Story No. 17 – Imam Baqir Stories

Imam Baqir (pbuh): Earning livelihood is a worship

Imam Baqir (pbuh)The town of Medina was burning under the exhalation of the heat of the sun of Hejaz (Hijaz) and was thawing like the benumbed sleepers under the fire of the sky.

The branches of the palms were not oscillating under any breeze and the trees were as weary men sleep-strucken while standing. The camels were sheltering themselves under some shade of the palm branches, exceeding the wall of gardens and were ruminating silently and motionlessly. In the town every being was crawling under a shade and nobody was seen in the palm gardens of the round about, except a rather nice man having a slightly corpulent body which was leaning on the shoulders of a young man, (perhaps his son), who was visiting his farm. He was perspiring from the heat.

His eyes, which were half-closed because of the violent shining of the sun, were so attractive that they recalled the looking of the most beautiful gazelle. His nice feature was adorned with a pretty beard and mustache. But this handsome face was turning to purple under the sun and the drops of perspiration were pouring from his cheeks, like the drops of dew from a wild tulip. They were running from his face and dropping into his chest.

At this moment another man was seen on the plain, which was advancing towards this point. His name was Mohummad Ibn Monkader. He was supposing himself to be a pious and anchorite, a hermit man far from Mormonism. He had a bowed down stature and a weary face. When he reached the corpulent body man who was perspiring under the glow of the sun, busy to supervise his farm, he wondered and said to himself: “See how the greed of the mammon blinds the eyes of wisdom. This man is melting like a candle under the sun. And he is not ready to stop to hurt himself for his avidity. It is better to go to him and to advise him. Perhaps he will be guided.”

When he came near, he knew the man and said: “Oh it’s strange. This man is Mohummad Ibn Ali, Imam Baqir, and the leader of the Shia faith. Why this man is trying for worldly wealth?”

He goes then nearer, stood and greeted the Imam Baqir (pbuh). Imam Baqir (pbuh), was busy with his work and was perspiring and panting. Imam Baqir (pbuh) replied to his greeting. The man halted a while and said: “Is it worthy for a great and pious man like you to come out of home in this hour of the day, to seek worldly wealth? And with this rather corpulent body you have to bear, of course, more pain.”

“If in this moment, (God forbids), your death comes, in what situation are you going to meet Alah (SWT)? No, it is not worthy for you, with this heat and this natural disposition, to be so concerned with mammon.”

Imam Baqir (pbuh) cleaned the perspiration off his forehead with the back of his hand, stopped the work and looked at him.

“If my death in this very moment”, said Imam Baqir (pbuh), “I will meet Allah (SWT) in a state of worship.” You think that the worship is only to pray and to do religious ceremonies? I am living in the world and I have to earn my livelihood. If I do not work I will need the help of some men like you and I have to stretch my hands for begging. I should fear the coming of my death when I am sinning and disobeying my Allah (SWT). At this moment, when I am, working under the order of Allah (SWT), I am trying not to be a weight on the shoulders of my fellow beings.

Mohummad Ibn Monkader, struck with shame, said nothing and continued his way, while he was humming with himself: “Wonderful. I was thinking that I can advise him, but this was myself to earn an advice.”

Moral: You should always try hard to do something by yourself and only when you have tried and can not do it you should ask for help.

Earning livelihood is a Worship:

Earning livelihood is a WorshipWhen Sa’d Ansari responded to the Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) that his hands were calloused because he used to work with a rope and a shovel to earn money to spend for his wife and children, the Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) kissed his hand (as an honor) and said: “This is a hand which the Fire (of Hell) will never touch.”
The Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) said: “There are seventy branches of worship, the best of which is earning a living lawfully.”
Imam Ali (pbuh) said: “Never, never will prosperity be reached by remaining idle and lazy.”
Imam Ali (pbuh) said: “One who is always lazy his hope will be scattered (here and there).”
Imam Baqir (pbuh) said: “Avoid laziness and discontent. These two are the keys to every vice.”
Imam Baqir (pbuh) said: “Refrain (be away) from Laziness and impatience for both of them are surely are the keys of every evil.”
Imam Baqir (pbuh) said: “Laziness harms both religion as well as this world.”
Imam Baqir (pbuh) said: “I hate the person who is jobless and who merely lies on his back and says, O Allah! Give me sustenance! He asks Allah to do him a favor while the small Ant comes out of its Ant colony to seek its livelihood!”

Salaam from great great grandfather Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw)

Imam Jafar Sadiq (as) narrates from his father, Imam Baqir (pbuh):

One day, I came to Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) and greeted him. He replied my salutations and because he was blind, he asked me to tell him who I was. I introduced myself: “I am Mohummad, son of Ali, son of Hussain.”

Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) said: “O! The son of the best human being, come closer!” I went closer. He hugged me and kissed my hands and tried to kiss my feet. I pulled myself away and prevented him from doing so. He then continued: “The messenger of Allah (SWT), Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw), had told me to convey his greetings (Salaam) to you.”

Salaam from great great grandfather Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw)I replied: “Peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of Allah (SWT).” I then asked: “Jabir, what is the story behind this?”

Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) said: “Once when I was in the presence of Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw), he said to me, ‘O! Jabir, perhaps you will live long enough until you meet a man from my children, whose name is Mohummad, son of Ali, son of Hussain (great great grandson), to whom Allah (SWT) has granted light and wisdom. So, give my greetings to him.'”

Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) was a great companion (Sahabah) of Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw). He was amongst the companions of Badr. He was a participant in many of the battles of Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) and Imam Ali (pbuh). Jabir had always been a follower of Prophethood and Imamat. He never neglected the love and affection towards Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) and Ahlul Bayt. The continuous efforts of him in introducing Imam Ali (pbuh) and his respected children to the public were many. Furthermore, he was the first pilgrim of the shrine of Imam Hussain (pbuh) in Karbala. He became blind near the ends of his life and passed away at the age of 90 (in year 78 AH). It is narrated that he used to sit in the mosque of Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) and say: “O! Baqir, O! Splitter of knowledge.” The people of Medina thought he had gone mad. Jabir used to say: “By Allah (SWT)! I am not saying nonsense. I personally heard the Prophet saying: ‘O! Jabir, perhaps you will live long enough until you meet a man from my children, whose name and appearance is similar to mine. He will split the knowledge perfectly. So whenever you see him, send my greetings to him.’ So it is the Prophet’s saying, that has given me the impulse to say such words.

Moral: If you are given something to look after or pass to someone else (no matter how small) then look after it well as you are accountable for it.

Complete Contentment with Allah (SWT):

Once, when Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) had arrived in the presence of Imam Baqir (pbuh), Imam Baqir (pbuh) inquired after his health, whereupon he said: “I find myself in a state such that I give preference to old age over youth, to sickness over soundness of health and to death over life!”

Imam Baqir (pbuh) responded by saying: “(On the contrary) if Allah (SWT) makes me old, I prefer old age; if He desires to give me youth, I prefer youth; if He afflicts me with sickness, I desire sickness, and if He desires to favour me with sound health, I prefer soundness of health. If Allah (SWT) wishes to give me death, I prefer death and if He wills to keep me alive, I desire to live.”

As soon as Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (ra) heard Imam Baqir’s (pbuh) speech he kissed Imam’s face and said: “The Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) had spoken the truth.” He (saw) had said: “O’ Jabir! You shall continue to live till you meet one of my children whose name shall be Baqir. He shall split open knowledge just as a cow splits open the earth.”

Imam Baqir (pbuh) and introduction of new Islamic coins

Imam Baqir (pbuh) and introduction of new Islamic coinsDuring the First Century Hijrah, the paper industry was controlled by the Romans. The Egyptians learned how to make paper from the Romans and they produced it exactly as the Romans did by marking the currency notes with symbols of Christianity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Abdul Malik Marwan noticed these symbols and was enraged, that Egypt, being a Muslim country used these markings. He at once wrote to his delegates in Egypt instructing them to use the slogan of monotheism in all their correspondence. Papers with the monotheism mark upon it were circulated and reached the cities of Rome. Caesar, the King of Rome, wrote letters to Abdul Malik warning and threatening him that if he did not evade that mark he would issue orders to produce coins with abusive language about the Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw).

This worried Abdul Malik and he immediately called a meeting and consulted with his advisors, but to no result. One of those present suggested that they seek the assistance of Imam Baqir (pbuh). Abdul Malik agreed ordered that Imam Baqir (pbuh) be brought honorably and respectfully from Madina to Syria.

When Imam Baqir (pbuh) reached Syria they reported the matter to him. Imam Baqir (pbuh) said, “Caesar has frightened you, but he will actually not do it. The solution to this is that you place orders to produce a coin with the chapter of Tawheed on one face and name of the Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) on the other. In this way we will not need the Roman coins any longer.” Then he gave the explanation about the weight and size of the coin. Then he said, “Engrave the name of the city where the coin is made and the year of its production upon it.”

Abdul Malik agreed that this was an excellent idea and followed the orders of Imam Baqir (pbuh) and sent notices to all the Islamic cities to inform them that all business affairs should take place with the new coins, and that the Roman coins were invalid. Whosoever possessed them could exchange them for new Islamic coins. Then he informed a delegate of Caesar about what had been done and sent him back. Caesar was informed about new Islamic coins. His courtiers demanded that he act as per his threat. But he replied, “That is now a futile thing to do because, the Roman coins are not used in the Islamic cities anymore.”

Our 5th Imam, Imam Baqir (pbuh) thus put a constraint upon the influence of imperialism and the destructive plans of the imperialists of that time.

Moral: We should learn what our Imams (as) have taught us. They always know what to do.

Imam Baqir (pbuh) and Fruits of Heaven

Imam Baqir (pbuh) and Fruits of HeavenOnce a Christian asked our 5th Imam, Imam Baqir (pbuh), how it could possibly be true what the Imam Baqir (pbuh) had said about the fruits of Heaven not reducing when they were eaten?

Imam Baqir (pbuh) told him not only was it true but he could give him an example of something being used and not reducing, which was present in this world.

Imam Baqir (pbuh) then continued that when a candle is used to light other candles, even as many as a hundred thousand other candles, the light of the original candle will not get any less.

Moral: Just because you do not understand something in Islam does not mean it is wrong. Allah (SWT) gave us Islam and our knowledge can not compare with His.

Imam Baqir (pbuh) and knowledge

A man one day said to 5th Imam, Imam Baqir (pbuh) “Was the Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) heir to all the knowledge of the Prophets?” Imam Baqir (pbuh) replied, “Yes” then he was asked whether he had inherited it. Imam Baqir (pbuh) said he had. He was then asked if he could raise the dead to life, restore sight to the blind, and cleanse the leper. Imam Baqir (pbuh) said yes, by valour of Allah (SWT), the most high. He therefore put his hand on the blind eyes of a man sitting next to him and prayed. The next moment the blind man’s eyesight was restored.

By unlawful means:

During the period when our 5th Imam, Imam Baqir (pbuh) was in the captivity of Umayyad caliph, he used to eat very little food. Once, a righteous lady who was the follower of the Ahlul Bayt prepared two loaves of bread by lawful (Halal) means and sent it to Imam Baqir (pbuh) so that he could eat them. The jail warden said to Imam Baqir (pbuh):

“A certain pious lady, who happens to be your follower, has sent these loaves as a present for you and has sworn that it has been made out of lawful means and has requested you to eat them.”

Imam Baqir (pbuh) refused to accept the loaves and asked for them to be returned to the lady. “Tell her: We know that your food is lawful; however, since you have made it reach us by unlawful means, it does not befit us to eat it,” he said.

Imam Baqir (pbuh) said:

Imam Baqir (Splitter of knowledge)”Our followers are of three kinds, one who follows us but depends on others, one who is like a glass involved in his own reflections, but the best are those who are like gold, the more they suffer the more they shine.”

Imam Mohummad Ibn Ali (pbuh) says that Imam Ali (pbuh) once said: “There were two things in this world which softened the Wrath of Allah (SWT) and prevented its descent upon man: One has been taken away from you; hold the other steadfast. The one which has been taken away from men is the Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) and the one which is still left with them and which they must hold steadfast is repentance and atonement for sins because Allah (SWT) at one place in the Holy Book, Noble Qur’an addressed the Holy Prophet Mohummad (saw) and said Allah (SWT) would not punish them while you were among them nor while they were asking for forgiveness.” (Surah Anfal, 8:33)

Note: 5th Imam, Imam Mohummad Ibn Ali (pbuh) received the title of Baqir (Splitter of knowledge) due to his ample knowledge of Deen and his enthusiasm to teach to other people.