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Imam Jafar as-Sadiq’s (a) Contributions to the Sciences

9 hours 33 min ago

By Shad Rizvi

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

There is no power, except from Allah; there is no knowledge, except from Allah; nothing exists, without the Will of Allah- everything is from Him and everything returns to Him. He existed when nothing existed, He will exist when everything will cease to exist.

According to Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (as), “Allah did not want to let things work except through their means and reasons. For everything He made a cause, for every cause an explanation, for every explanation a science, for every science a speaking chapter. Some people know it and some do not know. It is the messengers of Allah and we.” [1]

So, all knowledge is from Allah, and through Him it is with His messengers (a) and Imams (a), and through them it is with us. Imam is the source of guidance from Allah to the mankind, after all His messengers arrived with the knowledge that was needed by mankind. Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (as) was the 6th Imam after the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad ibn Abdullah (s).

Every messenger (a) and every Imam (a) provided the knowledge to the mankind, not to their capacity, but to the capacity of the people whom they delivered to. As mankind progressed, the level of knowledge that was delivered, progressed too. The ultimate knowledge is with The One Who is Hidden (atfs) and is awaiting for mankind to progress mentally to the level where they are capable of understanding that knowledge.

Imam Jafar as-Sadiq (as) has sown the seed of the ultimate knowledge by his above statement. The ultimate knowledge is the science, the science of everything that exists, except Allah, Who is beyond every science, The Creator of all sciences. By his statement, the Imam has given one basic law that nothing exists without a science. What we understand, it is explained science; what we do not understand and claim it a miracle, is an unexplained science.

During early 8th century AD when Jafar as-Sadiq (as) arrived, it was a time when mankind was too immature to understand the sciences that he spoke about. The Earth was supposed to be in the center and sun was revolving round it. We saw objects when our eyes threw light on them. We did not know about our body, our surroundings and the world. There were no machines, no proper sciences, no research and no freedom to carry out scientific study. Mankind was focused on rules and rulers, wars, trade, controls, etc. and had no inclination for advancing their logical knowledge.

That was the time when Imam gave scientific concepts, sound logic and placed the launch pad for mankind to soar into the heights of scientific and technological advancements, the fruits of which we are seeing today.

Another of his most important contribution was establishment of a university where he taught between 4000 to 12000 students the sciences of chemistry, physics, medicine, astronomy, philosophy, geography, mathematics, biology, history, literature, jurisprudence, etc. His students were not ordinary students but those, some of whom were great scholars, who traveled far and wide and disseminated that knowledge all over the globe. He not only taught them, he ignited the fire for knowledge through logic and scientific explanations.

He had laboratory where he carried out experiments for his students, surgeries were performed and research work was carried out.

At 11 years of age, Jafar as-Sadiq (as) rejected the belief of Ptolemy that sun rotated around the earth and gave a complete narration of our solar system that we very well know now. At 12 years of age, he rejected the Theory of Four Elements of Aristotle and said, “I wonder how a man like Aristotle could say that in the world there are only four elements-Earth, Water, Fire and Air? The earth is not an element. It contains many elements. Each metal, which is in the earth, is an element.”

He said that whatever is in the earth is also in the human body, but of all elements four are in very large quantities, eight elements in small quantities and eight elements in minute quantities. We know today that there are 102 elements in the earth and all of them are present in the human body. The four elements, which are in large quantities in the human body, are Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen and Nitrogen. The eight elements which are in small quantities are: Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Iron and Chlorine. The other eight elements which are in very minute quantities are: Molybdenum, Cobalt, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Fluorine, Silicon and Iodine.

For over 2 centuries after him, most physicians in a large part of the world followed diagnosis and treatment prescribed by him. For identifying if a serious patient was dead or alive, Ja’far as-Sadiq (as) had suggested that a small incision should be made in his body, especially between his two fingers. If blood comes out it was a sign that he was alive.

He has said that patients suffering from certain diseases emit special types of rays. If these rays fall upon a healthy person, they are apt to make him sick. In Novosibirsk, Russia, numerous experiments were conducted and it was established that UV rays were indeed responsible for transmission of diseases.

Eleven centuries before the world knew, he said air is a mixture of several gases and that all are essential for our breathing. Priestly (1733-1804) discovered oxygen and named it so meaning ‘producer of acidity’. Ja’far as-Sadiq (as) was the first to discover that oxygen produces acidity. He said oxygen is so strong that if separated from air, it can burn even iron. He was also the first to narrate that oxygen is heaviest of all elements in air and that itcan be liquefied.

Regarding the origin of the universe, he said “The universe was born out of a tiny particle, which had two opposite poles. That particle produced an atom snf inthis way matter came into being, then the matter diversified. The diversification was caused by the density or rarity of the atoms.” [2] This indeed is the accepted theory of the scientific fraternity today.

According to the Strasbourg Committee, “Tycho Brahe, who died in the year 1701, in spite of his vast knowledge and extraordinary intelligence, he was unable to discover the earth’s rotation on its own axis. When such a great scholar like Poincare (died 1912), refused to believe that the earth rotates on its axis, how could the people who lived in the 1st and 2nd centuries of the Hijra believe in the theory of Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that the earth rotates on its own axis.”

He said that materials which are solid and absorbent are opaque, and materials which are solid and repellent are more or less transparent. When he was asked about the thing which is absorbed by an opaque material he replied, “HEAT.” Today this theory is one of the Laws of Physics.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is a global project with over 300,000 computers worldwide listening to communications from outer space. Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) had said that there are living beings in other worlds, who by their advanced knowledge might be trying to contact us. Since we do not know them nor understand their language, we do not realize that they want to get in touch with us and talk to us.

In his Theory of Light, he said that light reflected by different objects comes to us, but only a part of the rays enter our eyes. That is why we do not see distant objects clearly. If all the rays of light that come from them entered our eyes, objects would appear near to us. If we make a device through which all the rays of light coming from the camels grazing at a distance of 3,000 zirah (one zirah is equal to 40 inches) entered our eyes we would see them grazing at a distance of only 60 zirah and all other objects would look 50 times nearer to us.

When Galileo invented the telescope in 1610 and was asked the reason for moon appearing so near, he repeated the words of Jafar as-Sadiq (a.s.), “This telescope collects all the rays of light coming from the heavenly bodies. When all the rays are concentrated, the objects which are at a distance of 3,000 feet away appear to us as if they were at a distance of only 60 feet.”

The Research Committee of Strasbourg, France claims that Ja’far as-Sadiq (as) is actually the father of renaissance of Europe where his knowledge reached through Constantinople.

How unfortunate we are that we did not follow the teachings of Imam as-Sadiq (as) and took nearly 1500 years to reach at this level of advancement. If we had followed him, we could have reached a higher level of knowledge and understanding. It is still time that we research extensively on his teachings with a logical and scientific approach and prepare ourselves for his grandson, The One Who is Hidden (atfs), who is awaiting mankind to be at a mental level to be able to take the knowledge that he provides to us.

Notes:

[1] H-452, Ch-7, h-7; Al-Kafi by Yaqub Kulayni

[2] The Great Muslim Scientist & Philisopher, The Reasearch Committee of Strasbourg, France.

The post Imam Jafar as-Sadiq’s (a) Contributions to the Sciences appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

The Contributions Of Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) In The Propagation Of Knowledge

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 12:48

By Habib Zaatar

Each one of the fourteen members of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) had their own role to play, their own duties and tasks that differ with the other members (‘a). This goes back to the different situations and environments that each member (‘a) lived in.

 For example, the duty of standing up against the tyrant ruler in which Imam Husayn (‘a) portrayed is different from the role of Imam Al-Ridha (‘a) where he had to manage, toddle, and take precautions when dealing with the ruler at his time. One of the important and vital roles for the strength of the Shia sect was the propagation of knowledge.

When reciting Ziyarat Al-Jamia’ we describe Ahlul Bayt (‘a) as “the sources of knowledge” but when it comes to its spreading there is one light from all the lights that shine the most and that is Abu Abdallah Jafar ibn Muhamad al-Sadiq (‘a). This all goes back to the situation and environment he (‘a) was living in and the way he (‘a) handled it, so there are two main factors.

The Situation

Every Imam (‘a) lived under a ruler who would keep watchful eyes on them, spread rumors to keep people from following them, and even kill their followers because of fear of losing the throne to those who have the righteous claim to it. The rulers would tighten the movement of the Imams (‘a), imprison them without proving their guilt, and would not allow contact with them. 

Although Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) did live under the tight grip of the rulers especially during the last years of his life, he lived during the end of the Umayyad Caliphate and the beginning of the Abbasid Caliphate. During this time the Umayyad were too busy with conflicts and wars outside and inside the “Islamic kingdom”, with opening countries in Europe and defending their thrones against movements that were thirsty for their blood it was just too much to keep all their eyes on Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) which made his movements much easier.

After finally being defeated by the Abbasid Caliphate (132 hijri), the new caliphate needed time to order and control as they would like which is the condition of every new political movement when it gains power and authority. This gave Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) freedom to shine his lights and the Abbasid Caliphate opened the doors to report hadiths (sayings) – a door that was closed by the Umayyad.  Furthermore, itand opened the door for teaching and schooling which helped the light shine brighter.

Handling the situation

The second factor that contributed to Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) playing a big role in spreading knowledge was the way he handled his state of affairs. He (‘a) took over what his grandfather Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) and father Imam Al-Baqir (‘a) started, the school of Ahlul Bayt (‘a).

Al-Sajjad (‘a) was the most of the three who was monitored by the authorities and usually spread his teachings through supplications, his students and followers where little. Imam Al-Baqir (‘a) had more students and was less monitored, but the rulers at his time where against giving space to opening various schools of thoughts especially to those who are a threat to their crown. As for Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) he handled his situation by:

  • Accepting anyone who wanted to join the classes with open arms which naturally led to increasing amounts of followers and students especially considering if the teacher –in this case him – was sharp and full of knowledge. Al-Hassan ibn Ali Al-Washa’ (one of the reporters of the sayings of Ahlul Bayt) stated, “I have met with nine hundred scholars all of them have told me ‘Ja’far ibn Muhammad told to me’.[1]
  • Opening the door also lead to famous scholars to attend his (‘a) classes such as Al-Nuʿman ibn Thabit (Abu Hanifa) founder of the Hanafi school of Sunni jurisprudence, and Malik ibn Anas founder of the Maliki school of Sunni jurisprudence. Abu Hanifa stated, “I have not seen anyone with more knowledge than Jaffar ibn Muhamad.” [2]
  • Facing and confronting other schools of thoughts. This goes back to the factor that at his (‘a) time there were not only political movements, but cultural and science movements, as he (‘a) was living nearly a century after the passing of Prophet Muhammad (S). In this time a lot changed, people from non-Arab countries entered Islam and brought their different traditions and ideologies with them, and many different books where translated into Arabic which all had an impact on ideologies and worldwide views. Instead of running away from debates and confrontation, Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) was a shield for true Islamic values and teachings.

His (‘a) debates are well known and gained him fame throughout Islamic countries to a point where people would come from far places to have a debate or ask him (‘a). For example, it has been reported by Husham ibn Al-Hakam (a student and convert of Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a)) that an Egyptian atheist heard so much about Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) that he travelled from Egypt to Madinah and did not find him then travelled to Mecca in search of him to debate with him [3].

Imam (‘a) not only focused on confronting with atheist or other religions, he also confronted other Islamic schools of thoughts and theories such as the idea of Qiyaas which was brought forth by Abu Hanifa as a way to reach the rulings of subjects that are not available in the Quran and the Sunnah by using the process of analogy [4]. Other example would be how he stood up against the false interpretations of the sayings of the Prophet (S) and clearing out what the prophet his great grandfather meant. This state of courage and debating made the school more famous and showed its strengths as its knowledge comes from the household of prophecy which is blessed with knowledge from the All Knowing Allah (swt) himself.

  • The Imam (‘a) managed his students especially his high ranked students. He (‘a) would raise them in a way so they would be God fearing and well-mannered, and thatwould result in many great things such as reaching the main goal of Islamic knowledge, to have a better after-life, sincerity in studying and acting upon their knowledge, and Allah (swt) helping the student in the path of knowledge.

 However, the main result in man managing his men is that people would accept teachings from them and take what they took from the Imam (‘a). Witnessing the good actions done by the students and gained from the Imam (‘a), people would want to act upon these actions or at least give respect to the student and teacher. Humans usually like to take teachings from well-mannered individuals rather than people with no or little manners.

This all helps in the spreading of knowledge. As an example Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) stated to some of his followers, “Behave with people with your best manners. Pray in their Masajid, visit their sick, witness their funerals, and if it was possible to be the imams (of the prayers) and the Athan callers them do it. If you do this the people would say these are the followers of this man. He has raised his followers very well.”[5]

  • Urging people to learn and to have knowledge. It is clear that people love to be intelligent and well informed and hate to be ignorant. We like to be called knowledgeable even if we are ignorant and hate to be called ignorant even if we really are. Yet humans get busy and forget or don’t put enough time for knowledge which stops the spreading of knowledge.

Imam Al-Sadiq (‘a) faced this obstacle by calling out people to learn, the reward of Allah for those who walk on the path of knowledge, and waking us up to our instinct of knowledge and negative effects of ignorance. He (‘a) stated, “If people knew the benefits of seeking knowledge, they would seek it in spite of having to shed blood or dive in the deepest seas.”[6]

He also stated, “I wish there where whips on over the heads of my companions so they learn what is Halal (permissible in Islamic law) and what is Haram (forbidden in Islamic law).”[7]  

Notes:

[1] Rijal Al-Najashi, p. 40.

[2] Tarikh Al-Islam (History of Islam) v. 9, p. 89.

[3] Al-Kafi v. 1, p. 72.

[4] To review the debates between Imam Al-Sadiq and Abu Hanifa and other sayings about this topic view Wassail Al-Shia v. 27 published by Ahlul Bayt institute.

[5] Da’a’im Al-Islam, p. 66 published by Ahlul Bayt institute.

[6] Targhib wa Al-Tarhib,  v. 1, p. 97 no16.

[7] Al-Mahasin, p. 213.

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Who is Fatima?

Thu, 11/07/2019 - 12:27

A Poem By Ruqaya Aghaie

*****

Before I ask this question

I shall give you this advise

Nobody like Fatima could be

She is to prophet as a prize

Fatima was the mother of her father

When her beloved mother dies

She was the purified women

Al-Tahira if you recognize

The worshipper, the scholar and the greatest

For her religion, she sacrifices

“Fatima is a part of me”

These words you may memorize

Whoever angers Fatima angers me

Like this the prophet describes

***

Once the prophet Muhammad

Brought Fatima a surprise

Her new wedding dress but she

Decided to donate it or otherwise

She would not be the most virtue

On the earth and in the skies

And when she was asked for this action

With her high moral, she replies

I remembered the verse in the Quran

And I put I in my eyes

“Spend from what you love

And you`re rewarded much wise… “

She chose to help the poor one

And by this she brought paradise

***

If you were looking for guidance

go to her and your knowledge will rise

For she is the leader of all women,

Not Aisha those are lies

And here comes her tragedy

When Omar begins his crimes

He left Fatima with a broken rib

As he was the caliphate of his time

With his power… and boldly

He commandeers Fadak lands

For all of these terrible misfortunes

Omar had steps and plans

And as time, would past and go

His crimes would get more and expands

***

But… apart from all her difficulties

She stood up for her rights

She cried and cried and cried until,

People were annoyed of her cries

By her hijab and modesty

Their eyes went bigger size

And by this, she bought the satisfaction

Of Allah and also heaven she buys

This is how she became lady Fatima

Her light glows like the sunrise

Fatima the rayhana of heaven

And in this life the light that shines

She maintained her dignity and modesty

While fighting for her rights

She is the infallible role model

One could take, but who understands?

Oh, Allah on the day of resurrection

Choose me to shake Fatima’s hands…

The post Who is Fatima? appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

The Qur’an and Its influence on the Lives of Muslims

Thu, 10/31/2019 - 14:03

By Ailiya Haidri

Revealed over 1400 years ago, the Qur’an is not just a book, nor is it solely a book of Laws and Commandments; rather it is the active tool for our day-to-day life.

Time

“By the time, surely man is in the loss, save those who believe and do good deeds, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.” (Quran, 103: 1-3)

In the above ayah, the Qur’an holds an oath by time, emphasising the importance yet fickleness of time which man plays with relentlessly.

In the 24 hours that we have in a day, how are we utilizing our time? Are we engrossed in backbiting and enjoying the downfalls of others? Are we occupied in our revengeful nature against an enemy?

We must use our time and implement three things (as mentioned from the ayah above): good deeds, truth, patience.

Tawakkul

Having Tawakkul, and sincerely putting our trust in Allah seems to be a slogan which people are using, but to what extent do we practically implement this practice?  Had we put our sole reliance in the Qadr of Allah, surely we would not dwell on our problems whether big or small?.Surely we would not be in despair.

What is it within our hearts that when a problem arises, we immediately worry and begin to make decisions and come up with a quick solution? It is our lack of faith in the decree of Allah.

“And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” (Quran, 65:3)

Due to man’s selfish nature, we seem to think our power is enough to overturn any bad that happens to us, but the reality is that we end up on our prayer mats turning towards the very Lord that we forgot initially.

Hardships

While we drown our souls in sorrow, and spend countless nights trying to find the light at the end of a tunnel that only seems to become darker and darker, did we step out of our emotions and really thought deeply about the Divine aspect behind our hardships?

One of the most common verses repeated throughout the Qur’an is:

“No person shall have a burden laid upon him more than he can bear…” (Qur’an 2:233)

In other words, Allah tests you only as much as you can handle. However, in the limited mind of humans, we see our hardships from a very narrow perspective in that Allah is perhaps punishing us to the extent that we question His Love. Yet we fail to remember that Allah created each and every one of us uniquely not only in our fingerprints, but in our strength and willpower. Thus, He tests us accordingly to see if we will really remain faithful or not.

He tests his believers not only to see who will remain faithful and steadfast in the Decree of Allah, but for us to see how much we love Him in return:

“Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?” (Qur’an 29:2)

Seek Refuge

While it is very easy to say preach stay away from sinning! We need to practically find strategies of how to refrain from muharramat. One way of doing this is to seek refuge not in ourselves, but in our Lord.

Mentioned in over thirty occasions in the Qur’an, it indicates this place of refuge and that is Allah. Another reminder of this refuge is on our tongues five times a day when one says audhu billāhi min ashaytanir rajim.

Love

Islam is and has been portrayed as a religion of hatred, and one that condemns violence; however, this can be strongly refuted with the theme of Love that is regularly discussed throughout.

And one of His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves so that you may find comfort in them. And He has placed between you compassion and mercy. Surely in this are signs for people who reflect. (Quran 30:21)

In relation to marriage, the Qur’an beautifully describes companionship as almost an entity of which there are to components: a husband and a wife whom we must seek comfort in.

To read more:

https://www.al-islam.org/quran-in-islam-its-impact-and-influence-life-muslims-allamah-tabatabai

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Commemorating the Death of Prophet Muhammad (S)

Thu, 10/24/2019 - 13:51

By Muhammad Kabeer Bala

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent and most Merciful, peace and blessing of Allah be upon the holy Prophet Muhammad (S) and his infallible Progeny (the household) (as).

Certainly, Prophet Muhammad (S) has brought to the world and entire mankind the message from Almighty Allah with proven facts and miracles which placed him at an ultimate highest position in the history of mankind.

He has therefore served in multiple capacities among the Muslims such as; a leader, a scholar, a guardian, a military commander and a ruler. Due to his immense influence over the people, his absence or death leaves a landmark vacant position in their whole lifestyle. It was possible that this could lead to great calamities and even disbelief by some ill-minded from the Muslims.

The revelation had laid greater emphasis on the lifestyle of Muslim ‘Ummah’ after the demise of the Holy Prophet (S) and has therefore, laid down concrete foundations for the continued co-existence of the Muslims after the Prophet (S). This has been enshrined in so many verses of the holy Qur’an such as;

…Say (O’ Muhammad unto mankind): I do not ask of you any reward for it (preaching the message), but love for my relatives (Ahlul-Bait)….(Holy Qur’an, 42:23) [1]

“Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least and Allah will reward the grateful”(Holy Qur’an, 3:144)

Likewise, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) has in many traditions, admonished his companions regarding their fate after his death. He explained to them what they will hold firmly in order to reach him on the fountain of Al-Kauthar e.g.

Prophet (S) said: “O’ people! Behold! It seems the time approached when I shall be called away (by Allah) and I shall answer that call. Behold! I am leaving for you two precious things. First of them is the book of Allah in which there is light and guidance…The other one is my Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you in the name of Allah about my Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you in the name of Allah about my Ahlul-Bayt. I remind you in the name of Allah about my Ahlul-Bayt. (Three times).” [2]

The Prophet’s Plan To Avoid The Difference

Usama Delegation

The prophet’s health condition got worsened and the mischief extended as the magritude of a night. The cloud shall soon deplete their contents on the town.

“Yet, at the threshold of death that great mind charts out the best. He sends his army he vests to a teenager by the name of Usama Bin Zaid. All the magnets of Muhajereen and Ansar (emigrants and helpers) including Abubakar, Omar Bin Khattab, Abdul rehman Ibn Auf, Abu Obaida, Sa’ad Bin Abi Waqqas, Aseed Bin Hazeer and Basheer Ibn Sa’ad were called to join the army under the command of that young Usama to fight in the land of Balkha with the people of Obny who had defeated the Muslim army on a previous occasion and killed Zaid, the commander, father of Usama” [3]

The prophet pushes the army to move and cursed the delinquents.

Their rejection to undergo the command of a youth did not make them fear the anger of the holy prophet (S). They took refuge in an excuse that the commander was un-experienced youth. The prophet realized that his statements which he gave concerning the one to succeed him in a several occasions were not enough to put into practice as they refrained from joining the army of under Usama’s command; or the greed would have returned them back had they proceeded.

Paper And Pen

The prophet witnessed their disobedience. To go to the pulpit, his sickness failed him. This was the first time in his life at Medina that his orders were denied to his face. He was not yet dead and disobedience had made its phase. So, how could they be expected to obey afterwards. To write was the best alternative; and he resorted to that as it would constitutefixed text which cannot be doubted nor forgotten.

It was Thursday. Three days before the prophet’s death, his condition got worse. In the house men were present and among them wereUmar Bin Khattab. The Prophet (S) said; “Now let me write something for you whereby you shall not go astray after me” ‘Umar said, ‘The Prophet is overcome by illness, you have the Qur’an, the book of Allah, which is sufficient for us”[4]

‘Umar’s’ statement caused a fury among those present. Some were saying that the prophet’s command should be obeyed……and then others sided with ‘Umar. When the tension and uproar intensified, the prophet said, “Get away from me”

The Burial

The following is quoted in Khasa’ is of Nasa’i from Ummu Salamah: “By Allah, the closest person [to the Prophet] at the time of the Prophet’s death was ‘Ali. Early on the morning of the day when he was going to depart this world, the Prophet called ‘Ali who had been sent out on some errand. He asked for ‘Ali three times before his return. However, ‘Ali came before sunrise. So, thinking that the Prophet needed some privacy with ‘Ali, we came out. I was the last to be out; therefore, I sat closer to the door than the other women. I saw that ‘Ali lowered his head towards the Prophet and the Prophet kept whispering into his ears (for some time). Therefore, ‘Ali is the only person who was near the Prophet till the last.” Ibn al-Wardi points out that the persons who were responsible for giving the Prophet his funeral bath were: “Ali, Abbas, Fadhl Qutham, Usamah and Shaqran. Abbas, Fadhl and Qutham turned the body. Usamah and Shaqran poured water, and Ali washed the body.”

Tarikh al-Khamis adds the following: “Abbas, Fadhl and Qutham turned the body from one side to the other as Usamah and Shaqran poured water over it. All of them were blind-folded.”

Ibn Sa’d narrates the following in his Tabaqat: “Ali narrated that the Prophet had so enjoined that if anyone except himself (Ali) had given him the funeral bath, he would have gone blind.”

The Events Of Saqifa

Saqifa is one of the most dramatic events in Islamic History that ultimately led to a victorious Abu Bakr attaining the station of Khalifa following the death of the Prophet (S).

The episode actually begins from the point that Rasulullah(S) died, upon receiving news of the Prophet (S)’s death the companions who were ordered by the Prophet(S) to join the expedition led by Usamah returned to Madinah.

Three key figures, Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaydah were participants in this aborted expedition, and Sunni Imam Khandlawi adds that when returning to Medina: “Usamah along with ‘Umar and Abu ‘Ubaidah (Radiallahu ‘Anhum) returned to Madinah and went straight to the [residence of the] Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alaihi was Sallam) who had passed away”. [5]

While Imam Ali (as) was busy attending to the burial of the Holy Prophet (S), the Muhajireen of Makka and the Ansar of Madina had lost no time in contesting the matter of the Caliphate. They had gathered at a place called Saqifa bani Sa’da and each group was putting forward its merits and claiming the Caliphate.

One can only wonder at their actions, because only two months ago the Holy Prophet (S) had openly declared that Imam Ali (as) would be his successor. In their greed, these so-called Muslims even forgot that their beloved Holy Prophet (S) lay as yet unburied.

Conclusion

In Tarikh-al-Khamis, however, it is mentioned that Muhammad ikn Ishaq stated the following: “The Prophet died on Monday and was buried on the night of Wednesday.”

Estimating his age, Abul-Fida’ writes: “Although there is a difference of opinion about the Prophet’s age, yet calculated from famous traditions, he appears to have lived for 63 years.”

The Holy Prophet departed from this world on the 28th of Safar, 11 A.H. Thus ended the life of the Final Prophet sent to mankind.

Notes:

[1] Hakim Hasakani in Shawahidal-Tanzil, vol. 1, p.190, Beirut Edition in ‘1393 and Suyuti in Dur al-Manthur, vol. 2, p. 198

[2] Sahih Muslim, Chapter of the virtues of the companions, section of the virtues of ‘Ali, 1980 Edition Pub. In Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v 4, p1873, Tradition #36

[3] Many among historians have stated the entry of Abubakar in the expedition. Among them are; Ibn Sa’ad in ‘Tabaqaat’ (16:4) & (136:4). Ibn Asaker in Tahzeeb’ (391:2), (215:3)

[4] Sahih Muslim (Famous tradition narrated by Ibn Abbas about the death of the Prophet Muhammad (S)

[5] Hayatus Sahaba, by Maulana Khandlawi, translated by Majid Ali Khan, Volume 1 p 541.

The post Commemorating the Death of Prophet Muhammad (S) appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

The Rewards and Merits of Visiting the Grave of Imam Hussain (a)

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:36

By Syed Ahmed Raza Kazmi

As Arbaeen is just around the corner, millions of mourners from all around the world are heading towards Karbala to pay their tribute to the Sayyid al-Shohada, Imam Hussain (a), whereas, those who couldn’t make it to the holy land this time around are planning on visiting Karbala next year. Visiting the oppressed Imam (a) is an expression of one’s heartfelt affection with him and an explicit action signaling hostility and hatred towards his oppressors. Be it known that glorious merits and exalted station of the visitor of Imam’s (a) holy shrine are too innumerable to be counted.

Visiting the grave of Imam Hussain (a) is recommended, while emphasis upon visiting his grave is among the necessities of the Religion. The 11th Imam, Imam Hasan al-Askari (a) considered attending Arbaeen to be one of the clear and apparent signs of a true believer when he said, “the signs of a true believer are five.” [1]

It is related that the visitation to His (a) grave is essential upon every believer and is obligatory upon every man and woman. While one who abandons it, in fact has abandoned the rights of Allah and His Prophet, while abandoning it is ungratefulness with the Prophet of Allah (s) and is a result of a defect in his belief and Religion. And the one who deliberately avoids it, he shall be among the dwellers of hell.

It is advisable to visit Imam Hussain (a) with understanding of his holy station. This knowledge has different aspects. One of its aspects is for us to realize which path are we walking on. We should know what the “Friends of God” have said about a person who goes to Karbala and what prayers are made for such a person. Knowing these gives you an expanded existence, which is the necessary factor for attracting light, blessings, and grace on this path. It gives us the capacity to benefit from these blessings. [2]

As a matter of fact, it is impossible to contain all the narrations about the merits of pilgrimages to Imam al-Hussain’s tomb; yet, I will try to mention as many of them as possible.

1. RasoolAllah will take Zuwar by the hand and save them from the hardships of the Day of Judgment

Ali (a) ibn Abi Talib (as) narrates:

“RasoolAllah (s) visited Us one day. We offered Him a plate full of dates and a cup of milk and butter, which had been sent to Us from Um Ayman. After He ate, I rose and poured some water over His hands and I washed them. Then I wiped His face and beard with the water from His hands. Then He went to a corner of the house and began to pray. When He went into sajda, He began to weep. After weeping for a long time, He raised His head.

Then Hussain (a) went and climbed on the lap of RasoolAllah (s). Hussain (a) placed RasoolAllah (s)’s head on His chest and then laid His chin on top of the head of RasoolAllah (s). Then He said, “O Father (s)! What causes You to weep?”

RasoolAllah (s) replied, “O My Son (a)! When I s You, Ahlul Bayt (a), today I felt such a happiness that I had never felt before, but then Jibrael (as) came to Me and informed Me that each of You will be martyred and that Your graves will be far from each other. I praised Allah and asked Him to bless You all with the best.”

Hussain (a) asked, “O Father (s)! Who will perform the Ziyarat of Our graves and maintain their oaths with Them even though They are far from each other?”

RasoolAllah (s) replied, “Those from My ummah (nation) who seek My pleasure and seek nearness to Me by performing Ziyarat of Your graves. On the Day of Judgment, I will search for them and take them by the hand and save them from the hardships and tribulations of that day.” [3]

2. Blessings from Angels

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“There are four thousand disheveled angels covered with dust by the grave of Hussain (a). They weep over Him and will continue to do so until the Day of Judgment. Their leader is an angel named Mansoor.

These angels receive all who come for the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) and the angels accompany them when they bid farewell to Hussain (a). The angels visit them if they become ill and pray over them at their funerals and seek forgiveness for them after their death.” [4]

3. Ziyarat of Imam Hussain is Wajib

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) narrates:

“Order Our Shia to perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a). Performing His Ziyarat is wajib upon every momin who testifies that Hussain (a) is an Imam divinely appointed by Allah (swt).” [5]

4. Reward of Ziyarat of Imam Hussain

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

I heard My Father, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a), ask one of His servants who had just asked Him regarding the Ziyarat of Hussain (a), “To whose Ziyarat are you going and whom do you seek to please by going to this Ziyarat?”

The servant replied, “Allah swt.”

My Father, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) said:

“Those who establish one salat behind the grave of Hussain (a) seeking the nearness of Allah will meet Him on the Day of Judgment shining so brightly that the light emanating from them will cover everything that sees them.

Allah will honor those who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) and will prevent the hellfire from touching them. They will not be prevented from coming to the Pool of al Kauthar and none shall precede them.

Ameerul Momineen (a) will be standing by al Kauthar and He will shake their hands and quench their thirst with the water.

Then they will go to their abodes in Jannah accompanied by an angel appointed by Ameerul Momineen (a). This angle will order Sirat (bridge over hellfire) to humble itself before them and will order Hell not to touch them with its blazing fires. They will pass over Sirat accompanied by the angel sent by Ameerul Momineen (a).” [6]

5. Ziyarat during Times of Fear

Muawiyah ibn Wahab narrates:

Aba Abdullah (Imam Jafar Sadiq a) said:

“O’ Muawiyah! Do not neglect performing the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) due to fear. He who abandons the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) for any reason will regret it so much that he will wish that His grave was next to him. Do you not desire for Allah to see you amongst those whom RasoolAllah (s), Ameerul Momineen (a), Syeda Fatima (sa), and the Imams (a) pray for?

Do you not desire to be amongst those who return with forgiveness for their past sins and do you not desire to return from His Ziyarat with seventy years of sins forgiven for you? Do you not desire to be amongst those who will not have any sins about which they will be questioned when they leave this life? Do you not desire to be amongst those whose hands RasoolAllah (s) will shake tomorrow on the Day of Judgment?” [7]

6. Reward of Every Dirham spent for Ziyarat

It is related in numerous traditions that from Ahlulbayt (a) that,

“Visiting his grave is a meritorious deed and for every dirham spent upon it will be recompensed with one thousand dirhams”. [8]

7. Reward of performing Ziyarat on Foot

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“Those of Our Shia who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) will not return without all of their sins having been forgiven. Allah will record one thousand good deeds and erase one thousand bad deeds for every step they take or their mount takes. He will also raise their rank one thousand times for every step.” [9]

8. Reward of Allah, RasoolAllah (s), Ameerul Momineen (a) and Syeda Fatima (sa)

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (asws) narrates:

“Syeda Fatima (sa), the Daughter of RasoolAllah (s), visits those who perform the Ziarat of the grave of Her Son, Hussain (asws), and She seeks forgiveness for their sins.” [10]

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“On the Day of Judgment a crier will call out, “Where are the zuwar (visitors) of Hussain (a) ibn Ali (a)?”

A number of people so great it can only be counted by Allah will stand.  Allah will ask them, “What made you perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a)?”

They will reply, “O Lord! Our love for RasoolAllah (s), our love for Ameerul Momineen (a), and our love for Syeda Fatima (sa) made us go to Him.”

They will be told, “Here are Muhammad (s), Ali (a), Syeda Fatima (sa), Hasan (a), and Hussain (a). Join Them, for you will be with Them on Their station in Jannah. Now follow the flag of RasoolAllah (s).”

Then they (the zuwar) will go to the flag of RasoolAllah (s) which is carried by Ameerul Momineen (a), and there they shall remain—surrounding it on all sides, under its shade, in front of it, to the left of it, to the right and behind it—until all of them enter Jannah.” [11]

  1. Abu Baseer narrates:

I heard Aba Abdullah Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) say, “Those who wish for their final abode to be Jannah should not neglect performing the Ziyarat of the Oppressed One.”

I asked, “Who is the Oppressed One?”

Imam (a) replied, “Hussain (a) ibn Ali (a), the Man of Karbala. Allah will make those who perform His Ziyarat while longing for Him and with love for RasoolAllah (s), love for Syeda Fatima (sa), and love for Ameerul Momineen (a) to sit at the Ma’ida (table spread) of Jannah. They will be dining with them while others are facing the Hasab (accountability).” [12]

9. Time Spent whilst performing the Ziyarat

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“The days which one spends performing the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) are not counted as part of their lives; those days do not deduct from their appointed life span.” [13]

10. First to Enter Jannah

Abdullah ibn Zurarah narrates from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a):

“On the Day of Judgment those who have performed the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) ibn Ali (a) will be given preference over others.”

I asked, “What kind of preference?”

Imam (a) replied, “They will enter Jannah forty years before others do. They will enter Jannah whilst others will be waiting in the Desert of Judgment to face the Hasab (accountability).” [14]

11. While having his Marifat

Imam Musa Kazim (a) narrates:

“The least reward for those who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) by the shores of the River Furat whilst having His marifat and believing in His greatness and Wilayat is the forgiveness for all of their past and future sins.” [15]

12. With Intention of Receiving Sawab

  1.  Imam Jafar Sadiq ( narrates:

“Those who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) with the niyyat of receiving sawab from Allah and without the intention of showing off or being seen by others will have their sins purified the way the water purifies the clothes.” [16]

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“Those who perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) for the sake of Allah and in the way of Allah will be free from the hellfire by Allah. They will be kept safe by Him on the Day of the Great Terror. They will not ask Allah for anything in this world or the hereafter that Allah will not grant for them.” [17]

13. Best of All Deeds

Salim ibn Mukram al Jamal narrates, I asked Aba Abdullah Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) regarding the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a).

Imam (a) replied: “It is the best of all deeds.” [18]

14. Equal to Ziyarat of Allah on His Arsh & RasoolAllah (s)

  1. Imam Ridha’ ( narrates:

“Those who perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Aba Abdullah Imam Hussain (a) by the shores of the River Furat are like those who have performed the Ziyarat of Allah on His Arsh.” [19]

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“Those who want their time of death to be easy, those who want their fear for that which will come on the Day of Judgment to be reduced, and those who want to be able to look upon Allah on the Day of Judgment should perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) as much as possible. The Ziyarat of Hussain (a) is the Ziyarat of RasoolAllah (s).” [20]

15. Prolongs One’s Life and Increases One’s Rizq

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) narrates:

“Inform Our Shia to perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a). Performing His Ziyarat increases rizq (sustenance), prolongs life, and keeps afflictions away. Performing His Ziyarat is wajib upon every momin who believes Hussain (a) has been divinely appointed by Allah as an Imam.” [21]

16. Equals to performing Hajj, Umrah & Freeing Slaves

It is related in numerous traditions that visiting grave of Imam Hussain (a) is equal to accepted Hajj and Umrah, and emancipation one thousand slaves, rather it is equal to twenty Hajj, and better than twenty Hajj, rather Allah will write down eighty Hajj in his account. While his pilgrimage is equal to the Hajj performed along with the Prophet of Allah (s), rather the one who goes for his pilgrimage, being cognizant of his rights, will be equal to the one who has performed Hajj hundred times accompanying the Prophet of Allah (s). [22]

17. Intercession for others on the Day of Judgment

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“On the Day of Judgment, a crier will call out, “Where are the zuwar of the grave of Hussain (a)?”

A group of people will rise and they will be told, “Take the hand of whomsoever you wish and take them to Jannah with you.” [23]

18. Misfortune for those who Neglect it

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) narrates:

“Those from amongst Our Shia who do not perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) are lacking in iman (faith) and their deen (religion) is incomplete. And even if they enter Jannah, their position will be lower than that of the momin (true believers).” [24]

19. Most Beloved Place for Dua

Abi Hashim al Jafari narrates:

Muhammad ibn Hamzah and I (Abi Hashim al Jafari) went to visit Imam Ali Naqi (a) during a time when the Imam (a) was ill. The Imam (a) said to us, “Take some of My money and send some people to the Ha’yr on My behalf.”

After we left the Imam (a), Muhammad ibn Hamzah said, “The Imam (a) wants us to send someone to the Ha’yr while He is as sacred as the One in the Ha’yr (Imam Hussain a).”

When I returned to the Imam (a), I (Abi Hashim al Jafari) mentioned to Him what Muhammad ibn Hamzah had said.

The Imam (a) replied, “There are certain places Allah loves to be worshipped at and the Ha’yr of Hussain (a) is one of those places.” [25]

20. Minimum Times Each Year a Person Should perform Ziyarat

Safwan al Jammal narrates from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a):

“Those who live near to His grave should perform His Ziyarat no less than once per month. Those who live at a great distance should perform His Ziyarat no less than once every three years.

If three years pass and they do not perform His Ziyarat, or do not have a valid excuse for not performing His Ziyarat, then they are considered amongst those who are selfish and unthankful to RasoolAllah (s).

If the zawir (visitor) of Hussain (a) knew how happy he made RasoolAllah (s), Ameerul Momineen (a), Syeda Fatima (sa), the Imams (a), and the martyrs from amongst Our Family, and how They prayed for him (the zawir) and the rewards which They prepared for the zawir in this life and the rewards which will be preserved for Him before Allah in the hereafter, then the zawir would have wished for his house to be next to the grave of Hussain (a) for as long as he lived.

When the zawir leaves Karbala to return to his home, his shadow does not fall upon anything without that thing praying for him. And when the sun shines down upon the zawir, it burns his sins like the fire burns the wood. The sun does not allow any of his sins to remain so he returns as a person without sin and his status will be elevated for him to a level that cannot be attained even by those who spilled all of their blood in the way of Allah. [26]

Now, to give a brief overview about the sourcebook of the aforementioned narrations, I would like to quote widely known Hadees e Saqalayn where RasoolAllah (s) said,

“Verily, I am leaving behind two precious things (Saqalayn) among you: The Book of God and my kindred (itrah), my household (Ahlulbayt), for indeed, the two will never separate until they come back to me by the Pond (of Al-Kawthar).”

During the era of occultation of Imam al-Asr al-Mahdi (atfs), the best possible way to recognize Saqalayn, the twofold legacy of the Prophet (s) in the form of the Qur’an and the Ahlul Bayt (a), is through the valuable books, which we have inherited and preserved over the years from our great scholars.

Soon after the Minor Occultation (260 AH – 329 AH) of Imam al-Mahdi (a) ended, eminent Shia scholars started documenting the hadiths to preserve the teachings of the Holy Prophet (s) and his Progeny (a). Following is a brief timeline of the foremost Shia hadith sourcebooks.

  1. Al-Kafi, Yaqub al-Kulayni, d. 329 AH
  2. Kamil al-Ziyarat, Ibn Qulawayh al-Qummi, d. 368 AH
  3. Man la Yahduruh al-Faqih, Al-Shaykh Saduq, d. 381 AH
  4. Nehjul Balagha, Syed al-Razi, d. 406 AH
  5. Al-Irshad, Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, d. 413 AH
  6. Tahdhib al-Ahkam, Al-Shaykh al-Toosi, d. 460 AH
  7. Al-Istibsar, Al-Shaykh al-Toosi, d. 460 AH
  8. Gurar al-Hikam, Abu Fateh al-Amadi, d. 510 AH
  9. Bihar al-Anwaar, Allama Majlisi, d. 726 AH

The book that we have mainly referred here is Kamil al-Ziyarat [27] authored by Abul Qasim Jafar bin Muhammad bin Jafar bin Musa bin Qulawayh al-Qummi famously known as Ibn Qūlawayh who is one the prominent shi’a hadith narrator hailed from a very knowledgeable and religious family. His father Abu Jafar Ibne Mohammad Ibne Jafar was a Muhaddith (narrator of traditions) and was well regarded in the field of jurisprudence (fiqh). His brother Abul Hussain Ali bin Mohammad bin Jafar bin Moosa bin Qulawayh was also a Muhaddith and one of the narrators of traditions in Kaamil-uz-Ziaraat. Ibn Qūlawayh al-Qummi was among the best students of Muhammad bin Ya’qub al-Kulayni (b. 255 – d. 329) and one of the most prominent teachers of Al-Shaykh al-Mufid (b. 336 – d. 413). He died in 368 AH and is buried next to al-Shaykh al-Mufid in the holy shrine of al-Kazimayn, Iraq. [28]

It is important to note that Ibn Qulawayh al-Qummi is among the earliest Muhadditheen (narrators of hadith) who was also alive during the era of minor occultation and most of his work is taken as Maakhaz (origin/source) by the great Shia scholars of every era. Some of the notable scholars who have paid tribute to his work are Shaykh al-Toosi, Ahmed Najashi, Shaykh al-Mufid, Ibn Tawus, Allama Hilli and Shaykh Abbas al-Qummi. [29] Ibn Qulawayh has written around 30 books, however, Kamil al-Ziyarat remains his most celebrated and notable accomplishment. This book is a collection of hadiths from Ahlulbayt (a) about how to pilgrimage the Prophet (s) and the other Imams and their children.

To conclude, there is no doubt that Imam Hussian (a) has not only awoken the human race by sacrificing everything that he had for the sake of Allah but also compelled its consciousness to ponder over the sanctity of his religion and the sublimity of the Allah Almighty before whom He (a) bowed. In the words of renowned subcontinental poet, Josh Malihabadi, [30]

The One, whose Sajood (bows), pulls towards the Masjood (whom one worships)

The One, who is a solitary indication towards the Ma’abood (the Creator)

Enormous rewards and merits for the pilgrims of Imam Hussain’s (a) holy shrine are the proof of Imam’s (a) extraordinary status and Allah’s love for Him (a) and his ardent zuwaar. We pray to Allah that He grants us taufeeq, resources and recognition of the highest order to perform the ziyarat of Imam Husain (a) on a regular basis.

O Allah! Bless Muhammad (s) and the progeny of Muhammad (s).

Notes:

[1] http://www.islamicinsights.com/religion/the-five-signs-of-a-believer.html

[2] https://www.instagram.com/p/B3CR7C0DKcI/

[3] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 16, h 3

[4] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 41, h 1

[5] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 43, h 1

[6] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 44, h 1

[7] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 45, h 3

[8] Kamil al-Ziyarat ch 46

[9] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 49, h 8

[10] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 40, h 4

[11] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 55, h 1

[12] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 52, h 2

[13] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 51, h 1

[14] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 53, h 1

[15] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 54, h 3

[16] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 57, h 1

[17] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 57, h 7

[18] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 58, h 1

[19] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 59, h 2

[20] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 60, h 1

[21] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 61, h 1

[22] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 63, 64, 65, 66, 67

[23] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 68, h 5

[24] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 78, h 1

[25] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 90, h 2

[26] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 98, h 17

[27] http://en.wikishia.net/view/Kamil_al-ziyarat_(book)

[28] http://en.wikishia.net/view/Ibn_Qulawayh_al-Qummi

[29] https://tinyurl.com/yxjuy568

[30] https://www.rekhta.org/marsiya/husain-aur-inqilaab-josh-malihabadi-marsiya?lang=ur

The post The Rewards and Merits of Visiting the Grave of Imam Hussain (a) appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

The Intellectual Aspects Of Imam Ali al-Ridha’s (a) Life

Thu, 10/10/2019 - 13:51

Imam Ali al-Ridha (a), the eighth Shi’ite Imam, a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad (s) was born on 11 Zeelqad 148 AH in Madina. He was martyred on 17 Safar 203 AH in Khurasan by Ma’mun.

For the first 33 years of his life, Imam al-Ridha (a) took his father’s place since his father, Imam al-Kadhim (a) was confined in prison by Haroun because he considered Imam al-Kadhim (a) a threat to his Caliphate. [1]

The followers of Ahlulbait (a) could not go to him so they came to his son, Imam al-Ridha (a).

After the martyrdom of Imam al-Kadhim (a), they came to Imam al-Ridha (a) for the next 20 years that he was their Imam. He lived in his homeland in Madina and preached Islam like Imam Zainul Abideen (a) did after the martyrdom of his father Imam Husayn (a). [2]

Although he never had a teacher who taught him, Imam al-Ridha (a) had immense knowledge and he trained several sincere scholars and students in his life who pursued Imam’s (a) purposes, defending the religion and publishing its sciences and teachings.

It was the most dreadful and unwelcome call when Ma’mum declared Imam al-Ridha (a) as his successor, heir-apparent, inviting him to live in Khurasan, Iran, at the age of 52 years. Caliph Ma’mun, who was conniving to hide his heinous crimes behind the most illustrious and godly person also had a great political advantage of winning over the Imam’s (a) great Shia following in Iran. When Imam al-Ridha (a) realized he had no choice but to become the Wali Ahad to Ma’mum, he accepted.

Ma’mun announced Imam al-Ridha (a) as his heir-apparent, gave his young daughter in marriage to him and even minted coins with his picture on them to eliminate all doubts from people’s minds that he planned to kill him to get him out of the way of caliphate just like his father Haroun had done to Imam al-Kadhim (a).

Ma’mun invited great philosophers and scholars from different countries and cities to Khurasan to test the knowledge of the Imam (a). They asked Imam al-Ridha (a) about the vaguest and most difficult matters.

Imam al-Ridha (a) was never unable to answer a question – no one was more scholarly than him. There are traditions from Imam al-Ridha (a) on religious issues, including monotheism, theology, Allah’s (swt) attributes, creation of the world and its philosophy, Allah’s (swt) justice, force and option, destiny, prophet hood and its philosophy, infallibility, Imam’s knowledge, Imam’s conditions, philosophy of Imamate, ethical virtues and vices, various sins and their punishment, and different jurisprudential issues.

Imam al-Ridha (a) was popular as he was the possessor of all human virtues being a noble character who was not only the best but also the wisest, greatest, and the most knowledgeable person of his time. He said reasoning is a man’s best friend protecting him from afflictions and misfortunes whereas ignorance is his greatest enemy pulling him into deep mazes of this world. While reasoning is a gift from Allah (swt) which together with politeness leads to wisdom, arrogance with reasoning leads to ignorance. All religious obligations depend on reasoning hence he who loses reason is not required to perform them and is not sinful when he commits sin because reason is the only condition in performing religious duties. The man with good reason is a man who knows his own soul and the one who knows his soul knows his Lord.

We learn from the teachings of our great Imam (a) that excellence of reason goes hand in hand with reflection, reckoning one’s own soul, clemency, silence, humbleness, concealing someone’s secret, forgiving others to enjoin good and being patient during prosperity and adversity. Imam (a) enlightened us with Allah’s (swt) commandments, conveyed outstanding wise things, taught good manners, gave good advice to lead a life style beneficial to us. [3]

Some books of Imam al-Ridha (a) are:

1) Tibb (Dissertation) of Imam al-Ridha (a):

This is a great medical dissertation also called Al-Risala al-Dhahabiya (The Golden Dissertation), that Imam al-Ridha (a) wrote upon Ma’mun’s request. It contains health programs on foods which improve health and protect from diseases. It also contains his general prescriptions like refraining from eating too much food which gives rise to high blood pressure, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and other dangerous diseases. It is certain that if one puts into practice the Imam’s (a) prescriptions, he will need no medicine. This dissertation is of great importance even to this present day. People are implementing this in their lifestyle to combat diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity along with staying physically active.

2) Imam al-Ridha’s (a) Musnad:

Musnad Imam al-Ridha (a) contains some traditions which the Imam (a) has reported from his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (s). All the traditions from Imam al-Ridha (a) in various fields, as narrated by several hundred people, are recorded in this book.

3) Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha (a):

Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha (a) also known as ‘The Source Of Traditions On Imam al-Ridha (a)’, is a book written by Shaykh as-Saduq in two volumes. It contains a full account of the life of Imam al-Ridha (a) and gives an insight into his life. This book is a compilation of his narrations and ahadith which have gone down in history as Al-Silsilatul Dhahabiyyah (The Golden Chain).

These hadiths are considered authentic because they are said to be from Prophet Muhammad (s) and were transmitted from one Imam to the next. Of the two volumes, the first volume comprises the first 30 chapters and second volume starts from chapter 31 and ends at chapter 69.  Each chapter in both volumes addresses a certain topic related to the Imam (a). [5 & 6]

These traditions are like a treasure trove for those seeking knowledge and guidance through generations. Similarly, those who are seeking truth and real guidance in the present day don’t have to look far – for our living Imam (a) will guide them through the chaos of this world to the ultimate truth.

The scholars and sincere students trained by Imam al-Ridha (a) published his religious commandments. Narrators publicized his traditions, which are cited in tradition books. There are traditions reported from Imam al-Ridha (a) on various issues including monotheism, theology, attributes of Allah (swt), creation of the world and its philosophy, justice of Allah (swt), prophet hood and its philosophy, infallibility, Imam’s knowledge, Imam’s conditions, philosophy of Imamate, ethical virtues and vices, various sins and their punishment, different jurisprudential issues, force and option, and destiny.

Imam al-Ridha’s debates and scientific discussions with incumbent rulers, scholars, and priests of other religions are recorded in history and tradition books. An accurate study of Imam al-Ridha’s (a) traditions and debates shows his real scientific stance.

Because of his unique life, Imam al-Ridha (a) enjoys a great spiritual and scientific position in the view of scholars and has been called as God’s selected one. He has a very notable position in the viewpoints of scholars and like other members of the household of Prophet Muhammad (s) is the best of creation in this world.

With respect to the importance of debate and dialogue in interactions with the non-Muslims, Imam al-Ridha (a) had lots of debates with intellectuals of various religions.

These scientific encounters have been very influential in expanding Islam. Imam al-Ridha’s (a) character is so great and prominent that it makes salient and famous intellectuals, scientists and scholars from various religions admire him as their role model.

During his twenty years of Imamate, Imam al-Ridha’s (a) competent students wrote and narrated many traditions that were publicized and cited in tradition books.

The number of learned religious scholars at the time of Ma’mun was quite large, yet when a question over-taxed their mind they would send their queries to Imam al-Ridha (a) and he would answer them all.

Imam al-Ridha (a), the impeccably well mannered, the most intelligent and knowledgeable person of his time, the righteous heir of Prophet (s) is the ideal for every man with a reasoning.

By living a public life as heir-apparent to Ma’mun, Imam al-Ridha (a) taught people how to live openly under oppression and still maintain their dignity and belief.

*****

References:

[1] The Seventh Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far Al-Kazim (as):

https://www.al-islam.org/story-of-the-holy-kaaba-and-its-people-shabbar/seventh-imam-musa-ibn-jafar-al-kazim

[2] The Fourth Imam, ‘Ali Ibn Al Husayn, Zainul Abedeen (as), in Story of the Holy Ka’aba And its People by S.M.R. Shabbar:

https://www.al-islam.org/story-of-the-holy-kaaba-and-its-people-shabbar/fourth-imam-ali-ibn-al-husayn-zainul-abedeen

[3] The Eighth Imam, ‘Ali Ibn Musa, Al-Ridha’ (as):

https://www.al-islam.org/story-of-the-holy-kaaba-and-its-people-shabbar/eighth-imam-ali-ibn-musa-al-ridha

[4] The life of Imam ‘Ali Bin Musa al-Ridha’:

https://www.al-islam.org/life-imam-ali-bin-musa-al-ridha-baqir-shareef-al-qurashi

[5] Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha Volume 1:

https://www.al-islam.org/uyun-akhbar-ar-ridha-volume-1-shaykh-saduq

[6] Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha Volume 2:

https://www.al-islam.org/uyun-akhbar-ar-ridha-volume-2-shaykh-saduq

The post The Intellectual Aspects Of Imam Ali al-Ridha’s (a) Life appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Hasan Ibn Ali: The Chief of the Youth of Jannah

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 15:06

By Dr. Farhat Fatima

Imam Hasan Ibn Ali, also known as Hazrat Hasan Mujtaba (‘a) is bestowed with the honor of being among one of the fourteen infallibles by the grace of Allah (SwT). He is not only the eldest grandson of Prophet Muhammad (S) and Bibi Khadija (sa), He (‘a) is also the first child of Bibi Fatima Zahra (sa) and Hazrat Ali (‘a). He was born on 15th Ramadan 3 A. H. in Madina. His term of Imamat started from 40 A. H. till 50 A. H. and he was martyred on the 28th Safar 50 A. H. Imam Hasan’s place of burial is in Madina in Jannat ul Baqi.

It is mentioned in Bihar al-Anwar that after the birth of Imam Hasan (‘a) Angel Jibril came from Allah (SwT) to Prophet Muhammad (S) and congratulated him on the birth of his eldest grandson who was a living example of Surah al-Kauthar (108) and presented him a white silk handkerchief on which the name Hasan was engraved. This name was also preserved in Al-Lawh al-Mahfooz (the Preserved Tablet, the place where the decrees of Allah are kept.)[1]

He was called as Shabbar after the son of Prophet Haroon which means Hasan in Arabic. Thus he was named Hasan by Prophet Muhammad (S) The following year of his birth his younger brother Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (‘a) was born. The Holy Prophet (S) dearly loved his grandsons and considered them as the apple of his eyes. He called them as his scented blossoms from Heaven. Both Imam Hasan (‘a) and Imam Hussain (‘a) were known as Sibtain i.e., the sons of Prophet Muhammad.

Command of Allah in the Holy Quran

ذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يُبَشِّرُ اللَّهُ عِبَادَهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ ۗ قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَىٰ ۗ وَمَنْ يَقْتَرِفْ حَسَنَةً نَزِدْ لَهُ فِيهَا حُسْنًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ

 “That is of which giveth God the glad tidings unto His servants who believe and do good deeds; Say thou (O’ Our Apostle Muhammad!): “I demand not of you” any recompense for it (the toils of the apostleship) save the love of (my) relatives; and whosoever earneth good, We increase for him good therein, verily God is Oft-Forgiving, the Most Grateful (One)” (42: 23) [2]

The above verse is clear in its meaning that the Holy Prophet (S) is being commanded to ask the believers to love his kith and kin, i.e., the Holy Ahlul Bayt and that would be the return for his apostolic services.

Sayings of the Holy Prophet (S) on numerous occasions as:

 “These two grandsons of mine will be the leaders of the youths entering Jannah.” (Askari 63)

 “He who loves them loves me. He who hurts them hurts me. He who hurts me hurts Allah (SwT) (Askari 63)3

“Hasan (‘a) and Hussain (‘a) are from me and I am from them.” (Askari 63)[3]

Prophet Muhammad (S) loved his grandsons and used to play with them and used to carry them both on his shoulders, one on each side and with affection used to kiss them. Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a)’s Kuniyat or Teknonym was Abu Muhammad. He had many Alquab or compellations such as Vazir, Taqi, Tayyab, Zaki, Sipar, Hujjat, Sibt and Wali. He was called by all his Alquab but the more popular among these was Taqi. But the Laquab or Appellation given to him by Prophet Muhammad as ‘Syed’ was the most popular. He (S) used to call his grandsons as ‘Syed ash-Shabab Ahlul Jannah’ that means ‘The masters of the youth of Paradise’. [4]

Once a man came to Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a) and requested him to describe Allah to him so that he can understand him well. Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a) described Allah to him as, “All praise is for Allah (SwT), who has no beginning, nor end. He neither has a face through which He may be perceived, nor a back that He may be restricted. He cannot be limited with (the word) ‘till what,’ nor with an appearance so that He may have parts. He cannot be described with variation so that He may have an extent. He can neither be perceived by intellects and imaginations, nor by thoughts and concepts…”[5]

The Holy Prophet (S) taught humanity principles of truth and justice and eradicated those wicked innovations which had crept in the world due to ignorance. He appointed Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) as his Vicegerent after the ‘Hajjatul Wida’ at Ghadeer Khumm, by Allah’s command. On the 28th of Safar, when the Holy Prophet (S) was in his death bed, he (S) called his grandsons Hasan (‘a) and Hussain (‘a) and hugged them and bade them farewell. He reminded them that they must do everything to save the message of Islam.

After the death of Holy Prophet (S), the atmosphere of Madina changed. The rights of Sayyida Fatima (Prophet’s only daughter) were usurped. Fire was brought to her door and she was crushed as she stood behind it, causing her unborn baby Mohsin (‘a) to die and causing the breaking of her ribs. Imam Hasan (‘a) who was then a child witnessed the torture inflicted on his mother and this pained him deeply throughout his life.

Imam Hasan (‘a) witnessed people forgetting the last words of Holy Prophet (S); he saw his father’s rights of successorship being usurped. He saw the hypocritical faces of people who professed to be the followers of Holy Prophet and his Ahlul Bayt. For twenty five years, the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) lived in isolation. Even when the Muslims accepted Hazrat Ali (‘a) as Caliph, there was resistance from many places.

Muawiya pursued for himself the position of Independent Ameer ash-Shaam (The ruler of Damascus) while Hazrat Ali (‘a) was the supposed Caliph. Imam Hasan (‘a) witnessed the fatal blow on his father’s head when he was rising from the Sajdah by the sword of Abdul Rahman Ibn Muljim[6]. His heart was filled with razor-sharp pain when his father Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) finished his two Sajdah’s and reeled in his (‘a) and his brother Imam Hussain (‘a) hands.

The people came to Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a) after the death of Ali (‘a) to pay allegiance to him. So he (‘a) said: “…Fear Allah in privacy and in public. Verily, Ali (‘a) life, death and the rising lived with a measure and died with the time. Verily, I shall accept your allegiance on that you will make peace with whom I make peace with and fight with whom I fight with. Thus, they all paid allegiance to him on that basis”. [7]

Muawiya’s (The ruler of Damascus) burning ambition was to become Caliph of the whole Islamic Empire (Ummah). In his resentment towards Ahlul Bayt, he hired mercenaries to cause trouble in different parts of Islamic State. People were plundered and killed. There was no security or safety of people and property. Imam Hasan (‘a) was not fortunate enough as his younger brother Imam Hussain (‘a) to have loyal and courageous seventy two companions. Thus, as he was concerned with the welfare and safety of the people and did not need any formal throne to pursue his responsibilities of his designation, He (‘a) was forced to make peace with Muawiya[8]. Some of the conditions of the peace treaty are:

  • Hazrat Imam Hasan (‘a) would hand over the rule to Muawiya provided he acts according to the way laid down by the Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (S)
  • That Muawiya, at the end of his life has no right to nominate a successor to the Caliph.
  • That the life, honour of general public and Imam Hasan’s (‘a) supporters will be safe and secure in Hejaz, Iraq, and Yemen. Muawiya will allow them to live in peace.
  • The life, Property, and honour of Shia’s of Ali (‘a) and his companions wherever they are will be safe and secure. [9]

Muawiya did not keep the terms of the treaty. In 50 A.H. he decided that on his death his son Yazid Ibn Muawiya should succeed him. This was not possible if Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a) was still alive. Hence he conspired and bribed Ju’adaa bint al Ashash who was Imam Hasan’s wife, with hundred thousand dirhams and a promise that Yazid Ibn Muawiya will marry her. Thus on Muawiya’s instigation, the wicked woman administered poison to her husband and our gentle, handsome and generous Imam was martyred mercilessly.

Before dying, Imam Hasan (‘a) handed over the Imamat to Imam Hussain Ibn Ali. His wife and Qasims’s mother, Umm Farwa was deep in sorrow and in tears. Imam Hasan (‘a) said to her “Umm Farwa” I entrust you and my children to Allah (SwT) and Hussain. [10]

Conclusion

Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a) proved to us that the Holy Quran is not just present to read, but to gain knowledge of from and to act upon its teachings. He also urged us to move on the path of piety with patience and to help the needy as he himself followed these virtues in his life.

Furthermore, He instructed us to think about our soul’s food and not fill up our heart’s with destructive subjects.

*****

To know more about Imam al-Hasan (‘a) Ibn Ali  Abu Talib (‘a) visit:

https://www.al-islam.org/imam-hasan-bin-ali-al-balagh

https://www.al-islam.org/fourteen-luminaries-islam-ahmad-ahmadi-birjandi/fourth-infallible-hadhrat-imam-al-hasan-al-mujtaba

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/imam-al-hasan-second-imam-brief-look-his-life

Notes:

[1] Hasan, Syed Najamul Chowdah Sitare Nizami Press Book Depot pg. 178 (2001) Print.

[2] The Holy Quran The Final Testament Trans. Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 42:23) Print

[3] Askari, Sakina Hasan Aza e Masoomeen, A Collection of Salams, Marsias, Hadees & Nohas Pg. 63 (2001), Liverpool U.K. Print.

[4] Trans Imdad, Maulana Syed Hasan Bihar al-Anwar Volume 10 by Mulla Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Mahfoos Book Embassy pg.17 Print.

[5]Trans. Rizvi, Sayyid Ali Raza (2007) Kitab Al Tawhid (The Book of Divine Unity) by Al Shaykh Al Saduq(R) pg.36

http://jaffaribooks.com/books/Tawhid%20sadooq%20english%20final.pdf 04/05/2019 Web

[6] Hasan, Syed Najamul Chowdah Sitare Nizami Press Book Depot pg. 178 (2001) Print, op.cit.

[7]Trans. Rizvi, Sayyid Ali Raza (2007) Kitab Al Tawhid (The Book of Divine Unity) by Al Shaykh Al Saduq(R) pg.408

http://jaffaribooks.com/books/Tawhid%20sadooq%20english%20final.pdf 20/05/2019 Web

[8] Hasan, Syed Najamul Chowdah Sitare Nizami Press Book Depot pg. 178 (2001) Print, op.cit.

[9] https://www.al-islam.org/imam-hasan-and-caliphate-qurrat-ul-ain-abidiy/terms-peace-treaty  25/05/2019 Web

[10] Hasan, Syed Najamul Chowdah Sitare Nizami Press Book Depot pg. 178 (2001) Print, op.cit.

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A Summary of Lady Zaynab’s Sermon in the Court of Yazid

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 03:03

By Deeba Rizvi

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds

This article summarizes the thought provoking Sermon delivered by Lady Zaynab on reaching Shaam (today known as Syria) after the bloodshed that occurred in Karbala with the Household of Prophet Muhammad. To precede further let us start with first knowing who Lady Zaynab was!

Who was Lady Zaynab?

Lady Zaynab was the daughter of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib and Hadhrat Fatimah. Her name is the combination of two words, ‘Zain’ (Adornment) and ‘Ab’ (Father), which means father’s adornment. She was the true example of determination and patience. She was flag bearer of truth after all her family members were killed in front of her eyes on the land named “Karb-o-bala”. She is an evergreen and timeless role model for all the women of the world.

She made our faith increases on the words of Allah. As Almighty Allah says,

“The friends of Allah shall have no fear nor will they be in grief.” (Holy Qur’an, 10: 62)

Lady Zaynab indeed never feared anyone but Almighty Allah. She taught us that patience is the synonym of determination, not the opposite. Indeed we understand from her role that patience means standing firmly with determination on the command of Allah.

In the biggest event that took place in history, she was one of the strongest flag bearers of Islam. Lady Zaynab can actually be referred to as the back-bone of Islam. When the Household of Holy Prophet reached Shaam (today known as Syria) under the supervision of Mahaffar and Shimr along with the holy heads of martyrs, Yazid ordered his men to keep the head of Imam Husayn in front of him.

Thereafter, Yazid started to hit the lips and teeth of Imam Husayn. At this point Lady Zaynab started to deliver her speech like her father Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib.

One of the most famous sentences said by Lady Zaynab which actually described her character through the event of Karbala was her words:

“I see nothing but the beauty [of Allah]”

She started first with the remembrance of Almighty Allah,

Praise be to Allah who is the lord of the worlds and may Allah’s blessing be upon Prophet Muhammad and all the members of his family.

Then she said Almighty Allah’s words,

“Then the end of those who did evil was the worst [consequence] because they denied the signs of Allah and used to ridicule them. (Holy Qur’an, 30:10)”

It was indeed the biggest slap on the face of Yazid (Allah’s curse be on him).

She recited also another verse from Holy Qur’an:

“And let not those who disbelieve ever think that [because] We extend their time [of enjoyment] it is better for them. We only extend it for them so that they may increase in sin, and for them is a humiliating punishment. (Holy Qur’an 3:178)”

She was making it clear for Yazid that the liberty given to him by Allah was indeed a sign of excessive anger from Almighty Allah, who has only extent their period of enjoyment so that they may increase in sins and brutal punishment awaits them. As she also described the character of Yazid (Allah’s curse be on him) by mentioning that it was indeed expected from the descendent of the one who chewed on the liver of the pious and righteous people, the one who is the killer of Prophet Muhammad’s Household.

Lady Zaynab even mentioned that due to the demand of the hour and the will of Almighty Allah, she was forced to speak in front of Yazid (Allah’s curse be on him). She considered Yazid (Allah’s curse be on him) as a worthless, disgraceful and a wicked person to talk.

She further stated from the Holy Qur’an,

“You will reap what you have sown and will see that the almighty does not favor oppression and tyranny. (Holy Qur’an, 22:10)”

As most of the people present there were believers and were aware of the verses stated by Almighty Allah. Hence Lady Zaynab chooses to deliver most of the parts of her sermon to revolve around verses of Holy Qur’an. She started taking strength from the words of Almighty Allah. As Allah himself says in the Holy Qur’an,

Yes, whoever submits his face in Islam to Allah while being a doer of good will have his reward with his Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve. (Holy Qur’an, 2:112)”

Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured. (Holy Qur’an, 13:28)”

*****

References:

The post A Summary of Lady Zaynab’s Sermon in the Court of Yazid appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Is There an “Islamic Hijab” for Men?

Thu, 09/19/2019 - 13:42

By Daniel Amir Mundrawala

Along with the topic of “Hijab” for women, there is also another discussion which is hardly ever mentioned and that is about the “Hijab” for men.

Although the term Hijab is used for the clothing of a Muslim man it is not the same style compared to the type of ‘Hijab’ that women have been commanded to wear. For many reasons which Allah (SWT) in His infinite wisdom has laid out, women must cover their entire body, except her face and hands, from the eyes of those who are her non-Mahram.

For example, would you choose a candy with a wrapper or would you choose a candy without a wrapper? Men too, to an extent must also observe this rule, which we briefly mention here.However, the main question many people ask is “Is there an Islamic Hijab for men?”

Many people will believe you that is the case, but there will also be those who ask for proof that there is an Islamic Hijab for men. While most people might not know this, there is Verse in the Holy Quran:

قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ يَغُضُّوْا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَ يَحْفَظُوْا فُرُوْجَهُمْ, ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ.

 “Say to the believing men that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts (by being chaste). This is better for them.” (Surah an-Nur, 24:30).

Then in the next verse the hijab for women is presented.

قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَ يَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوْجَهُنَّ

“Say to the believing women that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts (by being chaste) …” (Surah an-Nur, 24:31).

It must also be mentioned that the term Hijab, in relation to men, does not have the same technical meaning as it does in reference to women, since the human-nature of a man and woman are quite different, thus too are their ‘Hijab’.

What must be pointed out is that the word Hijab simply means ‘covering’ and thus, men too must cover their bodies from the view of non-Mahram women.

Basically, the hijab of men is they should cast down their glance and guard their private parts.

From the narrations of the Prophet (s) and the Holy Ahlul-Bayt (as), regarding the type of covering that men must observe including the impressibility of imitating the non-Muslims, and the various other conditions, we can draw this conclusion that men too, just like women must not wear clothing that is not appropriate, tight fitting, and shows the details of your body.

Keeping this in mind, a Muslim man must not let his ego and desires get the best of him and in all instances, must not wear clothing that is referred to as “Shuhrah” or clothing that is not commonly worn which would make him stand out in a crowd. This clothing will obviously differ according to where a Muslim is living, thus for a Muslim living in the “West”, wearing the long Arab shirt outside on the streets may be classified as Shuhrah, but wearing the same in a Muslim gathering will be permitted.

In that respect, we read the following rule in the Tawdhiul Masaa’il that; “It is haram for a woman to look at the body of a man, with the exception of his face and hands; and that it is haram for a woman to look at the body of a non-Mahram man – whether with the intention of lust or without it.

May Allah give us all tawfeeq to observe the Islamic Hijab as stated by Him. Ameen.

******

References:

1) https://www.al-islam.org/articles/islamic-hijab-men-shaykh-saleem-bhimji

2) https://www.al-islam.org/hijab-muslim-womens-dress-islamic-or-cultural-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi/quran-and-hijab#second-verse

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Husayn, The Ark Of Survival

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 15:27

By Ruqaya Aghaie

*****

“Indeed, Husayn is the beacon of guidance and the ark of salvation.”

-Prophet Muhammad (S)[1]

*****

Imam Husayn (as) is a love regenerating, does not concern within a day or a month, nor a year, yet it will remain a heated candle in his beloveds’ heart to lighten his path. Love entered Karbala as an orphan, lonely, unique, confused, lost and dispersed. And he graduated from Karbala by Aba-Abdallah’s (as) hands, a master with the rank of divine love.

Imam Husayn (as) gave us lesson about love. But, are there lovers?

A question rises up to some fool minds that my hands feel ashamed to write. Is Imam Husayn (as) in need of us or in need of weeping over him? Is he in need of our visitation to his grave? No and a thousand no!

If we only reconsider the history and read about the reward and the wage of the lamenter over Imam Husayn (as), we will stand thankful to Allah for this grace. Yet alone we should be thankful to Allah for introducing this merciful Imam to us that taught us how to approach the true felicity and happiness throughout his love and satisfaction.

Imam Husayn (as) had shown by his acts as well as his various discourses during the seven days of Muharram at Karbala, that this conflict was much more universal in nature, and that he knew he was going to live forever through his martyrdom.

Yazid died as uselessly as he lived; only three years after the battle of Karbala took place. While trying to race a baboon, he fell from his horse and broke his neck. As history has recorded, those who were apparent victors at Karbala (as) have disappeared without trace.

If we widen the eye of our hearts, we slowly observe a tired caravan arriving. If you open the ear of your heart you hear them; they’ve come very near. They’re arriving to that land that had a secret for itself. All the angels, prophets, cried and wept over.

Since Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) the talk regarding Karbala began, the calamities of the `sibt` of the prophet peace and blessings upon him and his family was told. Now Imam Husayn (as) wants to arrive to that land and say to his Zainab, his Umm Kulthum, to his surroundings be prepared for the tragedy, for the warmth.

Sayyida Zainab did not witness her family be cut to pieces for us to follow Islam the way we choose. Sayyida Zainab did not witness her family be slaughtered like animals for us to take your religion lightly. This was a sacrifice for all of humanity and for the sake of Islam.

The path of guidance is a road full of thorns and ups & downs which requires a beacon for one to reach its destination. Imam al-Husayn (as) was sent as a blessing to perform this mission and become a light that leads us to the satisfaction of Allah and his messenger. The world is unable to present an example finer and brighter than the personality of imam Husayn (as). He was and will be the embodiment of love, valour and personification of sacrifice and devotion which every Muslim should seek guidance from.

I have left the entire world for the sake of you

And I have orphaned my children so that I see you

So, if I’m cut into pieces for your love

My heart would lean to none other than you”

Imam Husayn (as) expresses his sincere love for his creature throughout this heart touching poem. He submits the accurate definition of love by the steps he took to show us how absolutely wholeheartedly each individual must be towards his Lord.

Are we ready to leave the entire world for the sake of Allah?

Am I a true lover that even if cut into pieces my heart would lean to none other than my beloved?

Those words of wisdom and eloquence mirror the great personality of this virtues Imam. Imam Husayn gave his heart to Allah, so Allah gave millions of hearts back to Husayn (as).

Do not underestimate the worth of those tears which are shed in the remembrance of Aba Abdillah al Husayn (as), For those very tears can mend the hearts of every sorrowful men and women, and reunite even the most unworthy servant with his lord.

Look at the Seventy-two martyrs in Karbala.

What a regretful feeling they’ve left in the heart of the world and the believers?!

Still, there is a chance…

(Ḥayy-a ʿalā khayr alʿamal)

“Hurry toward the best of deeds”.

Three hundred and three humans will be like rose flowers

Strive to be among them,

Amongst the lonely imam, Al-Mahdi (aj).

Notes:

[1] Bihar al-Anwar, V.6, P.174

ان الحسین مصباح الهدی و سفینه النجاه

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Three Poems about Ashura’

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 16:21

By Ruqaya Aghaie

*****

Seek Patience

Patience, seek patience o’ death

Lengthen the time of her final breath

Approach not o moment of last sight

Hussain of Fatima will remain with no light

Shattered the clouds when carried his silenced scream

‘Oh, beloved mother’ it muttered in fright

Cried the sky as he continued… oh the rose of my life

Oh, the glowing moon at the darkest night

How can I forget the sign of the slap on my mother’s face?

How can I omit black hands that were in her chase?

What will you forget? And what will I remember?

When of torture leans on the wall my mother

Blood flowed down her chest as I witnessed in mourn

I portrait a kick, yearning… I endeavour

Beat not my rose o’ brutal evil

Her wounds and mine has become equal

Beat me, don’t beat my mother

A door and a flame aren’t to remember

Nor the laughter of the enemies

When Zainab searching for remedies

How do I neglect when on floor she fell in pain?

Wake up mother, he’s come to see you, your beloved Hussain…

I swear by the precious tears of Zainab

Harrowing is the nail on her broken rib

Her low whisper in a heart-breaking voice

Brought me in tears with no choice

Oh mother,

Oh, the rose of my life

Oh, the scent of perfection that towards I strive

Between your mutter I hear “Karbala… Ali Asghar”

And within my mutter you hear “where is Mohsen of Haidar?”

Oh, beloved mother

A desperate mourn is read through Hussain’s sight

I strike and wonder,

How would Ali bury his rose tonight?

*****

Words of Love

Just a every step towards him

Revives my soul, exhilarates my breath

To the beloved is the eternal aim

One sole wish; beside him death

I am predestined

Even if I relapse

my instinct brings me back to you

a homeland you

and a foreigner I am

looking toward your mercifulness

begging for your acceptance

Hussain…

My guilty soul

Stand ahead your compassionate one

Whispering my lips in words of a slave at his master’s door,

“accept me, oh the wide blessing

Oh, the bright sun”

*****

Ali Asghar

Tonight,

I stand and detect a radiant light

Shine at the entire universe

Delivering a delightful announcement;

To the master of the youth of paradise an angel is born.

Fulfilled is the desire of lady Rabab

Whilst Hussain is confused between laughter and mourn,

An arrow at Abdullah’s neck he imagines

Yet the bloody desert has come to warn

Prepare your youngest soldier oh Hussain for Karbala

He shall taste thirst, and the painful arrow of Harmala

–February 2019

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What are the Causes of Imam Husayn’s (a) Qiyam?

Thu, 09/05/2019 - 13:12

*****

Dedicated to my loving father Syed Mahdi Ali Razvi

*****

Of the numerous causes, the prime cause of Imam Husayn’s (a) Qiyam (Resistance) was the enforcement of bayat (oath of allegiance) upon him by Waleed bin Utbah, the then governor of Madinah upon the command of the Umayyad Caliph Yazid bin Muawiya and the reprehensible support of brute Marwan bin al Hakam [1].

Imam Husayn (a) refused to give bayat. He did not buckle under Yazid’s cruelty and took a stand by refusing to endorse Yazid saying he would never give Yazid his allegiance like a humiliated man, nor would he flee like a slave, rather, he would rise to snub the evil. For, giving his allegiance to oppression meant supporting despotism and agreeing to injustice which a righteous Imam, the flag bearer of Truth and Justice, appointed by Allah swt, could not accept.

In as little as 50 years after the Prophet’s (s) death, Islam was no longer the religion that the last Prophet (s) of Allah swt had delivered for the Ummah. Yazid was unjust and corrupt stealing money from Baitul Maal (public treasury) for personal use. Anyone opposing him was meted with severe punishment including death.

All Caliphs who sought power after Prophet Muhammad (s) and the rulers of Umayyad Caliphs suppressed the Ahlulbayt (a), the legal successors to the Caliphate, by keeping them in poverty and taking away all that belonged to them. However, they could not take away the respect and regard people had for the Ahlulbayt (a) for they were noble beings who possessed the gift of knowledge like the documented superior knowledge of Ameer ul Momineen Imam Ali (a) bin Abu Talib [2].

This was the reason the Umayyad Caliphs felt insecure and lived in constant fear that the godly qualities of the Ahlulbayt (a) projected them in poor light and highlighted all their weaknesses. It was not a comfortable situation to be in and they were always trying to find reasons to eliminate the family of Prophet Muhammad (s) who they considered a threat to their reign and even their survival.

In order to overcome this threat and establish his power tyrant Yazid wanted bayat from Imam Husayn (a). Imam Husayn’s (a) support would not only endorse his political power – because Imam Husayn (a) was the rightful successor to the Caliphate – but also give him religious power to legalize his crimes and illegal actions carried out in the name of Islam.

Imam Husayn’s (a) refusal terrified the intoxicated Yazid who was enjoying his newly inherited powers of Caliphate. He used brute force to subjugate Imam Husayn (a). Imam Husayn (a), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (s), was aware of what Yazid was trying to achieve.

By openly refusing Yazid’s bayat Imam Husayn (a) exposed to the Ummah that Yazid was corrupt, oppressive and intent upon destroying Islam to avenge his uncles and family members who had died in the early battles fought with Prophet Muhammad (s). Imam Husayn (a) was threatened that if he refused to give bayat to Yazid, he would be killed. Imam Husayn (a) replied that a man like him could not give bayat to a man like Yazid. By saying this, Imam Husayn (a) made it very clear that Yazid and he were completely opposite to one another in their belief.

Imam Husayn (a) knew from his grandfather Prophet Muhammad’s (s) premonition that he would be killed in Karbala along with his close friends and family. When people heard that Imam Husayn’s (a) life was in danger they wanted to join his army. However, Imam Husayn (a) made it clear that there was not going to be an army – only family and a few close companions. To accompany him one had to be a believer and not a soldier because he was not fighting for power but for Islam. This was a battle not for any worldly possession rather it was to secure and uphold core human values. It was a battle of good vs evil, right vs wrong and justice vs oppression.

Imam Husayn’s (a) companions came from all different cultures, mindsets and values: the noble (Burayr (a) bin Khuzayr, Sayeed (a) bin Abdullah), the rich (Zohair (a) bin Qain), the freed slaves (Rafe, Sa’d, Salim, Hars), the young (Aun (a) bin Abdullah, Muhammad (a) bin Abdullah, Qasim (a) bin Imam Hasan (a)), the old (Jundab (a) bin Hijr), the strong (Abbas (a) bin Imam Ali (a), Ali Akbar (a) bin Imam Husayn (a)), the feeble (Habib (a) bin Madhahir), the infant (Ali Asghar (a) bin Imam Husayn (a)), the wrongdoers who were spiritually awakened (Hurr (a) bin Yazid, Sa’d (a) bin Harse Ansari, Abul Hatoof (a) bin Harse Ansari, Jaun (a) ibn Malikee), the Muslims (his family) and non-Muslim (Wahab (a) bin Abu Wahab) even black (Jawn (a) bin Huwai).

Although they came from different backgrounds there was no distinction between one person and the other, all that mattered was their staunch belief in the mission of Imam Husayn (a).

This love for Imam Husayn (a) can be seen even now. Today millions of visitors pay their respects to Imam Husayn (a) for his Qiyam and annually mourn the tragic Battle of Karbala in which he, along with his family and loyal companions were singled out and brutally killed one by one. Pilgrims from diverse walks of life visit Imam Husayn’s (a) shrine to pay their homage in the city of Karbala, Iraq.

Imam Husayn (a) did not give his allegiance to Yazid because he wanted to protect the principles of Islam and retain its justice and character. To avoid all confrontation, Imam Husayn (a) left his home in Madinah along with handful family members that included women, children and infants. The plan was to go to Kufa and preach Islam in peace amongst the people who were inviting him in thousands.

Imam Husayn (a) was not allowed to proceed to Kufa. Neither was he allowed to go back home. So, Imam Husayn (a) headed towards Karbala [3].

After a few days in Karbala, Yazidi forces were commanded to attack and kill Imam Husayn (a) and his companions and Imam Husayn’s (a) tents were surrounded by an army of 30,000. On the night of Ashura Imam Husayn (a) lifted his bayat and asked his family and companions to leave with a clear conscience because anyone who stayed behind would face certain death. Imam Husayn’s (a) selflessness shone at every step. At a time when family and friends needed most, Imam Husayn (a) pleaded with his family and companions, all deprived of water for 3 days in the scorching desert of Karbala, to leave him alone and save themselves [4].

Imam Husayn (a) knew that he was facing thousands of greedy enemy soldiers who wanted to kill him to gain wealth and power. There was no question of expecting mercy from them. He knew that fighting with them would end in certain death.

As the battle commenced, Imam Husayn’s companions departed from their camp one after the other – all fighting valiantly before being killed. Eventually Imam Husayn (a) was alone with no one left to support him. Fatigued, thirsty, and heavily wounded, Imam Husayn (a) fell to the ground as the women and children looked on. He too was killed mercilessly, yet he died holding on firmly to his principles.

Imam Husayn (a) gave the sacrifice of his life with all his family. There is no example like his in the entire history of mankind. Imam Husayn (a) made an immense sacrifice and act in selfless ways in times of crisis. He sacrificed his own life and that of his companions. Those who act in selfless ways do so either to save someone or something. Since everyone in Imam Husayn’s (a) camp was promised death, they were not saving anyone’s life by their sacrifice, obviously they were saving something else. It does not require a complicated derivation to find out what Imam Husayn (a) was saving – he was saving the religion of Islam in all its purity and authenticity.

Imam Husayn (a) is the ambassador of peace. His actions were not altruistic. Rather, it was his love for Allah swt and his understanding of Islam that made him act in the way he did.

People do come under the influence of Shaitan and do wrong. But for those of us who are in need of finding true Islam, all we have to do is look at Imam Husayn (a) and what he stood for. Imam Husayn (a) is that beacon of light that is inviting us into the folds of Islam at any time the spirituality in us awakens.

Notes:

[1] The Third Imam, Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (as): https://www.al-islam.org/story-of-the-holy-kaaba-and-its-people-shabbar/third-imam-husayn-ibn-ali (

[2] 3. Hadith Al-Qadha, ‘Ali’s Superior Knowledge Of The Qur’an And Sunnah: https://www.al-islam.org/ali-best-sahabah-toyib-olawuyi/3-hadith-al-qadha-ali-s-superior-knowledge-quran-and-sunnah

[3] The Route of Imam Husayn from Makkah to Karbala: https://www.al-islam.org/articles/route-imam-husayn-makkah-karbala

[4] Why did Imam al-Husayn (as) give his Companions Permission to Leave? https://www.al-islam.org/uprising-ashura-and-responses-doubts-ali-asghar-ridwani/why-did-imam-al-husayn-give-his-companions

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Men Of Excuses

Thu, 08/29/2019 - 13:57

By Deeba Rizvi

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Muharram, the first month of an Islamic calendar, month of grief/sorrow.

A month based on remembrance of what transpired with Imam Hussein (ع) and his close family members and companions. We recite their tragedies, their pain/sorrow and betrayal of people of Kufa.

We read Ziarat Ashura to express our hate for the betrayers and this made me ponder over that what is the concept of لعن” /“Curse” in Islam.

Few years back I heard few lines, (translated version)

“We are not like people of Kufa”.

“That Hussain will be left alone.”

(Above lines, sounds best when spoken in Persian)

And I thought! Really??

We will not leave alone the Imam of our time! Curse has no meaning other than words of curse spoken! Does God need our words to punish bad people? Is the actual meaning to curse bad people is only to send them to Hell?

The people of “Kufa (Iraq)” or the people who did not support Imam were created bad?

A thought clicked my mind. As I can related with Qu’ran that narrations of so many stories from past were for iberat too. May be through curse, almighty wants to make our conscience alive to stop us from being one of them.

From there I started to think what made people of city named “Kufa” did not support our Imam. What made them betray the Imam of their own time? Why did “Ibn Muljim”, a close companion of Imam Ali, killed him? Why in spite of knowing the facts, only approximately 72 people came forward to support Imam Hussein ع?

Now let us relate the questions, incidents and stories with today’s time. A Hadeeth narrated by Imam al-Baqir (as) from Numani, Ghaybah, p. 315; Ithbat al-Hudah, vol. 3, p. 547; Bihar al-Anwar,vol. 52, p. 369.

“The supporters of Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘a) will be three hundred and thirteen persons who will be from the children of the a‘jam (non-Arabs).”

Why is that until today the 313 companions are not ready? If we look into past, we ponder why the maximum number of true and loyal companions available for any Imam were only 72? If seeing Imams is the best guidance then why many of those who saw Imams were not guided?

Aren’t so many questions misleading us? No. A famous book named “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinok is the first step towards excellence. Having questions does not mean having doubts but alive conscience.

For example, we all know food consists of a set of edibles together which are all separately needed by our body, but what if we limit our self to only one item? Similarly, what if we only focus on mourning and not the message? Mourning is “a part of Muharram” not “is Muharram”.

Mourning is a part of Muharram not complete Muharram. Can’t we think deeper into the fact that why a person will give up all his family just to make us all cry?

We all wish and pray to be with our 12th Imam and support him, however this requires effective thinking, a thought process that helps us in understanding the reasons that why people betrayed our Leaders/Imams in past and a heart to acknowledge our weakness and to work on them, so that we can make a difference in present and future.

We all have the urge to call out Labbayk to Imam but we must remember that Qur’an also tells us that “The Iblees, ابلیس”, “The Nafs e Ammara, نفس اماره” and our own sins are our open enemies to mislead us from Straight Path.

Surah Al-’Isra’says:

“…Verily the Satan is an open enemy to man.”(17:53)

Surah Yusuf says:

“…Indeed the nafs that overwhelmingly commands a person to do sin”(12:53)

Some of the reasons which lead to betrayal of people in the past who thought they were with Imam but indeed failed this trial were:

•           Love for this world

•           Excuse of Fear

•           Excuse of being needed by Islam

•           Excuse of being handicapped

•           Political Excuses

•           Excuse of Family

•           Excuse of not coming out of comfort zone.

•           Excuse of worship

And the list continues……

This can be explained through a big incident of Islamic history. For example,

“Umar ibn Sa’ad was a bad soul because he did not support Imam of his time due to his desire for earning the authority and ruler ship of the land of Ray. We all have something similar to the ruler ship of Ray in our lives which represents are peak of desire and that may be money, gold, self-importance or anything we can think off. In our daily life, we at some point ignore God’s words just to satisfy our own self i.e. our Nafs نفس.

Few other examples to understand better and deeper.

We all are aware of the fact that “Ibn Muljim” killed Imam Ali because the lady whom he loved asked him to do so. They were not born bad but they got astray because of wrong selections/decisions they took because of weakness of their own souls. God does not weaken our souls but we do it through our own sins. These are the diseases of soul which must be cured to answer the call of “Hal Min Nasirin Yansurna / Is there anyone to help?”

If we have any characteristics mentioned above then it’s high time to wake up because indeed the alarm of appearance will ring any moment, inshallah.

Let’s also study a positive example. We hold our own destiny and Hazrat Hurr proved it on the night of 9th Muharram by leaving the camp of Yazid and joining Imam Hussein (as). God guided him because he did not kill his conscience. Hence we understand that every second we need to remind our self that this world is an illusion and our aim is to prepare our self for the arrival of the Soul Savior (12th Imam, Imam Al- Mahdi, aj). Realization of the disease is half of the treatment.

Studying the characteristics of those who did and did not support Imams may help us in our approach to be among 313.

In conclusion, God does not create bad people.

The question is how much we are ready to be guided, preparing for the reappearance of the Living Imam and working to achieve our self-purification.

We can ask as many questions as possible not with an intention to argue but to understand. 

Intention cannot be judged by anyone but Allah.

Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins, for He has said in the Holy Qur’an:

“Allah would not leave the believers in that [state] you are in [presently] until He separates the evil from the good. Nor would Allah reveal to you the unseen. But [instead], Allah chooses of His messengers whom He wills, so believe in Allah and His messengers. And if you believe and fear Him, then for you is a great reward.” (3:179)

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Monotheism for Young Adults

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 12:27

By Syeda Fizza Zahid

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

As Imam Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (a) said:

Verily the heart of a youngster is like an empty plot of land – it accepts whatever is planted therein.[1]

There are stages of human life i.e. childhood, youth, middle age and old age. Out of these the most significant stage is youth. Youth is most beautiful, energetic part of life which is full of opportunities as the choices that a person makes in his youth affects their future most. Therefore in Islam great emphasis has been given to youth, as Islam is a complete religion that excels not just in one phase but every phase of life.

The Holy Prophet (S) said:

Learning something during one’s youth is like engraving in stone, and learning something when one is old is like writing on the surface of water.[2]

No matter how strongly a person is brought up by his or her parents and how strong the religious concepts are transmitted, when a person reaches to his youth, questions about God and his existence generate in their mind naturally. They are more questioning and looking for satisfying answers.

Youth is a phase in which it is most difficult to restrain oneself from being distracted from right path, on other hand God loves the young soul who turns towards Him, leaving all the worldly desires.

Recognizing God is a natural instinct of human, thus it cannot be created artificially by some knowledge in fact, the soul of human beings demands to recognize God until and unless his soul is satisfied. This inborn nature of every human helps him to find answers about true existence of God.

How can one convince or satisfy the human intellect that, while there is an inventor of the computer but no inventor of human brain, similarly there is creator of home we live in, but no creator of this world and universe. In short, it arises in one’s intellect that there is the only Creator. It is He alone who manages the world. It is He alone who deserves worship and adoration.

The Qur’an says:

“Your Lord is One. There is no god but He, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Surely ire the creation of the heavens and the earth, the alternation of night and day, the ships which sail on the sea for the benefit of the people, the water that Allah sends down from heaven with which He revives the dead earth and replenishes it with all kinds of animals, ire the movements of the winds and in the clouds held between the sky and the earth, there are signs (of Allah’s Sovereignty) for the people who have sense”. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:163-164)

Monotheism explained by Imam

A ship is wrecked in the sea, A passenger is engulfed in the roaring waves; there is neither any other ship nor any skillful swimmer to save him. All his hopes disappear. He loses any hope in anybody or anything. In those critical moments he is floating in the waves.

In that time of danger and disappointment, he feels only one glimmer of inherent hope and a natural support. A light of hope glitters from the depths of his heart and from the recesses of his consciousness. His heart turns to an infinite and forceful power from which he asks for help. It is only that power which can save him from this horrible abyss. That truth, that power that supports hope, that thing at which heart looks beseechingly is ‘God’.

In a nutshell, the above passage is the meaning of Imam Sadiq’s (a) statement in answer to a man who had put this question to him.[3]

Debate with an Egyptian Atheist

One day an atheist from Egypt came to Imam (a) who asked his name. “Abdul Malik,” replied he. Imam (a) asked what his agnomen was. “Abu Abdullah,” he replied.

Imam: The kingdom whose slave you are, is it from the kingdom of the heavens or from the kingdoms of the earth?

Atheist: I have never reflected on it.

Imam: Have you ever gone below the earth’s surface?

Atheist: No.

Imam: Do you know what is below it?

Atheist: I have no knowledge of it.

Imam: Have you ever ascended to the sky?

Atheist: No.

Imam: Do you know what exists there?

Atheist: No.

Imam: Have you visited east and west? Do you know what lies beyond the limits?

Atheist: No.

Imam: It is surprising that when you do not have any knowledge about the earth or the sky, the east or west, how can you deny the existence of God? How can an ignorant man make such a great claim? Just ponder upon it; the moon, the sun, the night and the day, which all move in a particular way, are they not helpless and captive in their orbits? If they had not been so, they would not have returned after passing away once. If they are not helpless, why is it not that sometimes there is night instead of day? Don’t you ever reflect on the earth and the sky that why the sky does not crash on the earth? Why the earth does not sink below itself? Who has made them stable? One who has done this is our and their absolute powerful God.” Hearing these words, he was astonished and at that very moment recited the dual testimony of Islamic faith and became a Muslim.[4]

Hence, any human being who ponders upon His existence, will would finally reach to this conclusion that there is a God, Who is neither created, nor defeated. He is the One who is most Merciful, most Powerful, The Creator of each and every thing between sky and earth and beyond it. No one can ever see Him or reach Him, except the one with pure heart, and making ones heart pure is most fruitful in youth.

Notes:

[1] Tuhaf al-`Uqoul, no. 70; Mizan ul Hikmah, page No. 1028

[2] Bihar al-Anwar, v. 1, p. 222, no. 6; Mizan ul Hikmah, page No. 1029

[3] https://www.al-islam.org/monotheism-young-adults-nayerreh-tavassoli/monotheism-young-adults

[4] https://www.al-islam.org/akhlaq-al-aimma-morals-manners-holy-imams-maulana-sayyid-zafar-hasan-amrohi/knowledge-ahl-ul-bayt#debate-egyptian-atheist

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The Importance of Eid al-Ghadeer for the Ummah’s Guidance After the Holy Prophet (S)

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 06:54

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

The guidance of Muslim Ummah is a continuous requirement. There can not be an era or age of time when guidance is not required. As the guidance is a constant need, so the availability of a guide who can provide the guidance to the Muslim Ummah is also a continuous indispensable need.

The history is full of anecdotes of nations and communities in the life periods of different prophets (‘a) that these nations were at a point in time well guided but after the death of their prophets (‘a) the nations gradually deviated from the guidance and got totally perverted.

In his life the Holy Prophet (S) was the greatest of all divine guides who provided direct guidance and leadership to the Ummah and led it with utmost and complete success to the triumph of Islam and victory of divine message of Tawheed and establishment of an Islamic state based upon divine laws in which justice and truth were among fundamental ruling principles.

However, after the death of Holy Prophet (S) the question poses itself who will carry forward the torch of divine guidance and provide leadership to the Ummah? Did the Holy Prophet (S) appoint a leader for the Muslims as his successor after him, or was the selection of the leader was left to the Ummah?

In this brief write up we will inshaAllah attempt to discuss these points with respect to the incident of Ghadeer and logical analysis of the question of successorship as done by Shaheed Ayatollah Sayyid Baqir al-Sadr in his work entitled: “A Study on the Question of Al-Wilaya” [1]

Shaheed al-Sadr has discussed three possibilities in his above mentioned essay. The first possibility being that the Prophet left the Ummah without any successor after him, the second one that he wanted the Muslims to choose their leader for themselves through Saqifa or consultation, and the last one being that the Prophet appointed Imam Ali (‘a) as his successor – the Imam of Ummah.

First Possibility

The Prophet (S) was assuming the leadership of a revolutionary faith, inducing radical transformations of the customs, structures, and concepts of society. The path for such transformation was long and the faith which the Prophet practiced was immaculate. He had to deal with people belonging to the Age of Ignorance and raise them to new institutions, thus converting them into believing men and women who could carry the new light and uproot the twisted tree of ignorance from hearts and minds.

The Prophet (S) made astonishing headway in the task of transformation in a very short time, but it was necessary for this task of transformation to continue on its way even after the death of the Prophet (S). So to believe that Prophet Muhammad (S) adopted a passive approach for leadership after him is to attribute a lack of insight to the Prophet (S).

To think that such a thing could happen is actually a sin – besides, all logic and reason with many evidences refute such an attribution. The Prophet (S) was well aware of the maturity of the faith of the Muslims who had just emerged from the dark alleys of pre-Islam ignorance, and they were certainly not in a condition to cope with the vacuum of leadership.

There were also many hypocrites present in the garb of Muslims, and the Prophet (S) knew it well. He (S) was well aware of the dangers to Islam after him, and hence, claims of any kind of passivity on his part for the future of Islam are not acceptable.

In fact, both Shi’a and Sunni narrators have this tradition recorded in their authentic works that Umar was with a group of men in the house when the Prophet (S), before his death, said: “Bring me parchment and pen so that I may write something for you after which you shall never go astray.”[2]

In fact, this act of the Prophet illustrates clearly that he was deeply concerned about the dangers which had to be faced in the future. It also shows that he recognized the need to plan ahead so as to protect the Ummah from deviation and save it from inattentiveness and disintegration. It is thus totally impossible to substantiate any claim of passivity leveled against the Prophet.

Second Possibility

The second possibility is that the Prophet (S) adopted a positive policy concerning the future of the Ummah and Islam, and he advocated the appointment of a Shura or counsel, which would be entitled to select a leader of the Muslims.

Had the Holy Prophet (S) adopted a positive attitude towards Shura after him, he would have found it absolutely necessary to educate the Ummah and the faithful concerning the principles of Shura with its rules and details, while also mentally and spiritually preparing the Islamic society to accept this system. But we can easily discover that the Holy Prophet never sought to educate the Ummah for any such plans for future.

We do not find any narrations attributed to the Prophet (S) giving details of principles, legal aspects or theoretical concepts of Shura. Therefore, we can conclude that Holy Prophet (S) did not advise Shura for the Ummah after his death.

The Shura, which was formed after the Prophet’s (S) death, could not survive for even a short time. The first Caliph neglected it and appointed the second Caliph himself, while the second one formed a six-member group enshrining the right to elect a leader amongst them. In this way, Saqifa collapsed immediately after it was formed. The first Caliph regretted the fact that he was elected too speedily, while the second one regretted the first one’s election saying that it was a slip, and on many occasions he himself confessed his inability in handling the affairs of Ummah.

Third Possibility

The third approach is the only possibility, which is consistent with the nature of facts and is logical in light of the circumstances surrounding Islam, Muslims and the Prophet (S). The Holy Prophet (S) adopted a positive stance towards the future of Islam after his death, and as per the orders of Allah he chose Imam Ali (‘a) who had a deep involvement in the formation of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (S) specifically prepared the Imam so that he could exemplify the intellectual authority and political leadership of the experience, and maintain the leadership of the Ummah and its ideological structure after the Holy Prophet’s (S) death.

Imam Ali (‘a) himself described his unique relationship with the Holy Prophet (S): “You know of my connection with the Messenger of Allah, my close kinship to him and my intimate position. He put me on his lap when I was a child, hugged me to his breast, embraced me in his bed, so that his body touched mine and so I smelled his scent, and would also chew things and give them to me to eat. But he did not find me lying in my speech or pompous in my act. I used to follow him as the small camel follows its mother and every day he showed me part of his moral acts and ordered me to do likewise. Every year he used to take me to Hira and only I could see him, for at that period of time of Islam there was only the Messenger of Allah, Khadija and myself as the third, as nobody else lived in the house. So I saw the light of revelation and the message and smelled the fragrance of prophecy.”[3]

There are a great many indications from the lifetime of Imam Ali (‘a) after the death of the Prophet (S) which reveal the Prophet’s private ideological training of Imam Ali (‘a) and reflect the effects and results of this private instruction.

The Imam (‘a) was the man to whom the ruling leadership resorted for consultation and authority when they wished to solve some difficult problems, which they could not solve themselves. But we cannot find a single instance in the history of the Islamic experience during the time of the four caliphs in which the Imam turned to someone else for an opinion as to the way in which a problem should be dealt with according to Islam. On the other hand, there were tens of instances in which the ruling Islamic leadership felt it necessary to consult the Imam in spite of their reservations towards him.

The above arguments along with the event of Ghadeer establish the fact that the successor of Prophet Muhammad was none other than Imam Ali (‘a). The Holy Prophet (S) himself, on the instructions of Almighty Allah, appointed him as his successor.

O Messenger! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.” (5:67)

The above verse speaks about a revelation that is of so much paramount significance and quintessential that if it were not delivered, it would nullify all other efforts of the Holy Prophet(S). The verse was revealed in the later period of prophetic mission. So the question arises what is the message which is so essential and indispensable that if that is not conveyed, it will be tantamount to not conveying anything at all? By this time, most of the beliefs and rules of Islamic sharia have already been revealed and conveyed. So this message must be something other than that.

The verse says that Allah will protect the holy Prophet(S) from the people, following with the lack of guidance for those who disbelieve.

The question regarding the importance of the order from Allah (swt) has been answered by Allamah Tabatabai:

 “Why was this order so important that if it was not conveyed then the message was not conveyed at all? It was because religion’s knowledge and commands are inter linked…The fact, that if this commandment was not conveyed, then no other order was conveyed, shows its utmost importance, and makes it crystal clear that this particular order occupies such a central position in the whole structure that if it was left unannounced, it would amount to leaving all other orders unannounced, because its relation to other items is like that of soul with body; if it is disconnected, there would remain only a dead body, devoid of feeling, movement (and perception, etc.)…there was a danger that the people would oppose it and strive hard to overturn it against the Prophet (S) aiming at demolishing the structure of religion he had built and disintegrating all its parts…Accordingly, he kept postponing its delivery from time to time, waiting for a suitable circumstances and peaceful atmosphere, in order that his mission might be successful and his endeavors fruitful. But Allah ordered him to make haste in conveying that message, showing to him its importance, and promising to protect him from the people.”[4]

The verse makes it clear that the Holy Prophet (S) was going to convey something on the order of Allah which might incite opposition. What was the message that Holy Prophet(S) was supposed to convey that would provoke the people, specifically, the disbelievers? As per numerous traditions from both Shia and Sunni sources, it was about guardianship of Imam Ali (‘a). It was about the issue of successorship after the death of Holy Prophet(S) and leadership and guardianship of the Islamic nation.

The issue of guardianship is so important that without it, not only religion would be in complete, but without it the non-believers would have been successful in their plots against the Divine Religion.

The Holy Prophet (S) conveyed this message after performing his last Hajj. He ordered Muslims to assemble at the pond of Ghadeer, it was there he announced the guardianship of Imam Ali (‘a):

It has been narrated from Abi Sa’id that: “When the day of Ghadeer Khumm came, the messenger of Allah (S) commanded the caller to call out, ‘Gather for the prayer. Then he took Ali (‘a) by the hand and said, ‘O’ Allah! Whomsoever I am his master, this Ali is also his master. O’ Allah! Be a friend to that person who is a friend to him, and be an enemy to that person who is an enemy to him.’” [5]

With the announcement of guardianship, the message of Islam was perfected and completed. The non-believers who have been hatching conspiracies to overturn Islam and revert the people to the polytheism became disappointed. Allah (swt) accepted the mission of Holy Prophet(S) and gave His seal of approval upon Prophet Muhammad’s (S) deliverance:

“This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion” (5:3)

**************

For more information about the event of Ghadir, read:

https://www.al-islam.org/ghadir/

https://www.al-islam.org/verses-ghadir-al-mustafa-center-islamic-researches/three-verses-ghadir

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/orientalists-and-the-event-of-ghadir-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/ghadir-tradition-expressive-evidence-guardianship

https://www.al-islam.org/ghadir-muhammad-baqir-al-sadr-sachedina-muhammad-rizvi-husein-khimjee

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/ghadir-khumm-one-islamic-historys-best-kept-secrets-yasin-t-al-jibouri

Notes:

[1] https://www.al-islam.org/ghadir-muhammad-baqir-al-sadr-sachedina-muhammad-rizvi-husein-khimjee/chapter-1-study-question-al

[2] Ref: Sahih, Bukhari, Chapter: About the saying of the sick, vol 2, Sahih, Muslim, End of the book of al Wasiyyah, vol 5 p 75, Musnad, Ahmed, vol 1 p 335, vol 5 p 116 Tarikh, Tabari, vol 3 p 193, Tarikh, Ibn al Athir, vol 2 p 320. For the whole story of the event, read:

https://www.al-islam.org/then-i-was-guided-muhammad-al-tijani-al-samawi/companions-and-raziyat-yawm-al-khamis-calamity

https://www.al-islam.org/black-thursday-muhammad-al-tijani-al-samawi

[3] Hadith cited in “A Study on the Question of Al-Wilaya”, by As-Shahid Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr:  https://www.al-islam.org/ghadir-muhammad-baqir-al-sadr-sachedina-muhammad-rizvi-husein-khimjee/chapter-1-study-question-al

[4] Al Mizan, Exegesis of verse 67 of surah Maida

[4] Biharul Anwar, Volume 37, Hadith 4, as quoted in “Forty Ahadith on Ghadir” by Mahmud Sharifi https://www.al-islam.org/forty-ahadith-ghadir-mahmud-sharifi

The post The Importance of Eid al-Ghadeer for the Ummah’s Guidance After the Holy Prophet (S) appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Salient Points from the Supplication of A’rafah by Imam al-Husayn (‘a)

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 14:18

By Ailiya Haidri

The prayer of Imam Husayn (‘a) on the Day of A’rafah is one of the most famous supplications recited on the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, by the name of Du’a al-‘Arafah.[1]

After counting and reflecting on the bounties of Allah (swt), Imam Husayn (‘a) expresses his thankfulness for the bounties which Allah (swt) has granted him personally. What is highly captivating about this expression of thankfulness is the thought of an infallible Imam thanking His Lord, whilst man on Earth is selfish enough to forget His bounties yet cry to Him in need. Imam Hussain’s gratitude truly serves as a guide.

He (‘a) divided these bounties into three categories. The first category are those bounties which he received before his birth, the second are those which are during the time of his birth and the third are those which were granted to him after his birth.[2]

First Category: Before Birth

You had begun bestowing on me

before I was anything worth mentioning,

and You created me from dust.

You then put me up in the loins,

 (making me) saved from vicissitudes of time,

and change of ages and years.

I was moving from a loin to a womb

throughout the passage of the past days

and the ancient ages;

Here Imam Husayn (‘a) eloquently engages the reader with the biological state of man, but before this, he mentions his creation from ‘dust’ not only indicating his humility such that he refers to himself as mere creation as opposed to his characteristics of piety for example.

Second Category: During The Time Of Birth

So you fashioned my creation from semen that gushed forth

and put me up in triple darkness

among flesh, blood, and skin.

You have not made me witness my creation,

and You have not referred any part of my creation to me.

You then took me out on account of the guidance that You have already known about me

to the world, perfect and in sound health.

Imam Husayn (‘a) transitions from describing his mere creation as a speck of dust to the miraculous nature of childbirth just as Quran 75:37-38 mentions.[3]

It is noticeable that Imam does not describe his birth as a miracle or chance, but rather as a destiny that was meant to be for he addresses Allah (swt) as the one who brought him into the world as He knew Imam Hussain’s role in the world.

Third Category: Post Birth

You have safeguarded me in the cradle as a small child

You have provided me with wholesome milk as food.

You have made the hearts of the nursemaids tender.

You have given me into the charge of merciful mothers.

You have saved me from the visits of the Jinn.

You have delivered me from increase and decrease.

So, Exalted be You, O All-merciful, O All-beneficent.

When I commenced (my life) by pronouncing words,

You perfected for me the affluent bestowals,

and brought me up with an increase every year.

Although Imam Husayn (‘a) could have simply thanked his guardians that nurtured him as a child, Imam Husayn (‘a) delves in deeper by thanking his Rabb for these very nurturers. Above all, the very possibility of him being safeguarded and his provision, he feels the real gratitude to His Lord.

This segment of Du’a ‘Arafah displays the depth of the relationship between man and God, rather than the surface worldview.

Now pay attention to the words that are in bold font…

And I bear witness, O my God, with my true belief,

and the fortitude of the determinations of my conviction

and the purity of my open belief in Your Oneness

and the essence of the secret of my conscience,

and the ties of the canals of the light of my sight,

and the lines of my forehead

and the hallows of the courses of my breath,

and the (nasal) cavities of my nose,

and the courses of the meatus of my hearing,

and whatever my two lips hide and cover up,

and the motions of the vocalization of my tongue,

and the socket of the palate of my mouth and jaw,

and the matrices of my dents,

and the tasting of my food and my drink,

and the carrier of my skull,

and the tube of the tissues of my neck

and what is included by the cloak of my chest,

and the carriers of the cord of my aorta,

and the cords of the pericardium of my heart,

and the pieces of the retinues of my liver,

and that which is included by the cartilages of my ribs,

and the cavities of my joints,

and the interactings of my organisms,

and the extremes of my fingertips,

and my flesh, and my blood,

and my hair, and my skin,

and my nerve, and my sinews,

and my bones, and my brain, and my veins,

and all of my organs,

and that which was pieced together during the days of my suckling,

and whatever of my body that the ground carries,

and my sleeping, and my wakefulness, and my motionlessness,

and the movements of my bowing and prostration;

 (by all that I bear witness) that if I try my best and strive throughout all ages

and all times, if I live them,

to thank properly only one of Your favors,

I will not be able to do that

Are these not the very sentences that have left you speechless? Do we really know ourselves? Surely had we known ourselves, we would have known our Lord, therefore I conclude with the famous saying

الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) : مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَهُ عَرَفَ رَبَّهُ

Imam Ali (a) said, Whoever knows himself knows his Lord.

Ghurar Al-Hikam, The Soul And Holding It To Account النفس ومحاسبتها, Hadith #10031

Notes:

[1] To read the full Supplication of the Day of Arafah, please visit: https://www.al-islam.org/a-shiite-anthology-muhammad-husayn-tabatabai/spiritual-life-prayer-and-supplication#prayer-day-arafah

[2]https://www.al-islam.org/role-women-towards-system-wilayat-syed-jawad-naqvi

[3] Reference to the Holy Qur’an:

أَلَمْ يَكُ نُطْفَةً مِنْ مَنِيٍّ يُمْنَى ثُمَّ كَانَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقَ فَسَوَّىٰ

Was he not a small seed in the seminal elements? Then he was a clot of blood, so He created (him) then made (him) perfect. (75:37-38)

The post Salient Points from the Supplication of A’rafah by Imam al-Husayn (‘a) appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Hajj: Philosophy and Message

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 14:48

By Ailiya Haidri

As the month of Dhul Hijjah approaches, what is it about this month  and particularly the Hajj season that really encapsulates the hearts of – not just Muslims and non-Muslims – but the whole of mankind around the world?

Hajj is not just the circumambulating around the Holy Ka’ba, rather it is something much deeper. Take a minute and focus on what the pilgrims wear: an ihram. Is it not beautiful how Allah (swt) ingrains equality in the heart of Makkah, He makes sure you and I, and every single person that has ever, been and shall go to Hajj – would remember that we are equal, and that we are nothing.

We are nothing in front of Our Lord.

In wearing white, where is there prejudice? Where is the judgement of society? Where does secularization lie? There is not. Rather, the very people who are blessed enough to have received the invitation to Hajj, wear the very colour of their shroud.

The very colour, and that very material of their shroud that will be wrapped tightly around them. When will this day be? The very day in which our names, our identity, our fame disappears, and we are referred to as a body. This is what it means to be nothing, other than a pure wayfarer that came into this World, endured the trials and tribulations that were put across the way, and returns back to His Lord in pure white.

يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَرْضِيَّةً

‘O reassured soul, Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him]’(Qur’an 89:27-28)

Iranian Revolutionist and Sociologist, Ali Shari’ati Mazinani (1933-1977) in his book Hajj (The Pilgrimage) describes Hajj as:

‘…the antithesis of aimlessness. It is the rebellion against a damned fate guided by evil forces. The fulfillment of Hajj will enable you to escape from the complex network of puzzles. This revolutionary act will reveal to you the clear horizon and free way to migration to eternity toward the Almighty Allah.’[1]

The people that Ali Shari’ati Mazinani addresses here are those that that have made the intention to perform Hajj and are anticipating their journey and thus have the fulfillment of Hajj which he speaks about. In turn, the reality of meeting One’s creator truly hits the core of any pilgrim for he realises that his low status as a mere selfish human being is worthless of such a visit yet Allah (swt)’s Mercy brings the believer here and therefore the believer makes revolutionary changes.

If you are amongst the Hujjaj (pilgrims) this year, keep your brothers and sisters in your prayers; if not, May Allah (swt) grant us the Holy visitation next year.

One of the wisdoms of Hajj, is the spiritual reformation that it brings to the believer such that ‘the light of God’s guidance illuminates susceptible hearts, making them detached from the earth and attached to God. By putting on Ihram, saying Labbayk, circumambulating the House, offering sacrifice, and doing other acts of worship, man’s heart goes through a spiritual stage.’

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِلْعَالَمِينَ

Most surely the first house appointed for men is the one at Bekka, blessed and a guidance for the nations. (Qur’an 3:96)

In the current era, Muslims visit Makkah to perform their Hajj or Umrah and often this can be an annual visitation or every two years, yet the saddest and perhaps painfully despairing concern is that they return from Hajj, just as they departed.

No change, No reformation, No reflection.

And this is the very reason why the above verse fades away for a Muslim that has not changed, for Hajj is a guide to man, yet those that visit often seem to take advantage of its rewards and somehow become susceptible to the immense value of Hajj.

 

Notes:

[1] https://www.al-islam.org/hajj-pilgrimage-dr-ali-shariati/rejecting-empty-philosophy

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The Lofty Station of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 04:33

By Syed Mohsen Rizvi

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

And We inspired Moses and his brother, (saying): build houses for your people in Egypt and make your houses as QIBLA, and establish worship. And give good news to the believers. (Holy Qur’an, 10:87)

In this short write-up we will attempt to reflect on the station of Imam Ameer ul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a) to the best of our capacity and pray that we learn something new through this effort. The holy month of Ramadan takes the believers on a journey from corporeality (جسديّة) to spirituality (روحانية) where the believers are ordained to reject the necessities of the material world, and focus on the heart that connects to the metaphysical world.

The heart can either be adulterated by the invasion of the mundane needs, desires and vicious instincts. Or the heart can be purified if the material inhabitants are removed to allow the divine light to shine bright, and navigate us towards the higher realm. In essence, the heart is a nucleus to the components (مركبة) of the human reality, what dwells in the heart will determine the fate of the human being in this world and the hereafter. The inhabitant of the heart is either faith/Imaan, or unbelief/Kufr.

The meaning of unbelief/Kufr is to conceal or cover what is evident and clear. In other words, concealing or rejecting all the inarticulate proofs (آيَاتٌ)[1], and demonstrative proofs (بَيِّنَاتٌ)[2] that are bearing witness to the existence of Allah (swt) – constitutes unbelief.

The opposite of unbelief is faith, and faith means to believe in the unseen realities through reflection and contemplation on the inarticulate proofs with the knowledge in hand. However, if the intellect cripples due to lack of knowledge, then holding on to the rope of the demonstrative proofs and following their footsteps with absolute obedience – constitutes faith.

There are many definitions of faith and unbelief, but to make it easier for the human being, Allah (swt) condensed the idea of Faith and unbelief to a single criterion, and ordered the Prophet (saw) to declare;

Love for Ali is faith, and hate for him is unbelief.[3]

Allah (swt) made the love of Ameer ul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a) as the criteria of faith, and hate for him as the sign of unbelief. As there will be many who will claim to love Ali (a) for generations to come, the Prophet (saw) immediately explained the real meaning of faith by saying:

Looking at Ali ibn Abi Talib (a) is servitude (to Allah SWT), remembering Him is servitude (to Allah SWT), and Allah (swt) shall not accept the Faith of his servant unless it is coupled with the Wilayat of Ameer Ul-Momineen (a), and condemnation of His enemies.[4]

So, the broad definition of Faith is Love that is accompanied by the Wilayat of Imam Ali (a). When such love of Ameer ul momineen (a) enters the heart then foundation of faith begins to establish inside the heart, and as a result the heart is purified and that person reaches the rank of a believer/Mo’min, and such faith protects the believers from misguidance, ignorance and apostasy.

Like the heart, the Holy Kaaba on earth also plays a central role for the believers. The Qibla refers to the direction of guidance, while the Kaaba refers to destination of guidance. The square shape foundation existed much earlier than the advent of Islam, and later on by the command of Allah (swt) the walls of Kaaba were raised by Prophet Ibrahim (a). It is important to note that Prophet Ibrahim (a) was the first and only prophet who once shattered the idols of unbelief/Kufr and establish the foundation of Islam and declared the Tawheed of Allah (swt), as Quran says

He said: Nay! your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who brought them into existence, and I am of those who bear witness to this. (21:56)

And, by Allah! I will certainly do something against your idols after you go away, turning back. (21:57)

So he broke them into pieces, except the chief of them, that haply they may return to it. (32:21)

However, after Prophet Ibrahim (a) left the mortal world, for centuries the polytheists and the idolaters inhabited the Kaaba with their idols. The removal of idols by Prophet Ibrahim (a) was the first step towards rejection of falsehood and the implementation of truth, and the birth of Imam Ali (a) inside the Kaaba was the preparation of the end of the falsehood and perfection of truth. As history records the incident that Imam Ali (a) was born in the center of Kaaba:

Amir ul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Talib (a) was born in the center of Kaaba.[5]

The light of Ameer ul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a) entered the Kaaba like the spirit enters the body of a human being and brings the body to life. The one who will revive the practice of Prophet Ibrahim (a) was born, and Prophet Muhammed (saw) supplicated to Allah (swt) to change the direction of the prayers and make Kaaba as the new Qibla, as Qur’an revealed:

Indeed We see the turning of your face to heaven, so We shall surely turn you to a qiblah which you shall like; turn then your face towards the Sacred Mosque. (2:144)

After conquering the city of Mecca, Ameer ul Momineen (a) following the footsteps of his grandfather Prophet Ibrahim (a) stood on the shoulders of the Prophet (saw) and shattered the idols, as the Prophet (saw) said,

O Ali, the first who brought down the idols was your grandfather Ibrahim (a), then you O Ali is the last one. [6]

When the light/noor of Imam Ali (a) entered the empty cube-like structure, the structure was purified and came to life as a symbol of guidance and the sign of the absolute Wilayat of Allah (swt) towards which all believers fall in submission.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the house in which Imam Ali (a) was born became the Qibla of all the believers, it is not a novel idea, because Allah (swt) has made the house of Musa (a) and Haroun (a) as the Qibla, as Qur’an says:

And We inspired Moses and his brother, (saying): build houses for your people in Egypt and make your houses as QIBLA, and establish worship. And give good news to the believers.(10:87)

The obligation to establish worship was given after making the house of Musa (a) and Haroun (a) as direction of their worship. Thus, Musa (a) and Haroun (a) were not only the medium of guidance to their nation, but also Allah (swt) were the medium through which the faith and worship of their nation will be accepted.

The centrality of Kaaba is like the centrality of a metaphysical heart in the universe of a human being. As the heart receives guidance & purification with the Love of Ameer ul Momineen (a), the Kaaba becomes the symbol of guidance and purification with the manifestation of Ameer ul Momineen (a). Whether it is Kaaba or the heart of a human being, the ultimate message of the holy Qur’an, and the holy Bayan, and all the symbols and the act of worship is that Ameer ul Momineen (a) represents the Wilayat of Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw).Rejecting, ignoring or belittling Ali (a) is equivalent to rebellion against Allah (swt) and His messenger (saw). Hence, it is narrated by Abu Dhar ul Ghaffari (a) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

The parable of Ali in my nation is the parable of Kaaba, looking at him is worship, and pilgrimage to him is obligatory. [7]

If anyone visits the Kaaba without understanding the spirit and essence of the Kaaba then they have only circled around a physical structure and ignored the purpose of the pilgrimage. Hence it is important to reflect on the similarities between the Kaaba and the heart of human being that is filled with the love of Imam Ali (a), the necessary conclusion of such reflection will help us understand why Imam Sadiq (a) said:

Honor of a believer is greater than that of the Holy Kaaba. [8]

The reason a believer is more honorable than Kaaba is because Ameer ul Momineen (a) came once inside Kaaba, but as for the heart of a believer, it is a permanent place for the love of Ameer ul Momineen (a).

 

References:

[1] Inarticulate proofs are un-intelligent creations like, animals, trees, mountains, oceans, earth moon, sun, solar system and so on as science progresses. These natural phenomena stand witness without speaking, that our Creator is no other than Allah (swt).

[2] Demonstrative proofs are the Prophets and their successors who demonstrated the evidence through knowledge and intellect for those who comprehend, and miracles and authority for those who were stubborn.

[3] Al-Khisaal by Sheikh al-Sudooq part-14, hadith 13-5

[4] Amali al-Sadouq by Ibn Babeveyah, Mohammad b. Ali, page 138, hadith#9

[5] Tasliyah al-Majalis wa Zaynah al-Majalis by Husaini Mousavi, Mohammad b. Abi Talib, page 256, volume1

[6] al-Rawdhah fi Fadha’il Amir al-Mu’minin Ali b. Abi Talib(a) by Shazan Qomi, Shazan b. Jibri’il  (single volume, page 31)

[7] al-Rawdhah fi Fadha’il Amir al-Mu’minin Ali b. Abi Talib(a) by Shazan Qomi, Shazan b. Jibri’il  (single volume, page 83)

[8] al-Khisaal, 1-96, p62

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Why Is Imam Ali (a) The Epitome Of Justice?

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 14:33

For Brother Bassim Alamiry, for his untiring contribution in starting and running AlRasool Islamic Center, Memphis Tennessee, USA and supporting all community members.

 

Imam Ali (a) is the greatest enigma of all time. His justice has baffled and mystified scholars and intellectuals alike. The power of Imam Ali’s (a) personality has stood the test of time and attracts our hearts and souls until today – even though centuries have passed. We can’t help but admire and hero worship him for he is the core of perfection and peak of virtues His knowledge, wisdom, eloquence, piety, bravery, justice, loyalty, humanity, empathy, honesty, truthfulness and numerous other qualities are beyond compare. His virtues reached a new standard of greatness and his wisdom-filled sayings became a guidance until eternity for people of all faiths and beliefs because they are relevant for everyone and for all times. His birth inside the Kaaba was peerless and a herald of his chosen status.

As a child he recognized injustice and protected the life of Prophet Mohammad (s) who had come under direct attack with a threat to his life. In his youth, his bravery a glorified legend, he continued his role as the protector, companion, Commander-in-chief of Prophet Mohammad (s) in the battles of Badr, Ohad, Khandaq, Khaybar, Hunayn, until the Prophet breathed his last. Even after the Prophet’s death, he remained by his side and performed the final rituals while others got involved in grabbing power.

Imam Ali (a), the unwavering pillar of support to Prophet Mohammad (s), husband to his only daughter Fatima (a) and the rightful successor to Caliphate was left to complete the last rites by the companions as his successorship was being nabbed by opportunists. They argued that there was no explicit appointment just some vague implicit direction expressed by the Prophet on several occasions including the one at Ghadir Khumm where he lifted Imam Ali’s (a) hand and publicly announced – “Everyone whose master I am also has Ali as his master’  [1]. The words of Prophet(S) spoken on every occasion from Dawat  Zul Asheera – “Ali is my brother, my successor and my Caliph” to Ghadir Khumm were intentionally forgotten. Caliphate was too tempting for those seeking wealth and power.

Profoundly wise and versatile with diversified values, people unanimously decided to elect him their Caliph after Usman and thronged around him in Masjid al-Nabawi after Imam Ali (a) refused to accept the Caliphate. He describes the incident in sermon 3 of Nahjul Balagha: “At that moment, nothing took me by surprise, but the crowd of people rushing to me. It advanced towards me from every side like the mane of the hyena so much so that Hasan and Husain were getting crushed and both the ends of my shoulder garment were torn. They collected around me like a herd of sheep and goats.”

As a Caliph, he lived in a simple home, only ate what the poorest in his Caliphate could afford, and displayed his justice, wisdom, and valor in every single act.

When Talha and Zubair approached him for a position, he did not favor them over others.

He bought better clothes for Qambar, his servant, than himself. He denied power to Muawiyah, the corrupt governor of Syria.

Prophet Mohammad (s) said about Imam Ali (a): “Ali stands with Truth and Truth stands with Ali.” History of Islam is full of the incidents of his chivalrous and merciful behavior towards his enemies.

As a Caliph, he implemented rigorous orders on his officers, administrators, and provincial governors to abide by justice. He punished and dismissed all corrupt administrators and governors. In a letter to Ziyad b. Abih, Imam Ali (a) warned against corruption: “I truthfully swear by Allah that if I come to know that you have misappropriated the funds of the Muslims, small or big, I shall inflict upon you such punishment which will leave you empty handed, heavy backed and humiliated…” (Nahjul Balagha, Letter 20).

He advised all his governors to establish justice and eradicate corruption. In advice to Malik al-Ashtar, the governor of Egypt, Imam Ali (a) wrote: “Do justice for Allah and do justice towards the people, as against yourself, your near ones and those of your subjects for whom you have a liking because if you do not do so you will be oppressive, and when a person oppresses the creatures of Allah then, instead of His creatures, Allah becomes his opponent, and when Allah is the opponent of a person He tramples his plea; and he will remain in the position of being at war with Allah until he gives it up and repents.”(Nahjul Balagha, Letter 53).

He strictly cautioned his governors and officers against accepting bribes and gifts: “Any ruler who hides himself from people’s needs, Allah will also hide Himself from him and his needs on the Judgment day; and if he accepts gifts, he would be a traitor; and if he accepts bribes, he would be a polytheist.”(Nahjul Balagha, Letter 53).

Imam Ali (a) rejected those who advised him to seek support by doing injustice and inequity to the Muslims over whom he was chosen as a guardian [ 2].

In response to those who objected to his just distribution and wanted more property referring to Umar’s favoritism of Arabs over non-Arabs he said: By Allah, even if it were my property, I would distribute it equally among them; how would it be when the property is theirs? He justified further by saying: To distribute wealth among those who do not deserve it amounts to squandering the wealth. The Holy Quran also says: Do not squander wealth wastefully. The squanderers are indeed Satan’s brothers and Satan is ungrateful to his Lord. (Surah Bani Isra’il, 17:26-27)

Staggering crowds had pleaded with him to accept the Caliphate but this overwhelming support was short lived because when Imam Ali (a) took reins and started ruling according to the rules dictated by the holy Quran and Sunnah of the holy Prophet many people sensed a lingering danger to their unjustly amassed wealth. Though the people did want a good and virtuous ruler, they did not want an absolute just one who will not show any leniency or favoritism in the matters of administering justice and fairness.

Alas, people who emphasize justice become a thorn in the flesh of those who want riches and power. So also was the case with Imam Ali (a).Under his rule, the corrupt were squirming with the imposition of truth and justice after being accustomed to having their way during the reign of the earlier three Caliphs who let on force and injustice because they were not strong enough to oppose the corrupt and powerful. His Caliphate was strewn with battles against corrupt and deviated Muslims: the battle of Jamal against Ayesha, Talha and Zubair who took up arms against Imam Ali (a) and declared war on him, the battle of Siffin against Muawiyyah who was seeking power, and the battle of Naharwan against the Kharijites who did not like the arbitration with the rebel Muawiyyah in the battle of Siffin.

It was the month of Ramadan, at the time of the morning prayers; in Masjid al-Kufa when Ibn Muljim, with his poisoned sword, struck a fatal blow on the head of the fasting Imam when Imam Ali (a) was in prostration. The deadly strike left a very deep wound. A commotion followed and Ibn Muljim was apprehended and brought before Imam Ali (a) bound in ropes. When the Imam saw the ropes cutting into his flesh, despite his own agony, he asked the people not to be cruel to his murderer and had the ropes loosened.

Imam Ali (a) was taken to his house and when milk was served he offered his glass to Ibn Muljim who drank it. In his will, Imam Ali (a) told his older son, Imam Hasan (a), that the killer had struck one blow with his sword, and should likewise be struck once only [3].

Imam Ali (a) was never lenient in the matters of justice be it his own life and death.

References:

[1] https://www.al-islam.org/ghadir/incident.htm

[2] https://www.al-islam.org/imam-ali-s-book-government-ayatullah-muhammadi-rayshahri/chapter-five-political-policies

[3] https://www.al-islam.org/articles/letter-father-son-last-will-ali-ibn-abi-talibhas

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