Pearl of Wisdom

'Verily Mainun said to al-Rida (AS), ?O son of the Prophet ... Verily I see it best for me to relinquis h the caliphate and hand it over to you and swear allegiance to you!' So al-Rida (AS) said to him, 'If this caliphate indeed belongs to you and Allah has assigned it to you, then it is not permissible for you to remove a garment that Allah has clothed you with and assign it to another instead of yourself. And if the caliphate is not actually yours then it is not permissible for you to assign to me that which is not yours [in the first place].' So Mainun said to him, ?O son of the Prophet! You have to accept this post!' to which the Imam replied, 'I will never do that will ingly... for by that [i.e. my acceptance of it] you want the people to say: ?Ali b. Musa al-Rida did not abstain from worldly pursuits [of leadership] but it is the world that has turned its back on him! Do you not see how he accepted to be the heir apparent in his greed for the caliphate?! So Mainun became enraged and said, '...I swear to Allah, if you do not accept the position of heir apparent I will force you to it. So you had better accept it or else I will behead you.'

Abu al-Salt al-Harawi
'Uyun Akhbar al-Rida (AS), v. 2, p. 139, no. 3

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Affliction is an adornment for the believer and a mark of honour for the man of intellect, because facing it directly needs steadfastness and firm-footedness, both of which confirm belief. The Holy Prophet said, 'We, the company of the prophets, are the people who have the hardest trials, then after us come the believers, then the others like them.'

Whoever tastes the food of affliction while under Allah's protection enjoys it more than he enjoys Allah's blessing. He yearns for it when it is not there, because the lights of blessing lie under the balance of affliction and trial, and the balance of affliction and trial lies under the lights of blessing. Many are delivered from affliction and then destroyed in blessing. Allah praised none of His bondsmen, from Adam up to Muhammad, until He had tested him and seen how he fulfilled the duty of worship while in affliction. Allah's marks of honour come, in fact, at the last stage, but the afflictions themselves come in the beginning.

Whoever leaves the path of affliction is ignoring the lamp of the believers, the beacon of those near to Allah, and the guide for those on the right path. There is no good in a slave who complains of a single trial preceded by thousands of blessings and followed by thousands of comforts. Whoever does not show the patience required in affliction is deprived of thankfulness in the blessings he receives. Similarly, whoever does not give the thankfulness owed for blessings is denied the patience owed in affliction. Whoever is denied both of them is an outcast.

Ayyub said in his supplication, 'O Allah, verily seventy comforts and ease did not come to me until You sent me seventy afflictions.'

And Wahb ibn Munabbih said, 'Affliction to a believer is like a bit to a horse and a halter to a camel.' Ali said, 'Steadfastness in relation to belief is like the head to the body. The head of steadfastness is afflictions but only those who act righteously understand that.'

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