"Be our silent ambassadors"
(Imam Ja’far-us-Sadiq SA)
This article was written by Shehzada Dr Aziz bhaisaheb Qutbuddin in 2017.
Syedna Qadi al-Nu’man narrates an episode in Da’aimul Islam when a group of Shi’a from Kufa came to Imam Ja’far-us-Sadiq SA to seek knowledge. When the time came for them to leave, they asked the Imam to bid them farewell with wise counsel.
Imam SA said, “I counsel you to maintain Allah Ta’ala’s taqwa. Act always so that you are obedient to Him and stay away from disobedience. Always safeguard what is entrusted to you. Be good to those you accompany. And be our silent ambassadors (du’aat samiteen).”
The group of Shi’a asked the Imam, “how can we draw people towards you with silence?”
Imam SA replied, “With your deeds. Perform what we command you: the obedience of Allah, stay away from what we discourage: that which Allah has forbidden. Deal with people truthfully and fairly. Honor your entrustments. Encourage goodness, good deeds, and discourage wrongdoing. People should only see from you. Once they observe your values, actions, and path they will pray for us “May God bless so and so, how well he has guided his people.”
Imam’s SA wise counsel emphasizes the obedience of Allah Ta’ala but also stresses the positive manner in which we should deal and interact with people in general. He singles out the virtues of honesty, fairness, and goodness.
The Du’at Mutlaqeen of the Imam embody this spirit and pull thousands of people closer towards them through their virtuous character. Similarly, Du’at Mutlaqeen have encouraged Mumineen to engage in the communities around them. For example, with the raza of Syedna Taher Fakhruddin TUS, the “Taqreeb” conference organized by the Qutbi Jubilee Scholarship Program in collaboration with the University of Calcutta (http://www.fatemidawat.com/reference-materials/sijill-articles/138-taqreeb-bridging-divides-by-finding-the-common-denominator.html). The spirit of the conference was to bridge divides so that people may be brought closer together, and to encourage dialogue between scholars to understand differences and in doing so, find common ground - find the common denominator.
“Taqreeb” and the act of building bridges is not simply an academic effort. On the ground, we as Mumineen must act and embody the virtues that our Hudaat guide us to because these are the values that bridge divides. These are the values that draw people closer to us and our Hudaat.
In this spirit, Mumineen in Boston initiated regular meal service events at Rosies Place, a homeless shelter for women in Boston, Massachusetts. To date, they have funded 5 dinners and organized the volunteers for each event. They have partnered with a local Church, Masjid, and Synagogue, including student groups and have worked together with these communities to improve the lives of poor and homeless women. All who have volunteered have been truly grateful for the opportunity to help and have found the experience to be incredibly humbling. Their next event is scheduled in March. The response from the partnering groups has been overwhelmingly positive; they have already filled 15 volunteer positions for the next event.
May Allah Ta’ala grant us the strength and inspiration to be silent ambassadors for our Hudaat. And in doing so, may we embrace the best virtues of truthfulness, fairness and goodness.