fail in (His) promise”.
In describing the Paradise for those who repent and the worthy believers, God says: “…these shall enter the garden, and they shall not be dealt with unjustly in any way: the gardens of perpetuity which the Beneficent God has promised to His servants in the unseen; surely His promise shall come to pass. They shall not hear therein any vain discourse, but only peace, and they shall have their sustenance therein morning and evening.”
Then He says: “This is the garden which We cause those of Our servants to inherit who guard (against evil).”
After describing the provision of the life of this world, in another verse, God says: “Shall I tell you of what is better than these? For those who guard (against evil) are gardens with their Lord, beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and pure mates and Allah’s pleasure; and Allah is seer of His servants.”
All these rewards are important and noteworthy but what the pious must take into consideration is Allah’s pleasure which cannot be valued. All prophets, Imams and the saints of Allah have tried to reach it, for prophet hood, divine mission, Wilayah and Imamate are summed up in it. Human beings were created to obey God and to win His pleasure. When Allah’s pleasure is won, everything is won too.
It would not be out of place to talk here about the paradise of the pious. The late Koleini has reported that Imam Baqir (AS) has said: “The Holy Prophet (SW)was asked about the meaning of the Quranic verse: “The day on which We will gather those who guard (against evil) to the Beneficent God to receive honors.” The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: ‘O Ali, this group of people is but riders and they are a few men who refrain from committing sins. Therefore, God loved them and gave them a special position, praised their deeds and called them the pious.’”
Then, the Holy Prophet (SAW) said: O Ali! By Allah Who has split the grain, brought out the plant and created the creatures, they will come out of graves while angels will receive them with she-camels of honor, adorned with gold, pearl, rubies and green silk as well as purple cloth, and those she-camels shall fly with them towards the gathering place in the heaven. Every man shall be accompanied by a thousand angels from every side to the gate of paradise.
Near the gate of paradise, there is a tree which is purified. Each will drink a syrup of it. Then, God Almighty will clean their hearts from jealousy and will make extra hair on their bodies fall down. This is the meaning of “and their Lord shall make them drink a pure drink.”
Then, from the left side of that tree, they will move to another spring called the Spring of Life when they perform ‘Ghusl’ as a result of which they will never die. Then, they will stop before the Throne where they are made safe from pests, diseases, pains, cold and hot. Then, the Omnipotent God will address the angels as the following: ‘Take them to Paradise. Do not make them wait with other people, for My pleasure has become incumbent on them. How can I halt them with the companions of good deeds and bad deed?’
Thereafter, the angels accompany them to Paradise. When they reach the gate of Paradise, angels knock at the door, making a great sound. The assembly of Houris, whom the Benevolent God has prepared in palaces, hear the sound, rejoice and give one another the good tidings, saying: ‘The friends of God are coming towards us!’ Then, the gate of Paradise is opened to them and they will enter it. A group of Houris and humans will receive and welcome them, saying: ‘How eager we were to meet you!’ God’s friends will say the same thing.
Then, Imam Ali (AS) asked the Messenger of Allah (SAW) about the meaning of God’s words: “They shall have high halls, above them high halls”, saying: ‘Why have these places been built?’ The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: ‘O Ali! God has made these places with pearls, rubies and topaz, with their ceilings of gold and silver for His friends. Each place has a thousand gates of gold with an angel guarding at each gate. Therein are upraised couches and some raised upon the others, of fine silk in different colors, filled with musk, ambergris and camphor. This is the meaning of words of God Almighty: “And exalted throne”.
When a believer enters his abode in Paradise, they will put a royal crown of honor on his head with rubies and pearls, dress him with garments of gold and silver of seventy colors interwoven with gold, silver, pearls and rubies as God Almighty has said: “they shall bemade to wear therein bracelets of gold and pearls, and their dress therein shall be silk.”
When the believer takes his seat on the throne, his throne will start moving out of joy and when that friend of Allah settles in his abode, a guardian angel will ask him permission to greet him with the divine regards. Then, the believer’s servants of girls and boys will say to him: “Be in your place. The friend of Allah is in his seat and his pure beautiful mate is prepared to receive him. Wait until the friend of God becomes free.”
His mate will came flauntingly out of her tent towards him. The servant girls will surround her. He wears a garment or rubies, pearls and topaz perfumed with musk and ambergris and sandals of gold decorated with rubies and pearls with rubies as sandal laces.
When the houri approaches the friend of God, she will arise and will say out of eagerness: “O God’s friend! Today is not the day of hardship. Arise! I belong to you and you belong to me!”
They will then hug each other for a long time without getting tired “…and the angels will enter unto them from every gate.” And will say: “Peace be upon you because you were constant. How excellent, is then, the issue of the abode.”
The excellent abode is a reference to God’s words: “And when you see there, you shall see blessings and a great kingdom.”
The Holly prophet (SAW) said: “This is a reference to what angels and God’s messengers ask permission from Him and they do not enter it without permission with regard to the great kingdom and bounties. Rivers flow beneath the palaces with fruits at close hand. God Almighty has said: “Its shades will be close over them and its fruits will be hanging low.”
This is in a way that if the believer rises up, the trees will rise up too at the height of his stature and if he sits down, the branches will bow down to be easy to reach. If he wishes, the branches will come down lower.
Imam Baqir (AS) has said: “Gardens mentioned in the Holy Quran are garden of Eden, garden of Paradise, garden of Bliss, and garden of Refuge. There are other gardens in the Holy Quran, which are intermingled with these gardens, that the believer will enjoy them in whatever manner he wishes. Whenever the believer wishes for anything, he will say: ‘Glory to Thee, my Lord’ and upon saying it, he will have it. This is a reference to God’s words: “Their cry in it (Paradise) shall be: Glory to Thee, O Allah! And their greeting in it shall be: Peace; and the last of their cry shall be: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.””
As God has said “O children of Adam! If there come to you apostles from among yourelating to you My communications, then whoever shall guard (against evil) and act aright- They shall have no fear nor shall they grieve.”
Obviously, only a person who has no strong shelter for himself has fear and is sorrowful. But how will a person, who has chosen piety and is wholeheartedly devoted to God and has no guardian, protector, giver of honor, savior and king other than God, be sorrowful? In this respect, whether the fear is related to this world or the hereafter, only piety can remove it.
In the Holy Quran, God says: “Then as for him who gives (in charity) and fears Allah, and accepts the best, We will facilitate for him the easy end.”
This is evidently clear, for one who exercises piety, establishes a kind of relation with the Lord of the universe Who is the Causer of causes. Hence, He will resolve all problems, for He is the Remover of all sorrows and Destroyer of grief's.
In relation to disbelievers, God says: “The life of this world is made to seem fair to those who disbelieve, and they mock those who believe, and those who guard (against evil) shall be above them on the Day of Resurrection; and Allah gives means of subsistence to whom he pleases without measure. ”
God says: “And if the followers of the Book had believed and guarded (against evil), We would certainly have covered their evil deeds and We would certainly have made them enter gardens of bliss.”
On the same topic, God says: “O you who believe! If you are careful of (your duty to) Allah, He will grant you a distinction and do away with your evils and forgive you; and Allah is the Lord of infinite grace.”
About those who, with the temptations of Satan, drank wine but returned and exercised piety, God says: “On those who believe and do good there is no blame for what they ate, when they are careful (of their duty) and believe and believe, then they are careful (of their duty) and believe, then they are careful (of their duty) and do good (to others), and Allah loves who do good (to others).”
God has used the word Taqwa three times in this verse which shows its significance. Furthermore, God does not desire a temporary piety but a permanent and continued one, a piety accompanied with faith, good deeds and benevolence. Such a piety removes evil acts and sins.
About piety and heavenly blessings, God has said: “And if the people of the towns had believed and guarded (against evil), We would certainly have opened up for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they rejected, so We overtook them for what they had earned.”
Resolving of problems, ease of affairs, getting rid of afflictions caused by oneself or others, whether in this world or at the time of death, whether on the Day of judgment, the Day of Reckoning, or passing over (the bridge of) Sirat, are some of the results of piety. In this connection, the Lord of the universe says: “…and whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make for him an outlet, and give him sustenance from whence he thinks not.”
As for those who will enter Hell, God says: “And there is not one of you but shall come to it; this is an unavoidable decree of your Lord. And We will deliver those who guarded (against evil) , and We will leave the unjust therein on their knees.”
In another verse, God says: “And Allah shall deliver those who guard (against evil) with their achievement; evil shall not touch them, not shall they grieve.”
Again in another verse, God has said: “…if you are patient and guard yourselves, their scheme will not injure you in any away.”
It is obviously so, that all problems and entanglements related to this world and the hereafter arise from a kind of impiety and deviations whereas one, who guards against evil and exercises piety, is not only uninvolved in entanglements but lives in ease and with peace of mind.
As the Lord of the universe has said: “Surely, those who guard (against evil), when a visitation from Satan afflicts them, they become mindful, then lo! They see.”
Therefore, Satan’s visitation, scheme and temptations will not affect the pious, for the latter have found their right way and are safe from moral, social, political, ideological and family deviations.
God has said: “Surely, Allah is with those who guard (against evil) and those who do good (to others).”
The same verse is seen in Imam Ali’s last will and testament after the Imam (AS) salutes the angels.
The Lord of the universe has said: “Yea, if you remain patient and are on your guard, and they (enemy) come upon you in a headlong manner, your Lord will assist you with five thousand of distinctly marked angels.”
In Kashf al-Ghummah, we read: “On the day (battle) of Badr, most of the unbelievers were killed by Imam Ali (AS), some by the companions and some others by the angels.”
Abu Khadijah has been reported as saying: “One day, I went to Abul-Hassan Musa ibn Ja'far (al-Kadhim) (AS) who said to me: “Truly, God Almighty supports the believer with Gabriel. He will summon the believer to His presence any time he does good and exercises piety and becomes absent from him whenever he commits a sin or he transgresses.”
God says: “O you who believe! If you are careful of (your duty to) Allah, He will grant you a distinction and do away with your evils and forgive you; and Allah is the Lord of infinite grace.”
About salvation, God has said: “And he who obeys Allah and His Apostle, and fears Allah, and is careful of (his duty to ) Him, these it is that are the achievers .” (24:52)
In another verse, God says! “These are on a right course from their Lord and these it is that shall be successful.”
God has said: “And be careful of (your duty) to Allah, Allah teaches you, and Allah knows all things.”
Abel and Cain offered sacrifices to God but He accepted Abel’s sacrifice while He rejected the other.
In this relation, God says: “Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil).”
About the honor people have with God, He says: “O you men! Surely We have created you of a male and female , and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty);surely Allah is knowing, Aware.”
Someone asked Prophet Jesus (AS): “Which people are the better ones?”
Prophet Jesus (AS) took two handfuls of earth, saying: “Neither of these has preference over the other. Rather they are equal. People too are as such. The most honorable of them are those who are most careful (of their duty).”
On the relation of the Qur'anic Sura of al-Hujurat, the verse 13, commentators have written: “One day, the Holy prophet of Islam (SAW) was walking in the market of Medina. He saw a salve on sale. The salve kept on saying: ‘Whoever buys me should let me perform my daily prayers.’” A man bought him with the same condition. Thereafter, whenever the Holy Prophet (SAW) performed daily prayers, the slave would take part in them too. A few days passed, but there was no news of the salve.
The Holy prophet (SAW) asked after him. They said: He suffers from fever. The Holy prophet (SAW) went to visit him. After three days, the Holy Prophet inquired after his health. His master said: He is dead. The Holy Prophet (SAW) personally took charge of performing his burial service. Both the Muhajireen and the Ansar were surprised. God Almighty revealed the above mentioned verse indicating that lineage is no honor, rather it is piety which brings about honor.”
Imam Sajjad (AS) has been reported by Abu Hamzah ath-Thumali as saying: “There is no privilege for Quraish over the Arabs save due to modesty, and no honor save due to piety; no knowledge save due to good intention and no prayer save due to mindfulness.”
God says: “The friends shall on that day be enemies one to another, except those who guard (against evil).”
In this world, friendships are based on worldly gains with no real aim or they are not for the sake of God. Obviously all friendships will come to an end save those which are for the sake of God, a feature of the pious. In this relation, Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Brothers are of three kinds; one who is fair to his self, and the second is such with his wealth. They are truthful in friendship. And the third kind is one who takes from you what he needs and likes you for fun. Do not trust him!”
The Lord of the universe inspired Prophet Moses (AS) to say to his tribe: “Ask help from Allah and be patient; surely, the land is Allah’s; He causes such of His servants to inherit it as He pleases, and the end is for those who guard (against evil).”
Elsewhere, the Lord of the universe consoles Prophet Hud (a.s.) by saying: “Therefore be patient; surely, the end is for those who guard (against evil).”
In another verse, God says to the Holy prophet (SAW): “And enjoin prayer on your people, and steadily adhere to it; We do not ask you for subsistence. We do give you subsistence, and the (good) end is for guarding (against evil).”
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported as saying: “Among the children of Israel, there was a man who would repeatedly say “praise is due to the Lord of the worlds and good is for those who guard against evil.” Iblis became angry. So he assigned a Devil to go to him saying: ‘The good end is for the wealthy’, but the man did not accept it. So they decided to choose an arbiter to judge between them. Anyone against whom the judgment was passed would have one of his hands cut off. They set out till they reached a man whom they informed of their intention. That person said: ‘The good end is for the wealthy.’ One of the hands of the pious man was cut off. Yet, he would say: ‘The good end is for those who guard against evil.’ Satan said: ‘Do you still say the same thing?’ The pious man said: “I believe in what I say even if I lose the other hand!“ They set out again and reached another person. They informed him of the story. That person too said: “The good end is for the wealthy.”
The other hand of the pious man was cut off while he was saying: “The good end is for those who guard against evil!” Satan said to him: “Will you bet on your head?” The pious man said: “Yes.”
They set out again and on their way, they saw a man like shadow. They stopped before him and told him the story. That shadow touched the pious man’s hands which were restored to their normal positions and beheaded Satan saying: “… the good end is for those who guard against evil.”
Obviously, what lasts forever is truth and rightfulness and what perishes is injustice and falsehood.
There are usually many things which have no truth or spirit. The worldly life, wealth, position, power, force, hypocritical acts, indecent words, evil acts and their likes are such. The only thing which lasts forever and makes people prosperous is the right path which is free from deviation. Piety includes all the virtues.
About divine guardianship, God says: “Surely the unjust are friends of each other, and Allah is the guardian of those who guard (against evil).”
God says: “These (the pious) are on a right course from their Lord and these it is that shall be successful.”
Imam Ali (AS) has said, “He who is strong rooted in piety does not come to destruction, and the plantation of a people based on piety never remains without water.”
Imam Ali (AS) means that the life of one that is based on piety, will not be ruined with negative propaganda in the same way that plantation based on piety will never get burnt down.
Imam Ali (AS) has also said: “Action accompanied with fear of Allah does not fail, and how can a thing fail that has been accepted?!”
Imam Sadiq (AS) has been reported by Ya’qoob ibn Shu’aib as saying: “God does not promote a servant from the humiliation of sins to the honor of piety, except that He makes him rich without wealth, honorable without tribe, and a friend of Him without friends of people.”
Imam Ali (AS) says: “Certainly, fear of Allah is the medicine for your hearts, sight for the blindness of your spirits, the cure for the ailments of your bodies, the rectifier of the evils of your breasts, the purifier of the pollution of your minds, the light of the darkness of your eyes, the consolation for the fear of your heart and the brightness for the gloom of your ignorance.”
The Holy Quran says: “…and be careful of (your duty) to Allah, Allah teaches you.”
The Holy prophet (SAW) has been reported as saying: “Fight against your passions so that your hearts will be filled with wisdom.”
This concept proves the worth and the importance of piety which makes the wild and troublesome knowledge easy for human beings. With piety, man can easily get to know the mysteries in sciences as if these people are inspired with knowledge.
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