Hope from Allah and fear of Sins

We should never rely cent percent on our or anyone’s intelligence and power. We should have absolute trust only on the unlimited power of God. If something unpleasant happens to us we should not get frightened or become sad or unhappy. But our grief and fear should be related to God. That whether Allah is displeased or angry with us or not. Whether I have become entitled to punishment or disgrace? It might not be a test, it could be some punishment. What if God does not forgive this bad deed? Hope should be from Allah only. There should be no polytheism in hope and fear also.

[More subtle than the footfall of an Ant]

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said, “Indeed, polytheism is more subtle than the footfall of an ant.”[174] Imam has also said that such polytheism is also seen in the action of wearing the ring inverted (to have the stone on the side of palm), so that one remembers pending work etc. In the same way people put a knot on the handkerchief, etc. as reminder for some errand.

Albeit, such acts normally do not come into the realm of polytheism. It is polytheism when total hope (complete trust) is put on the ring or the knot, that it will surely make one remember things. But if for instance one thinks that ‘if God wills I will remember due to these means’, this act would be according to monotheism. And if Allah does not wish, whatever he may do he would never be reminded of the things he wanted to remember.

[Making someone a medium (Wasilah) for God is not polytheism]

So the ring or the knot etc., or some person, all that are taken as mediums to make one remember something do not make one commit polytheism. Only Allah should be in the mind, that if Allah wishes, He would cause these mediums to remind one. All hope should be on God alone.

[To augur evil is a kind of polytheism]

To make (draw) bad omen and to rely on it is also a type of polytheism. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said: “To consider bad omen, as the only effective thing is like thinking that the bad omen has interfered in the actions of God. That is one has committed polytheism with regard to God’s actions if one has followed a bad omen.” The tradition above and the one following, both are quoted on page 66 of Vol. II of Hayatul Haiwan. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has also said, “One who retraces his steps thinking a bad omen has occurred has committed polytheism.”

And Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) remarked, “Not paying attention to bad omen is itself an expiation of it.”

[What is a superstition?]

To consider something having good or bad influence while God has not made it to be so is known as ‘superstition’. As a matter of fact he has made those things as partners of Allah. For example, he is about to do something sensible, but all of a sudden he or someone else in his presence sneezes. Now he leaves whatever he was about to do thinking that this sneeze would affect the outcome of whatever he was about to do. This is superstition and a kind of polytheism.

[Sneeze is a blessing]

This wrong notion is so widespread that people have named it ‘patience’. When someone sneezes, people tell him that ‘patience’ has occurred. Now that work should not be continued. Although logically or by any rule of Shariah the sneeze by itself is not the cause of any incident to occur in future. Rather, according to Islam, one who sneezes is supposed to have blessings and forgiveness. And it can be said that at that time, whatever was said or done had the blessing of God.

[ ‘Inauspicious moment’ is also nonsense]

There are many people, who by observing planets and stars predict future events. They inform about the benefit or loss that may occur in future. On the basis of their own wrong notion or on the basis of astrological predictions they count certain definite moments or times as inauspicious. And if they had decided to do something at that particular time they will not do it. This is also a kind of polytheism. If man knows that profit and loss is in the powerful hands of God, if he begs for God’s help through supplications or charity (Sadaqah), then that is a proof of monotheism. If at all Allah wishes, then surely he will get the good of it.

[Amirul Momineen (a.s.) marches to Naharwan]

‘Khawarij’ is the plural of Khariji (one who goes out). Some soldiers of Ali (a.s.) left their allegiance to him and started opposing him. Ali (a.s.) decided to fight those Khawarij and began his march towards Naharwan. Afif Ibne Qais said, “O Amirul Momineen (a.s.), I am afraid that if you move at this time, you will not get success. I say this on the basis of astrology. The position of the stars indicates weakness of Muslims.” Imam said, “Do you think you can tell the hour when a man goes out and no evil befall him or can warn of the time at which if one goes out harm will accrue? Whoever testifies to this, falsifies the Quran and becomes unmindful of God in achieving his desired objective and in warding off the undesirable.” The Quran says:

And if Allah should hasten the evil to men as they desire the hastening of good, their doom should certainly have been decreed for them.[175] These kinds of verses show that good and bad is under the control of God. Man does not even know what he would do tomorrow. This is implied in the following verse:

And no one knows what he shall earn on the morrow…[176] The person having such a wrong notion does not seek God’s help. He considers himself needless of God in achieving good and avoiding calamities. “You cherish saying this so that he who acts on what you say should praise you rather than God because according to your misconception you have guided him about the hour in which he would secure benefit and avoid harm.”[177]

[Marched at the same time and returned victorious]

In brief, Ali (a.s.) did not accept the view of Afif and he said to his companions: “March forward taking the name of God and in the shade of His help, and always seek the assistance of God Almighty.” Thus immediately at that hour Imam invaded the Khawarjis, and was victorious in that battle. Nine Kharijis ran away and the rest were killed. In comparison very few of Ali’s men were killed.

[Crowing of the crow]

Just as sneezing, which is considered a bad omen, other silly ideas are also prevalent among the general public. Many things are considered as bad omen; and are thought to affect future happenings. This is a kind of polytheism. For example listening to crowing of crow is considered by some as inauspicious. If an owl sits on a wall it is said to be a bad omen. Number 13 is considered inauspicious. If during a journey a bird crosses ones path from right or left, it is considered a sign of inauspiciousness. At the time of coming out of the house if a handicapped person is seen, it is considered inauspicious. Guests arriving or leaving on Sunday and Wednesday eve and visiting a sick person on these eves is considered to be a cause of misfortune.

[To consider someone as auspicious, or inauspicious is also nonsense]

A person purchases a house and starts living in it, gets married and children are born. But he falls into calamities at some time; hence he says that the house is inauspicious. His wife is unlucky; some children are unlucky. But when he makes new gains the same house becomes auspicious again and the same wife and children now become auspicious and are welcomed. All these are superstitions and such talk is nonsense. This is a kind of polytheism. It is against monotheism. Only Allah is the Master of profit and loss, and good or evil.

If someone says that his belief is based on experience, it is a misunderstanding. It is not necessary that one who considers some occasion as inauspicious, every work he undertakes at that time will be unsuccessful or will not be done properly, or problems will arise. In fact equal possibility is there that it may prove good for him. It is expected from a man, that on every occasion, he perform his work with perfect trust in Allah (having faith in Allah’s power). Now good or bad, whatever is in his fate, is the will of Allah. There is nothing unpleasant in it. One who considers something or some occasion to be inauspicious and that it affects future events should know that it has no relation whatsoever with the future. Whatever is to happen is bound to happen, someone may or may not sneeze.

[Inauspiciousness lies in wrong beliefs and disapproved qualities]

In the city of Antioch, three prophets of God arrived and started preaching to the inhabitants so that they accept Allah as their cherisher and worship Him. That they embrace the religion of Allah and have faith on the Day of Judgment. They told these prophets:

They said: surely we augur evil from you.[178] Because of your presence we are suffering from so many difficulties and problems. As a matter of fact the King of Antioch had in the beginning shown displeasure towards those prophets and to those few who had declared their faith in them. The prophets replied: Your evil fortune is with you (Because of your own deeds).[179] Your beliefs are wrong. Your qualities are undesirable. And this is your misfortune, and evil omen.

[Do not care for Bad Omen]

Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has said, “Bad omen is according to the way you think. If you do not care for it, it will prove to be a thing not worth caring for. And if you consider it to be absolutely non-existent and an imaginary thing, it will prove to be non-existent and imaginary.”[180] There is a famous tradition of the Prophet, called the tradition of Rafa. A part of it is as follows: When the companions asked the Prophet, “We are in the habit of taking bad omens.” That is, we unknowingly talk of bad omen. The Prophet said, “Whenever you speak of bad omen, do not have faith on it and do not become habituated to it.”