Interaction in Social Life
Rights of one’s Relatives
- Maintaining ties with one’s relations (silatur rahim)
is obligatory upon Muslims, and severing those ties (qat‘ur rahim)
is one of the major sins. Since maintaining the ties is obligatory and severing
them is a major sin for which Allah has threatened Hell-fire, the need for
maintaining the ties becomes more important in foreign lands; and observing
this obligation takes greater priority in countries where relations are few,
families break up, religious bonds erode, and material values rule supreme.
Allãh, the Almighty, has forbidden the severing of ties with one’s
relatives. He said in the Holy Book: “But if you held command, you were
sure to make mischief in the land and cut off the ties of kinship! Those it
is whom Allãh has cursed so He has made them deaf and blinded their
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, “A family that is united and whose members support
one another, Allãh gives them sustenance, even if they be sinners;
a family that is divided and severs ties with one another, Allãh deprives
them [from sustenance], even if they be pious.”1
It has been narrated from Imam al-Bãqir (a.s.) that: “In the book of
‘Ali [it says], ‘There are three traits whoever possesses them shall not die
until he sees their evil consequences: adultery, severing the ties with one’s
relations, and a false oath in which Allãh is invoked. Indeed the good
deed that expedites reward is maintaining the ties with one’s relations. There
could be a people who are sinners, yet they maintain ties with one another,
and so their wealth increases and they have affluence. Verily a false oath
and severing of ties will destroy populated centres.”2
- It is harãm to cut the ties with one’s relation even if that
person had severed his ties [with you]. It is harãm to do so,
even if he or she is negligent of salãt, a drunkard, and takes
some religious injunctions lightly (for example by not observing the hijãb,
etc) to the extent that there is no use in advising, counseling or
warning him or her. This prohibition is only lifted when maintaining the ties
encourages that relation to continue in his or her immoral ways.
Our holy Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said, “The best of virtues is to maintain
the ties with one who has severed it; to give in charity to one who has deprived
you [of help]; and to forgive one who has done wrong to you.”3
He also said, “Do not sever the ties with your relations even if they have
severed them with you.”4
- Probably the least of deeds that a Muslim can do (within the realm of possibility
and ease) in order to maintain the ties with his relations is to visit them
and meet them; or to inquire about their well being by enquiring even from
far [via telephone, etc].
O ur noble Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said, “The good deed that brings rewards
faster [than other deeds] is maintaining the ties with one’s relations.”5
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, “Maintain the link with your relations even by greeting.
Allãh, the Almighty, says, ‘Be careful of (your duty towards) Allãh
by whom you demand of one another (your rights), and (to) the ties of relationship;
surely Allãh ever watches over you.’ (4:1)”6
Imam as-Sãdiq (a.s.) said, “Maintaining the ties and charity make the
reckoning [of the Day of Judgement] simple, and protects from the sins. Therefore,
maintain the ties with your relations and be charitable towards your brethren
even by greeting kindly and replying to the greetings.”7
- The most serious type of severing the ties is causing distress
(‘uqûq) to the parents whom Almighty Allãh has enjoined
kindness and compassion. The Almighty says in His noble Book, “And your
Lord enjoins that you should not worship but Him and be kind to the parents.
If either or both of them reach old age with you, say not to them (so much
as) ‘ugh’ nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.” (17:23)
The Imam says, “The lowest kind of ‘uqûq is to say ‘ugh’. If Allãh
the Almighty had known anything lower than that, He would surely have forbidden
Imam as-Sãdiq (a.s.) said, “Anyone who looks towards his parents with
hatred, even if they had been unjust to him, Allãh shall not accept
his salãt.” There are many such ahãdíth.9
- As opposed to the above is being kind to one’s parents which indeed
is the best means of attaining the pleasure of Almighty Allãh. He has
said in the holy Qur’ãn: “…and lower for them the wings of humility
out of mercy, and say, ‘My Lord! Have mercy on them as they had nourished
me when I was an infant.’” (17:24)
Ibrãhim bin Shu‘ayb narrated that he said to Imam as-Sãdiq (a.s.),
“My father has become very old and weak so much so that we carry him [to the
toilet] when need be.” He said, “If you can help him in that, then do so,
and [also] feed him with your hand because this [service] will be a shield
[against the hell-fire] for you tomorrow [i.e., in the next world].”10
Maintaining the ties with one’s mother before the father has also been
mentioned in many noble ahãdíth. Imam as-Sãdiq
(a.s.) said, “A person came to the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and said, ‘O
Messenger of Allãh! To whom should I do a good deed?’ He replied, ‘To
your mother.’ Then the person asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet replied, ‘Your
mother.’ Then the person asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet replied, ‘Your mother.’
Then the person asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet answered, ‘Your father.’”11
(See the question-answer section below.)
- In some ahãdíth the right of the eldest brother
over the younger ones has been mentioned. This right should be observed and
implemented in order to strengthen the ties of brotherhood within the single
family and to guarantee its survival as a strong and well-knit structure if
and when it goes through a rough patch. The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said,
“ The right of the eldest brother over the younger ones is like the right
of the father over his child.”12
- Besides the guardian of the child or someone authorized by him, no one
is allowed to physically punish a child when he commits a forbidden
act or causes harm to others. The guardian and someone authorized by him are
allowed to discipline a child. [However, there are limits that must be observed:]
the act of, say, hitting should be light, not agonizing, and should not be
such that it leaves bruises on the child’s skin; that it should not exceed
three hits [in one instance]; and that also only when disciplining the child
depends on corporal punishment.
Therefore, the elder brother does not have the right to hit the younger brother
unless he is the legal guardian of the child or authorized by the guardian.
It is not permissible at all to hit a school pupil without the permission
of his guardians or someone authorized by the guardian. (See the question-answer
- It is not permissible to hit a bãligh child in order to prevent
him from an evil act, except in accordance with the conditions of al-amru
bi ’l-ma‘rûf wa ’n-nahi ‘ani ’l-munkar (enjoining the good and forbidding
the evil) with the permission of the religious authority. Based on obligatory
precaution, a bãligh child should not be hit at all.
- Respecting the Elders: The noble Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.)
has asked us to respect the elderly and honour them. He said, “One who recognizes
the virtue of an elder person and honours him for his age, Allãh shall
protect him from the fear of the Day of Judgement.”13
He also said, “One way of exalting Allãh, the Almighty, is to honour
the believer with a white beard.”14
Visiting One Another
- Many noble ahãdíth from the Prophet
(s.a.w.) and the Imams (a.s.) have emphasized the idea of visiting one another,
maintaining cordial relationship among the believers, making the believers
happier, fulfilling their needs, visiting their sick, participating in their
funerals, and helping them in good as well as restrained circumstances. Imam
as-Sãdiq (a.s.) said, “Anyone who visits his brother [in faith] for
the sake of Allãh, Almighty Allãh will say, ‘You have visited
Me, therefore your reward is upon Me, and I will not be satisfied with a reward
for you less than Paradise.’”15
The Imam said to Khaythamah, “Convey our greetings to those who love us and
advise them to fear Allãh, and that the affluent and strong ones among
them should visit the poor and weak ones; they should participate in their
funerals and meet one another in their homes.”16
- The right of the neighbour is close [in importance]
to the right of kin. A Muslim and a non-Muslim neighbour are equal in this
right because the Messenger of Allãh (s.a.w.) established the right
of the non-Muslim neighbour when he said: “There are three kinds of neighbours:
1. Some of them have three rights [upon you]: the right of Islam, the right
of neighbourhood, and the right of relationship. 2. Some have two rights:
the right of Islam and the right of neighbourhood. 3. Some have just one right:
the non-Muslim who has the right of neighbourhood.”17 The Prophet said, “The
best neighbourly act is to be trustworthy for those who are your neighbours.”18
In the advice Imam ‘Ali gave to Imams al-Hasan and al-Husayn after the accursed
Ibn Muljim had wounded him, he also talked about neighbours. He said, “be
mindful of your duty towards Allãh regarding your neighbours because
it was the advice of your Prophet who continuously talked good about them
until we thought that he might give them a share in our estate.”19
Imam as-Sãdiq (a.s.) said, “Accursed, accursed is he who harasses his
neighbour.”20 He also
said, “One who does not maintain good neighbourly relations with his neighbours
is not one of us.”21
(See the question-answer section below.)
- Among the qualities of the good believers is to emulate the noble character
of Prophet Muhammad (a.s.) whom the Almighty has described in His Book as
follows: “And you verily are on a high level of noble character.” (68:
4-6.)22 Indeed the Messenger
of Allãh (s.a.w.) said, “Nothing will be placed on the scale of the
Day of Judgement better than good character.”23
Once the Prophet was asked, “Who is the best in faith among the believers?”
He replied, “The best among them in character.”24
- Among the qualities of good believers is truthfulness
in speech and action, and fulfilling the promise. Almighty Allãh has
praised Prophet Ismã‘íl (a.s.) by saying: “He indeed was
true in [fulfillment of] promise and was a messenger, a prophet.” (19:54)
The noble Prophet said, “One who believes in Allãh and the Last Day
should fulfill whatever he promises.”25
The importance of truthfulness and fulfillment of promise is more emphasized
when we realize that many non-Muslims judge Islam by the action of Muslims.
As much good a Muslim does, he positively portrays Islam to non-Muslims through
his good conduct, and as much evil a Muslim does, he negatively portrays Islam
through his bad conduct.
Husand and Wife
- Among the qualities of a good wife is refraining from
harassing, hurting, and irritating her husband. Among the qualities of a good
husband is refraining from harassing, hurting, and irritating his wife.
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “If a man has a wife who harasses him, Allãh
will neither accept her ritual prayer (salãt) nor any of her
good deeds —until she has pleased him— even if she fasts and prays at all
times, emancipates slaves, and gives away her wealth in charity for the sake
of Allãh. She will be the first to enter the Fire.” Then he said, “And
the husband has the same burden and chastisement, if he is a harasser and
unjust [in his behaviour towards his wife].”26
Friendship with non-Muslims
- A Muslim is allowed to take non-Muslims for acquaintances
and friends, to be sincere towards them and they be sincere towards him,
to help one another in fulfilling the needs of this life. Almighty Allãh
has said in His noble Book: “Allãh does not forbid you in regard
to those who have not made war against you on account of (your) religion,
and have not driven you forth from your homes, that you show them kindness
and deal with them justly; surely Allãh loves the doers of justice.”
When these kinds of friendship produce good results, it guarantees that the
non-Muslim friend, neighbour, or colleague and business partner will know
about the values of Islam, and it will bring him closer to this upright religion.
The Prophet said to Imam ‘Ali, “If Allãh guides through you a single
person from His servants, that is better for you than anything upon which
the Sun shines from the East to the West.”27
(See the question-answer section below.)
- It is permissible to greet Ahlul Kitãb (the Jews and the
Christians, etc) and also the non-Ahlul Kitãb on the occasions
they celebrate like the New Year, Christmas, Easter, and the Passover.
Al-Amr bi ’l-Ma‘rûf
and an-Nahi ‘ani ’l-Munkar
- Enjoining good and forbidding evil are obligatory rituals,
whenever the conditions exist, on all believing men and women. Almighty Allãh
has said in His noble Book: “There should be a group among you who should
be calling (people) to the good, enjoining the good, and forbidding the evil;
they are the successful ones.” (3:104) He also said, “The believing
men and the believing women are helpers of one another, they enjoin the good
and forbid the evil.” (9:71)
Our noble Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) said, “My community will continue to be
blessed as long they enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and help one another
in good deeds. When they do not do this, blessings will be withheld from them,
and some [evil persons] among them will have hegemony over the others; and
they shall have no helper neither on the earth nor in the heaven.”28
Imam Ja‘far as-Sãdiq (a.s.) qualted the Messenger of Allãh (s.a.w.)
as saying, “How will it be with you when your women will become corrupt and,
your youths sinful while you will not be enjoining the good nor forbidding
the evil?” The people said, “Will this happen, O Messenger of Allãh?”
He replied, “Yes; and even worse than that. How will it be with you when you
will be enjoining the evil and forbidding the good?” The people said, “O Messenger
of Allãh! will this actually happen?” He said, “Yes, and even worse
than that. How will it be with you when you will think of good as evil and
of evil as good?”29
These two obligations become more pressing when the person neglecting the
good or committing the evil is one of your family members. You might find
someone among your family who neglects some obligations or takes them lightly;
you might find some of them performing wudhu or tayammum or
ghusl incorrectly, or does not purify his body and clothes from impurities
correctly. Or does not recite the two surahs and the obligatory recitations
in salãt correctly; or does not purify his wealth by paying
khums and zakãt.
You might find someone among your family members committing some sins like
masturbation or gambling or listening to songs or drinking intoxicants or
eating harãm meat or devouring people’s property unlawfully
or cheating and stealing.
You might find someone among the women in your family not observing hijãb,
not concealing her hair; and you might find that she does not remove the nail
polish at the time of wudhu or ghusl. You might even find among
them someone who wears perfume for men other than her husband; and does not
conceal her hair or body from the eyes of her cousins (maternal or paternal),
brother-in-law, or husband’s friend with the justification that they all live
in the same house, and under the pretext that he is like her brother, or other
similar groundless excuses.
You might find someone in your family who habitually lies, backbites and infringes
upon the rights of others, usurps people’s property, supports the wrong-doers
in their unjust activities, and harasses his neighbour, etc.
If you find any such situations, you should enjoin the good and forbid the
evil by applying the first two methods: that is, expressing your displeasure
at the situation, and then speaking about it. If these two methods do not
work, then apply the third method (after asking the permission from the mujtahid):
adopting practical [or physical] measures moving from softer to harsher ones.
If that person is ignorant of the religious rules, it is your duty to teach
them, if they have the intention of learning and acting accordingly.
Kindness towards People
- Kindness towards people, all the people, is among the
recommended rituals that have been emphasized by our religion. The Messenger
of Allãh said, “My Lord has commanded me to be kind towards the people
just as He has commanded me to fulfill the obligatory [prayers].” He also
said, “If a person does not have three things, his deeds are not complete:
[spiritual] armor that prevents him from disobeying Allãh; noble character
by which he shows kindness towards the people; and forbearance by which he
repels the foolishness of the ignorant person.”30
Kindness is not limited to the Muslims only. It has been narrated that Imam
‘Ali (a.s.) became a travelling companion of a non-Muslim on the way to Kufa.
When they reached to a crossroad, the Imam walked with him for a distance
before saying farewell. The non-Muslim asked him why he walked that extra
distance, the Imam replied, “This is the right of companionship, i.e. see
them through for a short distance when they separate. This is what our Prophet
has ordered us to do.”31
That man accepted Islam because of this noble gesture.
An interesting story was narrated by ash-Sha‘bi concerning the justice of
Imam ‘Ali with one of his non-Muslim subjects. He narrated that one day ‘Ali
bin Abi Tãlib went to the market and saw a Christian selling a coat
of arms. ‘Ali (a.s.) recognized that coat of arms and said to the seller,
“This is my body armour; let us go to the judge of the Muslims.” The Muslim
judge was Shurayh, and ‘Ali himself had appointed him in that position.
When they went to Shurayh, he said, “What is the matter, O Amiru ’l-mu’mineen?”
‘Ali (a.s.) said, “This is my coat of arms which I have lost since a long
time now.” Then Shurayh asked the seller, “O Christian, what do you have to
say?” The Christian seller said, “I am not accusing Amiru ’l-mu’mineen
of lying, but the coat of arms is my property.” So Shurayh turned to ‘Ali
(a.s.) and said, “I do not see [any ground on which] you can take it from
his possession. Do you have a proof [supporting your claim]?” Since ‘Ali (a.s.)
had no proof, he said, “Shurayh is correct [in his judgement].”32
On hearing the judgement, the Christian seller said, “I bear witness that
these are the laws of the prophets: the Leader of the Believers comes to a
judge appointed by himself, and the judge passes a judgement against him!
By God, O Amiru ’l-mu’mineen, this coat of arms is yours—I followed
you in the army, and the coat of arms slipped down from your camel, so I took
it. I bear witness that there is no god but Allãh and that Muhammad
is the Messenger of Allãh.” ‘Ali (a.s.) said, “Now that you have become
a Muslim, it belongs to you.” Then he carried it on a horse. Sha‘bi said that
he subsequently saw the man fighting the non-Muslims. This version of the
hadíth has been narrated from Abu Zakariyya.33
Similarly, we have heard from Amiru ’l-mu’mineen ‘Ali (a.s.) what could
be considered as a historical precedence of social security that is so commonly
practiced at present in the Western world. ‘Ali did not differentiate between
a Muslim and a non-Muslim in the Islamic state. The narrator said that one
day an old blind person passed by him begging. Imam ‘Ali (a.s.), “What is
this?” Those who were around him said, “O said, he is a Christian!” Imam ‘Ali
(a.s.) answered, “You have used him until he became old and incapable, and
now you are depriving him [of the benefits]! Provide for him from the public
treasury.”34 It has
also been narrated from Imam as-Sãdiq (a.s.), “If a Jewish person comes
to sit with you, make that a good meeting.”35
Making Peace Between People
- There is a great reward in making peace between people,
reconciling their differences, making them friends of one another, and lessening
the gulf of disagreement between them. More so when making peace is done in
a non-Muslim land far away from the homeland, family, relations, and friends.
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) had given certain advice to his sons, al-Hassan and al-Husayn,
just before his death after the Kharijite Ibn Muljim al-Murãdi had
injured him. He said, “I advise you both, all my children and family members,
and whosoever to whom this letter of mine reaches: to fear Allãh, to
organize your affairs, to establish peace because I have heard your grandfather
(s.a.w.) say, ‘Making peace is better than a whole year of praying and fasting.’”36
Sincere Advice for Muslim Brethren
- Sincere advice —that is, to wish that the blessings
of Allãh may continue on the believing brethren, to dislike that evil
may afflict them, and to exert efforts in guiding them towards what is good
for them— is among the deeds loved by the Almighty Allãh.
There are countless ahãdíth on the importance of sincere
counsel. For instance, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “The person with greatest
status in the eyes of Allãh on the Day of Judgement will be the person
who worked most in His earth to give sincere counsel to His creatures.”37
Imam al-Bãqir (a.s.) said, “The Messenger of Allãh (s.a.w.)
said, ‘A person from among you should give sincere advice to his brother in
faith as if he is advising himself.’”38
Imam as-Sãdiq (a.s.) said, “It is necessary for a believer to sincerely
advise another believer in his presence as well as in his absence.”39
He also said, “You should be careful about advising Allãh’s creatures
sincerely for His sake because you can never meet Allãh with a deed
better than that.”40
- Spying —that is, snooping in order to gain information
and embarrass people— is forbidden in Islamic laws. Almighty Allãh
has said in His Book: “O You who believe, refrain from most of suspicions
because some suspicions are sins, and do not spy…” (49:12)
Ishãq bin ‘Ãmmãr, a companion of Imam as-Sãdiq
(a.s.), said: I heard as-Sãdiq (a.s.) saying, “The Messenger of Allãh
(s.a.w.) said, ‘O you who have accepted Islam with your tongue [i.e., with
your verbal declarations of faith] and faith is yet to enter your hearts!
Do not disparage the Muslims nor disclose their frailties, because whosoever
discloses their shortcomings, Allãh shall disclose his; and he whose
weaknesses are disclosed by Allãh, will indeed be disgraced, even if
he is inside his house.’”41
- Backbiting means “speaking ill of a believer in their
absence with the purpose of disparaging or not, and no matter whether the
alleged shortcoming was related to his body, lineage, behaviour, deeds, statements,
religion, or life, and other defects which are [usually] concealed from the
people. Similarly, it does not matter whether the description was done by
words or by gesture.”42
Almighty Allãh condemned backbiting in His noble Book and has described
it such that mind and body feel abhorrence towards it. He said, “And some
of you should not backbite the others: would anyone of you like to eat the
flesh of his dead brother? No, you abhor it.” (49:12)
The Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Be careful of backbiting because backbiting is
worse than adultery, in that a person who commits adultery can repent and
ask forgiveness from God, and Allãh can forgive him whereas Allãh
will not forgive the backbiter until the person who was at the receiving end
It is not appropriate for a believer to listen to backbiting against his believing
brother. Indeed, it appears from the sayings of the Prophet and the Imams
(may Allãh bless them all) that it is obligatory upon one who hears
backbiting to support the person who is being disparaged; and that if he does
not repel the backbiting [against his believing brother], Allãh will
abandon him in this world as well as in the hereafter, and he shall be held
accountable just like the one who did the backbiting.
- When we talk about backbiting, another religious terminology also comes
to the mind of the believer that has been equally forbidden by Islam for the
sake of holding the society together. It is the term known as “an-namímah”
which means sowing dissension by statements like “So and so was saying this
and that about you” with the intention of damaging the relationship between
the believers or increasing bitterness between them.
The Messenger of Allãh (s.a.w.) has said, “Shall I not inform you of
the worst person among you?” People said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allãh!”
He said, “Those who spread slanderous rumours; those who divide friends.”44
Imam al-Bãqir (a.s.) said, “Paradise is forbidden upon the backbiters
and those who spread slanderous rumours.”45
Similarly, Imam as-Sãdiq (a.s.) said, “The spiller of blood [i.e.,
murderer], the alcoholic, and the one who spreads slanderous rumours will
not enter Paradise.”46
- Suspicion. Almighty Allãh has forbidden us from having suspicious
thoughts. He says in His noble Book, “O you who believe! Refrain from most
of the suspicions because some suspicions are a sin.” (49:12)
Based on this noble Qur’ãnic verse, it is not permissible for a believer
to entertain suspicious thoughts about his fellow Muslim without any clear
proof and evidence, because no one other than Allãh knows the inner-most
thoughts of a person. So, as long as it is possible to place the action of
a believer in a proper context, we should do so until it is proven otherwise.
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) said, “Place the affair of your brother in the best possible
[context] until you get a proof which convinces you [of the contrary]. And
do not have suspicious thoughts about a word that comes out of your brother
[in faith] while you have a positive context for it.”47
Extravagance and Waste
- Extravagance and waste are two bad qualities condemned
by Almighty Allãh. He says, “Eat and drink but do not waste because
He does not like the squanderors.” (7:31) He has also condemned those
who engage in waste by saying, “Verily the wastrels are brethren
of the Satans, and verily the Satan was ungrateful to his Lord.” (19:27)
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) wrote a letter to Ziyãd in which he condemned wastage
and squandering. He wrote: “Give up lavishness and be moderate. Every day
remember the coming day. Hold back from the funds what you need and send forward
the balance for the day of your need. Do you expect that Allãh may
give you the reward of the humble while you yourself are arrogant in His view?
And do you covet that He may give you the reward of those doing charity while
you enjoy comforts and deny them to the weak and the widows? Certainly, a
man is rewarded according to what he has done, and he shall meet what he has
- Charity for the sake of Allãh: Allãh has
encouraged us in His noble Book to give charity for His sake and has described
it as a deal which will never go sour. He says, “Those who recite the Book
of Allãh, establish the prayer, and give in charity secretly as well
as openly out of what We have given them, they hope for a deal that will never
go sour. Allãh shall pay them their rewards in full and give them more
out of His grace; indeed He is Forgiving, Multiplier of rewards.” (35:29-30)
In another chapter, He says, “Who is there that will offer to Allãh
a good loan so that He will double it for him, and he shall have an excellent
reward. On that day you will see the believing men and the believing women
while their light shall be running before them and on their right side—[they
will be told:] ‘good news to you today: gardens beneath which rivers flow,
to abide therein, that is the great achievement.’” (57:11-12)
In a third verse, Allãh reminds us to hasten to giving charity before
death strikes. He says, “And give in charity out of what We have given
you before death comes to one of you, so that he should say, ‘My Lord! Why
did Thou not respite me to a near term, so that I should have given alms and
been of the doers of good deeds?’ And Allãh does not respite a soul
when its appointed term has come, and Allãh is Aware of what you do.”
Then Allãh clarifies the end of those who hoard wealth and do not spend
in charity for His sake. He says, “(As for) those who hoard up gold and
silver and do not spend it in Allãh’s way, announce to them a painful
chastisement on the day when it shall be heated in the fire of hell, then
their foreheads and their sides and their backs shall be branded with it;
this is what you hoarded up for yourselves, therefore taste what you hoarded.”
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) was the living example and the embodiment of the great values
of Islam; he gave in charity whatever his hands could hold, preferring frugality
in this transitory world and avoiding its beauties and luxuries while he had
the control of the entire public treasury of the Muslims. He describes himself
[in letter to his governor in Basra] as follows:
“If I wished I could have taken the way leading towards (worldly pleasures
like) pure honey, fine wheat and silk clothes, but it cannot be that my passions
lead me and greed takes me to choosing good meals while there may be people
in the Hijaz and in Yamãmah who have no hope of getting bread or who
do not have a full meal. Shall I lie with a full belly while around me there
may be hungry bellies and thirsty livers? Or shall I be as the poet has said,
It is enough for you to have a disease
that you lie with your belly full
While around you people may be badly yearning
for dried meat?”49
Various sayings have come from the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and the Imams
(a.s.) describing clearly the benefits gained by the person who gives in charity,
not only in this world, but also more than what he expects on “the day
when neither wealth shall benefit [a person] nor children.”
Sustenance is one reward that a generous person gets. The Prophet (s.a.w.)
said, “Let sustenance flow [from God] through charity.”50
Curing disease is another benefit of giving in charity. The Prophet (s.a.w.)
said, “Cure your sick ones through charity.”51
Prolonging life span and averting tragic death is another result of giving
in charity. Imam al-Bãqir (a.s.) said, “Benevolence and charity eliminate
poverty, prolong life span, and spare the charitable person seventy kinds
of tragic deaths.”52
Fulfillment of debts and [increase in] blessings are also benefits of giving
in charity. Imam as-Sãdiq (a.s.) said, “Charity fulfills the payment
of debts and yields.”53
The children of a charitable person are taken care of after blessing his death.
Imam as-Sãdiq (a.s.) said, “No person has given good charity in this
world but that Allãh has made good provision for his children after
his departure [from this world].”54
Imam al-Bãqir (a.s.) said, “If I could take care of a Muslim family,
feeding the hungry among them, clothing the naked among them, and protecting
their honour in society [their having not to beg], this is preferable than
going for hajj, [then another] hajj, [then a third] hajj
until I go ten times or even until I go seventy times.”55
Doing charity for the sake of Allãh is a vast subject that cannot be
fully covered in this short treatise.56
Gifts for Family members
- The Messenger of Allãh (s.a.w.) had encouraged heads
of family to buy gifts for their families so as to make them happy.
Ibn ‘Abbãs narrates from the Messenger of Allãh (s.a.w.) that
he said, “Whosoever enters a market and buys a gift, and takes it to his family
is like a person who do charity to those who are in need of it.”57
Concern for the Muslim Ummah
- One of the issues that the Islamic shari‘a has emphasized
is the the of being concerned for the affairs of Muslims. The Messenger
of Allãh (s.a.w.) said, “Whosoever get up in the morning and has no
concern for the affairs of Muslims is not a Muslim.”58
He also said, “Whosoever gets up without being concerned with the affairs
of Muslims is not one of them.”59
There are many other sayings on this issue cannot be mentioned here.60
1. Al-Kulayni, al-Usûl mina 'l-Kafi,
vol. 2, p. 348.
2. Ibid, p. 347.
3. An-Naraqi, Jami'u 's-Sa'adat, vol.
2, p. 260.
4. Al-Kulayni, al-Usûl mina 'l-K?fi,
vol. 2, p. 347; also see as-Sadûq, Man La Yahdhuruhu 'l-Faqih, vol. 4, p. 267.
5. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 152.
6. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 155.
7. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 157.
8. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 348.
10. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 162.
11. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 160.
12. An-Naraqi, Jami'u 's-Sa'adat,
vol. 2, p. 267.
13. As-Sadûq, Thawabu 'l-A'mal wa
'Iqabu 'l-A'mal, p. 225.
15. Al-Kulayni, al-Usûl mina 'l-Kafi,
vol. 2, p. 176.
16. Ibid; for more information,
see the sections "Fulfilling the Needs of Believer" (vol. 2, p. 192), "Striving
for Need of a Believer" (vol. 2, p. 196), "Relieving the Suffering of a Believer"
(vol. 2, p. 199) of al-Usûl mina 'l-K?fi of al-Kulayni.
17. An-Nuri, Mustadraku 'l-Wasa'il
("Kitabu 'l-Hajj"), section 72.
18. An-Naraqi, Jami'u 's-Sa'adat,
vol. 2, p. 267. Also see the section on "rights of the neighbour" in al-Usûl
mina 'l-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 666.
19. Nahju 'l-Balagha (ed. Subhi
as-Salih) p. 422.
20. Mustadraku 'l-Wasa'il, vol.
1, section 72.
21. An-Naraqi, Jami'u 's-Sa'adat,
vol. 2, p. 268.
22. To know more about the noble
character of the Prophet (a.s.), see at-Tabrasi, Makarimu 'l-Akhlaq, p. 15ff,
and the various books of history and hadith.
23. An-Naraqi, Jami'u 's-Sa'adat,
vol. 1, p. 443.
24. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 331. Also see
al-Usûl mina 'l-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 99 and Wasa'ilu 'sh-Shi'a, vol. 15, p. 198ff.
25. An-Naraqi, ibid. Also see al-Usûl
mina 'l-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 363ff.
26. Al-Hurr al-'Amili, Wasa'ilu
'sh-Shi'a, vol. 20, p. 82. Also see 'Abdu 'l-Husayn Dastghayb, adh-Dhunûbu 'l-Kabirah,
vol. 2, p. 296-297.
27. An-Nuri, Mustadraku 'l-Wasa'il,
vol. 12, p. 241.
28. Al-Hurr al-'Amili, Wasa'ilu
'sh-Shi'a, vol. 16, p. 396.
29. Ibid, vol. 16, p. 122.
30. Wasa'ilu 'sh-Shi'a, vol. 12,
31. Ibid, p. 135.
32. Translator's Note: Shurayh's
judgement was based on the principle that possession is itself a proof of ownership,
and that the claimant has to provide the proof in support of his claim.
al-Milani in Qadatuna, quoting al-Bayhaqi, as-Sunanu 'l-Kubra, vol. 4, p. 135.
34. At-Tusi, at-Tahdhib, vol. 6,
35. Wasa'ilu 'sh-Shi'a, vol. 12,
36. Nahju 'l-Balagha (Subhi as-Salih's
edition) p. 421.
37. Al-Usûl mina 'l-Kafi, vol. 2,
38. Ibid; also see Jami'u 's-Sa'adat,
vol. 2, p. 213.
40. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 164; for more
information see the relevent sections in Wasa'ilu 'sh-Shi'a, vol. 16, p. 381-384.
41. Ibid, vol. 12, p. 275.
42. As-Sayyid as-Sistani, Minhaju
's-Saliheen, vol. 1, p. 17.
43. An-Naraqi, Jami'u 's-Sa'adat,
vol. 2, p. 302.
44. An-Naraqi, Jami'u 's-Sa'adat,
vol. 2, p. 276.
45. Al-Usûl mina 'l-Kafi, vol. 2,
46. As-Sadûq, Thawabu 'l-A'mal,
47. Wasa'ilu 'sh-Shi'a, vol. 8,
48. Nahju 'l-Balagha, letter no.
49. Nahju 'l-Balaghah, letter no.
50. Al-Majlisi, Biharu 'l-Anwar,
vol. 19, p. 118.
51. Al-Himyari, Qurbu 'l-Asnad,
52. As-Sadûq, al-Khisal, vol. 1,
53. Wasa'lu 'sh-Shi'a, vol. 6, p.
54. Ibid, vol. 19, p. 118.
55. As-Sadûq, Thawabu 'l-A'mal,
56. For more information on this,
see as-Sayyid 'Izzu 'd-Din Bahru 'l-'Ulûm, al-Infaq fi Sabilillah.
57. As-Sadûq, Thawabu 'l-A'mal,
58. Jami'u 's-Sa'adat, vol. 2, p.
60. See al-Usûl mina 'l-Kafi, section
on "Being Concerned for Affairs of the Muslims."