Imams (peace be upon them) know the inner beliefs of every person

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عَنِ ابْنِ نُبَاتَةَ قَالَ: كُنْتُ‏ جَالِساً عِنْدَ اَمِيرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَؑ فَاَتَاهُ‏ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ يَا اَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اِنِّي لَاُحِبُّكَ فِي السِّرِّ كَمَا اُحِبُّكَ فِي الْعَلَانِيَةِ قَالَ فَنَكَتَ اَمِيرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَؑ بِعُودٍ كَانَ فِي يَدِهِ فِي الْاَرْضِ سَاعَةً ثُمَّ رَفَعَ رَاْسَهُ فَقَالَ كَذَبْتَ وَ اللهِ مَا اَعْرِفُ وَجْهَكَ فِي الْوُجُوهِ وَ لَا اسْمَكَ فِي الْاَسْمَاءِ قَالَ الْاَصْبَغُ‏ فَعَجِبْتُ مِنْ ذٰلِكَ عَجَباً شَدِيداً فَلَمْ اَبْرَحْ حَتَّى اَتَاهُ رَجُلٌ آخَرُ فَقَالَ وَ اللهِ يَا اَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اِنِّي لَاُحِبُّكَ فِي السِّرِّ كَمَا اُحِبُّكَ فِي الْعَلَانِيَةِ قَالَ فَنَكَتَ بِعُودِهِ ذٰلِكَ فِي الْاَرْضِ طَوِيلًا ثُمَّ رَفَعَ رَاْسَهُ فَقَالَ صَدَقْتَ اِنَّ طِينَتَنَا طِينَةٌ مَرْحُومَةٌ اَخَذَ اللهُ مِيثَاقَهَا يَوْمَ اَخَذَ الْمِيثَاقَ فَلَا يَشِذُّ مِنْهَا شَاذٌّ وَ لَا يَدْخُلُ فِيهَا دَاخِلٌ اِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ  ‏

Asbagh Ibn Nubaatah (r.a.) reports, “I was sitting with Ameerul Momineen (Ali Ibn Abi Talib) (peace be upon him) when a man came to him and said, ‘O Ameer al-Momineen! Surely, I love you in private like I adore you in public.’ Asbagh says, ‘Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon him) scratched in the earth with a piece of wood which he had in his hand for a while. Then, he (peace be upon him) raised his head and said, ‘You are lying. By Allah! I do not recognize your face among the faces (of my lovers) and your name in the names (of the lovers).’ Asbagh says, ‘I was exceedingly amazed at this. I had barely sat for some more time when another person came and declared, ‘O Ameer al-Momineen! By Allah! Surely, I love you in private like I adore you in public.’ Again, he (peace be upon him) scratched with that piece of wood in the earth for a long time. Thereafter, he (peace be upon him) raised his head and said,

‘You have spoken the truth. Verily, our soil (teenat) is the one which has Allah’s mercy. Allah has taken its covenant on the day of the covenant. Hence, none can come out from it nor can one enter it till the Day of Judgment’.”

References:

1.    Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 26, p. 117, H. 1

2.    Al-Amaali of al-Shaikh al-Toosi (r.a.), p. 409, 14th Majlis

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