1. Sayyid Najm al-Din is not known other than in this text, but the commentators point out that this has no negative effect on the chain since the text is mutawatir and of unquestioned authority. This is a chain of permission and not of transmission; in other words, the text itself has reached us by many different routes, but permission to teach the present text in this exact form was handed down by the figures being mentioned. The reason this particular chain is mentioned was suggested in the introduction. I would add that it is inconceivable that this chain is a deliberate forgery, since no forger can have been so incompetent. Of the twelve figures mentioned (at the beginning and in the second chain toward the end of the preface), five are unknown, four cannot be identified with certainty, and one is known to have been unreliable.
2. There is some confusion as to the identity of the 'us' at the beginning of this chain, because it might be either of two scholars who figure in the various chains of transmission of the Sahifa. Shaykh-i Baha'i, one of the many authors of commentaries on the Sahifa, maintains that 'us' refers to 'Ali ibn al-Sukun (i.e., Abu l-Hasan 'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Sukun al-Hilli, (d. c. 606/1209). In his glosses on the Sahifa, Mir Damad writes that it is 'Amid al-Ru'asa' Hibat Allah ibn Hamid ibn Ahmad ibn Ayyub al-Hilli (d. 610/1213-14). To prove his point he quotes from the manuscript of al-Shahid al-Awwal, who had collated his copy with that of Ibn al-Sukun, on which 'Amid al-Ru'asa' had made certain annotations in the year 603/1206. Cf. Aqa Buzurg, al-Dhari'a, s.v. Al-Sahifat al-Sajjadiyya.
3. He was the son-in-law of Shaykh al-Ta'ifa Abu Ja'far al-Tusi (d. 460/1067-8) and an official at the shrine of 'Ali in Najaf.
4. Sayyid ''Alikhan writes that al-'Ukbari does not seem to be mentioned in the books of Shi'ite biographies, but al-Sam'ani mentions him in al-Ansab (adding ibn al-Husayn to his name after ibn Ahmad) and gives his date of death as 472/1079-80.
5. Sayyid '''Alikhan quotes four sources on Abu l-Mufaddal as a muhaddith, all of which question his reliability: Najashi, Shaykh al-Ta'ifa al-Tusi, Ibn al-Ghada'iri, and Ibn Dawud.
6. Najashi praises his reliability and mentions a number of works by him. He died in 308/921 at the age of more than ninety (Sayyid '''Alikhan).
7. According to Sayyid '''Alikhan, nothing is known about him. In his notes on his Persian translation, Sha'rani suggests that here some of the authorities originally mentioned in the text may have been dropped, since only three figures are mentioned over a period of 251 years.
8. Najashi mentions an Ali ibn al-Nu'man al-A'lam al-Nakhai who was a companion of the eighth Imam, Ridha (d. 203/818).
9. Neither 'Umayr ibn Mutawakkil nor his father Mutawakkil ibn Harun are known. However both Najashi and Shaykh al-Tusi speak of al-Mutawakkil ibn 'Umayr ibn al-Mutawakkil as the transmitter of the Sahifa from Yahya ibn Zayd, and they provide a chain of authority leading from him to themselves different from that in the present text. As Sha'rani points out (Sahifa, p. 5), given their early dates and their agreement, the name they provide is to be preferred over the Present text.
10. This would have been in the year 122/740. As explained in the introduction, after the death of Zayn al-Abidin's son and successor, Muhammad al-Baqir, his son Zayd revolted against the Umayyad authorities and was killed. According to the account being related here, Mutawakkil ibn Harun (or more properly, Mutawakkil ibn 'Umayr) met Zayd's son Yahya shortly before he was killed while continuing his father's revolt
11. 13:39. According to Sayyid ''Alikhan, by quoting this verse, Yahya is suggesting that even if this is the divine command known to al-Sadiq, God may change it. This is the Shi'ite doctrine of bad'a, according to which God may appear to change His decree for His creatures. Imam Ja'far himself quotes this verse to prove the possibility of bad'a.
12. As noted in the introduction, the use here of the expression Al-Sahifat al-kamila suggests that the Sahifa was called by this term from earliest times. In explaining the expression, Sayyid '''Alikhan quotes a passage employing it from Ma'alim al-ulama of Ibn Shahrashub (d. 588/1192).
13. In notes to his Persian translation, Sha'rani tells us that the term meant a scroll wound around an iron rod, on the ends of which were placed iron locks, often sealed with wax.
14. Muhammad is better known as al-Nafs al-Zakiyya. He was designated as the Mahdi by his father and many swore allegiance to him, including al-Mansur, who later became the first Abbasid caliph. Muhammad and Ibrahim revolted with a good deal of popular support when the Abbasids tried to make them accept their authority. Muhammad, who was supported by the people of Medina, was killed in a fierce battle in 145/762, and Ibrahim, who was supported by the Zaydite and Mu'tazilite circles of Kufa and Basra, was killed a few months later. Cf. Ja'fari, The Origins and Early Development, pp. 269-71, 275-6.
15. Isma'il was the eldest son of Imam Ja'far and his designated successor. However, he died before his father, who then appointed his second son Musa as the Imam after himself. The Isma'ilis follow Isma'il as Imam rather than Musa maintaining that the former's appointment was valid and that the imamate remained in his family.
17. An oft-repeated formula found in many hadith.
18. 17:60. The Qur'an commentators offer at least three possible interpretations for this vision. Concerning the third, Baydawi writes 'It is also said that the Prophet saw a group of the Umayyads climbing his pulpit and jumping upon it like monkeys. So he said "This is their share of this world; they will be given it for accepting Islam". According to this interpretation, what is meant by a trial for men is what happened during their time' (Anwar al-tanzil, commentary on 17:60). The Shi'ite commentator Tabarsi also offers this as a third possibility, providing two hadith to support it (Majma' al-bayan). Sayyid '''Alikhan quotes from Baydawi and others to support this interpretation, while offering Ibn 'Abbas among others as authority for the statement that the 'accursed tree' refers to the Umayyads.
19. 97:1-3. Tirmidhi offers a hadith going back to al-Hasan ibn 'Ali that supports this interpretation of one thousand months as referring to the Umayyads (Tafsir sura 97, 1).
21. i.e., the Twelfth Imam, he who will 'stand up' (Qa'im) in the Truth for the Truth and defeat the enemies of the Truth.
22. The speaker here is al-'Ukbari (above, verse 3), who is now relating another chain through which he received the Sahifa from Abu l-Mufaddal (verse 3).
23. He is unknown in the books of biography.
24. He is also unknown.
25. In other words, the chapter headings as mentioned in the text, which are often slightly different from the chapter headings mentioned above, are in al-Hasani's words (that is, al-Sharif Aba 'Abd Allah, mentioned in verse 4).
26. Here again by 'us' is meant al-'Ukbari.
29. Allusion to 89:15: As for man, whenever his Lord tries him, and honours him, and favours him....
31. The interworld (barzakh) is the abode in which a person dwells between death and the Day of Resurrection.
32. The Witnesses, mentioned in 1l:20 and 40:54, are the angels, prophets, Imams, and faithful whom God appoints to give witness concerning the deeds of men at the Resurrection.
35. 'Illiyun', mentioned in 83:18 and 19, and deriving from a root meaning 'high' or 'exalted', is said to be the highest level of paradise, or a book in paradise wherein the deeds of the righteous are recorded.
37. Cf. 75:7.
38. Cf. 3:106.
39. Several Qur'anic verses mention the fact that God has subjected everything in the heavens and the earth to mankind, e.g., 14:33, 16:12, 31:20, 45:13.
40. Cf. 2:286: Our Lord, charge us not with a load such as Thou didst lay upon those before us.
42. Allusion to such passages as 2:286: God charges no soul save to its capacity.
43. Allusion to 9:33 and 61:9: It is He who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may uplift it above every religion though the idolaters be averse.
44. As Sayyid '''Alikhan points out, there is an allusion here to the hadith of 'mediation' (wasila) according to one version of which the Prophet said: 'Mediation is a degree with God in the Garden, and there is no degree higher than it, so pray to God to give me the mediation' (Ahmad III, 83). The fact that this is what the Imam has in mind is confirmed by his reference to 'intercession' in verse 25 (on the relationship between these two, cf. note 172).
45. On the Prophet's intercession, cf. Padwick, Muslim Devotions pp. 37 ff. and Encyclopaedia of Islam (old edition), 'Shafa'a'. The commentator points out here that the Prophet's intercession alluded to in the Qur'an as his 'praiseworthy station' (17:79) - will be of several types, including the raising of those who are already in paradise to higher degrees. Hence there is no contradiction between the sinlessness of the Imams on the one hand and the Prophet's interceding for them on the other.
46. Cf. 25:70: On Resurrection Day... God will change the evil deeds [of those who repent, have faith, and do righteous works] into good deeds.
47. The bearers of the Throne are said to be four angels, one on each corner of the Throne, who will be aided by four more on the Day of Resurrection. Hence the Qur'an says: Upon that day eight shall bear above them the Throne of thy Lord (69: I7). On the various kinds of angels, see S. Murata, 'The Angels,' in S.H. Nasr (ed.), Islamic Spirituality: Foundations New York, 1987, pp. 324-44.
48. Cf. 81:20.
49. The veils meant here are those referred to in the hadith often quoted in Sunni sources: 'God has seventy' - or 'seventy thousand' - 'veils of light and darkness; were they to be removed, the glories of His face would incinerate everything perceived by the creatures' eyes.' Shi'ite sources add several parallel hadith from the Prophet and the Imams (see Bihar al-Anwar v, 39-47, Bab al-hujub wa l-astar wa l-suradiqat). Cf. Supplication 50.5, where mention is made of God's 'splendour masked by the veils'.
50. Cf. 17:85.
51. Cf. 69:17.
52. Cf. 80:16.
53. i.e., the scribes and writers who record peoples' deeds in this world, cf. 82:1l.
54. The two angels, mentioned in many hadith who question the dead on the first night in the grave.
55. An angel who, according to some hadith is the first to enter the grave with the dead person, telling him to write out his deeds on his shroud with his saliva as ink and his finger as pen.
56. A house in the celestial spheres mentioned in 52:4 and located directly above the Ka'ba.
57. The angel in charge of the Fire.
58. The angel in charge of paradise.
62. Cf. 16:85.
63. 50:21; the driver and witness are also angels.
66. The Qur'an often mentions God's scheming and devising, usually in answer to the trickery and deception of the evildoers. For example: They are scheming, and I am scheming. So respite the unbelievers; delay with them for a time (86:15); They devised, and God devised, and God is the best of devisers (3:54).
67. God's protecting the servant from Himself is for Him to guard him against His wrath. 'Guidance to God' is guidance to His mercy, while being taken 'far from Him' is to be subjected to wrath. Cf. the introduction and passages such as 48.13 and 73.1.
70. Allusion to 47:31: We shall assuredly try you until We know those of you who struggle and are steadfast, and try your records.
72. Allusion to 6:96: He splits the sky into dawn.
73. Cf. above, 3.18.
74. Allusion to Satan's words in the Qur'an (7:17): I shall come on them from before them and from behind them, from their rights hands and their left hands; Thou wilt not find most of them thankful.
77. The term 'caprice' denotes any desire that is opposed to the truth or turns man away from the divine guidance. Who is further astray than he who follows his own caprice without guidance from God? (28:50) Obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance, so that he follows his own caprice (18:28). God addresses David with the command: Judge among men by the truth, and follow not caprice (38:26).
78. Reference to 12:53: Surely the soul of man commands to evil, except inasmuch as my Lord has mercy.
79. Allusion to 30:54: God is He who created you of frailty.
81. Reference to 27:62: He who responds to the distressed when he supplicates Him, and removes the evil.
82. Allusion to the principle enunciated in the well known hadith: 'God's mercy precedes His wrath', a constant theme of the Sahifa, as pointed out in the introduction.
83. Allusion to such Qur'anic verses as Whosoever does evil, or wrongs himself, and then prays God's forgiveness, he shall find God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate (4:110).
84. Reference to such Qur'anic verses as Supplicate Me and I will respond to you (40:60), and When My servants ask from Me, I am near: I respond to the supplication of the supplicator when he supplicates Me (2:186).
85. Cf. the hadith mentioned in the introduction: 'When one of you supplicates, he should not say: "O God, forgive me if Thou wilt", but he should be firm in his asking and make his desire great, for what God gives is nothing great for Him' (Muslim, Dhikr 8).
88. Reference to such Qur'anic verses as: O people, you are the poor toward God, and He is without need, praiseworthy (35:15).
89. A case can be made for translating the word dhalim (wrongdoer) in the context of the present supplication as 'oppressor' or 'tyrant', especially if we read the text as expressing the Imam's relationships with the Umayyad authorities. However, the word dhulm along with its derivatives is an important and frequently used term in the Qur'an, and only the Qur'anic context can provide us with a reliable insight into the way the word must have been understood by Zayn al-'Abidin and his contemporaries. In the Qur'an, it is obvious that terms like 'oppression' and 'tyranny', with their narrow political connotations, cannot begin to do justice to the wide range of meanings included in the primary Qur'anic significance, since oppression is merely one of many forms of human 'wrongdoing', an English term which is sufficiently vague and concrete to render the Qur'anic idea rather closely. According to the Qur'an, the basic meaning of dhulm is to deny the reality of God and the truth of His revelation and then to transgress the bounds, limits, laws, and statutes He has set down. This Qur'anic concept can clearly be perceived in such typical verses as the following: Who does greater wrong than he who bars God's places of worship, so that His Name be not rehearsed in them, and strives to destroy them? (2:114); Who does greater wrong than he who conceals a testimony received from God? (2:140); Whosoever transgresses the bounds of God - those are the wrongdoers (2:229); And the unbelievers - they are the wrongdoers (2:254); Whoso judges not according to what God has sent down - they are the wrongdoers (5:45); Who does greater wrong than he who forges against God a lie, or cries lies to His signs? (7:37, 10:17); Who does greater wrong than he who, being reminded of the signs of his Lord, turns away from them? (18:57, 32:22); None denies Our signs but the wrongdoers (29:49); Do not associate others with God; to associate others with God is a mighty wrong (31:13); And whoso repents not, those - they are the wrongdoers (49:1l); Whoso trespasses the bounds of God has done wrong to himself (65:1). In most of the cases in which the Imam employs the term in the Sahifa, the Qur'anic context is clear, and this is sufficient reason to maintain consistency of translation in the present supplication, where 'oppression' might also be a valid translation. (For uses of the term in obvious Qur'anic contexts, cf. 1.12, 4.8, 8.4, 12.7, 12.11, 16.31, 24.11, 31.7, 37.8, 39.9, 42.16, 45.9, 45.47, 47.62, 47.132, 48.15, 51.14, 60.3, 63.8, 71.5; contexts which suggest 'oppression' as a valid rendering include 20.7, 51.4, 68.1). The term dhulm is often used as the opposite of 'adl or 'justice'; the Sahifa also provides a few instances where 'injustice' would translate the term well, such as 22.13 (where it is used as a synonym for jawr, translated there as 'injustice'), 25.11, 44.l0.
90. Some editions read yuhadirani for yuhasirani. The translation then becomes: 'and overcome me in my rights.'
91. Allusion to such Qur'anic verses as: We shall surely destroy the wrongdoers (14:13); We have prepared for the wrongdoers a painful chastisement (25:37)
92. Again reference to 27:62: He who responds to the distressed when he supplicates Him, and removes the evil.
93. A believer who cannot perform the obligatory acts of worship because of illness is credited with them in any case. The commentator cites a number of hadith to this effect, e.g.: 'When the believer becomes sick, God says to the angel charged with him: "Write for him what you used to write when he was healthy".'
96. The terms 'wretchedness' (shiqa') and 'felicity' (sa'ada) refer to heaven and hell, not to the misery or happiness of this world.
98. Reference to the principle enunciated in 2:264: O believers, void not your freewill offerings with obligation and harm, as one who expends of his substance to show off to men and believes not in God and the Last Day.
99. i.e., 'Being gentle'. The expression is employed in 15:88 and 26:215.
100. That is, the return to God, alluded to with verbs from the same root in many Qur'anic verses, such as He originates creation, then He makes it return (10:4). The word ma'ad becomes a standard term in Islamic thought for 'eschatology' and discussion of affairs having to do with the next world.
101. Allusion to 78: 21-23: Behold, Gehenna has become an ambush, for the insolent a resort, therein to tarry for ages....
102. Here the word 'guardianship' (wilaya) probably does not have a technical sense (on which, see note 219), but is employed in a more general sense as in the title to Supplication 5.
104. Cf. 1l:56: There is no creature that crawls, but He takes it by the forelock.
105. This sentence goes back to a prophetic saying (Ahmad, 1, 391 and 402).
106. Allusion to 2:197: Take provision, but the best provision is reverent fear.
109. i.e., unaffected by my own good pleasure or wrath in a given situation.
110. That is, the lesser pilgrimage to Mecca, made outside of the season of the hajj.
113. This passage can be read in two ways: In the more general interpretation, the 'us' in 'ennobled us' and 'made incumbent upon us' refers to all Muslims, while in the more specific interpretation, it refers to the Imams. In the first case, the 'rights' are those which all Muslims have in relationship to other Muslims, as explained, for example, in the Imam's 'Treatise on Rights'. In the second case, the rights are those of the Imams in respect to other Muslims. The commentator quotes among others the Prophet's hadith of 'seven rights' (see the introduction to the 'Treatise on Rights') to illustrate the first interpretation. If we read it the second way, then 'the rights of the Imams are obvious, since all the rights which God has made obligatory upon the creatures for the Messenger of God are also obligatory for the Imams. Sufficient proof of this is provided by the Qur'anic verse: Obey God, and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you (4:59)' (Sayyid '''Alikhan).
114. Cf. note 46.
117. One is tempted to translate shahawat as 'lusts', but the Qur'anic context shows that the objects of desire in themselves are not necessarily negative; the Qur'an blames only the fact that man allows himself to be occupied by them in lieu of God. For example, Decked out fair to men is the love of passions - women, children, heaped-up heaps of gold and silver, horses of mark, cattle, and tillage. That is the enjoyment of the present life; but God - with Him is the fairest resort (3:14). Arberry translates the term here as 'lusts', Pickthall as 'joys'.
118. Cf. 12.10.
119. These four lines refer to 2:186 and 40:60.
121. That is, those who recognize the Imamate of Zayn al-'Abidin and the other Imams. Cf. 47.64.
122. Sayyid '''Alikhan explains the expression as meaning: 'Give them lutf (gracefulness, gentleness, subtlety) in their makr (guile, stratagem) so that their enemy will not become aware of their guile, for then it will be too subtle and fine to be perceived by the intellect and the understanding; so the meaning is that God should inspire them with careful watchfulness and excellence of artful stratagems.' He suggests that the text may also be interpreted to mean: Be kind and gentle to them in relation to the guile of their enemy, so that his guile will not harm them.
124. The commentator devotes a long discussion to the word mihal, which occurs in the Qur'anic name of God, shadid al-mihal (13:13). It may signify, among others, cunning, guile, stratagem, planning, managing, power, strength, dispute, enmity, punishment, vengeance, chastisement.
125. This victory of a small army of Muslims over a much larger contingent of unbelievers took place in the year 2/623. Many accounts are given of how the angels also took part in the fighting, and it is said to be in reference to Badr that God says in the Qur'an, When thy Lord was revealing to the angels: 'I am with you, so strengthen the faithful. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers' (8:12).
128. 9:104, 42:25.
131. Allusion to the well-known prophetic saying: 'Remorse is a repentance' (Ibn Maja, Zuhd 30; Ahmad I, 376, 423; VI, 264).
133. There is probably an allusion here to 3:103: You were upon the brink of a pit of Fire, and He rescued you from it.
135. Reference to the Qur'anic account of Iblis, in which Iblis asks from God and is given permission to try to lead His servants astray until the Day of Resurrection (7:14-18, 15:36-43, 38:79-86).
136. Reference to 59:16: Like Satan, when he said to man, 'Disbelieve!' Then, when he disbelieved, he said: 'Surely I am quit of you. Surely I fear God, the Lord of the worlds.'
137. Reference to 32:7: He originated the creation of man out of clay, then He fashioned his progeny of an extraction of mean water, then He shaped him and breathed His spirit into him.
138. Reference to a number of Qur'anic passages, especially 23:12-14: We created man of an extraction of clay, then We set him, a drop, in a receptacle secure, then We created of the drop a clot, then We created of the clot a tissue, then We created of the tissue bones, then We garmented the bones with flesh; thereafter We produced him as another creature.
139. As the commentators point out, this 'placing' is connected to the Qur'anic doctrine of the transformation of evil deeds into good deeds, e.g.: Whosoever does that shall meet the price of sin... save him who repents, has faith, and does righteous works - those, God will change their evil deeds into good deeds (25:68-70).
140. This is part of a hadith; cf. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon, s.v. ibqa'.
143. Allusion to 4:59: O you who have faith, obey God, and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you!
145. Allusion to 25:40.
146. Literally, those who 'deviate' from the right way.
148. The commentator suggests that the expression shakartahu, 'for which Thou showest gratitude', which is found in most texts, means qabaltahu, 'which Thou acceptest'. He adds that another ancient text has shukir bihi, 'for which Thou art thanked', and that this is clearer and more appropriate in the context. Cf. the similar passages in 46.6-7.
149. Allusion to such Qur'anic verses as Whoso brings a good deed shall have ten the like of it; and whoso brings an evil deed shall only be recompensed the like of it; they shall not be wronged Cf. 40:40.
150. Allusion to 2:222: Truly God loves those who repent.
151. The Persian translators read this as meaning, 'pardon me (mara bibakhsh) in spite of my wrongdoing against myself', and Mohani's English translation agrees:
152. Reference to several Qur'anic names for the people of paradise. The Companions of the Right Hand are mentioned in 56:27, 38, 90, 91, and 74:39; the Secure in 27:89, 34:37, etc.; the Triumphant in 9:20, 23:111, 59:20; the Righteous in 2:130, 12:101, etc.
153. Allusion to 4:174: We have sent down to you a manifest light.
154. Allusion to 5:48: We have sent down to thee the Book with the truth, confirming the Book that was before it, and guarding over it.
155. There are allusions here to several Qur'anic verses, including 4:174, 5:48, and 39:23.
156. The Qur'an calls itself a 'separator' in 2:185, 3:4, and 25:1.
157. Allusion to the title given to itself by the Qur'an: 'the Arabic recitation' (12:2, 20:113, et al.). To 'make plain' (i'rab) also means to 'express in Arabic'.
158. Cf. 41:3: A book whose signs have been distinguished as an Arabic Qur'an for a people having knowledge.
159. Cf. 76:23: Surely We have sent down the Qur'an on thee, a sending down.
160. Cf. 14:1: A book We have sent down to thee that thou mayest bring forth mankind from the shadows to the light by the leave of their Lord; cf. also 57:9, 65:11.
161. For the name 'healing', cf. 10:57 and 17:82.
162. Cf. 57:25.
163. According to Sayyid ''Alikhan, by 'witnesses' the Imam means either those who bear witness to God's Unity and to the prophets, since the Qur'an is their greatest proof, or the Prophet and his Household, who are (according to the Shi'ite interpretation) the witnesses referred to in the verse Thus We appointed you a midmost nation that you might be witnesses to the people, and that the Messenger might be a witness to you (2:143).
164. Here the prayer's specific reference to the Imam's own situation leads the commentators to suggest altering the text when it is recited. Sayyid ''Alikhan suggests that one should make the following changes: warrathtana -> warrathta awsiya'ahu; faddaltana -> faddaltahum; qawwaytana -> qawwaytahum; tarfa'ana -> tarfa'ahum. The meaning would then be: 'Thou madest his executors the heirs of its knowledge as interpreters, Thou preferred them over him who is ignorant of its knowledge, and Thou gavest them strength to lift them above...'.
165. Allusion to 20:130: Proclaim thy Lord's praise.... in the watches of the night, and at the ends of the day.
166. Allusion to 59:21: If We had sent down the Qur'an upon a mountain, thou wouldst have seen it humbled, split asunder out of the fear of God.
167. Allusion to two Qur'anic verses: They shall be secure from terror on that day (27:89) and The Greatest Terror shall not grieve them (21:103).
168. Allusion to 8: 6: As though they were being driven into death with their eyes open and 50:21: And death's agony comes in truth.... And every soul will come, with it a driver and a witness.
170. Allusion to 17:13: And every man - We have fastened to him the bird of omen upon his neck.
171. Cf. 1.14 and 3:106.
172. The 'mediation' is mentioned in 5:35: O you who have faith, fear God and seek the mediation to Him. 'Mediation' may mean simply the means of access to God, defined in terms of any work of obedience or pious act. But most commentators point out the verse's connection to a well-known saying of the Prophet concerning 'mediation' as the highest station of Paradise, and this in turn is normally defined as the permission God will give to the Prophet at the Resurrection to intercede for his community. The Prophet said: 'When you hear the muezzin, repeat what he says, then call down blessings upon me. If someone calls down a blessing upon me, God will call down ten upon him. Then ask that I be given the mediation, for it is a station in the Garden suited only for one of God's servants, and I hope to be that one. If anyone asks that I be given the mediation, my intercession for him will become lawful' (Muslim, Salat 11; Tirmidhi, Manaqib I; Abu Dawud, Salat 36; Ahmad II, 168, 265; III 83). Padwick discusses the connection between mediation and intercession in Muslim Devotions, Ch. 2, 'The Prayer of Mediation' (the relationship between the two can be seen in the present work in 65.4-5, 66.3-4, 78.1). On the mediation of the Imams, see note 217.
173. Allusion to the 'Pool of Abundance' in Paradise, which, according to several hadith, is the meaning of the 'Abundance' which God gave to the Prophet as mentioned in 108:1.
174. Allusion to 36:39: And the moon - We have determined it by mansions, till it returns like an aged palm-bough.
177. Sayyid ''Alikhan offers four interpretations for this last clause, three given by earlier commentators and the fourth his own: (a) so that the acts of obedience and nearness-seeking of the angels will be less than ours; (b) so that none of the recording angels will bring the record of our sins except that they be less than the kinds of obedience and sorts of nearness seeking that we bring; (c) so that none of the angels will bring the works of the servants except that they be less than the kinds of obedience and sorts of nearness seeking that we bring; (d) so that none of the angels will bring our good works except that they be less than the good works that we ourselves bring. In support of the last reading he cites a hadith from one of the Imams: 'The angel only writes down what it hears, but God has said, Remember thy Lord in thyself, in pleading and fear (7:205). So none knows the reward of the remembrance in the person's self except God.' He concludes that the best interpretation is to say that the passage includes all four of these meanings.
181. In other words, Thou art kind without the servants having done anything to deserve it. Cf. 12.3.
191. That is, the Ramadan of the year that has just passed and that of the coming year.
192. That is, we have been afflicted by the hardship of having to fast. This interpretation follows Sayyid ''Alikhan's reading; the Persian translators interpret the sentence to mean: 'our being afflicted by grief at the passing of our month', a reading which Sayyid ''Alikhan rejects.
193. i.e., that good pleasure and mercy.
194. Allusion to Qur'anic verses such as Truly God loves the repenters (2:222) and God is He who accepts repentance from His servants (9:104; cf. 42:25).
196. Allusion to 8:53: God would never change His favour that He conferred on a people until they changed what was within themselves.
198. An oft-repeated formula found in many hadith.
199. The ninth of Dhu l-Hijja, the last day of the hajj, when the pilgrims occupy themselves with prayer at Mount 'Arafa. Cf. Imam Husayn's long supplication for the day, translated in Chittick, A Shi'ite Anthology, pp. 93-113.
201. Cf. 15: 21-23: Naught is there, but its treasuries are with Us, and We send it not down but in a known measure... It is We who give life, and make to die, and it is We who are the inheritors.
203. Reference to 10:61: Not so much as the weight of an ant in earth or heaven escapes from thy Lord...
206. Reference to 25:2: He created everything, then He ordained it with an ordination.
207. Allusion to 80:20: He created him [man] and determined him then the way eased for him.
208. Perhaps an allusion to 32:5: He governs the affair from the heaven to the earth.
209. Reference to 72:28: He has counted everything in numbers.
210. The terms 'howness' and 'whereness' are found already in hadith attributed to the Prophet in Shi'ite sources, as well as to some of the Imams (cf. Chittick, A Shi'ite Anthology index under ayniyyah and kayfiyyah. The term 'selfness' (dhatiyya) is certainly more rare. Lane in his Lexicon points out that it is a post-classical term used in philosophy, but in the present context it has no such philosophical sense and seems to be a coinage built on the analogy of the other two terms.
211. Reference to sura 112.
212. The 'Separator' is the Qur'an (cf. Supplication 42.2). There is an allusion here to 15:94: Therefore cleave [0 Muhammad] by means of that which thou art commanded [i.e. the Qur'anic injunctions] and turn away from the idolaters.
213. Reference to 6:115.
214. The guardians or writers are the recording angels. Cf. Supplication 3.18. The 'book' mentioned here is referred to in such verses as: The Book shall be set in place; and thou wilt see the sinners fearful at what is in it and saying: 'Alas for us! How is it with this Book that it leaves nothing behind, small or great but it has numbered it?' (18:49).
215. Allusion to 18:109: Say: 'If the sea were ink for the words of my Lord, the sea would be spent before the words of my Lord are spent.'
216. Reference to 33:33: Folk of the House God only desires to put away from you uncleanness and to purify you.
217. Muslims hold that 'mediation' will be given to the Prophet (see note 172), while Shi'ite tradition adds that it will also belong to the Imams. Cf. the chapter in Majlisi's Bihar al-Anwar 'The Mediation, and the station of the Prophet and the Folk of his House which will become manifest at the resurrection' (VII, 326-40). Among relevant sayings quoted in both Shi'ite and Sunni sources is that of 'Ali: 'In the Garden there are two pearls within the Throne, one of them white and the other yellow. In each there are 70,000 rooms whose gates and cups come from a single root. The white is the Mediation which belongs to Muhammad and his Household, while the yellow belongs to Abraham and his household' (commentary on 5:35: al-Tabarsi, Majma' al-bayan; Maybudi, Kashf al-Asrar).
218. Cf. Supplication 1.4.
219. The 'Friend' or wali is the Imam, who, in keeping with the various meanings of the root, is 'friend' of God, 'guardian' of the people under his care, and 'authority' in all matters of religious teaching. His function, known as wilaya (or walaya) and derived from the same Arabic root, is discussed in most books on Shi'ism; in the present text the word is mentioned, not always in the technical sense, in Supplications 5 (title); 8.3; 20.7, 22; 26.1; 47.64; and 77.2.
220. Allusion to 17:80: And say [0 Muhammad]: '... grant me authority from Thee to help me.'
221. Cf. 48:1: Surely We have given thee a manifest opening.
222. Cf. Moses' supplication in 20:31: Appoint for me of my folk a familiar, Aaron, my brother; by him brace up my back.
223. Like the previous clause, this is an allusion to the story of Moses and Aaron in the Qur'an, and more specifically, to God's words to Moses: We shall strengthen thy arm by means of thy brother (28:35).
224. Cf. 37:173: Our troops - they are the victors.
225. Wilaya - which may be translated as friendship, authority, guardianship, rule - is the office or function of the 'Friend' or wali mentioned above in note 219.
227. Cf. 10:25: And God summons to the Abode of Peace. Cf. also 6:127.
228. As indicated in note 77, 'caprice' denotes any desire opposed to the divine guidance.
229. This may be an allusion to 17:16.
230. Allusion to 4:108: They hide themselves from men but hide themselves not from God.
231. Allusion to 7:182: We will draw them on little by little from whence they know not; and I grant them respite - surely My guile is firm. Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq says: 'When God desires good for a servant who commits a sin, He causes the sin to be followed by a punishment so that he remembers to ask forgiveness. But when He desires evil for a servant who commits a sin, He causes the sin to be followed by a favour so that he forgets to ask forgiveness and persists in the sin. This is indicated by God's words We draw them on little by little from whence they know not. (Sayyid ''Alikhan)
232. Cf. above, 47.90.
233. In other words: Do not allow me to become diverted from the worship and obedience which please Thee by my seeking after the things of this world, which come only through Thee.
234. Allusion to 5:35: O you who have faith fear God and seek the mediation to Him. Cf. note 172.
235. The commentator suggests that this is an allusion to the principle enunciated in 18:103-104: Say: Shall I tell you who will be the greatest losers in their works? Those whose striving goes astray in the present life while they think that they are working good deeds .
237. Reference to 66:8: Upon the day when God will not degrade the Prophet and those who believe with him their light running before them and on their right hands.
238. Allusion to 19:75: Say: Whoever is in error, let the All-merciful prolong his term for him!....
239. Cf. above, 47.60, where mention is made of the 'radiance' of the Imam.
240. Cf. the following hadith: 'God has left no excuses for him who has reached sixty or seventy years of age. God has left him no excuses, no excuses!' (Ahmad II, 275). See also Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon s.v. i'dhar.
241. Reference to 7:186: Whomsoever God leads astray no guide has he; He leaves them in their insolence blindly wandering.
242. Reference to 23:54: So leave them in their perplexity for a time.
243. The commentator offers three possible interpretations: remove not my name from the register of the felicitous, writing it in the register of the wretched; change my name not for the worse, after it had been an elevated name; change not the name by which Thou hadst named us before (alluding to the Qur'anic verse: He named you Muslims aforetime and in this [22:78]). The meaning thus becomes: Name me not an unbeliever after Thou hast named me a Muslim.
244. The commentator explains this to mean: Transform it not through an affliction in this world or through making it ugly in the next.
245. Reference to 56:88-9: Then if he be of those brought nigh to the Throne, there shall be repose and ease, and a garden of bliss.
246. Allusion to 2:16: Those are they who have bought error at the price of guidance, and their commerce has not profited them.
247. Reference to 79:6-12: Upon the day when the first blast shivers,... They shall say, 'What, are we being restored as we were before?... That then is a return with loss!'
248. Allusion to 15:47: We shall root out all rancour that is in their breasts (cf. 7:43).
249. 26:84, part of a prayer of Abraham.
250. The commentator sees this as a reference to the first Muslims, as in 9:100: And the foremost, the first, who are the Emigrants and the Helpers, and those who followed them in good-doing - God will be well-pleased with them...; He has prepared for them gardens... The 'plain' of the first is the place where they are brought together at the Resurrection.
252. That is, the tenth of Dhu l-Hijja, which marks the end of the hajj and is one of the two major festivals (along with the feast of fastbreaking) celebrated universally throughout the Islamic world.
254. By 'this station' is meant the leading of the prayer of Friday and of the Day of Sacrifice. The latter of these prayers is obligatory according to the Shi'ites, in contrast to the Sunnis. Zayn al-Abidin alludes to the Shi'ite view that the Imams are the rightful leaders of these prayers for all Islam, not the Umayyad caliphs and their representatives. In explaining the meaning of this passage, Sayyid ''Alikhan quotes a hadith from Ja'far al-Sadiq: 'Both festivals of the Muslims, that of fastbreaking and that of sacrifice, renew the sorrow of the Household of Muhammad, for they see therein their right in the hands of others.'
255. i.e., those who actually put the profession of Unity, faith, and attestation into practice.
256. Allusion to the Prophet's supplication quoted in the introduction: 'I seek refuge in Thy good pleasure from Thy displeasure and in Thy pardon from Thy punishment. I seek refuge in Thee from Thee.'
257. Allusion to 43:11: [We] sent down out of heaven water in measure; and We revived thereby a land that was dead; even so you shall be brought forth [on the Day of Resurrection].
258. Allusion to 21:23: He is not questioned as to what He does, but they shall be questioned.
259. For 'so and so' the supplicant should supply words appropriate to his own situation.
262. This is the Book of Records on the Day of Judgement, mentioned, for example, in 18:49: And the Book shall be set in place; and thou wilt see the sinners fearful at what is in it, saying: 'Alas for us! How is it with this Book, that it leaves nothing behind, small or great, but it has counted it?' Cf. 17:13-14.
263. Allusion to such Qur'anic verses as: Not so much as the weight of an ant in heaven and earth escapes from Him, neither is aught smaller than that, or greater, but it is in a Manifest Book (34:3).
264. Allusion to 4:6, 33:39: God suffices as a reckoner.
265. Cf. the following sentence from a supplication of the Prophet: 'I ask Thee by every one of Thy names by which Thou hast named Thyself, which Thou hast taught to one of Thy creatures, which Thou hast sent down in Thy Book, or which Thou hast kept to Thyself in the knowledge of the Unseen' (Ahmad I, 391, 402). A passage from the same hadith is quoted in Supplication 21.6.
268. Allusion to 35:28: Only those of His servants fear God who have knowledge.
269. Reference to 29: 57: Every soul shall taste death, then unto Us you shall be returned.
270. The commentator suggests that the 'stillness of his veins' alludes to the health of his body, which in turn brings about comfort and ease, making him heedless of God and the next world.
271. Another allusion to the Prophet's supplication; cf. 48.13.
272. Sura 112.
273. Allusion to such verses as 8:68: Had it not been for a prior writ from God, there had afflicted you, for what you took, a dreadful chastisement.
274. This verse and the following allude to the well-known hadith qudsi: 'Might is My loincloth and mightiness My cloak. If anyone contends with Me in either of these, I will cast him into Gehenna.' Cf. W. Graham, Divine Word and Prophetic Word, pp. 162-3.
275. This is probably an allusion to the Highest Assembly, the angels mentioned in 37:8 and 38:69.
276. Cf. 20:6.
277. Cf. 9:78: Know they not that God knows their secret and their whispered conversation, and that God knows the things unseen? See also 43:80, 58:7.
278. Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri (d. 124/742) was a well known jurist and traditionist and, as mentioned in the introduction, is credited with being the first to call the Imam by the title 'Zayn al-'Abidin'. Sa'id ibn al-Musayyib (d. 94/712-713), one of the 'seven jurists' of Medina, was known as the 'Chief of the Followers' (sayyid al-tabi'in), that is, those who followed the generation of the Prophet's Companions.
279. On the 'mediation' given to the Imams, see the note on 47.56.
281. Allusion to the hadith qudsi, 'I am with My servant's opinion of Me'; in some versions, there occurs the phrase, 'so let him think about Me what he will' (Graham, Divine Word, pp. 127-130).
282. Again reference to 40:60: Supplicate Me and I will respond to you.
283. Allusion to Qur'anic verses such as: Surely God will not fail in His promise (13:31), and There is no change for the words of God (10:64).
284. Allusion to 27:62. Cf. Supplication 10.4.
286. This supplication seems to be another version of 48.13 ff.
287. Cf. note 256.
288. Cf. note 257.
289. Part of the hadith quoted in the introduction and note 256.
291. Allusion to 20:111: Faces shall be humbled unto the Living, the Subsistent.
297. There are a number of Qur'anic allusions in this passage, including: He created, then proportioned (87:2), and He sat upon the Throne (7:54 etc.).
300. Allusion to such verses as: They forgot God, so He forgot them (9:67); Today We forget you, just as you forgot the meeting on this your Day (45:34; cf. 7:51).
301. Allusion to 14:7: If you are thankful, surely I will increase you, but if you are thankless, My chastisement is surely terrible.
302. Cf. 59.9 and note 283.
303. Reference to 22:78: Struggle for God as is His due!
306. Allusion to the saying of the Prophet: 'Remorse is a repentance.' Cf. note 131.
308. Reference to 12:53.
309. Allusion to 70:19-21: Surely man was created fretful, when evil touches him, anxious, when good visits him, grudging.
310. Allusion to the Qur'anic verse: No indeed, but what they were earning has rusted upon the hearts (83:14), as well as to the several instances where the Qur'an refers to the sealing of the unbelievers' hearts, e.g.: God has set a seal on their hearts, so they know not (9:93).
312. Allusion to a well known formula found in many hadith; in one version, the Prophet says in supplication: 'The good - all of it - is in Thy hands, and evil does not return to Thee' (Muslim, Musafirin 201; Nasa'i, Iftitah 17).
313. Allusion to 7:54: Verily His are the creation and the command.
314. Cf. 59.8 and note 281.
315. Cf. note 256.
316. Allusion to 29:69.
318. Allusion to the clarity of vision that the soul experiences at death: Thou wast heedless of this; therefore We have now removed from thee thy covering, and so thy sight today is piercing (50:22).
319. Allusion to 89:28: 0 soul serene, return to thy Lord, well-pleased, well-pleasing!
320. Allusion to 13:28: In remembering God find serenity the hearts of those who have faith and do righteous deeds.
323. Allusion to the words of Lot in 11:80, Would that I had power against you, or might take shelter in a strong pillar!