الصراط المستقيم
Written by:
Yasin T. al-Jibouri
yasinaljibouri@yahoo.com

Sirāt صراط:

Path, highway; same as sabeel (sabīl). As-Sirāt Al-Mustaqeem الصراط المستقيم : The Straight Path is the one mentioned in Surat al-Fātiha and in numerous other verses under different other names, and it is a plea to the Almighty made by the faithful: الْمُسْتَقِيمَ إِهدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ Guide us (O Lord!) to the Straight Path” (Qur’ān, 1:6), thus praying Allāh Almighty to keep their feet firm as they pass on it so it may lead them to happiness in this life and salvation in the life to come. All souls in the hereafter without any exception have to pass over it, and it is described as a bridge, a path, a passage that stretches from Hell to Paradise; only those who successfully cross it will enter Paradise, the ultimate goal of all believers where they will stay forever. Imām Ja’fer al-Sādiq (ﻉ), as recorded on p. 41, Vol. 1, of Tabatabai’s Al-Mizān fi Tafsir al-Qur’ān الميزان في تفسير القرآن, was asked once about the meaning of this verse; so he said, “It means: Guide us to upholding the path that leads to Your pleasure, that ends at Your Paradise, that prohibits us from following our own desires and thus deviate, or follow our own views and thus perish.” By the way, Tabatabai’s full name is: Muhammad Husain ibn Sayyid Muhammad ibn Sayyid Husain ibn Mirza Ali Asgher Tabrizi Tabatabai, the judge. He was born in 1892 in Tabriz and died in Qum in 1981. His 21-Volume exegesis, Al-Mizān, is only one of his numerous works. The edition utilized for this book was published in 1991 by Al-A’lami Foundation of Beirut, Lebanon. Hujjatul-Islām Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi, recognized scholar and founder of the Bilal Muslim Mission of Tanzania, may Allāh fill his resting place with noor نور, spent years of his blessed life translating some volumes of this valuable exegesis into English. In his Tafsir, al-Ayyashi quotes Imām Ja’fer al-Sādiq (ﻉ) as saying that as-Sirāt al-Mustaqeem is the Commander of the Faithful Imām Ali (ﻉ). As-Sirāt al-Mustaqeem is referred to in verse 61 of Surat Ya-Sin (Ch. 36), in verse 52 of Surat al-Shura (Ch. 42), in verse 16 of Surat al-Mā’ida (Ch. 5), in verses 126 and 161 of Surat al-An’am (Ch. 6), in verses 70 and 174 of Surat al-Nisaa (Ch. 4), in verse 42 of Surat al-Hijr (Ch. 15), and in other verses where it is described as the Sabeel, another word for path, leading to the Almighty.

Abdul-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Hassam quotes Ahmed ibn ‘Eisa ibn Abu Maryam quoting Muhammad ibn Ahmed al-‘Arjami quoting Ali ibn Hatim al-Minqari quoting al-Mufaddal ibn ‘Umer as saying, “I asked Abu Abdullah (Imām al-Sādiq (ﻉ)) about the Sirāt, and he said, ‘It is the Path to knowing Allāh, the most Exalted, the most Great, and there are two such paths: one in the life of this world, and one in the life hereafter. The Sirāt in this life is the Imām whose obedience is incumbent; whoever knows him in this life and follows his guidance will be able to pass on the (other) Sirāt which is a path over hell in the hereafter, and whoever does not know him in this life, his feet will slip away from the Sirāt in the hereafter, causing him to fall into the fire of hell.”‘ This is recorded on pp. 13-14 of Ma’ani al Akhbar معاني الأخبار and also on p. 66, Vol. 8, of Bihar al Anwar بحار الأنوار. It is when you come to this Sirāt, and you most certainly will, that you will find out how well you performed your prayers, fast and other religious obligations in the life of this world, how you dealt with your Maker, family, relatives and other members of the society. As-Sirāt al-Mustaqeem is the straight path over hell, a fire more intense in heat than boiling molten brass, and it has seven bridges over it: Each is three thousand years in length: one thousand to vertically ascend, one thousand to horizontally cross, and one thousand to descend. It is thinner than a human hair, sharper than the sharpest sword and darker than the darkest night inside a tunnel. Each bridge has seven branches, and each branch is like a long lance with sharp teeth: each servant of Allāh will be confined on each and every one of them and be asked about all the injunctions the Almighty had required him to perform during his lifetime on this planet. In the first of such stops he will be asked about belief and conviction, shirk شرك (polytheism) and hypocrisy. In the second he will be asked about prayers, what they entail, how to perform, and whether he performed them properly and on time. In the third he will be asked about zakat, its types, and whether he paid it or not. And it is in the fourth that he will be asked about the fast… It is there and then that he will realize whether he upheld this important obligation or not, whether he offered charity or not, and whether he regretted and repented his sins during the month of Ramadan or not. In the fifth he will be asked about the hajj, pilgrimage, and ‘umra, why he did not perform them, or why he failed to perform them properly, and how they must be performed. In the sixth he will be asked about wudu (ablution) and ghusul, how he performed them, which one is compulsory and which is optional. Finally, in the seventh, he will be asked about how kind he was to his parents and kin, and whether he did injustice to any human being. In the absence of sufficient optional good deeds such as offering charity, helping a needy Muslim, performing optional prayers or fasts…, etc., if one gives the wrong answer to any question in any of these stops, he will be prone to fall into the pit of hell underneath…, as Abdel-Jabbar al-Rubay’i tells us in his book Al- Tathkira fi ahwal almawt wal akhira التذكرة في أحوال الموت و الآخرة, having collected such details from various books of hadith and Sunnah. He adds saying, on p. 130, that the bridges will be shaken by the weight of crossing people who will climb on top of each other, causing these bridges to move like a ship tossed by a wind storm in the midst of the sea.

As-Sirāt separates Paradise from hell. With reference to those who will fall into hell, the Almighty says the following: أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِينَ بَدَّلُواْ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ كُفْرًا وَأَحَلُّواْ قَوْمَهُمْ دَارَ الْبَوَار؟ِ “Have you not considered those who have changed Allāh’s favor into blasphemy and caused their people to fall into the abode of perdition?” (Holy Qur’ān, 14:28) where the “abode of perdition” connotes Hell; وَمَن يَحْلِلْ عَلَيْهِ غَضَبِي فَقَدْ هَوَى “… upon whomsoever My wrath descends shall fall therein” (Holy Qur’ān 20:81) where the “fall” here means falling into Hell; فَمَنِ اتَّبَعَ هُدَايَ فَلا يَضِلُّ وَلا يَشْقَى “Whoever follows My guidance will not lose his way nor fall into perdition” (Holy Qur’ān, 20:123); وَمَا يُغْنِي عَنْهُ مَالُهُ إِذَا تَرَدَّى “… Nor will his wealth benefit him when he falls headlong (into the pit of fire)” (Holy Qur’ān, 92:11). So, if one is found as having been derelict in performing any of his obligations, the angels questioning him will try to find out whether he somehow made up for it with optional good deeds. Once he is cleared, he will be escorted into Paradise. It is to such stopping and questioning that the Almighty refers when He addresses His angels to وَقِفُوهُمْ إِنَّهُم مَّسْئُولُونَ “Stop them, for they must be questioned” (Holy Qur’ān, 37:24).

On p. 133, Vol. 17, of his book titled Al-Mizān, `allama Tabatabai quotes various views regarding what the questions on this Sirāt will be. He says that some scholars are of the opinion that they will be asked about the Unity of Allāh, while others believe it will be about the wilayat ولاية of Imām Ali (ﻉ), but he also concedes that such stopping and questioning will take place on the Sirāt over hell. On p. 107 of al-Saduq’s A1-Amali لأماليا, and also on pp. 64-65, Vol. 8, of al-Majlisi’s Biharal Anwar بحار الأنوار, al-Waleed quotes al-Saffar quoting Ibn ‘Eisa quoting Muhammad al-Barqi quoting al-Qasim ibn Muhammad al-Jawhari quoting Ali ibn Abu Hamza quoting Au Busayr quoting Abu Abdullah Imām Ja’fer al-Sādiq (ﻉ) as saying, “People will pass on different levels on the Sirāt, and it is thinner than hair and sharper than the sword. Some will pass as swiftly as lightning, while others will pass as fast as a horse, while some of them will crawl on it, some will walk on it, while some others will pass hanging, so the fire will consume some of their body parts and leave others.” Imām Abu Ja’fer al-Baqir (ﻉ) is quoted on p. 65, Vol. 8, of al-Majlisi’s Bihār al-Anwār as saying, “When the verse saying ‘And hell is brought that Day’ was revealed, the Messenger of Allāh (ﺹ) was asked about what it meant, so he (ﺹ) said, ‘The trusted Spirit (Gabriel) has informed me that when Allāh, the One and only God, resurrects all people and gathers their early generations and the last, hell will be brought by a hundred thousand angels, very stern and mighty angels, and it will be coming roaring, inhaling and exhaling. The force of its exhalation is such that had Allāh not delayed them for the reckoning, it would have caused everyone to perish. Then a flame will come out of it and encircle all humans, the good and the bad, so much so that any servant of Allāh, be he an angel or a prophet, will call out: `Save me, O Lord, save me,’ except you, O Prophet of Allāh, for you will call out: Save my nation, O Lord, save my nation!”‘ Muqatil, `Ataa and Ibn Abbas are among the greatest traditionists in the history of Islām without any contention. They are the ones who transmitted the ahadith أحاديث of the Messenger of Allāh (ﺹ) for all posterity. All three of them, as stated on p. 67, Vol. 8, of Bihār al Anwār, have interpreted the verse saying: يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا تُوبُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ تَوْبَةً نَّصُوحًا عَسَى رَبُّكُمْ أَن يُكَفِّرَ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَيُدْخِلَكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَارُ يَوْمَ لا يُخْزِي اللَّهُ النَّبِيَّ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ نُورُهُمْ يَسْعَى بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَبِأَيْمَانِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا وَاغْفِرْ لَنَا إِنَّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ “O you who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance: In the hope that your Lord will remove your ills and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow, the Day that Allah will not permit the Prophet and the believers with him to be humiliated. Their light (noor نُورُهُمْ) will shine before them and on their right hands, while they say, ‘Lord! Perfect our light for us, and grant us forgiveness, for You have power over all things”” (Qur’ān, 66:8) to mean: “Allāh will not torment the Prophet (that Day, the Day of Judgment),” and the phrase “and those who believed with him” to mean that He will not torment Ali ibn Abu Talib, Fatima, al-Hassan, al-Husain, peace be with them, al-Hamza, and Ja’fer, Allāh be pleased with them, that “their light runs before them” means “Their light shall illuminate the Sirāt for Ali and Fatima seventy times more so than light in the life of this world.” Their light will then be before them as they continue to cross. The intensity of their light will be indicative of their iman بِأَيْمَانِهِمْ, conviction. Others will follow. “Members of the Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ) of Muhammad (ﺹ) will pass over the Sirāt like swift lightning. Then they will be followed by those who will pass like a speedy wind. Then there will be those who will pass as fast as a racing horse. Then another group of people will pass in a walking pace followed by those who will crawl on their hands and bellies, and finally by those who will crawl on their bellies (with extreme difficulty). Allāh will make it wide for the believers and very narrow for the sinners.” Then these narrators interpret the verse saying: رَبَّنَا أَتْمِمْ لَنَا نُورَنَا “Lord! Complete our light for us” to mean “complete it for us so that we may be able to pass on the Sirāt.”

Ibn Shahr Āshūb, in his Manaqib Ali ibn Abi Talib مناقب علي بن أبي طالب, comments, as quoted by al-Majlisi on the same page, saying, ‘”The Commander of the Faithful (ﻉ) will pass in a howdah of green emeralds accompanied by Fatima on a conveyance of red rubies, and she will be surrounded by seventy thousand huris, as fast as lightning.” On p. 182 of his Āmāli, al-Tusi quotes al-Fahham quoting Muhammad ibn al-Hashim al-Hashimi quoting Abu Hashim ibn al-Qasim quoting Muhammad ibn Zakariyya ibn Abdullah quoting Abdullah ibn al-Muthanna quoting Tumamah ibn Abdullah ibn Anas ibn Malik quoting his father quoting his grandfather quoting the Prophet (ﺹ) saying, “On the Day of Judgement, the Sirāt will be spread over hell. None can pass over it except one who carries a permit admitting the wilaya (mastership) of Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ).” Also with reference to the Sirāt, Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, may Allāh be pleased with him, is quoted by both al-Majlisi on p. 67, Vol. 8, of his book Bihār al Anwār, and by al-Kulayni on p. 152, Vol. 2, of his Al-Kafi, as saying, “I have heard the Messenger of Allāh (ﺹ) say, ‘The edges of our Sirāt on the Day of Judgment will be kindness to the kin and the returning of the trust. When one who is kind to his kin and faithful to his trust passes (over the Sirāt), he will make his way to Paradise, but when one who is unfaithful to the trust and severs his ties with his kin passes, none of his good deeds will avail him, and the Sirāt will hurl him into hell.” There are so many references to noor نور, divine celestial light, throughout the Holy Qur’ān, in the hadith, and in du’a, supplication. It is the light of guidance whereby the Almighty guides whomsoever He pleases both in the life of this fleeting world and in the hereafter. Such light will be most sorely needed especially in the life hereafter. The reader is reminded that the intensity of his light, be it during the period of the barzakh برزخ, when most graves will be almost as dark as hell, during the time when people are judged on the Day of Judgment, or as one passes over the Sirāt…, all depends on the depth and sincerity of his conviction, on his iman اِيمان. No good deeds, no matter how great, will avail him as will his sincere and deep conviction regarding the Unity (توحيد tawhid) and Justice ( عدل `Adl) of the Almighty, the truth which He revealed to His prophets (نبوة Nubuwwah), and that we will most certainly be resurrected and judged (Ma’ād معاد), so that one will be either rewarded or punished.

There will be no sun in the life hereafter as we know it, nor will there be electricity; so, one’s own light will be his guiding star. Everything in the life hereafter will have a light of its own; there will be no reflection, nor can one walk in the beam of another’s light, nor can one be benevolent and give of his light to another; it is non-transferable! There will be no giving. The time of giving is right here, in this life, folks; so, it is now your golden opportunity to give your all to your Maker, to worship Him and obey Him as He ought to be worshipped and obeyed—or at least try; pay Him His dues, and be aware of your responsibilities towards His servants, the believing men and women, and to all mankind, your extended family, regardless of their creeds, for they are your brothers and sisters in humanity Give others of what Allāh has given you; pray for your believing brethren; be kind to everyone; do not hurt the feelings of anyone. Think well of others so that they may think well of you, too. Observe the fast in months other than the month of Ramadan in order to remind yourself of the hunger from which others, especially indigent Muslims, suffer, and give by way of charity; otherwise, keep everything to yourself, hoard, treasure, and be forever damned. Hell is characterized by its darkness, yet its residents will still be able to see things, and whatever they will see will not please them at all. May Allāh Subhanahu wa Ta’ala keep us all away from it and keep it away from us, Allāhomma Āmeen اللهم آمين .

Nobody in the entire lengthy history of Arabia has ever been known to be more courageous and daring, when confronting his foes on the battlefield, than Imām Ali ibn Abu Talib (ﻉ) who was the right hand of the Messenger of Allāh (ﺹ). Ali was the man who single-handedly uprooted the main gate of the fort of Khaybar of Medina’s Jews of the time, that is, in the year 628 A.D., a gate so heavy it required forty men to close or open. Ali (ﻉ) once was suffering acutely from an inflammation of the eye, and he was in extreme pain, screaming, the hero that he was. The Messenger of Allāh (ﺹ) visited him and saw him scream, so he asked him whether he was suffering from an acute pain or whether it was due to his frustration and agony. The Imām (ﻉ) said, “How intense my pain is! I have never felt such pain…,” whereupon the Prophet (ﺹ) said to him, “When the angel of death comes to take away the soul of a disbeliever, he brings with him a rod of fire whereby he takes his soul away. It is then that hell itself will scream because of the intensity of his pain and suffering.” Having heard him say so, the Imām (ﻉ) stood up then sat and said, “O Messenger of Allāh! Please repeat what you have just said, for it has made me forget my own pain.” Then the Imām (ﻉ) asked the Messenger of Allāh, “Will the soul of any member of your nation be taken away as you have described?” The Prophet (ﺹ) answered, “Yes! The soul of an unjust ruler, or of one who consumes the wealth of an orphan, or of one who falsely testifies [will be thus taken away].” The disbeliever referred to in this tradition is one who is unfair to Allāh, Glory to Him and Exaltation, regarding one of the commandments which He has required him to uphold, one who does not recognize the Prophethood of Muhammad (ﺹ) and his sacred Sunnah السنة النبوية الشريفة or anything required by Islām; such is the disbeliever.

You can reduce the agony of your death, or that of your loved one, by offering charity, fasting, or praying nafl (optional) prayers. Among such prayers is one performed in two rek’ats ركعات; in each rek’a, you should recite Surat al-Fatiha once and al-Ikhlas thrice. The intention for that prayer is to pray it seeking nearness to Allah. Once you complete it, you supplicate to the Almighty thus: “O Allah! Send blessings to Muhammed and the Progeny of Muhammed and send the rewards for these two rek’ats ركعات to so-and-so”, naming the dead person, be he/she one of your parents, or both of them, or anyone else. How about you send it as a gift to all Muslims, alive and dead? Imagine how many rewards you will then get, if your imagination can really grasp it! Never underestimate the extent of kindness and mercy of the Almighty; they are unlimited, infinite, and His doors of mercy are always open; how Great He is! If you fast either a few days or all of the months of Rajab and Sha’ban, according to your ability, the Almighty will reduce the agony of your death and the pain of loneliness in the grave. If you are truly concerned about these matters, and you most definitely should be, the month of Ramadan is your golden opportunity to earn as many blessings as Allāh enables you to. It is an opportunity that may not recur, for nobody knows when his/her turn comes to die. We pray the Almighty to enable us to cross over His Sirāt with hardship only in the life of this world, and without any hardship in the life hereafter, to forgive our sins, and to accept our fast and repentance, Allāhomma Āmeen اللهم آمين.

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الصراط المستقيم The Straight Path is also one of the most terrifying phases/stages of the Hereafter if not the very most. It is described in both Holy Qur’ān and authentic Sunnah in numerous verses and traditions (أحاديث ) due to its significance, so much so that the faithful are reminded of it ten times a day in their obligatory daily prayers and in all optional ones (نوافل) when they recite Surat al-Fātiha, the Opening Chapter to the Book of Allāh, the Qur’ān. Following is a good deal of more information about this Sirāt; so, keep reading.

On pp. 103-105, Vol. 46 of Bihār al-Anwār, we read detailed descriptions of this Sirāt, and additional text is indicated on pp. 69-71 of the same reference. Here is some of the text on the latter pages: هو جسر ممدود على جهنم، لا يدخل الجنة إلا من اجتازه. و جاء في الروايات أنه أدق من الشعرة و أحد من السيف و أصلى من النار. يعبره خالص المؤمنين كالبرق الخاطف، و بعضهم يعبره بصعوبة لكنه يجتازه و ينجو بنفسه. و بعض المارة يسقطون في جهنم من بعض عقبات الصراط. و هو نموذج من صراط الدنيا المستقبم حيث الدين الحق و طريق الولاية، و متابعة أمير المؤمنين و ذريته الأئمة الطاهرين (صلوات الله عليهم أجمعين)، فمن مال عن هذا الصراط الدنيوي و عدل عنه إلى الباطل قولا أو عملا، فقد ارتجف من عقبة صراط الآخرة و سقط الى الجحيم، و الصراط المستقيم الذي تجده في سورة الحمد في القرآن الكريم يشير إلى صراط الدنيا و صراط الآخرة كليهما. “It is a bridge extended over Hell: Nobody enters Paradise without successfully passing over it. Traditions indicate that it is thinner than hair, sharper than the sword and hotter than fire. Sincere believers cross over it like lightning that snatches the eyes. Some of them pass over it with difficulty but they pass it and are thus saved, whereas others fall into Hell from one of the obstacles on this Sirāt. It is a sort of this life’s As-Sirāt al-Mustaqeem where true faith, the path of the wilaya ولاية, is to follow in the footsteps of the Commander of the Faithful and the Purified Imāms (peace of Allāh be with all of them): Anyone who swerves from this worldly path and leans towards falsehood by speech or by action, the obstacle of the Hereafter’s Sirāt will shake under his feet, causing him to fall into hell. As-Sirāt Al-Mustaqeem which you find in Surat al-Hamd in the Holy Qur’ān points out to both Sirāts: the one in this life and the one in the hereafter.”

In his book titled Al-Haqq Al-Yaqeen الحق اليقين , where he quotes Al-`Aqā’id العقائد by Sheikh al-Sadūq, may Allāh have mercy on his soul, al-Majlisi states the following: إننا نعتقد أن كل عقبة من العقبات التي تعترض سبيل المحشر هو إسم لفريضة من الفرائض—الأوامر و النواهي—فإذا وصل الإنسان الى عقبة مسماة بإسم فريضة، و كان مقصرا في ذلك الواجب، اوقف في تلك العقبة و طلب منه تأدية حق الله تعالى بالنسبة لذلك الواجب. فإن إستطاع الخروج من تلك العقبة بالأعمال الصالحة التي قدمها، أو برحمة من الله تشمله، فقد خرج و اجتاز تلك العقبة بالذات، و مدة التوقيف في كل عقبة ألف سنة، و تتوالى العقبات، و تتواصل التوقيفات و تنهال الأسئلة و الإستنطاق عما يعود إلى مسمى إسم تلك العقبة من الواجب و الفريضة، حتى إذا أجاب عن جميع ما عليه بما يجب من حسن الإجابة، إنتهى من العقبة الأخيرة إلى دار البقاء و سرح سراحا جميلا، و يحيى حياة خالدة لا موت فيها و لا بوار، و يسعد سعادة لا شقاء فيها و لا دمار، و يسكن إلى جوار رحمة ربه مع النبيين و الحجج و الصديقين و الشفعاء و الصالحين و حسن أولئك رفيقا. أما إذا استجوب في عقبة من العقبات، و طلب منه حق قصر في تأديته في الدنيا، و لم يقدم عملا صالحا يكافىء ذلك التقصير، و لا تدركه رحمة من الله تعالى لينجو من تلك العقبة، فتزل قدمه في تلك العقبة و يسقط منها إلى الهاوية و الجحيم، و نعوذ بالله من ذلك الأمر. و جميع هذه العقبات على الصراط،، تسمى واحده منها الولاية، يتوقف فيها جميع الخلائق، فيسأل عن ولاية أمير المؤمنين علي بن أبي طالب و الأئمة الطاهرين من بعده، فإذا كان قد أتاها و إتبعها فقد نجا و اجتاز هذه العقبة، و إلا فقد هوى إلى الجحيم. قال تعالى: “وَقِفُوهُمْ إِنَّهُم مَّسْئُولُونَ” (الصافات: آيه 24)، و أهم العقبات هي المرصاد: “إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَبِالْمِرْصَادِ” (الفجر: آية 14). يقول الله تعالى: بعزتي و جلالي لا يفوتني ظلم ظالم. و تسمى عقبة أخرى بعقبة الرحم، و أخرى بالأمانة، و أخرى بالصلاة، و هكذا فِِإِن لكل فريضة أو أمر من أوامر الله، أو نهي من نواهيه، يقف المرء ليجيب عما هو مسؤول عنه. “We believe that each of the obstacles along the path to the Gathering represents the name of one of the obligations, i.e. what the Almighty has commanded or prohibited. If someone reaches an obstacle bearing the name of an obligation, and if he had fallen short of performing that obligation, he will be stopped at it and will be required to pay what he owes Allāh Almighty. If he can get out of that obstacle through the good deeds which he had done, or there may be mercy from Allāh which will include him, he will get out and pass that particular obstacle. The time period of keeping anyone at each of these obstacles is a thousand years. The obstacles continue, following each other; questions go on and arguments are pursued about what each station represents: the obligations and the commandments. If one answers duly, he will pass by the last station to the abode of eternity and will be released most beautifully: He will live a perpetual life where there is neither death nor loss, and he will taste happiness where there is neither misery nor destruction. He will live beside the mercy of his Lord with the prophets, the Signs of Allāh, the Truthful Ones, the ones who can intercede on behalf of others, the righteous ones whose company is truly the very best. But if he is asked at one of the obstacles and required to make up for falling short of performing it during his lifetime, if he did not offer an act of righteousness to make up for that shortcoming, and if he is not saved through mercy from Allāh Almighty that rescues him from that obstacle, his feet will slip in that area and he will fall from it into the abyss and into Hell, we seek refuge with Allāh against this. All these obstacles are on the Sirāt. One of them is called the wilayat (mastership of or loyalty to the Imāms from among the Ahl al-Bayt (ﻉ)): All people will be stopped at it and asked about the wilayat of the Commander of the Faithful Ali ibn Abu Talib and the Pure Imāms after him (ﻉ). If one was observing this wilayat, adhering to it, he will pass this obstacle; otherwise, he will fall into Hell. Allāh Almighty has said وَقِفُوهُمْ إِنَّهُم مَّسْئُولُونَ “But stop them, for they must be asked” (Qur’ān, 37:24). And the most important of these obstacles is the Mirsad: إِنَّ رَبَّكَ لَبِالْمِرْصَادِ “For your Lord is (as a Guardian) on a watch-tower” (Qur’ān, 89:14). Allāh Almighty says: بعزتي و جلالي لا يفوتني ظلم ظالم “By My Honor and Greatness (do I swear) that no oppression committed by an oppressor escapes My knowledge.” Another obstacle is called the kinship obstacle. Another is called amana أمانة, trust (something entrusted for safe keep to someone), another is called salat صلاة, prayer, and so on: لكل فريضه من الفرائض—الأوامر و النواهي—يوقف العبد عندها ليجيب عما هو مسؤول عنه Each obligation—what is commanded and what is prohibitive—has an obstacle at which the servant of Allāh is stopped to answer about his responsibility towards it.”

On p. 65, Vol. 8 of Bihār al-Anwār, we read the following: فترى الناس على الصرلط يسقطون كالفراش المبثوث، و ترى آخرين قد تعلقوا بأيديهم أو بيد واحده أو بأرجلهم و هم يمسكون خوفا من الهبوط و الملائكة حولهم واقفون يدعون و ينادون: أيها الرب الحليم، اغفر لهؤلاء و اعف عن هؤلاء بفضلك و جودك، و سلمهم ليجاوزوا الصراط و يقطعوا الصراط. فمن اجتاز الصراط برحمة الله الواسعة، قال: الحمد لله، و بنعمة الله تتم صالحات الأعمال، و تنمو الحسنات، و أحمد الله الذي نجاني منك بفضله و منه، بعد أن كنت قد يئست، ان ربنا لأعمال العباد لغفور شكور “So you would see people on the Sirāt falling like scattered butterflies while others are holding to it with their hands or feet or even with one foot fearing they would fall down as the angels around them stand, call upon the Almighty and plead to Him saying: ‘O Clement Lord! Forgive these people, overlook them through Your favor and generosity, let them safely pass on the Path and cross it.’ Whoever passes the Path does so through wide mercy from Allāh and says, ‘Praise to Allāh and through a blessing from Allāh that good deeds are sealed and blessed actions grow, and I praise Allāh Who saved me from you through His favor and boon after I had lost all hope; surely our Lord forgives the servants’ [sinful] deeds, appreciative [of good deeds]’.” On p. 410, Vol. 22 of the same reference, we are also told that the great sahābi Abu Tharr al-Ghifari (رض) has cited the Messenger of Allāh (ﺹ) saying: الرحم و الأمانه على طرفي الصراط، فمن وصل الرحم و أدى الأمانة، سار على الصراط، فإن طرفي الصراط يحفظانه من السقوط و الهبوط في النار “Kinship and trust are at both ends of the Path: Whoever maintains good relations with his kinsfolk and returns the trust safely will pass over the Path, for both ends of the Path shall protect him against falling into the Fire.” In another narrative, Imām al-Bāqir (ﻉ) said: إذا ورد قاطع الرحم و خائن الأمانة الصراط، فإن أعماله الحسنة لا تنفعه ما دامت له هاتان الخصلتان و تسقطانه في النار “If one who severed his ties and betrayed the trust reaches the Path, his good deeds will not avail him so long as both these characteristics were in him, and they will cause him to fall into the Fire (of hell).”

May the Almighty have mercy on us in this life and the life to come and enable us to keep our feet firm on His الصراط المستقيم Straight Path and admit us into His Paradise, Allāhomma Āmeen اللهم آمين.

أعمال لتسهيل المرور على الصراط: Good deeds that make the passage on the Sirāt easy:

1. According to p. 639 of the book الأعمال إقبال Al-Iqbal by Ibn Tawoos, one who offers 21 rek’as after the sunset prayers in the eve of the first of the month of Rajab in each rek’a of which he recites both Surat al-Hamd (Chapter 1) and Surat al-Tawhid (Chapter 112), then he recites the tasleem after each couple of prostrations will be protected by the Almighty, and his family, wealth and children will be protected, too, and he will be granted security from the torment in the grave. Moreover, he will pass over the Sirāt without any questioning like lightning. من صلّى أول ليلة من شهر رجب بعد صلاة المغرب عشرين ركعة بالحمد والتوحيد ، ويسلم بين كل ركعتين ليحفظ في نفسه وأهله وماله وولده، واجير من عذاب القبر، وجاز على الصراط كالبرق الخاطف.

2. On p. 136 of al-Harrāni’s work titled ثواب الأعمال Thawab al-A`mal, we are told that one who fasts six days during the month of Rajab will be secure on the Day of Reckoning and will pass over the Sirāt without being asked any question at all! من صام من رجب ستة أيّام … بعث من الآمنين يوم القيامة حتّى يمرّ على الصراط بغير حساب.

3. Ibn Tawoos also narrates that one who performs ten rek’as during the 29th eve of the month of Sha’ban, reciting in each rek’a Surat al-Hamd once and al-Takathur (Chapter 102) ten times, in addition to both Chapter 113 and Chapter 114 ten times each and Surat al-Tawhid (Chapter 112), he will be granted by the Almighty rewards of those who exert their utmost in learning the creed and in teaching it, making his scale of good deeds heavier and easing for him the passage over the Sirāt like lightning. مَن صلّى في الليلة التاسعة والعشرين من شعبان عشر ركعات يقرأ في كل ركعة فاتحة الكتاب مرّة وألهاكم التكاثر عشر مرّات ، والمعوذتين عشر مرّات، وقل هو الله أحد عشر مرّات، أعطاه الله تعالى ثواب المجتهدين، وثقل ميزانه، ويخفف عنه الحساب، ويمرّ على الصراط كالبرق الخاطف.

4. On p. 102, Vol. 34 of Bihār al-Anwār, we are told that one who performs the ziyara of Imām al-Rida (ﻉ) despite his grave being so far, the Imām will visit him at three places on the Judgment Day in order to save him from their horrors, and one of these horrors is the Sirāt. من زار الامام الرضا عليهِ السَّلام على بعد قبره الشريف، فانّه يأتي عنده يوم القيامة في ثلاثة مواطن ليخلصه من أهوالها ، وانّ أحدها عند الصراط .

ِOne who successfully passes over this Sirāt will be led to eternal happiness in Paradise descriptions of which abound throughout the Holy Qur’ān where vivid scenes are presented to the faithful in order to provide them with incentives to do good and to stay away from evil, to fight their own lusts, desires and inclination and to rise above all of these and thus let their souls soar with the angels. And surely Allāh knows best.