Undoubtedly, as long as there is life, there is also hope; for it is death that puts an end to all hopes and deprives the possibility of repentance and correction; as God has said: ﴿وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّى إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ وَلَا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ ۚ أُولَئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا﴾; “Repentance is not for those who do evil deeds, when death approaches any of them, he says, I repent now, and not for those who die while they are disbelievers, We have provided them with a painful punishment” and has said: ﴿حَتَّى إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ رَبِّ ارْجِعُونِ لَعَلِّي أَعْمَلُ صَالِحًا فِيمَا تَرَكْتُ ۚ كَلَّا ۚ إِنَّهَا كَلِمَةٌ هُوَ قَائِلُهَا ۖ وَمِنْ وَرَائِهِمْ بَرْزَخٌ إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ﴾; “Until death approaches any of them, he says: O Lord! Bring me back; maybe I do a good deed in what I left! It is not so, it is only a word he utters, and it is a purgatory beyond them until the day they are aroused”! With this description, it is obligatory upon every human to appreciate the moments of his life and to think of a way to get rid of the losses before the moment of his death, which is not known what moment it is; the solution that God the Merciful the Compassionate has explained in His book and has deemed it four stages: faith, righteous deed, enjoining to the truth and enjoining to the patience; as he said: ﴿بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ وَالْعَصْرِ إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ﴾; “In the Name of God the Merciful the Compassionate; by the time; indeed human is in loss; except for those who believed and do good deeds and urge one another to the truth and urge one another to the patience”. This means that human has four fundamental duties to save himself from loss: first is to correct his beliefs by knowing the truth, and this is considered “faith” which is an individual duty; second is to correct his deeds by adherence to the truth, and this is considered “righteous deed” which is an individual duty; third is to invite others to “the faith”, that is, to correct their beliefs, by propagating the truth, and this is considered “enjoining to the truth” which is a social duty; fourth is to invite others to “righteous deed”, that is, to correct their deeds, by promoting adherence to the truth, and this is considered “enjoining to the patience" which is a social duty.
Accordingly, your Honor’s duty is first and foremost to correct your own beliefs, and in the second stage to correct your own deeds, and in the third stage to correct the beliefs of others, and in the last stage to correct the deeds of others, and it is no secret that this sequence is necessary; because your Honor are not be able to correct your deeds until you have corrected your beliefs; considering that beliefs are the basis of deeds, and if the basis of deeds is wrong, deeds will not be correct too, but the correct deeds will also be destroyed; as God has said: ﴿أُولَئِكَ لَمْ يُؤْمِنُوا فَأَحْبَطَ اللَّهُ أَعْمَالَهُمْ ۚ وَكَانَ ذَلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرًا﴾; “They did not believe, so God destroyed their deeds and this was easy for God” and the righteous servant of God, his Excellency Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani may God protect him, has said:
“Faith and good deed are like these two fingers of mine –and he connected two middle and index fingers- connected to one another and neither of the two will benefit you without the other. Faith is the correct belief and one who does not have the correct belief will not see salvation even if he is among the most pious worshipers. So weigh your beliefs with intellect measurement and expose them to Quran and Sunnah, lest you have gone astray.”.
And has said:
“Does a building that does not have a foundation remain in its place strong? Or does a person who does not have a head benefit from any other body organs? Or can the Hajj and fasting from somebody who does not pray be accepted? To the same extent if somebody does not have the knowledge, does not have faith and his righteous good deeds does not benefit him.
I am telling you the truth: If somebody dies while he is in midst of Safaa and Marwah or he is hanging from curtains of Ka’bah and carries with him the righteous deeds of all mankind and the Jinn, while he does not recognize the truth and its people from falsehood and its people, indeed he has died an ignorant death and has gone to the hell. Therefore, it is hereby becomes obligatory upon you that you recognize the truth and its people from falsehood and its people and consider this cognition prior to every righteous deed, and be aware that without this cognition, there exist no faith for you and you does not get benefit from any prayer and fasting and Hajj and Zakat, and you will be from the losers.”.
Likewise, you will not be able to correct the beliefs of others until you have corrected your deeds; considering that your wrong deeds overshadow your correct beliefs and make them appear wrong in the opinion of others as a result of your deeds, to the extent that they say: “It is obligatory to not listen to the advice of non-doers”! For this reason, his Excellency Allamah Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani may God protect him, has always considered the correction of oneself prior to the correction of others, and has said:
“There are some servants for God around the corners of this vast world, those who have selected God’s remembrance from the attachments of the world and business trading does not stop them from praying on time. They spend days and nights by serving for God and inform neglectful people about His warnings. They invite people toward justice and they practice it themselves in advance.”.
As he has considered the correction of oneself the most important concern of the righteous people, and has said:
“If you find them and see their high positions and how they have opened their book of deeds and how they are ready to be judged; they think about the small or big tasks which they have been responsible to do but they have neglected to fulfill it, and how many tasks they were forbidden to do but they have done them. They feel the weight of their sins and they are helpless in carrying them and have come down to their knees and cry like the poor and they agonize.”.
Likewise, until your Honor have not corrected the beliefs of others, you are not able to correct their deeds; given that their beliefs are the basis of their deeds, and whenever the basis of their deeds is incorrect, their deeds will not be correct too, rather their correct deeds may also be destroyed. For this reason, his Excellency Allamah Mansoor Hashemi Khorasani may God protect him, has considered the observance of priorities in the correction of others necessary, and has sarcastically said to the scholars who have remained silent against the wrong beliefs of people and are sensitive about their wrong deeds:
“They see a little straw in people’s eyes, but they ignore the tree trunk in them! They scatter flies from the back of the people, but they leave the camel stay on it! Whereas whoever has an axe cut in his forehead is not afraid of a scratch on his finger and whoever is drowning in the sea, is not worried about having his dress wet!”.
It is hereby understood that your Honor's failure, if you realize it, arose from your failure in all or some of these four duties; in a way that either you have not yet corrected some of your wrong beliefs, or you have not yet acted on some of the necessities of your correct beliefs, or you have not yet fulfilled the duty of propagating your correct beliefs, or you have not yet tried hard enough to correct the deeds of others. With this description, be upon you the cognition of the self, which means recognizing your defects in each of these areas; because the one who does not know his pain is not able to cure himself and is like the one who shoots in the dark, and that is why his Excellency Allamah has started praying and has said:
“Long live the head that knows its own value and long live the heart that knows its own fault”.
Although our impression is that your Honor have not yet corrected some of your wrong beliefs, and for this very reason you have failed to correct some of your wrong deeds, and while you have not yet corrected some of your wrong deeds, you have turned to correcting the beliefs and deeds of others, thus, you are left alone and driven away from others. Accordingly, our advice to you, dear brother, is to devote most of your time and energy to correcting your own beliefs and deeds, not to correcting the beliefs and deeds of others; as God has commanded you to do so, and has said: ﴿يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ ۖ لَا يَضُرُّكُمْ مَنْ ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ ۚ﴾; “O you who believed! Be upon you yourselves; the one who has become misguided does not cause you any harm when you are guided” and has said: ﴿أَتَأْمُرُونَ النَّاسَ بِالْبِرِّ وَتَنْسَوْنَ أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ تَتْلُونَ الْكِتَابَ ۚ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ﴾; “Do you command people to do good and forget yourselves, while you read book?! Do you not use the intellect?!”. With this description, it is obligatory upon you to start the correction from your own beliefs and deeds, and verily their correction is possible by adhering to the criterion of cognition and avoiding its impediments such as ignorance, imitation, passions, worldliness, prejudice, arrogance and superstition, which have been explained in the honorable book “Return to Islam” on the basis of the book of God and the mutawatir Sunnah of His Prophet, and this also requires firm determination and strong will; as God has said: ﴿وَإِنْ تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا فَإِنَّ ذَلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ﴾; “And if you be patient and have piety, that is from the determination in the works” and has said: ﴿وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ﴾; “And they do not achieve it except for those who are patient, and they do not achieve it except for those who are extremely fortunate” and they are the ones who humbly like to become pure; as God has said about them: ﴿فِيهِ رِجَالٌ يُحِبُّونَ أَنْ يَتَطَهَّرُوا ۚ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ﴾; “Therein are men who like to become pure, and God loves the pure ones” and the success is only from God.