Anecdotes of the pious

The World in an egg

Hisham ibn Hakam was a companion of Imam Ja’far As-Sadeq (A.S.). One day the famous learned atheist, Abdullah Deisani, asked him: “Do you believe in a Creator?”

“Yes” replied Hisham

“Has He power over everything” Abdullah Deisani asked

“He is All-powerful” said Hisham

“Can He put the whole world in an egg is such a way that neither the egg becomes bigger nor the world smaller?”

“Give me some time to answer” asked Hisham

“You have one year to answer” said Abdullah Deisani

Hisham decided to go on a journey to meet Imam Ja’far As-Sadeq (A.S.)

“O son of the Prophet, Abdullah Deisani has asked me a question and I am not able to answer him…”

Imam asked: “What is the question?” Hisham gave the details of the question.

The Imam replied:

“O Hisham, how many physical sense do you have?” “Five” replied Hisham

“Which is the smallest of them?” “My eye”

“What is the size of the lens of your eyes?”

“It is just like a lentil or even smaller than that”

Imam continued:

“Look around and above you and tell me what you see?”

“I see the sky, the earth, houses, forests, hills and rivers!”

“He who is capable of putting all these things, which you are seeing, in a very small lentil or less than that, can also put the whole world in an egg, such that neither the world becomes smaller nor the egg bigger.”

 This is Ali bin Husain (A.S.)

A caravan of Muslims was headed towards Mecca.  As it arrived in Madina, it rested a few days, and continued on towards Mecca.

On their way from Madina to Mecca, a man joined the group.   This man noticed one of them who had the appearance of a guided person.  He was eagerly busy in service of the passengers.  The man recognised him.  With much surprise, he asked the Hajis if they knew this man who was at their service?

“No, we don’t know him.  He joined us in Madina.  He is a pious man.  We haven’t asked him for help.  But he is like one of us – helping us.”

Obviously you don’t know him.   For if you did, you would never have allowed a man like him to be at your service.” “Who is this person?” they asked

“This is Ali bin Husain , Zayn ul Aabideen.”

The group stood with shame and apologised to the Imam (A.S.).

Then turning to Imam, they said: “Why did you treat us as such?  We may have gone beyond our bounds in our ignorance, and would have committed a big sin in being disrespectful to you.”

Imam (A.S.):

“I intentionally joined your group, for you didn’t know me. When I join a group, where people know me, for the sake of the Prophet (S.A.W.), they are very kind to me.  They don’t allow me to be of some service.  Thus I was eager to join a group where I would not be known so that I may have the honour of being of some service to my companions.”

Bihar ul Anwaar , v.1 p.21


Nineteen Sons

Prophet Dawud (A.S.) had nineteen sons. Allah had granted Prophet Dawud (A.S.) the Zabur. He also became King of his people.

Each of his sons hoped to inherit their father’s throne. Allah revealed to Prophet Dawud (A.S.) some questions to put to each of his sons. Who ever answered the questions correctly, would inherit his father’s throne.

One day, Prophet Dawud (A.S.) called all his sons in the presence of all the scholars and leaders of all the tribes in his kingdom. He asked them all the following questions:

1)  Which is the nearest thing to a human being?

2) Which is the furthest thing to a human being?

3) Which two things are attached to each other?

4) Which is the most shocking thing?

5) Which two things remain unchanged?

6) Which two things are always different?

7) Which two things are opposed to each other?

8) What is the action the result of which is good?

9) What is the action the result of which is bad?

Only the youngest son, Prophet Sulayman (A.S.) stood up and gave the following answers:

1)  The nearest thing to a human being is the hereafter

(death may come at any moment)

2) The furthest thing from a human being is the time which has passed away.

3) The two things that are attached to each other are the body and the soul.

4) The  most  shocking thing  is  a  dead  body  (a  body without a soul).

5) The two things which remain the same are the sky and the earth.

6) The two things which are different are the night and day.

7) The two things opposed to each other are life and death.

8) The action, the result of which is good is patience at the time of anger.

9) The action, the result of which is bad is haste at the time of anger.

Prophet Sulayman (A.S.) was appointed the successor to his father’s throne.

How to secure your wealth

Imam Musa al-Kazim (as) has narrated, “One day (Imam) as-Sadeq (as) was travelling with some people who had large amount of cash with them. He said to them that there were robbers who attacked travelers. They became so frightened. He asked them what the matter was and they said to him, “We have a mounts of money with us and we fear that they will be extorted from us. Would you please keep them with you that when the robbers see that they are yours, they may leave us alone?” Imam as-Sadeq (as) said to them, “But they may have intended just to attack me and thus you cause me to face dangers because of your monies!” They said, “Then what should we do? Do we bury them?” He said, “This is worse. They may be taken by anyone or you can not find the way to them later on.” They said, “Would you please tell us whats hall we do?” Imam as-Sadeq (as) said, “Entrust them with the one who will keep them, protect them, increase them and make the one (unit) of them greater than this world and then he will give them back to you when you are in out most need of them.”

They said, “Who is he?” He said, “He is the Lord of the worlds.” They said, “How shall we entrust the monies to Him?” He said, “You spend them as charities on the poor Muslims.” They said, “How can we find poor Muslims in this situation?” He said, “Intend to spend one third so that Allah will protect the rest from what you fear from.” They said, “We have intended to do that.” He said to them, “Then you will be safe.”

They went on their way. The robbers appeared and they felt afraid. Imam as-Sadiq (as) said to them, “Why do you fear while you are under the protection of Allah?” The robbers came near. They got do wn of their horses, kissed the hand of Imam as-Sadiq (as) and said, “Last night we saw in our sleep that the messenger of Allah ordered us to offer o urselves to be at your service and here we are! We will accompany you and your companions to protect you from the robbers and enemies.” Imam as-Sadiq (as) said, “We do not need you. He, Who has protected us from you, will protect us from the others.”

They went on their travel safely. They paid the third of their monies as charity. Allah blessed their trading and they got a profit of ten dirhams for each dirham. They said, “How great the blessing of as-Sadiq is!” Imam as-Sadiq (as) said, “You have got the blessing because of your dealing with Allah. Keep on that!”

(Biharul Anwar, vol. 96 p.120, Uyoon Akhbar ar-Redha, vo l.2 p.4-5.)

Repenting in the middle of a battle

Nasr bin Muza mentions in his book Waq’at (battle of) Siffeen that Hashim al-Mirqal had gone with a group of the Qur’an reciters to support Ameerul Mo’mineen Imam Ali (as) in the battle of Siffeen when he saw a young man from the army of Mo’awiya reciting some verses of poetry and challenging that Someone might fight him.

He abused Imam Ali (as), cursed him and reviled him too much. Hashim al-Mirqal said to him, “After this speech there is enmity and after this fighting there is punishment. Fear Allah because you will return to Him and He will ask you about this situation and what you have intended to do.”

The young man replied, “I will fight you because your man (Imam Ali) does not offer prayers as I have been told “O Hashim said that he had showed him the truth and proved to him the deception of Mo’awiya. When he knew the truth, he apologized, repented, turned to Allah and joined the army of Imam Ali (as)”.


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