The “First Way” (Minhaj Al-Awwal) taught by `Isa is a compassionate, cruelty-free Sunnah which Imam `Ali ibn Abi Talib made clear we are permitted to follow…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Throughout the Muslim Ummah there is the unfortunate and prevailing belief that with the advent of the life and mission of the Prophet Muhammad, every word, deed and example of Prophets and Messengers who came before him were spiritually obliterated; with the ashes thereof blown away by the wind, (only to be foolishly scooped up by the Ahl al-Kitab). Yet we are told that this was not the case with prophets before Muhammad. One prophet came manifesting signs which appealed and spoke to their specific cultural and historical context, whilst others came doing the same thing, speaking to the contexts specific to their own people and nations. All of this occurred, with some prophets emerging in more similar contexts, and others in less similar contexts. Accordingly, there were many manaahij relative to specific contexts within which the prophets emerged.
It is written that a disciple of Imam `Ali, Nuf al-Bukali, said, “I spent a night with the ‘Amir al-Mu’minin, `Ali ibn Abi Talib. I saw that he often left his room to go outside and look at the sky. Once when he came back in, as usual, he said to me, ‘Are you asleep or awake?’ I said, ‘I am indeed awake, Ya ‘Amiru-l- Mu’minin! From the beginning of the night I have been watching you to see what you are doing.’ He said, ‘Ya Nuf! Blessed are the ascetics in this world, those who yearn for the other world, the people who spread Allah’s Earth beneath them [to sleep on], who lean against its dust, whose motto is Kitabahu (Hu’s Book), whose maxim is supplicating Hu, whose perfume is water and who takes the world on loan in the Minhaj al-Masih (the ‘Way,’ or ‘Manhaj‘ of the Messiah). Verily, Allah the Exalted revealed to `Isa, ‘Ya `Isa! Keep to the Minhaj al-Awwal (the First ‘Way’ or ‘Manhaj‘), keep to the manner of the Mursalin (Deliverers of the Message), say to your people, ‘O brother of the Munzhirin (warners), ‘Do not enter any of My houses except with pure hearts, clean hands and lowered eyes. I will not hear the prayer of any who supplicate Me if any of My servants is oppressed by him. And I will not answer the prayer of any who has not fulfilled and of My rights over him.'”
Bihar al-Anwar 67, 316
Here we see the great Imam `Ali, who was himself likened to `Isa, in numerous ahadith, and was an awakened manifestation of the Primordial “Messiah” within us all, as stating the Manhaj, or “Way” of `Isa was the Minhaj al-Awwal, the “First Way.” In other words, it was the `Edenic ideal laid down for the prophet Adam and his community before the corruption of latter civilizations, driven by thanatopic human pathology, external jinni influence, and other forces of deviation from the original design. That is, through it all, there was still the potential to embody the First Way, the `Edenic ideal, and this was in fact the Manhaj of the only prophet to be given the title of “Ruh Allah;” `Isa. Thus in seeking awakening to this Universal Ruh we must reflect upon this “Minhaj al-Awwal,” and strive to follow it in whatever ways possible. For it is from this Ruh which manifests as the Soul from which we all derive our illusory nufus.
“To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth; surely Allah – Hu is the Self-Sufficient, the One Worthy of All Praise. If all the trees on the Earth were pens, and the sea – seven seas after it to replenish it, yet would the Words of Allah would not come to an end. Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise. Your creation and your rising are as but as a single soul. God is All-hearing, All-seeing.” Al- Qur’an, Surat Luqman 31.26-28
لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْغَنِيُّ الْحَمِيدُ وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِنْ شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ مَا خَلْقُكُمْ وَلَا بَعْثُكُمْ إِلَّا كَنَفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ بَصِيرٌ
Thus, as we see the “Fanaa‘” of these illusory Nufus, within the pure Reality of Allah, we must first reduce all illusory “things” to their common root, and in so doing, reflect upon the only “real” Ruh, which was awakened to in the flesh of Al-Masih.
So what here is meant by the “First” Way? It is not to say that peoples before the prophet Adam all ate in the `Edenic manner. Neither Islam nor Judaism for that matter teach that Adam was the sole person walking this planet. Instead, Adam was the first prophet, and was sent to peoples who before had no such guidance as that of direct contact with the Mala’ikah. Adam’s Way was the “First” Way, but even then, there is a Way that was Adam’s own First Way, about which more will be said later…
In reflecting upon this manhaj, and contemplating variance from it, we see that with the advent of the prophet Muhammad, the context of his day and age was that men were marrying vast harems of women, with absolutely no regard for the rights and needs of the individual women who they used merely as tools for their own sexual and egoistical satisfaction. So the Qur’an laid out specific rights that must be granted to women, knowing that men being the naturally stronger and dominant gender (on average), would be the gatekeepers of these rights, having the physical and (for most of human history), the political power to grant or deprive such rights to or from our sisters.
Thus it is written: “Marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with them, then only one or one that your right hands possess. That will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.” Qur’an 4.3
وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تُقْسِطُوا فِي الْيَتَامَىٰ فَانْكِحُوا مَا طَابَ لَكُمْ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ ۖ فَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا فَوَاحِدَةً أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَدْنَىٰ أَلَّا تَعُولُوا
Thus, we see here that if one cannot fulfill their moral and financial obligations to two, three or four women and deal justly with them, then they are to marry only one. Why is this the prescription of the Qur’an? Because, it says, “that will be more suitable to prevent you from doing injustice,” to women. It is this which is the underlying Qur’anic concern. Thus, it is written in Hadith that: “It is reported in true narrations that getting married without limit [to the number of wives] was permitted in the revealed law of Musa for the sake of men’s affairs; and in the revealed law of `Isa only one was permitted for the sake of women’s affairs. So this revealed law [of the Qur’an] came for the sake of both.”
`Awali al-La’ali, 1, 446
Yet the Minhaj al-Awwal, was neither to marry four women, nor to marry many beyond that. Neither was it for a woman to marry many men. The original way was expressed in the Injil by prophet `Isa: “The P’rushim of the Bet Shammai also came to him, testing him, saying: ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce a wife for any cause?’ And he answered them saying: ‘In some nations, one man has many wives, and divorces whom he will whenever he wants, for any reason; and in some, a woman has many husbands, and divorces whom she will in the same way; and in others still, one man is joined to a woman, in mutual love, and this is the First and the better Way. For have you not read that Elohim – made them at the beginning, made them male and female – and said, ‘For this cause shall a man or a woman leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife or her husband, and the two shall be one flesh. Wherefore they are no more two, but one flesh. Therefore what Elohim have joined together, let not man put asunder.'”
“They said unto him, ‘Why did Moshe (Moses) then command to give a writing of divorcement (get)?’ He said unto them, ‘Moshe because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives, even as he permitted you to eat flesh, for many causes, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, whosoever divorces one of his wives, except it be for a just cause, and marry another to replace her, commits adultery.'”
“His disciples say unto him, ‘If the case of the man be so with his wife it is not good to marry.’ But he replied to them ‘That is not for everyone. For those who are meant to receive it, that is what has been given to them. For there are some who were born from their mother’s womb with this balance, where they are neither what you call man nor woman, and there are some, which were made this way by the hands of men, and there be some, who have made remained unmarried for a period of time for the sake of the Malkhut Ha’Shamayim (Kingdom of Heaven). Thus, let whosoever is supposed to receive any of these is to receive it.”
An early historical reference to the Jesus character by a non-Christian was that of Celsus (fl. 175–177 C.E.), a second century Greek philosopher and opponent of early Christianity. His literary work, The True Word, survives exclusively in quotations from it in Contra Celsum, a refutation written in 248 by Origen of Alexandria (c. 185 – c. 253). The True Word is the earliest known comprehensive criticism of Christianity. In this work, Celsus is reported to have written that, “the grand reason why the gentiles and philosophers of his school opposed Jesus Christ,” as he himself did, “was because he had so many wives; there were Elizabeth and Mary and a host of others that followed him.”
Thus, `Isa repeatedly stuck to the position that what was “tayyib” was determined by context in many cases. Certainly some things are ALWAYS bad in ALL cases, and certainly some things are ALWAYS good in ALL cases. However, many of the things in between these two extremes are subjective to the context specific to them. Such is the case with halaal food, which is not always tayyib, and was not permitted in `Eden as the “Minhaj al-Awwal.” In the arctic eating a fish or even a seal would be tayyib for their context. Yet in an industrialized nation, or in a context where sufficient food could be produced to avoid unnecessary killing of sentient creatures, then this should be avoided in favor of the “First Way.”
Yet despite this shift of “permitting” men to marry up to four wives, the Qur’an warns that the reality is that almost no men will be capable of doing this with justice: “You will never be able to deal justly between wives however much you desire (to do so). But (if you have more than one wife) do not turn altogether away (from one), leaving her in suspense…” Qur’an 4.129
وَلَنْ تَسْتَطِيعُوا أَنْ تَعْدِلُوا بَيْنَ النِّسَاءِ وَلَوْ حَرَصْتُمْ ۖ فَلَا تَمِيلُوا كُلَّ الْمَيْلِ فَتَذَرُوهَا كَالْمُعَلَّقَةِ ۚ وَإِنْ تُصْلِحُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
Thus, the Qur’an is acknowledging the existing sociological context of `Arabia, and many human societies at that point in time and for ages before it. The Qur’an thus limits the number of wives a man can marry, emphasizing that the first wife cannot be treated like last year’s vehicle model, nor like a tool which has been used until it has been dinged up, at which time it is set aside for a newer, shinier tool.
For history shows us that the Sunnah of Muhammad in terms of Nikah was of two types. This was later mirrored by Imam `Ali who at first, it is reported, did not understand and was instructed by Muhammad not to make Nikah with another woman simultaneously with Fatimah. Bulusi (Paulean Christian), missionaries often attack this as hypocrisy on Muhammad’s part. However, this is because they are purposefully averting their eyes from the common ideal maintained with the “first” type of marriage.
The reality is that Muhammad for years was married to Khadijah who was his true love and friend. He did not make nikah with anyone else. This would not only have compromised his relationship with his friend and love Khadijah, but would also compromise his relationship with his children. Thus, this was as `Isa said, “…the First and the better Way” for normative men.
Why is that? Because `Isa emphasized the teachings of the Tao that man should strive to balance himself by being like woman.
Thus it is written: “Can you open and close the gate of Heaven and act like a woman?” (10)
It is further written that “Knowing the masculine, but clinging to the feminine, you become the valley of the world.” (28)
As well, “The female always surpasses the male with stillness. In her stillness she is yielding.” (61)
Thus in the earliest documented Gospel account, we read: “When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the Kingdom].”
It was only AFTER Khadijah died Muhammad took on a totally different type of nikah with multiple women, and also multiple mut`ah wives. Yet the difference was clear, he was NOT having children with them, and if he were (as Imam `Ali), the nature of said children was secondary to that of those with his first wife and friend who was raised in the same Household as he. This “second” type of marriage was clearly more cultural in nature, and while permitted was neither to be followed universally, nor was it the Minhaj al-Awwal.
We know that Allah does not make mistakes, so when the “First Way” is changed to a second or third way, we know that it is in response to the hearts of the PEOPLE changing; turning towards deviation of the original mandates and desire of our Creator.
For `Ali desired to have another Nikah and Muhammad instructed him not to. It was only later after Fatimah that `Ali also took a different approach to marriage…
The only possible way for a man to honorably and justly marry multiple women is if the man himself follows the Tao, as outlined above and articulated in the teachings of `Isa himself, who the earliest sources attest was wedded to at least one woman named Shlomit or Salmah (Salome in the Greek), and another, Maryam Ha’Magdalit. Other “Mary” names may in fact have been designations for wives of this teacher who perplexed so many, and of whom so little is historically known by the masses. Why was this? Because `Isa was not man or woman, but the balance between them – just as he taught his students to be if they wished to walk the Tao. For such a person, every interaction with their wives is a balance of masculine or feminine, as called upon at the time. Such individuals who are born with the physical bodies of men are extremely rare. When they perfect themselves in such a way, Islamic polygyny “ta`adud” is a blessing and a mercy to the wives and to the “husband” – who manifests Yin and Yang energies (essentially, the archetypes of Qutb and Nur, as explained in the Sirat al-Kamal) in direct proportion to what is required by each woman.
Thus, in Judaism it is taught that the Torah speaks of two creation stories of humankind in the first, and then second chapters of Berasheet or “Genesis”. In the first, Adam is created “Male and Female” – both as a people and as an individual. Adam thus refers to humanity, but also to the prophet that bore this name. That prophet, in their original state, is considered in Midrash to be hermaphroditic – containing the energy and potential of both Adam and Hawwah. It was only because of their discontent with this state that they were then said to have been divided into separate individuals. This, of course, is myth fused with metaphore. But it is worth noting additionally, that in their original, balanced, hermaphroditic state (one may here interpret that state as physical, or energetically hermaphroditic), they were also married to the arch villainess of Jewish esoteria: Lilith. One could reason and argue that the discontent with this hermaphroditic state led to the polarizing of the Adam, and thus to the estrangement from Lilith. In the original state of balance, no limitation of monogamy was laid down for Adam, until – by his discontent with the Divine Plan, adjustments in instruction had to be made.
In short, the Qur’an and religious law in general, was send down to effect as sort of sociological damage control, not to necessarily legislate out of existence any bad choice or negative consequence. Thus, something can be “halaal” or “permissible,” and yet not be “tayyib” or “good.” We know this since the Qur’an tells us in Ayah 168 of Surat Al-Baqarah: “Eat of what is Halaal and Tayyib…”
Why on Earth would the Qur’an say halaal, “and” tayyib, if the two were mutually exclusive? Clearly something can be halaal, but NOT tayyib. Looking back in time, the Hebrew equivalent of “tayyib” found in the Torah is “tob” (pronounced with a hard letter “beyt” as “tov” such as in “mazel tov“). We see this term used again and again in Sefer Ha’Berasheet, the first book of the Torah, when the creation in `Eden is described. Again and again, we read that it was declared of the `Edenic Ideal: “It is good.”
So this emphasis on the tayyib, or “tov” is the focus of the ..Edenic Ideal, before the deception of the “Nachash” the “Serpent” Iblis, who enticed mankind away from this perfect state, and towards romance with the Dunyaa’. This is emphasis is the underlying theme, and the root of the holistic approach to life itself, which is the “Minhaj al-Awwal.”
“It is reported that there was retaliation in the revealed law of Musa and blood money (Ad-Diyah) was necessary in the revealed law of `Isa. So the true and tolerant religion came down permitting both of them.”
`Awali al-La’ali, 1, 387
Thus, as the Torah only permitted “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” in retaliation for harming those around us, the Injil permitted also ad-Diyah, or blood money to be paid in those cases when forgiveness could be given. For all contexts and all cases cannot be treated alike. Certainly there are some contexts of illegal killing where one might not be justified, but there could also be room for forgiveness depending on the state of repentance of the killer and the likelihood of recidivism. Thus the Qur’an followed suit, neither abrogating one or the other, nor introducing anything new:
“O you who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the slain, the free for the free, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female, but if any remission is made to anyone by his (aggrieved) brother, then prosecution (for the blood money) should be made according to usage, and payment should be made to him in a good manner; this is an alleviation from your Lord and a mercy; so whoever exceeds the limit after this he shall have a painful chastisement.”
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِصَاصُ فِي الْقَتْلَى ۖ الْحُرُّ بِالْحُرِّ وَالْعَبْدُ بِالْعَبْدِ وَالْأُنْثَىٰ بِالْأُنْثَىٰ ۚ فَمَنْ عُفِيَ لَهُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ شَيْءٌ فَاتِّبَاعٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَأَدَاءٌ إِلَيْهِ بِإِحْسَانٍ ۗ ذَٰلِكَ تَخْفِيفٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَرَحْمَةٌ ۗ فَمَنِ اعْتَدَىٰ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَهُ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
Thus, again, we see the HIGHEST standard the Qur’an holds us to is that in cases of remission, where the killing is of a nature less egregious than others, that forgiveness be emphasized. This also, is the First Way.
Finally, perhaps the least known, and least understood facet of the Holistic approach of the Minhaj al-Awwal, is that of what has come to be called by some “Vegetarianism” or an “Ital” diet by others still. Many Muslimun around the world today would still maintain the false belief that this peaceful diet is haraam (prohibited), when this was not only never made haraam, it was the Sunnah of many prophets, and Ahadith records this and the permissibility of us following suit if we so desire (if our contexts allow).
While many Prophets were vegetarian, the one that Muslimun should most closely be aware of is `Isa. So without delving into what literally dozens of Christian and pre-Christian Gospel accounts of `Isa say about him abstaining from flesh consumption, allow us to view several of the Islamic Ahadith (Recorded Oral Traditions) that record the dietary habits of `Isa – the one who will Return and slay the Dajjal, according to the beliefs of all Muslims across the globe.
“`Isa used to tell his followers, ‘Take masaajid (mosques) to be your homes, house to be stopping places. Eat from the plants of the wilderness and escape from this world in Peace.’ Sharik said, ‘I mentioned this to Sulayman, who added, ‘and drink pure water.'”
Notes: Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak )d. 181/797), al-Zuhd, p. 198 (no. 563). Cf. Ibn Abd Rabbihi, al-..Iqd, 3:143; Ibn Asakir, Sirat, p. 138, no. 128 (Asin, p. 541, no. 111; Mansur, no 9; Robson, p. 73).
“`Isa used to say, ‘Truly I say to you, to eat wheat bread, to drink pure water, and to sleep upon dunghills with the dogs more than suffices him who wishes to inherit paradise.”
Notes: Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 241/855), al-Zuhd, p. 98 (no. 326). Ibn Qutbayba, Uyun al-Akhbar, 2:363; Ibn Abi al-Dunya, Kitab Dhamm al- Dunya, in Mawsu’at Rasa’il, 2:275, excerpt no. 138: Ikhwan al-Safa’, Rasa’il Ikhwan al-Safa’, 3:34; and al- Ghazali, Ihya’, 4:180 (Asin, p. 400, no. 70; Mansur, no. 152; Robson, p. 70).
“`Isa was a constant traveler in the land, never abiding in a house or a village. His clothing consisted of a cloak made of coarse hair or camel stub and two hairless shirts… In his hand he carried a club. Whenever night fell, his lamp was the moonlight, his shade the blackness of night, his bed the earth, his pillow a stone, his food the plants of the fields. At times, he spent whole days and nights without food. In times of distress he was happy, and in times of ease he was sad.”
Notes: Abu Rifa’a al-Fasawi (d. 289/902), Kitab Bad’ al-Khalq, p. 333. Cf. Ibn `Asakir, Sirat, p. 133, no. 120.
“If you want to fast as `Isa did, he would fast all the time and lived on nothing but barley. He always wore [garments of] coarse hair, and wherever he would be at nightfall he would plant his feet and keep praying until he saw the break of dawn. He would never leave a particular place before praying two raka`at. If, however, you want to fast as his mother, the young woman did, she used to fast for two days at a time then eat for two days.”
Notes: Aboo al-Layth al-Samarqandi (d. 373/983), Tanbih al-Ghafilin, p. 125 (Asin, p. 557, no. 139; Mansur, no. 39; Robson, pp. 74-75).
“Masih said, ‘Flesh eating flesh? How offensive an act!'”
Notes: Al-Raghib al-Isfahani (early fifth/early eleventh century), Mahadarat al- Udaba’, 1:610.
“If you wish, you may repeat what the Possessor of the Word and the Ruh (Spirit), `Isa Ibn Maryam, used to say: ‘Hunger is my seasoning, fear [of Allah] is my garment, wool is my clothing, the light of the dawn is my heat in winter, the moon is my lantern, my legs are my beast of burden, and the produce of the earth is my food and fruit. I retire for the night with nothing to my name and awake in the morning with nothing to my name. And there is no one on earth richer than me.”
Notes: Abu Nu`aym al-Isbahani (d. 430/1038), Hilyat al-Awliya’, 6:314 (Asin, pp. 374-375, no. 44; Mansur, no. 80; Robson, pp. 67-68.
Particular attention must be paid to the last Hadith, where it is stressed “If you wish, you may repeat what the Possessor of the Word and the Ruh, `Isa ibn Maryam, used to say… the produce of the earth is my food and fruit…” Thus it is Islamically impossible for any Muslim to say that one “may not” say “the produce of the earth is my food and fruit” when here permission is granted.
“And (appoint `Isa) a Messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this Message): ‘I have come to you, with a Sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah’s leave: And I heal those born blind, and the lepers, and I quicken the dead, by Allah ‘s leave; and I declare to you what you should eat, and what you should store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if you are Believers.'” – Qur’an, Surah 3.49
وَرَسُولًا إِلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنِّي قَدْ جِئْتُكُمْ بِآيَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ ۖ أَنِّي أَخْلُقُ لَكُمْ مِنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ فَأَنْفُخُ فِيهِ فَيَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَأُبْرِئُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ وَأُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۖ وَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا تَأْكُلُونَ وَمَا تَدَّخِرُونَ فِي بُيُوتِكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ
The Qur’an tells us that `Isa told people what to eat, and these Ahadith tell us that what he ate and told others to eat was plant based food alone. We can see exactly what he did tell people to eat in the original Injil (Sefer Ha’Basar): “And on another day, the question of eating dead things was again presented, and some of [`Isa’s] newer talmidim (disciples) gathered around him and asked: ‘Rabbi, you do indeed know all things, and your chokhmah (wisdom) of the Torah excels all others. Therefore tell us, is the eating of sea creatures lawful as some say?’ And `Oseh looked upon them with sad eyes, for he knew they were yet unlearned men and their hearts were yet hardened by false doctrines of satanim (adversaries); and he said unto them: ‘Look at the fishes of the sea, as we stand beside the seashore and look upon the waters of many lives. The water is their world, even as the dry land belongs to man. I ask you, do the fishes come unto you and ask of you for your dry land or of its foods? No! Neither is it lawful for you to go into the sea and ask for things which belong not unto you. For the Earth is divided into three kingdoms of nefeshot (souls); one of the land, one of the air, and one of the sea, each according to its kind. And sent down to them – for the Eternal Being has given unto them – each the Ruach Ha’Chayyim (Spirit of Life) and the Ruach Ha’Qodesh (Holy Spirit), and what Hu gives freely unto Hu’s creatures, neither men nor Malakhim have authority to take back or claim as their own.”
Yes, brothers and sister, there is much that is permissible, but this does not mean that what has been permitted is automatically to our benefit. Much of what is halaal is relative in “goodness” to the context specific to the time and place at hand. This is why the Qur’an is the Revelation to ALL the worlds, to Jinn as well as Human beings, because it is broad enough to cover the minimum requirements for social harmony, justice and peace. But this does not mean that one should not go above and beyond the minimum, it simply means that this is the minimum. Certainly there is much more beyond the minimum which is mustahab. For just as we know that Mu’minun are encouraged to make 51/52 raka`at daily, just as we are encouraged to give Sadaqah to the poor within our means above and beyond the Fardayn of zakat and Khums, just as we are told many, many things that are mustahabbaat for us, so too can it be seen clearly through the pages of Ahadith, and Kutoob of the Prophets, that the First Way is the best way, and the idyllic way laid forth for mankind since the days of `Eden.
The Din is to be an easy thing for people, not a burdensome “yoke of slavery” as Bulus (Paul), the antagonist of `Isa, termed it. We are told in `Usul al-Kafi that Imam al-Baqir, quoting the Muhammad, said: “Surely this din is firm, so go deep in it with mildness, and do not cause Allah’s servants to hate worshipping Hu; otherwise, you will be like the one whose mount was too tired to go on, so he neither finished the journey nor preserved the mount.”
`Usul al-Kafi, vol. 3, p. “Book of Faith and Disbelief’, chapter on “Economy in Worshipping”, hadith 1
Thus, we see our approach is to be mild, and not harsh. We are not supposed to bully people into “going deep” into the deen, into practicing the mustahabbat. Rather, we are to naturally – following the course of mildness – continue to learn more, experience more, and yearn for more as time goes on. When we do, the mustahabbaat will naturally attract the Mu’minun, not out of fear of Jahannam, for they will not necessarily incur damnation by not following them, nor out of yearning for Jannah, as they will not necessarily be barred from it by not partaking in these things, but rather out of pure Love of Allah, and desire to manifest Hu’s perfect and divine will, unbridled by desire, fear, ego, difficulty or lack of discipline.