FI GHURAR AL-AKHBAR
THE LAMP NICHE
THE BEST TRADITIONS
In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most
First of all, we thank God the Almighty for granting us the blessed opportunity to undertake such a rewarding task. Understanding Islamic teachings to a great extent depends upon the availability of authentic documents expressed in words that are easy to comprehend. After the Holy Quran that is the BOOK OF REVELATION, and the master reference for all Muslims, traditions which are- in short- the sayings of the Prophet of God (may God bless him and his household) and the Immaculate Imams (May God Bless) are considered to be the next reference for Muslims. Many of the verses of the Quran and the concepts of Islam can be understood better using authentic traditions. The book The Lamp Niche for the Best Traditions is a translation into English of the book Mishkat ul-Anwar Fi Ghurar il-Akhbar authored by Hassan ibn Fazl ibn Hassan Tabarsi in the 12th century A.D. This book, which has been based on many authentic documents, is an authentic document on traditions. It is organized into several chapters and sections.
The present research and translation is based on a recent publication of this book by the Dar ul-Seqlayn Publishers in Qum, Iran. The book has been translated by Mr. Abdullah Muhammadi and Mr. Mehdi Hooshmand, and presents the original traditions in Arabic along with their translation into Farsi. The translators of the Farsi-Arabic version have made an extensive effort to provide exact references and notes for researchers who may be interested in details. May God the Almighty reward them for their efforts. For those respectable readers who may be more interested, for research purposes perhaps, or to gain more in-depth knowledge, we refer you to the Arabic-Farsi version of this book.
The project that we have undertaken has a different goal. We intend to offer the average interested English speaking reader an
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opportunity to study the traditions. Therefore we have left out all the detailed notes and references, except for those of the Holy Quran, which we have exactly cited for coherency using an available translation of the Quran into English by Mr. Abdullah Yusuf Ali (May God Reward Him). However, we have presented a list of the main references at the end of the book that shows you the many highly authentic sources used by the author of the original book. The translation of the Holy Quran that we used is the following:
THE HOLY QURAN:Text, Translation, Commentary and Notes Large Size (1 Volume); Abdullah Yusuf Ali (English & Arabic)
This is what Yusuf Ali stated regarding his translation:
"What I wish to present to you is an English
interpretation side by side with the Arabic text. The
English shall be, not a mere substitution of one word for another, but the best expression I can understand for the Arabic text. The rhythm, music and exalted tone of the original should be reflected in the English interpretation. It may be but a frank reflection, but such beauty and power as my pen commands shall be brought to its service. Every earnest and reverent student of the Quran, as he proceeds with his study, will find, with an inward joy difficult to describe, how this general meaning also enlarges as his own capacity
for understanding increases. It is like a traveler
climbing a mountain; the higher he goes, the farther
You can obtain a copy of this translation of the Holy Quran from the following sources:
Sh. Muhammad Ashraf, Publishers & Booksellers at No. 7 Aibak Road (New Anarkali) Lahore, Pakistan, Phone: (9242) 735-3489/ (9242) 735-3171, Fax: (9242) 735-3171, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, URL:www.alifzee.com.Or form the following address:
THE ISLAMIC CENTER,2551 Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C. 20008
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We have also used various dictionaries including the Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, the Lane Arabic-English Lexicon, the "Al-Mawarid Al-Qareb by Darel-ilm lil-Malayen among others, and are partly indebted to their authors- may God reward them.
Undertaking such a tremendous task requires a lot of effort, God's Favor and Support, and the readers' forgiveness for any mistakes. Unfortunately there are several places in the Farsi translation where the traditions are not properly translated. So we had to refer to the original Arabic text of the traditions for a more precise translation. This is where the research effort started. The problem we ran into when referring to the original Arabic text of the traditions is that the language used is that of many centuries ago, and in addition to being very eloquent, it is quite different from modern Arabic. There are many words and expressions that are no longer in use. Thus we had to do a lot of research to understand many of the traditions.
It is very possible to make errors in trying to understand the original traditions in Arabic, their translated form in Farsi which were not free of errors, and then trying to convert them into a form which an average English speaking interested reader could possibly comprehend. You must also note the vast difference between the spiritual content of the traditions, and the present mostly materialistic-oriented context of the English language and Western culture. This great gap is also another reason for some difficulty in making the real meaning of the traditions understood.
There are many valuable things we can learn from reading this book, among which we can mention is an understanding of the Unseen, the relationship between the life of this world and the Hereafter, and a great deal of ethics. We have to admit that by God's Grace we have vastly benefited ourselves from the spiritual contents of this work, and have been somewhat transformed through receiving some of the rays of light radiating from this Lamp Niche. We have also added some words in parentheses or in the footnotes to help better relay the meaning of the original tradition as Yusuf Ali has done in his translation of the Holy Quran. We have also added some translators' notes to clarify some fine points. There may also be typing errors that are almost unavoidable in any publication effort, no matter how hard you try, as only God is perfect. We apologize for any
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shortcomings in this effort, and hope that you will forgive us, and hope that God will also forgive us our shortcomings in trying to convey the proper meaning of His words, and those of His Prophet (May God bless him and his holy household) and the Immaculate Imams (May God bless them) . If we did not have this possibility of forgiveness by Him, and could not rely on Him for His Support and Favor, we could not, and would not dare undertake this blessed task. May God Favor one of our brothers in Islam, a servant of God who prefers to remain anonymous, and Mr. Saber al-Masri for the many suggestions which helped us understand the rough spots (for us) in the Arabic traditions, and a few of the faculty members of the School of Theology of the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, and our son Mehdi Peiravi for the typing and layout of this book. May God reward the many others who helped us undertake this project, and also reward the generous support of the publisher for this work. In conclusion, we like to dedicate this work to the spirits of our fathers, the late Mr. Charles Henry Morgan and Mr. Mohammad Mehdi Peiravi, both of whom we, and our children sincerely love and deeply miss. We ask God to forgive and honor them in Paradise. Our work surely affects our children. To express the effect of living in an Islamic society on our children, and with parents who believe in God, and practice their religion and try to propagate the Islamic beliefs, we present the poetry they write based on Islamic thought. This is just an example of our children's works:
A MARTYR IN ALLAH'S WAY
A martyr in Allah's way
Wishing to fly away
Went through Allah's enemies
Like flying in burning trees.
God's angels whispering and cuddling
Sank in his heart saying time's going.
His face shining and brightening
And all the devils within him burning
Remembering all his memories
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Forgetting all his behindings.
He softened his bleeding heart
And saw the coming shining dart.
He gave his hands to the angels
Reaching their wings full of tangles.
Higher and higher , leaving everything muddy
He flew to his heart-owner with a hobby.
To live and love in the Heaven above
And have nothing more but Allah's love.
His bleeding spirit watering the Earth
Is the mother to another outstanding birth.
Talat June Peiravi
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hassan ibn Fazl ibn Hassan Tabarsi should not be confused with his noble father al-Fazl ibn al-Hassan Tabarsi, the author of the great commentary on the Quran known as Majma ul-Bayan.
Shaykh Tabarsi was a Shi'ite scholar and theologian of repute of the twelfth century A.D. His father Shaykh Abu Ali Fazl ibn al-Hassan ibn al-Fazl al-Tabarsi was a Shi'ite scholar and theologian of repute. He wrote many valuable works on theology. Majma ul-Bayan is the most important of these all, and it is on this work that his fame rests. The Majma ul-Bayan enjoys wide acceptance.
The fact is that in the beginning his father started writing this book after he finished Makarim ul-Akhlaq in order to complement it. He made a great effort and collected many traditions, but he did not live long enough to finish it. Then a group of interested people asked his son to follow suit and the completion of this work was left for the son to carry out. He called it Mishkat ul-Anwar Fi Ghurar il-Akhbar. Most of the traditions in this book are cited from Al-Mahasin, by Abi Jafar Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Khalid al-Barqi. It seems that the author had an authentic copy of this book which is no longer available in that form today. Other main references are Rauzat al-Vaezeen by Muhammad ibn al-Hassan ibn Ali al-Fatal al-Neyshabori, Uyun Akhbar Al-Reza by Abi Jafar Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Hussein ibn Baboyeh al-Qumi, known as Shaykh al-Sadoogh, and Majma ul-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran by Abi Ali al-Fazl ibn al-Hassan al-Tabarsi.
We have also included a list of other works by the same publisher, and an order form, in case you may be interested. There is also a feedback form to help us and the Ansarian Publications improve our work. We will be grateful if you help us with your most useful suggetions.
Ms. Lisa (Zaynab) Morgan
Dr. Ali Peiravi
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Praise upon the Lord of the two worlds and greetings upon the Last of the Prophets, the Noblest of the Messengers Muhammad and his Pure Household (a.s) , and peace upon his chosen companions. After the Glorious Quran, the religious documents to be relied on are the traditions (Hadith). These credible documents (the Hadith) have had the highest role in introducing and keeping alive Islamic Knowledge. The traditions are a legacy left by the Infallible Ones (a.s) for their followers, those enamored with and those thirsty for this lofty knowledge. Presently the protection and preservation of this legacy during the absence of the traditions' true owner, Imam Mehdi (a.s), is the responsibility of the men of the cloth, those versed in the traditions and the tradition publishers. This important responsibility is most note worthily carried out in the various, following ways:
1) the editing of the tradition books,
2) the translation of traditions,
3) the commentaries on the traditions,
4) the writing of marginal notes and explanatory remarks on traditions and
5) the publication and distribution of traditions.
Actually all this preservation and protection of the traditions results in the answering of many of the questions and the clearing up of confusing points in the minds of all classes of people; especially the younger generation.
2-Translators' note:For maintaining readability, (a.s) which is an
acronym for "Alayhum salaam" is used throughout the book to denote
"May God bless him, her or them". when used for the Prophet, his Household is included.When used for the Prophet,his
Household is included. When used for others, it only refers to that
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First page of copy A of the manusctipt of Mishkat ul-Anwar fi Ghurar il-Akhbar relied upon in this translation of the book.
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Page 2 of copy A of the manusctipt of Mishkat ul-Anwar fi Ghurar il-Akhbar relied upon in this translation of the book.
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Last page of copy A of the manusctipt of Mishkat ul-Anwar fi Ghurar il-Akhbarrelied upon in this translation of the book.
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First page of copy B of the manusctipt of Mishkat ul-Anwar fi Ghurar il-Akhbar relied upon in this translation of the book.
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Last page of copy A of the manusctipt of Mishkat ul-Anwar fi Ghurar il-Akhbar relied upon in this translation of the book.
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ON FAITH, ISLAM AND
On Unity of God
1- In Al-Mahasin it is narrated that Soleiman ibn Khalid narrated that Imam Sadiq (a.s) stated: "God said: "That to thy Lord is the final Goal" [The Holy Quran: Najm 53:42]
Therefore you better stop any further inquiry whenever a speech ends with talk of God's essence."
2- In Al-Tawhid it is narrated that Ahmad ibn Abdullah al-Joybary narrated that during the trip to Marv, Imam Reza (a.s) reported on the authority of his father (a.s) on the authority of their fathers (a.s) on the authority of Imam Ali (a.s) that the Prophet of God (a.s) stated: "The reward for the one upon whom God has bestowed the blessing of Unity as a recompense is nothing other than Heaven."
3- Abuzar stated: "One night I left the house and suddenly saw the Prophet of God (a.s) walking all alone. I thought maybe he did not want anyone to walk with him, so in the moonlight I started walking very slowly behind him. The Prophet (a.s) became aware that I was behind him and inquired: "Who is it?" I answered him as so "May I be your devoted servant. I am Abuzar." The Prophet (a.s) said: "O' Abuzar! Come along with me." So I walked with him for one hour. Then the Prophet (a.s) remarked:
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في الإيمان والإسلام
وما يتعلق بهما
1. من كتاب المحاسن: عن سليمان بن خالد قال: قال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: إنّ الله يقول: [وَأَنَّ إِلَى رَبِّكَ الْمُنْتَهَى] فإذا
انتهى الكلامُ إلى الله فامسكوا.
2. من كتاب التوحيد: عن أحمد بن عبد [الله] الجويباري في سفر الرضا عليّ بن موسى عن أبيه عن آبائه عن عليّ عليه السلام قال: قال رسول الله صلي الله عليه و اله و سلم ما جزاءُ مَن أنعَمَ الله سبحانه وتعالي عليه بالتوحيد إلا الجنّة.
3. عن أبي ذرّ؛ قال: خرجتُ ليلةً من الليالي فإذا رسول الله صلي الله عليه و اله و سلم يمشي وحْدَه وليس معه إنسانٌ، فظننتُ أنّه يكره أن يمشي معه أحدٌ، قال: فجعلتُ
أمشي في ظلّ القمر، فالتفتَ فَرَآني، قال: مَن هذا؟ قلتُ: أبو ذر جعلني الله فداك، فقال: يا أبا ذر تعال، قال: فمشيتُ معه ساعةً، فقال:
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"On Judgment Day the money-makers will be in the minority except those to whom God grants goodness and they give charity in the world to the left and the right sides, and in front of and in back, and use it to do good deeds." Then Abuzar said: "I walked another hour with the Prophet (a.s) and then he stated: "Sit down here!" Then he made me sit down on a stony piece of land surrounded by mountains and hills. He stated: "Sit here until I return." The Prophet (a.s) set out for a place by the name of Harra. He set out and I could no longer see him. Later, as the Prophet (a.s) was approaching me I heard him saying: "... and what if he has committed adultery? And what if he has stolen something?" As the Prophet (a.s) approached me, I impatiently asked him: "O' Prophet of God! May God make me your devoted servant! Who were you talking with over there in Harra? I heard someone answering your questions." The Prophet (a.s) said: "(The angel) Gabriel showed himself to me at Harra and said: Give good news to your nation: whoever dies and has not associated any partners with God (the Almighty) will enter Heaven. I said: O' Gabriel! And is that so even if he has committed adultery? And is that so even if he has stolen something? Gabriel answered in the positive. Again I asked: And even if he has committed adultery? And is that so even if he has stolen something? Gabriel answered: Yes, even if he has drunk an intoxicating drink."
4- Imam Sadiq (a.s) narrated on the authority of his father (a.s), on the authority of their fathers (a.s), on the authority of Imam Ali (a.s) on the authority of God's Prophet (a.s): "Whoever leaves this world and has not associated any partners with God will enter Heaven whether he has done some good deeds or some evil ones."
5- Ray'yan ibn al-Solt narrated that Imam Reza (a.s) quoted on the authority of his father (a.s), on the authority of their fathers (a.s) on the authority of Imam Ali (a.s) as having narrated that the Prophet of God (a.s) stated that God the Almighty said: "Whoever interprets My Words according to his own viewpoint has no faith in Me. And whoever considers Me to be similar to My creatures does not recognize Me. And whoever makes comparisons in my religion does not believe in My religion."
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إنّ المُكثِرين هُمُ الأقلّون يومَ القيامة إلا مَن أعطاه الله خيراً، فنفح منه بيمينه وشماله وبين يديه وورائه وعمل فيه خيراً، قال: فمشيتُ معه ساعةً، فقال: اجلس هاهنا، فأجلسني في قاعٍ حوله حجارةٌ، وقال لي: اجلس حتّى أرجع إليك، قال: فانطلق في الحَرّة حتّى لم أره، وتوارى عنّي فأطال اللبث، ثمّ إنّي سمعتُه وهو مقبلٌ يقول: وإنْ زنا وإنْ سَرَق، قال: فلمّا جاء لم أصبر حتّى قلتُ: يا نبيّ الله جَعَلني الله فداك! من تَكَلَّمَ في جانب الحَرّة، فإنّي سمعتُ أحداً يردُّ عليك شيئاً؟ قال: ذلك جبرئيل، عرض لي في جانب الحَرّة وقال: بَشِّرْ أمتك أنّه من مات ولا يشرك بالله [عز وجل] دخل الجنّة، قال: قلتُ يا جبرئيل وإنْ زنا وإنْ سَرَق؟ قال: نعم، قلتُ: وإنْ زنا وإن سَرَق؟ قال: نعم، وإن شرب الخمر.
4. عن جعفر بن محمّد عن أبيه عن آبائه عن عليّ: قال: قال رسول الله: من ماتَ لا يُشرك بالله شيئاً أحسنَ أو أساءَ دخل الجنّة.
5. عن ريّان بن الصلت عن عليّ بن موسى الرضا عن أبيه عن آبائه عن أمير المؤمنين: قال: قال رسول الله صلي الله عليه و اله و سلم : قال الله جلّ جلاله: ما آمَنَ بي مَن فَسَّرَ برأيه كلامي، وما عَرَفَني من شَبّهني بخلقي، وما على ديني مَن يستعمل القياس في ديني.
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6- Davood ibn al-Qasim narrated that he heard Imam Reza (a.s) say: "Whoever compares God to His creatures is a polytheist. And whoever supposes that God is in a given place is an unbeliever. Whoever associates with God what He has admonished against is a liar." Then Imam Reza (a.s) recited this verse: "It is those who believe not in the Signs of God that forge falsehood: It is they who lie." [The Holy Quran: the Bee 16:105]
7- Abi Hashim al-Ja'fari said that he asked Imam Javad (a.s): "What does unity of God mean?" He replied: "Unity refers to what people with all different languages agree on."
8- A man asked a question from Imam Sadiq (a.s). In his reply the Imam (a.s) said: "In fact unity and justice are the foundations of religion. The amount of religious knowledge is extensive, and every sane person must acquire it. Therefore remember what will make it easier for you to attain this knowledge, and prepares you to retain it." Then the Imam (a.s) added: "Unity implies that you do not deem permissible with God what you deem permissible with yourself. And justice implies that you do not associate with God what He has reproached you for."
9- Abdul Aziz ibn al-Muhtadi said that when he asked Imam Reza (a.s) about Unity he replied: "Whoever recites: "Say: He is God, the One, and Only" [The Holy Quran: Ikhlas 112:2]and believes in it has recognized the concept of the Unity of God." He then asked the Imam (a.s): "How should one recite this verse." The Imam (a.s) said: "Recite it as other people do", and added: "plus saying "This is Allah, my Lord" three times."
10- Ibn-i-Abbas narrated that an Arab asked God's Prophet (a.s): "O' Prophet of God! Please teach me the fine points of science." The Prophet (a.s) asked: "What do you know of the main parts of science which allows you to ask me about its fine points?" The Arab asked: "O' Prophet of God! What is the main part of science?" The Prophet (a.s) replied: "It is recognition of God as He deserves to be recognized." The Arab asked: "How can one really recognize God?" The Prophet (a.s) replied:
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6. عن داود بن القاسم قال: سمعت عليّ بن موسى الرضا عليه السلام يقول: من شَبَّهَ الله بخَلقه فهو مشرك، ومن وصفه بالمكان فهو كافرٌ، ومن نَسب إليه
[ ما نهى عنه فهو كاذبٌ، ثمّ تلا هذه الآية [إِنَّما يَفْتَري الْكَذِبَ الَّذِينَ لا يؤمنون بِآياتِ الله وَأُولئِكَ هُمُ الْكاذِبُون.
7. عن أبي هاشم الجعفري قال: سألتُ أبا جعفر محمّد بن عليّ الثاني عليه السلام ما معنى الواحد؟ فقال: الُمجتَمَعُ عليه بجميع الألسُن بالوحدانيّة
8. عن الصادق عليه السلام أنّهُ سأله رجلٌ، فقال له: إنّ أساس الدين التوحيد والعدل، وعلمه كثيرٌ، ولابُدَّ للعاقل منه، فاذكر ما يسهل الوقوف عليه ويتهيّأ حفظه، فقال عليه السلام: أمّا التوحيد فأن لا تجوِّز على ربّك ما جاز عليك، وأمّا العدل فأن لا تَنْسِبَ إلى خالقك ما لامَكَ عليه.
9. عن عبد العزيز بن المهتدي قال: سألتُ الرضا عليه السلام عن التوحيد، فقال كلّ مَنْ قَرَأ ]قُلْ هُوَ الله أَحَدٌ[ وآمَنَ بها فقد عرف التوحيد، قلتُ: كيف يَقرأها؟ قال: كما يَقرأ الناس، وزاد فيه "كذلك الله ربّي" ثلاثاً.
10. عن ابن عبّاس قال: جاء أعرابي إلى النبيّ صلي الله عليه و اله و سلم فقال: يا رسول الله! عَلِّمْني من غرائب العلم، قال: ما صنعتَ في رأس العلم حتّى تسأل عن
رائبه؟ قال الأعرابي: وما رأس العلم يا رسول الله؟ قال:
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"By recognizing that He is unique, and there is nothing else like Him. That He is the Only God. He exists inwardly and outwardly. He is the First and the Last. There is no match for Him, and nothing is similar to Him. This is how one may really get to know Him."
11- In Al-Mahasin it is narrated that Fazl ibn-i-Yahya said that he asked Imam Kazim (a.s) about Unity. He said: "Do not transgress beyond what is stated in the Quran, where God the Almighty said:
"If there were in the heavens and the earth, other gods besides God, there would have been confusion in both!" [The Holy Quran: Anbiyaa 21:22]
12- In Al-Irshad it is narrated that Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: "God the Almighty is not similar to anything, and nothing is similar to Him. He is different from whatever we can imagine."
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معرفة الله حقَّ معرفته، فقال الأعرابي: ما معرفة الله حقَّ معرفته؟ قال: أنْ تَعرفه بلا مِثلٍ ولا شِبهٍ ولا نِدٍّ، وأنّه واحدٌ أحدٌ، ظاهرٌ باطنٌ، أوّلٌ خِرٌ، لا كُفْوٌ له ولا نظيرٌ له، فذلك حقُّ معرفته.
11. أيضا من كتاب المحاسن: عن فضل بن يحيى قال: سألتُ أبا الحسن عليه السلام عن شيءٍ من الصفة، فقال: لا تُجاوز ما في القرآن، قال الله تعالى: ]لَوْ كانَ فِيهِما آلِهَةٌ إلا الله لَفَسَدَتا[.
12. من كتاب الإرشاد: عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: إنّ الله [تعالى] لا يُشبه شيئاً ولا يُشبهه شيءٌ، وكُلَّما وقع فهو بخلافه
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13- In Al-Mahasin it is narrated that Imam Sadiq (a.s) described God's statement "true in faith" [The Holy Quran: Al-i-Imran 3:67] as being really sincere, and refers to one who considers only God in his affairs."
14- Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: "Everything is humble to a believer even the pests and the beasts of prey on the Earth, and the birds in the sky."
15- In Rauzat al-Vaezeen it is narrated that the Noble Prophet (a.s) said: "There is a fact related to every good attribute. When considering sincerity, the fact is that no true servant of God can be truly sincere unless he dislikes to be admired for what he does to please God."
16- In Rauzat al-Vaezeen it is narrated that Imam Sadiq (a.s) said: "God the Almighty said: "I am the best partner. I do not accept any act in which you take partners besides Me. I only accept deeds which are sincerely done for Me."
17- Imam Sadiq (a.s) said on the authority of God's Prophet (a.s):"Whoever wants to know his status near God should ponder over how close God is to him."
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13. من المحاسن: عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام في قول الله] I حَنِيفاً مُسْلِماً[ قال خالصاً مُخلصاً لا يشوبه شيءٌ.
14. عن أبي عبد الله عليه السلام قال: إنّ المؤمن يَخشَعُ له كلُّ شيءٍ حتّى هَوام الأرض وسِباعُها وطير السَّماء.
15. من كتاب روضة الواعظين: قال النبيّ صلي الله عليه و اله و سلم : إنّ لِكلّ حقٍّ حقيقةٌ، وما بلغ عبدٌ حقَّ حقيقةِ الإخلاصِ حتّى لا يحبُّ أن يُحْمَدَ على شيءٍ من عمل الله.
16. ومن كتاب روضة الواعظين: قال أبو عبد الله عليه السلام: قال الله سبحانه و تعالي : أنَا خَيرُ شريك مَن أشرك معي في عملٍ عمله، لا أقبله إلا ما كان لي خالصاً.
17. وقال: قال رسول الله صلي الله عليه و اله و سلم : مَن أحبّ أن يعلم ما له عند الله فَلْيَعلم ما لله عنده.