Imam Zainul Abideen (as); the Secret Helper of the Poor & Needy ........ pg 2-3
Imam Baqir (as): Earning livelihood is a worship ........ pg 4-5
Imam Jaffar as Sadiq (AS) Advice to Ibne Sayyaba ........ pg 6-7
Imam Musa Kadhim; Knowledge of the Unseen ........ pg 8-9
Imam Hadi (as) Hafiz and Aalim of Noble Qur'an in Childhood ........ pg 10
Imam Taqi (as): You should not fear anyone other than Allah ........ pg 11
Imam Hassan Askari (as) and fear of Allah in his childhood ........ pg 12
Imam al-Mahdi (as); How He Guides us ........ pg 13-14
Imam Zainul Abideen (as); the Secret Helper of the Poor & Needy
The view common people have towards one who isolates himself from society and devotes his life solely to performing his religious rituals, such as ablution (Wudu), praying, supplicating, pilgrimage (Hajj), etc, is a stranger to the society. Such a person cares nothing about his materialistic and social life, and spends his life in worship. The life of Imam Zainul Abideen (as) however, contradicts this view.
Despite his long unique prayers and supplications, our 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) was never ignorant of his society, its needs, and the realities of the time. In fact, in regards to interactions with society, he was a role model in the social and moral duties.
Imam Zainul Abideen (as) always remembered the saying of the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh): that if a Muslim did not think of the needs of his Muslim brothers then he was not a Muslim.
This is why when it was dark in the night and all the people were sleeping, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would get up, put some food in a sack and carry it on his shoulders to the houses of the poor people.
When Imam Zainul Abideen (as) went out at night it was dark and everyone will be sleeping but Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would cover his face just in case anyone was up, so that no one could recognize him.
Imam Zainul Abideen (as) looked after about 100 families like this without them even knowing who it was that was helping them.
Imam Zainul Abideen (as) had a poor cousin. Imam Zainul Abideen (as) used to go to visit him every night and give him some money while he could not see Imam's face. That man used to say, "Imam Zainul Abideen (as) does not consider his poor family members; may Allah (SWT) punish him." Imam Zainul Abideen (as) heard these words many times and never said anything; he continued to be anonymous with his patience. After Imam's martyrdom, his cousin did not receive any charity and then realized that the generous man who used to help him was Imam Zainul Abideen (as). Thus, he went to Imam's cemetery and cried there.
Muhammad Is'haq narrates: Many of the poor citizens of Madinah had experienced the generosity and kindness of Imam Zainul Abideen (as). Yet, they never found out it was the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) as he would visit them during the nights, until Imam Zainul Abideen (as) passed away, and that anonymous man never came to them any more. It was then that they found out that that anonymous helper was Imam Zainul Abideen (as).
Abu Hamzah al-Thomali also narrates: During the night, Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would carry food on his shoulders for the poor and needy people. He would say, "Giving charity in secret will subside the anger of Allah (SWT)."
Ibn Sa'ad who died around 200 A.H. has narrated: There were many poor people who would come to the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) for help, and before they even asked for anything, the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would give them what they wanted. Imam Zainul Abideen (as) would then say, "Giving charity is received by Allah (SWT) before it is received by the poor."
It was from the examples mentioned above that when the Imam Zainul Abideen (as) was martyred, and some were helping in washing his body (giving him Ghusl), they noticed the wounds on his shoulder and back. They asked about it, and found out that the wounds were the result of carrying the food for the poor.
Moral: When you do something good you should not tell everyone because Allah (SWT) can see and HE is the one who will give you reward (Thawab) for what you have done. In fact Allah (SWT) says that HE will give you more Thawab if you do good and do not tell anyone.
Imam Baqir (pbuh): Earning livelihood is a worship
The town of Medina was burning under the exhalation of the heat of the sun of Hejaz (Hijaz) and was thawing like the benumbed sleepers under the fire of the sky.
The branches of the palms were not oscillating under any breeze and the trees were as weary men sleep-strucken while standing. The camels were sheltering themselves under some shade of the palm branches, exceeding the wall of gardens and were ruminating silently and motionlessly. In the town every being was crawling under a shade and nobody was seen in the palm gardens of the round about, except a rather nice man having a slightly corpulent body which was leaning on the shoulders of a young man, (perhaps his son), who was visiting his farm. He was perspiring from the heat.
His eyes, which were half-closed because of the violent shining of the sun, were so attractive that they recalled the looking of the most beautiful gazelle. His nice feature was adorned with a pretty beard and mustache. But this handsome face was turning to purple under the sun and the drops of perspiration were pouring from his cheeks, like the drops of dew from a wild tulip. They were running from his face and dropping into his chest.
At this moment another man was seen on the plain, which was advancing towards this point. His name was Mohummad Ibn Monkader. He was supposing himself to be a pious and anchorite, a hermit man far from Mormonism. He had a bowed down stature and a weary face. When he reached the corpulent body man who was perspiring under the glow of the sun, busy to supervise his farm, he wondered and said to himself: "See how the greed of the mammon blinds the eyes of wisdom. This man is melting like a candle under the sun. And he is not ready to stop to hurt himself for his avidity. It is better to go to him and to advise him. Perhaps he will be guided."
When he came near, he knew the man and said: "Oh it's strange. This man is Mohummad Ibn Ali, Imam Baqir, and the leader of the Shia faith. Why this man is trying for worldly wealth?"
He goes then nearer, stood and greeted the Imam Baqir (pbuh). Imam Baqir (pbuh), was busy with his work and was perspiring and panting. Imam Baqir (pbuh) replied to his greeting. The man halted a while and said: "Is it worthy for a great and pious man like you to come out of home in this hour of the day, to seek worldly wealth? And with this rather corpulent body you have to bear, of course, more pain."
"If in this moment, (God forbids), your death comes, in what situation are you going to meet Alah (SWT)? No, it is not worthy for you, with this heat and this natural disposition, to be so concerned with mammon."
Imam Baqir (pbuh) cleaned the perspiration off his forehead with the back of his hand, stopped the work and looked at him.
"If my death in this very moment", said Imam Baqir (pbuh), "I will meet Allah (SWT) in a state of worship." You think that the worship is only to pray and to do religious ceremonies? I am living in the world and I have to earn my livelihood. If I do not work I will need the help of some men like you and I have to stretch my hands for begging. I should fear the coming of my death when I am sinning and disobeying my Allah (SWT). At this moment, when I am, working under the order of Allah (SWT), I am trying not to be a weight on the shoulders of my fellow beings.
Mohummad Ibn Monkader, struck with shame, said nothing and continued his way, while he was humming with himself: "Wonderful. I was thinking that I can advise him, but this was myself to earn an advice."
Moral: You should always try hard to do something by yourself and only when you have tried and can not do it you should ask for help.
Imam Jaffar as Sadiq (AS) Advice to Ibne Sayyaba
Ibne Sayyaba, a resident of Kufa in Iraq, was a young man whose father had died. The tragedy of the death of his father, coupled with poverty and unemployment, was destroying the soul of the sensitive man. One day while sitting in his house, he heard a knock at the door. He was a friend of his father. After offering his condolences, he said:
"Did your father leave anything for you?"
"Then take this thousand Dirham; try to turn it into a capital, and meet your expense from its profit".
Saying these words he went away. Ibne Sayyaba, happy as he was, went to his mother and showing the money told her the story. The same day, he used the money in purchasing some merchandise and opening a shop; and set his heart to it. He made a rapid progress. Soon after he realised that not only he had met his household expenses from the profit, but also the capital had increased to a great extent. Now he thought of performing Hajj Pilgrimage, and approached his mother for her advice. She said, "First you should repay the thousand Dirham which has brought such prosperity to us, and then you may go to Makkah for Hajj."
He went to see the friend of his father, and placing a purse of one thousand Dirham before him, said, "Please accept your money back." The man thought that Ibne Sayyaba was returning the same money because it was not sufficient for any trade. So he said:
"If the amount is insufficient I can increase it."
"Good God, it was not insufficient. It has brought great prosperity to us and since I am now quite well off financially, I have come to repay your money, and to express my thanks to you, particularly when I have decided to go on pilgrimage to Makkah.
He came to his home and packed his luggage for Makkah.
After performance of the Hajj pilgrimage, he came to Medina and went to see Imam Jaffar as Sadiq (AS) along with other pilgrims. There was a huge crowd in the house of the Imam Jaffar as Sadiq (AS). Being young he chose to sit at the far end of the gathering, and from there watched the people coming and going; and heard their questions and the answers given by the Imam Jaffar as Sadiq (AS). When the house became nearly empty, Imam Jaffar as Sadiq (AS) pointed to him and said:
Imam Jaffar as Sadiq (AS) said: A believer is the brother and guide of another believer. He does not betray or oppress him, nor does he ever cheat his brother. A believer never breaks his promise.
"What can I do for you?"
"I am Abdur Rehman, son of Sayyaba, of Kufa (from the tribe of Bijilly)."
"How is your father?" asked Imam Jaffar as Sadiq (AS)
"Ah! Ah! May God have His mercy upon him. Did he leave anything for you?"
"No, he didn't"
"Then how could you perform Hajj Pilgrimage?"
"After the death of my father we were in distress. On one side his death and on the other side poverty and unemployment, were crushing us extremely. Then one day a friend of my father gave me one thousand Dirham and advised me to invest the amount in business. I followed his advice and from its profit I came to perform Hajj Pilgrimage".
Before he could finish his story, Imam Jaffar as Sadiq (AS) said, "Tell me what did you do about the money of your father's friend?"
I refunded the amount on the advice of my mother before coming out for Hajj Pilgrimage".
"Very good. Do you like me to give you an advice?"
"May I be your ransom; of course"
"Be truthful and righteous. A truthful and righteous man is a partner in the wealth of others".
Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (as) and Knowledge of unseen (Ilm-e-Ghaib)
One day Haroon Rasheed sent some robes to Ali bin Yaqtin to honour him. Among their number was a black woolen cloak adorned with gold like the robes of kings. Ali bin Yaqtin dispatched those robes to Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (as). Among their number he (also) sent that cloak adorned with gold. Ali bin Yaqtin added some money which he had already prepared specifically for him as the fifth of his money (Khums - tax for the Imams) which he was going to pay him.
When that reached Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (as), he accepted the money and the robes but returned the cloak by the hand of the messenger to Ali bin Yaqtin. Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (as), wrote to him: "Keep it and do not let it leave your hands. For an event will occur to you because of it when you will have the need of it with him (Haroon Rasheed)."
Ali bin Yaqtin was suspicious about it being returned to him and did not understand the reason for that. Some time later, Ali bin Yaqtin changed (his attitude) towards a servant who had a special position with him and he left his service.
The servant knew about Ali bin Yaqtin's inclination towards Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (as). He was acquainted with the money, robes and other things (Ali bin Yaqtin) had sent to (Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (as)) on every occasion. He (went and) informed on him to Haroon Rasheed. He told (Haroon Rasheed) that (Ali bin Yaqtin) maintained the Imamate of Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (as) and paid him a fifth of his money each year, and also that he had given him the cloak with which the Commander of the faithful (Haroon Rasheed) had honoured him at such-and-such a time. Haroon Rasheed burned with anger and was furious. He declared: "I will expose this situation. If the matter is as you say, his life will be destroyed."
Abbasid Caliph, Haroon Rasheed immediately sent for Ali bin Yaqtin to be brought. When he appeared before him, Haroon Rasheed said: "What have you done with the cloak which I bestowed upon you?"
"Commander of the faithful," (Ali bin Yaqtin) replied, "I still have it in a sealed chest and there I keep perfume with it. In the mornings I open it and look at it to gain blessings from it. I kiss it and then put it back in its place. Every night I do the same thing."
"Bring it, immediately," Haroon Rasheed ordered.
"Yes, Commander of the faithful," he answered. Ali bin Yaqtin summoned one of his servants and told him: "Go to such-and-such a room in my house. Take the key for it from my custodian and open it. Open such-and-such a box and bring me the sealed chest which is in it."
It was not long before the servant returned with the chest still sealed. Ali bin Yaqtin put it before Haroon Rasheed and told him to break the seal and open it. When Haroon Rasheed opened it, he saw the cloak in it folded and laid out in perfume.
Haroon Rasheed's anger became pacified and he said to Ali bin Yaqtin: "Return it to its place and go away righteously. I will never disbelieve you again on the word of an informer."
Haroon Rasheed ordered a magnificent gift to be sent after him and he had the informer flogged with a thousand lashes. After he had been flogged about a hundred lashes, informer died.
Sayings of Imam Musa Al-Kadhim (as):
"If there is a walnut in your hand and people say that it is a pearl, their saying will not benefit you in any way when you know that it is actually a walnut. And if there is a pearl in your hand and people say that it is a walnut, their saying will not harm you in any way when you know that it is actually a pearl."
"Indeed cultivation and growth takes shape in a soft, even land and not in a rocky (barren) land. Likewise, wisdom grows and develops in a humble heart and not in a proud, vain and arrogant heart."
"Always say the right thing although it may lead to your loss."
Imam Hadi (as) Hafiz and Aalim of Noble Qur'an in Childhood
Imam Hadi (as) assumed the official role of Imamate at a very young age of 7 or 8 years. At that tender age, he (as) had become a point of reference for the Muslims. People would refer to him and seek his guidance in almost everything pertaining to their lives. When the enemies of Ahlul Bayt (as) saw this, they were displeased with the situation. So, in conjunction with the Caliphate of the time, which was in opposition of Ahlul Bayt (as), they began looking for a person who was the most knowledgeable of the time yet a sworn enemy of Ahlul Bayt (as) so that Imam Hadi (as) is put under his care for training and the Muslims, particularly the Shias do not get any access to him. Also anything that Imam Hadi (as) said or did in his life would be according to the teachings that he had received from his teacher.
Finally, Ubaydullah Junaydi, a prominent scholar from Iraq and a sworn enemy of Ahlul Bayt (as) was appointed for the task. Ubaydullah Junaydi took our 10th Imam, Imam Hadi (as) into his care and did not allow any Shia to visit him. This way, the guidance of Imam Hadi (as) was suspended for his Shias.
After some time a person came to Ubaydullah Junaydi and asked him, "How is the Hashemite servant doing?" Ubaydullah Junaydi a sworn enemy of Ahlul Bayt (as) became extremely furious with the man and said to him, "Do not call him a Hashemite servant for he is not a servant but a leader of Banu Hashim. By Allah (SWT)! Despite his young age, he is more knowledgeable than I am. People think that I am disciplining him but the truth is that he is disciplining me. I swear by Allah (SWT)! He is not only the Hafiz of Noble Qur'an (Hafiz-e-Quran) but also possesses its knowledge. To be precise, he is the best of all on the face of this earth".
Moral: Imams (as) have a supreme knowledge so that they are able to answer whatever question is put to them. What age you are does not matter but how much you know matters. People will treat you like a child unless you can show them otherwise - through your knowledge and your Akhlaq (characters).
Imam Taqi (as): You should not fear anyone other than Allah (SWT)
The story of Mamun al-Rashid's first meeting with the young son of Imam Ali Ridha (as) is interesting. Once when our 9th Imam, Imam Taqi (as) was only nine years old, he was walking down a street of Baghdad, when Mamun al-Rashid and his soldiers came by. All the other children on the street ran away but Imam Taqi (as) did not.
Noting this, Mamun al-Rashid stopped his carriage and asked, "Young man, why did you not run away like the other children?"
Imam Taqi (as) replied calmly, "Neither had I committed a crime, nor was I blocking the way. Why should I have run away or be afraid? And I also know that you will not cause any unnecessary trouble when your way is not blocked."
Mamun al-Rashid was surprised with this mature reply and asked, "What is your name?"
"Muhammad," came the reply. Whose son are you? asked Mamun al-Rashid. "Son of Imam Ali Ridha (as)."
Mamun al-Rashid rode on. During his hunt the hawk returned to him with a fish in its beak. Mamun al-Rashid was surprised. He returned back toward the city. Once again, he found children playing on the same spot, who ran away seeing the caliph's soldiers, except this young man who said he was Muhammad son of Imam Ali Ridha (as) who remained where he was.
Mamun al-Rashid hid the fish in his palm, stopped his carriage near Imam Taqi (as) and said, "Tell me, what is there in my fist?"
Imam Taqi (as) replied, "Allah (SWT) has created tiny fish in the river. The hawks of kings sometimes catch fish from there and bring it to the Kings. They hide it in their fist and ask a member of the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet, "Tell me what is there in my fist."
Mamun al-Rashid said, "Truly, you are the worthy son of Imam Ali Ridha (as). Mamun al-Rashid took the young Imam Taqi (as) with him, and let him live in a nearby house next to the Royal Palace.
Moral: You should not be scared of anything or anyone as Allah (SWT) is the strongest and will look after you.
Imam Hassan Askari (as) and fear of Allah (SWT) in His childhood
The Ahlul Bayt (as) who carries the most wisdom and knowledge of the seen and unseen are they who most fear Allah (SWT) and pass their every second in life reflecting and pondering about the most important subjects.
It is written by the scholars that once our 11th Imam, Imam Hassan Askari (as) who was still a child was standing between some other children who were playing and having fun.
Suddenly a lover of the Ahlul Bayt (as) was passing by. But he was trapped with this scene that all the children were playing but a beautiful child was standing alone crying. He decided to approach this child to ask what was wrong, maybe he could help him.
He said: "My dear, are you crying because you don't have the toys other children have. If you like I can bring some toys to you." Imam Hassan Askari (as) replied: "Do you think I'm crying for the toys. We are not created to play with toys and have fun but to worship Allah (SWT) and seek for knowledge. This lover of the Ahlul Bayt (as) asked him that how he was sure about that and the young Imam Hassan Askari (as) answered: Have you not read the verse of the Noble Qur'an which guides us saying:
"What! Did you then think that We had created you in vain and that you shall not be returned to Us?" (Noble Qur'an 23:115)
This lover of the Ahlul Bayt (as) was impressed with the answer and said: "But why are you so troubled in such a young age. You have not committed any sins. Imam Hassan Askari (as) replied: "Age does not matter. I watch my mother every day when she set fire to the large twigs she uses the small first. I am afraid that may not the young children of this world be used to light the fire of Hell."
Allahu Akbar, the Holy Imam Hassan Askari (as) who is an infallible personality and a Hujjat of Allah (SWT) reflects so deeply, this answer was only a lesson to His followers to ponder over. This capturing story of Imam Hassan Askari (as) is a great learning lesson for us all.
Imam al-Mahdi (as); How He Guides us
There was a pious man called Syed Muhammad Jabal Amili who was traveling through the desert with a caravan of people, when he got lost.
Syed Muhammad Jabal Amili searched and searched for the caravan but could not find them. It became dark as night set in. He was all alone in the hot desert, tired, hungry and frightened.
He was about to give up and prepare himself for death when he suddenly saw some water. He went to the water, drank some and then did wudhu (ablution) and offered his Salaat (prayer).
After his Salaat he did not have any more strength and lay there waiting for death.
All of a sudden he saw a person riding a horse getting closer and closer to him.
When the horse rider reached Syed Muhammad Jabal Amili he said Salaam to him and asked him what the matter was. Syed Muhammad Jabal Amili explained that he had lost his caravan and was hungry.
Horse rider asked him why he did not eat the melons that were lying beside him. Syed Muhammad Jabal Amili asked the rider not to make fun of him as he had searched all over for food.
Horse rider said he was not joking, and ask to look behind him. Syed Muhammad Jabal Amili looked and there were three melons.
Imam al-Mahdi (as): How he guide us?Horse rider then told him to eat one of them and to take the other two with him and pointed out the direction he was to go in. He also told Syed Muhammad Jabal Amili that at about sunset he would reach a tent and from there he would be guided to his caravan.
Then Horse rider disappeared. Syed Muhammad Jabal Amili says that was when he realized that it was our 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as).
Syed Muhammad Jabal Amili did as he was told and sure enough the next day at sunset he reached the tent and was directed to his caravan.
The duties of each and every Muslim in the time of Ghaibat-e-Kubra (Major Occultaion) is:
To be the caretakers of Islam.
To pray for the safety of 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as) and give Sadaqah for his safety.
Ask Allah (SWT) to make 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as) appearance soon, so that he may come and fill the world with truth and peace.
Whenever the name of 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as) is said, you should stand, placing your right hand on your head and bow your head. You should also recite Salawaat after his name.
Conclusion: Holy Prophet Muhammed (p.b.u.h) has said that if someone dies without knowing the Imam (as) of his time, his death is that of an unbeliever. We must therefore carry out our duties to our 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as) who is still alive and in Ghaibat (concealment).
Although we cannot see our 12th Imam, Imam al-Mahdi (as), but he can see us and knows when we are in need of his help and comes to help us.