His School and Knowledge
A. His Position as a Scholar:
"...Not only was he the most devout in his worship among the people, but he was also the most well-versed man in Islamic sciences and jurisprudence."[^29]
Imam Musa bin Jafar (a.s.) is the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.), and the inheritor of the knowledge of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.). He was the disciple of his father, Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.), the great spiritual leader, and the top scholar of his time, about whom Malik bin Anas, the leader of the Malikiyyah school of thought, said:
"Never has an eye seen, nor has an ear heard, nor has a mind of a man ever thought of a man better than Ja'far al-Sadiq in his outstanding merits, knowledge, worship and piety."[^30]
The well-known historian al-Ya'qoobi wrote, describing him, "He was the best among people and the most well-versed in the faith. The scholars who reported from him, would open their narratives, if they conveyed them from him, with these words, 'The great alim told us that..."[^31]
Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.) appointed his son Musa al-Kadhim as his successor to the office of Imamate. Ali bin Ja'far, the brother of Imam Musa al-Kadhim (a.s.), a dependable, trustworthy narrator, is reported to have said, "I heard Abu-Ja'far bin Muhammad (a.s.) saying to some people from his entourage and close friends, 'Take good care of this son of mine, Musa. He is the best of my sons, and the best among whom I leave after me. He shall be my successor and the proof of Allah, the Exalted, over all his servants after me."[^32]
Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) himself once said to a companion of his, "Should you ask this son of mine, whom you know, about what is between the two covers of the Qur'an, he will certainly answer you knowledgeably."[^33]
And so Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) received the heavy trust of guiding the ummah from his father. The Imam (a.s.) raised a generation of 'ulama', preachers and narrators of Prophetic traditions. His mission lasted 35 years.
His era was abundant with ideological and philosophical currents. Divergent views on fiqh, Qur'anic exegesis and science of traditions emerged.
That era was the most critical in the life of Muslims. Atheism, polytheism, and hyperbole penetrated the Muslim society, and new ideological trends, with conflicting beliefs and doctrines surfaced. Schools of fiqh diversified and new sciences, including logic, philosophy, linguistics, in addition to comparison, appreciation and personal tastes, were adopted as bass for deducing fiqh decrees. Some judges and fuqaha' distorted their judgements and decrees so as to suit the rulers. Distorted and fabricated traditions were spread.
Though extremely restricted and beleaguered, Imam Musa bin Ja'far (a.s.) didn't give up his mission. It was his top priority to correct the Islamic march by showing to the ummah what was original and what was non-Islamic. Aided by his disciples, he faced the new ideological trends, exactly as his.
father, al-Sadiq (a.s.), and his grandfather, al-Baqir (a.s.), had done before, and displayed their flaws, and demonstrated that they were only distorted views of the original Islam. As for fiqh, he enriched it with his explanations, statements and deductions. By so doing, the Imam (a.s.) solidified the pillars of Islam, purified methodologies of fiqh and Islamic laws. He kept the school of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.) original, and enriched it.
Biographical books and those related to traditions maintain that upward to 300 men had reported from Imam Musa bin Ja'far (a.s.). Proudly history cites a list of Imam's students who were distinguished as great scholars, and prominent ulama'. Most of them authored and compiled rich, and great books on the different sciences of Islam.
Sheikh al-Toosi writes, "The followers of our school of thought have agreed on the probity and trustworthiness of six fuqaha', who were taught and educated by al- Kadhim and al-Ridha (a.s.). They were: Yunus bin Abdul-Rahman, Safwan bin Yahya, Bayya' al-Sabiri, Muhammad bin Abi-Umayr, Abdullah bin al-Mughirah, al-Hassan bin Mahboob al-Rad and Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi-Nasr."[^34]
Distinguished among his students were also Hisham bin al-Hakam, the great alim in the science of monotheism and Islamic beliefs, Ali bin Suworyd, Muhammad bin Sinan...etc.
Following are very brief biographies of four of Imam's students and followers. These might give us an idea of how great was the impact of the school of Imam Musa bin Ja'far (a.s.) on the ummah.
Ali bin Suwayd al-Soo'i:
He transmitted traditions from Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) and Imam al-Ridha (a.s.). He corresponded with Abul-Hassan I, namely Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) when the latter was in prison. Judging from the letters the Imam (a.s.) sent him, he was a man of great social position, and was a well-known scholar. He authored a book mentioned by Ahmad bin Zayd al-Khuza'i.[^35]
Muhammad bin Sinan:
Muhammad bin al-Hassan bin Sinan was known by the name of his grandfather because his father died while he was still a child. His grandfather took custody of him. He was nicknamed Abu-Ja'far and al-Zahiri, after the name of Zahir, the servant of Umar bin al-Humq al-Khuza'i, a well-known companion of both Imam Abul-Hassan al-Kadhim (a.s.) and Imam Abul-Hassan al-Ridha (a.s.). He authored books mentioned by, among others, al-Hassan bin Sham'oon, Muhammad bin al-Hussein, Ahmad bin Muhammad, and Muhammad bin Ali al- Sayrafi. A number of reputed people like Safwan and al-Abbas bin Ma'roof, and Abdul-Rahman bin al-Hajjaj[^36], quoted him.
Muhammad bin Abi-Umayr al-Azdi:
His father is Ziyad bin Isa. He was Baghdadi by birth and lived in Baghdad. In the sight of all people, the common and those close to the Imams, he was one of the most trustworthy, pious and devout among people. "He was unique, among all people, in all his qualities," wrote al-Jahidh. "He was a leading Shi'ite," adds al- Jahidh. "Under al-Rasheed he was thrown in prison, so as to force him to name the Shi'ites, and especially the followers of Musa bin Ja'far (a.s.). He was so severely beaten that he was about to confess, when he heard Muhammad bin Yunus bin Abdul-Rahman saying to him, 'Fear Allah, Muhammad bin Umay.' He bravely endured torture until Allah granted him freedom."
Al-Kishshi reports that, in the days of Haroon, Muhammad was beaten 120 times with a thick piece of wood. Al-Sindi bin Shahik beat him because of being a Shi'ite. He was imprisoned and kept there until he paid a total of 21,000 Dirhams from his own money.
It was also said that al-Ma'moon, the Abbasside caliph, kept him in prison until he accepted the post of judge in a Muslim town. According to Sheikh al-Mufid, in his book al-Ikhtisas (a book of traditions) he was imprisoned 17 years. His sister buried his books for four years, during which period the books decayed. It was also said that he had kept them in a room where the rain destroyed them. So he depended on his memory, or on the traditions and narratives he had conveyed earlier to people, when he started once again orally narrating the traditions or writing them down. He lived during the Imamate of al-Kadhim (a.s.)[^37] but did not quote him, but quoted both al-Ridha and al-Jawad (a.s.). He died in 217 A.H. [^38] Historians say that he wrote 94 books on different Islamic sciences and arts.[^39]
Hisham bin al-Hakam:
Abul-Hakam Hisham bin al-Hakam al-Baghdadi al-Kindi was the servant of the family of Shayban. Shi'ite agree on his probity and great position in the eyes of the Imams (a.s.). He had long discussions with those who differed with him on many aspects of the faith. He associated with Abu-Abdullah Ja'far al-Sadiq (a.s.), then with his son al-Kadhim (a.s.), then with al-Ridha (a.s.), until his death in 179 A.H. in the city of Kufa.[^40]
Historians maintain that he was a man of profound knowledge, particularly in the areas of philosophy of monotheism, Imamate and Islamic beliefs. He wrote 30 books.[^41]
These are only four leading scholars we picked them from a list of students of Imam al-Kadhim's school. Sayyid Ibin Tawoos says, "The companions and close friends of the Imam used to attend his assembly, carrying ebony boards and sticks in their sleeves. They would write down anything he said, or any judgement he gave on any affair".[^42]
B. Some of Imam's Statements on Monotheism:
Without any philosophization or complication, Muslims took plainly and simply monotheism from the preacher of monotheism, Muhammad (s.a.w.). They grasped it from the Book of Allah and believed in it. They fully understood this doctrine and believed in prophethood, revelation, the Hereafter, Paradise, Hell, attributes of Allah, the Glorified, and His relation with the deeds of His servants, the universe, sustenance of His servants, things closely related to monotheism. But through the passage of time, philosophy, logic, and dialectics infiltrated Islamic beliefs, and people began to differ on such things as the divine attributes, the deeds of people, the Hereafter and other things linked to core Islamic beliefs. Some people said that Allah, like any of his creatures, had a body. Others said Allah descended to our sky on a white donkey. Some Muslims believed in fatalism and free choice. A group of people denied the torture of the grave, while another group denied that people would be resurrected bodily on the Judgement Day. Some people called for asceticism and the cutting of one's ties with this life, Imams of Ahlul-Bait (a.s.), especially al-Baqir, al-Sadiq, al-Kadhim and al-Ridha (a.s.), with their students stood against all kinds of ideological deviations, and refuted them with proofs, logic, and reasoned answers.
When some people claimed that Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, descended to the sky, he said, "Allah never descends. He need not descend He is the same, whether close or remote. No remote thing is far from Him, nor a close thing is near Him. He needs nobody and nothing, but everybody and everything are in need of Him. He is the Generous and Powerful There is no god but He, the Mighty and Wise.
As for those describers who say that He descends, the Blessed and Exalted Allah is far above this description. Those who say so believe that Allah is vulnerable to decrease or increase. Any movable thing needs some outside force that moves is or serves as a medium for its movement. Doomed is he whose faith in Allah is shaken. Beware to attribute to Allah qualities that depict Him as decreasing or increasing, moving or being moved, changing or descending, standing or sitting. Allah, the Almighty and Powerful, is certainly beyond the words of the describers, the depiction of depicters, and the fancy of the fanciful"[^43]
Some people explained the verse "The Beneficent is established on the Throne of Power. "by saying that Allah sits on a throne like a chair. He corrected their idea when he said, "The meaning of this "The Beneficent is established on the Throne of Power" is that Allah has power over all things, tiny or huge.[^44] That means He has true power over the whole universe. 'Sitting' here is equal, in its meaning, to the description of Allah, the Exalted, as being Powerful and enjoying mastery over all things. Though near and present everywhere, He does not go far away, nor diminish."
One of his contemporaries argued with him about the exegesis of this verse. The man said, 'I see here a coming out of the unseen, and a descension to the earth. I think Muhammad (s.a.w.) saw his Lord with his heart but it was attributed to his eyesight. How can this be explained?'
'He drew near and came down,' replied the Imam (a.s.), 'But He did not leave a place, nor did He come down in a body.'
'I describe Him by His own description,' said the man. 'He did not come down from His place without leaving it. If the matter was not so, He would not describe Himself in this way.'
'This is an expression used by the tribe of Quraish,' said the Imam (a.s.). 'When a man from them wants to say 'qad sam'it 'I have heard -, he says 'qad tadallayt' - I have come down. 'Coming down' means understanding in the Quraishi dialect."[^45]
In another statement Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) explains the relation between Allah's will and man's. He shows how man's behaviour has developed, whether it is good or bad. He emphasizes the fact that man is free, and he enjoys the full freedom of choice. He can do something and can refrain from doing it. Allah never abolishes man's will. But this freedom to act on the part of man doesn't mean that Allah is unable to prevent His servants from doing evil, o r that He can't force them to do good. Allah simply wants to test man in this life, Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) says:
"When Allah created His creatures, He knew what their fates would be. He ordered them to do certain things and forbade them to do other things. If He ordered them to do certain things, He left them free to do them or not. They cannot do something or abstain from doing it without His will. Never did Allah force any of His servants to disobey Him. 'He simply tests His servants with tribulations'."[^46]
C. Imam States Key Sources of Islamic Thought and Legislation:
Here we have a brief look at certain ideas, concept and basic standards laid down by the Imam to control the foundations of fiqh, deduction of Islamic laws from Islamic text, and thought. They were stated and explained in a letter he wrote at the behest of the Abbassid caliph, Haroon al-Rasheed. "I ask you, by the names of your fathers, to summarize the discussion we have just had in numbered, comprehensive words," asked Haroon al-Rashid. "Yes," agreed the Imam (a.s.). An inkpot and paper were brought to him. He wrote the following:
"In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. All that concern religions can be summed up in four categories, concerning which there is no dissent: There are matters so clear that people unanimously agree on their authenticity, among which are the religious texts and traditions, the authentic, agreed-upon ones, in the light of which doubted matters are examined, and new judgements are inferred. There are matters that appear doubtful They are settled by asking the knowledgeable, who seek a proof, from the Book of Allah, on which all Muslims as authentic, or syllogism reasons acknowledge its fairness, and neither scholars nor the common people doubt it. These two categories cover all matters, including monotheism and what is less grave, and the compensation one should make for a slight injury one causes to others, and what is graver. So these are basic standards according to which religious matters are scrutinized. What is proved to be correct you should accept, and what remains vague and doubtful you should put aside. Any one of these three is the conclusive proof which Allah emphasizes is His address to His Messenger. Such conclusive proof is understood by the ignorant, in spite of their ignorance, and also by the knowledgeable, by virtue of their knowledge. That is because Allah is Just, and never treats His servants unjustly. He argues with His servants with what they know. He calls to what they blow, not to what they do not blow or deny."[^47]
The Imam (a.s.), by these words, states the sources of the faith and Islamic laws, so as to keep reason, thinking, and conduct from slipping into deviation. He names specifically the Noble Qur'an, the authentic Sunnah, and syllogism based on the Book and Sunnah. Imam al-Kadhim (a.s.) defines syllogism as a way to keep thinking, and religious inferences away from methodological mistakes. That is why he calls to unify our thinking, understanding, studying and judgement inference, in order to preserve the originality of the faith on one hand, and to enrich Islamic thought and legislation, on the other hand. He decides that we should make the Qur'anic concepts, accepted by Muslims with one interpretation, and the religiously authentic Sunnah, a basis for deducing ideas, concepts and judgements. He also makes syllogism, which is viewed as fair by mature intellects, a method by which opinions, concepts and judgements are deduced from these two sources. Thus, neither various interpretations of Qur'anic concepts, nor every tradition and statement handed down from each narrator, nor the fairlooking syllogism, that appears to the researcher good, can be justifiably made a basis for the comprehension of the faith, or deduction of the laws and judgements.
And, as we have said before, the Imam (a.s.) raised a generation of fuqaha' , ulama', and tradition transmitters he bestowed on his companions, students and fellow ulama', religious decrees, judgements, lessons, arguments...etc.
History conveyed to us sessions in which the Imam had argued with the accomplished thinkers and fuqaha' of his time, among whom Abu-Hanifah, and Abu-Yusuf, the supreme judge, under Haroon al-Rasheed and others. They all acknowledged the correctness of Imam's judgements and decrees.
The chief faqih of Hanbalis, Ahmad bin Hanbal, confidently and respectfully conveyed certain thoughts and concepts from him. This fact is attested to by a group of narrators, authors and men concerned with the traditions. Ahmad bin Hanbal is quoted as saying, "Musa bin Ja'far said to me, on the authority of Abu- Ja'far bin Muhammad...on the authority of the Prophet." Ahmad then added: "This chain of transmitters is so indisputably authentic that if it is read to a fool, he would certainly restore his reason."[^48]
D. Reason, its Scientific and Behavioural
Value in the Sight of ,he Imam:
Reason enjoys great value and importance in Islam. By it Allah, the Exalted and High, is known and His greatness is grasped. By it knowledge and sciences are acquired, and so life progresses. By it man takes the path leading to good, and differentiates between good and evil. And finally by virtue of reason man's humanity and value find their sense. That is why Islam regards reason as something unequally precious. It respects reason and the men of sound judgements, and attaches much importance to knowledge and the knowledgeable. It makes thinking obligatory, and urges the good use of reason and the conquest of new horizons of research and thinking.
When Imam Musa bin Ja'far (a.s.) describes reason, and explains its value and importance, he in fact conveys the view of the Qur'an and states the standpoint of Islam. The following advice given by the Imam to Hisham bin al-Hakam, one of his disciples, is considered as one of the most valuable statements ever said about reason, its preciousness and responsibility. Here we quote parts of the statement of the Imam (a.s.):
The Imam (a.s.) said, "Allah, the Blessed and Exalted, certainly gave the good news to the possessors of good reason and understanding, in His Book, by these words,"...so give good news to My servants, who listen to the Word, then follow the best of it. Such are they whom Allah has guided, and such are the men of understanding."
"O Hisham! Allah, the Almighty and High, completed His proofs to people with reason, communicated to them His message with plain eloquence, and acquainted them with His Lordship by means of His guides.
"O Hisham! Then he explained that reason goes with science by saying, "And these parables, We sent them forth for people, and none understand them but the learned."
"O Hisham! Allah says, "And certainly We gave Luqman wisdom, ..." which means understanding and reason. "O Hisham! Luqman said to his son, 'Be humble toward right and you shall be the sagest among people. The sagacious are modest toward right. My little son! Life is a deep sea, in which a great number of people drowned So make fear of Allah your ship on it. And make faith its contents, trust in Allah its sails, reason its captain, knowledge its guide, and patience its rudder.
"O Hisham! Everything has a guide, and the guide of the sagacious is contemplation. And the guide of contemplation is silence. Everything has a mount, and the mount of the sagacious is modesty. It is certainly the pinnacle of ignorance to do what you are forbidden to do.
"O Hisham! Allah has certainly two proofs before people: A revealed proof, and a hidden one. As for the revealed, it is the Messengers, Prophets and Imams, and the hidden is reason.
"O Hisham! Who destroys his reason, he undoubtedly spoils both his faith and life.
"O Hisham! People were created to serve Allah. There is no salvation without obedience. Obedience is the fruit of knowledge. Knowledge is acquired by learning, and learning is spurred by the desire to know. There is no knowledge equal to that acquired from a spiritual scholar. The learned gain knowledge by virtue of their reason.
"O Hisham! A sagacious man agrees to be gifted with wisdom though his share of life's spoils is little. But he cannot be satisfied with a little share of wisdom, even if provided with luxury in this life.
"O Hisham! The Commander of the Faithful, Ali bin Abi-Talib (a.s.) said, 'There is nothing better than reason with which Allah is served'
"O Hisham! The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) said, 'No one should lead a number of people without enjoying three qualities: He should be able to provide answers for every question posed to him. He should be able to speak plainly when other people fail to do so. And he should be able to offer the counsel which benefits people. He is certainly a fool who lacks these three qualities but seeks the leadership.'
"Hassan bin Ali (a.s.) said, 'When you are in need of something, ask it from those able to grant it.' 'O son of the Messenger of Allah, , he was asked, 'and who are these?' 'They are those whose mention was made by Allah in His Book, when He says,"...only men of understanding mind' which means those endowed with good reason.'
"Ali bin Hussein (as.) said, 'Sitting with the righteous people leads one to uprightness. Politeness of scholars is a compliment added to their sound understanding. Obedience of the legitimate rulers of justice is the peak of power. Investment of one's money is the epitome of unselfishness. Enlightening advice seekers is an act of gratitude in return for Allah's favours. Abstention from harming others is a sign of sagacity. It is the source of the body's rest, in this life, and the next one.'
"O Hisham! A sagacious man does not tell something to someone whom he fears to give the lie to him on account of it.
He will not ask the favour of whom he fears to refuse, nor does he promise what he is not able to deliver, nor does he hope to get what he would be scolded on account of nor does he advance voluntarily to do what he is unable to. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is reported to have given his companions this piece of advice, 'I advise you to fear Allah in privacy and in public, stick to justice in time of satisfaction and anger, work is poverty and richness, keep your relations with whoever ends his relations with you, forgive whoever wrongs you, and to be kind to whoever deprives you. Let your contemplation be for the sake of drawing useful lessons, your silence be thinking, your words be remembrance of Allah, and your nature generosity, for no miser is entitled to enter Paradise, and no philanthropist is going to enter Hell'
"O Hisham! The best ways to gain closeness to Allah, after knowing Him, are prayer, kindness of one's parents, and giving up envy, vanity and pride.
"O Hisham! Isa (a.s.) said to his disciples. 'People, with regard to wisdom, fall into two categories; those who master it in words and suit their actions to their words. And those who master it in words but miss it with their misdeeds. mat a great difference is there between them! Blessed be the learned with their good deeds, and woe to the knowledgeable who only talk'
"Make your hearts abodes of piety, but never make your hearts the dwelling of pleasures. Those who extremely grieve in time of adversity are those who excessively love this life. Those who patiently bear tribulations are certainly those who are less attached to this life. It is no use to purify your skins as long as your hearts are impure.
"Do not be like a sieve that passes the fine flour and retains the bran. Here you are bringing out wisdom from your mouths, while your chests remain full with rancour. O slaves of this world!
You are like a candle which gives light to people, but bums itself] O Israelites! Pay special attention to attend learned men's assemblies, even if you have no other choice but to crawl on your hands and knees, for Allah certainly revives the dead hearts in exactly the same way He revives the dead earth with a downpour.'
"O Hisham! mat a bad servant of Allah is the one who is double-faced, who praises his brother when he sees him, and backbites him during his absence, the one who envies his brother when he acquires some wealth, and fails him when he is afflicted with an adversity... The reward of good deeds is certainly at hand, and the retribution for an injustice is surely at hand. The most evil servants of Allah are certainly those whom you detest to talk to on account of their obscenity. What causes people to enter hell face down other than the product of their tongues? A sign of one's good faith is one's leaving anything that does not concern one.
"O Hisham! Beware of pride, for no one who nurtures an iota of pride in his heart is entitled to enter Paradise. Pride is Allah 's mantle, and whoever tries to share it with Him, He throws him into hell face down.. but who submits to Allah, Allah certainly raises him up.
"O Hisham! He who does not make a reckoning with himself at the end of every day, with the intention of doing more good works, if he has got many good deeds on that day, and not asking Allah's forgiveness and turning to Him in repentance if he has done evil things on that day, is certainly out of our fold (Ahlul-Bait).
"Mind to take refuge in Allah, put your trust in Him, and fight your self to prevent it from following its own low desires..."[^49]
This is a bunch of roses picked from Imam's gardens of knowledge. It gives the aroma of faithfulness, and blooms with the beauty of worship and spirituality. These are the gardens of prophethood, the fragrance of the Qur'an, and Islam's beautiful roses, grown in Imam's serene soul.
How important is for us to learn from the Imam (a.s.), and walk in the light of his guidance, so as not to stray in the wrong direction or have a blurred vision. What the Imams left for us is in fact a highly valued intellectual legacy, which contributes to the making of man, and correct his march. It is a fortune that can't be found anywhere. We should make good use of these rich, educational, and intellectual treasures, by employing them in improving our social life, building our Islamic culture and raising committed, faithful men. No other people, in the world of Islam, have the privilege of "designing" the character of man and life, and planning its outlines and frame, beside the guiding Imams from the house of the Prophet (s.a.w.), who were unique in their characters. They had pure conscience, upright conduct, sound reason, ripe awareness of life, deep spiritual sense, and the gift of taking the whole shari'ah, from their grandfather, the Apostle of Allah (s.a.w.), who, in turn, had gotten it through Jabra'il (a.s.), from Allah.
These are the people whom the faithful should follow, in the light of their guidance the reformers and righteous men should walk, and to their principles the religious good men, who seek the shortest ways to Allah's pleasure, should cling.
E. Guidelines on Education:
Following are educational guidelines and general teachings on social behaviour, ethics, worship, and mediation, quoted from the Imam of Muslims, the guide of people, martyr Musa bin Ja'far al-Kadhim (a.s.).
He is reported to have said, "That who knows Allah well, should never mistrust Allah with regard to His sustenance, nor should he think ill of the way He manages His servants' lives."
Asked about certitude, he said, "It is putting one's trust in Allah, submitting to Allah, being satisfied with Allah's ordinance, and commending oneself to Allah."
He also said, "He who discusses the nature of Allah is doomed. He who seeks leadership is doomed. He who thinks very highly of himself is doomed"
"Good neighborliness is not refraining from mischief. It is patience and tolerance towards mischief."
Once he said to one of his sons, "My little son, take care not to let Allah see you committing a sin He forbids you to do. Take care not to let Allah miss you doing a ritual of devotion He orders you to do. Never think that you are not remiss in worship and obedience to Allah, for Allah is never served as He should be served. Beware of joking, for it removes the light of your faith, and deprives you of solemnity. Beware of disinterest and laziness, as they block your success in this life and the hereafter."
He said to Ziyad bin Abi-Salamah, pointing out the attitude one should take towards the oppressors, emphasizing the necessity to boycott them,
"O Ziyad, being thrown down from a high place, and cut into pieces, is more pleasing to me than working on their behalf, or setting foot on a mat of one of them."[^50]
"If oppression was prevailing, and right was shrinking, one had not to think well of anyone else until he had known one to be righteous." "Work hard to divide your day into four times: One for praying to Allah. One for breadwinning. One for sitting with the brothers and trustworthy who know your faults and are faithful to you from the depths of their hearts. And one for your pleasures, without doing the forbidden. It is this time that helps you to manage the other three times properly."
Do not think of poverty or long life, for whoever thinks of poverty turns to misery, and whoever thinks of living long covets worldly spoils. Let yourselves enjoy life by moderately getting what halal you desire, which does not harm your solemnity. Fortify yourselves with this, so that you can perform your religious duties. It is reported that he who has given up his worldly life for the sake of his faith, or his faith for the sake of his worldly life, is certainly not counted as one of our followers."
"He who is punished unjustly knows full well what injustice means."
"A calamity is one trial for the patient. But it is doubled for the impatient."
"Convey what is good. Say what is good. Do not be a naive imitator." 'What is meant by naive imitator?' asked I. "Do not say," replied the Imam (a.s.) "I am with people. And I am one of them."[^51] The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) is reported to have said, "O people! There are only two paths ahead of you', the path of goodness, and the path of evil, do not let the path of evil be more desirable to you than that of goodness."[^52]
We have quoted these statements and advice from the Imam (a.s.) without commenting on them. They are self expressive and clear. How great is our need today to study the lives of the Ahlul-Bait Imams (a.s.), and examine, unbiasedly, their legacy. We need to make them our exemplaries.
"These are they whom Allah guided, so follow their guidance..."
Holy Qur'an (6:91)