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Would We Step Inside the Oven?

Would we do it?To believe is one thing, to have faith is another. Faith and belief must rise together in a unifying crescendo if we are to harbor any thoughts of standing for the truth alongside our Awaited Imam.

Would we do it?Standing outside the Arz Lebanon Restaurant a couple of days ago, I could not help but be reminded of a nagging thought that has been lurking in the back of my mind.

Many of us might be familiar with the set-up of most Lebanese restaurants, where the tandoor, or open-oven, is in full view of the customers in order for them to see their fatayers and pizzas being baked in front of them.

Many of us might also be familiar with the famous story of our Sixth Imam (peace be upon him), when Sahl ibn al-Hasan al-Khurasani, a follower of the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon him), asked the Imam why he did not rise against the corrupt regime at the time when he had so many faithful Shias willing to fight for him in Khurasan.

To respond to Sahl, Imam Sadiq heated an oven inside his house and said, “O Sahl, step into the oven and sit in it.”

Sahl al-Khurasani began sweating profusely and stammered, “My master, O son of the Messenger of Allah! Do not punish me by fire, and make it easy for me!”

At around the same time, Harun al-Makki, another follower of the Imam, entered the room. After exchanging greetings with Imam Sadiq, Harun too was instructed to take off his shoes and sit inside the oven. He did so without objection and closed the door of the oven behind him.

The Imam proceeded to enquire about Sahl’s health, and talked to him as if nothing had happened. After a short while, the Imam told him to check inside the oven, and much to Sahl’s amazement, he found Harun al-Makki sitting cross-legged in the heart of the blazing oven, as fresh as a daisy, thumbing the sacred tasbeeh of Lady Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her).

Upon seeing Sahl’s expression, the Imam asked him, “How many individuals do you know in Khurasan like this man?” To which Sahl replied, “By Allah, not even one.”

If our Awaited Savior (may Allah hasten his reappearance) were to make his second-coming tomorrow, would we hasten to adhere to his every command without a shadow of a doubt? Or would we simply offer rich lip-service to him, but when the time comes to follow a direct order, shy away?

As I watched the flames lick the stone interior of the oven at Arz Lebanon, and saw my cheese and zaatar fatayer slowly getting baked by it, I thought to myself about what I would do if my Imam came to me at that moment and said to me, “O Mohamed, step into the oven and sit in it.”

To believe is one thing, to have faith is another. Faith and belief must rise together in a unifying crescendo if we are to harbor any thoughts of standing for the truth alongside our Awaited Imam.

Let us attempt to be like Harun al-Makki, whose unwavering faith was complemented by airtight belief and certainty about the Right Path.

About Huda Jawad

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4 comments

  1. beautiful article. god bless you.

  2. stilll the will of the father for dividing e camels is not fulfilled. he said he wants his
    eldest son to get half of the camels, whereas 9 is more than half of 17. also
    he wanted his other son gets 1/3 of it and 6 is not 1/3 of 17.

  3. You are right, it’s hard to put oneself in Harun al-Makki’s position, even the thought of it. Imagine actually doing it. May Allah increase our faith, InshaAllah.

    Btw…Saeid Tabar: The will is more than fulfilled:
    1/2 of 17 = 8.5
    1/3 of 17 = 5.6
    1/9 of 17 = 1.8

    But the children got 9, 6 and 2 camels respectively. So they actually got more than what their father wanted them to get, which logically is not a problem. It would be if they got less. So not only was the will fulfilled, it was actually “more than fulfilled.”

    • [quote]But the children got 9, 6 and 2 camels respectively. So they actually got more than what their father wanted them to get, which logically is not a problem. It would be if they got less. So not only was the will fulfilled, it was actually “more than fulfilled.”[/quote]

      1/2 + 1/3 + 1/9 == 17/18

      1/2 + 1/3 + 1/9 =/= 1

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