Chapter 106

Manners of the Imams in the Matters of Food and Clothes as Leaders with Divine Authority


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Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Isa from ibn Mahbub from Hammad from Humayd and Jabir al-‘Abdi who has said the following. "Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) has said, ‘Allah has appointed me the Imam for His creation, Therefore, He made it obligatory for me to discipline myself in the matters of food, drinks and clothes to the level of the very weak ones of the people so that the poor follow my poverty and the rich would not become rebellious because of his riches.’"


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Ali ibn Ibrahim has narrated from his father from ibn abu ‘Umayr from Hammad ibn ‘Uthman from Mu‘alla ibn Khunays who has said the following. "One day I said to abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.), may Allah take my soul in service for your cause, I thought of the descendants of so and so (‘Abbasside) and the wealth they have at their disposal. Then I wished that had such wealth been at your disposal we would have lived with you prosperously." The Imam (a.s.) said, "Never O Mu‘alla, by Allah, had it been as you wished, there would have been nothing but hard labor of protections at nights and strenuous work during the days, coarse garments and tasteless food. Thus, it is kept away from us. Have you ever seen a usurpation that Allah, the Most High, would cause to become a blessing except this?"


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Ali ibn Muhammad has narrated from Salih ibn abu Hammad and A number of our people has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad and others through different chains of narrators. The Hadith is about the protest of Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) against ‘Asim ibn Ziyad who had confined himself in a gown away from the people. His brother, al-Rabi‘ ibn Ziyad complained before Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) complained that his ‘Asim’s family had become depressed and his sons had been sadden because of his behavior. Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) had summoned ‘Asim ibn Ziyad and was brought before him. When Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) saw him he frowned at him and said, "Why did you not feel ashamed before your wife? Why did you not show kindness to your sons? Do you think Allah had made good things lawful to and then He would dislike if you would use them? You are less significant to Allah than such a thing. Is it not Allah Who has said, "He spread out the earth for the people (55:10). There exists all kinds of fruits, palm-trees with sheathed blossoms, (55:11) grain with its husk and aromatic herbs (55:12). Is it not Allah Who has said, "He has made the two oceans meet each other, (55:19) but has created a barrier between them so that they will not merge totally (55:20). (Jinn and mankind) - which of the favors of your Lord do you then deny? (55:21). From the two oceans comes pearls and coral." (55:22) I swear by Allah, the use of the bounties of Allah in deeds is more preferred to Him than then using in words. Allah, the Most Majestic, the Most gracious, has said, ". . and proclaim the bounties of your Lord." (93:11)

‘Asim said, "O Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.), "Why have you confined yourself to tasteless food and harsh garments?" He said, "How inconsiderate of you! Allah, the Most Majestic, the Most gracious, has made obligatory for the Imams of justice to measure themselves with the people of lowest standard of living so that the poors’ poverty would plunge him in despair." ‘Asim then abandoned the gown and begun to live an normal life."


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A number of our people has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Barqi from his fatherfm Muhammad ibn Yahya al-Khazzaz from Hammad ibn ‘Uthman who has said the following. "I was in the presence of abu ‘Abdallah (a.s.) that a man said to him, "May Allah grant you well being, you have mentioned that Ali ibn abu Talib (a.s.) would wear harsh garments. He would buy a shirt worth four Dirhams only and so on. However, we see that you have new garments." The Imam (a.s.) said, "Ali ibn abu Talib (a.s.) would do so at a time when people would dislike it. Wearing such garments to day would have defamed him. The best garment for a given time is the garment that people of that time would use. However, when our Al-Qa’im will rise with Divine Authority, he will wear the kind of garment that Ali (a.s.) did and he will live just as Ali (a.s.) lived."