Reply: Question 15

In the lexicon of Ahl’ul-bayt traditions, the Shias are a group of special people. However, no term, concept and spiritual meaning is assigned to any single special group but instead encompasses various grades and levels. Although the truth of any term and its concept are more easily grasped if applied to outstanding figures nevertheless the same concept is also true at lower levels. In other words, all phrases are analogical and in definition, it’s not that the first level category only is taking into account.

In our divine lexicon, terms such as ‘Aalem’, ‘Mu’min’, ‘Faqih’, ‘Saleh’ and ‘Muttaqi’ are used numerously. But these terms are not used for a few special class or exclusive people only even though special categories constantly come to one’s mind. For example, the term ‘Faqih’ denotes“someone well-versed in religion” . It does not merely refer to someone who is top-most in ‘Fiqh’ (for instance Shaikh Tusi) but rather also applies to lower categories.

Thus, Imam-e-Zaman’s (a.t.f.s.) statement (in ‘Tauqee’ of Shaikh Mofid) that:

“We aren’t neglectful in remembering you and aren’t forgetful of your affairs” does not merely apply to the top-most Shias only. Rather it applies to lower categories too with the condition that they don’t remain aloof from Shia ethics so much so that they exit from the real meaning of ‘Shia’.

If only the lofty and eminent Shias are considered in the eyes of Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) then it would apply only to a few limited people of every era and the common people would no longer strive to traverse from inferior to superior level and our Imam’s grace and kindness would not embrace and encompass all. But, from Imam’s great ocean of love, we see everyone drawing the water of life and enjoying spiritual bliss each one to the capacity of their cup.

This is the rule of Divine Mercy and affection and the Imams (a.s.) are the perfect manifestation of Divine Mercy and affection. They don’t withhold a bit from expressing their kindness and assisting the helpless and weak and numerous pages in history have recorded their noble temperament.

Shaikh Saduq narrates in“Savaab ul-A’maal” : Mo’alla-ibn-Honais says:

“In one rainy night, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) left his house and intended to visit the umbrella-stand of Bani-Sa’eda (a place ascribed to Bani-Sa’eda and the poor would sleep at night in that place). I followed Imam (a.s.). On the way, something fell from Hazrat’s hand. He said, ‘In the name of Allah. O Allah! Bring back whatever has fallen.’

In the darkness of night I went near and greeted him. He said, O Mo’alla, is it you? I replied, ‘Yes, may my life be sacrificed for you.’ He said, ‘Search with your hands and whatever you find give it to me.’ As I lay my hand on the ground, I realized that a few pieces of bread had fallen down. I picked them up and handed over to him. Meanwhile, I realized that a bag full of bread accompanied him as well. I said, ‘May I be sacrificed for you. Will you allow me to carry this bag? He said, ‘No I must carry it myself but you can accompany me.’

We reached the umbrella-stand of Bani-Sa’eda. I saw people sleeping at this place. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) went forward. He quietly kept beneath the baggage of everyone one piece and two pieces of bread. Thereafter, we returned. On the way, I asked, “Were they all the followers of true religion?” He replied,“If they were followers of the true religion, I would have made them my partners in everything even salt and pepper.” [34]

Thus, people who were not followers of truth were meted out with such grace and kindness. Besides, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) reckons the followers of truth (i.e., the Shias) to be his partners even in salt and pepper. Truly, his great son Hazrat Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) too is kind and graceful to the Shias and he allows the same magnanimity and generosity to prevail.

As such, we can conclude and say in brief:

Everyone, whether pious or wicked can expose themselves to Hazrat’s grace and kindness and on this basis, it is advisable for the pious to strive more in his piety and for the wicked to refrain from evils and instead turn to piety with the hope that Imam’s boundless grace encompasses them all.