Published on 6th
Imam Ali Zayn Al-Abideen ('a).
On Rights (Risalat Al-Huquq)"
was written by
the forth Imam, Imam Ali Zayn Al-Abidin ('a)
- God have mercy upon you, that God has rights against you and that these
encompass you in every movement through which you move, every rest through
which you rest, every way station in which you reside, every limb which
you employ, and every instrument which you put to work. Some of these
rights are greater and some less.
greatest of God's rights against you is the right which He has made
incumbent upon you for Himself and which is the root of all rights,
which He has made incumbent upon you in yourself, from your crown to
your foot, in keeping with the diversity of your organs.
has given your tongue a right against you,
hearing a right against you,
sight a right against you,
hand a right against you,
leg a right against you,
stomach a right against you,
your private part a right against you.
are the seven organs through which acts (af'al) take place.
gave your ritual prayer a right against you,
fasting a right against you,
charity a right against you,
offering a right against you, and your acts a right against you.
these rights extend out from you to others who have rights against you.
The most incumbent of them against you are the rights toward your leaders
(a'imma), then the rights toward your subjects (ra'iyya),
then the rights toward your womb [relatives] (rahim).
these rights branch out other rights.
most incumbent upon you is the right of him who trains you through
him who trains you through knowledge, then
him who trains you through property.
most incumbent upon you is the right of those who are your subjects
through authority, then
right of those who are your subjects through knowledge for the man of
ignorance is the subject of the man of knowledge then
the right of
those who are your subjects through property, such as
is owned by the right hand.
They are connected to you in the measure of
the connection of the womb relationship.
most incumbent upon you is the right of your mother, then
right of your father, then
right of your child, then
right of your brother, then the next nearest, then the next nearest -
the most worthy, then the next most worthy.
favours you (by freeing you from slavery), then
right of the slave whose favours reach you [by the fact that you free
right of him who does a kindly act toward you, then
right of the muezzin who calls you to the ritual prayer, then
right of the imam who leads the prayer, then
right of your sitting companion, then
right of your neighbour, then
right of your companion, then
right of your partner, then
right of your property, then
right of him who has a debt he must pay back to you, then
right of him to whom you owe a debt, then
right of your associate, then
right of your adversary who has a claim against you, then
right of your adversary against whom you have a claim, then
right of him who asks you for advice, then
right of him whom you ask for advice, then
right of him who asks your counsel, then
right of him who counsels you, then
right of him who is older than you, then
right of him who is younger than you, then
right of him who asks from you, then
right of him from whom you ask, then the right of
who does something evil to you through word or deed, or
who makes you happy through word or deed, intentionally or
right of the people of your creed, then
right of the people under your protection, then all rights in the
measure of the causes of the states and the occurrence of events.
happy is he whom God aids in the rights which He has made incumbent upon
him and whom He gives success therein and points in the proper direction!
greatest right of God against you is that you worship Him without
associating anything with Him. When you do that with sincerity (ikhlas),
He has made it binding upon Himself to give you sufficiency in the affair
of this world and the next.
right of your self (nafs) against you is that you employ it in
obeying God; then you deliver to your tongue its right, to your hearing
its right, to your sight its right, to your hand its right, to your leg
its right, to your stomach its right, to your private part its right, and
you seek help from God in all that.
right of the tongue is that you consider it too noble for obscenity,
accustom it to good, refrain from any meddling in which there is nothing
to be gained, express kindness to the people, and speak well concerning
right of hearing is to keep it pure from listening to backbiting (ghiba)
and listening to that to which it is unlawful to listen.
right of sight is that you lower it before everything which is unlawful to
you and that you take heed whenever you look at anything.
right of your hand is that you stretch it not toward that which is
unlawful to you.
right of your two legs is that you walk not with them toward that which is
unlawful to you. You have no escape from standing upon the narrow bridge (al-sirat
[over hell]), so you should see to it that your legs do not slip and cause
you to fall into the Fire.
right of your stomach is that you make it not into a container for that
which is unlawful to you and you eat no more than your fill (shib').
right of your private part (farj) is that you protect it from
fornication and guard it against being looked upon.
right of your ritual prayer (salat) is that you know that it is
an arrival before God and that through it you are standing before Him.
When you know that, then you will stand in the station of him who is
lowly, vile, beseeching, trembling, hopeful, fearful, and abased, and you
will magnify Him who is before you through stillness and dignity. You will
approach the prayer with your heart and you will perform it according to
its bounds and its rights.
right of the hajj is that you know it is an arrival before your
Lord and a flight to Him from your sins; through it your repentance is
accepted and you perform an obligation made incumbent upon you by God.
right of fasting is that you know it is a veil which God has set up over
your tongue, your hearing, your sight, your stomach, and your private part
to protect you from the Fire. If you abandon the fast, you will have torn
God's protective covering away from yourself.
right of charity (sadaqa) is that you know it is a storing away
with your Lord and a deposit for which you will have no need for
witnesses. If you deposit it in secret, you will be more confident of it
than if you deposit it in public. You should know that it repels
afflictions and illnesses from you in this world and it will repel the
Fire from you in the next world.
right of the offering (hady) is that through it you desire God
and you not desire His creation; through it you desire only the exposure
of your soul to God's mercy and the deliverance of your spirit on the day
you encounter Him.
right of the possessor of authority (sultan) is that you know
that God has made you a trial (fitna) for him. God is testing him
through the authority He has given him over you. You should not expose
yourself to his displeasure, for thereby you cast yourself by your own
hands into destruction and become his partner in his sin when he brings
evil down upon you.
right of the one who trains you (sa'is) through knowledge is
magnifying him, respecting his sessions, listening well to him, and
attending to him with devotion. You should not raise your voice toward
him. You should never answer anyone who asks him about something, in order
that he may be the one who answers. You should not speak to anyone in his
session nor speak ill of anyone with him. If anyone ever speaks ill of him
in your presence, you should defend him. You should conceal his faults and
make manifest his virtues. You should not sit with him in enmity or show
hostility toward him in friendship. If you do all of this, God's angels
will give witness for you that you went straight to him and learned his
knowledge for God's sake, not for the sake of the people.
right of him who trains you through property is that you should obey him
and not disobey him, unless obeying him would displease God, for there can
be no obedience to a creature when it is disobedience to God.
right of your subjects through authority is that you should know that they
have been made subjects through their weakness and your strength. Hence it
is incumbent upon you to act with justice toward them and to be like a
compassionate father toward them. You should forgive them their ignorance
and not hurry them to punishment and you should thank God for the power
over them which He has given to you.
right of your subjects through knowledge is that you should know that God
made you a caretaker over them only through the knowledge He has given you
and His storehouses which He has opened up to you. If you do well in
teaching the people, not treating them roughly or annoying them, then God
will increase His bounty toward you. But if you withhold your knowledge
from people or treat them roughly when they seek knowledge from you, then
it will be God's right to deprive you of knowledge and its splendour and
to make you fall from your place in people's hearts.
right of your wife (zawja) is that you know that God has made her
a repose and a comfort for you; you should know that she is God's favour
toward you, so you should honour her and treat her gently. Though her
right toward you is more incumbent, you must treat her with compassion,
since she is your asir whom you feed and clothe. If
she is ignorant, you should pardon her.
right of your slave (mamluk) is that you should know that he is
the creature of your Lord, the son of your father and mother, and your
flesh and blood. You own him, but you did- not make him; God made him. You
did not create any one of his limbs, nor do you provide him with his
sustenance; on the contrary, God gives you the sufficiency for that. Then
He subjugated him to you, entrusted him to you, and deposited him with you
so that you may be safeguarded by the good you give to him. So act well
toward him, just as God has acted well toward you. If you dislike him,
replace him, but do not torment a creature of God. And there is no
strength save in God.
right of your mother is that you know that she carried you where no one
carries anyone, she gave to you of the fruit of her heart that which no
one gives to anyone, and she protected you with all her organs. She did
not care if she went hungry as long as you ate, if she was thirsty as long
as you drank, if she was naked as long as you were clothed, if she was in
the sun as long as you were in the shade. She gave up sleep for your sake,
she protected you from heat and cold, all in order that you might belong
to her. You will not be able to show her gratitude, unless through God's
help and giving success.
right of your father is that you know that he is your root. Without him,
you would not be. Whenever you see anything in yourself which pleases you,
know that your father is the root of its blessing upon you. So praise God
and thank Him in that measure. And there is no strength save in God.
right of your child is that you should know that he is from you and will
be ascribed to you, through both his good and his evil, in the immediate
affairs of this world. You are responsible for what has been entrusted to
you, such as educating him in good conduct (husn al-adab),
pointing him in the direction of his Lord, and helping him to obey Him. So
act toward him with the action of one who knows that he will be rewarded
for good doing toward him and punished for evildoing.
right of your brother is that you know that he is your hand, your might,
and your strength. Take him not as a weapon with which to disobey God, nor
as equipment with which to wrong God's creatures. Do not neglect to help
him against his enemy or to give him good counsel. If he obeys God, well
and good, but if not, you should honour God more than him. And there is no
strength save in God.
right of your master (mawla) who has favoured you [by freeing you
from slavery] is that you know that he has spent his property for you and
brought you out of the abasement and estrangement of bondage to the
exaltation and comfort of freedom. He has freed you from the captivity of
possession and loosened the bonds of slavery from you. He has brought
you out of prison, given you ownership of yourself, and given you leisure
to worship your Lord. You should know that he is the closest of God's
creatures to you in your life and your death and that aiding him with your
life and what he needs from you is incumbent upon you. And there is no
strength save in God.
right of the slave (mawla) whom you have favoured [by freeing
him] is that you know that God has made your freeing him a means of access
to Him and a veil against the Fire. Your immediate reward is to inherit
from him-if he does not have any maternal relatives-as a compensation for
the property you have spent for him, and your ultimate reward is the
right of him who does a kindly act (dhu l-ma'ruf) toward you is
that you thank him and mention his kindness; you reward him with beautiful
words and you supplicate for him sincerely in that which is between you
and God. If you do that, you have thanked him secretly and openly. Then,
if you are able to repay him one day, you repay him.
right of the muezzin is that you know that he is reminding you of your
Lord, calling you to your good fortune, and helping you to accomplish what
God has made obligatory upon you. So thank him for that just as you thank
one who does good to you.
right of your imam in your ritual prayer is that you know that he has
taken on the role of mediator between you and your Lord. He speaks for
you, but you do not speak for him; he supplicates for you, but you do not
supplicate for him. He has spared you the terror of standing before God.
If he performs the prayer imperfectly, that belongs to him and not to you;
but if he performs it perfectly, you are his partner, and he has no
excellence over you. So protect yourself through him, protect your prayer
through his prayer, and thank him in that measure.
right of your sitting companion (jalis) is that you treat him
mildly, show fairness toward him while vying with him in discourse, and do
not stand up from sitting with him without his permission. But it is
permissible for him who sits with you to leave without asking your
permission. You should forget his slips and remember his good qualities,
and you should tell nothing about him but good.
right of your neighbour (jar) is that you guard him when he is
absent, honour him when he is present, and aid him when he is wronged. You
do not pursue anything of his that is shameful; if you know of any evil
from him, you conceal it. If you know that he will accept your counsel,
you counsel him in that which is between him and you. You do not forsake
him in difficulty, you release him from his stumble, you forgive his sin,
and you associate with him generously. And there is no strength save in
right of the companion (sahib) is that you act as his companion
with bounty and in fairness. You honour him as he honours you and you do
not let him be the first to act with generosity. If he is the first, you
repay him. You wish for him as he wishes for you and you restrain him from
any act of disobedience he might attempt. Be a mercy for him, not a
chastisement. And there is no strength save in God.
right of the partner (sharik) is that if he should be absent, you
suffice him in his affairs, and if he should be present, you show regard
for him. You make no decision without his decision and you do nothing on
the basis of your own opinion, but you exchange views with him. You guard
his property for him, and you do not betray him in that of his affair
which is difficult or of little importance, for God's hand is above the
hands of two partners as long as they do not betray each other. And there
is no strength save in God.
right of your property (mal) is that you take it only from what
is lawful and you spend it only in what is proper. Through it you should
not prefer above yourself those who will not praise you. You should act
with it in obedience to your Lord and not be miserly with it, lest you
fall back into regret and remorse while suffering the ill consequence. And
there is no strength save in God.
right of him to whom you owe a debt (al-gharim alladhi yutalibuka)
is that, if you have the means, you pay him back, and if you are in
straitened circumstances, you satisfy him with good words and you send him
away with gentleness.
right of the associate (khalit) is that you neither mislead him,
nor act dishonestly toward him, nor deceive him, and you fear God in his
right of the adversary (khasm) who has a claim against you is
that, if what he claims against you is true, you give witness to it
against yourself. You do not wrong him and you give him his full due. If
what he claims against you is false, you act with kindness toward him and
you show nothing in his affair other than kindness; you do not displease
your Lord in his affair. And there is no strength save in God.
right of the adversary against whom you have a claim is that, if your
claim against him is true, you maintain polite moderation in speaking to
him and you do not deny his right. If your claim is false, you fear God,
repent to Him, and abandon your claim.
right of him who asks you for advice (mustashir) is that, if you
consider that he has a correct opinion, you advise him to follow it, and
if you do not consider it so, you direct him to someone who does consider
right of him whom you ask for advice (mushir) is that you do not
make accusations against him for an opinion which does not conform to your
own opinion. If it conforms to it, you praise God.
right of him who asks your counsel (mustansih) is that you give
him your counsel, but you conduct yourself toward him with compassion and
right of your counsellor (nasih) is that you act gently toward
him and give ear to him. If he presents you with the right course, you
praise God, but if he does not agree with you, you show compassion toward
him and make no accusations against him; you consider him to have made a
mistake, and you do not take him to task for that, unless he should be
deserving of accusation. Then attach no more importance to his affair. And
there is no strength save in God.
right of him who is older than you (kabir) is that you show
reverence toward him because of his age and you honour him because he
entered Islam before you. You leave off confronting him in a dispute, you
do not precede him in a path, you do not go ahead of him, and you do not
consider him foolish. If he should act foolishly toward you, you put up
with him and you honour him because of the right of Islam and the respect
due to it.
right of him who is younger (saghir) is that you show compassion
toward him through teaching him, pardoning him, covering his faults,
kindness toward him, and helping him.
right of him who asks (sa'il) from you is that you give to him in
the measure of his need.
right of him from whom you ask is that you accept from him with gratitude
and recognition of his bounty if he gives, and you accept his excuse if he
right of him through whom God makes you happy (surur) is that you
first praise God, then you thank the person.
right of him who does evil to you is that you pardon him. But if you know
that your pardon will harm him, you defend yourself. God says,
defends himself after he has been wronged - against them there is no way"
right of the people of your creed (milla) is harbouring safety
for them, compassion toward them, kindness toward their evildoer, treating
them with friendliness, seeking their well-being, thanking their
good-doer, and keeping harm away from them. You should love for them what
you love for yourself and dislike for them what you dislike for yourself.
Their old men stand in the place of your father, their youths in the place
of your brothers, their old women in the place of your mother, and their
young ones in the place of your children.
The right of the people under the protection [of
Islam] (dhimma) is that you accept from them what God has
accepted from them and you do no wrong to them as long as they fulfil
"The Psalms of Islam", Imam A'li Ibnul-Husayn Zaynul-A'Abideen
As-Sajjad, by As'-S'ah'eefatul-Kaamilatus-Sajjaadeeyah, Iran.