As you travel through the journey that is Muharram, let the below be your guide for all your interactions with the non-shia and those who neither know, nor respect the Ahlulbayt (A.S). While anger and frustration, even despair may come naturally, our imams in their eternal and infinite wisdom show us there is indeed another way, nay, a yardstick by which we measure our own conduct; and if gentleness, courtesy and humility are good enough for our Imams, surely we will be in error who do not hear and act upon their example!
One day Sheikh Bahjat (ra)talked about the generosity of the Imams (as) saying: ‘In Iraq, there is a small town near the place where the Tigris and Euphrates
rivers meet called al-Musayyab. A Shia man used to pass by this town from time to time whenever he went to perform the Ziyarat of the Commander of the
Faithful Imam Ali (as) in Najaf. A Sunni man, too, was residing in this same town.
The latter quite often used to make fun of the Shia man whenever he saw him going to visit the shrine of the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (as), so
much so that he dared once to speak ill of the Holy Imam (as).
The Shia was very angry and he complained about this matter to the Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (as) during one of his visits. During that night,
he saw the Imam (as) in his vision and once more complained to him about this matter.
Imam Ali (as) said, ‘He [the Sunni man] has done us a favour, and we cannot punish him in the life of this world no matter what sins he commits.’
The Shia asked, ‘What favour is it? Did he do you a favour when he dared to speak ill of you?’
The Imam (as) said, ‘No, but he was sitting one day at the meeting place of both rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, and he was looking at the Euphrates.
He remembered the story of Karbala and the thirst of Imam al-Husain (as), so he said this to himself: ‘Omer ibn Sa’d was wrong when he killed Imam Hussein
(as) and his followers as they were thirsty, and it was better for him to give them water before killing them.’
A tear trickled down his eyes out of grief for Abu Abdullah Al-Hussein (as); therefore, it became mandatory on us never to punish him in this life.’
The Shia says, I woke up from my sleep and returned to al-Musayyab and met the Sunni man on the road. He said to me in ridicule: ‘Did you visit your Imam,
and did you convey our message to him?!’
I said, ‘Yes, I conveyed your message to him, and I carry his message to you.’
The man laughed and said. ‘What is this message which you carry to me?’
He narrated to him the incident from beginning to end. The Sunni man lowered his head to the ground and kept thinking: ‘O Lord! Nobody at that moment was
near me, and I did not talk about this incident to anyone; so, how did Imam Ali (as) become familiar with it?’
Then he said, ‘I testify that there is no God save Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and that Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, is a
friend of Allah and the Wasi of the Messenger of Allah.’
From the book: “ Uswat Al-Aarifeen A Look at the Life of Ayatullah Bahjat” under the chapter: Tales Narrated by Grand Ayatullah Sheikh Bahjat, title: Clemency
and Generosity of the Imams (as)