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Auspicious month of Ramadan arrived and Muslims in all corners of the world, fast eagerly. Islamic narrations give us some informative information regarding to philosophy of fasting. For example, forth Imam, Imam Sajjad (A.S), in treatise-of-rights (Right n.11) says: “And the right of fasting is that you should know it is a veil, which God has set up over your tongue, your hearing and your sight, your private parts and your stomach.” Maybe you ask what is the necessity and benefits of that. This question is answered in the following: “To protect you from the Fire [of hell]. This meaning is asserted in the tradition: “Fasting is a shield against the Fire.”” (Ibid) Another question comes to mind: does it include all who fast? The answer is this: “Thus if your parts become tranquil within the veil of fasting, you have hopes of being protected. But if you leave them agitated behind the veil and let them lift the sides of the veil, so they look at things that are not lawful for them to look at that incite lust and powers that are beyond the limits of being God-fearing, you will not be safe from tearing through the veil and coming out of it. And there is no power but in God.” (Ibid)
1- There is also an interesting tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari as well as Sahih Muslim in which the Prophet (PBUH&HF) said the following: Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 9.422 Narrated Abu Sa'id al-Khudri: The Prophet said, "You will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a hole of a mastigure (lizard), you would follow them." We said, "O Allah's Apostle! (Do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?" He said, "Whom else?" As the above tradition in Sahih al-Bukhari confirms, the Prophet stated that the history of the Children of Israel will be repeated for Muslims as revelaed to the prophet in similar manner. In fact, Quran has mentioned the stories of the Children of Israel to give us a way to understand the true history of Islam itself. 2-There are many striking similarities in this regard written in Quran including the similarities of the leaders and the similarities of the people. Few of them are given here. Allah, to whom belong Might and Majesty, said: وَلَقَدْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَبَعَثْنَا مِنْهُمُ اثْنَيْ عَشَرَ نَقِيبًا . "Surely Allah aforetime took a covenant from the Children of Israel and We appointed twelve leaders among them" (Quran 5:12) “Who are those TWELVE leaders among the Children of Muhammad (PBUH&HF)?” 3- Allah, Exalted, also said: "And when Moses prayed for water for his (thirsty) people; We said: 'Strike the rock with your staff.' Then from there surged forth TWELVE springs so that each group knew its own place to drink." (Quran 2:60). - Who are those twelve springs (streams) of knowledge who quench the thirst of Muslims to the end of the world so that each generation is utilized with one of them? He, Exalted He is, also said: 4- "We divided them into TWELVE nations. We directed Moses by revelation when his (thirsty) people asked him for water: 'Strike the rock with your staff;' out of it there gushed forth twelve springs so that each group knew its own place for water. We gave them the shade of clouds and sent down to them manna and quails (saying): 'Eat of the good things We have provided for you,' (but they rebelled.) To Us they did no harm but they harmed their own souls." (Quran 7:160). Verily those who did not follow those TWELVE leaders, harmed non but themselves. The above verse suggests that the nation of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HF) in the span of history (after his demise till the day of judgment) are divided into 12 intervals of time which coincides with one Imam who is assigned as leader for them. 5- In the next verse Allah said: "And when it was said unto them: 'Dwell in this Town and eat therein as you wish, and say Repentance, and enter the Gate (of the city) in a posture of humility, in order that We forgive you your sins and increase (the portion of) those who do good.'" (Quran 7:161) or: "And when We said: 'Enter this Town and eat of the plenty therein as you wish; but enter the Gate (of the City) with humility in posture and in words so that We forgive you your sins and increase (the portion of) those who do good.'" (Quran 2:58). The Gate in the above verses has a striking similarity with one of the attributes of Imam Ali (as) mentioned by our Prophet (PBUH&HF) that is: "The Gate of the City of Knowledge." The Messenger of Allah said: "I am the City of Knowledge, and Ali is its Gate. So whoever intends to enter the City and the Wisdom, he should enter from its Gate." Sunni references: - Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, pp 201,637 - al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, pp 126-127,226 - Fadha'il al-Sahaba, by Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v2, p635, Tradition #1081 and many more... 6- Furthermore the following Prophetic tradition gives the utmost similarity with the above two verses: The Messenger of Allah said: "My Ahlul-Bait are like the Gate of Repentance of the Children of Israel; whoever entered therein was forgiven." Sunni References: - Majma' al-Zawa'id, by al-Haithami, v9, p168. - al-Awsat, by al-Tabarani, Tradition #18 - Arba'in, by al-Nabahani, p216 - A fairly similar tradition reported by al-Darqunti and by Ibn Hajar al-Haithami in al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqa, Ch. 9, section 2, p193, in which the Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "Ali is the Gate of Repentance, whoever entered therein was a believer and whoever went out was an unbeliever." 7- Also Allah swt stated in Quran: Lo! The number of the months with Allah is TWELVE which is Allah's ordinance when He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred. That is the firm religion. So wrong not your souls in them. (Quran9:36) The other meaning (as interpreted by Ahlul-Bait) is that the Prophet in his last pilgrimage (less than three month before his demise) wanted to convey that he will be followed by twelve Imams and people should not wrong their souls by disobeying them in their leadership periods. Among these twelve Imams, four have a sacred name, i.e., "Ali", which is derived from the name of Allah. In fact, four Imams of Ahlul-Bait (peace be upon them all) have been named "Ali". In the Sira of Ibn Hisham, there is an extra sentence of the Messenger of Allah which is, in fact, the verse of Quran. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) said: "'Postponement of a sacred month is only an excess of disbelief whereby those who disbelieve are misled; they allow it one year and forbid it another year that they may make up the number of months which God has hallowed so that they permit what God has forbidden (Quran 9:37), and forbid what God has allowed. Time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the day that God created the heavens and the earth. The number of months with God is twelve. Four of them are sacred." Sunni references: - Sira, by Ibn Hisham at the end of Chapter of "Farewell Pilgrimage", p968 - The Life of Muhammad (English translation of Sira Ibn Hisham), Translated into English by A. Guillaume, 1955 Edition, London, p651 8- In a tradition on the authority of Jabir (ra), Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, the fifth Imam of Ahlul-Bait, interprets the above verse which is as follows: Jabir said: I asked Imam Muhammad al-Baqir about the meaning of the verse: "Verily the number of the months … (9:36)." He (as) breathed long (out of sorrow) and said: "O Jabir, The 'year' is my grandfather, the messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF), and his family are its 'months' who are the twelve Imams, and are … (naming the Imams one by one). They are the Proofs of Allah on His creation, and Trusties of His revelations and His knowledge. And Those of 'four sacred who are the firm religion' are those four who have the same name, and are Ali, the Commander of Faithful (as), and my father Ali Ibn al-Husain (as), and later Ali Ibn Musa (as), and Ali Ibn Muhammad (as). Thus acknowledging these four is 'the firm religion, so wrong not your souls in them' and believe in all of them to be guided." Shi'i reference: Kitab al-Ghaiba, by Shaikh Tusi. 9- O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you (by Allah). (4:59) On the commentary of the verse 4:59 of Quran in which Allah orders us to obey Ulul-Amr, al-Khazzaz in his book, Kifayatul Athar, gives a tradition on the authority of the well-known companion of the Prophet (PBUH&HF), Jabir Ibn Abdillah al-Ansari (ra): When the verse (4:59) was revealed, Jabir asked the Prophet (PBUH&HF): "We know Allah and the Prophet, but who are those vested with authority whose obedience has been conjoined to that of Allah and yourself?" The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "They are my Caliphs and the Imams (leaders) of Muslims after me. The first of them is Ali; then al-Hasan; then al-Husain; then Ali son of al-Husain; then Muhammad son of Ali who has been mentioned 'al-Baqir' in the Torah (the old testament). O Jabir! You will meet him. When you see him, convey my greetings to him. He will be succeeded by his son, Ja'far al-Sadiq (the Truthful); then Musa son of Ja'far; then Ali son of Musa; then Muhammad son of Ali; then Ali son of Muhammad; then al-Hasan son of Ali. He will be followed by his son whose name and nick name will be the same as mine. He will be Proof of Allah (Hujjatullah) on the earth, and the one spared by Allah (Baqiyyatullah) to maintain the cause of faith among mankind. He shall conquer the whole world from the east to the west. So long will he remain hidden from the eyes of his followers and friends that the belief in his leadership will remain only in those hearts which have been tested by Allah for faith." Jabir said: "O Messenger of Allah! Will his followers benefit from his seclusion?" The Prophet said: "Yes! by Him who sent me with prophethood! They will be guided by his light, and benefit from his leadership during his seclusion, just as people benefit from the sun even though it is hidden in the clouds. O Jabir! This is from the hidden secrets of Allah and the treasured knowledge of Allah. So guard it except from the people who deserve to know." (Kifayatul Athar, by al-Khazzaz, p53). Now that we know who "those vested with authority" are, it is evident that the question of obeying tyrant and unjust rulers does not rise at all. Muslims are not required by the above verse to obey rulers who may be unjust, tyrannical, ignorant, and selfish and sunk in debauchery. They are, in fact, ordered to obey the specified Twelve Imams, all of whom were sinless and free from evil thoughts and deeds. Obeying them has no risks whatsoever. Nay, it protects from all risks; because they will never give an order against the order of Allah and will treat all human beings with love, justice, and equity. 10- From the history of the Children of Israel we further get the following: And he (Pharoah) was arrogant, he and his soldiers, in the land, without right, and they thought that they would not be returned to Us. (28:40) So We took him and his soldiers and threw them into the sea. So see how the end of the wrongdoers was. (28:41) And We made them leaders inviting to the Fire, and on the Day of Resurrection they will not be helped. (28:42) And We caused to overtake them in this world a curse, and on the Day of Resurrection they will be of the despised. (28:43) So the leaders who may lead to hell fire should not be followed. 11- Now the Quran also mentions the identification of those leaders as quoted by Quran in the following verse: . وَقَارُونَ وَفِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ ۖ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَهُم مُّوسَىٰ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا كَانُوا سَابِقِينَ And [We destroyed] Qarun and Pharaoh and Haman. And Moses had already come to them with clear evidences, and they were arrogant in the land, but they were not outrunners [of Our punishment]. (29:39) The Pharoah and his companions were declared leaders inviting to hell fire. They along-with their followers were drowned in the sea and destroyed by Allah swt. 12- The Quran mentions here the names of 3 top leaders from the Children of Israel that include: Qarun, Pharoah and Haman who led these people. The Pharoah was the ruler, Haman was his adviser and the Qarun was rich. This serves as reminder for the people in the Nation of Muhammad saww. Conclusion; Thus lt makes it clear that we should follow 12 Imams / leaders from Ahl albayat as to avoid going astray according to the prophet sayings they are not separable from Quran. They will certainly reach the pool of paradise, and their followers will also be successful. ______________________________________________________________________
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