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A Golden Key

Sometimes in the ups and downs of life, all doors seem to close on a person.  And no matter what we do or think it is as if none of the locks seem to open.  What can be the solution?  Can there be a master key to open the locks of life and lead a person out of dead ends?

Imam Jawad (PBUH) introduces a golden key to his followers that can be a problem solver for both material and spiritual dead ends.  The Imam says, “If the doors of the heavens and the worlds close on a person, acting upon divine piety opens a way for his saving….”1 In reality Imam Jawad (PBUH) sees piety, or separation from sins and acting upon divine obligations as the golden key to free one from life’s dead ends.

The saying of Imam Jawad (PBUH) can be traced into the verses of the Holy Quran.  The second verse of the chapter entitled Divorce, the Kind Lord says, “… And whosoever kept his duty to Allah, Allah will appoint a way out for him.”2 The saying of Imam Jawad (PBUH) when put beside this verse is quite promising, for which attention towards it blesses the heart and gives light to the soul, it tears the layers of hopelessness and despair, gives hope to the heart, and a promise to save and solve the problems of the pious.

Abouzar al-Ghaffari has reported the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) to have said, “I know a verse in which if all humans approach it, it is enough to solve all their problems.” Then he recited the verse and repeated it several times.3 In another narration from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) it has been reported that regarding the interpretation of the verse, “Allah will free the righteous from the world’s doubts and death’s hard states, and the hardship of the day of judgement.”4 This description is proof that the solution to the affairs of the pious is not limited to this world but also to the Day of Judgment.  In another narration from the Prophet we have, “He who repents a lot (and washes the page of his heart from the stain of sin) Allah will free him of all sadness, and (will put from) any tightness an alleviation.”5

A group of interpreters have said that this verse is about “Owf bin Malik”, who was a companion of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP).  Enemies of Islam had captured his son.  He went to the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and complained of the situation and of his financial situation.  The Prophet said, “Observe piety, be patient, and recite this phrase “there is no power nor might except with/by Allah” many times. He did such.  One day when Owf was in his house, his son came in. It became obvious that his son had fled the enemy’s army, even taking one of their camels and bringing it with him.  It was here that the above verse was revealed, giving news of the alleviation of this pious person’s problem and the providing of his daily sustenance (all from a place he was not expecting).6

It is noteworthy to mention that this verse and the narration of the ninth Imam (PBUH) in no way implies for man to leave hard work and effort for his life, and to say that he will sit at home and be pious to have his problems solved.  No indeed. The verse most certainly does not imply such, rather the goal is piety intertwined with righteousness mixed with hard work.  If one feels stuck, feeling as though all doors have been closed upon him, Allah (SWT) has promised to open them following such.   

Thus we read in a hadith that Umar bin Muslim, one of Imam Sadiq’s (PBUH) companions did not come to the Imam for some time.  Imam Sadiq (PBUH) asked how he was doing.  The companions said, “ He has left business and turned to worship.”

The Imam said, “Woe on him, does he not know that he who leaves hard work and means of sustaining his life, his prayer is left unanswered?”

Then the Imam said, “Some of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) closed the door on themselves and decided to sit and worship when the verse:

“And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).” (Quran 65:2) was revealed.  They would say, ‘Allah has taken charge of our sustenance!’  When this matter reached the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP), he sent someone to them to ask why they have done so.  They said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Because Allah has taken charge of our sustenance, we have occupied ourselves with worship.’  The prophet (PBUH&HP) said, “He who does so, will not have his prayer answered.  Be it upon you to both work hard and request.’7”

Indeed acting on divine obligations and leaving what is prohibited, which the ninth Imam (PBUH) refers to these as “piety” is a golden key in life for which according to the clear promise of the Lord is cause for alleviation in affairs and dead ends8 both in this world and in the hereafter.

(Selection taken from Tafsir e Nemone by Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi, with minor changes)

Roshd Website sends its condolences during the final days of the month of Dhil Qa’dah to all Muslims, namely you dear friend, for the martyrdom of Imam Mohammad ibn Ali al-Jawad (PBUH), the manifestation of magnanimity, generosity, and pure piety.

Footnotes:

1. Kashf al Qammah, vol. 2, p. 346

2. Holy quran, 65:2

3. Tafsir Majma al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 306

4. Tafsir Noor al-Thaqalayn, vol. 5, p. 356, hadith # 44

5. Ibid, vol. 5, p. 357, hadith #45

6. Tafsir Majma al-Bayan, vol. 10, p. 306; this narration has also been reported in Tafsir Fakhr e Razi and Rouh al-Bayan with minor differences.

7. Usul e Kafi, vol. 5, p. 84

8. Although God’s promise regarding alleviation in works and the freedom from dead ends does not necessarily imply the happening of man’s desires will go according to a person’s desires; when sometimes man’s desires are not what is best for him.  Therefore, the taking place of this divine promise mainly implies a person’s alleviation from dead ends and the opening of a path to solution, whether this alleviation is according to his desires or be a totally different path.  Also some of the hardships in our lives which we see as a dead end, things like death, sickness, etc. according to spiritual truthfulness are not considered dead ends, rather proper handling of them is considered a rich opportunity or a different path in the life of man.

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