A Tradition From Imam Zaynul Abedeen (as)

"Know that God has rights against you and that these encompass you in every movement through which you move, every rest through which you rest, every waystation in which you reside, every limb which you employ, and every instrument which you put to work. Some of these rights are greater and some less."(Risalatal Haq)

Most commonly associated with the fourth Imam (as) is his wonderful collection of supplications formed into what is known as 'Sahifatus Sajjadiyya'. However, besides these innovocations he also wrote 'Risalatal Haq' - 'The Treatise on Rights'. It is an elaboration of the Holy Prophet (saw)'s hadith: "Surely your Lord has a right against you, your self has a right against yourself and your wife has a right against you."

The treatise was written on the request of one of his companions and in it he explains that everyone possesses a right, which he goes on to outline in detail. With each right he explains, he tries to corroborate it with verses from the Holy Quran, the sunnah and the actions of earlier Imams.

The Arabic word 'haq' is often translated as 'right'. However, a glance at the 'Treatise on Rights' will show that it would have been more appropriate to translate it as duties, obligations or responsibilities. This is because the Imam is not directly concerned with the rights of the individual, but rather with the rights of others, which the individual must observe. Below is a description of the 'Right of your Companion':

"The right of your companion is that you act as his companion with bounty and in fairness. You honour him as he honours you an you do not let him be the first to act with genorsity. If he is the first, you repay him. You wish for him as he wishes for you and you restrain him from any act of disobedience he might attempt. Be a mercy for him, not a chastisement. And there is no strength save in God."