3. The Sah´fa of al-Rida

Among the works of Imam al-Rida, peace be on him, is this excellent dissertation called Sah´fat al-Rida; a group of narrators has called it Musnad al-Ima`m al-Rida, and this name is closer to the composition of the dissertation, for it contains the traditions which Ima`m al-Rida` has narrated on the authority of his grandfather, may Allah bless him and his family, and on the authority of his pure fathers, peace be on them. A group of researchers has stated that this dissertation is one of the works of Ima`m al-Rida`, peace be on him.1
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1. Kashf al-Zinun, vol. 2, p. 1076. Hidayat al-Arifin, vol. 1, p. 668. Mu'jam al-Mu'allifin, vol. 7, p. 250. Al-Dhari'a, vol. 15, pp. 17-18. Kashaf al-Hujub wa al-Astar, pp. 366-367. Al-Bihar, vol. 1. p. 11. Mustadrak al-Wasaa'il, vol. 3, p. 344.


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Any how, this dissertation is among the treasures of Prophet and of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and of the Ima`ms; it has reached the top of honor and glory in the chain of authorities, as Dr. Husayn 'Ali Mahfuz said.1
As for us, we have quoted this dissertation from a version printed in Cairo by al-Ma'a`hid Press, near al-Azhar, in the year 1340 A. H., and then it was printed by al-'Alla`ma 'Abd al-Wa`si', who classified it into ten chapters, which are as follows: ?

CHAPTER ONE
ON INVOCATION OF ALLAH

Having mentioned a preface concerning the necessity of mentioning the chain of the authorities, Shaykh 'Abd al-Wa`si' said: "I have narrated this Sah´fa through the authentic chain of authorities connected with Imam al-Qa`sim b. Mohammed, peace be on him, on the authority of his Shaykh al-Sayyid Am´r al-D´n b. 'Abd Allah, on the authority of al-Sayyid Ahmed b. 'Abd Allah al-Waz´r, on the authority of Ima`m al-Mutahhar b. Mohammed b. Sulayman, on the authority of Ima`m al-Mahdi Ahmed b. Yahya, on the authority of Sulayman b. Ibrah´m b. 'Umar al-'Alawi, on the authority of his father Ibrah´m, on the authority of Rida' al-D´n Ibrah´m b. Mohammed al-Tabari, on the authority of Ima`m Najm al-D´n al-Tabr´zi, on the authority of al-Hafiz Ibn 'Asakir, on the authority of Zahir al-Sinjani, on the authority of al-Hafiz al-Bayhaqi:
1. On the authority of Abu al-Qasim al-Mufassir, on the authority of Ibrah´m b. Ju'da, on the authority of Abu al-Qasim 'Abd Allah b. Ahmed b. 'Amir al-Ta'i (in Basrah), who said: ['Ali b. Musa al-Rida, peace be on him, related to me in the year 194 A. H. He said: My father Musa` b. Ja'far related to me. He said: My father Ja'far b. Mohammed related to me. He said: My father Mohammed b. 'Ali related to me. He said: My father 'Ali b. al-Husayn related to me. He
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Al-Najashi, p. 159. Al-Amali, al-Tawhid, al-Uyun, and others.
1. Sahifa al-Rida, p. 2.


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said: My father al-Husayn b. 'Ali related to me. He said: My father 'Ali b. Abu` Ta`lib, the peace of Allah be on them all, amen to the Day of Resurrection, related to me. He said: Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said: Allah, the Most High, said:] "There is no god but Allah is My fort, so he who enters My fort is safe from My chastisement." 1
Surely these brilliant words are the secret of existence, lamp of the Allah-fearing, and guide of the knowledgeable. He who says them out of knowledge and belief enters the fort of Allah, which whoever enters wins the good pleasure of Allah, the Exalted, and is safe from His chastisement.
2. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "He upon whom Allah bestows a favor should praise Allah for it; he who finds slow daily bread should ask Allah's forgiveness; and he whom a certain matter saddens should say:
There is neither might nor strength save in Allah, the Exalted, the Almighty."
Surely the invocation of Allah and devotion to Him deserve more of His blessings and favors; he who says these words during these situations, Allah's mercy includes him, and he attains general good.
3. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "Belief is profession with the tongue, knowledge through the heart, and action by the limbs."
Belief is a flame of light which lightens the heart, flows as life does in the souls of the Allah-fearing and the knowledgeable, dominates their sentiments and feelings.
4. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said: Allah says:] "If a creature takes refuge in a creature other than Me, I will cut him off from the means of the heavens and the earth, so if he asks Me, I will not give him; and if he supplicates Me, I will not answer him; and if a creature seeks refuge in Me other than My creatures, I will guarantee the heaven and the earth in respect of his daily bread; so if he asks Me,
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1. In the narration of al-Tabrisi:" In its condition and its conditions, and I am among its conditions." We will talk about this holy tradtion within this book.


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I will give him; and if he supplicates Me, I will respond to him; and if he asks Me for forgiveness, I will forgive him."
Failing and unsuccessful is he who hopes for those other than Allah, the Exalted, at whose hand is the course of events. A poet said:
May the hand which asks those other than You become poor; may the land which sees promising signs in other than the clouds of Your munificence become barren!
So glory is forbidden except from You; money is forbidden except from You!
If the servant devotes himself to Allah and seeks refuge in Him, he will win good and gain bless in this world and the next.
5. Through his chain of authorities, he said: ['Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, related to me that a Jew asked 'Ali b. Abu` Ta`lib, peace be on him, saying:] "Tell me about that which does not belong to Allah, that which is not with Allah, and that which Allah does not know?"
'Ali, peace be on him, replied: "As for that which Allah does not know, it is your, people of Jews, statement that 'Uzayr is the son of Allah, and Allah does not know that He has a son; as for that which is not with Allah, it is that Allah has no oppression toward the servants; as for that which does not belong to Allah, it is that Allah has no partner."
The Jew said: "I witness that there is no god except Allah, and that Mohammed is the Messenger of Allah."
Surely, Ima`m 'Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, is the gate of the city of knowledge of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. He is the leading figure of this community, the pioneer of its intellectual and scientific renaissance. It is certain that if the cushion had been folded for him and he had undertaken the leadership of the reign after the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, the Jews, the Christians, and the Magians would have adopted Islam.


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6. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "The best deeds with Allah are: belief without doubt, invasion without stealing from war booty before it is distributed (ghulul), and proper hajj. The first to enter the Garden will be a martyr; a slave who worships his Lord well and is sincere to his master; and a chaste man who abstains from what is forbidden, has a family, and strives to secure the daily bread of his own family. The first to enter the Fire will be a domineering Imam (leader) who does not treat (his subjects) with justice; a possessor of wealth of property who does not pay the right against it; and a boastful, poor (person)."
This tradition includes the best actions in reward and repayment with Allah, the Most High; the actions are: belief in Allah without any doubt, invasion without stealing from war booty before it is distributed (ghulul); for it is spent on spreading Allah's words on earth; and making a pilgrimage to the Sacred House of Allah.
This tradition also gives an account of the best men in the view of Allah, the Exalted, and the most honorable before Him, and they are: the martyrs in the path of Allah, not in the path of booty or worldly pleasures; the slave who believes in his Lord and is sincere to his master; and the chaste man who strives to secure the daily bread of his family.
Moreover the tradition gives an account of the most hateful person in the view of Allah and who deserves the Hellfire. The first to enter it are: the disobedient criminal ruler who wrongs the servants of Allah and does not treat them with fairness and justice; the possessor of a plentiful wealth who is miserly toward the rights of Allah (against him) and does not help the poor; the boastful, poor (person) who boasts of his own person and his family, shows arrogance and vainglory toward the creatures of Allah.
7. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "He who makes my community learn by heart forty traditions and it makes use of them, Allah will raise him from the dead a jurist and scholar on the Day of the Resurrection."


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Surely, the Prophetic traditions are a flame of light which guides the perplexed and the errant and brighten the road (to them), for they are some springs of wisdom. So he who circulates them among the Muslims surely takes part in building Islamic thought; and Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, had promised him that Allah would raise him from the dead a jurist and scholar on the Day of Resurrection.
8. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "He who gives a religious opinion to men without knowledge, the heavens and the earth curse him."
The ugliest and most sinful crime is giving a religious opinion to men without knowledge, for such a religious opinion misleads men, spreads lying among them, and ascribes falsehood to Allah.
9. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "Reliance (on Allah) and monotheism are the half of religion; make livelihood come down from Allah through alms."
Surely, reliance on Allah and professing His Oneness are part of core of religion and are basic elements of its entity. The Ima`m has urged (the Muslims) to give alms, for it aids the poor and the deprived. Allah has promised that He will bestow upon those who give alms.
10. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "Verily Mu`sa` b. 'Umra`n asked his Lord, saying: 'O Lord, are You far, so I will call out to You? Or are You near, so I will whisper to You?' So Allah revealed to him: O Musa, I am the friend of him who invoke Me!"
11. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "The supplication of the children of my community is accepted unless they commit sins."
Certainly, the supplication of the children of the faithful is accepted, for Allah does not refuse a supplication of theirs on the condition that they should not commit crimes and sins.


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12. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "He who passes by cemeteries and recites (the sura) Qul Huwa Allah Ahad eleven times and then he gives his reward to the dead, a reward equal to the number of the dead will be given to him."
Surely, Allah doubles the reward of him who recites Surat al-Tawh´d for the dead Muslims, and He abundantly rewards him.
13. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "Supplication is the weapon of a believer, pillar of religion, and light of the heavens and the earth. So cling to supplication and be sincere in intention."
This tradition gives an account of the importance of supplication, for it is the weapon of a believer, pillar of religion, and light of the heavens and earth. So supplication has occupied the highest position with Allah, the Exalted.
14. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "If one of you wants a need, then let him seek it early in the morning on Thursday, and let him recites when he goes out of his house the last (verse) of Al 'Umran, Ayat al-Kursi, Inna Anzalnahu fi Laylat al-Qadr, and Umm al-Kitab (Surat al-Fatiha), for in them is the accomplishment of the needs of this world and the next."
This tradition contains the program of accomplishing needs, for he (the Prophet) has appointed the time when the Suras of Allah's dear Book should be recited.
15. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "Six (things) are of manhood: Three of them (is performed) in cities and towns and three of them (is performed) on journey. As for those (performed) in cities and towns are: reciting the Qur'a`n, building mosques, and making friends in Allah; and as for those (performed) on journey are: giving food generously, good manners, and joking (in things) other than acts of disobedience to Allah."
These six qualities give an account of man's honor, manhood, and good inner self.


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16. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said three times:] "O Allah, have mercy on my successors!"
He was asked: "Who are your successors, Allah's Apostle?"
He replied: "Those who will come after me, narrate my traditions and my Sunna (sayings and practices), and teach them to men after me."
Surely, the successors of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and the closest of men to him are those who narrate his traditions, circulate them among men, teach men the principle features of religion and the precepts of Islam.
17. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "Verily, this knowledge is the treasures of Allah and its keys are question, so question, may Allah have mercy on you, for four (persons) are rewarded because of it: the questioner, the teacher, the listener, and the answerer."
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, urges the ignorant to question about the affairs of their religious and worldly affairs which they do not know, for, in this manner, knowledge is spread and circulated.
18. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "He who recites Idha Zulzult al-Ardu four times is like him who has recited the whole Qur'an."
Surely, reciting this Holy Verse four times leads to this great result, which is reciting the whole Qur'an.
19. Through his chain of authorities, he said: [My father Mohammed b. 'Ali, peace be on them, related to me. He said: He, peace be on him, said:] "If you enter five (things), you will not able to (perform) the like of them: The servant should fear (nothing) except his sins, hope for (none) except his Lord. The ignorant, when asked about something he does not know, should not be ashamed of saying that Allah and His Messenger know. He who does not know should not be ashamed of learning. Steadfastness is of the same rank with


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faith as (that of) the head with the body. He who has no patience has no faith."
Wisdom has been embodied in these matters through which man, if he follows them, is exalted and a model of excellence and politeness.
20. Through his chain of authorities, he said:[ Al-Husayn b. 'Ali, peace be on them, related to me. He said:] "A tablet was found under a wall of one of the cities (al-Mada'in), and therein was written: 'I am Allah; there is no god save Me and Mohammed is My Prophet. I wonder at him who is sure of death, how is he happy? I wonder at him who is certain of (Allah's) determination, how is he sad? I wonder at him who has tried the world, how does he feel secure wherein? And I wonder at him who is sure of reckoning, how does he commit sins?'"
This tablet contains a great warning. If man carefully considers the warning, he will turn away from every sin and do all that which bring him near to Allah.
21. Through his chain of authorities, he, peace be on him, said: [Allah's Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, said:] "An angel came to me and said: 'O Mohammed, verily your Lord recite (His) greetings to you and says to you: 'If you want, I will make the valley of Mecca gold.'" He said: "So he (the Prophet) looked toward the sky and said: 'O Lord, make me satisfied on one day, so I will praise you; make me hungry on another, so I will ask you!'"
Indeed, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, renounced the world, turned away from its pleasures, and devoted himself to Allah, the most High. This is one of his special qualities which distinguished him from the rest of the prophets.