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Barometer of Truth

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In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.our heartiest congratulations to you all on the third successive day of celebrations.Today the 5th of Sha'ban is that glorious day on which was born Imam Zain al-Abedin (PBUH), the 4th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). It is the day which we celebrate in the Islamic Republic as the Day of the Freed Combatants as a mark of respect to our captives who returned home to Iran from captivity abroad with head held high and their faith and Islamic spirit unshaken. this is a special feature in this regard.

"The 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 them."

These thought-provoking words that provide an excellent description of the rights of the tongue, and how we should not misuse it, were not uttered by any hermit far removed from the practicalities of social life. Neither are these wise words the product of the impractical mind of a starry-eyed philosopher saying something but conveniently breaking the rules on the pretext of social exigencies. This remarkable definition of a seemingly small organ of our body through which we express the power of speech that God Almighty gifted only to the human race along with the intellect to differentiate between good and evil, was given by a person whose spirit was neither broken by the massacre of the male members of his immediate family before his eyes nor his own brutalized imprisonment. Even the power and pomp of a bloodthirsty tyrant's court couldn't change the course of his tongue from the principles in which he firmly believed and never hesitated to speak out his mind for the good of the Muslim ummah.

He was none other than the Prophet's 4th Infallible Successor, whose birth anniversary we celebrate today. He was known as Ibn al-Khiyaratayn or "The Son of the Two Virtuous Persons", in view of the fact that if he was the son and successor of the Chief of Martyrs and the Leader of the Youths of Paradise – Imam Husain (PBUH), he had as his mother the chaste Princess of Persia, Shahrbano (peace upon her). Imam Zain al-Abedin (PBUH), who was born in Medina this day on Sha'ban 5 in the year 38 AH (corresponding to 657 CE), needs no introduction even to non Muslims, thanks to the two universally acknowledged works bequeathed by him to mankind. The first is the book Sahifat as-Sajjadiyah, which is a collection of his supplications to God that range from the bounties of the Lord Most High to the matters of mundane life including such wonders of the world of science as the weight of light, something that was beyond the ken of mankind in his days. The second is the Risalat al-Hoqouq or Treatise of Rights, from which the rights of the tongue have been quoted earlier in this brief radio programme. It is a work that he dictated to one of his disciples to expound every minute right of a human being in society including a person's own physical organs that are nothing but Divine Trust to see how one uses or misuses them.

No wonder this treatise has been hailed as more comprehensive and perfect than the so-called Human Rights Declaration of the UN, which is full of flaws.

It would be repetitive to recount the tragedy of Karbala; how patiently Imam Zain al-Abedin (PBUH) endured it; how he was subjected to imprisonment; how he was dragged to the courts of the tyrants in Kufa and in Damascus; and how he shook the foundations of Yazid's illegal rule by using his tongue to proclaim the victory of his martyred father's mission and to expose as a heathen the self-styled caliph. It is also not possible to recount the glorious events of his 34-year Imamate during which he ably guided the ummah in the turbulent era of six Umayyud rulers, all of whom, like their courtiers, misused the tongue to indulge in lies, deceit, sedition, blasphemy, bloodshed and every abominable utterance except for expressing truth. Thus, in view of these undeniable facts in today's morally-bankrupt world, we who claim to be followers of the Prophet and his Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt, ought not to emulate the enemies of humanity and cause dissension in society. It is incumbent upon us to heed the call of Imam Zain al-Abedin (PBUH) on human beings to have proper control of their tongue and observe its rights, for if not properly used, the tongue will complain to God Almighty on the Day of Judgement about the violation of its rights by the owner.

Both good and evil are spread by tongue. It means the tongue is the real barometer for measuring the personality of a person, and not confined to casual talk and mere taste of foods and drinks to satisfy one's gluttonous appetite. True, with the help of this sensitive organ, one can understand the sweetness, bitterness, sourness and saltiness of foods, but the 4th Imam stresses on how to use it properly, for the tongue is vital for conveying our concepts and ideas, as well as promoting peace, understanding, prosperity and perfection, in the family, in the society, and among mankind. In other words, the brain or the intellect, which is indeed a treasure trove and distinguishes human beings from other species of life, depends on the tongue for its proper unraveling, and if we were to use our tongue to spread doubts, uncertainty, sedition, immorality, etc, in society to undermine truth and to distort realities, then we certainly do not deserve to be called the true followers of Imam Zain al-Abedin (PBUH).

We offer our felicitations once again and end our programme with a beautiful statement of thanksgiving from the 4th Imam, which reads:

"My God, my thanksgiving is small before Your great boons, and my praise and proclaiming (of it) shrink beside Your generosity toward me! Your favours have wrapped me in the robes of the lights of faith, and the gentleness of Your goodness have let down over me delicate curtains of might! Your kindnesses have collared me with collars not to be moved and adorned me with neck-rings not to be broken! Your boons are abundant - my tongue is too weak to count them! Your favours are many - my understanding falls short of grasping them, not to speak of exhausting them!

"So how can I complete thanksgiving? For my thanking You requires thanksgiving. Whenever I say, “To You belongs praise!”, it becomes thereby incumbent upon me to say, “To You belongs praise!" My God, as You have fed us through Your gentleness and nurtured us through Your benefaction, so also complete for us lavish favours, repel from us detested acts of vengeance, and of the shares of the two abodes (the world and afterlife), give us their most elevated and their greatest, both the immediate and the deferred! O Almighty, O All-generous! By Your mercy, O Most Merciful of the merciful!”

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