The end of Dhu al-Qadah, 1438 marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Muhammad al-Jawad (p).
Imam Zayn al-Abidin (p): Honoring Others
Imam Sajjad (p) said, “There are three (qualities) which if present in a faithful person, he will be supported and backed by God. God provides him the shade of His celestial throne and will secure him from the great horror of the doomsday:
- The one who gives to others that which he looks forward to receive himself.
- The one who does not extend his hand and does not take a step ahead [i.e. takes an initiative] till he knows (for sure) whether his step is in the (direction of) obedience to God or not.
- And the one who does not find fault with his brother till he abandons that fault himself.”
In life, people want to support and backing from others. We like approval from our parents, our friends, community, and co-workers, but what better pleasure than to have the backing and support of God Himself! We are all searching for the pleasure and satisfaction of God. As Muslims, we look towards those infallible guides that God has sent to illuminate this world. We follow their examples as the Prophet of God (pbuh) has instructed us on many different occasions to follow the two weighty things, the Qur’an and the Holy Household (pbut). So, we find in this narration from the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) great-grandson, the fourth Imam Ali ibn al-Hussain Zayn al-Abidin also known as Imam al-Sajjad (p), instructions on how to attain this support from God.
Firstly, the Imam says to give others what we look forward to receive for ourselves. That leads us to question ourselves, how do we know what we should be giving others? The fourth Imam has a beautiful book called “The Treatise of Rights”’, which explains in detail about the rights that are given to God, our parents, our children, teachers, students, neighbors, and even to the parts of our body such as our hands, tongue, eyes, and ears. So, to treat others properly, we must first take the time to learn the rights of others and of ourselves. How can we truly be great human beings without knowing what divine rights we owe to ourselves, our fellow human beings, and more importantly those rights that we owe to our Creator?
Someone asked our beloved sixth Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq (p), “What are the minimum rights of a believer over his (believing) brother?” He replied: “He should give higher priority to his brother’s urgent needs than his own needs.”
We should always look after our fellow believers and make sure that they are okay. If one of the believers is struggling, we should all strive our best to come together and aid that person. We find that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) emphasized this greatly when he said, “One who starts the morning in a condition that he does not make an effort about the affairs of the Muslims, is not one of the Muslims. And a person who hears the voice of a man who calls the Muslims to his help but he does not respond to him is not a Muslim.” He (pbuh) also advised about helping one’s neighbors when he said, “Gabriel advised me on the rights of neighbors so much that I thought soon they would be declared to be partners in my inheritance.” We should be closer as a community and check on each other by visiting each other, calling each other, or at least messaging each other to see about the well-being of our fellow believers. This is what the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (p), has instructed us to do when he said, “Exchange visits with each other, treat each other mercifully, give to each other and do not be like the hypocrites who say what they do not do.”
Imam Sajjad (p) emphasized respecting the rights of others so much that he said, “By He who has sent Muhammad as a prophet of truth! Even if the killer of my father, Hussain bin ‘Ali, entrusts me with the sword with which he killed my father, I will surely return it back to him.”
Imam Sajjad (p) swears by God by saying “By He who sent Muhammad as a prophet of truth!” We know that according to history that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) was known even by his enemies as al-Sadiq (the truthful) and al-Ameen (the trustworthy). We should strive our utmost to follow him and be truthful and trustworthy with each other. Imam Sajjad (p) says that he will even honor the rights of the murderer of his father Imam Hussain (p) if he were to entrust something with him. We learn from this that we are to honor our word and give everyone their due rights whether or not they are a believer in Islam. We respect everyone as Imam Ali (p) taught us, “Know that people are of two types: they are either your brothers in religion or your equal in creation.”
Let us try to implement the first point of giving otherrs what we want for ourselves by taking time out to learn the rights of God, the rights of ourselves and of others. Secondly, let’s start being more concerned with our fellow community members and society by checking on others’ well-being and seeing if they need any help. If we find that someone in our community needs help, then lets band together and help them to the best of our ability. We are one single community, so if one of us hurts, then all of us hurt. Let’s be kind-hearted and caring towards others’ situations and strive to follow in the example of what our great leader Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the prophet of mercy, would have done.
. Bihar al-anwar, Vol 78, p 141.
. al-Tabarsi, Mishkat al-anwar fi ghuraril akhbar.
. Bihar al-anwar, Vol 74, p 339.
. al-Tabarsi, Mishkat al-anwar fi ghuraril akhbar.
. Abu Muhammad al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn al-Hussain ibn Shub’ba al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-uqoul.
.Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, The Ritual and Spiritual Purity.
. Nahj al-Balagha, Letter 53.
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