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  The virtue of Dua and Zekr have been already discussed and it has become clear that among Duas and “Zekr” those which are recited in secret are more virtuous than those recited openly.  As Imam Ali (AS) has said: No one but God knows the reward of this kind of “Zekr” for its magnitude.  Nevertheless, there are another kind of “Zekr” which is superior to the former ones and that is what lies in the heart of man and no one but God is aware of it.

The Best kind of “Zekr”

  Furthermore, there is a fourth kind of Zekr which is the best and that one is to remember God in relation to His commands and what He has forbidden due to fear of God and being careful of Him.
  Aboo Obeidah Khazaee has reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq (AS):
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799.  “Shall I inform you of the most emphatic rules God has made obligatory on men?”
  He said: Yes.  The Imam said:

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  “The most emphatic rules which God has made obligatory on men are: Treat people fairly, give an equal share of your wealth to your brother in faith, and remember God frequently.  Be aware that I do not mean to recite: Sobhanallaha Walhamdo lelaha Walaelahaellallaho wallahoakbar, though this is a “Zekr”, rather I mean to remember God in relation to what is considered as obedience to God and renounce what is considered as sin.”
  The Holy Prophet (SAW) has a similar saying:
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800.  “Whoever obeys God, has surely remembered God frequently though his prayer, his fast and his recitation of the Holy Quran is a little.”
  A similar Hadith says:
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801.  “God says: I do not accept every word of a wise man, rather, what I accept is his endeavor.  If his heartfelt desire is what I love and pleases Me, I take his silence as My praise and a sign of dignity and greatness.”
  Therefore, good deed accompanied with a little Dua is recommended, for frequent Dua without renouncing what is unlawful is useless in the same way that in a Hadith we read:
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“One who recites Dua without doing good is as one who wishes to shoot an arrow without a bow.”
  This is similar to the saying of the Holy Prophet (SAW):
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802.  “Dua with bribery and doing what is unlawful is like building a house on water.”
  In the Old Testament, we read:
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803.  “Deeds with bribery is like sieving water.”
  The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:
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804.  “Know that if you perform prayer so much so that you are bent as a bow and observe fast so that you are thin as a rake, it will not avail you unless you are pious and keep away from what is unlawful.”
  The Holy Prophet (SAW) has also said:
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805.  “The foundation of religion is to renounce what is unlawful.  Renounce what is forbidden in order to become the most devoted.  Attach greater importance to good deeds with piety than to good deeds without piety.  for deeds with piety are not small.  How can they be considered small when God accepts them.
  In the Holy QURAN we read:
“Allah only accepts from those who guard (against evil)” (Verse 27, Maidah)
  Therefore, piety is a criterion for acceptance of deeds.

Piety and its Results

  Imam Sadeq (AS) was asked to give his opinion of piety. The Imam said:
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806.  “Piety means to attend a place where God has ordered and to be absent from where God has forbidden.”
  Piety is praised by every one, for it brings honor and dignity to human beings.  It has been highly praised in the Holy QURAN too:
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“And certainly We enjoined those who were given the Book before you and We enjoin you too that you should be careful of your duty to Allah.”
  The Holy QURAN is replete wit praise of piety and it has enumerated certain qualities for it as follow:

1-  Eulogy of piety:
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  “And if you are patient and guard against evil, surely this is one of the affairs which should be determined upon.” (Verse 186, Alay Imran)

2-  Protection against enemies:
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  “And if you are patient and guard yourselves their scheme will not injure you in anyway.” (Verse 120, Alay Imran)

3-  Support and assistance:
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  “.....Allah is with those who guard against evil.” (Verse 194, Baqarah)

4-  Right state of deeds:
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  “O you who believe! be careful of your duty to Allah and speak the right word.  He will put your deeds into a right state.”   (Verse 70-71, Ahzab)

5-  Forgiveness of sins (faults):
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  “.... forgive you your faults” (Verse 71, Ahzab)

6-  God’s love:
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  “Surely Allah loves those who are careful on their duty.”  (Verse 4, Tobah)

7-  Acceptance of deeds:
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  “Allah only accepts from those who guard against evil.” (Verse 27, Maidah)

8-  Honor and nobleness:
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  “Surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful of his duty.” (Verse 13, Hujurat)

9-  Good tidings upon death:
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  “Now surely the friends of Allah, they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve.  Those who believe and guard against evil.”  (Verse 63-64, Yunus)

10-  Deliverance from Fire:
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  “And We will deliver those who guarded against evil.”  (Verse 72, Marium)

11-  Abiding in Paradise:
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  “It is prepared for those who guard against evil.” (Verse 133, Alay Imran)

12.  Easing of reckoning:
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  “And nought of the reckoning of their deeds shall be against those who guard against evil.”  (Verse 69, Anam)

13-  Deliverance from hardships and lawful daily food:
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  “And whoever is careful of his duty to Allah, He will make for him an outlet.  And give him sustenance from whence he thinks not; and whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him, surely Allah attains His purpose; Allah indeed has appointed a measure for everything.” (Verse 2-3, Talaq)

  Considering all these Quranic verses, we come to the conclusion that:
1-  Piety (Guarding against evil) is a strong fortification and an ensured shelter, since God Himself says: “He will make for one who guards against evil an outlet.” This is similar to what the Holy Prophet has said:
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807.  “If heavens and earth are sewn as a curtain before a believer but he guards against evil, God will make for him an outlet between them.”
Piety is a sufficient treasure, for God has said: “He give him sustenance from whence he thinks not.”
3- Piety suggests reliance too, for God says: “He is sufficient for him” and:
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“Who is truer of word than Allah” (Verse 122, the Women)
  Hence the Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:
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808.  “Should men be committed to this verse, He is sufficient for him.”
  God has the power of doing whatever He wills, for He has said: “Surely Allah attains His purpose”, so as people are sure about His promises in relation to piety like His being sufficient and His protection and mercy.
Being asked about reliance, Imam Sadeq (AS) said:
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809.  “Not to fear anything if he has God with him.”
  Ahmad Ibne Hussein Meissami has reported on the authority of one of his companions that Imam Sadeq (AS) in response to one of his companions had written:
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810.  “After praising God and greetings on the Holy Prophet and his household, I recommend you to piety (guarding against evil), for God has ensured He will improve the state of a pious man from what he considers blameworthy and give him sustenance from where he does not think.  God does not deceive anyone and what is with Him is not attained save through obedience to Him.”
  Imam Baqer (AS) has reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet (SAW):
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811.  “By My glory, grandeur, greatness, light, highness, and My sublime position! No man ever made his desire prior to My will but I made his heart preoccupied with it, and did not have his sustenance increased.  By My glory, grandeur, greatness, light, highness and My sublime position! No man ever made My will prior to his desire but I appointed angels to protect him and made heavens and the earth to give his sustenance, and consider his interests in every dealing. Fortune comes to him and shows inclination towards him.”

  Aboo Saeed Khedri reports: I heard the Holy Prophet (SAW) who had returned from the Battle of Badr, with people around him and learning against a tree as saying:
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812.  “O people! Try to ameliorate the Hereafter which is your duty and shun the world which has been ensured for you.  Do not ever use body members which are nourished by God’s blessing in committing sins and incurring God’s wrath.  Keep on asking His forgiveness and do your best to come near to His obedience.  Whoever is after shares of world from the very beginning, he will have shares of Hereafter too in the world but he will not attain what he wishes.  However, one who is after Hereafter shares from the very beginning, he will attain shares both in the world and whatever he wishes in the Hereafter.”
  Abdullah Ibne Sanaan has reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq (AS):
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813.  “Every believer who turns to whatever God loves, God too will turn to whatever he loves, and whoever seeks shelter with God with piety, God will give him shelter.  One to whom God turns, and gives shelter, will not have fear if heavens and the earth fall.  Should any tribulation fall on the people of the earth, and overwhems all, he will be under the protection of God due to his piety.  Has God not said: “Surely those who guard against evil are in a secure place?”
  In a sacred Hadith, we read:
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815.  “O son of Adam! I am Rich and have no need of anyone.  Obey Me in what I have commanded so as to make you rich in a way you will not need anyone.  O son of Adam! I am the Living One who does not die.  Obey Me in what I have commanded to make you a living one who does not die.  O son of Adam! I will say to anything to “be”, it will “be”.  Obey Me in whatever I have commanded, to promote you to position wherein you say “be” to anything, it will “be”.”

  Aboo Hamzeh has reported that the following revelation was sent to Prophet (SAW) David (AS):
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816.  “O Dawood! No servant of Mine who has obeyed My commandments has ever called upon Me unless I have fulfilled his desire before hand.”
  It has been reported on the authority of Imam Baqer (AS):
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817.  “God sent the following revelation to convey to his people: There has been no servant of Mine whom I have ordered to obey Me and he too has obeyed Me unless I too should obey him and help him obey Me.  Should he have any desire I will fulfill it and should he recite any Dua I will answer him.  Should he seek shelter with  Me, I will give him, should he seek help, I will help him, should he rely on Me, I will keep his secrets and wrongdoings and should all the people deceive him, I will protect him.”

The Importance of Renouncing Sin

  Piety (Guarding against evil) has two phases, namely “acquisition” and “shunning”.  Acquisition is obedience of God and shunning is to renounce what is unlawful.  Nevertheless, the second one is more advisable, for shunning the vice is beneficial and performing religious duties even if they are a few, will bear fruit should they be alongside shunning of the vice.
  If the unlawful deed s are not renounced performing the lawful deeds will not be beneficial much.  According to Hadith 676, when we glorify God, He will plant tree for us in paradise.  With regard to this a man of Quresh said to the Holy Prophet (SAW): Then we have many trees in paradise?  The Holy Prophet (SAW) said: Yes, but be careful not to set them on fire by committing sins, the Holy Prophet has also said:
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819.  “Jealousy will eat up the virtues as fire eats up wood.”
  It has been reported on the authority of the Infallibles (AS):
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820.  “Make every endeavor that if you are not doing a praiseworthy deed, at least do not commit sin, for one who makes a building but does not demolish it, it will go up however one who makes a building but demolishes it, the building will never go up.”
  It has been reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet of Islam (SAW):
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821.  “Avoid overeating, for it will make you harsh, will make your body members weak in obeying God, and will make you deaf in listening to advice.  Avoid looks that sow the seeds of carnal desires and produce neglect.  Avoid avarice, for it pollutes your heart with greed and seals your heart with love of world, a key to every sin, the cause of any wrongdoing and remover of any virtue.”

Jihad against “Self”

  One will never attain piety without fighting concupiscence which is a harmful, destructive and lustful enemy.  In this relation, God says:
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  “then as for him who is inordinate.  And prefers the life of this world.  Then surely the hell, that is the abode.  And as for him who fears to stand in the presence of his Lord and forbids the soul from low desires.  Then surely the garden -That is the abode.”  (Verse 37-41, Naziat)
  The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:
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825.  “Your most hostile enemy is your “self” within you.”
  Call on God to help you fight the “self’ as Joseph has said in: verse 53 of the Quranic Chapter, Joseph:
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  “Surely man’s self is wont to command him to do evil, except such as my Lord has had mercy on.”

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