Imam Abu Jafar (al-Baqir) (AS) and all the Imams of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, took great care of their Shiites. They wanted them to follow their guidance and behavior.
They wanted them to be pious in their earnings. Moreover, they wanted them to cleave to the affairs of their religion to be an example to all Muslims. For the Shiites have bright Islamic abilities. With these abilities they are able to illuminate the way to the perplexed, and to show the great position of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.
It was reported on the authority of Imam al-Sadiq (AS) who said to one of his Shiites: “Be an adornment for us. Do not be a disgrace for us. So, people say: May Allah have mercy on Jafar Ibn-Mohammed”.
For he has educated his Shiites.”Imam Musa Ibn-Jafar (AS) knew that one of his Shiites misbehaved and committed what Allah prohibited. So, he (AS) gave him this wonderful piece of advice: “The good (thing) from everyone is good, and from you is better. The ugly (thing) from everyone is ugly, and from you is uglier, for you follow us, and we are the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt).
As for Imam Abu Jafar (al-Baqir) (AS) he took great care of his followers (Shiites). He educated them. He gave them high pieces of advice and noble teachings. He asked them to follow his teachings and pieces of advice. The following are some of his commandments:
His Commandments to his Shiites
It is incumbent on those who adopt the doctrine of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, to follow these immortal commandments. They should put into effect their bright items to be an example to people. This is the text of his commandments: “O People of our Shiites listen and understand our commandments and our covenant to our followers. Be truthful in your talk. Fulfill your oath to your friends and your enemies. Help each other with your properties. Love each other with your hearts. Give alms to your poor. Come together in your affairs.
Do not cheat nor betray anyone. Do not have doubts after certitude. Do not escape out of cowardice after intrepidity. Do not turn away from the people whom you love. Your desire should not be for the love of other than you nor should your love be for other than you nor should your act be for other than your lord nor should your faith and purpose be for other than your Prophet.
Ask for the help of Allah, be patient. Indeed the earth belongs to Allah. He gives it to His servants whom He wants. In addition, the final result is for the pious.
He (AS) added: Indeed, our Shiites, the friends of Allah and the friends of His Apostle, are those who tell the truth when they speak. They fulfill (the promise) when they promise. They pay (the deposit) when they are deposited. They endure with justice when they are forced to endure. They give when they are asked for the obligation. And do justice when they are asked (to do it). Our Shiites are those whose ears do not pass over their knowledge.
Our Shiites are those who do not praise those who find fault with us, nor do they make friends with those who hate us, nor do they associate with those who betray us. When our Shiites meet a believer, they honor him. When they meet an ignorant person, they leave him. Our Shiites are those who do not growl as the dog does, nor are they greedy as the crow is, nor do they ask anyone (for alms) except their brothers even if they die of hunger. Our Shiites are those who believe in our doctrine, separate themselves from their beloved ones for us, approach the strangers who love us, and turn away from the strangers who hate us.
One of those who were sitting with the Imam admired these words concerning the Shiites. Thus, he asked the Imam: Where are such as these (people)? The Imam replied: They are in the ends of the lands. It is they whose livelihood is easy, who are delighted. When they are present, no one knows them.
When they are away, no one misses them. When they become ill, no one visits them. When they propose (marriage), no one marries them. When they enter a way, they do not deviate from (it). When the ignorant ones address them, they say: peace. And they pass the night prostrating themselves before their Lord and standing.
One of those who were sitting with the Imam blamed the Shiites who were contemporary to the Imam, saying: “Oh son of Allah’s Apostle, what about those who follow you with their tongues while their hearts are contrary to that?
Thus, the Imam replied: The tribulation will bring about droughts against them to destroy them utterly, spites to ruin them completely, and disunion to kill them. By Him Who supported us at the hands of His angels, no one except Allah will kill them at their hands. Therefore, cleave to acknowledgment when you speak (to people). Leave quarreling, for it divides you. Beware, He (Allah) will raise you from the dead before the fixed time.
So, your blood will appear, your souls will go, those who will come after you will dispraise you, and you will be an example to the beholders. Indeed the best of the people in action is the one who leaves the people of the world- such as the father, the friend, and the adviser- and associates with his brothers in Allah even if they are Abyssinians or Negroes. No one of the believers will be raised a Negro from the dead. Rather they will be as white as hail. They will be washed with the water of the gardens.
They will win immortal Paradise. They will sit with the close angels, and accompany the prophets. No servant is more honorable with Allah than the servant who is rendered homeless for Allah till he meets Allah. Such are our Shiites who are the warners in the earth. They are lamps, signs, and light for those who seek what they seek. They are the leaders of the people of obedience to Allah. They bear witness against those who oppose their summons. They are tranquility for those who come to them. They are kind to those who follow them. They are generous, forgiving, and merciful. So, such are their attributes in the Torah, the Bible, and the Holy Quran. The learned man is from our Shiites when he keeps his tongue, obeys his leaders, shows enmity towards his enemies with his heart, knows their defects, does not show them what is in his heart, looks at their bad deeds with his own eye, and hears their offenses with his own ear. Those who hate his enemies are his friends. And those who love his enemies are his enemies.
So, one of those who were present asked the Imam: “May my father and mother be ransom for you, what is the reward of the one whom you have described when he walks peacefully, gets up peacefully, and spends the night protected? What is his rank and his reward?
Thus, the Imam (AS) said: “The Sky commanded him to be protected, the Earth commanded him to be honored, and the Light commanded him to be believed. So, it was said to the Imam: What is his attribute in the world?”
He (AS) replied: “When he is asked (for alms), he gives. When he is invited, he accepts. When he seeks (something), he obtains (it). And when he supports an oppressed person, he strengthens him.
I think that no commandments were reported on the authority of the Imams of the pious such these commandments that raise man to the level of the righteous and the pious. For they summon man to cleave to high moral standards and to refrain from bad manners. If Muslims put them into effect, they would be the lords of nations and leaders of people. Indeed these commandments are among the treasures of Islam. They contain the aspects and essence of Islam. They denote that Islam has good, mercy, and guidance for all people. So, the Moslem must follow them throughout his life.
The Early Shiites
Imam Abu Jafar (al-Baqir), (AS), praised the foremost Shiites. He mentioned their high moral standards and their high good qualities. He (AS) said: “Our friends and Shiites were the best of their period. The Imam of the mosque in the district was from among them. The caller to prayers (muazin) in the direction to the Kaaba (Qibla) was from among them. The possessor of the deposit was from among them. The possessor of the trust was from among them. The religious scholar whom the people asked about their religious affairs was from among them.
These commandments show the qualities of the early Shiites, such as asceticism, piety, religious devotion, and cleaving to the religion. So, the people trusted them. They prayed behind them. Moreover, they regarded them as custodians over their properties and religion. Generally speaking, the early Shiites were famous for piety and righteousness. It was reported that a Shiite stood before the judge as a witness. However, the judge refused to accept the Shiites testimony, for he belonged to the Rafidhah. So, the Shiite burst into tears. Thus, the judge was astonished at him. He thought that the Shiite wept for his refused testimony. He asked him about that. So, the Shiites replied: “You have deviated from the truth. You have ascribed me to this sect. No one joins it except the prophets and the righteous.
The Attributes of the Shiites
In many of his traditions, Imam Abu Jafar (al-Baqir) (AS) mentioned the high qualities which those who believe in the doctrine of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, should follow. The following are some of the traditions reported on his authority:
- He (AS) said: “Our Shiites fear Allah and obey Him. They are humble and pious. They pay the trust. They praise Allah very much. They perform the prayers and the fasting. They obey the parents. They take care of the poor neighbors, the needy, the debtors, and the orphans. They are truthful in talking. They recite the Koran. They hold back their tongues from (speaking against) people except good. Thus, they are the custodians of their tribes over all things. No one has such qualities except the righteous and the pious who fear Allah, and are afraid of His punishment.
- He (AS) said: “The Shiites of Ali (AS) sacrifice their lives for our authority. They love each other, for they love us. They visit each other to enliven our affair. When they become angry, they do not do wrong. When they are pleased, they do not go too far (in pleasure). They are a blessing for him who is their neighbor them. And they are peace for him who associates with them.
The Shiites who have such qualities are blessing and mercy for those who are their neighbor. They are a safety and a peace for those who associate with them. For they do nothing except good for all people.
- He (AS) spoke to Abu al-Muqdam about the high moral standards of the Shiites of Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful (AS). He (AS) said: “O Abu al-Muqdam, the Shiites of Ali are pale, thin, and withered. Their lips are faded, their abdomens are slim, their colors are changeable, and their faces are yellow. When it becomes dark, they use the ground as a bed and receive the earth with their foreheads. Their prostration is much, their tears are many, their supplications are many, and their weeping is plentiful. The people become happy and they become sad.
These are the attributes of the Shiites of whom were Ammar Ibn-Yasir, Abu Dharr, Hijr Ibn-Adi, Maytham al-Tammar, and the like.