Hussein FadlallahLeaders of Ummah

Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.); The Peak of Knowledge

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

His Eminence, the Religious Authority Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, delivered the two Friday prayer sermons at the Imamain Al-Hassanain Mosque, Zul Kaada, 5th 1430 H. – October, 23rd 2009. Several prominent religious scholars, dignitaries and thousands of believers attended the Jumu’a prayer.

The First Sermon

Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.): The Peak of Knowledge

Imam As-Sadiq: The producer of scholars and intellectuals

Allah says in His Glorious Book: “Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying.” (33:33). The Messenger of Allah (p.) says: “My household is like the ship of Noah; whoever embarks upon it will be saved and whoever turns away from it will be drowned.” Last month, on the 25th of Shawwal, was the death anniversary of Imam Abi Abdullah Ja’afar Bin Muhammad As-Sadiq (a.s.).

Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) represents the role model that reached out to the entire Islamic reality, filling its horizons with knowledge and science in several life positions. Actually, the Imam’s phase was the phase that produced religious scholars and intellectuals and guided the Imams of the other sects were guided, even if they did not share with him the same points of view. The Imam (a.s.) had a school that was opened up to all people and that enrolled every knowledge seeker; wherever he (a.s.) went, he would spread knowledge and science. Al-Hassan Bin Ali Al-Washa Al-Kufi, one of the narrators, said, while pointing to Al-Kufa Mosque: “I entered the Mosque and saw 900 Sheikhs – the term “Sheikh” here refers to a person who teaches people – each saying: “Jaafar Bin Muhammad told me.”

During his stay in Al-Kufa, the Imam (a.s.) filled its Mosque with knowledge and science, knowing that mosques at that time were places specified for education and learning. The term “told me” means that the sheikhs were educated by the Imam. Moreover, when certain historians counted the figures who narrated Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.)’s traditions pertaining to several aspects of knowledge, they found out that they were four thousand teachers of different schools and Islamic sects.

In history, we realize that Jaber Bin Hayyan, a well-versed chemist, was taught chemistry by Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.), and he used to say in his writings that the westerners used to read: “My master, Ja’afar Bin Muhammad, told me.”

In the Imam (a.s.)’s biography, it is reported that Abu Hanifa An-No’man, the Imam of the Hanafi School, was taught by Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) for two years, so the former used to say: “Were not for the two years, I would have been doomed.” Moreover, the Imam of the Maliki School, Malik Bin Anas, says: “No ear has heard, no eye has witnessed, and no mind has imagined anyone better than Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) in knowledge, piety, and worship.” Zaid Bin Ali Bin Al-Hussein (a.s.), to whom the Zaidis belong, says: “In every age there is a man who is one of us, Ahl Al-Beit, that Allah considers as a proof that holds the people accountable, the proof or evidence of our time in my nephew. Those who disagree with him will not be guided; and those who follow him will not be led astray.”

The Imam’s relations with the caliphs

Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) used to follow up all anti-Islam trends and principles to face them with his knowledge and science and to refute them in a civilized, objective, and scientific manner. Al-Mansour, one of the Abbasid caliphs, wrote to him: “Why do not you visit us like the others?” The Imam (a.s.) answered: “We do not have any worldly pleasure that we are afraid you would stop, nor do you have any matter of the Hereafter for us that we expect to gain from you – you are not among those who would guide us to what brings us closer to Allah, so that we would accompany you to be safe of Allah’s punishment – nor are you enjoying bliss on which we should congratulate you – we do not consider the caliph position and power to be blessings that people ought to congratulate you for – nor are you suffering a misfortune for which we should console you. So why should we visit you?!” Al-Mansour wrote: “You may accompany us so that you will advise us, i.e we want you to advise us because the caliphate is a huge responsibility.” The Imam (a.s.) answered: “He who seeks the worldly pleasures will not advise you – because he would actually be cheating you – and he who seeks the Hereafter will not accompany you.” Al-Mansour then said: “He (a.s.) has taught me how to distinguish between those who seek this world and those who seek the Hereafter, and that he (a.s.) is one of those who seek the Hereafter.”

When Imam As-Sadiq’s father, Imam Al-Baqir (a.s.), was dying, he [Al-Baqir] asked his son to take care of the Shiites. So, Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) promised that he will and that he would teach them until they have to ask no one about anything. He would answer all their questions; and he would answer them, even if they did not ask him anything, in order to make them the learned and well-versed scholars that if they sit with other scholars, the latter would appreciate their profound knowledge and high cultural level.

The human freedom in the Imam’s thought

The teachings of Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) fill tens of books that discuss different issues concerned with man, life, and Islam. On certain issues pertaining to freedom, there is a speech for Imam As-Sadiq in which he confirms that the freedom of the free man could not be granted by means of a decree issued by a king, or a caliph, or anyone in power, but rather freedom comes from within man, from his free will that represents his profoundness in life. Man could be free, even if he was lying in a confined cell; and he could be a slave, even if he was wandering in the widest horizons, since freedom is the free will and the free stand, and not the free movement.

It was narrated that Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) says: “A free man is a free man under all circumstances. If he was in trouble, he would remain patient. If calamities hit him, he would not break down even if he was imprisoned and overpowered and put in difficulties.” He (a.s.) takes Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) as an example, and says: “Hence, imprisonment and slavery could not harm the Honorable Yusuf (a.s.) – because he was sold as a slave – And the darkness and fright of the well could not put him to loss, and Allah rewarded him and made the tyrant – the ruler of Egypt at that time – his (a.s.) slave after Yusuf was the tyrant’s slave, until Allah made him His messenger and pitied the nation because of him. Patience and forbearance always results in good – the free man out to bear up the pains and troubles inflicted by those who wish to enslave, capture, and suppress him; just as the arrogant people try to enslave the peoples and confiscate their political decisions and economic progress –So, be patient and tolerant so as to see its reward.”

Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) says: “There exists five traits; he who does not enjoy at least one of them would not be appreciated – he would not be one of those who are worth of being appreciated and valued – the first is loyalty, the second is good management – to run and organize life’s affairs in the right manner – the third is shyness – to be shy and modest in his relations with people – the fourth is good morals, and the fifth, which encompasses all these traits, is freedom.” The free man is the one who encompasses all these traits and applies them in his behavior and his situations and his relation with the entire reality. He is the one who enjoys a will that no challenges or troubles break down; but rather he remains free and faces all the problems the others impose on him.

Actually, Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) took this concept of freedom from Imam Ali (a.s.) who says: “O people! Adam did not beget bondsman nor bondswoman; men are all free.” All the sons of Adam were born free and were not enslaved by anyone. The Imam (a.s.) also says: “Do not be a slave to another – neither to a king nor to a prince or a leader or a rich man, or anyone who owns money or high position; you ought not to submit or enslave yourself to any of these – when Allah has made you free.” Allah has granted man freedom that consists a part of his existence and entity; a thing man ought not to let go of, because he is not its owner, but rather it is part of his humanity and existence. He (a.s.) also says: “Do not let greed enslave you when Allah has made you free,” and: “A free man is a free man even if he was inflicted by harm, and a slave remains a slave even if fate helped him.” Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) also says: “A religious man rejects desires, which makes him a free man.”

Dialogue with atheists

Imam As-Sadiq used to go to the Hajj where he frequently met the unbelieving atheists and heretics who used to make fun of the Muslims’ way of praying and the act of turning around (Tawaf) Al-Kaaba. Despite that, the Imam (a.s.) would open up to them in his mind and heart, instead of assaulting them, and he would conduct a dialogue with them presenting his arguments and proofs and refuting their misunderstandings and misconceptions. The Imam (a.s.) filled the world with knowledge and piety and a spirituality that opens up to all the issues of man and life, so I call on all the intellectuals and educated people, as well as the scholars, to spread Imam As-Sadiq’s heritage amongst people, for it is a civilized heritage that reflects the bright image of the Members of the House (a.s.) who represent civilization that elevates man’s position in life.

Peace be upon Imam As-Sadiq (a.s.) the day he was born, the day he passed away, and the day he will be brought back to life.

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