In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
I am at peace with those at peace with you, at war against those at war with you
Do not we read that in Ziarat Ashura? Where are those Shia who talk the talk and walk the walk? The people among us who enjoin good and prohibit evil are a rare commodity these days. Where can you find those kinds of people? And when, and if, you find one, you will also realise that he is being witch-hunted by many defeatist Shia around him.
Who is that person who can endure the task of enjoining good and prohibiting evil and bear all its harshly negative consequences? This is a tough mission indeed, because one has to withstand the society, the state, the community and may finish up with a vicious smear campaign. When you enjoin good and forbid evil, you will have to challenge the matters prevalent in society. You will have to face the void customs in society. You will have to contest the widespread, yet void religious beliefs in the society. You will have to defy all those issues. If you wanted to take on board that mission, you will put a massive effort into daring those issues of (1) void religious traditions and (2) void religious practices
Those matters are rife in Shia societies in particular. Your mission means that you will have to swim against the current. And it is really hard to do so! How could you change that society whilst receiving blows from your nearest and supposedly dearest, as when you embark on that mission, the devils from the human race and the Jinn alike will suddenly emerge to challenge you? You will be oppressed, defamed and battled. Perhaps, you could be imprisoned, arrested, tortured and even killed because of that.
However, that way is assured with safety in the Hereafter! That is a true assurance. What is painful here is that we as Shia have dumped our duty of enjoining good and prohibiting evil just as other sects did, when in fact, we are more worthy entitled to take up that duty.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his family, and may His damnations be upon their enemies.
We Shia are incapable of thinking that we are meant to be the masters of our own social, economic, political and religious affairs. We should be the ones taking our own dealings into our own power. But are we? There are plenty of mental shackles around our way of thinking. There is plenty of dust in our minds. Many Shia are imprisoned by rusty, tarnished and outdated ideas. Most shocking of all is that many Shia’s disagree with this verdict.
They do not agree that we, the Shia, are being tricked. They cannot perceive that dominance happens to be with others and that governance and authority are with someone else, often with the ‘Sunnis’, especially in countries where we are the majority, like Iraq and Bahrain.
Yes, even In Iraq, the so-called Shia government is far too sensitive to the minority ‘Sunnis’ in Iraq. We still have major roads, districts, schools and colleges in Bagdad, in Iraq at large, and in Shia areas even, called after the killers of our Imams (peace be upon them), like Haroun al-Rashid Road, Al Mansour district, Al Mu’tasim National University, not to mention the fact that even the curriculum of religious education and history in state schools in Iraq favours the ‘Sunnis’. It favours their version of history, beliefs and tendencies in all accounts!
Our sacred monuments and shrines are not only destroyed but also managed by the enemies of Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them). Our holy places are literally occupied by them, like in Baqee’, and we are getting used to that. We, the Shia, are supposed to be the summit of Islam. We need to start realising that fact!
Imam al-Sadiq peace be upon him said:
Alas! There is a summit for everything, and the summit of Islam is the Shia. There is an honour for everything and the honour of Islam is the Shia. There is a privilege in everything, and the privilege in Islam is the Shia. There is reverence in everything, and the tribute in Islam is for the Shia. There is a master for everything, and the master of any gathering is where Shia are present. There is a foremost for everything in this life, and the most primary in the lands is the ground where the Shia reside.
We have unfortunately imposed upon our general state of mind intellectual restraints, and they have become part of our general Shia psyche if you like. Such self-imposed controls have impeded our willpower to speak out against our real enemy, the government of Saqeefa. Our real enemy must not be defined as our geopolitical opponents and Western countries, for example. Our real enemy is the government of Saqeefa. Our number one enemy is and must be the enemy of Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them).
tarted. We should preserve that pathway. Why had we as Shia suffered all that anguish for the last 14 centuries?
One of the most important reasons behind our suffering is: we used to resist oppression and oppressors, challenge evil and reject any illegitimate ruler who wanted to assume government over us. That is why we are the Rafida! We reject oppression, oppressors, injustice and any figure that represents injustice, be he was alive or dead, Muslim or non-Muslim. We are meant to reject all forms and shapes of injustice; we are therefore the Rafida. This title was given to us by Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him). We should be proud of upholding this title!
We have inherited that great history and glory, the glory of noble olden Shia. From the outset, the day of Saqeefa, when the coup d’état took place against the Divine Authority represented by Imam Ali (peace be upon him), we stood firm against the mutineers. We used to prohibit evil and enjoin good. We used to put up with pain.
Soon after the coup d’état, a group of true Shia, like Salman, Miqdad, Ammar, Huthaifa, son of Yaman, and Khalid, son of Sa’eed, son of Aass, and their kinds, revolted! They challenged the first mutineer, Abu Bakr, son of Abi Quhafa, in the Prophet’s Mosque. They delivered speeches against him whilst he stood on the pulpit of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his Family). Read about their speeches in history books. Sulaim, son of Qais al-Hilali, recorded their courageous speeches against Abu Bakr in the aftermath of the infamous event of Saqeefa. Those brave men stood in the middle of the mosque and shouted:
Oh son of Abi Quhafa! Fear Allah! Have you not paid allegiance on the Day of Ghadeer? What has happened now? Did not the Prophet order us to accept that his Household assumes his succession? Why did you disobey the Prophet’s orders? Why did you betray the Prophet’s covenant?
Because we had to enjoin good and prohibit evil, Shia throughout time had to suffer great difficulties ever since and until now. Let us look now on what goodness and evil really mean so that we can embark on our duty of commanding good and forbidding evil on solid grounds.
As you all are aware that Goodness has many credible applications; meanwhile, evil also has many credible applications. The greatest credible application for Goodness is the Divine Authority of Ali, son of Abi Talib (peace be upon him). This Sacred Divine Authority is the greatest application of goodness. We have to make sure we enjoin and command it day and night.
Let me give you a practical example: When someone asks you to recite “Salawat”, what does that mean? What does that signify? It indicates that you are practically performing a declaration of befriendship. You are doing it in a manner that indicates your loyalty to Mohammed and the Family of Mohammed (peace be upon them) as dictated by Allah Almighty. In other words, when you recite “Salawat” before Allah Almighty, that means that you are declaring loyalty to Mohammed and the Family of Mohammed (peace be upon them) by the simple fact of reciting “Salawat”. Reciting “Salawat “ is your announcement that you are abiding by Allah’s order of keeping to, holding on, standing by and following Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). And you, usually, do not shy away from reciting “Salawat” in public view loud and clear. Reciting it is a direct message to everyone, to the entire community, that they should go back to the Divine Authority of Ali (peace be upon him)!
Evil on the other hand also has many functions! The highest function of Evil is the illegitimate authority of those who seized the Divine Right of Ali (peace be upon him divine right). The authority of Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, the Umayyads, the Abbasids, and those figures. If you recognise the legitimacy of their rule and say that they are the legitimate successors of the Prophet, and if you take your faith from their teachings and their sayings, then that becomes the most absolute Evil that we have to prohibit. These are not my words. These are the words of Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him). Pay attention to this narration by Al-Majlisi on behalf of Al-Mufeed:
Mohammed, son of Saa’ib al-Kalbi narrates that when Imam al-Sadiq came to Iraq, he arrived at Hira. Abu Hanifa came to visit him. He asked him many questions. Among the questions were:
What is enjoining good?” Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said: “Goodness in Heavens and Earth is Ali (peace be upon him)!
Hence, if you want to enjoin good, you have to enjoin the Divine Authority of Ali (peace be upon him).
Abu Hanifa furthermore asked:
What is Evil? He replied: “Evil is represented by the two men who seized Ali’s right, usurped his position and forced people onto his shoulders.
That was a direct definition of Evil by our sixth Imam (peace be upon him). If you want to prohibit Evil, forbid the people from being loyal to those two. Disallow the people from following the son of Abi Quhafa and the son of Suhak. They were the greatest function of Evil.
Now tell me! Who is committed to those kinds of enjoining good and forbidding evil? What is their ratio in our communities? Shias mingle with all schools of belief around them. That is a good thing. Our Imams (peace be upon them) recommended it.
Our Shia are peaceful to those they mingle with.
We are the people of peace! We mingle with others and coexist as well. Simultaneously, one should always keep in mind how he can guide a non-Muslim neighbour to the true faith, for example. Every one of us should keep these two questions in mind:
- How can I enjoin good and prohibit evil?
- Should I give it up or am I going be accountable if I ditched my task?
Unfortunately, most of the Shia nowadays gave up that duty, especially the second part, prohibiting evil. At times, some do come up on TV channels and invite people to the Divine Authority of Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them), which is a good thing. Thank God, they possess the audacity to do so! Otherwise, they might have had a complex like some of those in the past. They used to even ditch the duty of calling people to the Divine Authority. They used to say:
Why should we do that? Let us use Taqiya!
There is a credible and authoritative narration in our main reference, al-Kafi, that prohibits us from pointing out the names of Ali and Fatima (peace be upon them) in public. Some of those holding that complex have understood Taqiya fallaciously and could not absorb the words of Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him):
Taqiya has conditions. If you misjudge the conditions, Taqiya will not be right for you.
You cannot apply Taqiya on all matters, all times, all places and regardless of the circumstances.
Some in the past even judged that calling people to be Shia is forbidden, as that action conflicts with Taqiya! They argued that we have to stay still and abandon all proselytization! Thank Allah! That condition is not dominant now. Most of Shia do not believe in that, praise be to Allah!
The problem is in the second part: forbidding Evil! Where can you find a brave and fearless person who tells the people politely and boldly – not aggressively – that, for example: “The authority of Abu Bakr and Omar is Evil! I forbid you from it. I offer you evidence and facts from your own authentic resources. I can prove to you that the authority of Abu Bakr, Omar and Aisha is Evil! Keep away from it, so that you may enter Paradise! The pieces of evidence are plenty. It would be prudent if we start to record some evidence, at least ten. If you do not wish to write down ten, write five or even one evidence. But keep it always in mind and have it in handy! If at any point, at work, college, in the market or outside, you go into a discussion with anyone, provide him with that one evidence. Be armed with it and offer it immediately.
He will tell you:
Why do you ask me to reject Aisha? Is she not the mother of the believers?
You tell him:
Aisha is in Hellfire!
He will ask how and why. To that, you tell him that the Prophet (peace be upon him and his Family) said:
Whoever tells a lie on purpose on my behalf and about me, he will reside in his reserved place in Hell.
Tell him that he narrates in his own authentic books that Aisha lied to and about the Prophet. Such as in the narration that relates the Maghafeer smell, and in the narration of his marriage to Asmaa’, daughter of Nu’man, and the narration of her spying on the Prophet while he was at Baqee’. She lied openly to the Prophet and about him and declared that, without a doubt. The fact that Aisha lied proves that she is in Hell. You should say to the one you discussed Aisha with:
I forbid you to follow someone who is abiding in Hell.
Let him get confused, let him go and research the matter and find out for himself. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said in Nahjul Balagha:
Do not let the utmost of what you gain in this life to be the fulfilment of a desire or appeasement of vindictive feelings, but make your utmost concern to be invalidating falsehood and reviving the Truth.
In other words: do not make the crucial thing in your life to chase after desires or to avenge those who wronged you. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) praised the believers who invalidate falsehood and revive the Truth.
Abu Bakr, Omar and Aisha are by all means the top symbols of falsehood that should be turned off. We can not keep silent any longer. We watch people distance themselves from Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) and walk towards their enemies whilst we keep watching or keep being indifferent. We have to invalidate that falsehood. Certainly, use evidence, facts and engage in debates. We do not invalidate that falsehood by arms, but by the weapon of knowledge, words and good advice. By such arms, we invalidate falsehood and restore the Truth.
Remember that the deviated and deviating ‘Sunni’ scholars keep away the deceived children of this nation from the Divine Authority of Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). They do not offer their children space to follow Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them). They know the Truth. They know the right of Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) in leading the Muslims, as Allah appointed them, but they deny it and do their utmost of keeping others away from it.
We need to restore that Truth! Will there be problems? Yes indeed! Some of them will be disgusted by your words when you tell them to reject those oppressors. They label them, after all, as top believers and most just. You still have to carry out your duty. Let them abhor your words! No problem!
Al-Mufeed narrated that Imam Ali (peace be upon him) ordered some of his companions at the aftermath of the Battle of Jamal to go to Basra. He ordered them to say words that the ‘Sunnis’ will hate. This teaches you to not say:
I cannot say something that might make them upset!
No! Let them hear it if it was the truth! The nature of anyone who dislikes the truth is that he will hate what you tell him. He might hate what you say initially, eventually, he might be guided, Allah willing.
He (peace be upon him) said:
Abandon those who refused to support me and make them listen to what they hate so that they come back to us. Then we will see them as we wish to see them.
Just abide by the commandment of enjoining good and prohibiting evil, and you will hardly fall into trouble. According to my experience, if you are committed to this duty, Allah Almighty will relieve, protect and save you from among the grip of enemies in an amazing manner. Do not ever think that enjoining good and prohibiting evil will shorten your life by one second! Your life will not be shortened. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said in Nahjul-Balagha:
All the virtuous deeds and struggles in the way of Allah are nothing compared to enjoining Good and forbidding Evil
In other words: all your good deeds are nothing compared to that great duty of enjoining Good and forbidding Evil. The greatest task is that task. All other deeds are like a drop in the ocean in terms of size according to Imam Ali (peace be upon him). Your reward from enjoining good and forbidding evil is like an ocean. The reward for the rest of your deeds in terms of size is like a drop from that ocean.
Do you not think that if you are committed to that duty, your death will get closer? No! Imam Ali (peace be upon him) is giving you a guarantee! If Allah preordained you will live for eighty years, you will live for that long. Do not worry. Commit yourself to that duty, and your life will not be shorter.
Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said:
Enjoining Good and forbidding Evil will not shorten one’s life nor decrease one’s sustenance.
Do you not ever think that your money will be diminished! Do not worry! Allah will make it up for you! Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said:
And what is even greater than that duty is a forthright word at the presence of a tyrant.
Smack the face of a despot with an upfront statement. Your courage is evident in such an occasion. That is the greatest deed of goodness. Had we committed ourselves to that, vicious leaders would have never been able to govern us.
The Prophet (peace be upon him and his Family) said:
If you do not enjoin Good, nor prohibit Evil nor follow the goodness of AhlulBayt, the vicious ones among you will govern you. If then your good ones pray to Allah, they will receive no response.
Bottom line is that in order for us to successfully perform our duty of forbidding Evil, we need to not immerse ourselves in Taqiya as if it had been an illness. When the Imam of our time (peace be upon him) will reappear and seek our support, many Shia will let him down and offer the excuse of Taqiya. Pay attention to this narration by Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) that is mentioned in Tahdheeb Al Ahkam, volume 6, page 172, on the authority of Abu Hamza Al Thumali:
By Allah! If you were called upon to support us, you will say: We will not support you. We will use Taqiyya! And Taqiya will be more beloved to yourselves than your own parents, and when the Imam of Time arises, he will see no need in asking you for support and he will use appropriate punishment against you as he will treat you as hypocrites.
My final piece of advice to all those who have now reached a point of considering to enjoin good and prohibit evil from among the Shia is that they must heed the words of our Imam al-Kadhim (peace be upon him),
Speak the truth even if it meant that you perish, as in such end you will be saved; and refrain from stating falsehood, even if that statement will save you, for it might make you perish in the Hereafter.
Tuhaf Al U’qool, page 408
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib