The Minimum Level of Belief

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عَنْ سُلَيْمِ بْنِ قَيْسٍ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ عَلِيّاً ﷺ يَقُولُ وَ اَتَاهُ رَجُلٌ فَقَالَ لَهُ مَا اَدْنَى مَا يَكُونُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ مُؤْمِناً وَ اَدْنَى مَا يَكُونُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ كَافِراً وَ اَدْنَى مَا يَكُونُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ ضَالًّا فَقَالَ لَهُ قَدْ سَاَلْتَ فَافْهَمِ الْجَوَابَ اَمَّا اَدْنَى مَا يَكُونُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ مُؤْمِناً اَنْ يُعَرِّفَهُ اللهُ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى نَفْسَهُ فَيُقِرَّ لَهُ بِالطَّاعَةِ وَ يُعَرِّفَهُ نَبِيَّهُ ﷺ فَيُقِرَّ لَهُ بِالطَّاعَةِ وَ يُعَرِّفَهُ اِمَامَهَ وَ حُجَّتَهُ فِي اَرْضِهِ وَ شَاهِدَهُ عَلٰى خَلْقِهِ فَيُقِرَّ لَهُ بِالطَّاعَةِ قُلْتُ لَهُ يَا اَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَ اِنْ جَهِلَ جَمِيعَ الْاَشْيَاءِ اِلَّا مَا وَصَفْتَ قَالَ نَعَمْ اِذَا أُمِرَ اَطَاعَ وَ اِذَا نُهِيَ انْتَهَى وَ اَدْنَى مَا يَكُونُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ كَافِراً مَنْ زَعَمَ اَنَّ شَيْئاً نَهَى اللهُ عَنْهُ اَنَّ اللَّهَ اَمَرَ بِهِ وَ نَصَبَهُ دِيناً يَتَوَلَّى عَلَيْهِ وَ يَزْعُمُ اَنَّهُ يَعْبُدُ الَّذِي اَمَرَهُ بِهِ وَ اِنَّمَا يَعْبُدُ الشَّيْطَانَ وَ اَدْنَى مَا يَكُونُ بِهِ الْعَبْدُ ضَالًّا اَنْ لَا يَعْرِفَ حُجَّةَ اللهِ تَبَارَكَ وَ تَعَالَى وَ شَاهِدَهُ عَلٰى عِبَادِهِ الَّذِي اَمَرَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ بِطَاعَتِهِ وَ فَرَضَ وَلَايَتَهُ قُلْتُ يَا اَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ صِفْهُمْ لِي فَقَالَ الَّذِينَ قَرَنَهُمُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ بِنَفْسِهِ وَ نَبِيِّهِ فَقَالَ يا اَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَ اَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَ أُولِي الْاَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ قُلْتُ يَا اَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ جَعَلَنِيَ اللهُ فِدَاكَ اَوْضِحْ لِي فَقَالَ الَّذِينَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ ﷺ فِي آخِرِ خُطْبَتِهِ يَوْمَ قَبَضَهُ اللهُ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ اِلَيْهِ اِنِّي قَدْ تَرَكْتُ فِيكُمْ اَمْرَيْنِ لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدِي مَا اِنْ تَمَسَّكْتُمْ بِهِمَا كِتَابَ اللهِ وَ عِتْرَتِي اَهْلَ بَيْتِي فَاِنَّ اللَّطِيفَ الْخَبِيرَ قَدْ عَهِدَ اِلَيَّ اَنَّهُمَا لَنْ يَفْتَرِقَا حَتَّى يَرِدَا عَلَيَّ الْحَوْضَ كَهَاتَيْنِ وَ جَمَعَ بَيْنَ مُسَبِّحَتَيْهِ وَ لَا اَقُولُ كَهَاتَيْنِ وَ جَمَعَ بَيْنَ الْمُسَبِّحَةِ وَ الْوُسْطَى فَتَسْبِقَ اِحْدَاهُمَا الْأُخْرَى فَتَمَسَّكُوا بِهِمَا لَا تَزِلُّوا وَ لَا تَضِلُّوا وَ لَا تَقَدَّمُوهُمْ فَتَضِلُّوا

Sulaim Ibn Qais al-Aameri al-Hilaali says that a person came to Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon him) and asked, “What is the minimum limit by which a person becomes a believer? What is the minimum limit by which a person becomes a disbeliever? What is the minimum limit by which a person becomes deviated?”

Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon him) said, “Since you have asked, understand the answer. As for the minimum limit by which a person becomes a believer is that when Allah – Blessed and High be He – introduces Himself, he accepts Him through obedience, when He introduces His Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), he accepts him through obedience and when He introduces His Imam, His Proof upon His earth and His witness upon His creatures, he should accept him through obedience.”

I asked, “O Ameeral Momineen! Even if he is ignorant about everything except that what you have described?”

He (peace be upon him) replied:

Yes. When he is ordered, he should obey and when he is restrained, he must keep away.

As for the minimum limit by which a person becomes a disbeliever is the one who thinks that a thing which Allah has prohibited, Allah has ordered it, he makes a religion upon which he prevails and he thinks that he is worshipping the one who has ordered him to do so while (in reality), he is worshipping the Satan.

Note:

In every era, falsehood manifests itself in a very systematic manner. It does not come naked and say I am falsehood so beware of me. Thus, in every era, falsehood is camouflaged and presents itself as truth. Even in the time of Sulaim it was difficult to decipher despite the presence of Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon him) himself. 

In the above tradition, Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon him) has used the 59th verse of Surah Nisaa as an evidence for Imamate. The opponents interpret Ulil Amr as rulers even if he is a transgressor and sinner and consider him as the application of this verse, due to which his obedience becomes absolute like that of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him and his holy progeny). When an ordinary person will not contradict his statement, then how will Allah do it?

For example, Allah the High says in the Holy Quran, “O you who believe! Fasting has been made obligatory upon you”. But the ruler of Tunisia, Habib Burqiba, prohibited fasting for government servants on duty. So, we should obey Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) or Habib Burqiba?

With the exception of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) and Ameerul Momineen (peace be upon him), all rulers throughout history who formed an apparent Islamic government, made laws in violation of the Shariah and were themselves non-infallible, rather transgressors.  How can one obey Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) and the transgressor ruler at the same time? Such a stark contrast is against intellect as well as Shariah.  Therefore, those in authority are in reality only those who don’t pass any judgment except in conformity with the judgment of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him and his holy progeny). So, if we believe that the Ulil Amr are other than the fourteen infallible guides (peace be upon him), contradiction is bound to occur. While, in the Holy Quran, contradiction is impossible. Hence, the problem lies with the interpretation of the opponents, which is wrong and erroneous.  

References:

1.    Al-Kaafi, vol. 2, p. 414, H. 1

2.    Kitaab-o-Sulaim Ibn Qais al-Hilaali (r.a.), p. 616, 8th Hadees

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