ISMA'ILI TAIYEBI ‘AQAAID
 
 
 

 

81. Life after death is not similar to this existence. It is never affected by decay, belonging to the realm of purity, cleanliness and truth. Only those souls will attain it, after the separation from their bodies, which during their earthly life have freed themselves from the impurity of sin, from erroneous beliefs etc., and who have acquired real virtues.

82. The judgement (hisaab), and rising in flesh (hashr) on the Last Day, punishment and reward, are all true because all the great Prophets have revealed these matters to mankind.

83. Reward (jazaa) and punishment (‘iqaab) after death are true. Just as the body grows and exists by assimilating the foods which it consumes, so as the soul lives by the revelations and regulations of the religion which it follows. As the body and the soul are inseparably connected, so are the correct religious beliefs and righteous actions of the mankind. As a sound body is long lived and active, so a sound and clean mind is capable of acquiring high wisdom which will carry the soul to the angelic state after the death of body. Those men whose actions are contrary to the prescriptions of religion reveal the wickedness of their natures, and will receive all the punishments which religion enjoins. Such punishments, which affect the body, affect the soul, too. The body perishes returning to the elements. The soul feels the need for possessing the reason, but does not find it; it seeks for a body in which it could have a heart, but this it also cannot find. Its evil actions enclose it as an armor, which holds it and tortures it. It cannot attain the angelic state (malakoot), and is powerless to dissociate itself from what it no longer likes to be associated with. Everyone who violates the law of the Creator, intended for the general welfare of His creatures, harms himself; and the community, to which he belongs, has the right to take necessary measures against him.

84. Reward (jazaa) is inevitable, in future life (aakherat) . The human soul is living (hayy), and endowed with free power (qaadir) to do good or evil, to obey or to disobey Allah. If both kinds of its actions would be treated in the same way, there would be no sign of Allah's rule, or order in the world, according to which good and obedient souls are preferred to those which are not good and not obedient. Then chaos would reign, and all would fall into confusion. But as it is the will of Allah that the signs of His greatness and omnipotence should be manifest, and that His mastership over the world should be asserted, then reward is to follow every action of man, who first receives commandments as to things permissible and prohibited. If an individual acts, the mere fact of his acting does not carry in itself either praise or condemnation. All depends on the motives of the action. If he acts against the law given by the Prophet, and is punished, e.g., by his hand being cut, or by being beheaded, the punishment would be only partial: the hand is merely a part of the body, not of the soul also. As the justice of Allah is beyond doubt, it is indubitable that the soul will also be punished. Mankind is composed of individuals, and an individual is composed of soul and body. The soul is capable of distinguishing between passing pleasures, derived from the experience of senses, and between eternal spiritual happiness. Accordingly, the soul will receive either the reward (sawaab), or punishment (‘iqaab, ‘azaab), depending on whether it seeks eternal obedience to Allah or merely passing pleasures, despite disobeying the commandments of Allah, acting against the prescriptions of His Prophets. But Allah is not only just, but also merciful. He guides mankind, through His Prophets, to what is good. Therefore He has the right to punish the obstinate and ungrateful who do not accept His guidance, and persist in doing evil. But the world is continually changing, and thus final and eternal reward or punishment must be received in the abode other than this world, the abode of eternity.

85. Everything that exists is derived from the four temperaments (tabi'i). The visible world consists of their combinations, which become more and more complex as one rises from inorganic matter to the highly developed organisms, and to man. Their distribution is in hands of ‘wise angels', who instantly and without fail bring them into action in accordance with the command of Allah.

86. Man is the choicest creation (safwa) of the world. He seeks to approach his Creator, of his own accord, not by any compulsion. Everything in this material world is composed of four elements (ummahaat), i.e. fire, air, water and earth. Man has in him the finest form of fire, - the light of his reason; the finest form of air, - his speech; the purest water, - the essence of his life; and the purest earth, in the form of the foods absorbed by his body. Being the crown of creation (ashraf ul-makhlooqaat), and endowed with the highest psychical abilities, such as reason, thought, etc., man is free in his actions. These actions all are recorded in the Celestial Book, the Lawh-e-Mehfooz. He possesses also the psychical power of will, by which he controls, and to some extent masters, his body. Allah does not free him to act in this or that way, but gives him His help (ta'eed) if he prays for it.

87. Allah knows everything what happens with or in His creations, whether it is open or secret, and nothing can be hidden from Him. Allah does not disclose to man the date of his death in order to make him strive to attain a greater degree of moral perfection. Those who purify their minds, and obey Allah, may gradually attain the state when the lights of the Realities are kindled in them by the angels, higher knowledge becomes accessible to them, and they receive the highest equality and the greatest happiness. Obstructing veils then become torn before their spiritual vision, and they begin to know many things which are normally hidden from the mankind.

88. Daily bread neither comes from the personal effort of man, nor can be stopped by human interference, but is given by Divine Command. Allah has created this world in perfect order, and through His angels, has caused the spheres and stars, etc., to move smoothly, as a good and well regulated mechanism. In this perfect system every living creature is provided with all its necessities. In the case of man it happens that one has better luck than others, and therefore becomes richer that the others, who always remain poor. But the chances are originally equal, why such a difference occurs; this is a mystery of Allah's predestination.

89. The length of lives of man in this world is fixed by Divine decree, and cannot be altered. Allah, however, can prolong the lives of those who lead pious lives; He may shorten the lives of the impious and vile.

90. The human conscious soul (nafs) can neither acquire knowledge nor act before it is joined with the body which it is destined to animate, and has no separate source of being. The soul, being a substance capable of acquiring and possessing knowledge is coupled with the body. In combination with the latter it forms a Universe in miniature, a prototype of the visible world. The knowledge of the world is not found in the intellect, but is gradually acquired by it, through the experiences of the senses. Thus the body is necessary to its functioning and attainment of knowledge, apart from its being necessary for its existence in the physical world. The knowledge gathered by the soul can either be acquired directly from observation of the world, or received from the Imam (AS), of whom one is always present in the Universe, though sometimes he may be concealed.

91. The innate reasoning faculty is the instrument for the acquirement of knowledge (ma'refat); the soul hunts with it for ideas, concerning both the spiritual and the material worlds. It is like a sword, which does not kill by itself, but is an instrument of killing. Similarly, reason, by itself, does not contain the knowledge of things in general, but acquires it when it is aided by the help of Allah. Such help (tawfeeq) is a special blessing of Allah; only those who possess faith are privileged to have it in the best and fullest degree. It is unwise to think that one can only limit himself with the experience of outer material world, and to rely on it. True knowledge can only be received from the Founder of the religion, or the Imam (AS), who continue his work, and who teach mankind for its own benefit.

92. The soul, by its nature (jawhar), is living (hayy) , willing (qaadir) , and though originally it does not possess knowledge, it is capable of acquiring it. It is the real inner mover of the body, the source of its activities. Its life, will, and cognition are innate qualities, which neither appear with time, nor can be added from outside.

93. The soul becomes separated from the body after death, and goes to the realm of spirits. Those souls, whose activities are in agreement with the commandments of Allah, attain an angelic state, while the soul of the disobedient will join “Iblees”. Decomposition of the body does not affect the soul; the body returns to the elements of which it is composed, and which again can become involved in the building up of new plants, animals, and even human bodies by direct and indirect assimilation with their tissues. But soul has nothing to do with this process. According to the indications of the Qur'an and of tradition, the soul is eternal, and does not perish after death.

94. What does the soul attain after its separation from the body? – Allah calls us through His intermediaries (wasaa'il) to accept His commandments, conveyed by His messengers, who give information about the Other World. The latter is the world of ideas, while this world, in which we live, is material. The human soul can be given the possibility of admittance to the realm of ideas. It always strains the psychical faculties with which it is endowed by nature, such as imagination, thought, illuminating flashes of reason, and inner Divine illumination (ta'eed), which it receives with the help of intermediaries between Allah and man; - all this it does in order to learn something about the Other World. The soul seeks for right elucidation of that world; it should be abstract, rational, and adequate to that world's original idea, which it explains, implying that world's excellence and its faculty of attainment of perfection. With the help of its imagination the soul is able to form a general idea of this world, which it abstracts from its materiality. Such abstraction is composed of substances of angels, - as elemental forces, - and of ideas. The soul continues to increase its knowledge, and its psychical faculties never cease inquiring until it goes to receive the order of Allah, by which it becomes ready to possess the blessing of reason and love inseparably united with it. Then it becomes free from the necessity of paying attention to the body, and the demands with which its senses bother it. Its distraction between the intellect and body, which always requires nourishing, ceases, and does not break the final spiritual union. At the moment of death, and separation of the soul from the body, all impending veils are lifted, and the union becomes final, because the soul remains forever abiding in tawheed, or Unitarian contemplation of Allah. This is accompanied by the blessing which the immediate Creator bestows upon it, endowing it with the highest perfection which human speech is powerless to describe. The soul then remains in the World of Reward, which is unchangeable and eternal.

95. With regard to the determination, or freedom of the will, or choice, man is not free in everything that is concerned with the physiological functions of his body, those which proceed unconsciously. But he can exercise his free choice in his psychical functions and in those physiological ones which require conscious effort. His body is composite, but the soul is simple and spiritual, and these two are subject to different laws. The simple spiritual substance cannot be shaped into a form from outside; – this is only possible with the composite entity, which is given a form by the factors of the outside world. Thus the simple spiritual substance is superior to the composite, and can exercise its influence upon it, without being physically affected; the soul can know, wish, etc., anything. The reason for this state of things is that Allah has created them in this way. The soul is free to act. Otherwise why should Allah send His Prophets to persuade it to act in accordance with His will? There are many passages in the Qur'an in which it is clearly stated that the human soul acts neither under compulsion nor determination. Therefore its salvation depends entirely on its zeal for good and righteous behaviour.

96. Predestination (Qaza) and Eternal Decree (Qadr) both really exists, and are not merely a metaphor. They are what the Creator has pre-arranged; this, however, He did not do by determination (jabr), i.e. forcing the souls to act in such a way as to either deserve Paradise or Hell. If everything was pre-determined from the beginning, there would be no need for Allah to send His Prophets, or reveal His laws and books, in which vice is condemned, and virtue praised. In the case of pre-determination there would be no difference between an idolater and monotheist, - the first would deserve neither punishment nor the second deserve his reward. The Revealed Book and the prescriptions of religion do not permit us to hold such views. Both Qaza and Qadr are defined in the Qur'an itself. Both the terms are used in different senses, and have several shadings, though originally they imply one and the same thing.

- Qaza implies the meaning of performance, completion, solution, finishing, discharging a duty, etc. (Perhaps the best meaning would be – chance). As in case of one who goes somewhere without knowing where he goes, or wishing to go there.

- The term Qadr comes from miqdaar, which means measure, quantity. It also has some shading of pre-arrangement (tarteeb), in a special meaning; or it may be the same as taqdeer, i.e. arrangement, fixing a measure. This term is used in eight different senses:

1. In its application to the uniformity and consistency of the laws of nature, which act automatically, coming from one source.

2. In its application to the reproduction of species within a genus, when all the characteristic features are always repeated, invariably re-appear, and cannot be arbitrarily altered or cancelled.

3. In its application to the unchangeable differences in the positions and development of different classes of creatures. In accordance with these, man is the most perfect creation, because the world was created for his sake.

4. In its application to the circumstances in which the world of man is tested, with all his qualities, mental and physical. All depends on collaboration between reason and soul, thought and heart, and the correct distinction between true and false.

5. In its application to the law according to which every living being has the power of obtaining its substance, and the food which it consumes makes the bodies grow and exist. The Creator has endowed every living creature with capabilities to find its food.

6. In its application to the religious law and its injunctions and prohibitions, which are final, and cannot be discharged, at will.

7. In its application to the foresight of human genius, which man receives from the Creator as an essential ingredient of his nature.

8. In its application to the definition of things lawful and those which deserve punishment. Man must know these, though he cannot comprehend the reason why one is good and the other bad, in accordance with the guidance of religion. Knowledge is acquired from the experience of senses. But as these cannot perceive such reasons, man should depend on Divine revelation, which should be obeyed unreservedly.

- Rasulullah (SAWS) was asked about the difference between qaza and qadr, to which he replied that this is the mystery of Allah. Allah does not want mankind to obey perforce, and though He is omnipotent, He wants every soul to obey by being faithful to His covenant (‘ahd, misaaq).

- Hasan Basri wrote to Imam Hussein (AS) asking him the same question. Imam Hussein (AS) replied that whosoever rejects the belief in qaza and qadr is a kaafir. Whosoever makes Allah responsible for human disobedience is a sinner (faajir). Allah cannot be obeyed by compulsion (ikraah), and disobedience cannot be justified by the force of circumstances (ghalbaa). There is no jabr or determination. Allah gives everyone the possibility to act by free will, and, if he wishes, to attain salvation.

97. It is right to believe that an unqualified person (mubtadi, beginner) should not discuss religious matters, or ponder over the acts of Allah. Just as a small child should obey its parents without criticizing their orders, being unable to understand properly the motives of their actions, so the beginner should be prohibited to do this until he is sufficiently qualified to preach others.

98. Conditional permission (izn) and absolute authority (itlaaq) in handling religious matters normally depend on individual advancement in studies, and on moral qualities of the aspirant.

99. One must be sincere in discharging his religious duties, and must not have some ulterior motive in them. Insincerity completely annihilates the meaning and purpose of worship.

100. The human soul has eternal existence (baqaa) after the death of the body, and never dies. Allah has not created the world for nothing, nor has He given His Divine law to mankind as a play. He does not destroy eternal spiritual substances. The body returns to the original material elements from which it is composed. The soul, which belongs to the world of Divine Will (amr), or spiritual world, knows no decomposition.

 

 
   
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