IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MOST MERCIFUL, THE MOST COMPASSIONATE
Allah's praise and peace be upon the most honorable human beings and messengers the Prophet Mohammad Bin Abdellah and his Descendents.
By publishing our book under the title of "Beginning of the Path" which we wanted, as its name indicates, to be as a basis for the knowledge of Muslim that reflects the man's nature and conscience, we promised, in the said book, that it will be followed by another one which completes this beginning. So, this book emerged in order to complete the path of obtaining the Islamic knowledge while at the same time supplicating Allah [The Exalted] to fulfill what we had began with and hoping that may Allah accepts our humble efforts.
Islamic Cultural Knowledge Organization
Knowledge Center for Islamic Studies and Researches
Chapter One Reality of Life
Purpose of Creating Man
How Do I Become Happy?
What Is After Death?
(Al-Mumenoon [The Believers])
He will say: "Ye stayed not but a little,- if ye had only known!  Did ye then think that We had created you in jest, and that ye would not be brought back to Us (for account)?  Therefore exalted be Allah, the King, the Reality: there is no Allah but He, the Lord of the Throne of Honour!  If anyone invokes, besides Allah, Any other Allah, he has no authority therefor; and his reckoning will be only with his Lord! and verily the Unbelievers will fail to win through! 
Lesson One The Purpose of Creating Man
Why did Allah create me?
What distinguishes me from other creatures?
What is my goal in life?
Introduction Ever since man came to life, he has been searching for the aim that he should reach to and the final destiny he must get to. In general, he knows that Allah has not created him in jest or just for fun. On the contrary, Allah has created man for a wise purpose dedicated for him only as the Holy Verse states, “Did ye then think that We had created you in jest, and that ye would not be brought back to Us (for account)?1 Why did Allah create us and what is the purpose that he is aspiring us to reach?
Necessity of the Purpose At the beginning, we must assure that all things existing all around the universe were created for a purpose and each has a function to perform. The earth, the moon, the sun and all other planets and stars play a specific role in the outstanding universe. The same goes with what the earth includes: sand,
water, air, plants, animals, humans and all other creatures. Each of them has a major and important role in the regularity and continuity of life, human life in particular.
This prominent universal order attributes its existence and creation to Allah, the Wise Almighty, who has created and ordered them with His Knowledge, “…It is He who created all things, and ordered them in due proportions.”2 “… (such is) the artistry of Allah, who disposes of all things in perfect order…”3 Distinction of Man
Although it is true that man shares this origin with all creatures, Allah has dedicated him with a special feature which is reason, and honored him with the grace of knowledge and fathoming. Reason is a great divine blessing that gives us conscious and perception, as well as the ability to select goals and choose what we deem proper among these goals.
Our trait, which distinguishes from all other creatures, as humans is that we do comprehend the goals that we want to reach and achieve and that we can select and accept them willingly and contently if we think of them with our minds and reason their consequences soundly. Man may starve but not eat due to a life-related interest, if he is sick, or due to a hereafter-related interest, if he is fasting the obligatory dues. Thus, man can control his traits and instincts through his mind.
This is why many hadith talked about the high position of mind and that Allah has not created anything He likes more than mind and that He gives it in perfect manner only to whom He loves. Also, many anecdotes urged people to use this mind by contemplating that even Imam Ali (PBUH) said, “A one-hour contemplating session betters a sixty-year worship interval.”4
If it is so, have we ever thought of what we want to achieve in life? Where should we reach and what should we make out of our lives?
Determining the Goal
Man would not do any action, no matter how small it is, unless he wants to achieve a certain goal. He would not eat unless he wants to meet his hunger or satisfy a need. He sleeps to get rest, works and spares money to get his daily bread and the necessities of life, studies to succeed and even plays around and has fun to entertain himself and recharge his forces and powers to go on with his life.
The problem, however, is when his mind goes deeply in the details of his daily life although it would be better for him to work his mind and answer the central question: what is the general goal that I want to achieve in my life?
When man opens a commercial business, for instance, the daily business movement such as buying and selling, taking care of the employees’ affairs and organizing the same are not important in themselves as much as they lead to the general profit of the establishment. The same thing applies to the detailed objectives of man’s daily activities: they spring out from the importance and the eminence of the general goal of his life.
Happiness is the Goal
Some may consider being a doctor or an engineer as their goals; others endeavor to become owners of enterprises or decent professionals; others would aspire to become members of the parliament, leaders or high profile figures in the society; quite a portion may be interested in guiding people and showing them the right way in life as in the Hereafter. People have many various, distinct purposes, but are they so?
Should we ask the doctor why he has chosen medicine, he would say to treat and cure myself and others from illnesses.
Why is it so? So that we could lead healthy lives. Why all of that? To feel comfort and happiness comes the answer. Why are you after happiness and comfort? The answer comes: Loving comfort and happiness is an instinctive feeling and it is sought for itself, not for something else.
The rest are the same: the engineer, the trader, a high profile figure in the society, and even an ascetic or a cleric, who sacrifices for guiding and reforming people are all after happiness and exert their best of efforts and hard work to be happy and feel comfort and felicity. This is the purpose Allah has created us for and wants us to reach and achieve. He, Praise to Him, the Elevated and the Most Powerful, Owner of the Best of Names, the Arrogant and Lord of Favors, He Who needs nothing, has created us not to benefit from us, since he is the richest of the rich who shall never become poor, but so that we could reach perfection, comfort and happiness.
Therefore, man’s objective from life is happiness.
Every creature has a goal to achieve due to the divine wisdom.
Every creature has a goal to achieve due to the divine wisdom.
Human beings are distinguished with their minds which enable them from selecting the goal consciously and comprehensively.
The best thing man can determine is his general goal in life.
Happiness is the general goal which all human beings are after, and which we were created by Allah to achieve.
What indicates the inevitability of the presence of goal for man and the remaining creatures?
What is man’s feature that distinguishes him from other creatures?
There are various objectives that man seeks. What is the main objective that adds them up?
Additional Reading Favor Equals Knowledge
A Bedouin came to Imam Hussein (PBUH) and said, “O ye the son of the Prophet. I guaranteed a full ransom of a dead man and I could not honor the same. I said to myself: I shall ask people and I have never seen anyone more noble than the Descendents of Mohamad (PBUT).”
Imam Hussein: I shall ask you three questions. Should you answer one, you shall have one third of the money and if you answered two, I shall give you two thirds of the money and if you answered them all, I shall give you all the money.
The Bedouin: O Ye the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)! Is Ye who would ask me and thou art a man of nobility and knowledge?
Imam Hussein: Indeed! I have heard my grandfather the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say, “Favor equals knowledge.”
The Bedouin: Ask whatever you like. Should I be able to answer, it would be great and if I could not, I will learn from you.
Imam Hussein: Which deeds are best?
The Bedouin: Believing in Allah.
Imam Hussein: What is deliverance from balefulness?
The Bedouin: Trusting Allah.
Imam Hussein: What decorates a man?
The Bedouin: Knowledge associated with patience.
Imam Hussein: What if he could not get them?
The Bedouin: Money with gallant.
Imam Hussein: What if he could not get them?
The Bedouin: Poverty associated with patience.
Imam Hussein: What if he could not get them?
The Bedouin: Then let there be a thunderbolt from the sky
that would burn him dead because he would deserve it.
Hussein (PBUH) laughed and threw him a bag that contained one thousand dinars and gave him his ring that contained a 200-dirham clove and said, “O ye Bedouin! Give the gold to your contenders and spend the clove for your own needs.”
The Bedouin took the money and said, “Allah knows best where he puts his message.”
Imam Al Sadek (PBUH) is reported to have said, “Allah said ‘O ye my true servants! Enjoy my worship in Life for ye shall enjoy it the Hereafter’” Osoul Al Kafi, p. 249 Lesson Two How Do I Become Happy?
What is real happiness?
Which road leads to happiness?
Religion is happiness.
Introduction In the previous lesson, we knew that all people search for happiness and constantly try to get rid of pain and escape misery. Now, the significant question is: how do people obtain real happiness?
Various Means Many people believe that happiness is gained through indulging one’s self in appetence and pleasures or through great fortunes and riches or through possessing more power and authority. In fact, however, what one gets from these things is nothing but a delusive and evanescent happiness.
This best describes those who are after life. The more they get fortunes and powers, the more their desire grows for more riches and authorities. Moreover, anyone who would compete with them to get the same shall become their enemy. They become satisfactionless as reported by Imam Al Sadek (PBUH),
“Life is like the water of the sea: the more you drink, the thirstier you become until you are dead.”5 When the time of reality comes, one leaves everything he has gained and leaves away with nothing.
Real Happiness The greatest mistake of those who follow dispersive and aberrant doctrines is that they do not think hard enough in the truths of their goals and intentions. They did not use their minds or refer to their pure instinct and sound of conscience. Had they done so, they would have realized that what they wanted was constant, real happiness which knows no pain or misery and which is never transient.
Life can never achieve this. Any weak person who feels fear and weakness and needs safety shall refuge to a powerful person. A poor person who has nothing to satisfy his needs and hunger shall refuge to the rich. A sick person who feels pain needs a physician. A lonely person needs a shoulder to cry on. Man’s need for power, safety, richness, affability and love is eternal and absolute; consequently, these needs are not satisfied by ephemeral things. True happiness and constant, absolute comfort are not achieved but through the one and only love, the perfection who is immortal: Allah, may His Name be glorified.
This is why we soliloquize and supplicate him in Al Jawshan Al Kabir, “O Ye who is near more than anything; O Ye who is the most beloved; O Ye who is strong than anyone; O Ye who is merciful than anyone…”
Imam Khomeini says, “The light of instinct has showed us the way to the fact that the hearts of all human beings aim at complete perfection… that is, absolute perfection is the beloved of all… so watch out, dear, and wake up from your inadvertence and feel happy since you have an eternal beloved who is evanescent, who is faultless and
who is Allah Almighty.”6
He who denies this happiness because it cannot be sensed or does not go with his short-lived pleasures and appetence is either deep in inadvertence or is blind because he is far from sound conscience and sound mind.
Real happiness is like a beautiful garden surrounded with huge fences and has certain doors. What is beyond this garden is an arid desert. Infidels have looked away from that garden either because they have fallen in a deep pit or because they are busy sniffing the breeze of this garden’s odors from a distance or in a mirage they believe to be happiness. Should they reach this mirage, they would find it nothing and they still blunder in aberrance.
Almighty says, “But those who were blind in this world, will be blind in the hereafter, and most astray from the Path.”7
Road to Happiness
On the other hand, believers considered true happiness with their insights and pure instincts. They only had to walk the way that lead to happiness – even if they had put up with some obstacles, they do not feel the same due to their anxiousness and eagerness to meeting Allah – and had to enter from the specified doors.
This road is described to us in the Holy Qur’an when Allah says, “Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.”8
As for the doors that Allah ordered us to enter the houses from when he said, “… Enter houses through the proper doors…”9, they are the prophets and imams peace be upon
them. In the sacred hadith, “I am the City of Knowledge and Ali is the gate that leads to it.” In Nudbah supplication when we soliloquize Imam Mahdi, we say, “Where is the door of Allah where we come through to Him?”
As a result, we know that righteous work is nothing but complying with the divine sharia to which we are guided by prophets and infallible imams.
This is why Allah has said, “O ye who believe! give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life…”10
Good life is not achieved for a believer unless he responds to Allah and to what the prophet calls for through the verses of the Holy Qur’an or through his Sunna because the Holy Qur’an mainly outlines the headlines of the sacred sharia whereas the prophet clarifies the ramifications and partial rulings thereof.
We can conclude why Allah has set the goal for his creatures, which is to worship, when He says, “I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me.”11
Therefore, serving Allah and real connection to him through abiding by the Sharia and worshiping through executing the rulings he has ordered us to execute is the right way to achieve happiness.
Believing is the Happiness and Safety
When man feels that he has a great power next to him which cannot be disabled by anything and which can get him all his needs and deliver him from any dejecting, he shall never feel hopeless, depressed or fear. On the contrary, comfort and delight shall overwhelm him in a way words cannot describe.
This is the state of a believer who has connected himself to Allah and depended on him. Allah is the Merciful Who takes care of him more than his mother does. Allah says, “Say: O my Servants who have transgressed
against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”12 And Allah says, “…And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.”13 So, dear, let us come and chant this awesome paragraph from the Great Jawshan Supplication:
O He, Who created me and perfected me,
O He, Who provided me with sustenance and nurtured me,
O He, Who provided food for me and quenched my thirst,
O He, Who brought me near Him and brought me most nigh,
O He, Who protected me and kept me in safety,
O He, Who saved and guarded me,
O He, Who honoured me and enriched me,
O He, Who helped and guided me,
O He, Who befriended me and sheltered me,
O He, Who causes me to die and revivifies me.
Worldly happiness is delusive and evanescent.
True happiness is reached by using our pure instinct and sound mind, and it is nearer to Allah since he is the absolute perfection.
The way to achieve happiness is in believing and good deeds.
Good deed is the divine sharia to which we are guided by prophets, imams and their proxies.
What is the reality of happiness which one should understand?
What achieves happiness?
What factors lead to misdiagnosing happiness?
Additional Reading The Sheikh of Resistance Fighters: Sheikh Ahmad Yehia (Abu Zar)
He came back to his village after twenty-two years. He was the first to enter the village whose aridness was reaching to his springs of giving in order to get life and give itself the meaning of existence. Land knows its beloved ones as houses keep their residents. When Ahmad Yehia was displaced from Rchaf after the Israeli invasion forces had killed his father and dumped his body in a water well, he and the villagers collected their wounds and left it. He left his soul in the debris and wreckage of its houses. There is nothing harder to man than carrying his days on the palm of emigration and expatriation and leaving his land as a red tear fidgeting between lashes of comeback waiting to be shed due to joy even once. Sheikh Abu Zar did not mind the bullets falling like rain on an arid land. Bullets are his best friends. Here he is now reaching his hands out to harvest what he had sowed. Isn’t victory the fruit of fighting? Doesn’t Abu Zar deserve, after spending years on the fronts of jihad, holding his gun day and night, to contemplate for moments the friendliness of the place he belongs to? He who has spent the best years of his life ever on this sacred land: in its alleys which were filled with the noise of people and the little children playing? He was there when he was a child and a young boy and as a young man. The fields in his village still remember him as he used to come back home from Tebnin’s school. He used to lay his books under some bushes to help his father Hajj Abu Khalil in cultivate or sow the land. They used to run back home together to be received by Im Khalil with the warmest of welcome and appreciation. Since childhood, he used to be good person with his parents and his parents used to supplicate for him for he was unusually good.
Before he became religiously adult, he had committed himself to the rulings of sharia and received religious lessons at the mosque of the village. He read the Qur’an and supplicated Allah and participated in objective activities and always talking about religious issues and affairs. He used to discuss life and homeland which was being attacked by the hatred of the "Israelis". He was very well aware of everything going on around him. He never was a silly young man who spent his time fooling around for he knew that life is responsibility and he had prepared himself to be up to it. He never endeavored to improve his financial status since he knew that ‘contentment is an everlasting treasure’ and that Allah’s satisfaction was his utmost goal and that martyrdom was the dream he always had.
In 1982, he was blessed with Hajj (pilgrimage). He bid his parents farewell and went to Mecca where he met an Iranian campaign there and joined them when they left to the Islamic Republic of Iran to study at Qom. There, he not only studied religious sciences but participated in training sessions that made him fit to be one of the soldiers of Hizbullah. He kept in contact with the brothers in the Islamic Resistance until he came back to Lebanon on 1986. As soon as he arrived, he left his wife and his little daughter at his parents-in-law’s house and left saying that he had some work to do. By midnight, Martyr Saleh Harb, brother of the wife of Sheikh Abu Zar came and told her that her husband is waiting for her in the South, so she accompanied her brother to join the Sheikh’s long jihad. From the Middle Sector to Iklim Al Toffah to the Western Sector, all the soil of the South adores the footsteps’ traces of Sheikh Abu Zar. He is the fighter who never left the front and his constant movement in the South made his life instable. He and his family used to spend their days moving among villages.
When his best friend and companion, Martyr Saleh Harb, was martyred in his arms, leaving the three children behind under the responsibility of the Sheikh, Sheikh Abu Zar was the best to take that responsibility. In addition to the Sheikh’s four children, he
raised the children of his brother-in-law with all the tenderness he could give and planted goodness in them which made them powerful when they are older. He used to sit with his children and speak to them about Imam Khomeini and Imam Khameini. He gathered them one week before he was martyred to discuss their future with them and the majors they are going to choose in the future. He chose something to each one of them. Few were the times that Abu Zar dedicated for himself. He used to go visit his parents and siblings when he had any free time. He always urged others to visit their kins and the importance of maintaining such relationships with them. He always asked his mother to supplicate for the moujahideen. It is very well known about him that when he used to buy something for himself he bought this same thing to the moujahideen first. And it was the final comeback. He came on the wings of yearning as his long waiting held the wounds of years which were bleeding with endless longing. He saw himself among the ruins building castles of coral and pearls. He bled as a splinter of a bomb falling next to him hit him. He fought hard. His turban was torn by a rock falling onto it and filled with blood. He walked leaning to himself watering the soft green grass with his blood. He called one of the brothers and then fell on the ground. Despite the severe hemorrhage, he stayed conscious watching what was going on around him and wearing a smile for the coming victory and for the flags of Hezbollah that were hoisted over the liberated villages as a result of the sweat of moujahideen, the blood of martyrs and the wounds of the injured…