AHL AL-BAYT
THE CELESTIAL BEINGS ON THE EARTH
Author: Allama Hussein Ansariyan
Translator: Dr. Ali Akbar Aghili Ashtiani

P. 222-225
Ibrahim ibn `Abbas has reported: I never saw Imam al-Rida say any unkind words to anyone or interrupt anyone. The Imam would never reject anyone whose needs he could fulfill nor would he ever stretch his legs before his companions. He never insulted his servant nor would he ever spit on the ground. He never laughed but smiled. When he was sitting in a private place, he would have the tablecloth spread before him, making the slaves, housekeeper and servants sit with him to share the food. He slept few hours and kept vigil most of the time. He would fast the first day, midmonth and the last day of the month, saying, “Should you fast in this way, it is as if you are keeping fasting all the days.” He would give money as charity and did benevolent act secretly. He would do most of his good deeds at night. None has seen his like in terms of virtues.[1]

Feeding The Needy

Mu`ammar ibn Khala’ has reported: When Imam al-Rida (a.s) wanted to eat, a big tray was brought before him and he would pick up from the best food which was on the table, put it on the big tray and sent it for the needy people. Then he recited the following verses,

فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ (11) وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا الْعَقَبَةُ (12) فَكُّ رَقَبَةٍ (13) أَوْ إِطْعَامٌ فِي يَوْمٍ ذِي مَسْغَبَةٍ (14) يَتِيمًا ذَا مَقْرَبَةٍ (15) أَوْ مِسْكِينًا ذَا مَتْرَبَةٍ (16)

But he would not attempt the uphill road. And what will make you comprehend what the uphill road is. (It is) the setting free of a slave; Or the giving of food in a day of hunge; To an orphan, having relationship; Or to the poor man lying in the dust. 90/11-16

Then the Imam would say, “Allah knows that it is not easy for all human beings to set slaves free; hence, He has made feeding the needy a way for His servants to enter Paradise.”[2]

Honoring All Human Beings

A man from Balkh has reported: I was accompanying Imam al-Rida in his journey to Khorasan. One day he asked for food and made all the black and white servants sit to share it with him. I said to him, “May I be your ransom! It would be better if there were a separate table for them.” The Imam said, “Say nothing. Allah is One, our father is one, our mother is one and the reward is for our deeds.”[3]

Helping A Needy Traveler

Al-Yasa` ibn Hamzah has reported: I was in the presence of Imam al-Rida (a.s) where a group of people asked him questions about what was lawful and unlawful. A tall man joined the gathering and said, “Peace be to you, O son of Allah’s Messenger! I am a devotee of you and of your ancestors. I am returning from Hajj. I have lost my money and my provision. I have nothing on me to travel furthermore. Should you help me to reach my hometown, Allah has blessed me. When I reach my hometown, I will give as charity what you have given me; for I am not entitled to charity.” Imam al-Rida said, “May Allah bless you. Take a seat here.” Then the Imam released the people and there were only the Imam, Sulayman Ja`fari, Khaythamah, the needy traveler and I. Then the Imam said, “Will you give me permission to enter the chamber?” He then turned to Sulayman Ja`fari and said, “Allah has improved your affair.” The Imam entered the room, closed the door and stretched his hand out of an opening saying, “Where is the man from Khorasan?” The man said, “I am here.” The Imam said, “Take this purse of two hundred Dinars, spend it for your living costs, seek blessing of Allah, don’t give any charity and leave this house so that we will not see each other!”

When the traveler left, Sulayman said to the Imam, “May I be you ransom. You were both kind and generous. Why did you cover your face then?” The Imam said, “In order not to see humiliation and abasement in his face for having fulfilled his needs. Have you not heard this hadith from Allah’s Messenger: ‘One who hides his good deed is like one who makes pilgrimage to Mecca for seventy times. One who reveals vices will be degraded and one who hides evil will be forgiven.’ Have you not heard the old saying: ‘When I go to him to fulfill my needs, I will return home while I have saved my face.’”[4]

A Worker’s Wage

Sulayman ibn Ja`far has reported: I was with Imam al-Rida for doing a task. I had the intention to go back home but the Imam asked me to stay with him that night. We set off for the Imam’s house but we arrived at sunset. On entering the house, Imam al-Rida had a glance at his slaves who were busy building a stable with mud. He suddenly saw a black worker who was not his slave. When he asked about him, they said, “He is helping us and we will give him some money at the end.” The Imam asked, “Did you talk about his wage?” They said, “He is satisfied with what we will give him.” Imam al-Rida was upset on hearing this. I said, “May I be your ransom! Why are you so upset?” The Imam said, “Had I not prohibited you from employing people without first coming to agreement about their wage? Know that if a person works for you without his wage being fixed, if you give three times his wage, he will think that you have not paid his due wage, but if you fix his wage first and then pay it, he will appreciate your promise and even if you pay a little extra money to him he will become grateful.”[5]

Devotion

Abu’l-Salt al-Hawawi has reported: when Imam al-Rida arrived in Nayshabur on a black and white mule, I was accompanying him and the scholars of Nayshabur had come to say welcome to the Imam. When he left to the neighborhood of Marbaeh, they took the rein of his mule saying, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! We ask you through the mediation of your purified forefathers, tell us a hadith.” Imam al-Rida who had a cloak of fur on, put his head out of the mule litter saying:

Quoting Allah’s Messenger, my father reported: Gabriel informed me of Allah saying. I am verily Allah; there is no god but Me. O My servants! Worship only Me and know that anyone of you who meets Me by bearing witness that there is no god but Allah wholeheartedly and with devotion has entered My fortress; and whoever enters My fortress will be immune from My chastisement.

They asked, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! What is devotion in the Oneness of Allah?” The Imam answered, “Obeying Allah, obeying Allah’s Messenger and obeying the Imamate of Ahl al-Bayt.”[6]

A Letter to His Son

Bazanti has reported: I read a letter written by Imam al-Rida to his son, Imam al-Jawad with the following content:

O Abu-Ja`far! I was informed that they take you out through the small gate which indicates their envy lest you might help people. I ask you through the right I have on you to go and come through the big gate. When you mount, make sure to have Dirhams and Dinars with you. Give away whenever someone asks you for help. Do not give away less than fifty Dinars. Should your aunts ask you for something, do not give away less than twenty five Dinars. I wish that Allah will exalt you. Therefore, give away and be not afraid of indigence.[7]

Giving Away His Shirts

Rayyan ibn Salt has reported: I was at the door of Imam al-Rida’s house in Khorasan. I said to Mu`ammar, “Do you dare to ask my master to give me one of his shirts and the Dirhams which have been minted in his name?”

Mu`ammar reported: I immediately went to the presence of Imam al-Rida but before saying anything the Imam said, “O Mu`ammar! Wouldn’t Rayyan like me to give him one of my shirts and some of the Dirhams I have?” I said, “Glory be to Allah! This is exactly what he said at the door!” The Imam smiled and said, “Successful indeed is the believer. Tell him to come to me.” So we went to the presence of the Imam. I saluted him and he answered my salutation, asked for two of his shirts and gave them to me. When I rose up to leave, he put thirty Dirhams in my hand.[8]

Paying off a Heavy Loan

Abu-Muhammad Ghaffari has reported: I had a heavy debt; so, I said to myself, “I have no option for paying off my dept except seeking help from my master Abu’l-Hasan `Ali ibn Musa al-Rida.” So, I set off for the Imam’s house in the morning. When I reached there, I asked for permission to see the Imam, and when I entered the room, the Imam said, “Abu-Muhammad! I am aware of your need. We will pay off your dept.” When evening came, I was served the dinner and the Imam then said, “Will you stay with us or leave?” I said, “Master, should you fulfill my need, I prefer to leave.” Then the Imam gave me a handful of Dinars. I bid him farewell and went to a place I could see the Dinars. He said, “O Abu-Muhammad! They are fifty Dinars; twenty-six are for paying off the dept, and twenty-four for the living expenditures.” The next morning when I looked at the Dinars precisely, I did not see that Dinar, yet it was not less than fifty Dinars either![9]

[1] `Uyun Akhbar al-Rida: 184/2, Chapter: 44.
[2] Al-Kafi: 52/4, H 12.
[3] Al-Kafi: 230/8, H 296.
[4] Al-Kafi: 23/4, H 3.
[5] Al-Kafi: 288/5, H 1.
[6] Al-Amali by Shaykh al-Tusi, 588, H 1220.
[7] `Uyun Akhbar al-Rida: 812, Chapter: 30, H 20.
[8] Qurb al-Isnad: 148.
[9] `Uyun Akhbar al-Rida, 218/2.

Source: maaref-foundation.com


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