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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

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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)

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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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How Fasting Helps in Achieving Better Neurological Health

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 14:51

How Fasting Helps in Achieving Better Neurological Health

In His name the most High

O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil).” (2:183)

Fasting in the blessed month of holy Ramadhan is obligatory for all Muslims who do not have any valid reasons to abstain from it. The primary objective of fasting is to acquire the quintessential quality of Taqwa, so that we “may guard (against evil)” [Shakir] or we may “(learn) self-restraint” [Abdullah Yusuf Ali]. Fasting holds a great primacy in acquiring the quality of Taqwa and proximity with Allah(SWT). The fasting has multiple levels and is experienced by different people at different levels: “The fasting of the ordinary man is to withhold only from food and drink. The fasting of the pious man is to curb sensory desires, to refrain from looking at the unlawful, hearing the harmful, and thinking about the distasteful, or about what stimulates the lower nature. The fasting of a true believer is to seal the heart from paying any attention to other-than-Allah (ghayrallah), and safeguard himself with thorough awareness of the divine laws.”[Pooya/Ali Commentary 2:183]

With all the spiritual and lofty goals of fasting there are equally powerful physical and neurological benefits as well. In this article we would discuss some of the indispensable neurological effects of fasting.

The fasting boosts neuronal autophagy. The autophagy is a natural generation process occurring at the cellular levels. The autophagy is “self-eating” of the cells which helps in recycling the waste material and controls wasteful processes and repair themselves resulting in controlling neurodegeneration. It has been recognised as the crucial defense mechanism against malignancy, infection and neurodegenerative diseases. The abrogation of autophagy in neurons can lead to neurodegenerative disease.

The importance of autophagy has been demonstrated in the research work of Yoshinori Ohsumi in the 1990s. It has been found that it protects against diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and certain forms of dementia.

The research of Dr Rubinsztein has shown that proteins form in clumps in the nerve cells of people with diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. He says “We discovered that if you switch on autophagy you remove these proteins rapidly and protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s and forms of dementia.”[1]

 A research study by Mehrdad Alirezaei, Christopher C. Kemball et al. shows that “short-term food restriction induces a dramatic upregulation of autophagy in cortical and Purkinje neurons” They say “Autophagy is sometimes referred to as cellular “cleansing”, and our observations provide an attractive neuronal parallel to the organismal benefits that, historically, are perceived to derive from fasting…..Our observation that a brief period of food restriction can induce widespread upregulation of autophagy in CNS neurons may have clinical relevance. As noted above, disruption of autophagy can cause neurodegenerative disease, and the converse also may hold true: upregulation of autophagy may have a neuroprotective effect. For example, in vitro models have shown that starvation in neuronal cell lines can remove toxic molecules and damaged mitochondria from neurons”[2]

A study conducted by Taufiqurrachman Nasihun links Ramadhan fasting with the onset of autophagy:

“..fast periods during Ramadan fasting, starvation is occurred and then autophagy is activated to remove protein aggregate and other cellular debris to recycled, resulting in health benefit. Autophagy during RF is induced by glycogen depletion, and switching metabolic condition into ketosis that may occur in day 3-5 of fasting. Since fasting also increase GH secretion in the same time, therefore synergistically action between autophagy and growth hormone is suggested able to replace the old and damage cells by the new one to prevent the pathological process (Klionsky DJ. 2008).” [3]

A pilot study “Fasting in Ramadan Affects Cognitive and Physiological Function in Normal Subjects” conducted by Abdulrahman M. Alsharidah et al has concluded that Ramadan had positive influence on performance in the domains of psychomotor function/processing speed and attention.[4]

Another important effect of Ramadhan fasting is reduction in impulsive actions. Impulsiveness causes one to indulge in any activity without forethought and consideration and so this behaviour trait may lead to wrong decisions and actions. A study conducted by Chamari K, Briki W et al “Impact of Ramadan intermittent fasting on cognitive function in trained cyclists: a pilot study” concluded “RVP (rapid visual information processing) performances suggest lower impulsivity of the cyclists during Ramadan, and even improved accuracy towards the end of Ramadan for the second measure of the day. Therefore, the effects of Ramadan intermittent fasting seem to depend on the type of assessed task, time of day of measurement, with no negative impact on the studied selected cognitive measures in the cyclists of the present study”[5]

A report in New Scientist by Clare Wilson on how “Hungry stomach hormone promotes growth of new brain cells” describes the critical effects of fasting on neurological health: “A stomach hormone that stimulates appetite seems to promote the growth of new brain cells and protect them from the effects of ageing – and may explain why some people say that fasting makes them feel mentally sharper.

When ghrelin was first discovered, it became known as the hunger hormone. It is made by the stomach when it gets empty, and whenever we go a few hours without food its levels rise in our blood.

But there is also evidence that ghrelin can enhance cognition. Animals that have reduced-calorie diets have better mental abilities, and ghrelin might be part of the reason why. Injecting the hormone into mice improves their performance in learning and memory tests, and seems to boost the number of neuron connections in their brains.

Now Jeffrey Davies at Swansea University, UK, and his team have found further evidence that ghrelin can stimulate brain cells to divide and multiply, a process called neurogenesis. When they added the hormone to mouse brain cells grown in a dish, it switched on a gene known to trigger neurogenesis, called fibroblast growth factor.”[6]

The famous neuroscientist Mark Mattson has conducted a lot of research into the relation of energy intake and brain health and has come to the conclusion that fasting wards off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and results in improving memory and mood.

The Brain-Derived NeuroTrophic Factor (BDNF) contributes in the formation of new neurons and the development of synapses and different pathways for communication in the brain. The higher levels of BDNF improve the health of neurons and positively affect the communication processes between the neurological cells. While the lower levels of BDNF cause diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory loss and other brain processing problems. Increased levels of BDNF are also associated with antidepressant effects in brain, so increase in BDNF cures depression also. Another important hormone is HGH: Human Growth Hormone. HGH causes physiological changes in metabolism to favor fat burning and protein sparing. The proteins and amino acids are utilized to improve brain and neuron processing. Fasting has shown to very significantly affecting HGH and BDNF levels in body which bring about great neurological benefits. [7]

A research investigation performed by Mo’ez Al-Islam, E.Faris, Safia Kacim et al on Ramadhan fasting’s effects on proinflammatory cytokines confirms that Ramadhan fasting attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects. Which means Ramadhan fasting is good in reducing brain trauma and other inflammation related health issues.[8]

Shaykh Mansour Leghaei in book entitled “Fasting – A Body/Mind/Spirit Healing” quotes significant observations of Dr. Joel Fuhrman: “Fasting has been repeatedly observed to alleviate neuroses, anxiety and depression” [9]. Therefore we can safely conclude that Ramadhan fasting improves brain health and lessens the risk of cognitive decline and brain disorders. But we must have in mind that all good effects of fasting are dependent upon our proper observance of Ramadhan according to Sunnah. We must understand that “the purpose of fasting is not just to avoid food and drink and hence this is the very lowest level of fasting for the very beginners to start their journey towards perfection and promotion. Thus, it is quoted from the Prophet of Islam (S) that: “Many people gain nothing from their fasting save hunger and thirst.”[ibid]. We must avoid gluttony and over eating at the times of Suhoor and Iftaar to reap and enjoy great neurological and spiritual benefits of this blessed month.

 References:

1. Can the science of autophagy boost your health? By Laurel Ives, Health reporter, BBC News

2. Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy by Mehrdad Alirezaei, Christopher C. Kemball et al.

3. Ramadan Fasting, Health, and Autophagy: Is There any Relationship?  By Taufiqurrachman Nasihun

4. Fasting in Ramadan Affects Cognitive and Physiological Function in Normal Subjects (Pilot Study) by Abdulrahman M. Alsharidah et al

5. Impact of Ramadan intermittent fasting on cognitive function in trained cyclists: a pilot study by Chamari K, Briki W et al

6. Hungry stomach hormone promotes growth of new brain cells by Clare Wilson

7. Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting: Two potential diets for successful brain aging by Bronwen Martin, Mark P. Mattson,and Stuart Maudsleya

8. Intermittent fasting during Ramadan attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects

9. Fasting – A Body/Mind/Spirit Healing by Shaykh Mansour Leghaei

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The Role Of Fasting In Cleansing Toxins From The Body

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 13:18

 

Sawm” or fasting is one of the most prominent pillars of Islam that needs to be followed by every practicing Muslim if there are no health restrictions or age matters that might affect the health of an individual. While it teaches us to endure “Sabr” (patience), it also elevates the level of “Taqwa”.

 

In order to bolster the spiritual connection with the Khaliqin, one must observe fast. This tradition has been followed by many Prophets (AS) in the past prior to the arrival of our beloved Prophet Muhammad(S).

 

“Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may gain self-restraint.” (Holy Quran, 2:183)

 

The month of fasting in Islam is known as Ramadan which happens to be the holiest and the blessed months. In this month, Quran was revealed.

 

While the spiritual levels have their own benefits in observing fasts, there are physical benefits too like fasts remove toxins from the body and help the body to rejuvenate. Let me discuss certain points related to the perks of this holy month in relation to our physical body:

 

Fasting helps to remove toxins from the body. As per Dr. Otto Buchinger; Germany’s great fasting therapist after more than 100,000 fasting cures says: “Fasting is, without doubt, the most effective biological method of treatment, it is the operation without surgery… it is a cure involving exudation, redirection, loosening up and purified relaxation.”

 

It helps to relieve the body from various diseases as well as allergies.

 

It helps you to get rid of certain habits for a while and may be that might become life-long too. Like one cannot smoke, this will signal the body to adjust without it and eventually you may one day get rid of it.

 

It helps to lower cholesterol which in turn increases cardiovascular health and thereby decreasing the risk of heart attack or a stroke.

 

It helps to eliminate toxins from the body. While the body is fasting, the stored fats and carbohydrates are used to generate energy and also burn any harmful toxins present in the body.

 

During this time, the organs start to repair themselves and the white blood cells of the body become more active for cleansing the body.

 

Body’s healing mechanism increases.

 

It helps to boost brain function and prevents degenerative disorders.

 

Shaykh Mansour Leghaei in his book “Fasting and the Holy month of Ramadhan”[1] writes on the healing effects of the fasting:

 

It is quoted from the Prophet of Islam to have said: “Fast, you’ll be healthy”. An Egyptian pyramid inscription in 3800B.C also reads: “Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the three-quarters live their doctor!”

 

The three fathers of Western Medicine; (Hippocrates, Galen & Paracelsus) prescribed fasting as the greatest remedy and the physician within. Life Magazine in its September 1996 issue considered fasting: the healing revolution. There are more than 500 medical journal articles available on therapeutic fasting on the internet.

 

The outstanding physicians named fasting as being; the medicine for the 21st century. They believe the human body is designed to heal itself, if only given the opportunity. Dr. Otto Buchinger; Germany’s great fasting therapist after more than 100,000 fasting cures says: “Fasting is, without doubt, the most effective biological method of treatment.. it is the operation without surgery… it is a cure involving exudation, redirection, loosening up and purified relaxation.”

 

He furthers therapeutically; fasting cures many of our modern illnesses, including the following: allergies, cardiovascular disease, chronic diseases of the digestive system, degenerative and painfully inflammatory illnesses of the joints, myriad disturbances in one’s eating behavior, glaucoma, initial malfunction of the kidneys, tension and migraine headaches, as well as skin diseases.

 

Preventively, it’s designed to cleanse, and to regenerate, rejuvenate and restore a person’s sense of well-being, in body, mind and soul. As Doctor Buchinger would conclude: “When the body fasts, the soul is hungry; when the body becomes lighter, the soul also craves relief.”

 

Dr. Joel Fuhrman in Fasting and Eating for Health notes: “Fasting has been repeatedly observed to alleviate neuroses, anxiety and depression.”

 

Fasting marvelously decomposes and burns all the cells and tissue that are aged, damaged, diseased, weakened or dead, a process called in medicine autolyze or self-digest or detoxification.”

 

The main purpose of fasting is to gain ‘self-restraint’ as stated in the holy Qur’an:

 

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may observe self-restraint (al-Taqwa).” [2:183]

 

Thus it is also the spiritual cleansing because:

 

It brings one closer to Allah

It imbibes the habit of patience in an individual

The reward for the patient is stated in the holy Quran as:

 

“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full without reckoning.” [39:10]

 

One must take this month seriously and commit themselves sincerely in order to enjoy the benefits of fasting that would aid to keep the body healthy.

 

Thus one must try to be punctual in fasting as it is important from the religious point of view as well as body’s health wise too. Let us pray to Allah to give us strength to fast in the holy month, to elevate our Taqwa and make us a better individual!

 

References:

 

1. https://www.al-islam.org/fasting-and-ramadhan-sheikh-mansour-leghaei/fasting-bodymindspirit-healing

 

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Prophet Muhammad (S) as a perfect human

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 08:55

Do we follow Islam perfunctory because we are born into the religion or do we follow it because we understand it? This is not a difficult question to answer because we appreciate being born Muslims and not having to go through the difficult transformation process of leaving one faith to accept another. We took Islam from our parents, built on it and in the course realized that Islam has answers to all our questions. Islam taught us that to continue to stay on the right path we should have knowledge of our religion with understanding, not get fearful of our circumstances remaining firm in our belief, avoiding bad company and influences that cause us to sin.

Our belief in Allah (SWT), purifies us from polytheism, prayers make us humble, charity purifies our soul and increases prosperity, fasting increases firmness in our devotion, Haj reinforces religion and justice bringing peace and harmony in hearts.

What would be the character of the person who brought a peaceful religion like Islam for the entire humanity in the Middle East in the era when fathers were killing their own daughters barbarically and there were no moral values or legal principles? He would have to be gentle in guiding them to adopt moral values so they did not get offended and reject him. He would definitely have to be kind, tolerant and understanding if he were expecting a behavioral change. He would have to be respectful no matter how bad the people he was dealing with – making them feel important and very special despite their faults. He should be able to gain their trust to be able to gently guide them and prevent them from doing wrong. He would have to be a good judge of character, more from a higher rank, to have a peer support system with reliable confidants who are firm so as not to be easily swayed. He should be able to connect with all different kinds of people.

He would have to be transparent, honest and trustworthy with no greed. He would have to be someone who would never hurt you nor cheat you, or betray your trust in him. He would have to be truthful at all times. He would have to be someone people would yearn for because they would feel a sense of comfort by being in his presence. More importantly, he should be able to set an example and invoke the desire in others to be ethical and excel in the good they are doing. He would have all these special traits and still be humble if he were to implement all the moral values to accomplish his mission. He would show respect to his followers, to his family members and even to his enemies. These qualities are so special that world leaders today, especially the pretentious ones, would be successful and more respected if they adopted a few of these characteristics.

Who in this whole wide world possessed qualities to implement such deep-rooted changes in human character? In the history of mankind, there is just one and only one person who qualifies(1). He did not have a trace of arrogance and was a symbol of simplicity and piety. He was the man who graced the world with his presence from 17 of Rabi’ al-awwal 53 BH to 28 Safar 11 AH. Allah(SWT)  described his personality to us in the Holy Quran: And it was by God’s grace that you [O Prophet] were lenient with your followers: for if you had been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have broken away from you. Pardon them, then, and pray that they be forgiven. And take counsel with them in all matters of public concern; then, when you have decided upon a course of action, place your trust in God: for, verily, God loves those who place their trust in Him. (Quran 3:159)

Allah (SWT)’s Prophet (S) had some unique characteristics. He was kind, soft-spoken with a gentle firmness yet a great leader. He gave advice to those who sought and always practiced himself before he preached. He had vast knowledge of this universe and the hereafter and he spoke to people at their level of understanding. He practiced what was mentioned in the Quran, conveying the message to the people by practicing and demonstrating. He spent much of his time in the company of others teaching them to learn from his life – a living example indeed. People were aware of the simple things he did in his day to day life like what he drank, how he drank, how much he drank, how he ate, what he ate, how much he ate, how he fasted, how he prayed, his mannerisms, his likes and dislikes, his role as a husband, a father, a grandfather, a role model. His piety, morality, dedication, charity, knowledge, wisdom, his simplicity, generosity, integrity, righteousness, patience, calmness, composure, honesty, truthfulness, leadership, friendliness, hospitality, helpful nature, problem-solving were simply exemplary. He taught people a new way of life – devotional, enlightened, disciplined, organized, compassionate, peaceful, just, empathetic, focused, responsible, as well as reflective.

Historians have documented that his practices were heart-winning. For instance, he always looked directly at the person and spontaneously smiled making them feel instantly joyful and lighting up their eyes and faces. He always laughed at things they laughed at – remained calm, composed and pleasant so people were always comfortable around him. “And indeed, you are of a great and powerful disposition, moral character and mannerism.” (Quran 68:4). Who is this noble soul that the Holy Quran speaks so highly of?

This noble person was our dear Prophet Mohammad (S) son of Abdullah ibn Abdul Muttalib. Prophet Muhammad (S) (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him and his family) was a devoted soul who had dedicated his life for Allah (SWT) There was not one star like him that walked the surface of the earth. He was a treasure of all good qualities in one human being(2). His alluring qualities include mercy to all, forgiveness, kindness, absolute trust in Allah (SWT), practicing before preaching, leading them by setting an example.

With his pleasant personality he won the hearts of everyone around him. Renowned for his pleasantness in paying respect to others, genuinely interested in his followers when they involved him in their conversation, being attentive, actually listening to what they were conveying, showing empathy, helping them when needed, avoiding conflicts and arguments over trivial things, parting with pleasantries made him the most sought after person by all those who knew him.

Obeying Prophet Muhammad (S) is equivalent to obeying Allah (SWT): “Say, [O ], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Quran 3:31)

Such is Allah (SWT)’s love for his Prophet (S), His own creation, who is noor in a human form who did not have a shadow. Whatever Prophet Muhammad (S) says is based on a divine revelation: “Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed.” (Quran 53:3–4)

Prophet Muhammad (S) is the Prophet of Allah (SWT) at all times. He does not become like us and does not commit mistakes. He is the chosen one to be the guiding light for the entire humanity. Those who consider him as their own selves are mistaken because Prophet Muhammad (S) is a Prophet every second of his life. He is a human no doubt, he was born, was alive and died. He felt joy and sorrow, enjoyed good health and fell sick, felt pain, ate food, married women, left his legacy – his progeny behind(3).

 

1.https://www.al-islam.org/articles/prophet-muhammad-s-divine-mercy-worlds-shaykh-mansour-leghaei

2.https://www.al-islam.org/islamic-teachings-book-2/prophetic-mission-prophet-muhammad-s

3 https://www.al-islam.org/life-muhammad-prophet-sayyid-saeed-akhtar-rizvi/early-years

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The Fifth of the Scintillating Lights

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 13:14

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir is the fifth of the scintillating lights of the AhlulBayt (as). He was known as al-Baqir al-uloom, the one who splits knowledge, meaning to disperse and share the knowledge endowed from past Imams (as) and Prophets (as). He was the splitter of knowledge; unravelling the mysteries of deep oceans of knowledge and solving the riddles of science for the people. His love for knowledge is well known and documented among the historians.

He was born in Medina and lived until about 57 years of age, spending nineteen of those years in a state of Imamate. During his life, the Umayyads and Abbasids were occupied with fighting each other for power. Imam al-Baqir (as) made best use of this reprieve in spreading the divine knowledge and light of which he was the heir to the holy Prophet (s). Many great scholars have acknowledged and praised his great scientific knowledge. Abdullah Ibn ‘Atayi Makki says, “The scholars showed a kind of humility before Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayn that (they) showed for no one else. I saw Hakam ibn ‘Atibah, who was so learned and honorable, that behaved like a child before his teacher when facing Muhammad ibn Ali.” [1] Ibn Abil Hadid writes, “Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayn was the greatest in jurisprudence in Hijaz. The people learned jurisprudence from him and his son, Ja’far…” [ibid]

Shaykh Mufid writes, “Some traditions are narrated from Imam al-Baqir (as) about the beginning of creation of world, the history of Prophets (s), wars, conducts, traditions, and Hajj rituals from Prophet Muhammad (s), as well as exegesis of the Qu’ran by general and specific narrators…People have narrated various sciences from him…Imam al-Baqir (as) trained notable and knowledgeable students during his lifetime, who are narrators of his traditions…” [2] Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, a famous scholar belonging to the Sunni school of thought said: “Imam Muhammad al-Baqir has disclosed the secrets of knowledge and wisdom and unfolded the principles of spiritual and religious guidance. Nobody can deny his exalted character, his God-given knowledge, his divinely-gifted wisdom and his obligation and gratitude towards spreading of knowledge. He was a sacred and highly talented spiritual leader and for this reason he was popularly titled `al-Baqir’ which means `the expander of knowledge.’ Kind of heart, spotless in character, sacred by soul and noble by nature, the Imam devoted all his time in submission to Allah (and in advocating the teachings of the Holy Prophet and his descendants). It is beyond the power of a man to count the deep impression of knowledge and guidance left by the Imam on the hearts of the faithful. His sayings in devotion and abstinence, in knowledge and wisdom, and in religious exercise and submission to Allah are so great in number that the volume of this book is quite insufficient to cover them all.” [3]

According to a famous tradition, the holy Prophet (s) is said to have conveyed his greetings to Imam al-Baqir through his companion Jabir ibn Abd Allah Ansari. One day, while being in audience with Imam al-Sajjad (as), Jabir heard a child whom he asked ‘Who are you?’ The child answered: ‘I am Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn.’ Jabir called him near, took hold of his hand, kissed it, and said: ‘One day, I had an audience with your grandfather, the Apostle of Allah (s). He told me: ‘You may live so long as to see Muhammad ibn Ali b. al-Husayn, one of my grandsons. Give my greetings to him and tell him: May Allah grant you the light of wisdom, (to) disseminate the faith and knowledge!’” [4]

The above mentioned details are just a small glimpse of the greatness of Imam al-Baqir (as). But what did he want from his Shia? The following tradition from him addressed to Jabir Ja’fari, who was one of his companions, notes one of his important commands for his true followers:

“O Jabir! I swear by God that our follower is one who submits to the command of God and is pious and God-fearing. God is not biased toward anyone and the dearest servants before God are those who are the most righteous and comply with divine edicts better and more often than others. By God, the only way to please God and get closer to Him, is through obedience and submission. We cannot save you from the flames of hell. Anyone who obeys God is our companion and friend and anyone who commits sins and wrongdoings and disobeys God is our enemy. O Jabir! One cannot attain our affection but through piety and good deeds.” [5]

1. As quoted in “Imamate and The Imams” by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
2. ibid
3. As quoted in “A Brief History of the Fourteen Infallibles” published by World Organization for Islamic Services
4. As quoted in “The Fourteen Luminaries of Islam” by Ahmad Ahmadi Birjandi
5. As quoted in “Principles of the Shi’ite Creed” by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini

Source : Islamic Insights

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The Keys of Salvation for a Believer: Piety, Patience and Truth

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 23:13

Author : Dr Farhat Fatima

Allah (s.w.t) has unlimited knowledge and is commanding. He is the Grand Architect of the Universe. The Primary step of religion is to understand Him (Allah s.w.t) as He is the Guardian of those who believe. And those who disbelieve in Allah (s.w.t) for them is the fire of Hell. God has sent down the Book (al-Quran) which has regulated laws to follow and practice. And the balance has to be done through following the divine prophet and his Ahl Al-Bayt(AS) and the Holy Quran. Imam Ali (a.s) is the Assistant of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.w) and He explains to us that the followers of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.w) should follow piety so that they are free from evil desires. Through piousness, patience and truth a person can achieve positive aims of life.

Glory is for the Supreme Lord

Allah the Almighty, Omniscient and all-powerful Lord, has created this Universe with the marvelous earth which gives shelter to all species large and small, gigantic and minute. This earth is shaded with the wonderful sky. Allah has made beautiful flowers with bulbs and their flowery colorful petals. These florid petals open and close and sing the Praise and Resplendence of Allah, the Great and Omnipotent. He has created the oceans and rivers with beautiful plant life in it. The glorious sun greets the mountains and earth with its silvery rays. These beautiful creations of God do not ask for attention as they are busy admiring the brilliance of Allah (s.w.t). He is Almighty Lord who has created all the creatures starting from living things like energies, matter, compounds, different forms of life and the laws of nature. His artistic designs and wonderful creations of beauty and elegance has the most beautiful and brilliant characteristics and are unmistakable indications and evidences of His Supreme Knowledge and Might.

Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib says in Sermon 53 of Peak of Eloquence – Nahjul Balagha that “God be praised till nights keep on setting in and world keeps on rising and setting: Praised be God whose Bounties will never disappear, whose Favours are gratis and do not require returns.” (Jaffery 154) The primary step of religion is to accept, understand and realize Him (Allah s.w.t) as the Lord, the excellence of perception lies in certainty and authentication, and the true way of conviction is to honestly believe in Tawheed (oneness of Allah). The accurate form of belief in His Unity is to realize that He is so totally clean and beyond nature that nothing can be added to or subtracted from His being. (Jaffery 101)

Guidance is for the believers

God is the Guardian of those who believe; He taketh them out

of darkness into light; and those who disbelieve, the rebels

are their guardians they take them out from light to darkness;

They are the companions of the (Hell) fire, therein shall they

abide. [Chap. 2 Al-Baqarah 257]

The verse (Holy Quran 2: 257) illustrates the situation of believers and disbelievers from the point of leader and guardian. The leader and guardian, Allah (s.w.t) under his guardianship and leadership brings the believers out of darkness into light and those who disbelieve and reject faith, their guardians are the false-deities (taghoot) who bring them back from light into darkness. Those disbelievers will be the inhabitants of fire and they will abide forever. The traits of a believer are to spend in charity and believe in Unity of God. There shall be no compulsion in religion as the truth has been made clear. This verse (Holy Quran 2: 257) states the fact that any attitude of mind and heart towards any object held as sacred, cannot be obtained by force but by spontaneous conviction with a clear view of what is really sacred from what is otherwise. Allah created human beings and wants them to follow the straight path and do good deeds in this world. He has promised those who believe and do good that they will go to Jannah; while those disbelieve and do bad deeds will go to Jahannum.

God is He Who sent down the Book with truth

and the Balance, and what dost. Thou know?

Happly the Hour (of Reckoning) be nigh [Chap. 42 Surah Ash-Shura: 17]

God shall judge all differences. The true Religion which way revealed to the apostles in the past and the treasures of the heavens and the earth belong only to God. The verse [Chap. 42: 17] illustrates that, The Book (The Holy Quran) sent down to mankind from God does not contain mere philosophy or mere ideals of life but strictly regulated laws for men to practice and for the regulation of justice on earth. A Balance is the means through which the values are inquired and determined. It is said that here the Meezan or the Balance is the divine personality of the Holy Prophet(S) which manifested the various attributes of God and which presented the best model or the standard of faith and its practice and after him his kith and kin (the holy Ahl Al-Bayt) starting with Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s) until the Twelfth Imam (Mahdi a.t.f.s). The position of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib(AS) with the Holy Prophet(S) is as his deputy and Assistant. Thus, the believer should be in complete balanced mind with (a) the Holy Prophet(S) along with his Ahl Al-Bayt(AS) and (b) the revealed Holy Book, The Quran.

The last sentence of the verse (chap 42: 17) is apparently a presumptive one reminding the Noble Prophet (S) that although he is the Messenger of Allah (SWT) and aware of the mysteries of creation, but the Hour of Resurrection is solely known by God Almighty. In reply to disbelievers inquiring about the Hour of Resurrection, he is asked to say unto them that God Alone is aware of it and it may be close at hand.

The discourse of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib in Sermon 234 explains piety as the key to the doors of righteousness and virtue. It is a provision for the next world. It is a source of freedom from slavery of evil desires and a wall of protection from every ill-luck and misfortune. It is a refuge for those who try to run away from vice and wickedness. Through it a person can achieve his aims of life. (Jaffery 416)

Verily man is in loss! [Chap 103: 2]

The verse (103: 2) says that man’s lifespan of time is continuously squeezing, as the ice melts into water in the same way the life of man is melting. The man amidst innumerable temptations is always caught in the satisfaction of his lust and desires, thus under the risk of being easily beguiled by the innumerable and the most powerful and irresistible attractions. And if man, is not on his guard against all the formidable forces of Satan who is ever active to lead man astray, man suffers the loss, the loss of the pleasure of his Lord which is the loss of his salvation, the loss real.

We can conclude the discussion in following words : Man has to enjoin patience with truth and good deeds following the steps of the preachers, the Holy Ahlul Bayt(AS) as they themselves exercised more patience to the maximum degree possible. The Holy Ahlul Bayt(AS) has suffered untold miseries, tortures and a wholesale massacre of their dear ones in the battle of Karbala with patience. None of the eleven Imams left this world with a natural death and all of them suffered martyrdom and always preached goodness and advocated abstinence from evil. The Best of the people can be only those whom God has Himself Purified (The verse 33:33). The others, according to the degree of the purification they would have achieved. God assures the believers that even though he is Omnipotent and none can challenge His Authority, He deals with all the facts, truth, benevolence, justice, and the rights of none will be transgressed on the Day of Judgment.

Reference

  1. Section 34, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter 2, Verse 257
  2. Surah Al-‘Ahzab, Chapter 33 Verse 33 | An Enlightening Commentary
  3. 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. 103. 2)
  4. 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. 17)
  5. Trans. Jafery, Askari Peak of Eloquence (‘Nahjul Balaqha) Sermons, Letters and Sayings of Imam Ali Sixth Edition (1979) Islamic Seminary pg. 101
  6. Peak of Eloquence (‘Nahjul Balaqha) Sermons, Letters and Sayings of Imam Ali Sixth Edition (1979) Islamic Seminary pg. 154
  7. Peak of Eloquence (‘Nahjul Balaqha) Sermons, Letters and Sayings of Imam Ali Sixth Edition (1979) Islamic Seminary pg. 416

 

 

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Muharram The Month Of Revolution

Sun, 10/21/2018 - 04:56

Although a revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structure that takes place in a relatively short period of time we are applying the term to an Islamic month that carries in its fold the immortal message of Imam Husain a.s. because of the great awareness it brings in our everyday life.  Every sip of water we drink brings to our mind the picture of our little prince, Ali Asghar a.s. who was the youngest soldier of Imam Husain’s a.s.’s mission and contributed to the event that culminated on the 10th of Muharram [1].

The revolution that took place in retaliation to duress and oppression in the month of Muharram, under the Imamate(divine leadership) of Imam Husain a.s. left the warm light of Islam turned on for everyone to accept, whenever they felt compelled to find the ultimate truth.  Imam Husain a.s. has burned a lamp that draws us to it and provides the feeling of connection with God in its engulfing warmth.  It is a revolution that gains more momentum with time.  As more and more people realize its significance and get drawn to it they experience the peace they were in search of and feel their quest for truth has been answered.  This emotional satisfaction is an outcome of the love they receive through the doors of Imam Husain a.s. which are forever open welcoming each one of us to connect to Allah swt just like he went to the side of every martyr of Karbala and held him close to his self during the last moments of their lives.

Imam Husain a.s. learned Islam from his grandfather – the one who received the Holy Quran on his heart, his father – the epitome of knowledge in the Prophet’s mission and his mother who was also called Zakiyah – the knowledgeable.  He represented the true living spirit of Islam.  When unnecessary and unwanted changes were being incorporated into Islam, Imam Husain a.s. was duty-bound to bring it back into its original form.  This called for a revolution because Imam Husain a.s. was conscious of the wrong and he knew that he was the only one who could correct the wrong because he was accurately aware of the extent to which the wrong had taken place [2].  When Imam Husain a.s. was given no choice but to give allegiance to a tyrant and an infidel enemy of Islam or face death, he took a few members of his family – including women and children and left Madinah towards Makkah.  While in respite, he aspired to perform Haj.  His peace did not last long and when the enemy plotted to kill him while performing Haj, Imam Husain a.s. performed Umrah instead of Haj to preserve the sanctity of the Holy Kaaba.  Since Makkah had also become unsafe for him, he accepted the invitation of Kufans and left Makkah for Kufah.  His family accepted Imam Husain a.s.’s divine decision with solidarity [3].  His brave and obedient brother Abbas a.s. suppressed his anguish and obeyed Imam Husain a.s.’s command to avoid bloodshed at the Holy Kaaba and give in to the compelling demand of the enemy to leave Makkah without performing Haj.

When Imam Husain a.s. learned that Yazid’s forces had assembled in Kufah and were waiting to assassinate him, he changed direction to go back towards Madinah.  Hurr a.s.’s army obstructed Imam Husain a.s. from returning to Madinah.  Not wanting to go to Kufah and unable to go to Madinah, Imam Husain a.s. moved in the direction towards Karbala.  There, he was besieged and the supply of food and water to his camps was cut off.  His family – consisting of infants, children, women and nursing mothers suffered hunger and thirst for three days in the extreme heat in the desert of Karbala.  Imam Husain a.s. requested everyone to leave him and save their lives for staying with him would mean certain death.  On the day of Ashura, he began to lose one companion after another.  After his small company of seventy two was killed in the matter of a few hours, and he had participated in the agony and death of every companion, he offered his thanks to Allah swt in prostration in complete submission and attained martyrdom [ 4].

In Muharram, our beloved Imam Husain a.s. set an example for us to conquer oppression in a way that weapons were not needed to be victorious.  He vanquished falsehood with truth creating history which only gets more relevant with passage of time because new depth is displayed in the character of Imam Husain a.s. each time it is closely examined.  The success of Imam Husain’s mission is manifold and multifaceted.

The humanitarian sacrifice of our Prophet’s beloved grandson is intense, immense, incomparable, invaluable and impassable to any event in the history of this world.  In a matter of few short months after he left his home in Madinah, Imam Husain a.s. contentedly offered all he had – including his family, his followers, his footing, in the way of Allah swt.  Imam Husain a.s. was a unique revolutionist.  The noteworthy revolutions include the revolution of colored people against whites in the 1790s and the Iranian revolution in the 1970s, which reformed the society, as well as all revolutions in between are a reawakening after Islam had prohibited slavery and set the standard for leading a blissful life centuries ago.  However, there was no reformer like Imam Husain a.s. who brought changes that will last until the very last day of the existence of this world.

The incarnate truth was revealed by the Holy Quran al Karim, brought to us by the message of our Holy Prophet sas who, by example, taught the believers how to live a truthful and sanctified life.  He invited the people to one God – Allah swt.  He explained the verses from the Holy Quran as they were brought to him by Gibrail a.s.  A lifetime’s dedication of Prophet Mohammad sas for the cause of Islam was being eliminated by the changes being brought to the religion by the rulers after the Prophet sas.  These changes hurt the soul of spiritual freedom which is the essence of Islam.  They worked against truth and the preaching and principles of the Prophet sas and favored the corrupt rulers.

When Islam was being modified from the inside to suit the political greed and shortcomings of the rulers, the true custodian of Islam set up his defense to protect Islam with the divine help and integrate the true spirit of Islam in such a way that no one would be able to change the essence of the religion till the very end.   Therefore Imam Husain a.s. is the protector of Islam.

In a revolution, there is a reversal of direction to revolve and go back into its original form leading to a radical and complete change.  Imam Husain a.s. unfolded a new era in Islam by his unique sacrifice and clearly distinguished the truth from falsehood in the shadow of the Karbala Revolution.

The battle of Karbala that took place in the month of Muharram and subsequent events exposed the tyrants whose roots can be traced back to the infidels who had joined Islam either to save their own skin or in greed of bounty they expected from a prosperous religion.  The two groups, truth and falsehood, were clearly separated – the first group restored the religion of Prophet Mohammad sas, and the second group fed their own greed without a clue or understanding of the true spirit of Islam.  The two groups diverged even further with time as the sacrifice of Imam Husain a.s. and his companions was revealed to the world and the tyrants continued their tyranny on Ahlul Bayt a.s.  Imam Husain a.s. became an iconic figure not only for the true Muslims but also for the justice seekers who were seeking a true humanitarian as a role model.  The severed head of Imam Husain a.s., the savior of Islam, on the spear inspires every oppressed individual to raise his head and fight for his dignity.

If the question still remains:  Who won the battle of Karbala?  The victory is Imam Husain a.s. ’s because this one man revolution in the month of Muharram revived and brought back to life the true spirit of Islam complete with humanity as illustrated in the Holy Quran.  Imam Husain a.s.’s mission, which was to reawaken the spirit of Islam and rekindle the Islamic conscience that was nearing extinction by the conduct of Muslim rulers of his time, was accomplished perfectly.  The blood of Imam Husain a.s. and his companions keeps the lamp of Islam lighted as a means of guidance to all humanity, till eternity, to keep the spirit of freedom and refrain from surrendering the liberty of mind to evil ways [5].

Muharram is the month of display of patience, bravery, loyalty, heroism, faith, belief, trust, humanity and sacrifice. It is the month of Husain a.s.  It is a month of Abbas a.s., Ali Akbar a.s., Hurr a.s., Habeeb a.s., Ali Asghar a.s.  It is a month wherein the tyrants who were in power lost to the powerless and uprooted family of Prophet sas and their small group of devoted friends.

The sacrifice of Imam Husain a.s. started a new trend, the ritual of Majlis in the month of Muharram in the Imambargahs(the places where commemorating mourning assemblies or majalis are held) and Mosques.  This provided a unique opportunity of learning Imam Husain a.s.’s martyrdom and sacrifice in Karbala.  The respected orators convey the message of Imam Husain a.s. from the pulpits.  This must be made full use of in understanding the true meaning of Islam and the victory of chests, hands and necks over spears, swords and arrows.  We, the followers of Imam Husain a.s., do not need artillery to remain truthful and fight the Satan.  Falsehood will eventually be defeated by the truth and vanish with time so long as we have the courage to rise against the tyrant even when we are weak.  Imam Husain a.s. taught us to make sacrifices and remain firm if we are with the truth and not to give in to the Satans in our life.

We commemorate Imam Husain a.s.’s martyrdom in the month of Muharram.  We mourn by wearing black as a symbol of sorrow.  We experience the pain that Imam Husain a.s. and his family went through in saving the prestige of Islam.  We remember the sacrifice made by him to save Islam when it was in peril of extinction only a few years after our Prophet sas passed away.

The revolution in the month of Muharram is the cause of many revolutions we bring in our lives by taking strength from the martyrdom of Imam Husain a.s. because we do not consider Muharram to be a ritual to follow each year.  Rather, Muharram is a month in which the less powerful become more determined and muster strength to overcome the more powerful miscreants in their lives.  The enemy need not be an outsider, it could be your own ego that you learn to tame and get rid of in Muharram.  It could be your impatience and loss of focus that you need to learn to conquer.  It could be your temper and destructive nature that is causing harm to others and destroying your own self – this needs to be eliminated.

To my father who is a wonderful father, an adorable grandfather, and a devoted husband to my mother.

 

References:

  1. https://www.al-islam.org/nafasul-mahmum-relating-heart-rending- tragedy-karbala-shaykh-abbas-qummi

  2. https://www.imamreza.net/old/eng/imamreza.php?id=10018

  3. https://www.al-islam.org/articles/divine-will-martyrdom-imam-husain-allamah-sayyid-saeed-akhtar-rizvi

  4. https://www.al-islam.org/lohoof-sighs-sorrow-sayyid-ibn-tawus

  5. http://english.khamenei.ir/news/4212/Imam-Hussain-s-Revolution-for-Humanity

 

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The Ultimate Beacon of Humanity and Sacrifice: Hussain Ibn Ali (A.S.)

Sun, 10/21/2018 - 03:38

Author: Dr Farhat Fatima

Abstract

Islam is a monotheistic religion taught by Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his progeny). The deep-seated decree of Islam is total submission to the will of Allah (S.W.T). When the immoral Yazid Ibn Mawviya unlawfully avowed himself as a leader of the Islamic state of Damascus, the throne of Damascus had become a tyrant’s worldly throne and the decomposition of ethics and principles of Islam spread among the people. There was only one man who could stop this viciousness and that was Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A.S.) – the youngest grandson of Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W.) and the rightful Imam/leader of the Muslims. Thus, on the day of Ashura, the tenth of Moharram 61 A.H. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) sacrificed his life along with seventy one of His companions in the way of Islam.

This paper aims to portray Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) by his colossal sacrifices against tyranny and oppression as ‘the ultimate beacon’ or guiding light for humanity till eternity. This beacon/guiding light kindled by Imam Hussain (A. S.) by giving his life, has been kept alive by his son Zain Al Abedien(A. S.), his sister Zainab Bint Ali (S.A), His family members (The Ahl Al-Bayt) and by his living son, Qaem (A.T.F.S) and the true followers of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.).

Keywords: Humanity, Sacrifice, Discipline, Restraint, Values

Rationalization of thoughts

Islam taught by Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his progeny) was a religion of restraint, discipline and a religion of setting aside of self-interest and helping others. When the devilish Yazid Ibn Mawviya affirmed himself as a leader of the Ummah/Islamic state of Damascus, the throne of Damascus had become a worldly throne and the decay of morals and values of Islam spread among the people. “In the fifty years of History from the death of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) to Kerbala. Islam had gone through a series of turmoil’s where its spiritual values were tarnished to an extent that Yazid publicly denounced the Prophet of Islam in his court and was drinking and making fun of the rules of Shariat.”(Khan 2)

There was only one man who could stop this viciousness and that was the youngest grandson of Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W), Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.). Yazid insisted oath of allegiance from Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.). Hussain’s piousness and righteousness and his high position as the chosen Imam of Allah (S.W.T) and a custodian of Ummah would not have allowed him to pay homage to anybody, let alone a tyrant like Yazid Ibn Mawviya. He (Imam Hussain Ibn Ali) was the inheritor of Prophets – The inheritor of Adam (A. S.), inheritor of Nooh (A. S.), The inheritor of Musa (A. S.), The inheritor of Esa (A. S.), The inheritor of Mohammad Mustafa, peace be upon him and his progeny (inheritor of prophethood) and the inheritor of Ali Ibn Abi Talib. (A. S.) (Inheritor of Imamah)

Yazid Ibn Mawviya was a drunkard, pervert and vile natured man and Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) knew very well that giving allegiance of loyalty to Yazid Ibn Mawviya would jeopardize the survival of Islam. To protect and defend Islam he had no alternative but to deal with and collide with Yazid’s rulership irrespective of the consequences.

Thus, on the day of Ashura, the tenth of Moharram 61 A.H. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) gave his life along with seventy one of His companions in the way of Islam to stir the glow of unparalleled love in the hearts of children, women and men for all seasons and years to come. Karbala is an unmatched sole instance of Humanity and truth. The martyrs of Karbala have shown that for defending the integrity of Islam and to guard its ideology you need to endure hardships and heartache and even your lives are worthy of sacrifice.

“Within the small band of followers who gave up their lives in Karbala, we find that it represented society from varied aspects. As such, it was a microcosm of the society for all time. There were companions of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W); companions of Imam Ali (A. S.) (Tabayeen) historically recognized Reciters of holy Quran, and Narrators of Hadiths  in Karbala.”(Askari 78) Among the martyrs of Banu Hashim, exclusively were the children of Abu Talib (A. S.) i.e., the children of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (A. S.), and the children of his brothers Hazrat Jaffer al Tayyar (A. S.) and Hazrat Aqeel (A. S.). Everyone near and dear to Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) was lying on the battlefield of Karbala drenched in their own blood. Maula Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) was alone. He whispered gently, ‘Abbas my dear brother, I am alone! So alone’

Slowly, he (AS) moved towards the tents and bade his last farewell and gave necessary instructions to Imam Zain Al Abedien (A. S.) and the ladies. There was heart rending wailing as the Imam walked towards his horse. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) moved towards the battlefield. Standing all alone He (AS) called out Halmin Nasirin Yansurana ‘Is there anyone to help me?’ When no one came to help and the soldiers of Yazid Ibn Mawviya started to attack him, Imam Hussain (A. S.) took out his sword and began to fight. Parched, weary, injured, brokenhearted, Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) fought as no one had seen anyone fight! All the best warriors of Umar Ibn Saad, The Commander of Ubayd Allah Ibn Ziad’s Army (Umayyad Governor of Basra, Kufa and Khurasan under the reign of Yazid Ibn Mawviya) perished. No one dared to come near the valiant Imam. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) stood on his stirrups and cast his eyes towards River Furaat, where his dearest brother Abbas Ibn Ali (A. S.) was lying, badly-wounded, hands severed, martyred and in the lap of death and said,

Abbas get up and see the battle of your brother, the hungry, the thirsty, the shattered, the broken-hearted brother?”

Then, Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) felt a slight shadow above his head and a breeze of moist air. He raised his head and saw Jibraiel his childhood caretaker standing above him in the air, sheltering him with his open wings. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) told Jibraiel to move away as it was the time of examination. Jibraiel said ‘O Hussain! Allah (S.W.T) is pleased with your selflessness and valor. The moment has come to give your life in the way of Islam.’ Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) looked at the sky, yes; oh yes! It was the time of Asr (evening Prayer). He kept his sword in his sheath and raised his head towards the sky and said to Allah (S.W.T) in his consciousness:

“I have given up all without exception out of my love for Thee. I have abandoned my family and accepted the orphaning of my children in order to meet Thee. If out of love for Thee, my body was chopped in pieces even then my heart will not bend before anyone but Thee.”(Askari 82-82)

Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) was at this stage in complete command of mind; he was composed, serene and clear in his aim.

Allah commands in the Holy Quran:

To the righteous soul will be said “O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! (Surah Al-Fajr 89: 27)

In Islamic theology, the human soul passes through states or stages. The state in which the soul seeks the fulfillment of his lower desire crossing the limits prescribed by God’s laws is called ‘Ammura’ in the Holy Quran (Surah Yusuf 12:53) and the soul which reproaches against the rebellious intentions is called ‘La Wama’ in the Holy Quran (Surah Al-Qiyaama75:2). And the soul which has conquered all desires and surrendered itself to the Lord is called ‘Mutmainnali’ in the Holy Quran (Surah Al-Fajr 89:27) the satisfied one, i.e., at rest in peace and perfect harmony with the divine will, triumphed over every kind of passion, desire, sorrow, pain, disappointment for the sake of any enjoyment of this life; getting totally mindful of pleasing the Lord and none else. This is the highest stage of spiritual progress; the human soul in this world can achieve and must strive for. Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) had achieved complete confidence in God by absolute submission to His (The supreme Lord’s) will.

Allah (S.W.T) was pleased with Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) and thus he calls him back to him through Jibraiel.

The Holy Quran says:

Return thou unto thy Lord! Well-pleased (with Him), (and) His being well-Pleased with thee” (Surah Al-Fajr 89: 28)

The verse (89: 28) of the Holy Quran illustrates that when one reaches the final stage of ‘Mutmainnali’ the satisfied one, he/she gets mindful only of the Lord and not of anybody else, and he does not aspire for any enjoyment even in heaven, except the pleasure of the Lord. This is the stage in which the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him and his progeny) and his Ahl Al-Bayt (A. S.) were. This was the stage where Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) was, hence he is called as Syeddash Shohada, the Prince of martyrs; he gave everything he had to save Islam.

When the vile soldiers’ of Yazid Ibn Mawviya(l)’s army who had fled earlier saw Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) still on his horse they started returning and attacking all-over again and the valiant Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) was besieged under the circle of tyrants. The unprincipled soldiers of Yazid Ibn Mawviya (l) were shouting we should not give respite to the pious member of Ahlul  Bait, thus throw him back by the sharp swords. For one life of the pious Imam, thousands of tormentors were standing in anticipation to kill him, for the life of one exceptional, thirsty noble, hundreds of arrows were rained; there was neither a friend nor a helper, oh Lord! Everywhere were blood-thirsty persecutors.

The Holy Quran says:

Let those fight In the cause of God Who sell the life of this world For the Hereafter. To him who fighteth In the cause of God, — Whether he is slain Or gets victory–Soon shall we give him A reward of great (value). (Surah An-Nisaa 4:74)

The verse (4:74) illustrates that the recompense for the Martyrs is a mighty or a grand reward. Thus the reward of Hussain Ibn Ali’s (A. S.) martyrdom is that he will be remembered eternally. His truth in the Battle of Karbala has succeeded irrespective of the constraints of time over the deceit of Yazid Ibn Mawviya. After the martyrdom of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) came the lonely and distressing night known. The unscrupulous men of Yazid’s army burnt the tents of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.). The belongings of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) and his family and friends were looted. The women folk and children were tortured and dishonored. And finally when the army left, Hussain Ibn Ali’s (A. S.) sister Zainab bint Ali (S. A.) took a broken spear in her hands and began going around the camp ensuring that the small group of aggrieved, weeping women and crying, weary children and the ailing son of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.), Zain Al Abedien (A. S.) were not further disturbed during the night by the devious and horrid forces of Yazid Ibn Mawviya. What a distressing night it was for Zainab Bint Ali (Peace be upon her). It was barely hours before she and her family lived under the banner of dignity and lofty eminence of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali(A. S.) and now the night was pitch dark, children and her family members groaning in pain and anguish with disturbed, fearful sleep. Anguish of losing their loved ones, anguish of being terrorized and tortured again. Next to them were bodies and corpses covered in blood and they were in an isolated desert. She could hear the vile soldiers of Umar Ibn Saad rejoicing. She did not want to think, what the morning would bring for them, will they be killed or taken as captives. Zainab wanted the women and children to rest for a few hours in the distressing night.

In the early hours of the morning, Zainab bint Ali (S. A.) had a vision. She saw a man on a horse, riding towards her (S. A.). She was worried that the weary children and women will wake up and she (S. A.) cried out, ‘O rider! For God’s sake, please do not come any nearer! We have just been looted and plundered. The traumatized children have just slept. We have nothing left. Please go away!’ But the rider kept on riding towards her and Zainab Bint Ali (S. A.) got angry. She lifted the broken spear and warned the rider; ‘I am the daughter of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (Son in Law of Prophet Mohammad). I am warning you to stop.’ The rider came near her and said ‘Don’t you recognize your father, Zainab?’ She rushed towards him and threw herself in his comforting embrace and cried out, ‘Oh father! Where were you, when my beloved brother and family members were martyred and when we were plundered and looted by the forces of Yazid Ibn Mawviya. Her father cried ‘Zainab take rest my dear child, you are very tired and from tomorrow you have a long journey of toil and stress, you have to uphold the message of your dear brother and disperse the qualms and misapprehensions sown into the public mind by the unscrupulous administration of Yazid Ibn Mawviya, hence go to sleep my daughter. I have come to guard your tents.’

Conclusion

Shaikh-e-Sadooq asserts in his ‘Khisaal’ through Jabir Ibn Abdullah-e-Ansari that the Holy Prophet said that on the Resurrection Day three entities would complain: i) The Quran ii) The Mosque and iii) The Itrat (The Ahl Al-Bayt)

The Quran would say:

“O’, My Lord! They distorted me and tore me into pieces”.

The Mosque would say:

“O’, My Lord! They kept me and spoiled me”.

The Itrat (The Ahl Al-Bayt) would say”

“O’, Our Lord! They killed us, drove us out of our homes and made us wander hither and thither.”(The Holy Quran Introduction pg.46a)

The next day after Ashura i.e., on eleventh of Moharram brought unthinkable afflictions for the bereaved family of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.), his womenfolk, orphans and eldest son Imam Ali Ibn Hussain Alias Zain Al Abedien (A. S.) were lashed, tied up and were made to walk on thorny deserts and bundled on unsaddled camels towards a destination of more grief, turmoil and heartache. The beacon of light, to save Islam started by the martyrdom of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) and by his colossal sacrifices has been kindled and kept alive by his son, Imam Zain Al Abedien (A. S.), his sisters  and family members {The Ahl Al-Bayt(A. S.)}, and for the coming generations will be kept alive by the Qaem(Imam Mahdi) (A.T.F.S) and by the true followers of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.).

References

1. Askari, Sakina Hasan Aza E Masoomeen (A Collection of Salams, Marsias Hadees and Nohas) Liverpool, UK 2001 (78) Print.

2. – – – Aza E Masoomeen (A Collection of Salams, Marsias Hadees and Nohas) Liverpool, UK 2001 (81-82) Print.

3. Khan, M.M.Taqui KHUTBAT-UN-NISSA-The Contribution of the Ladies of Ahlbait to Islam Moula Ali Printing Works, Hyderabad 2003 (2) Print

4. The Holy Quran TEXT, TRANSLATION & COMMENTARY Vol. III Trans. Abdullah Yousuf Ali, Lahore, Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar Ripon Printing Press (Ch.89: 27) Print.

5. – – – Vol. III Trans. Abdullah Yousuf Ali, Lahore, Shaikh Muhammad

Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar Ripon Printing Press (Ch.12: 53) Print.

6. – – – Vol. III Trans. Abdullah Yousuf Ali, Lahore, Shaikh Muhammad

Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar Ripon Printing Press (Ch.75: 2) Print.

7. – – – Vol. III Trans. Abdullah Yousuf Ali, Lahore, Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar Ripon Printing Press (Ch.4:74) Print.

8. 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. 89: 28) Print.

9. – – – Trans. Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Introduction 46a) Print.

The post The Ultimate Beacon of Humanity and Sacrifice: Hussain Ibn Ali (A.S.) appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Islam As A Way Of Life

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 02:47

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

Life is a mystery. If we do not believe in religion we could easily get into despair because it becomes difficult to get satisfaction merely believing that we came into this world for a short time only to leave it without having a desire to do so. Then what is the purpose of life?
As believers, it makes sense to delve into Islam to find an answer to our question from the Holy Quran and the traditions (Hadith). Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran that every single individual is created with a unique purpose in life.
“Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?” Quran 23:115
What are our expectations from life – what do we want to achieve in this world? This is an interesting question that covers a vast area of topics which requires several articles to cover it to some degree. Since our focus is Islam, let us leave out the confusing philosophies of questionable moral values and focus on a noble life which provides us the ultimate happiness and peace.
In the chaos of our lives, we can rely only on a handful of things to bring us innermost peace and none of these are our own creation.  The serenity of the morning prayers, the brightness of the afternoon prayers and the calmness of the evening prayers are the practices that have been put in place for us by our beloved Prophet sas upon the command of the Almighty Allah(SWT).
Does Islam have the capacity to fulfill all the requirements of a religion in providing happiness and peace we crave? Islam is the magnet we place in ourselves to be drawn towards Allah (SWT). It is a practical religion that teaches us how to lead a life in this world to progress successfully into the next. Allah (SWT) sent the best of His creation, Prophet Mohammad(S) as our role model who showed us how to live. He brought for us a book of guidance, The Luminous Quran, with instructions that completed the religion and revealed to us how we should lead our lives in this world to attain the hereafter.
Through the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) has conveyed to us the purpose of our lives and the more complex things were demonstrated and explained to us in the form of Hadith by Prophet Mohammad (S), our role model, who lived an exemplary life.
“Verily in the Apostle of God you have a good example for everyone who looks forward (with hope and awe) to God and the Last Day, and remembers God unceasingly.” Quran 33:21
Prophet Mohammad(S) evolved the society at all levels of the strata. He influenced the people from different social milieus – the individual, the family, the nation, the Ummah, the entire humanity, the educated and the uneducated, the rich and the poor, the needy and the wealthy, the weak and the strong, the victorious and the defeated, the ruler and the ruled, everyone in the entire universe had something to learn from the life of the best man who walked the surface of the earth, the chosen one of Allah(SWT). [1]
Role models in Islam are perfect individuals. Our fourteen Infallibles(AS) are exemplary in their integrity, modesty, generosity, honesty, frugality, wisdom, education, tolerance, compassion, eloquence, were down to earth, thinkers, believers, logical, not prodigal , inspirational, influential, altruistic, not materialistic, nurturing, understanding, sacrificing, forgiving, with impeccable manners, common sense and patience, who put Allah (SWT) first and above all.
The uniqueness of Islam, a truly beautiful religion, lies in its principles, which not only shows the way of leading a peaceful life, it places women in a respectable position. Women, so comfortable in their hijab, representing spiritual modesty set up a filter and a moral check on themselves, placing them in a separate category from regular women. Our role models – Bibi Asia a.s., Bibi Mariam a.s., Bibi Khadija a.s. or Bibi Fatima a.s. – have chiseled the status of women in rock that ladies in veils can accomplish commendable great feats, no less than any man. Men and women are created equal in their respective ways and differ from one another only in their taqwa. [2]
On the day of Judgment, everyone will be judged based on their taqwa through their jehad and struggles they had to endure. Islam promotes you for your hard work. If you are sincere and get closer to Allah (SWT) and start doing Ibadah(worship,servitude), Allah (SWT) raises your level and helps you do better. You get raised to such standards that you feel better and better and want to perform better and stay closer to Allah (SWT). People in Karbala who sacrificed their lives were ordinary people like us, but they described death to be sweeter than honey. They attain such standard by their closeness to Allah (SWT) and by understanding the truth.
We live in a diverse society. There are interactions of different types and functions between individuals and groups. These render us dependent on others as an individual or a group for social, economic, emotional or moral support. We need a balanced society that provides a safe haven for us to flourish. We are created as social beings and regardless of who we are or what our status in society is, relationships are foremost to our existence as human beings. Every one of us is remarkable and have special mission to accomplish.
Everything termed halal, not just confined to food, is beneficial to us. Halal is based on scientific benefits.  Halal food upholds the Islamic law, as defined in the Holy Quran:   “These things alone he has forbidden to you: What is already dead, blood, the flesh of swine, what has been offered up to other than Allah.” Quran 6:145.  So long as we eat halal, we will continue to keep ourselves healthy and pure.  This keeps us perceptive and open to the command of Allah (SWT).
Salat (ritual prayers), the action of prayers, in complete submission to Allah (SWT) is based on our nature.  It is the immersion of our self in the will of Allah (SWT).  It is the work we need to do to heal ourselves and attain salvation by submitting ourselves to our Creator and handing over ourselves to Him to take complete care of us for we are helpless beings with a multitude of weaknesses.  Total submission requires devotion because our ego and desire for separateness constantly wrestles with our need for oneness with Allah (SWT).  The search for peace is bigger, deeper and agonizing. [3]
Life is full of choices.  We become who we are from the choices we make.  The best choice to make is the one that places us closer to Allah (SWT) no matter how complicated the way.  Easy questions may have easy answers and harder questions harder answers.  When we seek an answer to the hardest of all questions we may find no answer.  It is at this junction that we have to move forward with faith.  There is no limit to how far we can go because we can forever move onward.
As we move forward with determination and will power seeking the blessings of Allah (SWT) we often need support from our intimate circle of friends.  If we surround ourselves with a strong group of individuals who have full faith and commitment to Allah (SWT) and our own conscience – so perfectly clean that it talks to us, we will always have guidance and keep trudging on the right path.  Islam answers the quest, the curiosity, the undying search we have and opens up the knot of jumbled up nerves at the base of our hearts.
Islam is a way of life.  If you’re searching for true meaning of life in this abstract world of confusion and experiencing its impact, it is an art to put these emotions into words.  It is possible to communicate easily to those who are listening open-mindedly and being perceptive.  It has to come from the inner core of the other person to be able to comprehend what you are trying to say.  You can use all vocabulary available to you in an effort to make the other individual understand you – yet you will never find the right words or do the right things to express what is in your heart.  The only One who can understand is the One who has created you.  He understands your every need and every emotion.  If you are truthful to yourself and to Him, you have attained your purpose in life and there is nothing in this life that will divert you from the path you have chosen to please Him with your actions.
For my son Syed Husain Abbas Razvi, the best son a mother can have.

References:

1.Prophethood and the Prophet of Islam by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini

2. Taqwa (Piety) Advice of Ahl al-Bayt by Sayyed Hussain Sheikh al-Islami

3. The Radiance of the Secrets of Prayer by Muhsin Qara’ati

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Karbala: The Living Tawheed

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 05:32

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

The AhlulBayt (s) have been living embodiment of tawheed (belief in the oneness of God). Their every moment of life has been in accordance to the will of Allah (swt). This fact is very much evident in the whole tragic event of Karbala. In Mecca while at Mount Arafat, Imam Husayn’s (as) love and servitude for Allah (swt) became apparent in the famed Dua of Arafat. This prayer our Imam recited on the day of Arafa and it is a lesson for all those who want to understand what tawheed is. Imam’s (as) statement in the prayer that “blind be the eye that cannot see You watching it” signifies his most elevated sense of Allah’s (swt) presence at every place and time.

One often wonders that how a man can bear so much suffering and hardships but he still does not deviate from his faith. How one can witness before his own eyes, his young son dying, small children of his household crying and dying due to thirst, yet remain steadfast? What was the power behind him which only increased as the day of tragedy was unraveling? What did Imam al-Husayn (as) have that was greater than all the sufferings he bore? The answer lies in the same prayer of the day of Arafa which he recited in Mecca: “What can one who misses You find any substitute? What can one who finds You miss anything else? Definitely, failing is he who has accepted anyone other than You as substitute. Definitely, loser is he who have desired for anyone other than You.” Here he proclaims the source of his patience and the source of his contented heart…”What can one who finds You miss anything else?” Imam al-Husayn (as) found His Lord, and so now even all is taken from him including his children, brothers and friends–that all is nothing in comparison to what he found. He found His Lord’s pleasure and that is the biggest substitute for the all loses.

In an age when the Muslim community was being ruled by a tyrant who neither believed in revelation nor in the Prophet (s), Imam’s (as) refusal to submit before the wicked usurping tyrant Yazid (la), saved the message of Islam and revived the spirit of tawheed. Because Imam al-Husayn (as) was the very embodiment of tawheed, the Khwajah Mu’in-al-Din Chishti, a great Indian Sufi of Iranian origin, said

“He gave his life but wouldn’t give his hand in the hand of Yazid (for allegiance)
Verily Husayn is the foundation of la ilaha illa Allah 9there is no God but God)”

On the morning of Ashura, the horsemen of the enemy launched an attack on the ranks of the Imam (as). The Imam raised his hands in prayer and said: “O Lord! I depend on you in every affliction and am hopeful of Your blessing in every hardship. In every difficulty with which I am faced, You are my only remedy and resort. There have been many embarrassments which weakened my heart and no remedy for it was available. The friends did not assist me and the enemies rejoiced at my misfortune. However, when I ceased to seek assistance from everyone except You and sought the remedy only from You, You provided me solace and relief and removed the difficulty. Every blessing and goodness reaches us from You and everything should be sought from You only,” further highlighting the spirit of belief in the oneness of God was alive and well amongst the Bani Hashem at Karbala. [1]

Some of the Imam’s (as) last words when he was submerged in his blood after being stricken with swords, arrows, spears, and stones, and when his whole body was badly wounded and bleeding, were: “I am pleased with Your decree, obedient to Your command. There is no one worthy of worship but You.”[2] There, Imam al-Husayn (as) in his last moments once more declared his faith in His lord, submitting before His command and will, and being pleased with His will. He became the living exegesis of the following verses of holy Qur’an:
“O soul that art at rest! Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him), So enter among My servants, and enter into My garden.” (89:27-30)

After Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom, members of AhlulBayt (s) were made captives and taken to Kufa in front of Ibn Ziyad (la). There, Ibn Ziyad asked Sayyida Zainab (as), “How have you seen what Allah has done to your AhlulBayt?” She responded, “I have seen Him treating them most beautifully.” [3] This is the reply from a woman who is in captivity, whose family has been killed. Shiekh Mufid also has mentioned the conversation between Sayyida Zainab (as) and the accursed ibn Ziyad. Ibn Ziyad (la) in his arrogance and wickedness said to Sayyida Zainab (as): “Praise be to God Who has disgraced you, killed you and revealed the false nature of your claims.” She replied to the wicked tyrant in his face as a brave and honored lady: “Praise be to God Who favored us with His Prophet, Muhammad (s), and He has purified us completely from sin. He only disgraces the great sinner and reveals the false nature of the profligate. Such men are not among us, praise be to God.” [4]
The whole story of AhlulBayt (s) is that of valor and majesty. The source of this lofty majesty and unwavering valor lies in their unwavering faith in Allah (swt). The tyrants committed all acts of aggression and oppression towards the holy AhlulBayt (s) but they could not made them bow and submit before their unholy wishes, because the AhlulBayt(AS) had submitted before the will of Allah, and Karbala was only one example of this embodiment of belief in the Almighty and Majestic.

Peace be upon you, O Aba Abdillah
Peace be upon you, O son of Allah’s Messenger.
Peace be upon you, O choicest of Allah and son of His choicest
O Allah, make me illustrious in Your sight in the name of al-Husayn, peace be upon him, in this world and in the Hereafter

– Ziyarat Ashura

References:
1. A Probe into the History of Ashura’ by Dr. Ibrahim Ayati
2. Islam and the Contemporary Man by Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn at-Tabatabai
3. Maqtal al-Husayn by Abd al Razzaq al-Muqarram
4. Kitab al Irshad by Sheikh al Mufid

Source : Islamic Insights

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