Anecdotes of Reflection Volume 1

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Publisher: The Islamic Education Board of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities
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Anecdotes of Reflection

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Author: Sayyid Ali Akber Sadaaqat
Publisher: The Islamic Education Board of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities
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Anecdotes of Reflection

Anecdotes of Reflection Volume 1

Publisher: The Islamic Education Board of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities

This book is corrected and edited by Al-Hassanain (p) Institue for Islamic Heritage and Thought

Anecdotes of Reflection Part 1

Author(s): Sayyid Ali Akbar Sadaaqat

Publisher(s): The Islamic Education Board of the World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities

Table of Contents

Foreword 6

Introduction 7

Notes 9

1. Morals 10

Short Explanation 10

1) The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and Noa’imaan 10

2) Khuzaimah and the Roman Emperor 11

3) The Conduct of Imam Sajjad 11

4) Imam 'Ali and the Discourteous Trader 12

5) Maalik Ashtar 12

Notes 13

2. Beneficence 14

Short Explanation 14

1) Imam Husain’s Kindness to the Camel-Driver 14

2) Abu Ayyub Ansaari 15

3) Recompense for the Poems 16

4) Prophet Yusuf and his Brothers 16

Notes 17

3.Sincerity 18

Short Explanation 18

1) Three Persons in a Cave 18

2) Ali on the Chest of Amr 19

3) Shaitan and the Pious Worshipper 20

4) The Secret of a Sincere Slave 20

5) Prophet Musa’s Request 21

Notes 22

4. Perseverance 23

Short Explanation 23

1) The Family of Yasir 23

2) You are not Inferior to an Ant 24

3) Hadhrat Nuh (a.s.) 24

4) Sakkaki 25

Notes 26

5. Reconciliation 27

Short Explanation 27

1) The Order to Reconcile 27

2) Exercise Caution in Reconciliation 27

3) Reward of Reconciliation 28

4) Mirza Jawad Agha Maliki 28

5) Advice of Mamun’s Minister 29

Notes 30

6. Hopes 31

Allah, the Wise, has said 31

Short Explanation 31

1) Prophet Isa and the Farmer 31

2) Hajjaaj and the Milk Seller 31

3) Desire for Martyrdom 32

4) Jo’dah State of Disgrace and Humiliation 33

5) Mughirah Becomes Governor of Kufah 33

Notes 34

7. Trustworthiness 35

Short Explanation 35

1) Trustworthiness of Umm Salamah 35

2) The Unfaithful Grocer 36

3) Remaining Faithful when Someone Trusts you 37

4) The Shepherd and the Jews’ Sheep 37

5) Possessions Entrusted to the Holy Prophet 37

Notes 38

8. Examination 39

Short Explanation 39

1) Haroon Makki 39

2) Buhlool Succeeds! 40

3) Abu Hurairah Failed! 40

4) Ibrahim and the Sacrifice of Ismai’l 41

5) Sa’d and the Holy Prophet 42

Notes 43

9. Enjoining The Good And Forbidding The Evil 44

Short Explanation 44

1) Bishr Haafi 44

2) Mulla Hasan Yazdi, the Forbidder of Evil 44

3) God’s Command to Destroy City 45

4) Yunus Ibn Abd al-Rahmaan 45

5) The Caliph on the Rooftop! 46

Notes 46

10. Fairness 47

Short Explanation 47

1) An Advice from the Holy Prophet 47

2) The Equity of Imam Ali 47

3) A’di Ibn Haatim 48

4) The Fairness of Abu Dharr 48

Notes 49

11. Altruism 50

Short Explanation 50

1) The Altruistic Slave 50

2) The Incident of the Mosque of Merv 50

3) The Battle of Yarmuk (Tabuk) 51

4) Imam Ali in Place of the Holy Prophet 51

5) The Self-Sacrifice of Haatim Taai 52

Notes 53

12. Harassment 54

Short Explanation 54

1) Harassment of Imam Sajjad 54

2) Qaroon and Prophet Musa 54

3) It is Forbidden to Hurt a Mu'min 56

4) Harassing Amirul Mu'mineen is akin to Harassing the Holy Prophet 56

5) Maltreatment by Mutawakkil 56

Notes 57

13. Faith 58

Short Explanation 58

1) Harithah’s Martyrdom 58

2) Who is a Youth? 59

3) Levels of Faith 59

4) The Faith of Sa’eed Ibn Jubair 60

5) Salman Farsi’s Rank 61

Notes 61

14. Brotherhood 63

Short Explanation 63

1) A Mu’min is the Brother of Another Mu’min 63

2) Bond of Brotherhood 63

3) At the Door of a Brother 64

4) The Benevolent Governor 64

5) Imam Ali, the Brother of the Holy Prophet 65

When the verse 65

Notes 65

15. Independence 67

Short Explanation 67

1) A Lesson from the Holy Prophet 67

2) Alexander And Deozhan 68

3) Not under Obligation of Avicenna 68

4) The Recitation of Surah Al-Waaqia’h 68

Notes 69

16. Stinginess 70

Short Explanation 70

1) The Miser’s Sin 70

2) Mansur Dawaaniqi and his Stinginess 71

3) The Four Arab Misers 72

4) Zakaat from Tha’labah Ansaari not Accepted 72

5) Sa’eed Ibn Haroon, the Miser 74

Notes 75

17. Evilness 76

Short Explanation 76

1) Misfortune of Jaludi 76

2) Deceit by A’mr Ibn A’as 77

3) Cruelty of Hajjaj ibn Yusuf Thaqafi 78

4) Justifying Evil Acts 78

5) The Consequence of Evil Deeds in Barzakh 79

Notes 80

18. Misfortunes 81

Short Explanation 81

1) In the Company of Angels 81

2) Ali A’abid in Prison 81

3) An Enemy Ordained for a Mu’min 82

4) Muhammad Ibn Abi U’mair Served Three Imams 83

5) A Long Life is Associated with Misfortunes 83

Notes 84

19. Sickness 85

Short Explanation 85

1) The Rank of a Worshipper who Suffers from Illness 85

2) My Daughter has Never Fallen Ill! 85

3) Patience in Sickness 86

4) Imam Sajjad helps the Lepers 86

5) The Sick Person’s Debt Paid 86

Notes 87

20. Parents 88

Short Explanation 88

1) The Mother’s Pleasure 88

2) The Companion of Prophet Musa in Paradise 89

3) The Curse of a Mother 89

4) The Truthful Barber 90

5) Striking the Father 90

Notes 91


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The concept of morality has existed since the creation of mankind. In the old days, there was a clear distinction between ‘good’ morals and ‘bad’ morals although people did not always follow the former. During modern times, the distinction between good and bad has become blurred and morality has been significantly diluted. As a result, there is a danger that immorality will prevail over morality throughout the world.

There is no excuse for a Muslim to get caught in this quagmire. There is clear guidance from God through Holy Qur’an and the Prophets and Ma’soomeen. Prophet Muhammad himself said, “I have been sent as a Prophet for the purpose of perfecting the morals.” One of the best ways of understanding morality is by studying practical examples from the lives of Prophets and Ma’soomeen.

A few books have been written on moral stories emanating from the Islamic world, one of them being ‘Pearls of Wisdom’, published by the Islamic Education Board of World Federation in March 1993. Bearing in mind the importance of the subject of Akhlaaqiyat, IEB-WF is publishing ‘Anecdotes for Reflection’ in 5 parts. The source of this publication is the book ‘Yaksad Mawzu’wa 500 Dastan’ by Sayyid Ali Akber Sadaaqat. The translation from Farsi to English was carried out by Shaykh Shahnawaz Mahdavi. IEB – WF would like to thank Sayyid Ali Akber Sadaaqat and Shaykh Shahnawaz Mahdavi for their efforts and we pray to Allah s.w.t. to reward them amply.

May Allah s.w.t. accept this work as a further attempt by IEB – WF to propagateIslam.

Islamic Education Board

The World Federation of K S I Muslim Communities

Sha’baan 1424

October200 3


In The Name Of Allah,The Most Beneficent, The Most Compassionate

There are numerous ways for man to achieve guidance and emerge from darkness and move towards light. God, for the prosperity of man and perfection of his morals, has created proofs, evidences and vestiges,1 so great in number that they are beyond reckoning and computation. For the guidance of mankind, He sent the Prophets with Clear Proofs,2 Books, Miracles and Signs so that, perhaps, the people might perceive the right path and attain prosperity and success.

During the entire period of his prophethood, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), with regards to refinement of souls and perfection of morals, was an exemplar in speech and deed, and had (even) said, “I have been sent (as a Prophet) for (the purpose of) perfecting the morals”3

Man’s problem lies in his disregard for virtues, acquisition of vices,inclination towards lust and obedience to the Shaytan. Some men stoop so low that they even lead their lives akin to animals. For the purpose of refinement and treatment of human morals, abatement of rebelliousness and controlling the natural disposition, the Holy Prophet spared no effort and mentioned all that was necessary in this regard.

Attainment of prosperity in this world and the hereafter is only accomplished under the auspices of a teacher and, at the same time, not every person can completely identify the two extremes of moral behaviour in order to demonstrate the moderate and balanced path. God,Who is the Absolute Wise, introduced all the Prophets, especially the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), as the ‘teacher and trainer’ of morals, so that the people, by following in his footsteps, distance themselves from vices and acquire the honour of the two worlds.

In the Qur’an, there exists a chapter by the name of اَلقَصَص (The Narratives), which itself is proof that man is in need of stories and narratives.

In many places in the Qur’an, stories of Prophets, kings and nations have been mentioned. In addition, God has presented issues pertaining to wars, peace, family, religion, society and other similar topics, in the form of stories and narratives. By reading these accounts, the people can comprehend and distinguish the paths of progress and regress, and ascent and descent in every field, especially morals.

The entire chapter Yusuf has been devoted to the story of Yusuf, Ya’qub, Zulaikha and the brothers. In the beginning of the Chapter, God says:

We narrate to you (O’ Prophet) the most excellent of the narratives by (means of) whatWe have revealed to you this Qur’an4

While, in the concluding verse of this very chapter, He says:

Indeed (there) in the histories of theirs, is a lesson for men of understanding5

Indeed, one of the distinguished feats of the Qur’an is this very story of Yusuf (a.s.), which it refers to as the ‘best of the narratives’, and at the end of which, it says: In these stories there is a lesson for those, who desire to take a moral and adopt the path of the Perfect Men.

In this regard, Amirul Mu’mineen (a.s .), in Nahjul Balaghah, says to his son Imam Hasan (a.s.):

Even though I have not reached the age, which those before me have, yet I have looked into their behaviour and reflected over the events of their lives. I walked amongst their ruins till I was as one of them. In fact, by virtue of those of their affairs that have become known to me, it is as though I have lived with them from the first to the last. I have therefore been able to discern the impure from the clean and the benefit from the harm. I have selected for you the choicest of those matters and collected for you their good points while keeping away from you the useless ones.

Years ago, I had written a book on ethics (for the treatment of vices), by the name of Ihyaa al-Quloob.Ever since, I had been reflecting over the idea of compiling a book on moral stories. It so happened that, divinely, an opportunity came up before me and with it the motivation for undertaking this assignment. In spite of the lack of necessary books, I contented myself with those that were available and commenced the compilation of this book, recording four to five stories for every topic.

I have certainly not come across any book which has been compiled in this fashion. Books like Namunah-e-Ma’arif-e-Islam and Pand-e-Taareekh have been present for around 30 years and I have made use of them too (in the course of this collection), but in those books, Qur’anic verses, traditions, poems and analogies have all been accumulated together; whereas, I have sought to satisfy myself by mentioning only the stories, while abstaining from presenting considerations relating to Qur’anic verses, traditions, poems and analogies, which would not only have increased the size of the book but would also have made it difficult to understand for many of the readers. This collection caters for the general public, young and old alike, who are acquainted with basic reading and writing. As far as possible, I have endeavoured to omit scientific issues and those aspects, pertaining to traditions, whose comprehension would be demanding and exacting for the general masses.

Although some of the stories may not possibly possess any aspect of reality and actuality, what I have focused on is the admonition and ‘taking-a-lesson’ aspect contained in them, which hopefully, the honourable readers would perceive and comprehend.

As far as the issue of associating a story to a particular topic is concerned, I do not claim that the stories allude to just one topic or that particular one which has been specified here; rather, there are stories which can be associated with several other topics too, in addition to the topic under which it has been mentioned here.

When narrating a text or presenting a translation, I have not restricted myself to the literal meaning but, for a better comprehension, have resorted to paraphrasing, allusion and conceptual explanation too.

To avoid interference of topics with one another and prolongation of discussion, I have refrained from bringing forth topics which are related to those already presented. For example, Ithaar (altruism) has been presented as one of the topics but Infaaq (spending in the path of God) has been excluded.

To prevent the reader from experiencing exhaustion and boredom, and for the sake of variety, I have desisted from presenting stories of a monotonous kind, like those of philosophers and poets, but have strived to make the collection varied. In this way, the readers will, hopefully, derive a greater pleasure from the narratives.

In view of the fact that trustworthiness ought to be adhered to, I have referred every narrative presented here, to the book from which it has been extracted, also mentioning the volume and page. It is only with the objective of achieving a greater fluency of work that I have endeavoured to correct, polish or alter some of the words or sentences of the original text.

It is hoped that the readers, after going through the stories and narratives, reflect upon and take lessons from them so that they are able to create within themselves, a new impetus towards perfection of morals; and God Willing, those who are endowed with laudable morals, should relate them to others, for rectification and remedy of the weaker souls.

Sayyid Ali Akbar Sadaaqat

And our final prayer (is): All Praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds.

Mordad, 1378.


1. Holy Qur'an, ch. Ibrahim (14), vs. 5 وَ لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنا مُوسى‏ بِآياتِنا أَنْ أَخْرِجْ قَوْمَكَ مِنَ الظُّلُماتِ إِلَى النُّورِ

2. Ibid, ch. Al-Hadeed (57), vs. 25 لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنا رُسُلَنا بِالْبَيِّناتِ وَ أَنْزَلْنا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتابَ وَ الْمِيزانَ لِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ

3. Safinah al-Bihaar, vol. 1, pg. 411. بُعِثْتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ مَكَارِمَ الْأَخْلَاقِ

4. Holy Qur'an, ch. Yusuf (12), vs. 3 نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ بِما أَوْحَيْنا إِلَيْكَ هذَا الْقُرْآنَ

5. Ibid, vs.111 ل َقَدْ كانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبابِ

1. Morals

Allah, the Wise, has said:

اِنَّکّ لَعَلىَ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ

(And certainly, you stand on sublime morality.)1

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said:

بُعِثتُ لِأُتَمِّمَ مَکاَرِمَ الْاَخلاَقِ

I have been sent (as a Prophet) to perfect the morals.2

Short Explanation

For man, good morals bring grace and elegance in this world, and relief and happiness in the hereafter. They elevate a person’s status in proximity to God and aid him in the perfection of his religion. All the Prophets, auliya, and the chosen ones of God possessed exemplary morals and every believer ought to adorn himself with such morals, in order that his Scales of deeds become weightier on the Day of Judgement. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has said: The Haatim of our time is one, who possesses good morals. Bad morals cause a person to suffer the squeezing of the grave and the (punishment of) hell (in the hereafter), and a lack of friends in this world.

Man should not be measured according to his knowledge, wealth or position, but rather, according to his commendable attributes, which make him acceptable in the eyes of God and distinguished and praised in the eyes of people.3

1) The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and Noa’imaan

Noa’imaan Ibn A’mr Ansaari was one of the early companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and had a jovial and jocose nature. It has been reported that a tribal Bedouin once arrived in Madinah and, resting his camel behind the mosque, entered inside to be in the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.).

Some of the Prophet’s companions incited Noa’imaan by saying,“ If you kill this camel, we could distribute its meat amongst ourselves, and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) would have to pay its price to the owner.”

Following their advice, Noa’imaan killed the animal. When the owner came out of the mosque and discovered his dead camel, he was furious and decided to bring the matter to the attention of the Holy Prophet. Noa’imaan, in the meantime, had taken flight.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) came out of the mosque, saw the dead camel and inquired, “Who is responsible for this act?”

Those around him accused Noa’imaan so the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) despatched someone to bring Noa’imaan before him. Word spread around that Noa’imaan was hiding in the house of Dhubaa’h Bint Zubair,4 which was near the mosque. He had climbed into a pit and covered himself with fresh grass. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) was told about Noa’imaan’s hideout and he and his companions set out towards Dhubaa’h’s house. Once there, the envoy revealed Noa’imaan’s hideaway to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), who ordered him to uncover the pit. When it was done, Noa’imaan emerged, his cheeks and forehead covered with fresh grass. On seeing him, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) asked:

“O’ Noa’imaan! What is this that you have done?”

He replied, “O’ Prophet of Allah! By Allah! Those people who have led you to my hiding-place,were the same ones who persuaded me to kill the camel.”

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) smiled and brushed away the grass from Noa’imaan’s cheeks and forehead with his holy hands. He then paid the price of the camel to the Bedouin5 on Noa’imaan’s behalf.

2) Khuzaimah and the Roman Emperor

Khuzaimah Abrash, the Arabian king, never embarked upon any task without first conferring with the Roman Emperor who was one of his closest friends. Once, with the intention of seeking the Emperor’s opinion regarding his children’s fortune, he sent a letter to him with his herald. In the letter, he wrote:

“I feel I should set aside great riches for each of my sons and daughters in order that they do not fall into bad times after me. What is your opinion in this affair?”

The Roman Emperor replied: “Wealth is a sweetener - unfaithful and impermanent! The best service for your children would be to embellish them with good morals and laudable attributes, which will lead to permanent leadership in the world and forgiveness (of sins) in the hereafter.’’6

3) The Conduct of Imam Sajjad

Once, a relative of Imam Sajjad (a.s .) approached the Imam (a.s.) and began to revile and insult him. The Imam (a.s .) did not utter a word in reply but, after the man had left the gathering, he turned to the people around him and said:

“You heard what this man said. Now I want you to accompany me andhear what I have to say in response to his abuses and insults.”

The companions complied, “We shall surely accompany you; in fact we had hoped that youwould reply to him at that very moment.”

The Imam (a.s .) set off towards the person’s house and was heard reciting the following Qur’anic verse:

And who restrain (their) anger, and forgive (the faults of) men; for God loves those who do good (to others).7

The narrator says:“ When we heard the recitation of this verse, we realized that the Imam (a.s.) intended to exhibit goodness towards the person who had just insulted him.”

When he reached the person’s house, the Imam (a.s .) called out to him and announced his arrival.

On seeing the Imam, the person immediately assumed that he had come to respond to his abuses.

However, as soon as the Imam (a.s .) saw the man, he said, “O’ Brother! You came to me and uttered things which were appalling and unpleasant. If what you have attributed tomeis true, I seek forgiveness for myself from God, but if it is not so, then I pray that God forgives you.”

The man was shocked to hear these words and repented. He kissed Imam Sajjad (a.s .) between the eyes and apologised, saying:

“My insults and abuse were unfounded and cannot be attributed to your character. In fact, those insults befit me more than you.’’8

4) Imam 'Ali and the Discourteous Trader

Imam Ali (a.s .), during his Calphate, would often undertake tours to survey the markets and advise and guide the traders there.

One day, while passing through the date market, he noticed that a small girl was weeping. Imam asked her the reason for her tears at which she explained:

“My master had given me a dirham to purchase some dates. I purchased them from this trader here, but when I returned home, my master did not approve of them. Now I wish to return them but the trader refuses to take them back.”

Imam 'Ali (a.s.), turned to the trader and said to him, “This child is a slave-girl and has no authority of her own. Takeback the dates and return her money to her.”

The trader stepped forward and, in full view of the other traders and onlookers, struck the Imam (a.s .) on the chest in an attempt to shove him away from the front of his shop.

The people who were witnessing the incident, rushed forward and said to the man:

“What do you think you are doing? This is Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.)!”

The trader’s face went pale as he stood flabbergasted. He immediately took the dates from the girl and handed back the money to her.

Then, turning to the Imam (a.s .), he implored, “O’ Amirul Mu'mineen! Be pleased with me and forgive me.”

The Imam replied, “I shall only be pleased with you when you change your behaviour for the better and pay close attention to morals and courtesy.”9

5) Maalik Ashtar

Once, Maalik Ashtar was passing through the market of Kufah looking very indigent. He was dressed in coarse canvas apparel and had placed canvas on his head instead of a turban. One of the traders was sitting in his shop when his eyes fell upon Maalik. He looked at him with contempt and scornfully hurled a lump of earth towards him.

Maalik disregarded him and proceeded on his way. However, a person who had recognized Malik and had witnessed the incident, reprimanded the trader:

“Shame on you! Do you know who you have just humiliated?”

“No,” replied the trader.

“He was Maalik Ashtar, the companion of 'Ali (a.s.).”

A shiver ran through the body of the trader at the thought of the evil deed he had committed. He immediately set off after Maalik in order to offer his apologies. He noticed that Maalik had entered a mosque where he was engaged in prayers and decided to wait for him. As soon as Maalik had finished praying, the trader fell at his feet and began kissing them. Maalik raised him and asked him what he was doing.

“ I am apologizing for the sin I have committed,” answered the trader.

Maalik explained, “There is no sin upon you. By God, I came to the mosque especially to seek forgiveness for you.”10


1. Holy Qur’an, ch. Al-Qalam, vs. 4.

2. Jaame’ al-Sa’adaat, vol. 1, pg. 23

3. Tadhkirah al-Haqaiq, pg. 57.

4. She was the cousin of the Holy Prophet (peacebe upon him and his progeny) and the wife of Miqdad Ibn al-Aswad

5. Lataaif al-Tawaaif, pg. 26

6. Namunah-e-Ma’arif, vol. 1, pg. 64; Jawaame’ al-Hikaayaat, pg. 270.

7. Holy Qur'an, ch. Aale I’mraan (3), vs. 134.

8. Muntahal Aa’maal, vol. 2, pg. 4.

9. Daastaan-ha Wa Pand-ha, vol. 1, pg. 46; Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 9, pg. 519.

10. Muntahal Aa’maal, vol. 1, pg. 212; Majmua’h Warraam Ibn Abi Farraas.