Steadfast and transient belief
is that which is firm and steadfast in hearts, and one is that which
remains temporarily in the heart and the breast up to a certain time.
If you were to acquit
(yourself) before any person, you should wait till death approaches him,
for that is the time limit for being acquitted.
immigration stands as its original position. Allah has no need towards him
who secretly accepts belief or him who openly does so. Immigration will
not apply to any one unless he recognises the proof (of Allah) on the
Whoever recognises him and
acknowledges him would be a muhajir (immigrant). Istid`af (i.e. freedom
from the obligation of immigration) does not apply to him whom the proof
(of Allah) reaches and he hears it and his heart preserves it.(1)
The challenge "Ask me before you miss me" and prophecy about the Umayyads
our case is difficult and complicated. No one can bear it except a
believer whose heart Allah has tried with belief. Our traditions will not
be preserved except by trustworthy hearts and (men of) solid
understanding. O' people! ask me before you miss me, because certainly I
am acquainted with the passages of the sky more than the passages of the
and before that mischief springs upon its feet which would trample even
the nosestring and destroy the wits of the people.
This is the interpretation of the word "muhajir" and "mustad`af" as
mentioned in the Holy Qur'an:
Verily those whom the
angels take away (at death) while they are unjust to their (own) selves
(in sin), they (the angels) shall ask (the sinning souls): "In what
state were ye?" They shall reply, "Weakened (mustad`af - and
oppressed)were we in the land;" They (angels) will say "Was not the land
of Allah vast (enough) for you to immigrate therein?" So these (are
those) whose refuge shall be Hell; and what a bad resort it is.
Except the (really)
weakened ones from among the men and the women and the children, who
have not in their power the means (to escape from the unbelievers) and
nor do they find the (right) way. So these, may be, Allah will pardon
them; and Allah is the Clement, the Oft-forgiving. (4:97-99)
The meaning of Amir
al-mu'minin here is that hijrah (immigration) was not only obligatory
during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, but it is a permanent obligation.
This immigration is even now obligatory for attaining the proof of Allah
and the true religion. Therefore, if one has attained the proof of Allah
and believed&127; in it, even if he is in midst of the unbelievers of his
locality, he is not duty bound to immigrate.
The "mustad`af" (weakened)
is one who is living among the unbelievers and is far from being informed
of the proofs of Allah, and at the same time he is unable to immigrate in
order to attain the proofs of Allah.
Some people have explained this saying of Amir al-mu'minin to mean that by
the passages of the earth he means matters of the world and by passages of
the sky matters of religious law and that Amir al-mu'minin intends to say
that he knows the matters of religious law and commandments more than the
worldly matters. Thus, Ibn Maytham al-Bahrani writes (in Sharh Nahj
al-balaghah, vol. 4, pp. 200-201):
It is related from
al-`Allamah al-Wabari, that he said that Amir al-mu'minin's intention is
to say that the scope of his religious knowledge is larger than his
knowledge about matters of the world.
But taking the context into
account, this explanation cannot be held to be correct because this
sentence (which is the subject of explanation) has been used as the cause
of the sentence "Ask me before you miss me", and after it, is the prophesy
In between these two the
occurrence of the sentence that "I know religious matters more than
worldly matters", makes the whole utterance quite uncounted, because Amir
al-mu'minin's challenge to ask whatever one likes is not confined to
matters of religious law only so this sentence could be held as its cause.
Then, after that, the
prophesy of the rising up of the revolt has nothing to do with matters of
religious law, so that it could be put forth as a proof of more knowledge
of religious matters.
To ignore the clear import
of the words and to interpret them in a way which does not suit the
occasion, does not exhibit a correct spirit, when from the context also
the same meaning accrues which the words openly convey. Thus, it is to
give a warning about the Umayyad's mischief that Amir al-mu'minin uttered
the words: "'Ask me whatever you like'; because I know the paths and
courses of divine destiny more than the passages of the earth. So, even if
you ask me about matters which are recorded in the 'preserved tablet' and
concern divine destiny I can tell you, and a serious mischief is to rise
against me in those matters in which you should have doubt, because my
eyes are more acquainted with those ethereal lines which concern the
occurrence of events and mischiefs than, with what I know about live
appearing on the earth.
The occurrence of this
mischief is as certain as an object seen with eyes. You should therefore
ask me its details and the way to keep safe from it, so that you may be
able to manage your defence when the times comes." This meaning is
supported by the successive sayings of Amir al-mu'minin which he uttered
in connection with the unknown, and to which the future testified. Thus,
Ibn Abi'l Hadid comments on this claim of Amir al-mu'minin as follows:
Amir al-mu'minin's claim
is also supported by his sayings about future events which he uttered
not once or a hundred times but continuously and successively, from
which there remains no doubt that whatever he spoke was on the basis of
knowledge and certainly and not in the way of chance. (Sharh Nahj
al-balaghah, vol. 13, p. 106)
In connection with this
saying of Amir al-mu'minin it has already been shown and explained (in
Sermon 92, Foot-note No. 2) that no one else dared advance such a claim,
and those who made such a claim had to face only disgrace and humility.
About the prophecies made by Amir al-mu'minin see Ibn Abi'l-Hadid, Sharh
Nahj al-balaghah, vol. 7, pp. 47-51; al-Qadi Nuru'l-Lah al-Mar`ashi, Ihqaq
al-haqq (New ed.), vol. 8, pp. 87-182.