The Rights of Muslims in the Treatise of Rights by Imam Zain al-Abideen (pbuh)

Our responsibility towards the Islamic nation in the light of the Treatise of Rights


By Ayatullah Sayed Murtadah al-Husseini al-Shirazi

Translated by Hassan Hadi

 

Allah the Almighty says in the Quran: “O messengers, eat from the good foods and work righteousness. Indeed, I, of what you do, am Knowing. And indeed this, your nation, is one nation, and I am your Lord, so fear Me.” [1]

The best of all worshipers and the master of prostrators, Imam Sajad (pbuh) says in his Treatise of Rights:

“And the right of your people is to wish them safety and mercy, to be lenient to their mistaken ones, to socialize with them, to reform them, to thank whoever does good amongst them, to drive harm away from them, to love for them what you love for yourself and to abhor to them what you abhor to yourself…”.

Yet, in the above mentioned verse there is a number of systematic studies but we will touch upon what is related to our speech-axis regarding some of the rights which have been referred to by Imam Ali bin Al-Hussein (peace be upon them)in the Treatise of Rights.

First study: The holy verse can possibly by considered one of the verses that form the basis of legal rules.

This verse can be considered as a verse that constitutes the legislation sources. It does not only function for one single legal rule, but this verse also identifies a general basis that makes up a source of the legislation sources; moreover, this point makes the verse top important although all the verses of God are extremely important.

Clarifying the above; the holy verse identifies the statutory structure or the theoretical structural construction of the Islamic rights system. There does exist a general rights system that includes the different types of rights. The verse is the subject-matter of the current study which identifies the main framework that draws the horizons, the dimensions and the roots of this divine rights system depending on one word mentioned in the very verse which is (nation) in the saying of God; “And indeed this, your nation, is one nation…”.

Upon that, if the nation is unified, the following happens:

First: The characteristics, which are associated with all the members of the nation as they are true members, can be one and can include all the members.

Second: The responsibility of each individual will be one and common, however; our current speaking is not about clarifying these characteristics or those responsibilities but it is more about the third point.

Third: If the nation is one nation, now (the rights) will also be common according to its individual.

For that, the out-coming result of the saying of God (And indeed this, your nation, is one nation…” is that the responsibilities (duties), the rights (privileges), characteristics should all be common. This is a general principle that could have some exceptions with proof but not to be discussed now.

An example to clarify the above mentioned:

The tribes that can be found in most countries of the world and which existed according to God’s will. Allah says in the Quran; “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”[2]. As we see that the members of the tribes, as members, on the one hand share certain characteristics exclusive to them, and they have upon them a general common responsibility [3], and they also have upon them responsibilities differ from one person to another, yet these responsibilities aim at one goal which is the benefit of the tribe.

The same thing can be applied on peoples such as in Iraq or Egypt or Hujaz or others. However, the verse takes the nation as a start-point “And indeed this, your nation, is one nation…”. That makes it clear that Islam does not involve populisms, nor tribalisms, neither nationalizations in their narrow meaning, but as the verse goes; (“And indeed this, your nation, is one nation…”. More importantly, the verse did not say your population is one population nor your Persian or Arab nationality is one nationality, but the true analogy is the nation which is a general primitive analogy.

Second study: what is meant by Nation?

The probabilities and sayings, concerning the interpretation of the word nation which is mentioned in this verse, “And indeed this, your nation, is one nation…”, are four;

The first and most accurate saying: being linguistically defined, a nation refers to a group of people that have gathered for one goal [4]. Accordingly, the nation is in reality adoptable to the circumstances in accordance with the common purpose. Thus, as long as the Islamic nation is unified on one matter, now it is one nation- so is the followers of the family of the prophet’s house, as long as they are unified on the Straight Path and are stuck to the strong rope of God, they are unified uniquely. And so is every group even if it is made up of ten people as in the story of prophet Moses (pbuh), Allah says in the Quran; “And when he came to the well of Madyan, he found there a crowd of people watering their flocks…” [5], a crowd of people is similar to a nation which here means a group of destitute people and shepherds. This is the first probability which never contradicts with coming fourth one but it affirms it. Upon this foundation, the holy verse refers to the reality that all the Muslims have common rights and there are common rights and duties upon them and they have common characteristics.

The second saying: your nation meaning your religion. This interpretation was approved of by Shake al-Tusee, he used it with his fellow colleague in religious status. Now, the meaning becomes that your religion is one and it is Islam, however; with different inner fundamental religious orientations of both persons.[6]

The third saying: what is mentioned by some of the Quran-specialized interpreters [7] that the word (nation) in the verse could refer to the human-kind. Upon that, all humans (whether Muslims or Disbelievers), are one nation according to the referential contexts of the verses, where God says; Allah the Almighty says in the Quran: “O messengers, eat from the good foods and work righteousness. Indeed, I, of what you do, am Knowing. And indeed this, your nation, is one nation, and I am your Lord, so fear Me.” [8], yet this verse is not exclusive to the Muslims.

Here, we should say upon refuting the interpretation of this verse that it does not at all meet with the norm, yet it is extremely weak because the word nation can only be said to refer to the human-kind if it is to identify one purpose. The verse, even if it is addressing the noble messengers, is contained in Islam; because Islam the religion of all the messengers, upon that Allah says: “Truly, the religion with Allah is Islam” [9]. Yes, our Islam is more special than the Islam of prophets Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus and the other prophets, it is more special because there exist constraints, developments, and benefits which did not exist in previous religions.

Moreover, the use of the demonstrative noun (this) in the saying of God; “And indeed this, your nation…” is a reference to the Islamic nation; it is either the extended nation of the previous prophets or the nation of the prophet Muhammad the messenger of God (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him and his pure family).

The fourth saying: what is narrated from Imam Baqir (pbuh) when he was asked by a narrator regarding word (nation) which mentioned in the verse above the verse, the Imam said; “ it refers to the family of the prophet Muhammad (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon them). Because, they are the only legal representatives of the messenger of God and the religion of Islam. More importantly, whoever follows them and upholds their teachings will definitely be redeemed and will enter into Paradise.

We say that this is a valid interpretation regardless of its historically narrated script because the inner meaning of it is compatible to thousands of the narrations which reveal the true path of the family of the prophet’s house (Allah’s blessings and peace upon them); and that it is obligatory to follow their steps.

Indeed, the current interpretation is considered through the long- term perspective, therefore, the nation in particular is the nation of the messenger of God (Allah’s blessings and peace be upon them), the nation which its members have taken up the Quran and the prophet’s family’s teachings as their knowledge sources. Those members have given special features; they have responsibilities upon them and rights for them. They are the Shias, the followers of the twelfth infallible Imams. Whereupon, the Islamic nation, in general, also has features, responsibilities and rights… and the latter nation could agree or disagree with the one associated with the family of the prophet and their followers. Yet there is no objection to bring together the general and the specific Islam; and each one of them has rights, duties that can be known through observing all the general and special Islamic legislations.

We begin from here to clarify the rights which are mentioned in the Treatise of Rights by Imam Sajad (pbuh). The Imam has referred to part of these rights saying; “And the right of your people is to wish them safety and mercy…”, namely to wish safety and mercy to every Muslim; whether they are from the same Islamic creed of yours or from other Islamic creeds. Now, the first type of Muslims is obvious while the second type of Muslims which somehow fundamentally deviated from the thoughts of the first type should be treated in a way that can guide him to the path of the family of the prophet (PBUT), which is the greatest mercy to him if God the Almighty enabled you towards guiding him and if The Almighty enabled him to be guided. However, the top sense of mercy can be seen in its most perfect form in guiding non-Muslim (Christian, Buddhist or others) into Islam.

Third Study: sensing of belonging towards one nation:

The necessity of this sense of belonging which is embodied of us being one nation at least on the general level rather than on the exclusive level!! Now the question is do we all sense that?? And does this sense interact in a way that can live up to the expectation of this responsibility which is placed upon all.

If we, indeed, take the tribe as an example, we will find that every individual of its can sense the belonging towards it, which is a feeling mostly approved of. But as Muslim and Shiite following the teachings of the twelfth Imams, do I bear this sense of belonging towards any Muslim and Shiite in the world?

The narration is so accurate and states the following: (… to wish safety and mercy to them…), furthermore; if we want to somehow dig deeper in the saying of Imam Sajad (PBUH), we will find in this phrase, which is (to wish safety), four things: 1- Enmity 2- Belittling 3- Scorn 4- Negligence.

Wishing safety means no Enmity, no Belittling, no Scorn and no Negligence in regard to the members of the creed as they are, yet even no Negligence to them for all that is rejected.

The Shiite living in India for example, might suffer injustice and wronging. Now, out of duty and as Shiites, we must aid him by offering support and encouraging so that he can obtain his right and demands by all means possible, yet we should sympathize with him to the furthest extents to have translated by actions the saying of our Imam Al-Sajad (PBUH).

Let it not be an illusion to the Shiite that wishing safety is a matter only associated with heart and cannot travel further to include the whole senses and that is because the Imam states after that: (… and to drive harm off them…), meaning that everyone in power and every one of us is responsible of driving harm off every Muslim in every spot of the world which is considered as fixed right. However, talking of the ability of that and the means to reach out it is to be discussed in another study.

Fourth study: Shortage and Negligence towards our creed is a general phenomenon

One of our painful tragedies is Shortage and Negligence towards the Muslim members of our creed has become a general phenomenon. Here, we first will mention a very obvious example and then move on to prove that this is a general phenomenon in our life, yet it might take less seriousness or different shapes.

King Khwarezm Shah.. His negligence twards his family and people

When Mongolians attacked Muslim countries; Iran, Iraq and others, where upon they had been ruling by Khwarezm Shah, with long battles occurred between them, upon which the king Khwarezm Shah was defeated and fled to Nishapur. The nature of the savage Mongolians was to kill people, burn lands and to spread all kinds of corruption [10]. The king was supposed to mobilize armies in Nishapur to attack the Mongolians, but he was engaged in diversion, glee and profligacy. What is worse than that, when the people the Nishapur came to the king’s minster complaining to him about the injustice and wrongness, upon which the minster said to them; “ the king has given me the responsibility of having women-singers festooned non-stop, and therefore; I have no time to look into your affairs and injustices!!

Upon the Mongolian invasion reaching Nishapur, Khwarezm Shah fled to (Burkhan) where he kept his family and sons in a castle called ( Iqlaal) in (Burkhan), and then the king escaped to a remote island… the Mongolians reached Burkhan and entered into the castle killing all the king’s sons, and shared his wives with the army commanders, then they came unto his mother mounting her on a horse to and had her moving among armies, yet she was forced to cry in a loud voice about the adversity happened to her, to her family and to her sons. When this news reached king Khwarezm Shah, he died out of sadness.

This is one of many examples of those unjust and tyrannical leaders who ruled over the Islamic countries such as the Immayat, Abbasside, Authmanitte and others. They wasted their people’s rights, and preoccupied themselves with diversion, profligacy and the worldly desires, then they eventually lost everything and were meant to dwell in an eternal perdition.

Is this story is the tyrants’ story or our story?

Yet, are these merely historical stories about kings and sultans who ignored their duties and their people’s rights? Or, does every story act as a mirror to us, each one according to his capacities?

We, as a matter of fact, must stop at every story to evaluate ourselves and how fare we are negligent in our duties, according to the ability we are given, towards the people of our creed for we are one unified nation as it is clear in the word of Imam Zain Al.Abideen (pbuh); “And the right of your people is to wish them safety and mercy, to be lenient to their mistaken ones, to socialize with them, to reform them, to thank whoever does good amongst them, to drive harm away from them, to love for them what you love for yourself and to abhor to them what you abhor to yourself”.

It is obvious that most of us neglect or forget or ignore what is being befallen of injustice to the Muslim people in Bahrain, or in Palestine, or in Dammam and Awamya or in any other Islamic countries where different forms of corruption and injustice are seen such as; murder, imprisonment, displacement, money pinching, and freedoms stealing; yet most of us even do not sense the feeling of the pain that the members of our creed are suffering from the world over.

Imam Sajad (pbuh) identifies for us the basics of our relationship with all the members of our creed

The imam’s speech is clear in regard to the responsibility placed upon all which is; “And to love for them what you love for yourself and to abhor to them what you abhor to yourself”. And he says in other version; “ When praying to God include them all in your prayer…”, that is to say that when we pray to God, we pray for all Muslims in every spot of the world, to pray for their reform, guidance, rightfulness, security, stability, prosperity and others.

“… And to make them triumphant out of your triumph…”, this statement makes it obligatory to seriously support the members of your creed. This is a religious obligation upon us, yet others can be excused if enough people take up this obligation, otherwise all of us are sinned; “… Concerning the members of your creed, treat as they should be treated, their old one as a father, their little one as a son and their adult one as a brother..”

Now, do we sense this feeling within ourselves? And when a visitor coming from; Pakistan, or Hejaz, or Yemen, or Egypt, or Tunisia, or Morocco, or Iran, or Afghanistan, or Arab Gulf, or East or West, do we feel that he is like our own father?!

If we seriously comply with the recommendation of Imam Sajad (pbuh) in regard to the Muslims’ rights, we definitely will regain our supremacy and leadership in everything, otherwise; we remain backward, yet our rights will be lost by all means, more importantly our history, glory, accomplishments, and rights on humanity will be confiscated by the West and the East.

Here, we will mention an obvious example to show the injustice of others towards the favour of the family of the prophet (pbut) upon humanity.

The history of the human rights birth

The author of the Human Sciences Lexicography says, “we can possibly date back the first human rights call to the petion of rights that was signed in Great Britain in 1928 AD which confirmed the traditional rights of the English.” [11]

Here we say, what about Imam Ali’s (pbuh) covenant to Malik Al-Ashter, which is considered the greatest document of human rights? And how is conceivably possible to date the human rights history birth back to what the English had written in the 19th century, when Imam Ali bin Abe Tahlib was, more than ten centuries, ahead of them to accomplish that?

All that is due to our negligence in disseminating the Islamic messages that call for the human rights forwarded by the members of the prophet’s family and in which they commanded Muslims to follow these messages, to disseminate them and to propagate for them across the globe. Upon that, Imam Ali (pbuh) wrote his covenant to Malik Al-Ashter, also his well-known letter to his son, Muhammad bin Al-Hanafya. Moreover; Imam Zain Al-Abideen had alson written his Treatise of rights to all Muslims, however, the Islamic world is carried away by the sayings of (Muslama Al-Fahtah) and others like him who are even ignorant on how to perform ablution correctly, yet Muslims have glorified them and considered them the Muslim elite after the Messenger of God!!

The Commander of the Faithful – Imam Ali (pbuh) said: “There are two kinds of people, either a brother in religion or a counterpart in creation”. As a matter of fact, The Imam practiced that in his actions during his reign on Muslims.

The rights of the child

The author of the Human Sciences Lexicography, then says; “On November the second – 1989 AD, the United Nations Organization have adopted the international agreement of the child’s rights, and since then the first legally approved text recognizing the child’s rights, has appeared.”

Whereas Islam, centuries earlier, has touched upon that issue, upon that, it is narrated in an authentic narration; “Three kinds of people are not to be held responsible of their actions, a child until he reaches puberty, the insane until he mentally returns to his mind, and the asleep until he wakes up.”[12].

Yet, this narration as well as the judicial rule that can be derive from it have been given a great deal of value in judiciary, and thousands of Islamic sub-rules of jurisprudence have been built upon this narration, and it has been judged upon in the courts of the Islamic countries for long periods of time.

There is another narration; “An action which is deliberately done by a juvenile or an insane person is considered as a mistake whereas the religious sanction is placed upon their trustees” [13], it is a general legal judicial text.

Imam Sajad (pbuh) in his Treatise of Right says; “And the right of that who is younger than you are is to be friendly with him, train and educate him, pardon him, and cover up all his faults, be patient with him and help him.”[14].

This goes beyond the claims that call for the child’s rights in the world of today. If we just ponder on the saying of Imam Sajad (pbuh), we will be find out that each word of his words can outweigh mountains of gold, yet we are not able to cover every aspect and what moral lessons and be derived from it of it in details because of the limitation of time.

The rights of the peoples

The author of the Human Sciences Lexicography continues and mentions the rights of the peoples and minorities; “ The idea of the rights of peoples dates back to the last century, and it has obtained a new spirit in the conference of Bangdung that was held in Indonesia in 1955 AD….”

The speech, like its previous ones, is either a falsehood or a clear ignorance because the Noble Quran mentions the rights of people and tribes, and we have earlier touched upon that in details in the book (The separating Line between Civilizations & Religions), starting out from the saying of God in the Surat of the Disbelievers; “To you is your religion and to me is my religion” [15]. As we have clarified in details that the holy verse mentioned above can be used to indicate the religious rule validity which is above the religious rule abidance to those who are familiar with religious rules, and this is a serious issue we have already discussed in details.

As Imam AIi (pbuh) says; “If I were to rule over people, I would judge the people of the Torah, Gospel, Psalm, and Quran each people according to their book.” [16]. And this is the greatest right of the people’s rights, yet the Commander of the Faithful hast stated that over than one thousand year.

Indeed, there are hundreds of texts in this regard, yet if the people of justice just ponder over this truth, and the people responsible of disseminating Islam speak out this truth out loud and they agree upon unifying their agendas and efforts in order to change the current situation.

We were first to call for these rights and this truth is mentioned in our most authentic sources such as the Noble Quran, the Path of Eloquence, the Treatise of Rights, and in many other prophetic quotes of the family of the prophet Muhammad’s house. But unfortunately, Muslims have ignored all that which is fruitful, intellectual, and legislative and directed their attention to what the West is inculcating inside of them of their ornamented principles from which they formed their legislation rules and eventually they considered the West to be the first to have established and rooted the human rights in the world.

The connection between eating what is religiously lawful and doing goodness

The holy verse says; “O messengers, eat from what is religiously lawful and do your righteous deeds”. Here, we wonder, what is the connection between eating what is religiously lawful and doing righteousness?

The answer: as a matter of fact there are numbers of probabilities to this issue, but we will consider two of them:

The messengers – then the believer who follows them – they eat what Allah has created for them of that is religiously lawful in order to be able to do righteousness , whereas; the disbeliever eats food only to be able to commit more sins or at least to maintain his lust, however; the believer eats it to continue his worship, his knowledge seeking and his work.

That is which is spiritually pure is always in an opposition to that which is spiritually impure. Now, when man eats that which is spiritually impure and forbidden, that would have an existential effect on man’s success, whereupon man will not be successful in doing righteousness. And along with that is the doubtful food and the market-food, even if it is originally spiritually lawful, however; if the food taken from an animal which is not slayed according to the Islamic way, that could leave an existential effect on man that is to say, man will not be successful to perform the night-prayer and other forms of worships or he may commit sins; may Allah keep us far from it and may bestow upon us heart righteousness, indeed he is the Al-Hearing of prayer.

In the end, our last prayers are praise be unto God the Lord of the worlds and peace and blessings of God be upon Muhammad and his pure family.

———————————————
Sources:
[1] Al-Mu’eminoon 52-51
[2] Al-Hujorat 13
[3] As defending one’s tribe from an external attack
[4] As it is mentioned in the book of “Al-Tibyaan” by Al-Tusee
[5] Al.Qases 23
[6] Apparently what is meant by (Nation) as one single meaning not the same purpose or religion or the same way.
[7] Al-Mizan in the interpretation of the Noble of Quran.
[8] [1] Al-Mu’eminoon 52.
[9] Al.Umran 19
[10] If it was not for Sheik Naseer Al.Deen Al.Tusee may he rest in peace, who by his wisdom, his wit, his well management in the face of the Mongolian invasion until he made Mongolians convert into monotheistic Muslims, Mongolians could have destroyed the Islamic countries as a whole and could have killed hundreds of thousands of theologian clergymen. Naseer Al-Deen Al-Tusee had rescued 400,000 religious scientists under the title of (Watching Khanat Muraga), yet some of the common ignorant people falsely attribute untrue reports to Sheik Al-Tusee athough he has favour over all Muslims across the globe. And if it was not for him, islam would have been in danger until now.
[11] The Human Sciences Lexicography / human rights subject page 354
[12] Awalee Al-Le’ale volume 3- page 528
[13] We’saal Al-Shiite volume 29 page 88
[14] Man la Yahthoraho Al-Faqeeh volume 2 page 625
[15] AlKfiroon 6
[16] Irshaad Al-Quloob volume 2 page 212، and Bihaar Al-Anwaar volume 30 page 672. Al-Toqa Organization for Culture.
Lectures / lessons on interpretation / the Holy Najaf
188- Muslims ’ rights in the Treatise of Rights by Imam Zain Al-Abideen (pbuh)
Lecture delivering date/ Wednesday-5 Shabaan/1435A.H
Edited: Imam Shirazi Site
1/Ramadaan/1435.


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