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Chapter 8: Upon you all I invoke the peace of Allah forever, as long as I ‌live and the night and day subsist

عَلَيْكُمْ مِنِّي جَمِيعًا سَلاَمُ اللَّهِ أَبَدا

مَا بَقِيتُ وَبَقِيَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ

Upon you all I invoke the peace of Allah forever, as long as I live and the night and day subsist

Commentary

عَلَيْكُمْ مِنِّي جَمِيعًا سَلاَمُ اللَّهِ

Upon you all I invoke the peace of Allah

In this phrase the predicate ‘alaykum... (upon you...) is brought before the subject ‘Salamullah’, thus conferring the meaning of restriction (hasr)1. In simple words, the za’ir is trying to say, “Only upon you all I invoke the peace of Allah...”. This means that it is only for the likes of Imam al-Husayn (AS) and his noble companions that the za’ir invokes salam. In other words, they represent those who are worthy of such invocation.

The preposition ‘ala (على), as we came to know earlier, confers the meaning of encompassment. Hence we are in reality praying for Allah’s peace to encompass and envelop Imam al-Husayn (AS) and his loyal companions.

This sentence is a nominal sentence (jumla ismiyya) too, which means that our invocation is perpetual and permanent. A nominal sentence confers the connotation of continuity (al-dawam).

عَلَيْكُمْ مِنِّي

Upon you, I invoke...

In the phrase minni (from me) the first person pronoun يَاء ya’ is attached to the preposition مِنْ min implying that the za’ir is the one who invokes the salam of Allah for the mazur (the visited one).

عَلَيْكُمْ مِنِّي جَمِيعًا

Upon you all I invoke...

The word jami’an (altogether) is a circumstantial expression (hal)2 for the second person plural pronoun “kum” in عَلَيْكُمْ ‘alaykum (upon you). Hence the meaning is ‘Upon you altogether I invoke...’. Some commentators have also given the probability of another variable. They say that since a believer is a group in himself3, the word jami’an is not a circumstantial expression for the second person plural pronoun kum (you all) but rather for the first person4 singular pronoun ya’ affixed to the preposition min. It is as if the za’ir says, “Upon you I invoke with all the elements of my being, the peace of Allah...

عَلَيْكُمْ مِنِّي جَمِيعا سَلامُ اللَّهِ

Upon you all I invoke the peace of Allah

Annexing the name Allah to salam either means that we are invoking a higher level of peace from Allah or the Absolute Peace that belongs to Allah.

Another intricacy worthy of consideration is that the Name Allah being the all-comprehensive name (al-ism al-jami’) of God, when annexed to salam implies that we are seeking salam (protection and freedom from imperfection) in all the perfect attributes of Imam al-Husayn and his loyal companions, who are manifestations of the all-comprehensive name Allah.

أَبَدا مَا بَقِيتُ وَبَقِيَ اللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ

...forever, so long as I live and the night and day subsist.

Here the za’ir implicitly tries to say that he would always remain steadfast in his love and devotion for Imam al-Husayn (AS). He says that his invocation of salam for the Imam (AS) and his loyal companions is perpetual. It does not matter whether he is alive in this material world or not. Expressing this kind of statement is in reality declaring one’s firm and perpetual stance of loyalty to Imam al-Husayn (AS). This, therefore, presumes the za’ir’s solidified unwavering resolution.

Shaykh Mufid (may Allah elevate his status) narrates a tradition in the seventeenth assembly of his work al-Amali that may enlighten us more about the meaning of having an unwavering resolution of attachment and devotion to the Ahl al-Bayt (AS):

Abu Muhammad, brother of Yunus b. Ya’qub narrates from his brother Yunus, who said:

كُنْتُ بِالْمَدِيْنَةِ فَاسْتَقْبَلَنِيْ جَعْفَرُ بْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ فِي بَعْضِ أَزِقَّتِهَا فَقَالَ اِذْهَبْ يَا يُوْنُسُ فَإنَّ بِالْبَابِ رَجُلاً مِنَّا أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ قَالَ فَجِئْتُ إِلىَ الْبَابِ فَإذا عِيْسَى بْنِ عَبْدِ اللهِ جَالِسٌ فَقُلْتُ لَهُ مَنْ أَنْتَ قَالَ أَنَا رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ قُمْ قَالَ فَلَمْ يَكُنْ بِأَسْرَع مِنْ أَنْ أَقْبَلَ أَبُوْ عَبْدِ اللهِ عَلىَ حِمَارٍ فَدَخَلَ عَلىَ الْحِمَارِ الدًَّارَ ثُمَّ اِلْتَفَتَ إِلَيْنَا فَقَالَ اُدْخُلاَ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا يُوْنُسُ أَحْسَبُ أَنَّكَ أَنْكَرْتَ قَوْلِيْ لَكَ إِنَّ عِيْسَى بْنِ عَبْدِ اللهِ مِنَّا أَهْل الْبَيْتِ قَالَ قُلْتُ إِيْ وَاللهِ جُعِلْتُ فِدَاكَ لأَنَّ عِيْسَى بْنِ عَبْدِ اللهِ رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ قُمْ فَكَيْفَ يَكُوْنُ مِنْكُمْ أَهْلِ الْبَيْتِ قَالَ يَا يُوْنُسُ عِيْسَى بْنِ عَبْدِ اللهِ رَجُلٌ مِنَّا حَيًّا وَ هُوَ مِنَّا مَيِّتًا

I was at Madina, when Ja’far bin Muhammad (AS) met me in one of its lanes. He said: “O Yunus, go to the door, for a person from us the Ahl al-Bayt is at the door.” He said: “I went towards the door and found ‘«sa bin ‘Abdillah sitting there. So, I said: “Who are you?” He replied: “I am from Qum.” He said: “No sooner than he had said that, Abu ‘Abdillah appeared on a donkey and he entered the house riding the donkey. Then attending to us, he said: “Come through.” Then he said: “O Yunus, I believe you were not convinced when I said that «sa’ bin ‘Abdillah is from us, Ahl al-Bayt?” I said: “It is so, may I be your ransom. For ‘Isa bin ‘Abdillah is from people of Qum, how can he be one of you Ahl al-Bayt?” He said: “O Yunus, ‘Isa bin ‘Abdillah is from us as long as he lives, and he shall be from us after he has died.”5

  • 1. One of the grammatical rules of the Arabic language is that if the predicate (khabar) of a sentence is brought before its subject (mubtada’), it confers the meanings that the ‘predicate’ is exclusively for the subject.
  • 2. Mawla HabibulLah al-Kashani, Sharhu Ziyarat ‘Ashura`, p. 52
  • 3. This refers to a well-known tradition that says ‘a beliver is a congregation in himself.’
  • 4. Mawla HabibulLah al-Kashani, Sharhu Ziyarat ‘Ashura`, p. 52
  • 5. Shaykh Mufid, Al-Amali, 17th Assembly, p. 140.

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