Hayat Al-Qulub Vol.3
Category: Islam
17:12 h
Hayat al-Qulub (Life of the Hearts) a book by Mohammad Baqer Majlesi (Persian: علامه مجلسی‎ Allameh Majlesi), known as Allamah Majlesi or Majlesi Al-Thani (Majlesi the Second), was a renowned and very powerful Iranian Twelver Shia cleric, during the Safavid era. The third volume deals with the topic of Imamate, the appointment of the Imam (a.s.), the inerrancy of the Imams and the obligation of the people to obey them.

Hayat Al-Qulub


Muhammad Baqir Majlisi

Translated by
Sayyid Athar Husayn S.H. Rizvi

Muhammad Baqir al-MajlisiMuhammad Baqir al-Majlisi

Important Notice:

The Ahlul Bayt DILP team wishes to inform the reader of some important points regarding this digitized text, which represents the English translation of a work originally written in Farsi - Persian. Whereas no one can doubt the best intentions of the translator and the publishers in making this title accessible to an English speaking audience, the editing and digitization process of this book (carried out by the DILP Team) has revealed issues in the quality of translation. Based upon this fact, the DILP team has taken the liberty to make grammatical corrections to make the text more readable and less ambiguous; spelling mistakes and typographical errors have also been corrected and an attempt has been made to improve the highly non-standard use of transliteration of Arabic names and terms. The online text is not an exact reproduction of the original translation. Users wishing to see the translation as it was published should refer to printed copies available in bookshops. Those who understand are advised to refer directly to the original text. NOTE: Some narrations in this text may appear to be very hagiographical in nature. As a classic work (late 17th century) by a prominent Shi’ah traditionist (Allamah Muhammad Baqir al-Majlisi II [d. 1110 AH /1699 CE]) it is still an important source of early Islamic history and the biography of prophets as recorded in Islamic texts. For the most part, this work makes an extremely interesting read written in a captivating, narrative style. Reports in this work that seem to be legends or myths may simply be symbolic and mystical (rather than mythical). It would therefore be a folly to always interpret such narrations literally. In cases where a narration appears to contradict a fundamental belief in Islam (such as the infallibility of a Prophet), the author/translator has alluded (via footnotes) that they may have crept into the work because of dissimulation (taqiyyah) or forgery. DISCLAIMER: The information presented in this DIGITAL EDITION is for information purposes only and cannot be used to determine current Islamic legal opinions nor as a definitive stance of the teachings of Islam as conveyed by the Prophet and the Ahlul Bayt and as such. The Ahlul Bayt DILP Team

A Brief Introduction

The third volume deals with the topic of Imamate, the appointment of the Imam (a.s.), the inerrancy of the Imams and the obligation of the people to obey them. After this the Author has collected all the verses of the Holy Quran whose Exegesis (Tafsir) points towards Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). He has supported his statements with traditions. This volume can be said to be a Special Tafsir of the Holy Quran.

Chapter One: There is an Imam in Every Age and His Obedience is Compulsory

Which mentions that the existence of Imam is essential in every period of the time and that no age ever remains without an Imam and that it is obligatory to obey him and that people do not get guidance but through the Imam and that it is necessary that the Imam must be clear of all sins and that he ought to be appointed by Allah. Also a brief description of the Divine texts (Nusoos) revealed regarding the Imams. So also some of their virtues. There are several Parts in this.

Part 1: Essentiality of the Imam and There Not Being Any Period without an Imam

We should know that there is a difference of opinion among the religious scholars whether the appointment of an Imam is essential or not after the passing of the period of Prophethood. If it is obligatory, on whom: on Allah or on the community? Anyhow, its being essential is a demand of reason, that is, does mind call for his essentiality or the essentiality is based on the heard arguments?

All the Shia scholars are unanimous that it is essential for Allah both from the viewpoint of reason and the divine texts that He should appoint the Imam. Some Mutazilite Ahle Sunnah and all Khawarij believe that it is not at all necessary for either Allah or the people to appoint an Imam. While the Ashairah, Ahle Hadith, Ahle Sunnah and some Mutazilites say that people must appoint an Imam as a demand of textual proof and not of intelligence. A group of the Mutazilites is of the opinion that it is necessary for the people to appoint an Imam in the time of peace to save them in the time of turmoil; that if there is a danger of mischief then it is not necessary and some opine contrary to this also.

In the Arab lexicon, Imam means a leader and commander, and in the terminology of the Najiyah Imamiyah group (Shias) mostly Imam means the one who leads the group prayer and according to Scholastic theology (Ilme Kalam) Imam means a man who has been appointed by Allah for the deputyship of the messenger and sometimes this word applies to the prophet too and it will, Insha Allah be known hereafter in the following pages that, according to some reliable traditions the rank of an Imam is higher than that of a messenger as Allah has, after (granting him Prophethood) said to Ibrahim (a.s.):

قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا.

“I will make you an Imam of men.” (Sura Baqara 2:124)

Some researchers have said that Imam is the one who may be a ruler in the worldly and religious affairs, from Allah through a man like a messenger, but the messenger is one who, without the mediation of man, (directly) quotes Allah’s commandments and that Imam quotes through a man who is a messenger.

Relevant verses are as follows:

First Verse

Allah Almighty says:

إِنَّمَا أَنْتَ مُنذِرٌ وَلِكُلِّ قَوْمٍ هَادٍ.

You are only a warner (Munzir) and (there is) a guide (Haad) for every people… (Sura Ra’d 13:7)

Some commentators have said: It means: (O prophet!) You are a warner for every people from the divine punishment and are a guide. In this case ‘Guide’ is connected to ‘Warner’ and some commentators have said that it means that you are a warner for the apostates and the transgressors and for every community there is a guide. In this case one phrase will refer to another one, which proves that no period of time remains without an Imam. According to this explanation there are many traditions among both the Ahle Sunnat and Shias. Hence the Ahle Sunnat have narrated from Ibne Abbas that when this verse was revealed the Holy Prophet (S) said:

I am the warner and Ali is the guide. O Ali, the pathfinders will find the path (will be guided) through you.

Abul Qasim Haskani has, in book Shawahidut Tanzil quoted Abi Buraida Aslami that the Holy Prophet (S) called for water to make ablution. Ali (a.s.) presented it. When the Holy Prophet (S) concluded the ablution he caught the hand of Ali (a.s.) and, placing it on his own chest, said: “I am the warner,” Then placed his own hand on the chest of Ali (a.s.) and said: “After me you are the guide for all the people,” and added, “you will provide light to people, you are the sign of guidance and the king of the reciters of Quran and I give witness that you are so.”

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) is quoted in Basairud Darajat through authentic narrations that the Prophet of Allah is ‘Munzir’ (warner) and that, after him, there is a guide from us for every period that guides the people to those things, which the Prophet (S) has brought from Allah. After the Holy Prophet (S) the first ‘Hadi’ is Ali (a.s.) and after him, the holy Imams will, one after another, be guiding people until Qiyamat.

It is authentically quoted from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that, explaining this very verse, he said that every Imam is a guide for his people among whom he lives.

It is narrated authentically through Imam Baqir (a.s.) that the Holy Prophet (S) is ‘Munzir’ and Ali is ‘Hadi’ and, by Allah, not a guide from us is ever suspended, rather he will always be from us till Qiyamat.

It is authentically reported from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that, explaining this very verse, he said: The Prophet of Allah is Munzir and Ali (a.s.) is Hadi. Then he asked the narrator: Is there any Hadi today among us? That narrator replied: Why not, may I be sacrificed for you, the Hadi is coming one by one from among you until that (rank) reached you. Imam (a.s.) said: May Allah’s mercy be on you. Had it been so that after the revelation of this verse to someone that person died and, after him, there would not have been anyone to know the meaning of this verse and to make this command applicable to the people, verily the Book of Allah would have become dead, that is, meaningless and its command would have been suspended.

But the Book of Allah is alive till Qiyamat, that is, the Divine Command, through the agreement of the Ummah, is to exist till Qiyamat and the duty imposed by Allah is never lifted up from or cancelled for the people and if there is no such conveyer of Divine commands who is sinless (never erring) and if anyone else explains the Divine command to the people the Book of Allah will be rendered fruitless and if duty remains it will entail ignorance and it is injustice and Allah never commits injustice. This is one of the clear arguments, which makes it essential that Allah has to appoint an Imam.

Ibne Babawayh has, in his book, Akmaluddeen, authentically quoting Imam Baqir (a.s.) while explaining the verse (13:7) writes that it means Imams who are the guides of people in their times in which they live. Ali bin Ibrahim has also authentically quoted him saying that Munzir is the Prophet of Allah and Hadi is Amirul Momineen, thereafter the holy Imams, that is, in every age there is an Imam who guides people towards Allah’s path and tells them what is permissible and what is prohibited.

Second Verse

The Lord of the worlds says:

وَلَقَدْ وَصَّلْنَا لَهُمْ الْقَوْلَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ.

And certainly We have made the word to reach them so that they may be mindful… (Sura Qasas 28:51)

That is We joined for them one verse after another and one story after another and the promise with the warning and the admonishments through stories which may provide lessons to them so that they may obtain advice. In this connection many narrations are recorded from the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) to explain that it means the appointment of one Imam after another as Ali Ibne Ibrahim has mentioned in his commentary and by Shaykh Tusi in Majalis with authentic chains. He has said that, explaining this verse; Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said that it means that We appointed one Imam after another.

There are some probabilities in this explanation. First: it might mean that We, by appointing one Imam after another, applied the word, that is, statement of Truth and the propagation of the truthful commands and codes, to the people. Second: By the consecutive appointment of the Imams We made the word, that is, the statement of Truth and the propagation of the truthful commands and the clear code for the people. Third: this may be a hint towards the verse wherein Almighty Allah, at the time of determining to create Adam (a.s.), said to the angels:

إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً.

I am going to place in the earth a khalif. (Sura Baqara 2:30)

That is, this promise of making a caliph in the earth is not exclusively for the time of Adam (a.s.), rather it will continue till Qiyamat and that there will be no period without an Imam therein. But the first reason is clearer and, anyhow, perhaps this may be the explanation of the inner meaning of this verse which, however, is not against the apparent meaning as mentioned by commentators, Allah knows better.

In Basairud Darajat, there is a narration from Imam Baqir (a.s.) in the explanation of the Almighty’s verse:

وَمِمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا أُمَّةٌ يَهْدُونَ بِالْحَقِّ وَبِهِ يَعْدِلُونَ.

And of those whom We have created are the people who guide with the Truth and thereby do justice. (Sura Araf 7:181)

Its apparent translation is: In the group created by Us there is a batch who guide people with Truth and issue command to them with justice, Imam (a.s.) said that this batch means the truthful Imams. The explanation of this verse, Allah willing, will be given afterwards. According to traditions in this regard, Ibne Babawayh has in his books Majalis and Kamaluddeen, quoted Imam Zainul Aabedeen saying:

We are the leaders of the Muslims and the evidences of Allah for the worlds and we are the Sadat (leaders) and the Mominoon (believers) and the bright faces of Paradise and the chiefs of those having white hands and feet, whose faces and hands and feet will be shining owing to the radiance of Wuzoo (ablution for prayers) that is of the Shias and that the Masters and Chiefs of the Muslims are we and we are the means of protection of the residents of the earth from divine chastisement just as the stars are shelters for the residents of the sky.

It means so long as we are on the earth Qiyamat will not occur and punishment will not rain on people and so long as the stars are in the sky the angels need not fear the occurrence of Qiyamat. Our being lifted up is a sign of the suspension of the earthly arrangement and the death of the people on earth just as the wiping off of the stars in the sky is a sign indicating the upheaval in the skies and of the displacement of angels from their stations.

The Hazrat said again that: We are the shelter: Because of our blessing Allah protects the skies from falling on earth. But at the time of Qiyamat, by His command alone, the skies will also be destroyed. Allah keeps the earth safe because of our blessing from its tumbling and falling along with its residents. And Allah sends rain with our blessings and expands His vast Mercy and Allah shows the bounties of earth due to us and if none of us is there on earth the earth undoubtedly will go underground along with its residents.

In short the earth is never without the evidence of Allah ever since He created Adam (a.s.). Be that argument of proof (Hujjat) apparent and known or hidden and unknown, the earth will not remain without an Imam till Qiyamat. If there is no Hujjat in the earth there will be no worship of Allah because people learn the way of worship only from him and only he orders people to worship Allah. The narrator asked how do people benefit from Hujjat who are hidden from them? He replied: Just as people benefit from the sun even when it is hidden behind clouds.

Kulaini and Ibne Babawayh etc. have with reliable chains of narrators narrated that Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) once asked Hisham bin Salim, who was one of the scholars of his companions: What questions did you put up before Amr bin Ubaid Basri, a Sunni Sufi scholar? Hisham said: May I be sacrificed for you, O son of the Holy Prophet (S)! I feel ashamed in narrating them to your honour and my tongue has no strength to describe the same to you. The Hazrat said: When I am giving you a command, you should comply with it. Hisham said: Very well. When I knew about the claim of Amr’s “grace” and his sitting in the mosque of Basrah and of his talking nonsense in the matter of religion, it pained me much.

So I went there to Basra on a Friday and attended the mosque where he was sitting in the midst of a very big circle of people. He had wrapped a black cloth on his waist and had also covered himself with a black sheet and people were asking him questions. So I also advanced towards him and sat on by knees in the last row.

Then I said: O scholar! I am an outsider and want to ask you a question if you permit. He said: You may ask. So I asked him: Do you have eyes? He retorted: O boy! What a question is this? I said: My question is only like that. He replied: All right, then ask, though it is foolish to ask such things. I repeated: Have you eyes? He said: Yes. I asked: What do you do with them? He said: through them I see colors and the faces of people. Then I asked: Do you have a nose? He replied: Yes. I asked: What do you do with it? He replied: I smell fragrances.

I asked: Do you also have a mouth. He said: Yes. I asked: What do you do with it? He said: I get tastes of things. I asked: Do you have a tongue too? He said: Yes. I asked: What do you do with it? He said: I talk with it. I asked: Do you have ears? He said: Yes. I asked: What you do with them? He said: I hear things. I asked: Do you also have hands? He said: Yes. I asked: What do you do with them? He replied: I hold things with them.

I asked: Do you also have a heart? He said: Yes. I asked: Of what use is it to you? He replied: I remove with its help if there is anything doubtful to my other organs. I asked: Are your organs not sufficient as you refer matters to your heart? He replied: No.I asked: Why? Why are they not needless of the heart when all of them are hale and healthy? He said: O boy! Whenever these limbs fall in any doubt about anything touched or seen or smelled or heard they refer it to the heart and it decides the matter, removes the doubt and creates certainty. I asked: Then Allah has placed the heart in human body so that it may remove the doubts faced by the limbs and organs. He said: Yes. Then I asked: If it is so, then heart must always be in the body and if it is not there then the knowledge of the organs is not firm and reliable. He said: Of course.

Then I said: O Abu Marwan! Do you believe that the Lord of the universe Who has not left your bodily organs without a leader or chief for the pronouncement of truth, and the removal of doubts, but He has left the entire creation in doubts, differences and bewilderments and did not appoint any leader for them so that they may turn to him and so that he (Imam) may keep them on the right path and may remove their doubts and bewilderment? When I said this he kept quiet and did not give any reply. Then turning towards me, he asked: Are you not Hisham? I said: No. He asked: Did you live with him? I said: No. Then he asked: Where are you from? I said: From Kufa. Then he said: Then you are definitely Hisham.

He got up from his place, lifted me up and placed me in his place and did not utter a word until I sat there. When I concluded the narration of this event, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) became very pleased and asked: O Hisham! From where did you get this argument? I replied: O son of the Holy Prophet (S)! it came to my tongue like that. In another version it is written that Hisham said: I obtained these things from your honour and then joined them approximately with one another. Hazrat said: By Allah! This subject is written in the scrolls of Ibrahim and Moosa (a.s.).

Kulaini and Shaykh Tabarsi have narrated from Yunus bin Yaqoob that once a Syrian came to Imam Sadiq (a.s.) and said: I am expert in the religious knowledge of Ilme Kalam (Scholastic theology) and Fiqh (Jurisprudence) and Duties and Inheritance and so I desire to have a dialogue with your companions. The Hazrat asked him: Is your knowledge derived from the words of the Holy Prophet (S) or it is what your heart says. He replied: Some things are taken from the words of the Holy Prophet (S) and some are what my heart believes.

The Hazrat then asked: Then are you a partner of the Holy Prophet (S)? He said: Of course not. The Hazrat said: Have you yourself heard the revelation of Allah whereby He has conveyed to you His Commands directly? He said: No. Then the Hazrat asked: Then is obedience to you as compulsory as it is to obey the messenger of Allah. He said: No, please. Yunus says: Then Imam Sadiq (a.s.) turned towards me and said: O Yunus! This gentleman has, before starting his dialogue nullified his talk because, a man on whom Allah’s revelation does not come and whom Allah has not made commander whose commands must be obeyed by the Faithful his talk in the matter of religion will be void, rather, he will be claiming to be a partner of Allah. At that very moment Hisham bin Hakam, who was a very wise and well-informed youth among the Hazrat’s companions, arrived. The Hazrat welcomed him and made him sit in his own place and said: You are our helper through your tongue and pen.

Thereafter when the companions of the Hazrat talked with the Syrian and could not succeed, the Hazrat said to the Syrian: Have a dialogue with this youth. The Syrian then said to Hisham: Talk with me about this man (Imam Sadiq). Hisham became furious hearing such disrespectful words of the Syrian and said: O man! Is Allah more merciful to people or to Himself? He replied: Allah is more merciful. Hisham asked: What did He do to His servants by way of His Mercy? The Syrian replied: He created a Hujjat (argument/proof) and a guide for them so that they may not be disintegrated and no difference may arise between them, and the Hujjat and Guide may keep them disciplined and may inform them about Allah’s Commands, and our duty towards Allah.

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