The old man, tired from a long journey, in hope of visiting Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) had reached the army of the Imam. The hardship of his journey was recognizable on his face. When he asked for visiting Imam, the companions of Imam guided him.
After greeting, the old man said, “O Amir al-Mu’minin! I am an old man from the land of Shaam (Damascus). I have heard a lot about your virtues, and I feel you will be martyred soon. Therefore, please teach me from what God has taught you.”
Imam said, “Yes, old man, the one whose two days of life is equal (regarding the accomplishment of virtues), would be in loss. Anyone, whose aspiration and aim is the world, will be in great lament and grieve at the death and the time of being separated from the world. Anyone, whose tomorrow (regarding the approach to God) is worse than today, is deprived (from Allah’s compassion)… And the one who does not investigate his shortcomings so that lust overcomes him, and the one who is in loss (losing his virtues), the death is better for him.
O old man! Truly the world is green and sweet, and has its people; and there is are people belonging to the afterworld which prevent themselves from boasting with the worldly people, do not compete on the world (regarding worldly matters), do not become glad for the prosperity of the world, and do not get discouraged for its poverty and hardship. O old man! The person who thinks about staying up all night will lose interest at sleeping. What a fast cut the day and night make from the human life. So keep your tongue, and control your words until when your speech reaches minimum, except for the good.
O, old man, only please for yourself what you please for others, and treat the people just as you like them to treat you.
Then he turned to his companions and said, “You crowd! Don’t you see that the people have different moments during the day and night? One is twisting in death bed while the other is left at his house with illness, and the third is a visitor to the ill, and the other is dying, and the other is hopeless. And, the other is in between the grave cloths (being taken to the grave). The other is seeking the world while death seeks him. The other is negligent while he is not being neglected (the angels write down his actions), and the remaining go after the passed ones.
Then Imam Ali (PBUH) turned to the old man and said, “O, old man, truly God created people and because of His favor upon them made the world harsh to them, then He made them uninterested in this world, then they became interested in the infinite peace world (hereafter) that they had been invited to. They have kept patience on low income and hardship, and have become eager for what God counts great, and bestow their lives for God’s sake, and their fate is martyrdom. Therefore they meet God while He is pleased from them, and they have understood that death is the pathway of the passed and the remaining, and they have saved for their afterworld other than silver and gold (rather real provisions for the journey)…they have been satisfied with little rations earning the provisions for the after. Their friendliness and animosity have been for the sake of God. They are the candlelight (of guidance) and the beneficiaries of the afterworld and Salam.”
Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) ended his statement. The care and love of Imam for guiding people is evident through each of his words. Obviously, Imam looked for every opportunity to share his eternal knowledge with the society. No doubt that Imam is addressing the entire humanity. What beautiful practical clues has he provided for us for the better interaction with the world in order to create a better afterworld! It is prudent to review, every once in a while, these lighting advices in our hearts, and try to put them into practice in our lives.
Do we truly examine and critically analyze the days of our lives alongside other things? Where are we really heading in the path of life? How are we passing our days, and what do we gain for the cost of our life?
And maybe the words of that great Imam, especially in the graceful days of Rajab month, which as associated with the birthday of Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH), is the best time to once more look in the mirror of our souls to discern our pathway.
(Selection taken from the book, “Bihar al-Anwar”, vol. 74, p. 379)
On behalf of the Roshd Website, we congratulate all Muslims and free-thinkers, especially you, dear friend, on the 13th of Rajab, the birth anniversary of the leader of the pious, Amir al-Mu’minin, Imam Ali ibn Abitalib (PBUH).
On this glorious occasion the Roshd website is proud to present a new design from the “Occasion Letters”. You may refer to the page in order find out the new features of this page.