As recorded in Kitab al-Kafi by Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Kulayni
I. The Outstanding Merits of the Prophet
“Despite their great sins and their ugly acts our Lord — out of His clemency, His tolerance, and His mercy — chose for them the most lovable one of His prophets and the most honorable one of them, Muhammad bin Abd Allah, may Allah bless him and his family. He was born in the most exalted place of glory [Mecca]. He was born of the tree of nobility. His ancestry was not mingled. His lineage was not mixed. The prophets [before him] brought glad tidings (to people) about him in their description. His trait was modesty and his nature was charitable. He was naturally disposed for the burdens of the Prophethood and its good manners, having the inborn characteristics of the mission. From Adam to his father Abd Allah, he was in the best group — the noblest tribe, the strongest family.
“Allah chose him, was pleased with him, and selected him. Allah gave him keys of knowledge and sent him as mercy for people and as spring for the country. Allah sent down the Book to him. In it (the book) there are eloquent sayings and explanations. It is the Arabic Qur’an without twists that they may guard (against evil). He (Allah) already explained it to men, detailed its method with knowledge, explained the religion, ordained (religious) duties, limited and explained punishments for people, disclosed and declared matters for His creation. In the matters that Allah declared, there is a direction to salvation.
“So, Allah’s Apostle propagated what he was sent to do, declared what he was ordered to, and fulfilled the burdens of prophethood. He was patient for his Lord, he waged holy war in His way, he was loyal to his nation, he summoned his people to salvation, he urged them (to read) the Qur’an, he showed them the way of guidance with methods and reasons, he showed them the ways by which they would not go astray after him, and he was compassionate and merciful to them.”
II. The Imam – A Brilliant Guide and Evidence for the People of His Time
He (al-Sadiq), peace be on him, said [in the presence of his Shia believers]:
“Indeed, Allah, the Exalted, unveiled His religion through the Imams of guidance of the family of our Prophet, and has made clear through them the direction of His path. He has opened the innermost part of the springs of His knowledge through them. So, whoever among the community of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, knows the obligatory rights of his Imam finds the taste of the sweetness of his belief and knows the virtue of acceptance of his Islam, for Allah, the Exalted, has appointed the Imam as a sign for His creation and has made him as evidence for the people of his time and his world.
Allah, the Exalted, crowned him with solemnity, covered him with the Light of His might. He made a rope to stretch up to heaven. Nothing can be obtained from what is with Allah but through the Imam, nor does Allah accept the acts of men unless they know the Imam, for (the Imam) knows about the ambiguities of darkness, the obscurities of the paths and the complications of disturbances. Allah, the Exalted, went on choosing them for His creation from the sons of al-Husayn, peace be on him, an Imam from the progeny of the Imam. He chose and selected them for that. He approved them for His creation and is pleased with them. Whenever an Imam of them passed away, He appointed an Imam from his progeny for His creation. (The Imam) is a clear sign, brilliant guide, custodian leader and knowledgeable proof.
“The Imams are from Allah; they guide to the truth and by (the truth) Allah acts with justice. Imam are the Proofs of Allah, His propagandists, and His guardians over His creation. People follow their guidance. The country is lit up by their light. The unripe product grows by their blessing. Allah has made them life for men, lamps for darkness, keys for speech, and supporters for Islam.
“Before the creation of creatures, the Imam was a soul on the right side of Allah’s Throne. He was gifted with wisdom in the world of the unseen. Allah chose him with His knowledge and selected him for his purity. He (the Imam) was the choice of the progeny of Noah, the chosen (one) of the family of Abraham, the best (one) of the family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family.
“He (Allah) entrusted His religion to the Imam and appointed him the Proof over His creatures and His custodian over His inhabited lands and confirmed him with His Spirit and gave him His knowledge. Allah made him to know His decisive speech, and committed His Secret to him, and appointed him to His great affairs, and made him know the excellence of the expression of His knowledge.”
Date first posted: September 10, 2011.
Date updated: October 16, 2014.
Editor’s note: The orations of Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq appeared in Kitab al-Kafi by Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Kulayni (d. 949 AC), who is considered as the foremost compiler of traditions of the Shia Imams of Ahl al-Bayt. More recently, the orations were published in an Arabic work on Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq by the prominent Shia scholar, the late Shaykh Mohammed al-Husayn al-Muzaffar. This Arabic work was published several times by the Theological Schools in Najaf and Qum. An English translation of the Arabic work was done by Jasim al-Rasheed and published in 2007 in Qum, Iran under the title Imam al-Sadiq. The above excerpts are adapted from Rasheed’s translation.
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