By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
“O Musadif! It is easier to fight with a sword than to earn the livelihood lawfully (Rizq al-Halaal)” – Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq.”
The above words are food for thought. Indeed, the more we delve into their meanings, the better our minds become perceptive to the timeless wisdom of the Revealed Word of God Almighty – the Holy Qur’an – and the dynamism of the Ahadith or sayings of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and his Blessed Ahl al-Bayt, whose pristine purity has been vouchsafed by the Almighty Creator (33:33).
That was the reason these Immaculate Personages had emphasized the benefits of lawful livelihood and the dangers to the body and soul from a life fed and nourished by unlawful sustenance.
Alas, the person whose piece of advice to one of his disciples (and through him to all posterity) has been mentioned at the start of this brief column was the victim of those fattened on doubtful and dubious sustenance.
Every year on the 25th of Shawwal we commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (AS) with a public holiday in Islamic Iran so that the faithful by pondering on the exemplary life of the Prophet’s 6th Infallible Successor enlighten their minds and souls.
It would be tedious to say how after the Prophet’s departure from the mortal world, the ones who masqueraded as his political heirs, left no stone unturned in violating the letter and spirit of the message of Islam, to the extent that his Divinely-designated vicegerent Imam Ali (AS) was martyred with a poisonous sword while in prayer in 40 AH, and two decades later in 61 AH, his son – the Prophet’s grandson Imam Husain (AS) – was mercilessly cut to pieces along with his steadfast family members and companions by those whose bellies were stuffed with all things “haraam” (religiously prohibited).
It is thus clear that the political institution called the caliphate, as it took shape after the passing away of the Prophet, was never a Godly system but a rule of opportunistic elements who at times donned the garb of hypocrisy to feign religious sentiments in order to deceive simple-minded Muslims – more accustomed to wielding their swords for the greed of the mortal world, rather than using their brains to discern between right or wrong or between the lawful and unlawful means of sustenance.
Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (AS) needs no introduction. Born in 83 AH, 21 years after the tragedy of Karbala, he spent 12 years with his grandfather, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) – the Survivor of history’s most heart-rending massacre – and was 31 years old when his father, Imam Muhammad Baqer (AS), fell victim to the poison administered by the Omayyad despot, Hesham bin Abdul-Malik.
In the next 18 years, the Godless Omayyads made their ignominious exit from the scene with four more caliphs following the tyrannt Hesham to the netherworld in quick succession – Walid, Yazid II, Ibrahim, and Marwan al-Hemar.
The equally ungodly Abbasids now seized power of the Islamic state through unlawful means, and subjected the Prophet’s 6th Heir to all sorts of pressures including imprisonment (at least five times in Iraq) despite the fact that as an offshoot of the Hasehmite clan they were fully aware of his pristine purity as a member of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt.
Power erodes faith and conviction. Mansour Dawaniqi – the second Abbasid caliph and the founder of Baghdad – in spite of the fact that he had memorized since his childhood thousands of sayings of the Prophet on the unrivalled merits of Imam Ali (AS), now created a deep chasm in the Islamic ummah by coining for the first time the divisive term “Ahl as-Sunnah wa’l-Jama’ah” for the scattered masses who had the least idea other than conjectures circulated by court mullahs, as to what actually was the Prophet’s “Sunnah” or “Seerah” (Practice and Behaviour).
The next seditious step taken by the knave Mansour to mislead naïve Muslims was to brand the followers of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt as “Rafedhoun” or ‘Rejectors’ for their logical refusal to endorse the rule of the first three caliphs, although he himself and his whole Abbasid ilk knew very well that neither there was any Ayah in the Holy Qur’an nor a Hadith from the Prophet to support their seizure of political power.
Thus, in such trying times, it was left to Imam Ja’far as-Sadeq (AS) to revive the genuine “Shari’ah” and the real “Sunnah” of the Prophet to guide the ship of Islam to the shores of salvation – the more so since it was the time when self-styled jurists used to indulge in “qiyas” or syllogism while dealing with religious matters.
No wonder, the Imam firmly said in this regard:
“The practice of qiyas in deriving laws would lead to the obliteration of the Deen (religion)”.
A brief newspaper column is not the place to cite the “guesses” in religious matters of his one-time student, Abu Hanifa – son of a Zoroastrian convert from Kabul – or that of Malek bin Anas – whom Imam Sadeq (AS) warned, saying that the first one to indulge in “qiyas” was Satan (Iblis) who when ordered to prostrate to Adam said: ‘I will not, because You have created me out of fire and him out of soil, and fire is superior to soil.’
Neither does time allow me to mention how the Father of Chemistry, Jaber ibn Hayyan (Gebr to medieval Europe) was taught the fundamentals of science by the 6th Imam, or how, while still a boy of 11 years, Imam Sadeq (AS) astonished scholars of his time by saying that the Earth cannot be flat and is spherical in shape, as is clear by the rising of the Sun in the east and its setting in the west every 24 hours to determine day and night.
As said earlier, if these bezels of Divine wisdom were beams of guidance to those who strive to earn their livelihood through lawful and legal means, they were anathema to those who led their life and built their power on “haraam” or religiously forbidden sustenance.
May God damn Mansour Dawaniqi for administering the fatal dose of poison to the Prophet’s 6th Infallible Heir, and may Divine wrath befall the schismatic Wahhabis for destroying in 1925 the Holy Mausoleum in Jannat al-Baqie, Medina, that used to house the now sunbaked tombs of Imam Sadeq (AS), his father, Imam Baqer (AS), his grandfather, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), and the latter’s uncle, Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (AS).