THE BEGINNING AND THE END Chapter1
Attributes of the path of the Hereafter, its mystic seekers, the causes of ignorance by people, and its consequences
In each city and village, prophets were sent to guide mankind towards perfect humanity. Human at first is like a seed that needs to be placed under the soil and get light, water, and other material then grow roots and become small plant and at last, become a big tree with delicious fruits and goes towards the sky. There is a tradition which says “Humans are like mines, some gold, some silver and some copper. Prophets came to explore and exploit these valuable elements from them”. In this regard, prophets brought a series of religions and rules for people which had two parts: apparent and hidden. Apparent actions such as how to behave, pray, and others, but some of these rules were related to the hidden part and heavenly truths. Most people turn away from a prophet’s guidance, but few people believe and follow them. Unfortunately, most of Muslims follow the apparent part of religious rules and ignore the hidden part. “The Bedouins say, “We have believed.” Say, “You have not [yet] believed; but say [instead], ‘We have submitted,’ for faith has not yet entered your hearts. And if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not deprive you from your deeds of anything. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful”1. Submission to Allah and his prophets is the apparent level of Islam and the faith and belief is an inner fact of Islam. There is a tradition which says, “Intention of an action for believers are better than action itself”, intention is related to the hidden part and action is related to the apparent level. The journey to the Hereafter is clear since it agrees with human nature; anything that is against human nature is also prohibited in religion. A tradition says: “Human intelligence is like inner prophets for mankind”. All human natures are the same at first, but some peoples’ nature deviates because of greed, anger, and other satanic temptations.
1- قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَـٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۖ وَإِن تُطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا يَلِتْكُم مِّنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Long time ago, I was reading a book about a journey of brothers around the world, they visited a primitive tribe in the Amazon Forest where they also eat humans. They did not even know how to farm; for example, we put a potato underground and they looked at it with wonder and took them out and start eating! One day, we noticed that they kicked out a man and a woman from their tribe; we asked about their reason, and they answered because that man and woman were married and had a hidden relationship. It became clear to us that this action is against human nature, and we see that this is also prohibited by God. Another example is stealing money which is not acceptable by human nature. But if two or three people steal money from somewhere then they sit together and probably say to each other now let us split the money fairly between ourselves. Another thing which is in human nature is Hijab meaning cover in Arabic. it was not invented by Islam, it was also in Christianity, Judaism, and other religions. Hijab is not part of animal nature, because covering is from intelligence which animals do not have. Like the above examples, journey towards God is also within human nature because every person is seeking perfection. Some people see perfection as money, some as power, but the truth is, they lost the path to perfection by focusing on money, power, and carnal passions.
Now the question is, who can guide us towards God and how can we do it? There must be a guided leader. Amir Al-mo’minin says: “You have lived on earth for 60 years and if you want to go somewhere, you still need guidance. How do you want to go on heavenly paths without guidance?
In Socrates’ court before his death: judges said to him, you are not qualified for guiding youths. He asked if the judges could guide youths. Judges replied ‘yes’. Socrates asked if the governor could guide youths. judges replied yes, he can do it. Socrates asked again if the mayor could guide youths. They said yes. Then Socrates asked a tricky question: if the governor and the mayor could train a horse? They replied, no. Socrates said how can they not train a horse, but can guide a human being which is much more difficult? They could not reply since the question was clear and based on human nature and there is no answer for that. So, it is not easy to guide people. The person who wants to guide others must know the true path himself and must be guided by God. He must know the path and must have experienced this journey before.
Plato believed that the souls of humans already existed in the metaphysical world and after they came to this material world, they forgot everything they knew. He believed that knowledge is a reminder. He believed that when you see, you hear, and you read, in fact, you remember the things which you have already seen and heard before you were born. But there is some problem with this theory. We know that in the rational or metaphysical world there in no time and space; therefore, how is it possible to have human souls? In the rational world, we only might have one thing from any truth and reality. For simplicity and understanding, consider the following example: imagine 10 glasses in your mind, then imagine those glasses in a no time and no space situation, you will see that only one glass can exist in your mind if there is no time and space. In this life, you can have a great number of glasses in different times and spaces. Imagine a tree in its essence, it does not have specific fruit it bears general meaning of a tree, If I ask you, is it an apple tree, you will say it is not an apple tree, but apple tree is included. If I ask you, is it an orange tree, you will say it is not orange tree, but orange tree is included; meaning that rational tree in your mind include different tree types, but it is not any of them. This also can be applied when I ask you imagine a human in your mind. Based on the above explanation, Plato’s theory is not true if he really believed that human souls existed before this life. The key point here is that there must be some reason to split those souls in the rational world. What we believe is that the human soul is created from matter then connected to the general spirit1. For simplicity, assume souls like water springs that will be connected to the ocean. Now, you might ask; if it is true that in the metaphysical world there cannot be human souls, how do you believe that after we die, we will exist with our souls? Are we going to be united again? The answer is that: After Nafs is created from matter it will obtain different good or bad attributes during the lifetime and those will be the differentiators for souls in the Hereafter. Souls that have similar attributes will be somewhat united. “The Day the Horn is blown, and you will come forth in multitudes”2. In tradition we have that Imam says: “our followers who are righteous will be with us in the Hereafter”.
Khajeh says the path towards God is simple because we have heard and seen once before. “And We had already taken a promise from Adam before, but he forgot; and We found not in him determination”3 We need to have extra attention when we hear “before” in the Holy Quran. Before in the Holy Quran does not necessarily mean before during “the time domain” but means a world that surrounds this material world.
1-روح کل 2- يَوْمَ يُنفَخُ فِي الصُّورِ فَتَأْتُونَ أَفْوَاجًا 3- وَ لَقَدْ عَهِدْنا إِلى آدَمَ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَنَسِيَ وَ لَمْ نَجِدْ لَهُ عَزْماً
This does not mean that we were physically there before. It is in our nature to know God and his journey. “No! Indeed, this is a reminder, so whoever wills may remember it”1.
So, if this is the case why do we forgot this? We are deeply involved in the material world and looking for money, power, car, house, job, marriage, and forget our nature. So, what should we do? “Go back behind you and seek light”2. Why should we turn back? Since our face is towards this material world and temptations like greed, power and others but the light is from another world and is behind us. Our face is towards this world and we need to turn our face towards the world of light(Nur) and seek light from there.
Amir Al-mo’minin Ali (A) said “ Tawbeh3 is behind you”. Meaning that you must return and seek for light. You need to cut your attachment to this world to start your journey towards God. Cutting attachment to the world does not mean to go in a desert, mountain or a cave and pray for your lifetime(this is prohibited in Islam) but means: do your job in the best way possible but if you gain or lose something, you should not be happy or mad since you are not its real owner. “In order that you not despair over what has eluded you and not exult [in pride] over what He has given you”4.
You need to turn back your face from this world to be part of the people that God “Brings them out from darknesses into the light”5. This is the reason that they will see in resurrection “Their light will run forward before them”6. With this discussion it becomes clear that why believers will get their book from the front and non-believers will get their book from the back. Allameh Hassanzadeh says “until you are not seeing and hearing from the other world you are not a perfect human and also until you cannot hear the reply to your salam in your prayer, you are not performing a real prayer”. Seeing and hearing, is not done by the eyes and ears but rather by your heart. “And they will say, “If only we had been listening or reasoning, we would not be among the companions of the Blaze”7. Listening means understanding not just hearing by ears. A tradition says whatever you see is telling you something.
1- كَلَّا إِنَّها تَذْكِرَةٌ فَمَنْ شاءَ ذَكَرَهُ 2- ارْجِعُوا وَراءَكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُوا نُوراً 3- توبه 4- لِّكَيْلَا تَأْسَوْا عَلَىٰ مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا تَفْرَحُوا بِمَا آتَاكُمْ 5- يُخْرِجُهُم مِّنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ 6- نُورُهُمْ يَسْعَىٰ بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ 7- وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ
Why do people turn away from this journey towards God? Khajeh mentioned three main reasons from Plato. 1- Impurities like lust, anger, and their subsidiaries like greed for money, power, and so on. Humans have some common powers with animals, and they are lust and anger. These powers have different levels in humans and in animals. Lust power creates interest in money, house, child, marriage and so on and anger power creates interest in superiority, presidentialism, and corruption. These two powers in humans and animals’ nature have different degrees and they are also essential for living. Humans also have intelligence which animals do not have, instead they have another power called illusion power(Wahm Power) which is a weaker version of intelligence power. In some people, lust power is stronger; for example, they like to eat so much or like money so much. In others, anger power is stronger for example they quickly become angry and attack other people, but a real human being is the one that uses intelligence power to control his lust and anger power and use them appropriately.
“That home of the Hereafter We assign to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth or corruption. And the [best] outcome is for the righteous”1. Pharaoh had no control over his anger power when he said: “And he has succeeded today who overcomes”2 and said : “I am your most exalted lord”3; instead, God replied to Moses: “He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself”4 and “Allah said, “Fear not. Indeed, it is you who are superior”5. Humans are a mix of intelligence, lust and anger powers, in other words, humans are a mix of animals and angels since angles have intelligence and animals have lust and anger power.
Great scholar and philosopher Allameh Tabatabaei said in Al-Mizan: “ when kids are playing with each other one becomes king; one becomes queen; one police; one thief and so on; this life is like that child play. We decided to select one as president one as vice president one as police and so on. None of these positions exist in our world physically and they are like illusions, we made them ourselves. Assume that a person is president, when you talk to him you would be very polite but if the same person becomes a normal civilian and is no longer the president then you are not that polite anymore. You respect a position which is an illusion and does not truly exist in our world since we made it ourselves”. That is the reason Amir Al-Mo’minin said “ Governing for me is less favorable than a pair of damaged shoes”.
Another reason for people to turn away from this journey is self-indulgence and adornment of unrighteous deeds due to corrupt fantasies and false illusions. “[They are] those whose effort is lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing good deeds”6. Bad ethics like envy, hatred, superiority, scrimp and so on, are the key cause of the illusion that tells us that “we are doing the best job”.
1- تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا ۚ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ 2- وَقَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْيَوْمَ مَنِ اسْتَعْلَىٰ 3- أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَىٰ 4- قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ 5- لَا تَخَفْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْأَعْلَىٰ 6- قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِالْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمالًا، الَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِي الْحَياةِ الدُّنْيا وَ هُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعاً
There is a tradition that says: “when you are so happy or so mad just go to a cemetery and see that this is everyones place after a while”. “And this worldly life is not but diversion and amusement. And indeed, the home of the Hereafter – that is the [eternal] life, if only they knew”. Think how many people came before you who were happy or mad, but they are not here anymore. For sure death would come to us, so, do not forget this. If you deeply understand the illusion of this life your intelligence will be stronger to realize the truth of everything.
Third reason for turning away from this journey to God is: following misguided people, imitating people who pretend to be wise but in fact they are untaught, following temptation of the demons of jinn and mankind, and becoming arrogant about their deception. Finding a true guided man or master in this journey is almost half the journey. After you found that your mater is one of the guardians of God then, you need to be loyal to him. One of the main reasons that people fail in this journey is unloyalty to their master. When I was young, I was looking for a real master and found a man who had lots of true knowledge and started following him and going to his classes and learned some stuff, but during that time some people came to me and warned me that he is not a good person and he deviated from Islam and so on but my reply to them was that he is only talking about the Holy Quran, Hadith and Ahl Al-bait and I am learning knowledge from him. Finally, I found my beloved Allameh Hassanzadeh (R) as he is a guardian of God and I became one of his students.
Allameh Hassanzadeh had some classes in Amol about Self-knowledge and philosophy but few of his students became loyal to him and others left him as soon as they got some visions1. Allameh Hassanzadeh once said: “ I had a student who had good progress and he had some visions but all of a sudden he did not come to my classes anymore. After a while I saw him in Jamkaran Mosque. He had a speech and talked bad about Allameh Tabatabaei (he was a genius philosopher and great Interpreter of the Holy Quran). He saw me once in the street and turned his face. After a while he came back and apologized. It seems that some people told him it is not a good idea to be student of Allameh Hassanzadeh. Allameh told him it is too late, and you must gather all the people that you had a lecture about Allameh Tabatabaei with, and make it clear to them that you were wrong. So, devilish temptations from misguided people are the third reason people might stop or turn away from this journey. I had a similar situation with one of my students, he was smart and quickly picked up very hard philosophy discussions, but he did not come to my class for some time, I found him and said to him why are you not coming to class which was only 2 hours per week? He replied: some people told him first to correct your Salat and Quran and know your Resalah2 then go to self-knowledge classes. I told him “We are only talking about the Holy Quran, Hadith, and Ahl Al-bait’s teachings in our class; therefore, our 2-hour class is not going to stop you from correcting your prayer. After a while he came back with a dream in which I told him that you are listening to many animals(misguided people) most of the time, and you do not want to spend just two hours per week in my class. I told him that we have a tradition about this “People are animals except a few of the believers”. So, following some human faced devils is another reason to turn away from this journey.
One of the most important topics in self-knowledge is knowing the devil (Satan). What kind of creature is Satan and what is his nature? There is a lot of discussion about the devil in the interpretations of the Holy Quran. One important thing to know is that Satan is not a separate thing from us, just as divine angels are not separate from humans. Satan is in contact with all humans and sees us everywhere. “Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them”3. Humans do not feel duality between themselves and the devil. When a temptation from the devil enters a person’s mind, the person thinks that they are talking to themselves. Why is that? Because they are not fully separated from us. So, no humans notice that Satan came to them. Satan does not let a moment pass without tempting someone. This point is especially important for us to know that Satan’s play area is a persons’ mind and the only way he can connect with a human is through their mind. Satan can only invite humans to do bad things. “And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, “Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me; but blame yourselves”4. Another one of Satan’s temptations is creating extravagant and long wishes for us in our mind and he also makes bad deeds look incredibly good. “Oh Lord, because you have left me astray, I will certainly adorn (evil actions) to them on the Earth, and I will certainly cause them all to go astray”5. Another temptation of Satan is threatening us of being poor. “Satan threatens you with poverty”6. After you have been scared or threatened by Satan, he will: “Order you to cause corruption”6. He will make you greedy to look for more.
1- مکاشفات 2- رساله توضیح المسائل 3- إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ 4- وَقَالَ الشَّيْطَانُ لَمَّا قُضِيَ الْأَمْرُ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ وَعَدَكُمْ وَعْدَ الْحَقِّ وَوَعَدتُّكُمْ فَأَخْلَفْتُكُمْ ۖ وَمَا كَانَ لِيَ عَلَيْكُم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا أَن دَعَوْتُكُمْ فَاسْتَجَبْتُمْ لِي ۖ فَلَا تَلُومُونِي وَلُومُوا أَنفُسَكُم 5- قَالَ رَبِّ بِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأُزَيِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ 6- الشَّيْطَانُ يَعِدُكُمُ الْفَقْرَ وَيَأْمُرُكُم بِالْفَحْشَاءِ
As we said, Satan enters our mind and plays with our emotions. For example, if he wants to make us angry, he says: “Why did my friend tell me this? I did not do anything bad. He did not have a right to do that with me! If I see him, I will make him pay.” So, I stand up and go to him. I say to him: “Why did you tell me that?”. When you are angry, nothing resolves, you might even get into a physical fight and ruin your relationship with him/her.
Satan creates an illusion in which bad deeds appear to look good, Khajeh asked God to show him good deeds as good and bad deeds bad so he can escape the tricks of Satan. Since human nature hates bad actions, if one sees, hears, or understands bad things, one will never go towards them. A critical point for us to know is that Satan only invites us to do a bad action, but in real life, we are the ones doing it. When a person wants to do something, he first thinks about it in his mind, and this is the playground of Satan. “Satan promises them and arouses desire in them. But Satan does not promise them except delusion”1. Therefore, Satan is not fully separated from humans, but for himself, he has a separate personality.
An example of Satan creating big wishes for us is: “There was one boy that carried milk in a pottery container above his head. While he was walking, he was thinking to himself: ‘After I sell this milk, I will keep the money and will do this again for a while. Then, when I have more money, I will buy a sheep. After I buy a sheep, I will repeat this job and this time, I will buy high quality hay so I can get better milk and get a higher price for it. After a few years, I will buy more sheep until I have 100 sheep; then, I will propose to the daughter of the chief of our village for marriage. If her dad does not let her marry me, then I will smack him right in his head with a stick. Then, he hit his own head with his hand, the milk container broke, and his milk was spilled on the ground. That wish became dead wish.” Prophet Muhammad (S) said: “I am afraid of my nation because of two reasons, one of the reasons are big wishes”. So, we should try to know Satan’s trick and be careful . A solution for that is whenever you want to do an action and you do not know if it is a good or bad deed, then you could think about someone you respect very much and think if you would do that action in front of him/her. Imagine if someone did something bad to you at one time, at that moment, the idea of slapping that person, came to your mind. So, what is the best thing to do in this situation? The best thing to do would be to not do anything at all except think in your mind that even if he slaps me, I will still be nice to him. Every time you practice this technique and control your mind your Nafs will become stronger. If you feel that something bad ever comes to your mind, say this: “I seek refuge in Allah”2.
The human mind in this situation is like a capital city of a country. If Satan occupies the capital, he can control the rest of the country. Sometimes, these temptations are much stronger than your faith; so, the best thing to do is to seek refuge in Allah and seek help from the souls of the guardians of God. I once saw a dream that a woman with heavy makeup came to me and started talking to me very closely. I told the woman: “I have never talked with a woman this close.”; meaning that get a little further away from me. I suddenly seeked help from the soul of Amir Al-Mu’minin Ali (A) and noticed that the woman disappeared. From this dream, I realized how important it is to seek help from God. “And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out”3. Meaning that, if you do good actions for God’s sake and avoid bad actions, God will open an emergency door for you.
1- يَعِدُهُمْ وَيُمَنِّيهِمْ ۖ وَمَا يَعِدُهُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ إِلَّا غُرُورًا 2- معاذ الله 3- وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّـهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجًا
Khajeh said: “Turning away from the journey to Allah causes a tight life in the Hereafter”. Why is that; we know that the Hereafter is enormous. We know that we make our own heaven and hell in the Hereafter with our actions in this world, but since we are connected to our physical body, we do not see it. After we die, we will see the effect or embodiment of our actions as heaven and hell.
We have three levels in a human’s existence and each of them has a heaven and a hell just for that level. The first level is related to the actions and ethics of a human and has a heaven and a hell scaled appropriately for that level. The second level is related to behavior, habits, attitudes, and has a scale appropriate for that level. The third level is beliefs which also has a scale appropriate for that level and is the highest level of them all. Now, you will understand the following hadith from Amir Al-Mu’minin Ali (A): “If someone has done many bad deeds and loves us, he/she will go to heaven.” Meaning, that he/she is safe in heaven in the beliefs level, but that does not mean that he/she will not be punished for the bad actions and bad habits that he/she did in the first (actions) and second (habits) levels. The better the persons actions, habits, and beliefs; the more he becomes like Prophet Muhammad (S) and would be closer to pure heaven. That is why we have a lot of traditions which highlight the superiority of knowledge compared to actions without knowledge. There is a tradition that someone asked an Imam: “If someone did many bad deeds during his lifetime, let’s say 70 years, why does he have to stay in hell forever?” Imam replied: “Because his intention was to do that action forever as long as he was alive.” (The question was related to the level of action; the reply was from a higher level).
“And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life, and We will gather him on the Day of Resurrection blind. He will say, My Lord, why have you raised me blind while I was [once] seeing? [Allah] will say, “Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus, will you this Day be forgotten”1. One of the meanings of remembrance2 is Salaat/prayers. People that do not pray will have a hard life. Some people told me that after they started praying, their problems were solved. Another meaning of remembrance is the Holy Quran. “Indeed, it is We who sent down the Quran and indeed, We will be its guardian”3. People that turn away from the Holy Quran after they understand it, will surely have a hard life. Understanding the meaning of the Holy Quran has a tremendous amount of impact on your beliefs. Humans should try to become completely united with the holy Quran. The third meaning of remembrance is Wilayah4. The last meaning of remembrance is “[Are] men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and giving of zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will [fearfully] turnabout”5.
1- وَ مَنْ أَعْرَضَ عَنْ ذِكْرِي فَإِنَّ لَهُ مَعِيشَةً ضَنْكاً وَ نَحْشُرُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيامَةِ أَعْمى، قالَ رَبِّ لِمَ حَشَرْتَنِي أَعْمى وَ قَدْ كُنْتُ بَصِيراً، قالَ كَذلِكَ أَتَتْكَ آياتُنا فَنَسِيتَها وَ كَذلِكَ الْيَوْمَ تُنْسى 2- الذکر 3- إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ 4-ولایه 5-رِجَالٌ لَّا تُلْهِيهِمْ تِجَارَةٌ وَلَا بَيْعٌ عَن ذِكْرِ اللَّـهِ وَإِقَامِ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءِ الزَّكَاةِ ۙ يَخَافُونَ يَوْمًا تَتَقَلَّبُ فِيهِ الْقُلُوبُ وَالْأَبْصَارُ
All the creatures are signs of God. The question is: What does signs of God mean and why did we forget? Answer: Signs means the indicator that shows you something. If you see anything and did not see God with it or if it did not guide you towards God, then your heart is blind. People forget that things are signs of God. So, we should try to see the truth of things.
“For indeed, it is not the eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts”1. “Allah has set a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing. Rather, Allah has sealed them because of their disbelief. No! Rather, the stain has covered their hearts”2. And this is an extreme case of blindness.
There is a tradition from Amir Al-Mu’minin Ali (A) that Someone asked him: “Have you ever seen your God?” Imam Ali (A) replied: “I will not worship a God I don’t see.” He asked: “How did you see Him?” Imam Ali (A) replied: “Eyes do not see Him, but hearts see Him with faith.” There is no barrier between God and his creatures, except the sins of his creatures. Nothing can cover Allah. “Allah is the light of the skies and Earth”3. Everything is visible by Him. So, Forgetting God is the worst barrier that prevents us from seeing him. “And be not like those who forgot Allah, so He made them forget themselves. Those are the defiantly disobedient”4. Therefore, the root of every problem is forgetting Allah.
The remembrance of Allah is done sometimes with words, like when we say Subhan Allah, and sometimes when we look at things, we know and see them as a sign of Allah. Everything has two aspects: one towards God and one to its quiddity. When we read the Holy Quran, usually, we do not read it carefully or deeply. Therefore, if you want to read the Holy Quran carefully and deeply, you must do the following: 1- Be polite when reciting, 2- sit towards the Ka ’bah, 3- recite with attention and do not read extremely fast to just get a reward. There is a story for you to understand: There was a student that went to his mentor. The student said, “I have a good feeling; I finished the Holy Quran in three nights”. His mentor told him “This time when you go to read the Quran, think as if I am sitting next to you and start reading”. After a few days the student came back and said, “I couldn’t even read half of the Quran”. His mentor said, “This time, when you want to read the Quran, think as if Prophet Muhammad (S) is next to you while you’re reading”. After a few days, the student came back again and said, “This time, I could only read surah Al-Hamd”. The mentor said, “Now, read the Quran with full attention because Allah is watching you while you read”. The student came back again and said to his mentor “I couldn’t even finish Bismillah Rahman Raheem5!”. A tradition says: “Allah Subhan Allah manifested in His words for His creatures in the Holy Quran, but they do not see it”. So, we need to see the manifestation of Allah in the Holy Quran and we need to read as much as we can from the Holy Quran and put it in our hearts and adjust our actions based on its teaching. “So, recite what is easy [for you] of the Qur’an”6.
1- فَإِنَّها لا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصارُ وَ لكِنْ تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ 2- خَتَمَ اللَّـهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ * بَلْ طَبَعَ اللَّـهُ عَلَيْهَا بِكُفْرِهِمْ * كَلَّا بَلْ رانَ عَلى قُلُوبِهِمْ 3- اللَّـهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ 4- وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّـهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ 5-بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ 6-فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ
One of the most important reasons that people are misguided is: following leaders who do not know the journey towards Allah. Someone who wants to guide us to Allah must have already gone on this journey and be guided. Allameh Hassanzadeh said: “I saw two Mullahs sitting next to each other and one of them said: ‘Prophet Muhammad (S) was like me and you, but Allah said to him “say”(when Allah was revealing the Quran), but Allah did not say that to us.” They do not understand that the there is no obstacle between Prophet Muhammad (S) and Allah. I would ask them: “What is the difference between you and a donkey?”A donkey does not know what is behind the wall and neither do you, a donkey does not know what is in my pocket and neither do you, and a donkey eats, sleeps, sees, and hears like you. The difference between all humans is their level of knowledge and how vast their heart is.
We should follow leaders that do not want any money or rewards and must already be guided. “Follow those who do not ask of you [any] payment, and they are [rightly] guided”1. “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 falsifying”2.So, we should not follow most people because they are following their doubt. Most people think that their beliefs are correct. The key point is that most people have not reached the level of truth. Imam Fakhr Razi was a Sunni scholar and a knowledgeable man. Once Ibn Al-Arabi (great mystic) wrote a letter to Imam Fakhr Razi that said: “One of my friends said to me that you were crying. When he asked you the reason why you were crying, you said ‘I believed in a topic for 20 years and today I realized that it was wrong. Now, I am just thinking and am in doubt that what if all my knowledge is like that, all wrong.’.” Ibn Arabi replied: “With reasoning and thinking, you will not achieve the truth. You will only know the truth if you have a true vision of reality. That does not necessarily mean that reasoning and philosophy are bad, but they need to be used as a tool to have a true vision.” An example of it is, if someone looks at smoke from far away, he will assume that there is probably a fire, but this is different than a person that has seen the smoke and knows that it is a fire; the first one was reasoning and the second, a vision. That is the difference between reasoning and vision. When I was young, I read books from different philosophers, like Hegel, Kant, Russell, and Marks. I solved a problem when Marks could not understand. Prophet Muhammad (S) was not following any of his doubts and suspicion, since: “I only follow what is revealed to me”7. The master of all mystics is Prophet Muhammad (S) and every vision that a mystic sees needs to be compared with the Holy Quran; if it is against the Holy Quran, then they should not believe it as a true fact. So, the way is to grab the Rope of Allah. “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided”8. In this verse of the Holy Quran, the Rope of Allah means the Holy Quran itself. The Holy Quran is like a rope sent from Allah to us so than we can be guided to the right path. The Holy Quran is always with a perfect human who is the Imam of the time, and we call it the “Perfect words of Allah”. “No change is there in the words of Allah”9. There is a hadith from prophet Muhammad (S) which also proves that and says: “Indeed, I leave among you two valuable things, that if you cling to them, you will never go astray after me: The Holy Quran and my Ahlul Bait. The two will not be separated from each other and will come to me on Kowsar, so see how you treat the two after me, be aware that this (ie, adhering to it) is pleasant and sweet water, so drink it, and the other (ie, turning away from them) is salty and bitter water, and avoid it”10.
When someone wants to show their knowledge, they need to use words. This world is the manifestation of God’s word. So, all creatures are words of God and prophets are the closest ones to the perfect human. The heart of the Imam of the time includes everything. “All things We have enumerated in Imam-E-Mubeen”11.
1- اتَّبِعُوا مَن لَّا يَسْأَلُكُمْ أَجْرًا وَهُم مُّهْتَدُونَ 2- وَإِن تُطِعْ أَكْثَرَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ يُضِلُّوكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلَّا يَخْرُصُونَ 3- اللَّـهُ نُورُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ 4- وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ نَسُوا اللَّـهَ فَأَنسَاهُمْ أَنفُسَهُمْ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ 5-بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ 6-فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ 7-إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ 8-وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّـهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا 9-لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّـهِ 10-إِنِّي تَارِكٌ فِيكُمُ الثَّقَلَيْنِ مَا إِنْ تَمَسَّكْتُمْ بِهِمَا لَنْ تَضِلُّوا كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَ عِتْرَتِي أَهْلَ بَيْتِي وَ إِنَّهُمَا لَنْ يَفْتَرِقَا حَتَّى يَرِدَا عَلَيَّ الْحَوْضَ فَانْظُرُوا كَيْفَ تَخْلُفُونِّي فِيهِمَا أَلَا هذا عَذْبٌ فُراتٌ فَاشْرَبُوا وَ هذا مِلْحٌ أُجاجٌ فَاجْتَنِبُوا 11- وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ فِي إِمَامٍ مُّبِينٍ
There is a tradition that says: ‘Someone asked Prophet Muhammad (S), “Who is Imam-E-Mubeen? Is it the Turah? Is it the Bible? Is it the Holy Quran?’ The Prophet (S) replied no to all the questions. They asked, ‘Then, what is it?’ The Prophet (S) replied, ‘It is someone who will come to us’ As the Prophet ended this sentence, Imam Amir Al-Mu’minin Ali (A) came through the door.”
If we were to convert the holy Quran to a human, it would be exactly like Prophet Muhammad (S) and Imam Ali (A). There is a tradition in Nahj Al-Balaghah that says: “This Holy Quran that you see has written words between two book covers and has no mouth to talk with. Therefore, it is necessary to have a translator around.” That means, there needs to be someone who really understands the true meaning of the Holy Quran. It is like if someone gives you a treasure map. You need to bring that treasure map to someone who knows how to solve the mystery and help you navigate. Quran is like a treasure and the interpreter is the Imam of time. If Quran was enough for us, there should not be arguing between Muslims on their understanding of the Holy Quran. Therefore, we need a perfect human, an infallible, so that we will not argue anymore and understand the true meaning of the Holy Quran. “The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter”1. We know that in “Laylatul Qadr”, the angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission from the Lord; everything that will happen in that year will be with them. The question is: Who does it descend to? The answer is the spirit and heart of the Imam of our time. We will continue to discuss this with more detail in another chapter. Nothing can prove that Imam Mahdi (A) (Imam of our time) and the Holy Quran are separate from each other. Imam Mahdi (A) is the middleman between God and us. There is a letter from the Imam of our time, Imam Mahdi (A), that said: “There was an argument between some Shia followers. Some of them said that Imams are the middle man that pass the mercy of God to us. Some other Shias said that Imams only pray for the mercy. Imam Mahdi replied in the letter: “We (Ahlul Bait) are creatures of Allah and other creatures (everything else) are our creatures”2. Prophet Muhammad (S) said: “The first thing that Allah created was the light (noor) of me”. There is another tradition from Jabir: “The first thing that Allah created was the light of Prophet Muhammad (S)”. There is another tradition that says: “Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain”3. Meaning, the Ahlul Bait are from one light (noor). So, the heart of Imam Mahdi (A) receives mercy from Allah and spreads it to every world. All other Prophets, based on their levels, have the Ahlul Bait’s light in them. In other words, Prophets are manifestations of the Ahlul Bait’s light. Everyone needs intercession from Prophet Muhammad (S), from the beginning to the end. Imam Sadiq (A) said: “All Prophets benefit from our light”.
1- تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ 2- نحن صنائع ربّنا، والخلق بعد صنائعنا 3- حسین منی و انا من حسین