Al-Salam ‘Alaykum, this is Syed Ali Imran – and you are listening to the Forties podcast, brought to you by Mizan Institute.
This is episode 53 – The Reward for Establishing a Good Practice
أَبِي جَعْفَرٍ ع قَالَ: أَيُّمَا عَبْدٍ مِنْ عِبَادِ اللَّهِ سَنَّ سُنَّةَ هُدًى كَانَ لَهُ أَجْرٌ مِثْلُ أَجْرِ مَنْ عَمِلَ بِذَلِكَ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ يَنْقُصَ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَيْءٌ وَ أَيُّمَا عَبْدٍ مِنْ عِبَادِ اللَّهِ سَنَّ سُنَّةَ ضَلَالٍ كَانَ عَلَيْهِ مِثْلُ وِزْرِ مَنْ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ يَنْقُصَ مِنْ أَوْزَارِهِمْ شَيْءٌ.
In Hadith #12: Imam Baqir (a) said: Any servant from amongst the servants of Allah who establishes a practice that is a source of guidance, they will receive the reward of people performing that deed and the reward of those people will not diminish. One who establishes a wrong practice among the people will get the punishment equal to that of the people following that wrong practice while the punishment of those people won’t be reduced.
In this narration, the Imam (a) alludes to the idea that someone who establishes a good practice or does a good deed, by which others can also participate in, they will receive the reward of all those who end up performing that good deed. For example, if someone builds a mosque in a certain area, keeps its door open so others can come and pray in there, and by this they end up establishing a practice where the mosque is now regularly being used, it becomes a practice amongst the people, then in this case the person who established the mosque will also receive the reward of all those who benefit and make use of that mosque. Allah does not give this reward to the person by taking something away from the rewards of those using the mosque and praying in there, rather it’s a separate reward altogether, but it equals the reward of those praying.
This is in complete contrast to someone who establishes a bad and evil practice. For example, imagine someone who builds a casino or a bar, and then people begin to come to these places and engage in gambling and drinking, they engage in these sins. The person not only receives a sin for establishing these buildings, but also the sin of all of those who participate in these sins in these venues. These bad practices can also be extended to cases where for example a good legitimate practice was already established and someone comes and eradicates it, such as if there was a mosque built in a town, and one comes and creates barriers of some sort which prevents people from praying in there – in the long run if this creates a culture in that region where people abandon their prayers because there is no community culture of praying, and they commit this sin, the sin would also be placed in the record of the person who created this culture.
In the next episode, we will read a similar ḥadīth, which shows as a specific example of someone who establishes a good deed, in the form of teaching and educating others about the truth and guiding them on to the right path.
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Sayyid Ali studied in the seminary of Qom from 2012 to 2021, while also concurrently obtaining a M.A in Islamic Studies from the Islamic College of London in 2018. In the seminary he engaged in the study of legal theory, jurisprudence and philosophy, eventually attending the advanced kharij of Usul and Fiqh in 2018. He is currently completing his Masters of Education at the University of Toronto and is the head of a private faith-based school in Toronto, as well as an instructor at the Mizan Institute and Mufid Seminary.