Love is one of the inseparable ingredients of human’s life; we all love some people and express our love towards them, while avoid others and dissociate ourselves from them. But what are the criteria which govern choosing our friends and enemies? How can we know what true love and hatred is, and towards whom they should be expressed?

Hakam ibn Utaybah, a companion of Imam Baqir (PBUH) narrates the following story. One day, we were sitting with Imam Baqir (PBUH) and the room was filled with people. At this time an old man holding a long staff entered the room. He stopped at the door and said, ”Peace be upon you, O son of the Messenger of Allah!” Imam Baqir (PBUH) replied to his greeting.

Then, the old man greeted all the audience and they replied his greeting. After that, he addressed the Imam (PBUH) by saying, ”O son of the Messenger of Allah! Let me sit beside you”.

Next, he continued by saying, ”I swear to Allah that I love you; and I love your friends; and my love towards you and your friends is not out of greed. I swear to Allah that I hate your enemies and avoid them; and I take Allah as my witness that this hatred and animosity is not because of any personal grudges with them. I consider lawful whatever you deem lawful, and I consider forbidden whatever you deem forbidden; I await the relief (Faraj) of your family. O son of the Messenger of Allah! Is there any hope for my salvation?”

Imam Baqir (PBUH) replied, ”Come closer! Come closer!” The Imam (PBUH) seated the man beside himself and said to him,

“O man! A person asked the same question from my father Ali ibn Hussain (PBUH). My father responded by saying, ‘If you die in this state, you will meet with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP), Ali (PBUH), Hassan (PBUH), Hussain (PBUH), and Ali ibn Hussain (PBUH); your heart will be consoled, and you will become calm; you will be pleased and your eyes will be brightened. When your life reaches here (he pointed to his neck), you will face the angels responsible for registering your deeds with ease and pleasure. Moreover some things will happen to you in your life that will brighten your eyes, and you will be with us in an honorable position”.

The old man became so excited after hearing this status that he wanted the Imam (PBUH) to repeat his words. Thus, he said, ”O son of the Messenger of Allah! What did you just say?”

Imam Baqir (PBUH) repeated his statement. Then, the man said, ”Allah is great! O Aba Ja’far! If I die, I will meet with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP), Ali (PBUH), Hassan (PBUH), Hussain (PBUH), and Ali ibn Hussain (PBUH)? My heart will be consoled, my eyes will be brightened, and I will be pleased? I will face the angels responsible for registering my deeds with ease and pleasure, and will be with us in an honorable position?

He said these words and started crying loudly, and after a while, he bid farewell and left the room.

Imam Baqir (PBUH) kept watching the man with a special attention as long as he was walking out. When he was gone, he turned towards the people and said, ”Whoever wishes to see a man of Paradise may look at this man (1)”.

Indeed, as Imam Baqir (PBUH) has taught us, these two great properties everyone has, namely love and hatred, become valuable only when they are in accordance with the Divine principles and logical criteria, not worldly intentions. So how do we apply our love and hatred, and what do we exchange them for?

(The above is a selection taken from “The Practical Lifestyle of the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT), Imam Baqir (PBUH)”, by Sayyid Kadhim Arfa’)


  1. 1. Al-Kafi, vol. 8, pp. 77-78

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