After Imam Jaffar Sadigh (PBUH) began spreading science and virtue in Medina, the ninety-four year old Onwan Basri, attended the Imam’s sessions. In one of the sessions, following the Imam’s lecture on the nature of servitude, Basri narrates what the Imam recommended on proximity to Allah (SWT).

Onwan Basri says: I asked the Imam for advice, “O Aba ‘Abdellah. Advise me.”

Imam Sadigh (PBUH) said: “I advise you to nine practices, which are prudent for those who want to grow closer to Allah (SWT); I pray Allah (SWT) helps you in doing them. Three are related to the training of the body, three are (in regards) to moderation and self-control, and three pertain to science; remain steadfast to these advices, do not set them aside and do not underestimate them.”

Onwan Basri says I prepared to listen, as he began: 

“The three advices that pertain to the body are,

Do not eat food when you don’t have appetite for it as it causes foolishness and ignorance;

Do not eat until you are hungry

When you want to eat, eat Halal, and state the name of Allah (SWT)…

The three traits that pertain to self-restraint:

If someone told you “say one and hear ten,” say [in response] “if you say ten you won’t hear even one;”

If someone slandered you, say if what you say is true I pray to Allah (SWT) that He forgives me, and if what you say is false, I ask Allah (SWT) to forgive you;

And if someone threatened to harm you, advise him and pray for him.

But the three traits that pertain to science:

Ask the scholars what you don’t know, and never ask (when your intention is to) test their knowledge;

Don’t be self-opined and always keep vigilant;

Be careful in issuing a judgment (on matters that you are not qualified) just as you fear a lion, and don’t make your neck a bridge for people to cross…”

(Selection chosen from Mishkat al-Anwar by Ali ibn Hassan Tabarsi (with minor changes))