C-growing the Communal Feeling
In this concern we find a plenty of “hadeeths” which urge the individual to join the community and to be in harmony with them and to be molded into its block after it has been proved to mindful people that strength and might are in communication.
And after it is certified in the narrations that Allah (be exalted) has made in it all advantages and blessings the prophet (S.W.A.) says “The Hand of Allah is with the community, the Satan runs with whom he dissents from the community”[^16]
He also says: “He who deviates from the community even a span has taken the noose of Islam off his neck” [^17]
There is in all that a decisive evidence that Islam is a social religion which tries to connect the individual with the community as much as there is a chance to do so.
Here we must point out to the truth that oppressive rulers had misapplied the concept of (the community) in the worst manner to strengthen their authorities and to protect their thrones. So they began to wreak their wrath upon everyone who speaks frankly the word of right and apposses their illegal domination, and try to disclose their unislamic manners, Amaweians- who took the general wealth to be their and Allah’s creature to be their slaves- killed every one who revolts against them under the plea that he has departed from the community, Abbaassians also followed that strategy, rather they exceeded the Amaweians in innovating the manners of killing and torture.
He who skims over the books of history finds that it reports very ugly depictions of the manners of torturing and murder which Amaweian and Abbassians had committed against Alaweians under a flimsy excuse which is departing from the general view and community.
However the prophet (S.W.A.) had clarified distinctly the concept of (the community) which doesn’t mean necessarily – the majority – as the shallow-minded think and as the oppressors misinterpret, rather it means the community of the followers of right even if they are few, the prophet (S.W.A.) said: “He who departs from the community of Moslems takes the loop of Islam off from his neck, it is said: O prophet of Allah’ what is the community of Moslems? He replayed: community of the follower of right even though they are few” [^18]
Back to the original topic, it has become clear that the Islamic ideology calls the Moslem to join the community, there is an inquiry here which imposes itself: there are so many “hadeeths” in our sources calling the Moslem to prefer solitude and finally to keep far away from people, the author of “Jaame’a elsaa’adaat” Sheikh Alnaraaqi answers this question by saying: “The ascendants adhered to generalize the praise of seclusion, to its advantages such as the prophet’s (S.W.A.) saying “Allah loves the hidden pious servant”, and his (S.W.A.) saying “The best of all people is a believer who strives in the path of Allah sacrificing his spirit and money, then a man secluded in one of the mountain passes”
And Imam Alsaadiq’s saying “Time has corrupted, brothers have changed, seclusion has become more tranquil to one’s heart” and his (A.S.) saying “lessen your acquaintances and denounce whom you know of them”, till he (Sheikh Neraki) said: the right is to say: the priority of which of them i-e seclusion or association varies according to the persons, circumstances, times and places so every one must consider his state…
For some people it is better to seclude themselves completely, for others association is better, for another kind a midway between seclusion and association” [^19]
To reconcile the two tendencies we can say: the tendency, which calls for seclusion can be taken for several facets, one of them is that be taking oneself to warship demands staying far from people for a certain time to dedicate oneself to Allah (be exalted).
This matter- naturally- is not applied to all kinds of worship as “Alhaaj” (pilgrimage) for example, which is a worship with a social nature during which people gather from everywhere in one place at a definite time to perform certain rituals.
From another side seclusion can be taken for avoiding association with evil people, it is stated in the prophet’s (S.W.A) sermon to Abbizer Alghifaari (A.S.) “…O Abbazar’ good friend is better than seclusion, seclusion is better than bad friend…”[^20]
As to associating with good people it is a recommended matter and Islam-as we have mentioned- urges to it.
Generally there are exceptional states which demand seclusion from people, as the general rule in Islam insists on associating with people and to forbear their harms.
The prophet (S.W.A.) says, “The believer who associates with people is better than the believer who doesn’t associate with people and doesn’t forbear their harm” [^21]
Islam dislikes complete seclusion from people whatever excuse it has whether ritual it was an other excuses, as there is no monasticism in Islam as it is known. Some of the evidences of that is that the prophet (S.W.A.) missed some one then he asked about him, he came, the man said: I wanted to go to this mountain and seclude myself from people to worship Allah (be exalted), the prophet (S.W.A.) said: ”Certainly one’s endurance of what he dislikes for an hour in some of the needs of Islam is better than worshipping alone for forty years”[^22]
In the light of that there are some positions demand that one should join the community and to be molded in it such as the states of “Jihaad” (struggle with weapons), joining the congregational prayer in mosques and studying in the centers of knowledge and the like.
Secondly, Changing the orders of social relationships:
The pre-Islamic society considered the relationship of blood and relative as the bases of all social relations.
So it puts the precept of kinship above the precepts of right-ness and justice when they contradict each other. The Holy Qur’an Has denounced this unislamic zealotry frankly:
“When He put the zealotry in the hearts of disbelievers the zealotry of the unislamic era” [^23]
The Islamic ideology worked to eradicate the clouds of zealotry out of the hearts, it doesn’t accept the priority of some people to others built on kinship or nationality, color, estayles and race. Instead of that it established new relations on moral principals; they are piety and virtue.
However the belief refuses all kinds of zealotry, as it is impossible to harmonize belief with zealotry.
It is related from Abbi Abdullah (A.S.) that he said; “the prophet (S.W.A.) said: He who fanaticizes or the others fanaticized to him has taken the noose of Islam off his neck.” [^24]He also said: “He is not of us who propagates for a zealotry” he is not of us who fights for the sake of a zealotry, he is not of us who died for the sake of a zealotry “[^25]
In this concern Ameeralmu’amineen (A.S.) introduces his remedial view point to the bad disease of zealotry in his well-known sermon “Alkase’a” he (A.S.) says “I have inspected but haven’t found any one who is fanatic for something except for an excuse (reason) which may deceive the minds of ignorant people or a pretext sticks to the minds of the fools, other than you. You are fanatic for a matter without known reason or cause. As to Eblees he became haughty over Adam because of his origin, he vilified Adam about his creation, so he 9the Satan) said:
I am fiery and you are made of clay. As to wealthy people of luxurious classes of ancient nations, they felt proud of the blessings and wealth they owned, so they said: “we are more than others in money and sons and we will not be tortured”.
If there should be a place of zealotry, then let your zealotry be to good characteristics and good deeds and excellent virtues… so be zealous for good praise worthy characteristics such as keeping neighborhood, fulfillment of promise, following paths of good and resisting one’s inclinations to pride, beginning by bestowing favors to the others, refraining from aggression, regarding murder a great sin, giving others their rights completely of one’s self, suppressing the rage, and avoiding corruption on earth” [^26]
Within this sequence his grandson Ali bin Alhussain (A.S.) interpreted the concept of zealotry and which kind of it is dispraised when he was asked about it. He (A.S.) said:
The Zealotry whose practcer is regarded to be sinful is that whose adopter sees the evil people of his kinsfolk better than the good people of another kinfolk it is not zealotry that one loves his kinfolk but it is zealotry that one helps his kinfolk to commit unjust.[^27]
In this way the Islamic belief worked to drive away the black clouds of zealotry out of the hearts, introduced a new social identity for people grounded on believing in Allah and his Apostle, spread out the feelings of love and mercy instead of the feelings of zealotry and hatred.
The zealotry, which means: “one’s standing up for his kinfolk, or his family, or his country in what disagrees the legislation and what contradicts rightness and justice, is one of the most dangerous and harmful trends in dispersing Moslems, weakening their spiritual and material energies, Islam has made war against it and warned Moslems of its evils” [^28]
Perhaps the most prominent phenomenon of the social change which the ideology brought about is that there were some individuals who had been at the bottom of the social ladder in the pre-Islamic era and suddenly –after the shining of the sun of Islam- they were at the top of the social pyramid. Belaal Alhabashi became the prayer announcer of the prophet (S.W.A.), Salmaan Al Faarsi, who has been a Persian man, transferred from a servitude to another one and he became in the age of Islam a grand companion of the prophet and a governor of a wide territory and above all he has become one of Ahlilbait (A.S).
A person asked Ali (A.S.) saying: O Ameeralmu’amineen tell me about Selmaan Al-Faarsi, Ali (A.S.) said: excellent, excellent, Selmaan is one of us: Ahlilbait, how can you have the like of Lukmaan Al-Hakeem…” [^29]
Zaid ibna Haaretha and his son Ausaamah should have been according to the pre- Islamic division- within the class of slaves, but all of sudden they were leading the armies of Moslems in two of the biggest Islamic campaigns in number and ornaments.
This big change in peoples’ thinking and relationships could not be achieved easily in this short time of the mission except for the great changing role, which the Islamic ideology had undertaken.
Thirdly: The urgence on cooperation and acquaintance:
The Islamic ideology had changed the state of the society from the state of rivality and conflict into the state of cooperation and acquaintance. Qur’an, the first source of the belief urges people to gather and establish relationship among them Allah (be exalted) says: “O you men, We surely have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that they may know each other surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most God-fearing.” [^30]
It also urged people to cooperate: “And help one another in goodness and piety, and don’t help each other in sin and aggression” [^31]
The human experiments proved that there is power and dignity in cooperation and that it leads to progress. The pre-Islamic society was an under loped society, was living the state of conflict motivated by the tribal zealotry, or excessiveness of personal wishes and interests, or becomes of monopolizing the sources of water and grass by some people. This society -due to Islam- shifted to a new orbit after the values of cooperation and social liability had been settled in it.
In the biography of the prophet (S.W.A.)-who had been a source of a civilization, a motive of a revival- we find many examples of his love to cooperation and liability and his continual urgency to practice that.
In a journey he asked his companions to slay a sheep, one of them said: my duty is to slay it, another one said: I stripit off, another one said: I cut it into pieces, an other one said: I cook it, the prophet (S.W.A.): my duty is to collect the firewood, they said: O Apostle’ do not be tired- my our parents be you sacrificed- we save you that?
The prophet (S.W.A.) said: “I know that you save me it, but “Allah exalted” Doesn’t like his servant when he is among his companions to be distinguished” so he stood up collecting to them the firewood” [^32]
Just as the prophet (S.W.A.) in the last attitude disliked that one distinguishes from his companions and satisfies with the position of being an onlooker, he also disliked that one becomes a burden on the shoulders of his community depending on others in his life and concerns without an acceptable justification: A person was mentioned to the prophet (S.W.A) and they said: O the prophet’ he went with us to perform pilgrimage, when we reside he continued “tehleel” till we depart, when we depart he continues praising Allah and glorifies Him till we reside.
The prophet (S.W.A.) said: “Who was saving him feeding his camel, preparing his food? They sad: All of us, he (S.W.A.) said: All of you are better than him”[^33]
The school of Ahlilbait had played a great role in affirming the principal of cooperation and liability for each other in the society. For example, when falls, and eyes slept, Ali Bin Al- Hussain when night falls, and eyes slept, Ali Bin Al-Hussein started collecting what has remained of the food of his family, put it in a knapsack, hold it on his back, went out the houses of the poor, veiled and divided it among them, they had been often standing at their doors waiting him so when they see him they tell one another about his coming gladly saying the man with the knapsack has come.” [^34]
Imam Alkaazim (A.S.) was searching for the poor of Medeena at night, carrying for them a basket containing material things and Dinars, floor and dates, he delivers that to them while they do not know from which person it was, when he was informed a bad thing of a person about him the Imam) he sends him a pack of Dinars, his packs were well known as a proverb.[^35]
The Imams urge their Shiites especially to achieve a higher degree of cooperation and participation among themselves, which may reach the level of idealism. It is related from Saeed Ebnal Hassan that he said: Abu Jaafar (A.S.) said: does one of you put his hand in the bag of his brother and takes out what he wants without being forbidden by him?
I said: I don’t know that among us, he said: then you are nothing. I said: we have been rained then he said:
The people have not been given their tolerance yet.” [^36]
Imam Alsaadiq (A.S.) has been a peacemaker in helping the others, it is related from Alfazel Ibnaqarrah that he said:
Abu Abdullah (A.S.) was spreading out his lap with packs of Dinaars, he says to the envoy: bring them to Mr. X and M.X. is of his relatives and say to them: this has been sent to you from Iraq, the envoy delivers it to them he asks him what did they say, he says they said:
As to you may Allah reward you good for your gift to the relatives of the prophet (S.W.A.) as to Jaafar may Allah be the Judge between us and him, he said: then Abbi Abdullah prostrates himself to the ground saying: O’ my Allah lower my neck to the sons of my father” [^37]
Imam Alsaadiq (A.S.) has defined precisely the ritual and social characteristics of Shiites when he addressed one of his companions saying: “O Jaabir’ is he satisfied that who attributes himself to Sheism with saying that he loves us Ahlilbait (A.S.) I swear by Allah that our Shiite is no one but who feared Allah and obeyed Him, they hadn’t been known, o Jaabir, except of modesty, humility for Allah, trustworthiness, muchness in exaltement of Allah, fasting and praying, filial piety, doing favors to the needy, indebted and orphans, truthfulness in speech, Qur’an reciting, refraining their tongue from people except in a good concern…”[^38]
It is related from Mohammad Ibna Ajlaan that, he said: I was with Abiabdillah (A.S.), and a person came in and greeted, Abuabdullah (A.S.) said: “How are your brothers whom you left behind? He said a speech in which he praised them highly and commended them, abu Abdullah (A.S.) said to him: what about the call of their rich to their poor men? He replayed: “little”, he (A.S.) said.
What about the visit the rich of them pay to their poor men? He said: little, Abuabdullah (A.S.) said: what about the help of their rich for their poor? The man said: you are mentioning morals very rarely found with those with whom we live, Abu abdullah (A.S.) said: then how do you claim that those are Shiites?” [^39]
Thus we find that the matter of cooperation and liability to one another stood on top of the priorities of the Imams’ social concerns because it is the only guaranty and the best way to establish a coherent social building in which the motives of conflict and dispute disappear while the motives of love and association predominate.
What is wonderful and excellent is that the pre-Islamic Arabic society, which was torn out, and to whom other nations do not attach any importance, had become by virtue of the Islamic mission united, dignified and with a might and prestige. Imam Ali (A.S.) says: the Arabs today even though they are little but they are plenty with Islam, mighty with their agreeing on their religion…” [^40]
Fourthly changing the pre-Islamic habits and traditions:
The Islamic ideology had played a big role in changing so many habits and traditions in which human dignity is humiliated and result in suffering and grief. The prophet (S.W.A.) and his purified Ahlilbait have played an important role in this concern. The prophet (S.W.A.) said:
“Do not stand up like non-Arabs do to one another, it does not harm to move a little to give place to his new comer.” [^41]
The prophet (S.W.A.) endeavored to propagate and affirm new pedagogical habits, it is narrated from Abiabdullah (A.S.), that he said:
When the prophet (S.W.A.) enters a house he sits at the end of the place of sitting…” It is narrated from the prophet (S.W.A.) that he said “when one of you comes to a session, let him sits at the end of the session” [^42]
He (S.W.A.) was trying to change the habits in the different fields of life, in standing and sitting, eating and drinking, in clothes and the like.
Imam Ali (A.S.) followed the prophetic tradition, he strove to change the remaining pre-Islamic habits which do not harmonize with the magnanimity of Islamic religion and its call to give up affectation and false appearances which over load people, put fabricated barriers which prevent association among them, the association between the scholar and he ignorant, the rich and the poor and the ruler and the ruled. It is enough to recite the following example:
Imam Ali (A.S.) met the traders-in Al-Anbaar during his proceeding to Alshaam-they dismounted and exceeded the limits in their movements to greet him, he (A.S.) said: what is this you practiced? They said: this is a manner we follow to glorify our leaders, he said: By Allah your leaders do not benefit from that, certainly you overload yourself in this world and you put yourself in misery in the next life, what misfortune is the misery followed by punishment, and what benefit is the tranquility together with safety from fire” [^43]
He (A.S.) has delivered precious sermons which participate in building the human being, and implant the good customs into his behavior, such as his saying (A.S.): O people, undertake to discipline yourselves, and shift with it from the fierceness of its habits” [^44]
The aim of all that is to achieve the desired social change. It is obvious that social building without executing the interior change in the souls and habits of individuals becomes absurd like a building without a foundation Allah says:
“ Certainly; Allah doesn’t change the condition of a people until they change their inner conditions”[^45]
The martyred scholar sayyed Mohammad Baqir As-Sadre says: The subjective motive is the cause of the social problem, and this motive is original in the human being because it springs from his love to himself. Here the role of the religion comes by setting the only resolution to the problem as the resolution depends on the harmony between the subjective motives and the general social interests.[^46]
[^1] Alesra’a 17: 31.
[^2] Alhasher 59: 8-9.
[^3] Alhujoraat: 49: 13.
[^4] Alhashoor 59: 7.
[^5] Alsaffat: 37: 24.
[^6] Altehreem 66: 6.
[^7] Kenzelaummaal 5: 289.
[^8] Saheeh Moslem 3: 1459- Ketaab alemaarah- Daar Ehiaa elturaath pub. 1.
[^9] Nehjilbalagha: sermon 167.
[^10] Tefseer Majmaael Bayaan: 1: 174, Albakarah 2: 207.
[^11] Altafseer AlKabeer, Al fakhr Al Raazi: 5: 223.
[^12] Tenbeehel Khawaatir, Ameer Warram 1: 172, Eithar.
[^13] Assad el ghaabah, Ebnil atheer 4: 102/ 3783, Dar Ehii’a alturaathil Arabi.
[^14] Assad Alghabbah: Ebnil Atheer 4: 103.
[^15] Asbaab alnouzoul: Abbilhassan alnissaboori: 281, Enteshaaraat Alrezi, pub. Of A’alam Alkutub: 235.
[^16] Kenzel aumaal 1:206
[^17] Kenzel aumaal 1: 206/ 1035.
[^18] Rawzatel waaeizeen: Alfattal alnissabouri 334- Alrezi pub. Qum.
[^19] Jaamel sa’adaat; Alneraaqhi 3:195-197, Alnejjaf alashraf pub. 3/ 1383 H.
[^20] Mekarem Al-Akhlak, by Al-Tebrisy vol.1 p. 466/769.
[^21] Kenzel aumaal 1: 154/ 769.
[^22] Kenzelaumaal 4: 454/ 11354.
[^23] Alfateh: 48-26.
[^24] Usool Al-Kafi vol.2, p. 308/ ch. Of zealotry.
[^25] Sunnan Abbi dawood 2: 332/ 4- ch. of zealotry.
[^26] Interpretation of Nehjelbalagha, Ibna Abil hadeed 13: 166, Dar Ehiaael turath alarabi pub. 2.
[^27] Ausoulilkaafi 2: 308/7 ch. Of zealotry ketaab aleimaan walkufur.
[^28] The morals of Ahlilbait (A.S.) sayed M. Alsadre: 70.
[^29] Al- Ihtejaj vol.1, p. 260.
[^30] Alhujuraat 49:13.
[^31] Al Maeideh 5: 2.
[^32] Mekaarim alakhlaaq, Shakh Tabressi: 251-252, Al’alemi, pub. 6.
[^33] Behaarel anwaar 76- 274, quoting Almahaasin.
[^34] Fi Rehaab a’emmat Ahlilbait (A.S.) Sayed Mohsim Alameen 2: 202 Darel ta’aruf.
[^35] The previous source 4: 84 Daar Saaub.
[^36] Ausoul ilkaafi: 2: 173-174/ 13 ch. Of Muamin rights.
[^37] Tenbeehil Khawaatir, Ameer Warram 2: 266, Daar Saoub.
[^38] Warraam collection 2: 185 Dar saoub.
[^39] Ausoulilkaafi 2: 173/ 10 ketaabil eeimaan walkufur.
[^40] Nehjilbalaagha: Subhi alsaalih 203/ sermon 146.
[^41] Mekaarim alakhlaaq: Tebressi: 26.
[^42] The same previous source.
[^43] Nehjil balagha: subhi Elsaalih: 475/ hekma 37.
[^44] Nehjil balagha Suhi Elsaalih: 538/ hekma 359
[^45] Al-Raad 13: 11.
[^46] Iktisaduna, by the martyr Mohammad Baqir Al-Sadr, p. 324.