Imam al Baqir’s unwavering adherence to Tawhid

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Imam al Baqir’s unwavering adherence to Tawhid

 

Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam left no stone unturned in propagating the message of his Lord. He completed the religion for us and left us upon a clear guidance; the night of which is like its day and no one will deviate from it except that he will be destroyed.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala attests to this in His Mighty Book (the Holy Qur’an):

 

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا

Today I have perfected for you your religion, and completed My blessing upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.[1]

 

May Allah reward the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on our behalf better than any Prophet has ever been rewarded on behalf of his Ummah.

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not impart any special teachings upon any specific member of his Ummah, to be transmitted in secret or even publicly after him. Indeed, the religion was perfected and the blessing was completed.

It is reported in Musnad Ahmed that al Harith ibn Suwayd said:

 

It was said to ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, “Indeed your Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would inform you of matters that was not for the people in general.”

He said, “The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not say anything to us only which he did not say to the people except that which is in the sheath of this sword of mine.”

He then took out a parchment in which there was something (mentioned) about the ages of camels and (mentioned) in it was that the portion of Madinah that lies between Thawr and A’ir is sacred.

[Also, that] Whoever initiates any innovation therein or gives refuge to an innovator, upon him is the curse of Allah, the Angels, and all people. On the Day of Judgement, none of his obligatory or optional acts of worship will be accepted.

Protection granted by any Muslim is binding upon all of them, so whoever transgresses the protection given by a Muslim, upon him is the curse of Allah, the Angels, and all people. On the Day of Judgement, none of his obligatory or optional acts of worship will be accepted.

Whoever takes as a master other than his manumitters without their permission, upon him is the curse of Allah, the Angels, and all people. On the Day of Judgement, none of his obligatory or optional acts of worship will be accepted.[2]

 

Indeed, Allah guarantees the protection and preservation of this religion. He says in the Noble Qur’an:

 

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا ٱلذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُۥ لَحَٰفِظُونَ

It is certainly We Who have revealed the Reminder, and it is certainly We Who will preserve it.[3]

 

He preserved His Book and protected it from distortion and change. (As for the protection of the Sunnah) Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala sent scholars and memorisers (of hadith) that preserve and protect it from the fibs of the liars and the fabrication of the falsifiers.

One who looks at the legacy of the Ahlul Bayt radiya Llahu ‘anhum, specifically of the two Imams—al Baqir rahimahu Llah and his son, al Sadiq rahimahu Llah—will see a huge amount of both falsehood and fabrication in many narrations. Regarding which the saying of al Tusi in the introduction of his book, Tahdhib al Ahkam, is true:

 

One of my friends, whose right is necessary upon me, mentioned the narrations of our companions [Imams] and the differences, dissimilarities, contradictions, and opposition found in them; to the extent that there will not be a narration except that another narration will contradict it and there is no narration except that it is opposed by another narration.[4]

 

It is for this reason that Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu strove to put an end to these distortions; his aim was to ensure that people not accept everything that is attributed to him except if it conforms with the Book of Allah and the Sunnah. If it is found to contradict the Book of Allah and the Sunnah then he would be the first person to absolve himself from it.

For this reason, he would say, “Anything that opposes the Book of Allah should be referred back to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah (Prophetic traditions).”[5]

[And for this reason] Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his son, Imam al Sadiq rahimahu Llah would say to some of their companions, “Do not consider us truthful except in those matters which conform to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”[6]

The Ahlul Bayt radiya Llahu ‘anhum, like others, follow the (teachings) of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Allah’s Chosen Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and do not oppose them.

Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu was amongst those who were advanced in worship and adherence to Tawhid (oneness of Allah). It has been narrated about him that he used to perform one hundred and fifty rak’at (cycles) of prayer, day and night.[7]

He understood very well the importance of supplicating to and humbling oneself in front of Allah. He had memorised from his father, Imam Zayn al ‘Abidin rahimahu Llah, the following supplication that he would say, when praying to his Lord:

 

O Allah, You said:

لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِن كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.[8]

 

You also said:

ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ

Your Lord has proclaimed, “Call upon Me, I will respond to you. Surely those who are too proud to worship Me will enter Hell, fully humbled.[9]

 

You referred to supplication as an act of worship and (You referred to) abandoning it as pride and You guaranteed entry into Hell, fully humbled, for those that abandon it.[10]

 

For this reason he is quoted to have stated, “The best act of worship is supplication.”[11]

He was once asked which act of worship is the most superior. He replied, “There is nothing more superior in the sight of Allah than (Him) being beseeched (by His servants).”[12]

Therefore, it is no wonder that Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah would supplicate sincerely to his Creator subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, because supplication is an act of worship and all acts of worship are offered only for the sake of Allah.

Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu would recite the following supplication when he awoke:

 

اصبحت و ربي محمود اصبحت لا اشرك بالله شيئا، و لا ادعو معه الهًا، و لا اتخذ من دونه وليًّا

I awoke in the state that my Lord was praised. I awoke neither having ascribed any partner to Allah nor having called out to any Deity along with Him nor having taken any Protector besides Him.[13]

 

Supplications of Imam al Baqir

 

Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah would recite the following supplication at the time of the predawn prayer:

 

There is no god but Allah alone. He has no partner. His is the dominion and for Him alone is all praise. He grants life and causes death and causes death and grants life, whilst He Himself is Ever-living. He has control over all good and has power over everything.

O Allah, to You is all praise, my Lord, You are the Light of the heavens and the earth.

To You is all praise, You are the Foundation of the heavens and the earth.

To You is all praise, You are the Beauty of the heavens and the earth.

To You is all praise, You are the Embellishment of the Heavens and the earth.

To You is all praise, You are the One Who responds to the cries of those who call out for help.

To You is all praise, You are the One Who aids those who seek assistance.

To You is all praise, You answer to the call of the needy.

To You is all praise, You are the Most Merciful of the merciful, the Most Gracious, the Most Compassionate. To You is all praise.

O Allah, by Your Will do all needs descend, and by Your will have my needs descended tonight. Please fulfil them, O fulfiller of the needs of the beggars.

O Allah, You are the Truth; Your saying is true and You are the King of the truth. I testify that the meeting with You is true and (I testify) that Paradise is true, the Fire is true, the Hour is true and will undoubtedly come, and (I testify) that You will resurrect the inhabitants of the graves.

O Allah, to You have I submitted, in You I believe, in You have I put my trust, by Your help I argue, to You I refer my case, so forgive me for my past and future sins, what I have done in secret and what I have done openly. You are the Ever-living. There is no god besides You.[14]

 

Dear reader, ponder over the immense humility displayed before Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala herein and how fulfilment of needs was sought from none besides Allah. Compare this to one who claims to follow and love the Ahlul Bayt radiya Llahu ‘anhum yet seeks fulfilment of his needs from someone besides Allah. Is this amongst the actions of the Ahlul Bayt radiya Llahu ‘anhum? Why does he not follow their method of supplicating and hoping (from Allah)? Why does he ascribe partners to Allah when supplicating?

Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu would also supplicate as follows:

 

O Allah, indeed I ask You, O Clement, Forbearing One, Most Forgiving, Most Loving, that You forgive my sins and (the load) that I have with me through the goodness that You possess, that You grant me of your bounties that which will suffice me, that You inspire me to use Your bounties in Your obedience and in the obedience of Your Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, that You grant me, through Your favour, something through which I can become worthy of Your kindness.

O Allah, grant me as befits Your majesty and do not deal with me as I deserve, for indeed I am Yours and I have never received any good except from You.

O the Greatest of those who see, the Best of the listeners, the Most Just of all judges, the Helper of those who seek assistance, the One Who responds to the call of the needy, send blessings upon (Prophet) Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his family.[15]

 

Glory be to Allah! What a difference there is between the actions of the Ahlul Bayt radiya Llahu ‘anhum and the actions of some of the people of this era of ours. The Ahlul Bayt radiya Llahu ‘anhum would supplicate to Allah. They knew that He (alone) is the Protector of those who seek refuge and the One Who responds to the call of the needy, whilst others who claim to follow the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the Ahlul Bayt radiya Llahu ‘anhum supplicate to and seek help from others besides Allah. Neither did we ever see Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah seeking the help of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, nor did we ever see him seeking the help of any Prophet or pious person. We never saw him seeking the help of Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidah Fatimah, Sayyidina Hassan, Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum, whereas they were more virtuous than him and possessed a higher status than him in the court of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Instead, we saw him pleading and asking from Allah and seeking shelter in Allah with sincere devotion to Him.

The following statement has been narrated from Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

O Allah, [while some] may have needs from some or the other, my need is with You alone, Who has no partner.[16]

 

We see people who present their needs to Abu al Fadl, Sayyidina Hassan, Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum and other servants of Allah besides them; are these people following the guidance of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Are they following the guidance of Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu?

Read with me the speech of Allah:

 

لَهُ دَعْوَةُ الْحَقِّ وَالَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِهِ لَا يَسْتَجِيبُونَ لَهُم بِشَيْءٍ إِلَّا كَبَاسِطِ كَفَّيْهِ إِلَى الْمَاءِ لِيَبْلُغَ فَاهُ وَمَا هُوَ بِبَالِغِهِ وَمَا دُعَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ

The true prayer is for Him, and those that they invoke besides Him do not respond to them with a thing, except as one who stretches out his hand to water that it may reach his mouth, and it will never reach it. The prayer of the disbelievers is only in vain.[17]

 

Now read its explanation by Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu, he says:

 

“The true prayer is for Him…” Meaning Allah is invoked and He answers.

“…and those that they invoke…” As in those who the Polytheists invoke.

“…with a thing…” [They do not grant them] what they have sought.

“…except as one who stretches out his hand…” As in seeking an answer like the one who seeks water by extending his hand towards it so that it reaches his mouth. He wishes that it comes to him from afar, or he extends his hand to take water to drink.

“…and it will never reach it…” It (the water) will never reach him because water is inanimate. Neither does it realise that he is calling it, nor is it able to reply to him, nor does it rest in an outstretched palm. This is the example of their false gods.

 

‘Ali ibn Ibrahim narrated from Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah that he said:

 

This is a parable that Allah has set for those who worship idols and those who worship gods besides Allah that do not respond to them with a thing nor do they benefit them except like one who stretches his hand out towards water so that it may reach him from afar, but it will never reach him except in misguidance and vain.[18]

 

Al Majlisi said:

 

This example accurately applies to idols and false gods for indeed they are unable to benefit others except through the facilitation and causation of Allah. He is the Owner of necks, the Manipulator of hearts and the Facilitator of cause. This is what is meant by His speech:

 

أَفَاتَّخَذْتُم مِّن دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ

Have you then taken besides Him lords…

 

The apparent meaning of [lords in] this verse is idols but it applies to other things as well.[19]

 

Indeed, the Prophet Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, despite being the most beloved of people to Allah and the most honourable amongst them and possessor of the highest rank, is unable to benefit anyone except through the will of Allah.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says in His Noble Book:

 

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ قُلْ أَفَرَأَيْتُم مَّا تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَادَنِيَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ هَلْ هُنَّ كَاشِفَاتُ ضُرِّهِ أَوْ أَرَادَنِي بِرَحْمَةٍ هَلْ هُنَّ مُمْسِكَاتُ رَحْمَتِهِ قُلْ حَسْبِيَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ يَتَوَكَّلُ الْمُتَوَكِّلُونَ

And if you asked them, “Who created the heavens and the earth?” they would surely say, “Allah.” Say, “Then have you considered what you invoke besides Allah? If Allah intended me harm, are they removers of His harm; or if He intended me mercy, are they withholders of His mercy?” Say, “Sufficient for me is Allah; upon Him [alone] rely the reliers.”[20]

 

This applies to the idols and others besides them. We should ask [ourselves], “Is a wali (friend of Allah) or even a Prophet able to prevent harm without the will of Allah?” If they are unable to do that would it not be most suitable that we call out to the One Who is able?

Indeed, Imam al Baqir, Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina Hassan, Sayyidina Hussain, Sayyidina Abu Bakr, and Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhum are only servants of Allah. By Allah, they are unable to even remove harm from themselves, let alone others. Those who seek the help of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and others besides him admit that they were martyred and that he passed away in the state of thirst. How can you seek the help of those who are unable to give themselves a drink of water?

There is an advice and admonition for us in the story of Prophet Ayub ‘alayh al Salam. Harm and illness reached him but he was unable to remove them from himself except by calling out to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. In fact, the greatest Prophet, Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, was affected by harm, illness, and distress. He found shelter and refuge in Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala alone. This is also the condition of Imam al Baqir, Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina ‘Umar, Sayyidina ‘Abbas, and all the pious radiya Llahu ‘anhum.

Let no deceiver profit by the diabolical plot of Shaitan, the gist of which is that those who seek refuge in the Auliya (friends of Allah) and the righteous are merely seeking their (the Auliya’s) intercession for them to Allah due to their closeness to Him, not because they believe that they are gods. Indeed this, by my life, was the way of the idol worshippers. Read with me the following verses from the Holy Qur’an and compare the practices of the ignorant people of this era and those of the pre-Islamic period of ignorance.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says in His Mighty Book:

 

وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ هَٰؤُلَاءِ شُفَعَاؤُنَا عِندَ اللَّهِ قُلْ أَتُنَبِّئُونَ اللَّهَ بِمَا لَا يَعْلَمُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

And they worship other than Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with Allah.” Say, “Do you inform Allah of something He does not know in the heavens or on the earth?” Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.[21]

 

One might say that the word shufaa’ (intercessors) in this verse only refers to the idols and not to the graves of the Auliya’ and the righteous. Invite such a person to recite the following words of Allah:

 

إِن تَدْعُوهُمْ لَا يَسْمَعُوا دُعَاءَكُمْ وَلَوْ سَمِعُوا مَا اسْتَجَابُوا لَكُمْ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكْفُرُونَ بِشِرْكِكُمْ وَلَا يُنَبِّئُكَ مِثْلُ خَبِيرٍ

If you invoke them, they do not hear your supplication; and if they heard, they would not respond to you. And on the Day of Resurrection, they will deny your association. And none can inform you like

Aware [of all matters].[22]

 

Ponder over the words of Allah:

وَلَوْ سَمِعُوْا مَا ٱسْتَجَابُوْا لَكُمْ

‘…and if they heard, they would not respond to you.’

 

All of us know that idols are deaf and dumb; they do not understand nor hear.

Also ponder over the following words of Allah with me:

يَكْفُرُوْنَ بِشِرْكِكُمْ

‘…they will deny your association.’

 

In that case, this [part of the] verse talks about those who hear and understand, those who will disown the worship of themselves on the Day of Judgement, i.e. the Auliya’ and the righteous. These are the people who absolve themselves from all those who call out to them and who associate them with Allah in hope, fear, and request.

In another verse, we see that Sayyidina ‘Isa ibn Maryam ‘alayha al Salam had absolved himself from those people who had associated him as a partner of Allah in lordship:

 

وَإِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ أَأَنتَ قُلْتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِي وَأُمِّيَ إِلَٰهَيْنِ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أَقُولَ مَا لَيْسَ لِي بِحَقٍّ إِن كُنتُ قُلْتُهُ فَقَدْ عَلِمْتَهُ تَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِي وَلَا أَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِكَ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ

And (on the Day of Judgement) when Allah will say, “O Isa, Son of Maryam, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah?’” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.”[23]

 

One might say that the purpose of this verse is to mention the belief of the Christians that Sayyidina ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam is a god (Allah forbid) and that this has nothing to do with intercession and intercessors. To this I say that the Christians never considered Sayyidah Maryam ‘alayha al Salam a goddess or the daughter of a god. Rather, they acknowledge that she was a human being and that she was from the progeny of Sayyidina Adam ‘alayh al Salam, but they seek her intercession before Allah.  Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala considers this as shirk and deification of Sayyidah Maryam ‘alayha al Salam and associating her with Allah in prayer, therefore we should all take heed. The actions of our predecessors should not deceive us, for the truth is more rightful that it be followed. The Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his Companions, and the Ahlul Bayt radiya Llahu ‘anhum are the ones who transferred this religion to us and we follow their way for indeed their way will save us from the punishment of Allah on the Day of Judgement. It is necessary for us not to fall into the deceit of some careless people who claim to have knowledge and understanding (of religious matters). Surely this will not benefit us in any way in front of Allah on the Day of Judgement. Verily Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

وَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّا أَطَعْنَا سَادَتَنَا وَكُبَرَاءَنَا فَأَضَلُّونَا السَّبِيلَا

And they will say, “Our Lord! We obeyed our leaders and elite, but they led us astray from the (right) way.[24]

 

This will also be our excuse if we obey those who are misguided and cause others to be misguided as well. Then Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will ask us saying, “O my servants! Why did you associate partners with Me? Why did you ask from others besides Me who could neither cause you benefit nor harm? Did you not know that I am the Fulfiller of needs and the Remover of difficulties? Did you not know that those whom you seek the help of are my servants and are unable to do anything without my will?”

It has been narrated that Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah said to his son, Imam Jafar al  Sadiq rahimahu Llah:

 

O my dear son, whoever hides a hardship that he faces from the people and instead complains to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala about it, it is a right upon Allah to remove it from him.[25]

 

In this narration, Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah is advising his son to hide his hardships from the people and complain to Allah. How contrary is this to those who take refuge with the graves and supplicate to their dwellers seeking cure, sustenance, or removal of hardships from them?

It is narrated that Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah would say whilst in prostration:

 

O Allah, to You have I bowed, for You have I humbled myself and in You do I believe. I have submitted to You, I have placed my trust in You and You are my Lord. My ears, eyes, brain, muscles, bones, and what my feet carry are for Allah, Lord of the universe.[26]

 

Those who claim to follow Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah come saying, “I have submitted myself to this saint and that saint.” Where is this seen in the actions of Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah?

 

When did Shirk spread?

 

Ibn Abi Hatim narrates in his Tafsir on the authority of Abu al Mutahhar:

 

Yazid ibn Muhallab as mentioned in the presence of Abu Jafar al Baqir whilst he was standing in prayer.

When he completed his prayer he said, “You mentioned Yazid ibn Muhallab. Lo, indeed he was killed in the first land wherein [false] gods besides Allah were worshipped.”

He said, “‘Wadd was remembered as a pious man and he was beloved to his nation. When he passed away, his people surrounded his grave in the land of Babylon and mourned him. When Iblis saw their mourning for him, he took the form of a human and said to them, ‘Indeed I see that you mourn this man. Would you like me to make a portrait of him that will remain in your place of assembly, so that you may remember him?’ They said, ‘Yes,’ so he made a portrait of him. So, they put it in their place of assembly and began to remember him [due to it]. Once Iblis saw how they were remembering him he said, ‘Shall I not place a statue resembling him in each house of yours so that it may be with you in your homes and you may remember him?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ So, he sculpted a statue resembling him for each family. They came forward and began remembering him through the statues. Their children reached puberty and began to see what their people would do with the statues]. They had children and the way that they remembered him [Wadd] was instilled ahead until they eventually took him as a god and the children of their children began worshipping him instead of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Therefore, Wadd—the idol—is the first to have been worshipped besides Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.[27]

 

This is the trick Iblis—may the curse of Allah be upon him—used to introduce Shirk to the people. It began from veneration of the graves of the pious and seeking his intercession. This is exactly the condition of people nowadays, and to Allah is our complaint.

 

Supplication (Du’a’) is an Act of Worship

 

Indeed Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says in His Noble Book:

 

وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ  إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ عَنْ عِبَادَتِي سَيَدْخُلُونَ جَهَنَّمَ دَاخِرِينَ

And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” Indeed, those who disdain My worship will enter Hell [rendered] contemptible.[28]

 

Ponder over these words, Call upon Me, and, My worship, therefore, one who is too proud to seek from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is in fact too proud to worship him.

It has been narrated that Sadir al Sayrafi asked Imam al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam, “Which act of worship is the most virtuous?” and he replied:

There is nothing more virtuous to Allah than Him being asked for something that is His and Him being sought from, and there is no one more detested by Allah than one who considers himself too great to worship Allah and therefore does not ask from Him.[29]

 

O servant of Allah, how then do you [wrongfully] divert the most virtuous act of worship away from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to another? Is there not a good example for you in the ways of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his family radiya Llahu ‘anhum?

Read the following sayings of Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

A believing servant does not persistently ask Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala to fulfil his need except that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala fulfils it for him.[30]

 

He did not say, “You should seek my intercession and the intercession of my family to fulfil your needs!”

It befits a believer that his supplications in times of ease be like his supplications in times of hardship. It should not be that at a time of ease he gets tired of supplicating. Indeed, then it will have a special status by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.[31]

 

Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah has pointed out the great value of supplication and has indicated that supplication has a special status by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, so how can it be [wrongfully] diverted to any besides Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala?

Study the following narration from the book Makarim al Akhlaq, by al Tabarsi:

 

It has been narrated from Abu ‘Ubaidah al Hadhdha’. He said, “I was with Imam al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam and my camel got lost.” He said, “Perform two cycles of prayer then say as I say:

اللهم راد الضالة هاديا من الضلالة رد علي ضالتي فإنها من فضلك و عطائك

O Allah, Returner of the lost and Guide of those astray, return my lost property to me because it is from Your gift and favour [upon me].

Then he said, “O Abu ‘Ubaidah, come! Mount your ride!”

I rode on with him until we moved a bit further. Suddenly, there was a dark figure [in the distance] on the road.

Imam al Baqir ‘alayh al Salam said, “O Abu ‘Ubaidah, this is your camel.”

I then found that it was my camel.[32]

 

This was the way of Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah; he would teach people to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala through good deeds, as he did [in the abovementioned incident] when he advised Abu ‘Ubaidah to perform two cycles of prayer followed by calling out to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala alone. He did not say to him, “Seek help through me or my ancestors.” This attests to the word of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَابْتَغُوا إِلَيْهِ الْوَسِيلَةَ وَجَاهِدُوا فِي سَبِيلِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

O you who have believe, fear Allah and seek the means [of nearness] to Him and strive in His cause that you may succeed.[33]

 

The means that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala asks us to seek is good deeds. This is what Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu understood and so he advised his companion to perform good deeds, so that it can be a means of nearness to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, and to follow that good deed with supplication.

Al Majlisi narrated in his Bihar that Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu said:

 

The best thing that those who seek means can seek means through is faith in Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, striving in the path of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, the word of sincerity—as it is natural, establishment of prayer—as it is the religion, giving zakat—as it is amongst the obligatory commands of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, fasting during the month of Ramadan—as it is a shield from the punishment of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, pilgrimage of the Holy Ka’bah—as it is the appointed gathering place in [our] religion and it abolishes sin, joining ties of kinship—for indeed it increases one’s wealth and lifespan, giving alms secretively—as it removes sin and extinguishes the anger of the Lord, kind acts—for indeed they prevent a bad death and protect [you] in the battlefields of contemptibleness. Lo! Tell the truth, for indeed Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is with the honest and refrain from lying for indeed lying is far from faith. Lo, indeed one who is honest is on the brink of rescue and dignity. Lo, indeed the liar is on the brink of humiliation and destruction. Lo, say what is good so that you may be recognized through it and practice upon it so that you may be from its people (the people of goodness). Fulfil the trusts of those who entrust you. Join ties of kinship with those who sever ties with you and recompense them with more.[34]

 

Therefore, we see that seeking means is not accomplished by taking the saints and the pious as mediators between a servant and his Creator subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, rather it is accomplished through the acts of worship that a servant does whilst turning to his Creator hoping for His mercy and fearing His punishment.

Al Tusi has narrated in al Amali on the authority of Muhammad ibn ‘Ajlan, the freed slave of Imam al Baqir, that he said:

 

I was once afflicted by severe starvation and

no friends during hard times. I had a heavy debt and a creditor who was insisting payment, so I went to the house of al Hassan ibn Zaid, who was the chief of al Madinah at the time, as I was acquainted with him.

Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ali ibn Hussain noticed my condition as we were old acquaintances, so he met me on the road, took my hand and said, “[The news of] what you are experiencing has reached me, so who do you hope will remove that which has afflicted you?”

I said, “Al Hassan ibn Zaid.”

He said, “In that case your need will not be fulfilled and you will not be satisfied by your demands, so it is necessary for you to supplicate to the one Who is able to do that. He is the Most Generous of the generous, so seek that which you hope for from Him. Indeed, I heard the son of my paternal uncle, Jafar ibn Muhammad narrating from his father, who narrated from his grandfather, who narrated from his father, al Hussain ibn ‘Ali, narrating from his father, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, ‘alayh al Salam who narrated from the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that he said, “Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala revealed [the following] to one of His prophets in one of His revelations:

By My honour and majesty, I will surely cut the hope of all those who place their hopes in others besides Me by causing them to despair. I will certainly enshroud them in the cloth of disgrace before the people and indeed I will distance them from My relief and favour. Does My servant place his hopes in someone besides Me whilst in difficulty? Does he expect from others besides Me, whereas I am free from need and Most Generous? In my hands are the keys to all locked doors and My door is open for whoever calls out to Me. Does he not know that any misfortune that discourages him cannot be removed except by Me? Why then do I see him turning his hopes away from Me? Through My generosity and kindness, I have already given him that which he did not ask for, but he turned away from Me and in his misfortunate state he asked from someone besides Me whereas I am Allah; I give before being asked, so then when I am asked will I not give? Never! Are generosity and kindness not Mine? Are the world and hereafter not in My hands? If all the inhabitants of the seven skies and earth were to ask from Me and I gave each of them what they sought, that would not detract from My dominion as much a mosquito’s wing. How can a dominion which I sustain ever decrease? Oh misery for the one who disobeys Me and does not fear Me.”

So, I said, “O son of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, repeat this narration to me.” He thus repeated it thrice. I said, “I swear by Allah, I will not ask anyone to fulfil my needs after this.” It was not long before He gave me from His sustenance and bounty.[35]

 

Therefore, I say: Oh the misery of the one who places his hopes in others besides Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and oh the misery of the one who seeks protection from others besides Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, because he has taken refuge in a servant and left the [true] Deity and has clung on to the people and forgotten the Lord of the people. Oh you who ask from others besides Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, fear Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and emulate the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his Family, and Companions radiya Llahu ‘anhum. By Allah, they never associated any partners with Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in prayer. Let the many people who have deviated from the straight path not deceive you, for indeed Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says in His Mighty Book:

 

وَإِن تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ

And if you obey most of those upon the earth, they will mislead you from the way of Allah. They follow not except assumption, and they are not but misjudging.[36]

 

One of the scholars who are acquainted with Allah has said:

Adhere to the path of guidance and let the scarceness of the travellers not affect you, and beware of the path of sin and let the abundance of those who are lost not deceive you.

 

The following saying has been narrated from Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

No eye is dampened by its tears due to the fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala except that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala makes its body unlawful for the hellfire. No tear that flows upon the cheek of its possessor allows his face to be covered by dust and disgrace on the Day of Judgement. There is no good deed without weight or reward except those tears that flow due to the fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, for indeed Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will extinguish with a drop of it an ocean of the hellfire on the Day of Judgement. Sometimes one member of a nation cries out of the fear of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala forgives the entire nation due to the cries of that single believer.[37]

 

Mention of Some Fabrications

 

We have certainly seen such firmness and stability of the belief of Tawhid in Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu that suffices the intelligent reader and satisfies the appetite of a seeker of reality. However, some extreme fabrications which have exaggerated the jurisprudence and exegesis of Imam al Baqir have found a way to distort the pure signs of Tawhid with which the speech of Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu was dripping.

Our opinion with regards to these fabrications is the opinion of Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah himself, as he said, “Everything that opposes the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will be returned to the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and the Sunnah.”

All those who know the falsity of the attributions towards Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu yet do not defend him or remove him from this injustice, partake in its sin. As mentioned by the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in a noble Prophetic tradition, “Whoever relates a tradition from me thinking that it is false, he is one of the liars.”

O reader, here are some of those different narrations which have been falsely attributed to Imam Abu Jafar al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu and those verses and authentic traditions that contradict them:

 

The First Narration

 

إِنَّ إِلَيْنَا إِيَابَهُمْ

Indeed, to Us is their return.[38]

 

Al Majlisi narrated from Imam al Baqir rahimahu Llah that he interpreted the abovementioned verse to mean: Indeed, to us is the return of this creation and upon us is their reckoning.[39]

Look at how this negligent fabricator exceeds the bounds in the matter of the Imams and forces upon them the traits of godliness. We all know that all creatures return to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, their reckoning is upon Him and He has no partner. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِّنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلَّهِ

It is the Day when a soul will not possess for another soul [power to do] a thing; and the command, that Day, is [entirely] with Allah.[40]

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala also says:

إِنْ حِسَابُهُمْ إِلَّا عَلَىٰ رَبِّي لَوْ تَشْعُرُونَ 

Their account is only upon my Lord, if you [could] perceive.[41]

 

The Second Narration

Al Nuri al Tabarsi narrates from Imam al Baqir radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he said:

 

I once passed by the grave of my grandfather, the leader of the believers, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu, with my father, ‘Ali ibn al Hussain rahimahu Llah, in al Najaf, [a town] to the corner of Kufah. He stopped at the grave, wept and said, “Peace be upon the father of the leaders, the friend of prophethood and the one who was endowed with brotherhood. Peace be upon the chief of faith, the scale of deeds and the sword of the Possessor of Might. Peace be upon the pious believer, the inheritor of the knowledge of the Prophets ‘alayh al Salam, the judge on the Day of Requital. Peace be upon the tree of Taqwa. Peace be upon the profound proof of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala; His perfect blessing, His irrefutable vengeance. May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala be upon the clear path; the shining star, the sincere leader.”

Then he said, “You are my means [of nearness] and way to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, and I have the right of my friendship and hope, so be my intercessor to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in insisting that my need be fulfilled and that my neck be freed from the hellfire. Allow me to pass through this phase of mine, and in all that I have asked for, with success, through His mercy and power. O Allah! Grant me complete understanding, superior intellect, a pure heart, abundant deeds and perfect courtesy. Make all this in my favour and do not make it [a burden] upon me, through Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”[42]

 

We begin our analysis of this narration with an insolent unpleasant phrase; that is ‘the judge on the Day of Requital’. Look at the extremism of the fabricator of this tradition about Sayyidina ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhu. Look at his audacity in lying about the leaders of the Ahlul Bayt radiya Llahu ‘anhum and his opposition of what has been clearly stated in the Word of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala:

 

ثُمَّ رُدُّوا إِلَى اللَّهِ مَوْلَاهُمُ الْحَقِّ أَلَا لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَهُوَ أَسْرَعُ الْحَاسِبِينَ

Then they [i.e., His servants] are returned to Allah, their true Lord. Unquestionably, His is the judgement, and He is the swiftest of accountants.[43]

 

وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ ۚ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

And do not invoke with Allah another deity. There is no deity except Him. Everything will be destroyed except His Face. His is the judgement, and to Him you will be returned.[44]

 

يَوْمَ لَا تَمْلِكُ نَفْسٌ لِّنَفْسٍ شَيْئًا وَالْأَمْرُ يَوْمَئِذٍ لِّلَّهِ

It is the Day when a soul will not possess for another soul [power to do] a thing; and the command, that Day, is [entirely] with Allah.[45]

 

The abovementioned verses clearly state that on the Day of Judgement verdict will only be for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. This exaggerator falsely and slanderously claims that the ultimate judge is another besides Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala!

Next, we will analyse the phrase, ‘so be my intercessor to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in insisting that my need be fulfilled and that my neck be freed from the hellfire’ and his opposition of the following verses:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ تَدْعُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ عِبَادٌ أَمْثَالُكُمْ فَادْعُوهُمْ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لَكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

Indeed, those you [polytheists] call upon besides Allah are servants [i.e., creations] like you. So, call upon them and let them respond to you, if you should be truthful.[46]

 

وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَضُرُّهُمْ وَلَا يَنفَعُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ هَٰؤُلَاءِ شُفَعَاؤُنَا عِندَ اللَّهِ قُلْ أَتُنَبِّئُونَ اللَّهَ بِمَا لَا يَعْلَمُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

And they worship other than Allah that which neither harms them nor benefits them, and they say, “These are our intercessors with Allah.” Say, “Do you inform Allah of something He does not know in the heavens or on the earth?” Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him.[47]

 

وَلَا تَدْعُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكَ وَلَا يَضُرُّكَ فَإِن فَعَلْتَ فَإِنَّكَ إِذًا مِّنَ الظَّالِمِينَ

And do not invoke besides Allah that which neither benefits you nor harms you, for if you did, then indeed you would be of the wrongdoers.[48]

 

وَيَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَمْلِكُ لَهُمْ رِزْقًا مِّنَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَسْتَطِيعُونَ

And they worship besides Allah that which does not possess for them [the power of] provision from the heavens and the earth at all, and [in fact], they are unable.[49]

 

وَاتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ آلِهَةً لِّيَكُونُوا لَهُمْ عِزًّا

And they have taken besides Allah [false] deities that they would be for them [a source of] honour.[50]

 

قُلْ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَعْصِمُكُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ إِنْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ سُوءًا أَوْ أَرَادَ بِكُمْ رَحْمَةً وَلَا يَجِدُونَ لَهُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلِيًّا وَلَا نَصِيرًا

Say, “Who is it that can protect you from Allah if He intends for you an ill or intends for you a mercy?” And they will not find for themselves besides Allah any protector or any helper.[51]

 

وَمَنْ أَضَلُّ مِمَّن يَدْعُو مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَن لَّا يَسْتَجِيبُ لَهُ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَهُمْ عَن دُعَائِهِمْ غَافِلُونَ

And who is more astray than he who invokes besides Allah those who will not respond to him until the Day of Resurrection, and they, of their invocation, are unaware.[52]

 

أَمِ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ شُفَعَاءَ قُلْ أَوَلَوْ كَانُوا لَا يَمْلِكُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَعْقِلُونَ قُل لِّلَّهِ الشَّفَاعَةُ جَمِيعًا لَّهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

Or have they taken other than Allah as intercessors? Say, “Even though they do not possess [power over] anything, nor do they reason?” Say, “To Allah belongs [the right to allow] intercession entirely. To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. Then to Him you will be returned.”[53]

 

NEXT⇒ The Respect of Imam al Baqir for the Companions and the People of Knowledge


[1] Surah al Ma’idah: 3.

[2] Musnad Ahmed, 1/151. Shu’ayb al Arna’ut declared the chain to be authentic according to the conditions of al Bukhari and Muslim.

[3] Surah al Hijr: 9.

[4] Tahdhib al Ahkam, pg. 54.

[5] al Hurr al ‘Amili: Al Fusul al Muhimmah fi Usul al A՚immah, 366/2.

[6] Al Wasa՚il, # 47.

[7] Tarikh al Islam, 464/7.

[8] Surah Ibrahim: 7.

[9] Surah al Ghafir: 60.

[10] Al Sahifat al Sajjadiyyah, pg. 224.

[11] Al Hurr al ‘Amili: Al Wasa՚il, 30/7.

[12] Al Kafi, 2/388.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Al Tusi: Misbah al Mutahajjid, pg. 164.

[15] Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 88/188.

[16] Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 91/270.

[17] Surah al Ra’d: 14.

[18] Al Fayd al Kashani: Tafsir al Safi, 3/62.

[19] Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 68/115.

[20] Surah al Zumar: 38.

[21] Surah al Yunus: 18.

[22] Surah al Fatir: 14.

[23] Surah al Ma’idah: 116.

[24] Surah al Ahzab: 67.

[25] Al Majlisi: Bihar Al Anwar, 90/296.

[26] Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 82/110.

[27] Ibn Kathir: Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 1/119.

[28] Surah Ghafir: 60.

[29] Ibn Abi Jamhur al Ahsani: ‘Awali al La’ali, 4/19.

[30] Ibn Fahd al Hilli: ‘Uddat al Da’i, pg. 189.

[31] Ibn Fahd al Hilli: ‘Uddat al Da’i, pg. 186-187.

[32] Al Tabrasi: Makarim al Akhlaq, pg. 259-260.

[33] Surah al Ma’idah: 35.

[34] Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 66/386.

[35] Al Tusi: Al Amali, pg. 584.

[36] Surah al An’am: 116.

[37] Al Mufid: Al Amali, pg. 143.

[38] Surah al Ghashiyah: 25.

[39] Al Majlisi: Bihar al Anwar, 35/59.

[40] Surah al Infitar: 19.

[41] Surah al Shu’ara’: 113.

[42] Al Nuri al Tabrasi: Mustadrak al Wasa’il, 10/223, Chapter with regards to it being preferred to visit the leader of the believers, #11900.

[43] Surah al An’am: 62.

[44] Surah al Qasas: 88.

[45] Surah al Infitar: 19.

[46] Surah al A’raf: 194.

[47] Surah Yunus: 18.

[48] Surah Yunus: 106.

[49] Surah al Nahl: 73.

[50] Surah Maryam: 81.

[51] Surah al Ahzab: 17.

[52] Surah al Ahqaf: 5.

[53] Surah al Zumar: 43-44.

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