A Misconception

mam Ali ibn e Musa ar Reza (‘a) was forced to migrate from Medina to Khurasan by the reigning caliph Mamoon ar Rashid, and, accept the position of heir apparentHe, realizing he had no option, insisted on declaring he would not be involved in the affairs of government. His brother, Zaid ibn e Musa, was creating havoc in Medina and inciting the people to rebel against the caliph.
Mamoon realized the seriousness and delicacy of the situation and, despite being furious, did not order his arrest or execution. He played the diplomacy card, and hypocritically advertised the great respect and affection he had for Imam Reza (‘a). He succeeded in confusing and, thus, pacifying the people of Medina.
One day, while still in Medina, Imam Reza (‘a) was addressing a public gathering. Zaid stood on a raised platform in one corner of the crowd, and starting distracting the crowd. He wanted the crowd to lend him their ears, not his brother. He loudly and repeatedly claimed that he was the descendant of the noblest Household, and that the descendants of the Holy Prophet (s) were special, purer than all other people, and thus, deserved greater respect.
Imam Reza (‘a) heard his words, and turning towards him in anger, addressed him in a humiliating manner.
‘O Zaid, what do you think of yourself? You think you are better than all these people here because of what you’ve heard grocers say? You count yourself among the descendants of the Holy Prophet (‘a), and claim that the fire of hell cannot touch you? Let me remove your misconception. The offspring of Lady Fatima Zahra (‘a)are but four: Imam Hasan (‘a), Imam Husain (‘a) and their two sisters.
If what you say is believed, then you are worthy of greater respect than your father, Musa ibn e Jafar (‘a). He was a pious servant of Allah. He spent his entire life praying at night and fasting during the day. He obeyed the commands of the Almighty and served Islam until his last breath. He faced great oppression and suffered imprisonment because of it. He remained heavily chained during the years of imprisonment, and, was finally poisoned to death in prison.
You disobey Allah, and yet believe that you are equally honorable and deserving of salvation as he. You are then more fortunate, because you enjoy his status without bearing his suffering or performing any noble deed. You just inherited all the earned treasure and reward without lifting a finger. Most fortunate indeed! That’s what you think! My grandfather, Imam Zain ul Abedin (‘a) explained:
‘Those, among the Ahl al Bayt (‘a), who are pious and perform good deeds, win double the reward. Those who are disobedient to Allah and do evil, earn double the punishment, just as revealed in the Holy Quran for the wives of the Holy Prophet (s). The reason is that a member of this household performs two good deeds while performing one, because he, simultaneously, safegaurds the status of the Holy Prophet (s). While performing an evil act he, simultaneously, disgraces and defames the Holy Prophet (s).’
Saying this, the Imam addressed an Iraqi, named Hasan ibn e Musa Baghdadi, thus: ‘How do the people of Iraq interpret this verse of the Quran,
“This son of yours is not virtuous, therefore, not yours”?
Baghdadi replied, ‘Some interpret it as it is; others argue that Allah’s saying that he is not your son, means he is not from Noah’s (‘a) seed, because they cannot accept the fact that a Prophet’s son should be declared disobedient, impious. They believe he must be the offspring of Noah’s (‘a) wife from an earlier, evil husband.’
The Imam (‘a) said, ‘Absolutely incorrect! He was Noah’s (‘a) own son, of his seed. The disobedient, impious actions of the son amputated the spiritual relationship between them. Therefore, Almighty Allah declared that he could not be included among the pious, virtuous individuals. Our family also faces the same situation. A spiritual relationship purely depends on piety, virtuous deeds and total submission to the Will of Allah. Whoever obeys Allah belongs to us, whether he is related or not in seed. Whoever is disobedient, even if he is the real offspring of Lady Fatimah Zahra (‘a), will not be hers.
You yourself, Baghdadi, even though not related in blood or seed, will be one of us, if you become a faithful believer submitting to the Will of Allah.’