Pearl of Wisdom

In describing the Angels, the Imam said 'They are the most knowledgeable of Your creation about You, the most fearful of You and the closest to You. They did not come from loins nor did they enter wombs; they were not created from worthless liquid; they were not dispersed by vicissitudes of time. They are on their places [distinct] from You and in their positions near You. Their desires are concentrated in You. Their worship for You is very much. Their neglect from Your command is little. If they were to witness what remains hidden about You, they would belittle their actions.'

Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Nahj al-Baldgha, Sermon 109

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Library » The Lantern of the Path » Precaution
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Precaution (taqwa) has three facets:

  1. Precaution by dependence on Allah, which means leaving behind contradiction and going beyond any shade of doubt, and this is the precaution exercised by the highest.
  2. The precaution of Allah, which means to abandon all doubtful matters and to leave the forbidden (haram) alone; this is the precaution of the elite.
  3. The precaution of the Fire and Punishment, which results in leaving alone what is forbidden; this is the precaution of the general public.

Precaution is like water flowing in a river. The three levels of precaution are like trees of every colour and variety planted on the bank of that river, each tree absorbing water from that river according to its essence, capacity, delicateness and thickness.

Then the benefits, which creatures take from these trees and fruits, are according to their value and worth. Allah said,

Palm trees having one root and [others] having distinct roots - they are watered with one water, and We make some of them excel others in fruit. (13:4)

Precaution in acts of obedience to Allah is like water for the trees, and the natures of the trees and their fruits in their colours and tastes are like the measures of belief. Whoever has the highest degree in belief and the purest nature with respect to the soul has the greatest precaution. He who is precautious has the purer and more sincere worship: whoever is like that is nearer to Allah.

But every act of devotion that is founded on something other than precaution comes to nothing. Allah said,

Is he, therefore, better who laid his foundation on fear of Allah and [His] good pleasure, or he who laid his foundation on the edge of a cracking, hollowed bank, so it broke down with him into the fire of Hell? (9:109)

The explanation of precaution is to avoid entering an affair which contains no harm simply out of fear of one which does. It is, in reality, obedience without rebellion, remembrance without forgetfulness, knowledge without ignorance, and it is accepted by Allah and not rejected.

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