All of us have come across people who claim to be associated with the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUH) and consider themselves as Shiites of Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH). The truth is that it is easy to make such claims, but what is the criterion for differentiating between true Shiites and false claimers? This is an important issue which has been addressed by the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUH) over and over, where they have explained the characteristics of true Shiites.

For example, in one of his statements, Imam Hassan Askari (PBUH) has mentioned one of the important characteristics of Shiites, ”Those who are more familiar with the rights of their brothers (in faith) and are more diligent in fulfilling their rights, have the highest rank before Allah (SWT). Those who are humble towards their brothers (in faith) will be considered as Siddiqin (the truthful) and the Shiites of Ali (PBUH) by Allah (SWT)”.

Then, Imam Askari (PBUH) referred to the tradition of Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) in this regards and said, ”One day, a man and his son from the companions of Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) went to visit him. Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) stood up in front of them for the sake of respect, seated them at the best spot, and sat besides them while treating them with honor and respect. Then, he ordered for food to be brought to them.

When they finished eating, Qanbar (Imam Ali’s (PBUH) servant) brought tub, a wooden jar full of water, and a towel for the guests to wash their hands. When Qanbar was about to pour water on that man’s hands, Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) got up and took the jar from Qanbar to pour water on the man’s hands himself. When the man saw this, he felt ashamed and said, ”O Amir al-Mu’minin! Are you going to pour water on my hands while Allah (SWT) is watching me?!” Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) replied, ”Take your seat and wash your hands. Allah (SWT) is watching you while a brother of yours is serving you, and because of this service, Allah (SWT) will make the number of his servants in Paradise ten times as many as the population of the world and Allah (SWT) will also increase the number of his properties in Paradise according the mentioned scale.

So the man sat down, and Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) said to him, ”I ask you to wash your hands as if your were doing while Qanbar was pouring water on your hands”. The man did so as he was requested. Then, Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) gave the jar to Muhammad Hanafyiah (his son) and said, ”O my son! If this man’s son was here alone, I would have poured water on his hands myself. However, Allah (SWT) does not like that a father and son be treated the same way – when they are present in the same gathering. Therefore, the father would pour water on the father’s hands and the son would do so for the son”. So, Muhammad Hanafyiah poured water for that man’s son”.

Then, Imam Askari (PBUH) said, ”So whoever imitates and follows Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) in this virtue (humbleness), he/she is a true Shiite”.

(Selection taken from “Ihtijaj” (1), by Ahmad ibn Ali Tabarsi, with some changes)

The Roshd Website congratulates all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 8th of Rabee al-Thaani, the auspicious birthday anniversary of the heir of the Prophets and the leader of the faithful, Imam Hassan ibn Ali al-Askari (PBUH)


1. The above mentioned Hadith is quoted from the Persian translation of the book of Ihtijaj (written by Ahmad ibn Ali al-Tabarsi) by Behzad Ja’fari.

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