Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, peace be on him, and all the Imams of the members of the House (AhlulBayt), peace be on them, took great care of their Shias. 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 Shias 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 (AhlulBayt), peace be on them.
It was reported on the authority of Imam al-Sadiq, peace be on him, who said to one of his Shias: "Be an adornment for us. Do not be a disgrace for us.
So, people say: May Allah have mercy on Jafar b. Muhammad. For he has educated his Shias." Imam Musa b. Jafar, peace be on him, knew that one of his Shias misbehaved and committed what Allah prohibited. So, he (peace be on him) 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 (AhlulBayt).
As for Imam Abu Jafar (Muhammad al-Baqir), peace be on him, he took great care of his followers (Shias). 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:
1. His Commandments to his Shias
It is incumbent on those who adopt the doctrine of the members of the House (AhlulBayt), 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 Shias, 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 (s).
Ask for the help of Allah, be patient. Indeed the earth belongs to Allah. He gives it to His servants whom He wants. And the final result is for the pious.
He, peace be on him, added:
Indeed, our Shias, 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 Shias are those whose ears do not pass over their knowledge.
Our Shias 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 Shias meet a believer, they honor him. When they meet an ignorant person, they leave him. Our Shias 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 Shias 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 Shias. 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 Shias 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.
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 Shias 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 tranquillity 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 Qur'an.
The learned man is from our Shias 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, peace be on him, 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, peace be on him, 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.
2. The Early Shias
Imam Abu Jafar (Muhammad al-Baqir), peace be on him, praised the foremost Shias. He mentioned their high moral standards and their high good qualities. He, peace be on him, said:
Our friends and Shias were the best of their period. The Imam of the mosque in the district was from among them. The caller to prayers (muazzin) 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 Shias, 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 Shias were famous for piety and righteousness.
It was reported that a Shia stood before the judge as a witness. However, the judge refused to accept the Shia's testimony, for he belonged to the Rafida. So, the Shia burst into tears. Thus, the judge was astonished at him. He thought that the Shia wept for his refused testimony. He asked him about that. So, the Shias replied:
"You have deviated from the truth. You have ascribed me to this sect. No one joins it except the prophets and the righteous."
3. The Attributes of the Shias
In many of his traditions, Imam Abu Ja'far (Muhamma al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, mentioned the high qualities which those who believe in the doctrine of the members of the House (AhlulBayt), peace be on them, should follow. The following are some of the traditions reported on his authority:
1. He, peace be on him, said: "Our Shias 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.
2. He, peace be on him, said: "The Shias of Ali, peace be on him, 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 Shias 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.
3. He, peace be on him, spoke to Abu al-Muqdam about the high moral standards of the Shias of Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, peace be on him. He, peace be on him, said: "O Abu al-Muqdam, the Shias 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 Shias of whom were 'Ammar b. Ya`sir, Abu` Dharr, Hijr b. 'Adi, Maytham al-Tamma`r, and the like.
4. Al-Baqir's Commandments to Shias
Imam Abu Ja'far (Muhammad al-Ba`qir), peace be on him, supplied Shias with excellent commandments and valuable teachings. The following are some of them:
- A. Ja`bir b. Yazid al-Ju'fi reported. He said: "We went in a group to Abu Ja'far, peace be on him. We ended our ritual prayers. Before we saw him off, we had said to him: 'O Son of Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, command us.'
He peace be on him, said: "Your strong one should help your weak one. Your rich one should be kind to your poor one. The man should be loyal to his brother as he is loyal to himself. Keep our secrets. Do not force the people to follow us. Consider carefully our affair and what has been mentioned on our authority. If you find it in agreement with the Koran, then put it into effect. If you find it contrary to the Koran, then leave it. If you doubt the affair, then stop and ask us to explain it to you."
Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir, peace be on him, commanded the Shias to cling to high moral standards. He guided them to what reformed their life in this life and the hereafter. He also commanded them to compare the traditions reported on the authority of the Imams with the Koran. So, they were able to put into effect the traditions that were in harmony with the Koran.
Meanwhile, they were able to leave the traditions that were contrary to the Holy Koran. He ordered them to do that because many traditions were fabricated. Those who were indifferent to religion fabricated these traditions to defame the members of the House (AhlulBayt), peace be on them, and to distort their precepts.
- B. He, peace be on him, said: "Cling to piety, hard work, and truthful talk. Pay the trust to him who trusts you, whether he is righteous or a sinner. If the murderer of Ali b. Abi Ta`lib gave a trust to me, I would pay the trust to him."
Are there commandments higher and nobler than these valuable commandments that lead man to good behavior among people?
- C. He, peace be on him, sent one of his companions to some of his Shias, and ordered him to tell them the following:
He, peace be on him, said: "Recite my greetings to my Shias. Order them to fear Allah, the Great. Their rich one should visit their poor one. Their sound one should visit their ill one. Their living one should attend the funeral of their dead one. They should meet each other in their houses. Indeed their meeting each other enlivens our affair.
May Allah have mercy on the one who enlivens our affair and puts into effect the best of it. Say to them: We will suffice nothing for them with Allah except through the good deed. They will not obtain our intercession but through piety and hard work. Indeed the most intense of all people in regret on the Day of Judgment is the one who describes a certain deed, and then he does other than it."
Al-Baqir, peace be on him, advised Shias to do all kinds of good, to support each other, and to refrain from discord and division.
- D. He, peace be on him, said: "May Allah have mercy on the servant who makes people love us, and does not make them hate us. By Allah, if they report what we say on our authority - if they do not distort it nor do they change it against us according to their opinions, no one will comment on it.
However, the one of them who hears the word, and then he adds ten (words) to it and explains it according to his own opinion. Therefore, may Allah have mercy on the servant who hears some of our hidden secret, and then he buries it in his heart. By Allah, Allah will not bring together our followers and our enemies in one house."
In this tradition, al-Ba`qir, peace be on him, warns Shias from distorting or changing the traditions of the members of the House (AhlulBayt), peace be on them. For that will harm and defame them.
Source: The Life of Imam Muhammad bin Ali Al-Baqir by Baqir Shareef Al-Qurashi.