Yahya bin Nu’maan narrates that:” I was with Imam Hussain (PBUH) when an Arab masked man with a dark face entered and greeted the Imam (PBUH). Imam Hussain (PBUH) responded his greeting. The man said,” O son of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP)! I have a question”. Imam Hussain (PBUH) replied,” Go ahead”.
The man asked,” What is the distance between faith and certainty?”
Imam Hussain (PBUH) replied,” As much as four fingers”.
The Arab man asked,” How?”
Imam Hussain (PBUH) said,” Faith is
what we hear [and acknowledge], and certainty is [regarding] what we see [with our eyes and accept them], and the distance between one’s ears and eyes are as much as four fingers” (1).
The man asked,” What is the distance between the earth and the heavens?”
Imam Hussain (PBUH) replied,” As much as an accepted prayer”…
The Arab man asked,” What is the glory of person?”
Imam Hussain (PBUH) replied,” His independence from people”.
The man asked,” What is the ugliest thing?”
Imam Hussain (PBUH) replied,” (The ugliest thing is) lewdness and shamelessness in the elderly, brutality in the powerful, lying of the noble, stinginess for the rich, and greed for the knowledgeable”.
The man said then,” You are right, O son of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP)! Now tell me about the number of the Imams after the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP)”.
Imam Hussain (PBUH) replied,” Twelve; as many as the successors among the children of Israel” (2).
The man said, “Name them please”.
The narrater says: Imam Hussain (PBUH) (lowered his head and) paused for a while, then he raised his head and said,” Yes my Arab brother! I will inform you. Verily the Imams after the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) and his successors are the Commander of the Believers, Ali (PBUH), Hassan (PBUH), myself, and nine people from my progeny; my son Ali (PBUH), then his son Muhammad (PBUH), then Muhammad’s son named Ja’far (PBUH), then Ja’far’s son named Musa (PBUH), then Musa’s son named Ali (PBUH), then Ali’s son named Muhammad (PBUH), then Muhammad’s son named Ali (PBUH), then Ali’s son named Hassan (PBUH), and after Hassan is Mahdi (PBUH) (the Promised one), who is my ninth progeny. He shall take responsibility of the religion at the end of time.” (3)
The narrator says: The Arab man got up, while he was whispering,” the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) moved his hand (out of mercy) on the face of Hussain (PBUH), that is why his face is shining and brilliant. His parents are the best among Quraish, and his grandfather is the best of grandfathers”. (4)
(The above is a selection taken from “Musnad al-Imam al-Shahid” (5), by Hujjat al-Islam Azizullah Atarudi)
The Roshd Website congratulates all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 3rd of Sha’ban, the birthday anniversary of the ore of wisdom and the arch of rescue of the nation, the third Imam of the Shiites, Imam Hassain ibn Ali (PBUH).
1. This statement of the Imam Hassan (PBUH) refers to this point that faith is belief in a reality based on what one hears and testifies due to evidences, whereas certainty is belief in a reality after seeing it with eyes.
2. It refers to verse 12 of the 5th chapter of the Holy Quran where Allah (SWT) says,” And certainly Allah made a covenant with the children of Israel (to obey Our commands), and We raised up among them twelve chieftains (leaders and guardians)…”
3. It is noteworthy that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) had clearly mentioned 12 people as his successors previously, and also provided their descriptions (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 8, p. 127 – Sahih Muslim, vol. 6, p. 3 – Sahih Tirmizi, vol. 3, p. 340). Therefore, this was not the first time the Imams were introduced. In fact, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) had named his successors one by one in several occasions. For example, after verse 59 of chapter 4 of the Holy Quran was revealed, he named all the infallible Imams (PBUT) one by one, according to the Hadith Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari has narrated (see Kamal al-Din, vol. 1, p. 253). Or in another instance, he named all his successor one by one on sermon he delivered towards the end of his blessed life (see Kifayah al-Athar, p. 40). Moreover, some Hadiths narrated in Sunni references also indicate that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) had explicitly named all his 12 successor (see Faraid al-Simtayn, vol. 2, p. 134 – Maqtal Kharazmi, vol. 1, p. 146 – Yanabi al-Mawaddah, vol. 3, p. 380).
4. This Hadith is also narrated in Kifayah al-Athar, p. 232 and Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 36, p. 385.
5. This Hadith is narrated in the third volume of the book, page 100. The above passage is taken from the Farsi translation of the book named “The Encyclopedia of the sayings of Imam Hussain (PBUH)”, page 807.