In order to gain knowledge about a faith or religion, being aware of its beliefs and practices is a must. The beliefs of the Shia school of thought speak of knowledge about its origins, reasons, truth, the pillars, and core thoughts. However, its emphasis and recommendations about manners and actions can define one’s life program. There are many traditions in the Shia faith that specifically address moral and practical issues relating to one’s duties and responsibilities. The Shia thoughts and beliefs are a guide for people to reach the reality of this school in discussions of followers of different Islamic sects or even followers of different religions, however morality in the Shiite school of thought is the path for growth, accomplishment and self restraint, and an answer to “what should be done” and “how should one live”.
Today the Shiite society should pay attention to both matters, as certain problems in Shiite society derive exactly from not paying enough attention to the issues pertaining to faith and morals. However, it is important to note that the manner in which one Shia acts in presenting the Shiite faith to others is a very sensitive matter. Many cases have shown that it is one’s attitudes that create grounds for judging the beliefs and moral upbringing of a family. Today it must be properly presented who a true Shia is, and who can earn the high status of a Shia. Achieving true attributes of a Shia can lead to giant accomplishments. One who gains the attributes and morals of a true Shia will be able to attract others to the Shiite faith. And this is the desire of the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), and what they have referred to many times. We bring an example from Imam Hassan Askari (PBUH),
“Be careful about your duty about Allah, and be an adornment of us (Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT)), not a cause of embarrassment for us. Attract all friendships (of people) towards us, and distance bad-thinking (people) from us…” (1)
The narration mentioned above portrays that one of the most important expectations of Imam Hassan Askari (PBUH) from the Shia is to exceed all others in acting morally and be exemplar in the society; and this is to the extent that others are able to pinpoint them as the Shiite of Ali (PBUH) and the infallible Imams (PBUT). And these are those trained under the school of thought of Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT).
An interesting note is that the Imam (PBUH) does not limit Shiite responsibilities to having positive attitudes to faithful people alone, rather he is also including actions towards the enemies as well. In interpreting the following Quranic phrase: “Speak well with people…”(2) he says,
“….so (it is best for all of you) to greet all pious with an open and welcoming face, and with those who are against you, to act with the intention of attracting them to faith with kindness and soft speech.” (3)
Let us strive to make politeness and good manners a habit, while having the intention that if one day our attitude may attract others to the love of Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT), we would have given one of the best gifts to our Imam Mahdi (PBUH) and his ancestors (PBUT).
Roshd Website offers its condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend on the 8th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, the martyrdom of the healing Guide, father of Imam Mahdi (PBUH), Imam Hassan Askari (PBUH).
1. Tuhaf al-Uqul, p. 487
2. The Holy Quran, (2:83)
3. Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, vol. 12, p. 261, Hadith # 14061