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Qadi Numan's Majalis

'In the name of the Lion of God, of the face of God, of Ali the Victorious' 19th Century Turkey

Selections from Qazi Noaman's: "Code of Conduct for the followers of Imam"
Translated into English by: Prof. Jawad Muscati and Prof. A. Moulvi M.A.

Please look for more additions to this section soon, Inshallah!

Majlis 1: DEVOTION TO THE IMAM(pp. 17-20)
Majlis 2: LOVE FOR THE IMAMS(pp. 21-24)
Majlis 12: LOVE THOSE WHO LOVE THE IMAM (pp. 79-84)
Majlis 4: RESPECT FOR THE IMAMS (pp. 31-33)
Majlis 6: Frankness of the Momins in their Dealings with the Imam (pp. 40-45)
Majlis 7: Obedience to the Imam (pp. 46-50)
Majlis 8: To Thank the Imam in Weal or Woe (pp. 40-45)


(pp. 17-20)

This chapter concerns all the servants of God. If I enter into detail, it will exceed the limits of this book and will make an independent book by itself. Hence I have dealt with only that part of the matter which it is absolutely necessary for the purpose.

A firm faith in the "Wilayat" of the Imams, submission to the Imamat and devotion to the Imams are the ground work of this book. They are the basic principles which deserve our foremost attention.

Those who are well acquainted with the true position of the Imams and have a firm faith in their Imamat, look upon the duties they owe to them and obedience to their commands as the duties enjoined on them by God. They should have a greater regard for the glory and sublimity of the Imams than the followers and office-holders of the temporal kings have for their masters. They should stand in greater awe of the Imams than these officers stand in awe of their kings.

God has laid down in His Holy Book that it is our duty to obey them. He has associated the devotion to the Imams with devotion to Him and devotion to the Prophet saying "Obey God, the Prophet and your Spiritual Leaders." (Chapter IV Verse 59 Al-Nisa (Women) Holy Quran).

This makes it obligatory for those, who, by the grace of God, belong to the various categories of the followers of the Imams, to have full faith in their Imamat and feel in their hearts of hearts that the pleasure of the Imams is the pleasure of God and that their displeasure is the displeasure of God. They should earn 'jannat' as a reward for seeking the pleasure of the Imams which is the pleasure of God and should shun the hell fire which is the inevitable consequence of the wrath of the Imams which is the wrath of God.

They should concentrate on things which can bring them nearer to the Imams and should train themselves in such a way as to act always to the satisfaction of the Imams. Their love and hatred, their pleasure and displeasure should be regulated by the will of the Imams. If they detect in their minds any inclination to unwillingness in doing this, they should discipline their minds and gain complete mastery over them and see that their un-willingness is turned into willingness. They should solicit God for the forgiveness of this which is the greatest sin. They should realise that repentance is meaningless if they do not uproot that tendency in them and do not like or dislike what the Imams like or dislike and do not love or hate what the Imams love or hate.

They should have implicit faith in these things and they should give a proof of their faith by profession in words and by practice in their intentions and actions. They should not mind it even if in doing this they have to lose their lives and suffer the loss of their families, properties and children. They should submit to the Imams in all their affairs and the motive behind their submission should be obedience and no other consideration.

They must bear in mind that if they fail to do this or make the slightest omission in this direction, they cease to be 'momins'. God says "Certainly by the Lord they will not be considered as 'momins' unless they refer their disputes to you and you are not discontented with your decision and submit to you entirely" (Chapter 4 Annisa (Women) verse 59. Holy Quran).

This is the duty enjoined on the 'momins' by God who has associated with the devotion to Himself, the devotion to the Prophet and the devotion to the Imams and who has made the Imams His Vice-regents on earth after the Prophet, may the greetings of God be on him and on the Imams the chosen and the best of his descendants.

Accordingly it is our bounden duty to hold the Imams in the highest esteem and to acknowledge their supremacy in thoughts, words and actions.

The Imam of the time has as much claim on the followers of his time as the Prophet had on the followers of his time, and the devotion to the Imam must be the same as the devotion to the Prophet because God has associated this devotion with the devotion of Himself, and He is above every body and beyond the comprehension of men.

In short, no devotion of a devotee will be taken into account unless it is made to the Imams and none will be included among the 'momins' unless he submits to the Imams.

What we have said in this chapter will be sufficient for intelligent readers provided they use their intelligence to understand it.


(pp. 21-24)

God the great says to Mohammed His Prophet, may the greetings be on him and his descendants, "Say, I do not ask you to pay me (for the guidance) any reward excepting your love for my kith and kin" (Ch. 42. V.22 Ash-Shura (the counsel) holy Quran). When the messenger of God was asked as to who were his kith and kin, he replied "Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husain." He further said "He who loves them, loves me. He who hates them, hates me," none but a 'momin' loves Ali and none but a hypocrite hates Ali. It is said that in the days of the Prophet, 'momins' could not be distinguished from the hypocrites by any thing but their love for Ali. The Prophet ordained and exhorted his followers to love Ali and God enjoined it as a duty on the Moslems in general.

Hence it is the duty of the Momins to love the Imam of their time who is the descendant of the Prophet. Abu Jafar Mohammed al-Baqir bin Ali, greetings be on him, was asked to explain the meaning of the verse "I do not ask for any remuneration excepting love for my kith and kin." He explained it by saying, "It is the duty of every 'momin' to love us who are the 'Ahlebait', the kith and kin of Mohammed." He further said "He who loves us, will rise with us on the Day of Judgment." Again he said "Religion is nothing but love." God says, "He made you love your faith and adorned it in your hearts" (Ch. 49. V. 7 Al-Hujurat (Chambers) Holy Quran).

Another verse of the Quran says, "If you love God, then follow me, God will love you and forgive you your sins" (Ch 3. Aali-Amran (the Family of Amran) Holy Quran). Ali, peace be on him, is reported to have said to some of his followers, "May I inform you of a virtuous deed which secures the doer from the frightfulness of the Day of Judgment and of a vice which drags its perpetrator head-long to Hell-fire?" They said, "Yes, O the Commander of the Faithful tell us." He said, "The virtue is to love us and the vice is to hate us."

It behoves those who know the true position of the Imams to love them sincerely. They should see that their faith in them is prompted by love and not by the expectation of a worldly gain from them.

For, if one's love is prompted by a worldly consideration it ceases with the loss of consideration. Hence let the love be love for the sake of love and let it continue to be the same whether one is favoured or disfavoured by the Imams and whether one is in prosperous or adverse circumstances. What is done for the sake of God cannot be affected by the vicissitudes of life. Change of circumstances can affect only those things which are done out of some worldly consideration.

Jafar bin Mohammed, may the greetings of God be on him, says, "He who loves us should make his love as pure gold."

Ali, may the greetings of God be on him, says, "If I were to strike a blow on the nose of a 'momin', he will never hate me, on the other hand if I were to shower gold and silver on a hypocrite he will never love me."

Thus, those who love the Imams, should be sincere in their love towards them and should pay them their dues. It is the duty of the lover to love his beloved with sincerity. It is his duty to return to him the 'amanat' with honesty and support him and never forsake him or disobey him. It is his duty to like and dislike for him what he likes and dislikes for himself. It is his duty to see that his inward regard does not differ from his outward behaviour. This is the quality of love which the lovers display to their beloveds of the world.

One can easily imagine then the quality and intensity of love which one is expected to extend to the Imam who is loved by God, who knows all about what we do openly or in secret. The best thing for a lover of this category is to keep a watch on his own self to see that his love for the Imam inwardly and outwardly does not fall below the standard.

In conclusion, O momins, be sincere in your love for the Imams so that you may be amply rewarded by God. Whatever I have mentioned in this chapter will suffice for those who are on the right path.


(pp. 25-30)

God says, "God commands you to pay back the 'amanat' to their owners'." "If any one of you were to deposit something with some one then let the one with whom the things are deposited return the deposit to its depositor." "O momins, do not commit breach of trust in your dealings with God and the Prophet and do not abuse the trust in the matter of 'amanats' knowingly."

The Prophet says, "Do not commit breach of trust, do not go to excess and do not be deceitful." "It is your duty to return the 'amanat.' He who deceives us is disowned by us." "It is unlawful for you to shed the blood of one another and to misappropriate the properties of one another."

Ali, be the greetings of God on him, says to some of his followers, "Pay back what has been deposited with you and do not commit the breach of trust in your dealings even with those who have abused your trust." Imam Jaffar-us-Sadiq, be the greetings of God on him, says, "Return the deposit to its owner, it matters little whether he is Red or Black, a Haruri, a Syrian or an Ommayade. Pay back the 'amanat' even if the owner is your enemy, even if he is the murderer of Husain."

These quotations from the Quran and the traditions make it clear to us, that God, the Prophet and the Imams have ordered us in unequivocal terms to return the deposits to their owners regardless of their being our friends or foes. It is the duty of the Momin to pay back the "amanat." This keeps up his credit, guards his religion and purifies his soul. If he commits the breach of trust, he loses his credit, and brings disgrace to himself, his religion and his reputation.

As far as the depositor is concerned, he loses nothing of the kind. His loss or gain is a monetary one. If the deposit is not returned to him, he loses some money and if it is returned to him it adds to his capital.

It then behooves every one who fears God and safeguards his self-respect that he should pay back the "amanat." If it is obligatory on us to return the "amanat" to all sorts of people, how many times more obligatory does it become on us that we should return the "amanat" which belongs to the Imams? To commit a breach of trust in your dealings with Imams is a dreadful affair and the worst possible sin. God says, "O momins don't commit breach of trust in your dealings with God and the Prophet." Thus he who deceives the Prophet, deceives God. God says, "Those who make covenant with you make covenant with God." "He who obeys the Prophet obeys God. Obey God, obey the Prophet and obey your spiritual heads." It follows that obedience to the Imams is obedience to God and disobedience to them is disobedience to God. He who is treacherous to them is treacherous to God and he who is true to them is true to God. If breach of trust is forbidden in general, then breach of trust in our dealings with the Imam is the worst sin.

In short, breach of trust in our dealings with the Imams belongs to the category of great sins.

This chapter is applicable to all classes of the followers of the Imams and even to the non-followers. For, return of the "amanat" to its owner and sincerity are incumbent on every Muslim. The Prophet says, "Religion means sincerity to God, the Imams and the Momins in general. Lack of sincerity to God and the Imams is impermissible." God says, "The weak, the sickly and the poor (who cannot take part in the religious war) are not to be blamed if they are sincere to God and His Prophet. There is nothing against good men. God is forgiving and merciful. Nor are those persons to be blamed who come to you for riding animals to carry them (to the battle field) and who return with grief with tears flowing from their eyes when you tell them that you cannot provide them with the animals and when they find that they have no money to pay for them." These verses clearly show that if the Muslims are unable to join the war, they are permitted to give it up but under no circumstances are they allowed to give up sincerity. Cessation of love in one's heart for God and the Prophet and the Imams is equally impermissible. Imam Husain bin Ali, the greetings of God be on him, says, "He who lodges in his heart love for us and uses his tongue and his hands in defense of us, will stay with us in the highest regions. He who loves us at heart and defends us by his tongue but is unable to use his hands will also be with us in heaven but his rank will be below the rank of the first one. He who loves us at heart and is unable to use his tongue and his hands in fighting for us, will also be in heaven with us and his rank will be a little lower than the rank of the second person. But the one who can neither use his tongue nor his hands in our favour nor loves us in the heart of his heart, has nothing to expect from us."

Thus sincerity to the Imams and the return of the "amanat" to them are the best things that we have been enjoined upon to do. He who fails to do this and deceives them, is cast off from their fold.

O devotees of God, beware of being treacherous or deceitful to them. Bear in mind that if one were to return the "amanat" to the Imams and show sincerity to them for no other laudable object in view than the acquisition of wealth or making a name for himself and securing himself from the worries of this world even then it will be worth his while to do so. We can easily imagine how much more profitable will it be if one were to do these things for a heavenly reward for which there is no substitute in this world and for securing himself from the frightful punishment of the next world from which none can save him.

We know many men at the lowest wrung of the ladder of life such as workmen, petty traders and labourers who are in no way better than lower animals and who yet are very particular about the return of the "amanat." In spite of their extreme poverty, they return the "amanat" not for the sake of religion or for the sake of their belief in a particular code of conduct but for the fear of their being boycotted by the people and put to disgrace by them in consequence of breach of trust.

If this is the way in which low types of people behave towards one another in the matter of the return of the "amanat" what should then be the behaviour of those who have some knowledge of religion, some sense of the code of morality and some idea of self-respect? How can these men risk their position and lose every good thing by committing a breach of trust? If they are not attracted by heavenly a reward and are not afraid of the punishment of the Day of Judgment, even then in their own interest they will never commit the breach of trust.


(pp. 79-84)

God speaks of the momins in the following terms "They are harsh towards the infidels and are compassionate toward one another." "Momins are brothers to one another." "You will never find those who have faith in God and the day of judgement making friends with those who are the enemies of God and His Prophet." "O! Momins, do not take my enemy and your enemies to be your friends. Never love them." "Those of you who love them are the oppressors."

The Prophet while talking of Ali, peace be on them, says "O God, love those who love Ali and hate those who hate Ali." With regard to those whom God has declared to be His enemies and commanded us in His book and through His Prophet to be hostile to them and has prohibited us from befriending them, even if they happen to be our fathers and sons and other members of our families, it is but proper that those who are aware of this hostility of God to them should sever their friendly connections from them openly and secretly. They should have no consideration for their being their close or distant relatives. They should not mix with them in the hope of getting anything from them or for the fear of suffering at their hands.

Imam Jafar Sadiq, peace be on him, says "He who wants to know whether a particular person is our friend or foe, should look to the persons with whom he associates. If they are our friends he is our friend; if they are our enemies he is our enemy." I have already said in this book that it is our duty to love the Imams sincerely and with the best of our intentions. Our duty does not end here. We have to keep aloof from their enemies and their evil intentions as long as they continue to be hostile to them. We have to cut off our friendly connections from them and we cannot trust them to the slightest degree. God says, "Do not trust the oppressors, you will be overtaken by Hell-fire." The worst of oppressors is the one who harms the 'Walees' of God and shows hostility to them.

Imam Muhammed Baqir, greeting be on him says, "Our followers are those who treat strangers as their relations and befriend them because of their love for us. They cut themselves off from their families and their closest relations because of their hostility to us. If we are pleased with anybody they are pleased with him. If we get excited against anyone, they get excited against him. If we fear someone, they also fear him. If we feel secure, they also feel secure. They never make friends with our enemies and they never become enemies of our friends."

O the followers of the Imams who have faith in their 'Imamat', you should also behave in this manner. Test the man with whom you associate. Distinguish between the friends and the foes of the Imams. Bear in mind that the people are divided into three classes. There is no fourth class to them with the exception of this that in each of the three categories there are people of different grades and there is no criterion by which we can sort them out according to the degrees of their ambitions, their intelligence, their knowledge, their faith and their power of apprehension.

One of these three classes consists of the devotees of the Imams. They are men of different grades and different degrees of spiritual attainments. The next one consists of their enemies. They too are of different grades and of different types of hostility to the Imams. The third one consists of those who are weak-minded and indecisive. God speaks of them in the following terms. "They are neither here nor there. They neither know the truth nor they deny untruth. They are like cattle, nay, they are straying further away from the path." These people, although their condition is miserable, are in a way better than the out-and-out enemies of the Imam.

Hence, it is necessary for us to test the people and know their proper position in life. Once we have known this we should put every one of them in his proper place. We should befriend those who are the friends of the Imams and be hostile to those who are hostile to the Imams. With regard to the weak-minded and indecisive people let us try to guide them and show them the right path. If they hear the truth they will accept it. With regard to our enemies let us attract them to our side by our good deeds and leave no room for their excuse. Let us give up discussing with them. If we prolong the discussion with them it will end in a fiasco. We have already talked of this in one of the preceding chapters. Let us follow in this matter the words and the actions of the Imam. Let us adopt his policy in our dealings with them. We should do what the Imam wants us to do. We should not go against his instructions.

Abu Jafar Mohammed bin Ali, greetings be on him, has described his followers in the following terms, "Our followers do not praise those who find fault with us, do not join those who hate us and never associate with those who do not like us. If they meet a 'momin' they honour him, If they meet an ignorant fellow they flee away from him. They say what we say. They cut themselves off from their friends for our sake. They treat the strangers as their close relatives because of their love for us. They treat their close relatives as strangers because of their hatred for us. Our followers are warners to the people on earth. They are the lamp-posts; they are the light for those who seek it. They are the leaders of the devotees of God. They will bear testimony on the day of judgement against those who oppose them. They are an asylum for those who come to them. They are extra kind to them and over generous and forgiving. This is the description of the faithful followers of the Prophets given in the Old and New Testaments and the Holy Quran. The learned men amongst our followers control their tongues and satisfy their urge by their devotion to God. They harbour ill-feelings in their hearts against the enemies of God. They know their defects but they never tell them what they think about them. They pass their time with indifference to them. They watch their evil deeds and listen to their evil talk with patience. They invoke curses on them, they hate their friends and love their enemies. The Prophet says, "Be what God and His 'Walees' have described you to be."

O momins, hate for the sake of God and love for the sake of God. Follow your Imams and carry out their orders. Reveal what they have revealed to you. Have faith in what they have faith. God has made them your leaders. Follow them and obey their orders. Be hostile to those who are hostile to them and friendly to those who are friendly with them. Love those whom they love. Hate those whom they hate. It matters little whether the persons whom they love or hate are your friends or foes or they are your relatives or strangers to you. Let you do what you do for the sake of God. For, what is done for the sake of God cannot be influenced by passion. No misrepresentation or hypocrisy can affect it. May God help us and help you in loving Him and may He protect us and you from incurring His wrath.


(pp. 17-20)

God says, "O momins, fulfil the terms of your contracts" "Fulfil your promise; you will be inquired about it" "(O Mohammed) those who enter into a covenant with you make a covenant with God. The hand of God is upon their hands. He who breaks it does harm to himself and he who fulfils the terms of the covenant which he has made with God will be amply rewarded."

These verses make it clear to us that our pledge to the Imams is equivalent to our pledge to the Prophet which is a pledge to God. Just as devotion to the Imams is linked with the devotion to God which under no circumstances can be given up, the fulfilment of our terms of covenant with them is also a sort of devotion from which we cannot break away to the slightest extent. If a devotee is devoted to God but he disobeys His Prophet or belies him, his devotion will not be taken into account and he will be punished for falsifying the Prophet and disobeying him. It needs no further testimony than the following verse of the Quran which speaks of the infidels who believed in God but did not believe in the Prophet and who consequently incurred the wrath of God who condemned them to perdition. The verse runs thus "If you ask them as to who has created them they say God has created us." Since they disbelieve in the Prophet, in spite of their acknowledgment of the Lordship of God they expose themselves to His wrath because of their disbelief in His Prophet.

Similarly, if a devotee believes in God and in His Prophet and does not believe in the Imamat of the "Imams," the successors of the Prophet, even if he were to worship God throughout his life-time he becomes one of those about whom God says, "We shall look to their deeds and treat them as nothing but particles of scattered dust."

Thus, if one is devoted to God and His Prophet but disobeys the Imam of his time or belies him, practically disobeys God who will not recognize his devotion to Him and His Prophet in view of his denial and disobedience of the Imam of his time. This is clear from the fact that God has linked devotion to Him, to the devotion to the Imams so inextricably that none of these three devotions can be separated. Hence, he who fulfils his pledge to God, His Prophet and his "Wasees" i.e. the Imams, entitles himself to be included in the group about which God says, "They will be amply rewarded."

The ample reward stands for "jannat." But he who breaks his pledge to God and disjoins from what God has ordered him to join is one of those losers about whom God says, "They have lost this world as well as the next." They lose the pleasure of the Imams in this world and pleasure of God in the next. They expose themselves to the punishment of God for disjoining the devotion to the Imams from the devotion to God which they have been enjoined upon to join.

In short, fulfil your pledges to them to the fullest extent. Take particular care of the return of the "amanat" to them. You have pledged this to God. You have taken serious vows of your loyalty to them. You have taken upon yourselves the fulfilment of the terms of the pledge and the vows you have made to them. Strive hard to earn the reward of God and see that you do not become losers. Think again and again over the seriousness of the pledges and the vows you have made to the Imams. Keep these vows always fresh in your mind and return "amanat" to God and the Imams. God says, "Secure are the "momins" who pay back the "amanat," fulfil their vows and are particular about their prayers. They are the persons who will inherit "Firdaus" in which they will have a permanent abode." These verses make crystal clear to us that the fulfilment of pledges and the return of the "amanat" carries the "momins" to "jannat" and the breaking of vows and dishonesty in the payment of "amanats" will drag them down to the lowest depth of Hell-fire. You must bear in mind that in keeping up your pledges and vows if no other consideration prevails upon you than the avoidance of disgrace which is involved in your breach of faith, even then it will be worth your while to do so. We know many people who in spite of the fact that they are not necessarily very pious nor strictly honest, are very particular about the fulfilment of their vows and in this matter they act exactly on the lines recommended by God in His holy Book. If any one of them breaks his vows to the slightest extent he atones for what can be atoned for and fulfils the pledge which cannot be atoned for. We must realise that we have voluntarily taken upon ourselves a heavy responsibility and we have no other go than to discharge our obligations by the fulfilment of our vows.

Let us fear God. Let us see that we do not commit a breach of faith in these matters. Let us guard ourselves against the breaking of our vow to God, against transgressing His limits and disobeying His commands and prohibitions. See that you do not die with your vows unfulfilled in your life-time. It must be borne in mind that even if we make a vow not to touch our wives, and not to take food, and not to change the clothing which belong to us, God makes these lawful things unlawful for us unless we atone for our vows by giving something in charity as setting free a slave. Thus if we do not fulfil the vows that we have taken upon ourselves, we indulge in the doing of unlawful things and involve ourselves in the committing of heinous crimes and grave sins. May God forbid us all from this hazardous affair. May He include us all among those "momins" who fulfil their pledges and never break them, and who pay back the "amanats" and respect their word of honour. O momins, may God's mercy be on you, you must remember that you cannot fulfil your pledges and be honest in the discharge of your obligations unless you know well the pledges you have entered into and the obligations you have put yourselves under. Hence, it is necessary for you that you should remind yourselves of the covenants that you have made with the Imam and the terms of the covenant that you have taken upon yourselves to fulfil. If you ignore inadvertently or forget or treat lightly any of those terms, then the moment you realise your mistake you must atone for it by repentance and do what you have omitted to do. If you have forgotten the terms or some part of it then renew them by reviving the terms of the covenant. Admit your guilt and repent to God and to the Imam. If you persist in your mistakes or your ignorance then you will appear before God as one who has ignored His sign on earth and broken his vow with Him. You will appear in His eyes much more degraded and much more miserable than the one who has made no such pledge. For, the misappropriator of the "amanat" is in a much worse position than the one who has refused to deposit the "amanat" with him; and the one who knows the consequences of the breach of faith and still commits the breach is to be blamed more than the one who is ignorant of all this. Although it is the duty of the one who does not know these things to try to know them and it is incumbent on the one who has lost the way to look for guidance, still his guilt is less than that of the one who knowingly commits the breach of faith.

The hypocrites are condemned by God to the lowest depths of the hell fire and their condition is much worse than that of the infidels. It is because, the hypocrites knew the truth and yet they rejected it and the infidels persisted in their infidelism. Both the hypocrites and the infidels will be in hell fire and the lot of the hypocrites will be the worst for they have broken the pledge or ignored it and this is much worse than the refusal to take the pledge.


(pp. 31-33)

To hold the Imams in the highest esteem is a duty enjoined on us by God. He has associated the devotion to them with the devotion to Himself and the devotion to the Prophet. He has laid emphasis on our devotion to them and has further ordered us to refer our disputes to them.

In view of the fact that our devotion to the Prophet is just the same as our devotion to God, it is incumbent on us all to revere the Imam of our time to the same extent to which our Prophet was revered by the followers of his days.

It behoves every one of us then that we should hold them in reverence and bow down to them with humility. It is our bounden duty to have a greater respect for them than we have for the worldly kings and to stand in much greater awe of them than we do in the case of the dignitaries of the world. Let our respect for the Imams and our fear of them be prompted by no other motive than our desire to please God who has elevated them to the highest position. Worldly men respect the kings because of their wealth and they fear them because of their pomp and power. But the followers of the Imams should revere their spiritual heads because of the dignity of the Imamat which they carry themselves and they should stand in awe of them because of the dazzling light of divine wisdom which radiates from their foreheads.

Let us look upon them as kings in the realm of religion and let us respect them because God respects them. If we fail to do so we shall be incurring the wrath of God and the consequences will be serious. Let us look at them with our senses intact. Let us look at them with eager eyes and an anxiety to look at them again and again. There is a tradition to the effect that "To look at the Imam is devotion and to look at the Quran is devotion." The word looking in this tradition does not mean an absent-minded-glance. It means thoughtful looking. For, to a mere looker-on without any thinking, there is no advantage from his looking at the Quran. God says, "Do they not ponder on the Quran? Are their minds locked up?" There is also a tradition to the effect that "Reading of one verse thoughtfully is better than reading the Quran thoughtlessly for the whole night." There is another tradition which says, "The Kharjees read the Quran but it does not go down in their hearts." It means that they merely mutter the Quran by their tongues and they do not apply their minds to it. Hence it does not reach their hearts and it does them no good.

Let us then pay full attention to the words of the Imams when we listen to them. Let us be all ears when they talk and let us ponder over the matter when they finish their talk. We must bear in mind that their words are practically the words of the Prophet himself. For, devotion to them and devotion to God and the Prophet are linked together by God. Let us obey their commands and prohibitions. Let us do what they want us to do and let us keep aloof from what they do not want us to do.

In what we hear from them not directly but through the agency of news let us use our discretion. For, every word of them is full of wisdom and every expression of theirs means to us a world of good. It is a gift of God to understand these things. God confers this gift on those whom He likes and withholds it from those whom He dislikes.

If any one of us finds the words of the Imam highly complicated and beyond his depth, if he does not understand the meaning or dislikes some part of it or finds it useless or meaningless then let him realise that the fault lies with him. He should admit his inefficiency and refer the matter to some one else who is better informed in this than himself to enlighten him. If he cannot find any one to solve his difficulty, even then he should retain his regard for these traditions and his faith in them. He should adopt the next best course to know them and trust the Imam for the rest.

MAJLIS 6: Frankness of the Momins in their Dealings with the Imam

pp. 40-45

God says, "Had those who wronged themselves come to you and repented to God, and had the apostle of God also asked for forgiveness for them, they would have found God forgiving and merciful." With regard to the conduct of hypocrites God says, "When it is said to them 'come in, the Prophet of God will intercede for you' they shrug their shoulders and turn away puffed up with pride."

The above verses show that those who wrong themselves cannot be forgiven unless they approach God through the Imams who are the gates of His mercy for His people and the medium of approach for the people. He who seeks for their intercession is interceded for by them. He who seeks God's mercy through them is favored by God and he who tries to reach God through them is lifted to Him. The approach to God through His Prophet as it is mentioned in the above verse means our obedience to the Prophet through our obedience to the Imams who belong to his "Ahl-e bayt." Had this not been the case the mercy of God would have been cut off from His people and His forgiveness would have disappeared. The doors of our repentance to Him would have been closed and there would have been no way left open to us for forgiveness.

God has not left this world without a medium of approach to Him. This medium is the shelter for shelterless, the gate of divine mercy and a guide for the people. Had there been no such medium left for us, people would have argued in defense of their wrong doing by saying, "There was no one to show us the right path and warn us against the wrong one. There was none to let us know what we did not know and there was none to whom we could have run for shelter and through whom we could have approached God for forgiveness." But God has shut the mouth of these people by leaving the medium on earth.

God has linked the obedience to Him and to the Prophet with the obedience to the spiritual heads who are the representatives of the Prophet on earth and has ordered us to refer to them in all our affairs for guidance and submit to their decision. In short, He wants us to be devoted to Him through our devotion to these Imams. They are the gates of His mercy and the means by which we can approach Him for forgiveness.

If any of the followers of the Imam does contrary to the pledge that he has given to him, to the slightest extent or neglects to do what he has been ordered by him to do or commits positive wrong, then let him go back to him and admit his guilt to him repenting for his sins. Let him regret for the sins of his omission and commission and seek the intercession of the Imam of his time for the forgiveness of these sins. This is what God has commanded us to do in His Holy Book. Let him on no account persist in his misconduct and justify it remorselessly without showing any sign of desisting from this perverse course.

God says in His holy book, "He likes those who repent and those who try to purify themselves." Imam Sadiq (Jaffer Sadiq), greetings be on him, says, "We are the gates of God. We are His medium for His people. He who approaches Him through us is brought near Him. He who seeks our intercession is interceded for. He who seeks favors through us is favored by Him. He who turns away from us goes astray." One of the "Ahl-e bayt" says that Ali, peace be on him, is reported to have said, "It is the duty of every one who recognizes the true position of the Imam to inform him of his shortcomings. Let him tell the Imam what he can do and what he cannot do. The Imam will assign to him the post which he finds him fit. This, in my opinion, is the best course of conduct for the followers of the Imams."

Let us speak the truth and hide nothing from the Imams and let us do, what we do, not for the sake of expecting a post from them or for the sake of gaining power. Let us do this for nothing but for the sake of God. Let us do it for the eternal reward from God in return for our paying back the "amanat" to the Imams and the fulfilment of our pledge to them. Let us show our maximum loyalty and sincerity to them according to the pledge that we have given to them.

If any of the followers of the Imam finds himself unfit for the job which is offered to him by the Imam and yet he intends to accept it to improve his worldly prospects and hides his deficiency from the Imam, does an act of treachery to God, to Prophet and his "Wasee." But if he informs him of all his defects and speaks nothing but truth then the matter rests with the Imam and his duty is to carry out his orders. It matters little whether he knows the job or not. It matters little whether he is competent or incompetent. For, God helps those who are appointed by the Imams provided they discharge their duties with the best of their intentions.

I say an oath that I was ordered by the Imam for innumerable times to do a thing which I believed I could not do. All the same, as soon as I took up the job, I felt competent and I did the work to my satisfaction. I know for certain that God fulfils the expectations of the Imams and they get what they want. Men are nothing more than instruments in the hands of the Imams. When these instruments are used by them they do wonderful things.

I know of a "momin" who was appointed by one of the Imams to a post for which, in my opinion and in the opinion of others who knew him, he was not fit. He accepted the post with promptness. Some one who knew him and knew me to be a close friend of his, mentioned this to me and remarked that the fellow would make a mess of the job. He pressed me hard to advise the man to resign the post. I talked over the matter to the man and he replied: "I know well, that I am what you know me to be. I have no previous experience of the job, at the same time I am convinced that since the Imam has appointed me to do it, I will prove to be suitable. I say on oath that if the Imam were to give me a piece of gold or sliver and ask me to make, out of them ornaments of a particular design I shall accept the job and begin the work in right earnest. I know for certain that God will guide me and inspire me to do what the Imam wants me to do and I shall do it to his satisfaction.

I knew well that he was a man of conviction. I knew for certain that he would not give up the job. To give up the job will be as hard to him as to disobey the Imam. I did not think it proper to argue with him and left him to himself. Next morning I went to his house and found him suffering from a serious disease. He continued ailing till some one else was appointed in his place. After a few days he got over his ailment and became hail and hearty.

I realized for myself that after all God came to his help and relieved him of the job which I was afraid he would make a mess of. This was the result of his implicit faith in the Imam.

All the same the least that is expected of the devotees of the Imam, is, to inform him of their poor abilities, limitations and inefficiency when they are assigned to a job for which they think they are not best fit. After this they have to submit to his decision and hasten to the job to which they are appointed.

We maintain that they look at things with the light of God. He guides them and informs them of what they ask Him about in His subtle ways. He confers on them favors and blessings which they are the only privileged persons to receive. We must bear in mind that the Imams are the light of God.

MAJLIS 7: Obedience to the Imam

pp. 46-50

It is the duty of every one who has given a pledge of loyalty to the Imams that he should fulfil the terms of his pledge and always keep them in view. He should never act contrary to the order of the Imam. In carrying out his orders he should never exceed the limits nor fall short of them. He should not budge an inch from the right course. He should not put his interpretation on what he hears from the Imam. He should say nothing on his own account. He should not allow his imagination to influence his mind in these matters.

It is said that once Imam Jafar, greetings of God be on him, said to some of his followers, "You should be our silent propagandists." When the people asked him as to how they should carry on the propaganda by silence, he said in reply, "Carry it on by your good deeds." He gave a long sermon on this topic and said in the end, "When people find you doing the right thing they will know that it is we who have guided you in this matter. Thus they will run to us and you will prove to be the medium of their coming to us."

It follows that it is the bounden duty of every on who is the follower of the Imams to do good things and keep away from the evil. He should be devoted to God and he should discharge the duties that have been enjoined on him. He should commit no sins and should do nothing which provokes God.

He should not indulge in religious discussions unless he is permitted by the Imam to do so. The Imam permits only those people to carry on religious discussions whom he finds fit for the job. Many a debater indulges in discussions with one who happens to be more competent than himself and in the end suffers a defeat at his hands and becomes sceptic.

It is for these reasons that the Imams order us to be silent and have implicit faith in them. None, but the one who is selected by them and is permitted by them to carry on the discussions is allowed to pursue this course. One of the Imams said to one of his "daa-ees', "If you find your opponent a better debater than yourself then take the help of the inner knowledge, stop him by saying that you are not prepared to initiate him into the depths of the inner meaning. Do not prolong the discussion to give your opponent a free hand. It will create a bad result and make your opponent firmer in his stand. Keep him in suspense, if you are afraid of continuing the discussion. On the other hand if you know at the very beginning that your opponent is a better debater, do not discuss with him and stop him by saying that you believe in inner things. For, very often, discussion with those who are on the wrong path leaves the impression on the audience that your opponents are right. This is exactly what happened when the sorcerers challenged Moses by bringing their ropes and sticks and making them look like snakes. Moses got frightened of the wrong impression they had created on the mind of the audience, although in the long run truth prevailed and the falsehood was eradicated."

It is out of these considerations that we have been ordered by the Imam to be silent and secretive. Imam Jafar, greetings be on him, is reported to have said to some of his followers who offered their services for his support, "We asked you to do something easier than this but you did not do it." They said, "What is that, O the grandson of the Prophet." He said, "We asked you to keep silent. If you had kept silent we would have been pleased with you but you did not do so."

We must bear in mind that in doing the work of the Imams, we have to follow some specific rules that are prescribed for us. We have to do things by degrees and we have to proceed with caution step by step. If we do not stop at the first step and jump to the higher step and try to reach the destination earlier than we are required to reach it we shall be ruined. It will be like feeding a new born baby to death.

In short, these are the things which have prevented the Imams from making their inner knowledge accessible to none but those whom they have found fit. Had they allowed every one to have a free access to it, people would have ruined one another like a new born babe who is killed by feeding or like an embryo who tries to come out before it is fully developed.

Hence, the Imams have purposely kept this knowledge secret in order to test their followers. Had they given full publicity to it and informed every one of what it is, none would have opposed them. But God wants to test His devotees by asking them to have faith in the "ghaib." The Quran says, "This book is undoubtedly a guide to the God-fearing people who have faith in the ‘ghaib' i.e. that hidden thing." These are the people who according to the Quran have been "guaranteed success." If God had desired He could have forced all men to be devoted to Him. He could have easily asked some angel to shout from above and call people to devotion. It would not in that case have been necessary for Him to send one of His apostles to guide people. Had He done so none would have been superior to another and there would have been no room for exertion. In that case there would have been no reward and no punishment. All the people would have been of one type and knowledge and accomplishments and such other gifts of God would have been evenly distributed amongst them. God knows best what He does and His "walees" who are in the know of the divine secrets know best what they do. There is no God but He and there is no partner to Him.

MAJLIS 8: To Thank the Imam in Weal or Woe

pp. 51-55

Patience and gratitude are two great virtues. He who is devoted to God and to His Imams, discharges all the obligations that he owes to them and relies on them in prosperity and adversity. He puts up with discomforts in the discharge of these duties for the sake of God and for the sake of the Imams. He belongs to that group of "Sabirs" i.e. those who bear hardships with patience about whom God says in His holy book, "God rewards the ‘Sabirs' beyond one's calculations." God has praised them and spoken of His rewards to them in several other verses of the Quran.

By virtue of this quality of patience the "Sabirs" have kept themselves in check from doing unlawful things and have persisted in their devotion to God. As a reward for this they have received His favors and have settled down in "Jannat" the abode of bliss.

O momins, keep yourselves in check from doing wrong things and make yourselves deserving of divine favors. Persevere in your devotion and train yourselves to put up with discomforts for the sake of the Imams. Do not be discouraged. Rush into them and do not feel depressed. Patience in this respect is an act of devotion to God. Those who practice it will be amply recompensated by God. "Sabirs" are sure to be rewarded.

It is by patience over the difficulties which the followers of the Imams had to undergo that their authority has been established on earth and their claims have been recognized by the people. It is through the suffering of these followers that people have submitted to their authority.

The "Sabirs" are steady people. They put up with all sorts of hardships for the sake of the Imams. They rush to the Imams and are ever-ready to carry out their orders. If they are appointed to any office they do the job willingly. They are devoted to God and they suffer with patience and firmness what befalls their lot. They abide by the laws of God. They fight for God and they establish His laws on earth. By virtue of this they win the reward of God. They are the happiness of people on earth and their end is the best.

Had the Sabirs not attended to the duties of God and had they not put up with hardships for the sake of the Imams and had they shilly-shallied in the discharge of their religious duties they would have brought on themselves a great disaster. Man would have pounced upon man in front of men and behind them. The strong ones would have swallowed the weak ones and villains would have persecuted men of respectable birth. May God forbid us from such a disaster and the failure of religion which is sure to end in the reign of terror.

This is about patience. With regards to gratitude, it perpetuates the blessings and increases them to an unimaginable extent. Those who are neglectful in this are considered to be "Kafirs" i.e. deniers of truth and deniers of divine favors. God says, "If you show gratitude to Me I shall increase My blessings on you. If you become ‘Kafir' i.e., if you deny My favors then my punishment is very severe." The Prophet says, "If one does you a good turn you must be reciprocal to him. If you cannot do so then thank him. If you fail to do so you become ‘Kafir' i.e. denier of his favors." God does not like that we should be ungrateful to Him for the favors that He has done to us. He does not approve of ingratitude even from man to man for the good turn that one may do to another. He says, "Be grateful to me and to your parents. You have to return to me."

The Prophet says, "On the day of judgement God will say to some one of the ungrateful persons such and such a man did you a good turn but you did not thank him and denied his favor." The man will say in reply, "I thought that you were the source of the good turn he did to me and I thanked you for it." God will say, "How should you thank me when you did not thank the person whom I had made the medium of doing you a good turn?"

To sum up, if to thank our parents for their bringing us up and to thank those men who do us a favor is a duty enjoined on us by God and want of it amounts to "Kufr" then, it needs no imagination to realize the magnitude of the importance of our thank to the Imams whose favors on us are beyond our calculations.

Let us make a short survey of their favors on us. We were ignorant of everything and were spiritually dead. They brought us back to life and showed us the path of wisdom. We were blind, they gave us the eyes to see for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. We were groping in the dark they showed us the light. We had lost the track, they showed us the way to salvation. We were lacking in knowledge, they gave us the knowledge. We were falling in hell-fire, they picked us up and put up in the midst of the righteous. In short, they have done us the favors which we cannot count. They have given us all that is good in this world and the world to come.

With all this, even if one were to follow them with no other motive than an earthly desire for a worldly gain, he will get what he wants. He will get even double the amount of his expectations, provided he is honest in the discharge of the duties that are assigned to hm and is steady in his work. But, if he proves to be dishonest and unfaithful to them in doing his job, if he works against the interest of those very persons who provide him with all sorts of facilities and give him the necessary protection and security of life and property, then the blame lies at his doors. May God protect us from such people and may He not show us such things. The only course left open for such a person is to make amends for his misbehavior and seriously repent for it. He must set himself right and be grateful to Imams.

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