In the same way that the Chief of the Believers says that some parts of the Qur’an explain others, the words of the Ahlul Bayt, which are commentaries of Allah’s Book, likewise are explained with the help of their other statements.
There are ample traditions that characterize the believers (mu’mins) with sweetness and love for sweetness. Following are some examples worthy of reflection:
The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) is reported to have said: (1) “A believer is sweet (al-mu’minu hulwun) and loves sweetness (yuhibbu al-halaawa).” (2) “The heart of a believer is sweet (qalb al-mu’minu hulwun), and it loves sweetness (wa yuhibbu al-halaawa).” (3) “A believer is like a bee (al-mu’mninu ka al-nahla): it eats pleasant food, and provides pleasant food.” And Imam Ali (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: (4) “Our true followers are like bees (Shi’atuna bimanzilat al-nahl); if people would know what is in their stomachs, they would have eaten the same (law ya’lam al-nas maa fi ajwaafiha la akaluha).”
If we reflect over these traditions with a broad sense of vision, we would come to realize that the entire being of a faithful believer is sweet. In the same way that the Chief of the Believers says that some parts of the Qur’an explain others, the words of the Ahlul Bayt, which are commentaries of Allah’s Book, likewise are explained with the help of their other statements. This is because akin to the infallible Book wherein there is no contradiction, the words of the Ahlul Bayt likewise have no contradiction. Therefore in order to understand their words, we must not look at some of their words and discard others.
In our case, due to our intense material tendency, we only try to comprehend sweetness as that which our faculties of taste can appreciate and comprehend. If we were to consider the fundamental dimension of the human being, which is his spirit, the aforementioned traditions would become clearer for us to understand. We must know that the veil of ignorance is from our side, and not from the radiant words of the Ahlul Bayt, about which we express in Ziyarat al-Jami’a as Kalaamukum noor (your words are light). Browsing through the brilliant corpus of the traditions of the Ahlul Bayt, we come to understand that there is a sparkling realm of sweetness yet to be discovered.
Consider the following narrations: (1) In one of his sermons narrated in Nahj al-Balagha, Imam Ali describing exalted people says: “Indeed they have tasted the sweetness of knowing Him (qad dhaaqu halaawata ma’rifatihi).” (2) Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “When a believer withdraws himself from the world he soars spiritually high and tastes the sweetness of the love of Allah” (idhaa takhalla al-mu’minu min al-dunya samaa wa wajada halawata hubbillah).” (3) Imam al-Sadiq is reported to have said: “Justice is sweeter than water that a thirsty person gets (al-‘adlu ahlaa min al-maa’i yusibuhu al-zam’aan).” (4) In one of the brilliant supplications of Imam Sajjad (peace be upon him), he prays to Allah: “And make me taste the sweetness of Your forgiveness (wa adhiqni halaawata maghfiratik).” (5) In yet another supplication, Imam al-Sajjad prays to Allah: “And make us taste the sweetness of Your constant love and proximity (wa adhiqna halawata wuddika wa qurbika).” (6) In a tradition Imam al-Sadiq is reported to have said: “And whosoever from among the nation of Muhammad knows the compulsory right of his Imam would find the taste of the sweetness of his faith” (faman ‘arafa min ummati Muhammad (s) waajiba haqqi Imamihi wajada ta’ma halaawati imaanihi).” (7) In a conversation with Prophet Dawud, Almighty Allah speaking of the worldly scholars, says: ‘The least I will do to them is that I will remove the sweetness of munajat from their hearts (inna adna ma ana saani’un bihim an anza’a halaawata munaajaati ‘an quloobihim).” (8) In the well-known Du’a Jawshan al-Kabir, we address Almighty Allah as “O One whose remembrance is sweet” (yaa man dhikruhu hulwun).”
Therefore, as it is correct in the physical plane of existence to say that a believer naturally loves to eat sweet things, it is correct to say in the plane of his spirit that he loves spiritual sweetness. What literally jerks a human being is when a youth of tender age like Qasim ibn al-Hasan (peace be upon) who deeply aspires for martyrdom is asked by uncle, the Lord of the Martyrs (peace be upon him), “O my dear son, how is death to you?”, he responds, “O uncle, it is sweeter than honey! (Yaa ‘amm ahla min al-‘asal.)” This clearly reveals how exalted a station had this young boy achieved.