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What’s Your Purpose in Life? And How Problems Can Help You Achieve Your Purpose? Lecture by Khalil Jaffer

Gio, 10/26/2017 - 07:53

What’s the purpose of life?

It’s a question that philosophers have been asking for centuries. It’s one of the most important questions a person can ever ask, because once we are clear on our purpose we experience:

  • More energy in our lives
  • Courage to deal with life’s challenges
  • Patience in the time of adversity
  • A better ability to take decisions.
In this lecture by Khalil Jaffer, you will discover:
  • What is the purpose of life?
  • What does it mean to know God?
  • Why is there suffering and to face it with courage
  • How to solve the tension between the needs of the Body and the Soul
  • The single most important trait needed for the human soul to mature

Verses mentioned in this lecture:

  • 23:115 “Did you think that We had created you in play (without any purpose), and that you would not be brought back to Us?”
  • 84:6 “O man! surely you must strive (to attain) to your Lord, a hard striving until you meet Him”
  • 18:110 “… It is revealed to me that your god is one Allah, therefore whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join any one in the service of his Lord.”
  • 2:156 “Surely we are Allah’s and to Him we shall surely return.”
  • 8:24 “O you who believe! answer (the call of) Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life”
  • 4:45 “And seek assistance through patience and prayer, and most surely it is a hard thing except for the humble ones”
  • 2:153 “O you who believe! seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient.”
  • 2:183 “O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil).”
  • 2:216 Fighting is enjoined on you, and it is an object of dislike to you; and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know.
  • 57:23 “No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy to Allah. So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster”

Hadith mentioned in this lecture:

  • “People are asleep. When they die, they wakeup.” ~ Imam Ali (‘a)
  • “I was a hidden treasure. I created so that I may be known” ~ Hadith Qudsi
  • “Aql is that by which one comes to worship one’s creator. And Aql is that by which one earns one’s place in paradise.” ~ Imam Jafar Sadiq (‘a)

Selected Quotes from this lecture:

All souls are undergoing a spiritual journey, and the end of the journey which has no end, is to come great consciousness and awakening.

If you with all your learnings and all your experience you cannot come to the conclusion that you have a creator before whom you must bow and you are not able to find a place in jannah, then you have no aql. Then you have jahalah. It does not matter how many PHDs you have pasted on the wall.

When you come absolutely close to Allah it is not a physical meeting, it is a complete suspension of the egoic self and a full view of the radiance and full magnificance of the one and only reality, that is Allah (swt).

Islam wants you to live in society, cause that is where the soul is forged in the fire of suffering and tribulations where it attains these (Godly) qualities.

Click here to view the video of the lecture  Click here to download the MP3

The post What’s Your Purpose in Life? And How Problems Can Help You Achieve Your Purpose? Lecture by Khalil Jaffer appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

The Who, What, How and Why of Azadari

Ven, 10/06/2017 - 07:17
Who Is It For?:

One of the amazing things about the month of Muharram is the fact that people who you don’t see in the Imambargah during the entire year, show up. They take out time from their busy schedules and come dressed in black to attend the mourning ceremonies of Imam Hussain (as).

And why not?

The Ibadat of Azadari is something nobody wants to miss out on, especially since we have no idea how long we have left to live in this world.

But why do we feel so compelled to attend these Majalis? Is the lone reason to provide solace to Bibi Fatema (as)?

Here’s an extract from Wikipedia:

“Shias believe they share in Fatimah’s suffering by weeping for her sorrows. The tears of the faithful is also believed to console Fatimah.”

Be honest with yourself. How does the second sentence make Bibi Fatema (as) sound? An extremely Patient woman, the Best of all Women in the entire Universe, someone who is said to have a secret just between herself and Allah (SWT), the Princess of the Day of Judgement, and yet we make her sound like she still needs condolences from sinners like us?! 

I mean, if you were to tell your friends in school or your colleagues that the reason you cry for Imam Hussain (as) is to bring peace to the heart of Bibi Fatema (as), they’re just going to roll their eyes. Because, my dear brothers and sisters, if you think about it, that does sound a bit odd.. 

We need to understand that we are not attending the Majalis for Bibi Fatema (as). You may argue that Bibi Fatema (as) is said to collect our tears in her handkerchief, and so the tears are for her, but don’t those tears become the light of our own graves, and a shade for us on the Day of Judgement; how, in any way, do they benefit the Great Lady (as)??

So the next time someone asks you why you’re attending these Majalises, don’t say that you’re doing it for Bibi Fatema (as).

These Majalis are meant as a revival for our dead hearts, an awakening for our drowsy souls, and are not, in any way, providing an advantage to Zahra (as). They are just, as the first part of the Wiki extract says, a means of solidarity with her, to show her that we too care about the tragedies that happened, and that we too are crushed by what the Ummat did to Hussain (as) and the rest of her family.

What Should It Be Like?:

Azadari today, is what Kerbala was in 61AH. Kerbala happened to wake up the sleeping Ummat, to show them the difference between right and wrong, and then to ask them which side they were on? The side of people who called out: 

Be quick in the slaughter of the grand son of Rasool Allah, we must pray the Asr Salah! 

Or on the side of the Imam (as)? 

Muharram comes every year to remind us of the tragedy, and then asks us the same question…So lets see how well my Azadari prepares me to be able to answer it: 

I attend a Majlis every night, in which I’m dressed completely in black. I listen to each and every word the Zaakir says, I weep profusely when he talks about the Masaib that fell on my Imam (as) and take part in the Matam too. When I go home that night, it’s 1:00 am, and I remember what the Zaakir had said about the importance of Shab Namaaz, such that Bibi Zainab (as) recited it even in the prison of Shaam! I consider Praying it, I mean I did cry a lot at that statement in the Majlis.. Hmm.. Nah, tonight I’m not up to it. So I get into bed, forget everything the Zaakir told me, and fall asleep.

That, was the Azadari of almost each and every Shia on the face of this Earth today, and I’m sure you can tell, something isn’t right here..

If you really want to know what true Azadari is, let’s go to Shaam, where the very foundations of Azadari were laid. The first time a Majlis was ever held though, was not by Bibi Zainab (as) after they were freed from prison. Rather, it was those stories Bibi Sakina (as) would tell the little children while she was in the prison. The children’s hearts were moved by what they heard, and they went and told their mothers, who also started to listen to what Bibi Sakina (as) had to say. Bibi Sakina (as) would tell the women of Shaam the story of Kerbala, and the cog-wheels of those women’s brains were turning. They were starting to realize that what happened to the family of Aba Abdil Lah wasn’t fair, and every word of the Majlis by Bibi Sakina (as) was taking it’s toll on the consciences of the Shaamis.

And when the little Princess left this world, the ladies of Shaam, because they had done Azadari, a true Azadari, one which heated their blood and flamed their hearts, went out, and spoke against Yazid, and because of the fear that their protests and “INTERNAL AWAKENING” would topple his throne, the Ahlul Bayt were set free.

This, my brothers and sisters, this is Azadari! 

There was a lecture, there was the story of Kerbala, there was mourning and there was weeping, there was a Khateeb and there were listeners, but what it did to the hearts of the Shaami women, and what it does to our hearts today, is something totally, totally different. 

Unfortunately, Azadari now is all about crying, and thinking about it, if all the women of Shaam would have done was cry over Bibi Sakina (as)’s death, the Ahlul Bayt would never have been released that quick, and it would have been proof that the Majlis of Bibi Sakina (as) hadn’t affected them one bit. 

We need to understand that when our Imams (as) insisted we remember Imam Hussain (as), when the Prophet (S) said he’d intercede for those who cried over his grandson, this was the type of crying and Azadari they had in mind, one that would move us to such an extent, that our insides burn and flare, and that we get so affected by what Imam Hussain (as) did, and by what happened to him, that until we change what is wrong, we can’t rest in peace. 

And that change doesn’t have to be marches and protests on the road. Every single one of us has a battle going on within us, every second of every moment of every hour of every day. If each and every single Azadaar can win the battle against the Yazid inside him, where, oh where would the Muslims be today?!? 

It all boils down to this: When we believe that we come to the Majlais, just so that our tears can heal Bibi Fatema (as)’s broken heart, that is all we do. We don’t bother taking Azadari to the next step, the actual reason why we have been commanded to remember Imam Hussain (as) in the first place.

How Can We Change It?:

We see in the Quran:

“Verily, those who disbelieved after their Belief and then went on increasing in their disbelief (i.e. disbelief in the Qur’an and in Prophet Muhammad S) – never will their repentance be accepted [because they repent only by their tongues and not from their hearts]. And they are those who are astray.”

Surah 3 (Aal e Imran):90

If we feel that crying and lamenting is enough, and if we don’t bring about a change from within, the tears are valueless, no matter how many they may be. The Ayah above clearly tells us that the repentance of the people will not be accepted because it is just on their tongues, why then will our Azadari be accepted if it’s just in our tears?? 

Now what?

How do we let these Majalises have the same effect on us that they had on the women of Shaam? The only way we can change the ritualistic Azadari into something more effective is by changing how you listen to the Majlis.

When you hear about how sweet death was to Hazrat Qasim (as), what goes through your mind? Do you just cry over that statement in the heat of the moment, and then forget about it? Or do you ask yourself what your own feelings on death are? If you’re scared of dying, does the statement of Hazrat Ali Akbar come to mind; the one in which he tells his father that if they were on the right path, it didn’t matter whether death came to them or they went to death. So if you ARE scared, does it mean you’re indulging in sins? If so, WHY?? Didn’t Imam Hussain (as) sacrifice everything he had so that you get the true Islam, and yet you’re sinning??…

Just imagine: If one line of the Majlis can bring such a train of thoughts into your mind, what can twelve days of constant reminding and advising do?! 

Another one: 

When you hear that Bibi Zainab (as) actually asked Imam Zain ul Abideen (as) whether they should stay in the burning tents because they didn’t have their Hijab. Stop. Look at the greatness of the Ahlul Bayt! Because in other words, what Bibi Zainab actually asked Imam Sajjad (as) was: Should we give up our lives, as compared to Na Mahram seeing us without Hijab?? 

Is that how you are, oh Azadaar who cries over the Hijab of Zainab (as)? Do you interact with Na Mahram for no reason? If it’s a must for you to do so, is that how much care you take when you do interact with them? Or are you relaxed? Do you laugh and joke around with your colleagues and classmates? Look at yourself in the mirror before you leave the house? Is this the Hijab the women of Kerbala would ever be seen wearing? If not, why are you wearing it? How can you cry over a tragedy which pained the hearts of the Ahlul Bayt, yet do the same thing which caused them that pain in the first place? What kind of Azadari is it that you do then?? 

This, this is what the Majalis should do to us. If we limit the Majalis to weeping only, then when we’d hear that Bibi Zainab (as) asked Imam Sajjad (as) whether they should stay in the tents, we would just cry and after the moment would pass, so would the statements that we just heard, and hence, we would never think deeply, nor ponder over the events that transpired and the umpteen lessons behind each and every single one of them.

Why Did Hussain (as) Take A Stand?:

Imam Hussain (as) did not die as a compensation for the sins of the Ummat of his Grandfather. Rather he sacrificed himself and his family so that the very same aforementioned Ummat gets the religion of Islam in one piece, with no alterations, so that by adhering to its rules and regulations, they can get into Jannat. If we just live our lives with no care and concern, hoping that the intercession of the Ahlul Bayt (as) will save us, Imam Hussain (as)’s sacrifice becomes pointless because we’re not following the religion he saved!

It’s sad how we fail to understand that.

All in all, let us always keep in mind that Azadari is important. Remembering Imam Hussain (as) is important. Not letting this annual tradition slip away or be forgotten in our future generations is important. But actually following what the Imam (as) died for, is the most important of them all…

May Allah (SWT) accept all our acts of devotion to Him and the Ahlul Bayt in these two Holy months, May we be able to act upon the message of Imam Hussain (as), May we be able to live by what he died for and May we see many more months of Aza in good health Insha Allah.

The post The Who, What, How and Why of Azadari appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Karbala: The Message and Goals of Imam al-Husain(AS)

Ven, 09/29/2017 - 06:56

 

Karbala is a constant source of inspiration and guidance.

The story of Karbala has so many different dimensions to it. It’s a story of revolution, freedom, reform, remembrance of Allah, steadfastness in faith in the wake of calamities, sacrifice of everything for the sake of Allah, and so on.

Such a massive sacrifice that Imam Husain(AS) made in Karbala must be having a very great goal. The aims and goals of this great sacrifice cannot be small but they must be significant enough that such a big sacrifice was made for them. What are those goals? What is the ultimate purpose of Karbala? The knowing of the aims of Karbala will help us in directing our efforts towards what Imam Husain(AS) sought to propagate and protect. We’ll discuss the goals of Imam Husain(AS) in presenting the sacrifice in Karbala in this blog with the help of writings written by different authors on this topic inshaAllah.

Dr. S. Wahid Akhtar in his article entitled Karbala’, an Enduring Paradigm of Islamic Revivalism discusses the revival of Islamic values which happened due to the martyrdom of Imam al Husain(AS). He presents the aims and goals of Imam (AS)’s martyrdom in his own words :

“In a will he made to Muhammad ibn Hanafiyyah while departing from Makkah, the Imam declares:

Indeed, I have not risen up to do mischief, neither as an adventurer nor to cause corruption and tyranny. I have risen up solely to seek the reform of the Ummah of my grandfather (S). I want to command what is good and stop what is wrong, and (in this) I follow the conduct of my grandfather and my father, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.

In a letter that he wrote to the people of Kufah, in a short sentence he outlines the Islamic concept of a worthy ruler:

By my life, the leader is one who acts in accordance with the Scripture, upholds justice in society, conducts its affairs according to what is righteous, and dedicates his self to God.

Addressing Hurr ibn Yazid Riyahi and his troops, who had been dispatched by ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad, the infamous governor of Kufah, to intercept the Imam’s caravan on the way and to stop him from entering Kufah, Imam Husayn (‘a) quotes this tradition of the Prophet (s), which states the duty of Muslims vis-a-vis corrupt and un-lslamic rulers:

O people! Verily the Messenger of Allah (s) said: “Whoever observes a sovereign legalizing what God has made unlawful, violating the covenant of God, opposing the Sunnah of the Messenger of God, and treating the creatures of God sinfully and oppressively, and does not oppose him with his speech and action, God has a right to bring him to the same fate as that of the tyrant.”

Indeed, these people (i.e. Yazid and the ruling Umayyads) have committed themselves to the following of Satan, and abandoned obedience to God. They have given currency to corruption and abolished the Islamic laws, plundering the public treasury, making lawful what God has forbidden and forbidding what God has permitted. And I, of all people, have a greater right to act [in accordance with the Prophet’s exhortation].

On reaching Karbala’, a point where they had been forced to discontinue their journey and to disembark on the orders of Ibn Ziyad, the Imam stood up to address his companions. In that sermon he declares that life under tyranny is not worthy of man, unless the people rise in an attempt to restore the higher values.

Don’t you see that what is true and right is not acted upon and what is false and wrong is not forbidden? In such a situation, the man of faith yearns for the meeting with his Lord. Indeed, (in such conditions) to me death is happiness, and life under the yoke of tyrants is a disgrace.”

Shaykh Muhammad Mahdi al-Asifi in his book entitled Ashura makes an analysis of Imam Husayn (As)’S Letter From Karbala To His Brother, Muhammad. This letter Imam al-Husain wrote “at a critical juncture in the history” of the Muslim Ummah. The Umayyads had gone to great lengths in tyranny and had corrupted Islamic society. They had succeeded in spreading terror, temptation and deception to different regions of the Islamic world, and the people had responded to this three-pronged agent of control and acquiesced to the oppression and corruption that was being perpetrated by the Umayyads. They altered the outlines of this religion to such an extent that nothing would have remained of Islam but its name, as Husayn (as) said: “Then bid farewell to Islam for the nation has been afflicted with a shepherd like Yazid.” On the one side, the people had been possessed by fear and terror and their preference for safety and well-being, and on the other by enticements. Imam Husayn (as) had witnessed this severe trial in all its ramifications as he traveled from Medina to Karbala.

“The Imam was striving to remove the widespread defeatist tendency that was affecting the Muslims. He knew that the reason behind all this defeatism was internal: love for the world and neglect of the hereafter. He thought that the way to treat this terrible psychological problem was to make the hereafter the object of desire not the world, and make them overcome the fear of death. It was against this background that the Imam wrote to his brother Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah and addressed the community of his grandfather. He presented the diagnosis of the problem and gave the precise prescription for its treatment.

“[Know that] the world is as if it has never been and the hereafter is as if it has always been. Peace.””

Dr. Ibrahim Ayati in his book A Probe into the History of Ashura ‘ mentions the letter of Imam al-Husain(AS) which he wrote to his brother Muhammad Hanafiya. We have quoted a part of the same letter above. Dr Ibrahim Ayati mentions the parts of letter of Imam(AS) which clearly explains the purpose of his mission and campaign :

“This is the testament of Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib written by him for his brother Muhammad, known as Ibn Hanafiya. Indeed Husayn testifies that there is no god except Allah and no being other than Him is fit to be worshiped and He has no partner. He also testifies that Muhammad is Allah’s servant and messenger, who has brought truth from Him, and that Paradise and Hell do exist and the Day of Judgment is bound to come and there is no doubt about it, and on that day, Allah will bring the dead to life”.

What the Imam said consists of the very doctrines which it is necessary for every Muslim to hold, and one who does not hold them cannot be a Muslim. Apparently the Imam meant to say that these very principles were in danger and, if the matters were allowed to continue in that manner, it was possible that the regime of the time might not refrain even from attacking these Principles of Faith. In fact the real motive for the Imam’s rising was the protection of these very principles on which other religious and social tenets of Islam are based.

The Imam continued: “This movement of mine is not on account of stubbornness, rebellion, worldly passions or instigation by Satan. It is also not my object to create trouble or to oppress anyone. The only thing which invites me to this great movement is that I should reform the affairs of the followers of my grandfather, eradicate corruption, undertake enjoining to do good and restraining from evil and follow the tradition of my grandfather, the Prophet of Allah and my father, Ali”.

This testament does not mention the formalities that usually form part of the last will made nowadays. On the other hand the Imam wished to clarify his motive. He wanted to tell the people that his movement was not an ordinary one based on human passions and worldly desires. He, therefore, says: I am not going out for merry-making and amusement or to create mischief. I am also not perusing the path of oppression”. He adds: “I have come out to reform the followers of my grandfather”.

These words show that in the year 60 A.H. the Muslim ummah was faced with a dreadful social and religious crisis, which could not be overcome with a severe and bloody revolution. It was a danger that could be faced only by a leader like Husayn bin Ali, whose infallibility has been testified by the Holy Qur’an in the verse of Purification of Surah al-Ahzab (33:33). It was a peril that could not be dealt with by means of speeches and religious sermons.

We end our write up with the dua that may Allah accept our efforts made in the wake of spreading the message of Imam al-Husain(AS) and make all of us his true follower!.

The post Karbala: The Message and Goals of Imam al-Husain(AS) appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Hajj: The Philosophy and Purpose

Mer, 08/30/2017 - 02:07

“And proclaim among men the pilgrimage; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel, coming from every remote path, that they may witness advantages for them and mention the name of Allah during stated days. (The holy Quran; 22:27)”

Imam ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (AS) has said, “By Allah, by Allah, keep the House of your Lord in mind.  Do not disregard it as long as you remain (alive) because surely if it is ignored, then He shall not look towards you (with His Mercy).”

The Hajj is not only among the obligatory pilgrimage which all capable Muslims are required to perform but also is the most complete form of worship which includes all other types worship as part of itself. The verse 27th of Sura Hajj and the above-mentioned saying of Imam Ali(AS) underline the importance of Hajj in Islam. Those who feel the warmth of faith in their hearts and those who truly love Allah (SWT) and long to be in the most sacred place on earth designated as His house, rush to the holy city of Mecca for performing the Hajj. They bear the hardships of travel, sacrifice the comfort of their homes, endure the discomfort of staying in a desert, all this to please their Creator, Lord.

What is the purpose behind Hajj? What is the philosophy of Hajj? What are effects of performing Hajj on different aspects of life? we’ll discuss these questions with the help of following books:

Sayyid Muhammad Zia Abadi in his book Hajj – The Islamic Pilgrimage explains the philosophy and effects of Hajj eloquently:

Spiritual journey and affinity with God are some of the advantages of Hajj. 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.

Only does God know how many averted hearts have become fond of Him in this Sacred House and how many misled men have become pious and heavenly thanks to the blessings of this holy place.

…..The external feature of the Hajj rites represents a spiritual journey of a perfect man who has gone through different stages of servitude, detached from worldly ties and ornaments, and rescued from darkness and entered into the illuminated kingdom of God. Therefore, a true Hajj is an evolution in the soul. It is not a plaything or entertainment as some ignorant people think, for their performance is more like a game than worship.

Malik ibn Anas says:

One year, I accompanied Imam Sadiq (as) in the Hajj pilgrimage. Being on the back of his horse and in the state of Ihram, the Imam (as) was trying to utter ‘Labbayk’ but his voice stuck in his throat. He therefore rode off his horse.
I said:“O son of the Messenger of Allah! Say ‘Labbayk’, you have to say it.”
He (as) replied: “O son of Abi-Amir, how dare I say it? I fear that Allah will not answer me nor let me in.”

Ayatullah Jafar Subhani in his book on Wahabism discusses the Political and Social Dimensions of Hajj “The aim of performing Hajj duties is to call for humility before God and this matter is clear and apparent by paying attention to the Hajj rituals.

‘Ibada and worship of the Lord and non-worship of other than Him is evident right from the beginning of the deeds until the last of them and it is needless to mention them, especially if these actions are accompanied with recommended prayers. We derive the following conclusions from all such deeds:

Hajj is ‘ibada and worship of the true Lord in the best possible circumstances.

Hajj is expressing humility with honour before God in the best form.

Hajj is beseeching and weeping before God in its deepest form.

Hajj is such an ‘ibada where all kinds of elements of expression of devotion and bondage have been collected, and one can clearly witness humility, submission, piety, deliverance from desires and attachments of this world.

The pilgrims to the House of Allah exhibit their liberation from material manifestations by wearing two pieces of clothes and in this way, show that except for Allah, they have no interest in anything even to their sons, family, and relatives. The only thing which preoccupies the minds of the pilgrims to the House of Allah is the saying of labbayk in one harmonious voice.

This matter is entirely evident and clear by paying attention to the obligatory acts of Hajj, the places where these acts are to be performed and the stops where the pilgrims have to make a halt. Therefore, one should consider Hajj to be the greatest devotional act and the greatest religious obligation.

However, apart from this matter, there is another matter to be looked into and that is whether this act, apart from ‘ibada, has any political and social dimensions or not? Or is it that, like the midnight prayers, it ends only and only in Ibadat and worship without having any relation with the common Islamic problems!……Yes, this great divine Congress where the representatives of every nation gather is the best opportunity for the intellectuals amongst them to come together and discuss their political and defensive matters and form a united row before the enemies and teach them an unforgettable lesson. Even though this duty is not confined to the time and place of Hajj and rather the Muslims should face the enemies under any given situation and time, yet the time of Hajj and the gathering of Muslims at that place is the best opportunity for fulfilling this divine obligation.”

Ayatullah Sayyid Abdul Husayn Dastghaib Shirazi in his book Greater Sins Volume 3 provides Reasons why Hajj is made Obligatory “The traditions of Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) mention the reasons for making Hajj obligatory. The traditions also explain the significance and wisdom underlying each of the rituals.

In Wasa’il ul-Shia is a tradition by Imam Riďa (a.s.), in which the Imam (a.s.) says that Hajj is made incumbent so that people may derive the spiritual and material benefits inherent in it. Some advantages of Hajj are as follows:

Hajj is a unique occasion, to present yourself humbly before the Almighty and devote yourself entirely to Him to gain His pleasure and seek nearness to Him. It is an occasion for you to set aside all your worldly cares and concerns and immerse yourself entirely in worshipping your creator and carrying out His commands. For this you deny yourself worldly pleasures and comfort, face hardships and the vagaries of nature. Your sincere efforts in fulfilling the obligations of Hajj are rewarded with Allah (S.w.T.)’s pleasure and nearness to Him; untold bounties for this world as well as the hereafter; your repentance is accepted and your sins were forgiven; your supplications are granted, this is a special divine favour for individuals who are part of a large gathering at a single place.

Besides Hajj is a unique opportunity for Muslims in general, from all over the world. It provides a common ground for interaction between Muslims of different countries at various levels. Individuals benefit financially be they traders, suppliers, retailers or hirers or beggars and destitute who receive alms.

People of one country get first-hand information of the situations prevailing in other Muslim countries. Such interaction brings awareness of the problems and difficulties faced by your brother Muslim and perhaps open avenues for extending help.”

Ayatullah Muhammadi Rayshahri in his book “Mizan al-Hikmah (Scale of Wisdom)” under the chapter on The Pilgrimage (Hajj) mentions the sayings from Infallibles (AS) about the philosophy of Hajj :

“Imam Ali (a.s.) said, ‘And He made obligatory for you the pilgrimage to His Sacred House which he made the ‘qibla’ for all people. They come to it like the cattle coming to water, and eagerly turn to it like the birds eagerly returning to their nest; He, glory be to Him, made it a sign of their humility before His greatness and their yielding to His Might.’[Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon 1]

Imam Zayn al-Abidin (a.s.) said, ‘Perform the Hajj [obligatory pilgrimage] and the ‘umra [voluntary pilgrimage] so that your bodies become healthy, your sustenance expanded, and your faith improved; and suffice yourselves with the expenses of people and the expenses of your families.’[Thawab al-A’amal, p. 70, no. 3]

Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) said, ‘Pilgrimage calms the hearts.’[Amali al-Tusi, p. 296, no. 582]

Imam al-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘There is no place dearer to Allah, most High, than the mas’aa [place of running between the mounts of al-Safa and al-Marwa in Makkah], for every overbearing person is lowered and debased before Him there.’[Bihar al-Anwar, v. 99. p. 45, no. 34]

Imam Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) said, ‘If someone asks why He commanded the pilgrimage, it is answered: in order for people to perform the journey to [i.e. for] Allah, Mighty and Exalted, and ask for increase… in addition to the benefits it has of understanding religion and relating the reports of the Imams (a.s.) to every side and region.’[‘Uyun Akhbar ar-Ridha, v. 2, p. 119, no. 1]”

Ayatullah Muhammadi Rayshahri in his book The Elixir of Love in the chapter The Hajj of the Friends of God mentions The Mysteries of Hajj in the Sayings of Imam Khomeini (ra) : “Repeatedly uttering Labbayk is true for those who have heard the call of God by the ear of their soul and are responding to the call from Allah the Almighty by (His) comprehensive Name. It is the issue of being present in the Presence and witnessing the Beauty of the Beloved, as though the chanter (of Labbayk) has at this moment lost to himself and repeats the response to the call followed by denying association (with other than God) in the absolute sense of the word, (and) not simply association with Divinity, which is known to the devotees of God; although denying association in that includes all stages up to the annihilation of the world in the view of the people of knowledge and contains the entire cautionary and preferential issues. For instance, “alhamd laka wa’ lni ‘ma laka. ..” dedicates hamd as well as the ni’ma to the Sacred Essence (of God) and denies association. This, to the people of knowledge, is the ultimate in monotheism, i. e., any praise (hamd) and blessing (ni’ma) that occur in the word is a praise to God and a blessing of God without association (with other than God). This high object prevails at every mawqif (station) and mash’ar (place of religious ritual), every stopping and moving, and every rest and action. Opposing to it means association in general, which we, the blind- hearted ones, are all suffering from ”

Let’s finish with the supplication that may Allah (SWT) inspire us with the correct understanding of Hajj and make all of us perform this great obligatory pilgrimage and make our Hajj worthy of His acceptance!

The post Hajj: The Philosophy and Purpose appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

God’s Fashion Show

Ven, 07/21/2017 - 14:25

21st November, 10 am: All schools close and everyone is sent home in preparation for the storm that would soon make its way to the city.

Citizens wait in anticipation, wondering when the heavy, looming grey clouds will decide to unload their burden and shower the Earth with their boon.

Their patience finally pays off at 12:30 am on the 22nd of November, as a flash of lightning brightens up the sky. In order to get a perfect view of the rain throughout the night, I made a makeshift mattress just beneath our window and fell asleep with the cool breeze blowing on my face.

At 3:45 am, I was awoken because of rain drops falling all over my feet. As I turned to the window, a series of lightning flashes met my eyes, and I prepared myself to enjoy the stunning view.

The flashes got more frequent, the rumbling got louder, and the rain started falling faster. I held my blanket close. My thunder phobia started creeping all over me, and I sunk deeper and deeper into my blanket until I finally covered my ears with it to block out the fearsome sounds.

I made my way to the hall balcony to distract myself, dragging my blanket with me. Even though my blanket was nothing more than a bunch of cotton threads weaved together, having it with me made me feel safe. I had a shield to protect me from the dangers of the storm going on before me.

As I sat on the sofa to watch the stormy scene, my eyes fell on two men, absolutely drenched, scampering beneath the building, looking for shelter from the pounding rain and raging wind. And as bolts of lightning cracked the sky, I realized that sometime in the future, I’m going to see this exact same scene again, on a day commonly known as The Day of Reckoning.

The ongoing storm was a preview of the Might of Allah (SWT) that we will all glimpse on that day, a day that mountains will crumble, the sun will descend, Heaven and Hell shall be brought forth and the Earth shall split to allow all its inhabitants, from Adam to the End, to make their way to the courtroom of The Almighty.

The scampering men were the sinners, oppressors, God-deniers, ungrateful servants, running helter-skelter, in search of any refuge from the disaster they will be made to face.

Then there were the Believers, clinging on to their book of good deeds, the way I held onto my blanket. The deeds that we shall have to present to Allah (SWT) on that day are in reality, as capable of saving us from the Wrath of Allah (SWT) as my blanket would be able to prevent a bolt of lightning from making its way through my window and electrocuting me. Yet, we shall hold on to our insignificant deeds, taking them where ever we will go on that day, hoping that they may provide some protection, some help against the events of that Yawn ul Hashr.

And lastly, there will be those people who shall be calm, oblivious to what’s going on, relaxing on thrones and eating fruits to pass their time, like those who peacefully slept through the thundering city storm.

As I continued to watch the full-of-life sky, a plane made it’s way towards it, almost flinging itself onto the thunder, and I stared amazed as not one, not two, rather 6 daring planes took off into the night! I watched shell-shocked as they disappeared into the flashing sky.

I smiled. When you’re staring awe-struck at a cosmic display of power, imagining what this thunderous scene would look like from above the Earth, your mind tends to get overwhelmed with the Ultimate and Complete power of Allah (SWT), and you start to think about your own insignificance and may even question what, if any, is your worth?

But those planes reminded me, that though we humans are, at an average, 5 feet tall beings, with small digits for fingers and toes, a hole for a mouth, a collection of grey mushy stuff for a brain, living on one tiny planet in one tiny solar system, in one tiny galaxy, of an ever-expanding universe, YET, we humans, if we put our mind to it, can manage to come up with ways of overcoming the challenges of nature itself. We were capable of the impossible, and with will power and determination, the Human Race was invincible, because, from all of Allah (SWT)’s Magnificent Creations, it is we, and we alone, who are The Best Of Creations!

A Hadith of Imam Ali (as) springs to mind:

‘You presume you are a small entity, but within you is enfolded the entire Universe … … Therefore you have no need to look beyond yourself. What you seek is within you, if only you reflect..’

As the storm subsided, the rain slowed down and clouds cleared, the sound of the Adhaan reached my ears from the Masjid nearby. It reminded me of a fashion show, how the designer comes forward to take their final bow, after displaying all their amazing work. After God showed off His Absolute Power to the world, His servants then came forward to proclaim and admit His Greatness. As two Adhaans clashed with each other, I realized that there could have been no better ending to this wonderful night, than the sounds of Allahu Akber echoing everywhere…

May Allah (SWT) Guide us to use our intellect and potential as Human Beings in the best possible way, and may we be Blessed with an abundance of opportunities to do good deeds in order to help us on the day when man shall have no helper. Ameen.

To explore more on the themes of this blog post, take a look at the following texts on the Al-Islam.org library:

Hadith e Halila : Tradition of the Myrobalan Fruit https://www.al-islam.org/tradition-myrobalan-fruit-hadith-al-halila-imam-jafar-al-sadiq A thought provoking dialogue between Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a) and an atheist physician from India. Using logical arguments and the Myrobalan fruit as its theme the Imam convinces the atheist beyond doubt of the existence and attributes of Almighty Allah.
Hadith e Mufaddal
https://www.al-islam.org/tradition-of-mufaddal-pearls-of-wisdom-from-imam-jafar-as-sadiq Pears of wisdom by Imam Jaffar al Sadiq a.s. on nature and its environments, human health, animal kingdom, natural disasters and the immense ingenuity of the Almighty manifested in this entire universe as would be a solace for the believers.
God and His Attributes
https://www.al-islam.org/knowing-god-sayyid-mujtaba-musavi-lari Belief in God, God in the Qur’an, free will, and a discussion of some of the attributes of God. Translated by Dr. Hamid Algar.
Resurrection Judgement and the Hereafter
https://www.al-islam.org/resurrection-judgement-and-hereafter-sayyid-mujtaba-musavi-lari Aspects of death, pleasures of this world, evidence for resurrection, resurrection a manifestation of Divine justice, compensation for sins, and criterion for judgement.
Reflections on the Munajaat of Imam Ali (a)
https://www.al-islam.org/articles/reflections-munajat-imam-ali-mosque-kufa-mohammad-ali-shomali

The post God’s Fashion Show appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

The Ways of Servitude: Ramadan Kareem Guide

Dom, 05/28/2017 - 04:23

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

All praises are meant for Allah the Lord of Worlds, We are fortunate to have Ramadan the blessed month of mercy and forgiveness back in our lives once again. This month excels all other months regarding sublimity and nobility. It’s sublime because it is the month of Allah, and it’s noble because it revives our souls as rainwater revives the parched and barren earth. Our souls, due to excess of sins and negligence of Allah’s remembrance, become unresponsive to the remembrance of Allah and words of guidance. Ramadan, the august month of mercy and forgiveness, brings back life in our souls with fasting, prayers, reading of holy Quran, abstinence from sins, and increased remembrance of Allah.

As each moment of this glorious month is vitally important, we should make all our efforts to receive maximum benefit from this blessed month. Here we present a guide on the month of Ramadan. This guide helps us in performing important acts of worship during this noble month and also provides links to relevant, useful knowledge on the month of Ramadan from different aspects.

Before presenting recommended daily duas and special acts of worship in the blessed month we’ll share some books and articles links on the concept, philosophy, necessity of fasting, and the Islamic laws which govern the practices of fasting.

Important Reading Sources on the Blessed Month of Ramadan and Fasting:

The Right of Fasting chapter in the book entitled A Divine Perspective on Rights discusses the Imam Ali ibn Husain(AS)’s discourse on fasting. The books give a very excellent explanation of the Imam(AS)’s advice on the fasting. It’s short must read for anyone who wants to have a deeper understanding of the fasting.

Laws and Practices: What is the Fast of the Month of Ramadan is a brief text on the significance of fasting in the month of Ramadan.

Although all acts of worship that are done out of sincerity attract God’s mercy, fasting holds a special place in attaining it. Fasting not only is practiced by Muslims, but the worshippers of previous religions also practiced it. The doors of mercy are opened during the month of fasting, or the Month of Ramadan. To know more on how does fasting brings God’s mercy, read God’s Mercy through Fasting

In The Merits of Fasting and the Month of Ramadan the author, Mohammad Ali Shomali, fasting, elaborates on the concept of divine banquet and refers to some of the bounties of Allah SWT in the month of Ramadan and for those who fast.

Understanding the practical laws for fasting according to our followed Marjah is very important. The following is a chapter on Fasting (Part I of II) according to the Risalah of Ayatullah Ali al-Husayni Al-Sistani. It’s important for us to read the laws regarding the fasting so that our fasting is free from the defects of sins and ignorance.

If you want to know what different schools of thoughts in Muslims fasting, read Fasting according to the Five Schools of Islamic Law by Allamah Muhammad Jawad Maghniyyah

Ramadan: The Spring of Souls is Here The short discusses that how the blessed month revives our souls.

Ramadan: A Social Equalizer presents empathy we should have towards other human beings. The holy month of Ramadan has countless blessings in it. One of the blessings of this holy month is compassion towards the other fellow humans. Our emotions and feelings of sympathy are directly related to our actual experiences. We cannot feel the gnawing, agony, and suffering of a sick person until we have undergone the same ailment. When we suffer a pain of sickness, we better understand and feel empathy of the other suffering ones.

This one is especially for kids and young people for enhancing their knowledge on the month of Ramadan. So share Understanding the Month of Glory Lessons on the Month of Ramadhan with children and youth in your family and friends.

Duas and Recommended Acts of Worship in the Month of Ramadan:

The Supplications for the Month of Ramadhan is a useful resource for accessing the Arabic text, English translations, and audio recordings of supplications recited in Ramadhan, including Du’a Iftitah, the A’amal of Laylatul Qadr, and sermon of the Prophet (s) welcoming the month of Ramadhan (Ramadan).

Du’a on sighting the new moon of Ramadhan

Du’as for the nights of Ramadhan

Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power

Supplications for the last ten Nights of the holy month

Du’as for each day of Ramadhan

Du’a for Sahar (Dawn)

Reflections on the Supplication of Abi Hamzah al-Thumali

Dua’a Abu Hamza Thumali

Other Duas for Sahar

Other Important Duas:

Dua’a Jawshan Al Kabir

Dua’a Jaushan E Sagheer

Dua’a E Mujeer

Dua’a Kumayl

Imam Ali ibn Husain(AS)’s Supplication for the Coming of the Month of Ramadan

Imam Ali ibn Husain(AS)’s Supplication on Noble Moral Traits (Makarimul Akhlaq) Acts Pleasing to God

If you need to access a great source of Islamic spirituality, a source of peace and tranquility, a source for content heart, a source for nearness with Our Creator Lord, read supplications from Al-Sahifa Al-Kamilah Al-Sajjadiya , a collection of spirituality and peace emanating supplications from Imam Ali ibn Husain, Imam Sajjad(AS)

May Allah the Lord of mercy and grace accept our acts of worship and supplications performed in this blessed month and inspire us with goodness, and keep us away from evil, and fortify our faith, and make our feet steadfast on His path, and bestow on us the success of Here and Hereafter!

We request you to remember Ahul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project Team in your prayers in the solitary moments of the dark night when you stand to pray to Your Lord!

The post The Ways of Servitude: Ramadan Kareem Guide appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

The Hope Amidst Engulfing Darkness

Mer, 05/10/2017 - 10:28

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

We are living an age when we are besieged with all sorts of calamities, the calamity of injustice, the calamity of corruption, the calamity of hopelessness, the calamity of misguidance, the calamity of going astray , the calamity of falling in sin, the calamity of getting lost in the darkness of disbelief, the calamity of ever increasing gap between haves and have-nots, the calamity of constant damage to the ecological system, the calamity of widening economic and social inequalities, the calamity of shortage of food and water, the calamity of  failing health and increasing diseases, the calamity of  lack of education for billions and so on.

The international organizations working in the realm of conflict resolutions and finding solutions organize global conferences and thought munching sessions to come with solutions. The best minds from among the top academics, social scientists, and thinkers of the present world assemble there and spend a lot of time in reaching the solutions for the insurmountable problems being encountered by the human race.

But despite all the untiring efforts none of the problems really shows the sign of let up. The social unrest is increasing all over the world. The gap between the incomes of poor and rich is widening more rapidly. The economic inequality and disparity in resource allocations are increasingly more leaning in the favour of mighty and powerful.

The traits of moral degradation and ethical decadence have baffled moral teachers and preachers but they are helpless in checking this demise.

Are we really doomed? Is there no real way out? Has Allah Who has created the entire creation in the best form left His best creation on his own?

No. Allah has not left us on our own. Allah has created a system of leadership-  divinely appointed leaders who are there to guide and lead the world out of crushing problems.

The Imam of this age, Imam al-Mahdi(AJFS) is our hope amidst the engulfing darkness of injustice and misguidance. The Imam is there to guide. If we cannot find him it is not because he is turned away from us but because we have turned away from him. The veils of sins and extreme indulgence in worldly affairs have made us not notice his presence.

We need to cleanse our eyes and hearts to see and feel his presence. We need to increase our yearning for him. We do not have enough longing for his reappearance. The longing mandates making the platform ready for his return and establishment of his just rule. The platform for his reappearance cannot be laid until we understand our responsibilities and duties at the time of his occultation.

Let’s make a small effort to understand our responsibilities as followers of Imam al-Mahdi(AJFS) during the period of occultation through the reading of some good text resources on this topic:

The Last Luminary and Ways to Delve Into the Light “This work authored by Sayyid Ridha Husayni Mutlaq, presents ninety-nine rights and responsibilities which the true believers have to the Living Imam. The author demonstrates that the best way which one can fulfill such responsibilities is through purification of the soul and in addition, a spiritual change must take place within each person and we must seek to maintain closeness to Allah.”

Manner of Awaiting “..is a small collection of people’s responsibilities which are gathered to remind us of our duties while waiting for the reappearance of the Hidden Imam, Imam al-Hujja, al-Qa’im, Imam Mahdi (aj)”

The Waiting Chapter in Universal Government of the Mahdi discusses the definition, levels, philosophy and other aspects of waiting.

Preparing the Shi‘a for the Age of Occultation Part 1 and Preparing the Shi’a for the Age of Occultation Part 2  are great resources for understanding the preparations done right by the holy Prophet(S) and Imams(AS). This is a comprehensive reading on the issue of preparing Muslims for the occultation of Imam al-Mahdi(AJFS).

Another reading on a Muslim’s responsibilities is Duties and Responsibilities section in the book “Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.): The Spring of Life”

May Allah make us worthy of joining of Imam al-Mahdi (AJFS) when he reappears and include us among his followers and supporters, and provide us salvation through him!

The post The Hope Amidst Engulfing Darkness appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

The Lamp of Guidance, the Ark of Salvation

Dom, 04/30/2017 - 02:17

“Husain(AS) is the lamp of guidance and the ark of salvation”.

This is a statement of holy Prophet(S) about Imam Husain(AS). Guidance is something more related to the affairs in this worldly life. We require guidance to recognise the truth, or to find the way, or to save ourselves from falling into the pit of sins. Without guidance, the life in this world cannot be lived properly. Guidance is the cornerstone of fruitful life.

Salvation is related to success in the Hereafter. Without salvation in the Hereafter the life of this world is in loss. If somebody fails to achieve salvation in the Hereafter, all his efforts in this world’s life have gone in vain, and loss is the sum total of such a person’s life.

But the salvation cannot be achieved until we have been properly guided and have led our lives in harmony with the virtuous guidance. The guidance and salvation are connected. A misguided person cannot reach salvation, and the one who has reached salvation must have been rightly guided.

The glorious and august personality of Imam Husain(AS) provides the solution to the both problems. He is a lamp of guidance in this world’s life, and the ark of salvation in the Hereafter. The lamp shows the path to others and without the lamp knowing and leading one’s life on the right path is almost impossible. The ark of salvation saves from falling in the abyss of hell. Those who have embarked this ark will definitely be saved.

The life of Imam al Husain(AS) was immersed in the love of Allah. Each action of his life is a testimony to this fact. Holy Prophet(S) introduced Imam al Husain (and also Imam al Hasan(AS) on many occasions and he proclaimed to the Muslims to love both of them : “O Allah I love both of them. Therefore love them and love whoever loves them. Whoever loves al-Hasan and al-Husain is one whom I love. Whomever I love, Allah loves, and whomever Allah loves, He will cause to enter Heaven. Whoever hates them, I hate and Allah hates, He will cause to enter the fire. These two sons of mine are two plants of sweet basil(to sweeten) the world” (as quoted in Kitab al-Irshad, by Shaykh al Mufid).

In other sayings attributed to holy Prophet(S) about the virtues and greatness of Imam Husain(AS) , he(S) says :

“Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn. Everyone who likes Husayn is loved by Allah. Husayn is a sibt (son of daughter) of my sibts”

In another one he says:

“Everyone who wants to see the most beloved person in the heavens and the earth should look at Husayn”.

Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini in his book Imamat and the Imams has quoted more narrations on the greatness of Imam Husain(AS).

Another good analytical discussion on one of the manifest attributes of Imam al Husain(AS) is the Comparison between Imam al-Husayn’s (‘a) Path and That of Other Imams (‘a) done by Martyr Ayatullah Murtuza Mutahiri. It’s an interesting discussion which provides answers to many questions.

Reading this work can clear some of our doubts on the difference of approach of Imam al Husain(AS) vis-a-vis other Imams(AS). This clearing of doubts is very important in correctly receiving the light from the Lamp of Guidance.

May Allah purify ourselves and make us receive guidance from Imam al Husain(AS), and so that we could be among the ones who will embark the Ark of Salvation!

The post The Lamp of Guidance, the Ark of Salvation appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Do we know Ameerul Momeneen (AS) ?

Mar, 04/11/2017 - 00:48

The blessed day of birth of Ameerul Momeneen Ali ibn Abi Talib(AS) has dawned again in our life. This is the day when the world received the successor of holy Prophet(S) which ensured that the religion will be saved and Ummah guided after the holy Prophet(S) is no more present among the Muslims.

Imam Ali(AS) is combined with truth in such a way that both cannot be separated from each other. The path of Ali(AS) is the path of truth and every action of Imam Ali(AS) manifests an aspect of truth. To follow the truth and to stay steadfast on the path of truth is obligatory for all Muslims. But to be able to follow the truth, one must be fully aware of the truth. And this is the stage where many go astray as the realization and understanding of truth is not an easy task. But it becomes easy when we know someone whose life is an embodiment of truth and there is not a slight deviation from this in his life.

If we look at the life, actions, speeches, sermons, and sayings of such a person we can definitely know the truth. Others pass their generations in search of such an ideal role model, such a perfect human, a specimen of the best a man can achieve, a guide who never fails to guide, an embodiment of truth and justice that truth is recognized by his actions and justice is so much engraved in his subconscious that he is not ready to deprive an insect of a part of straw in lieu of the all treasures of all worlds.

Others may wonder forever to find him. But we know his name. We know who is he. He is Ali ibn Abi Talib(AS) the successor of last Prophet(S) of God. But do we know more about him except his name? Do we spend a little of our time to come closer to him? Do we give him that much importance in our life that we could spend few minutes of our day in knowing who Ali(AS) is? Ali(AS) who is the embodiment of truth and justice in the most perfect sense, those who claim to accept him as Ameerul Momeneen do not expend a little of their time to know his thoughts and emotions. What made Ali(AS) cry? What made him happy? What made him angry? How he looks at us as his shia? Do we try to delve into the deeper side his heart?

We must utilize this blessed occasion to know Imam Ali(AS) through his own words. We must know Ali(AS) through the statements he made, and mesmerizing sermons he delivered, we must know Ali(AS) through Nahjul Balagha. Let’s take a pledge to increase our understanding of the Ameerul Momeneen (AS). We can do with the help of following text resources.

Nahjul Balagha Part 1, The Sermons is the great source for the collection of Imam Ali(AS)’s sermons. You want to know what he wants us to listen? Read his sermons.

Nahjul Balagha Part 2, Letters and Sayings read his letters and sayings to know how he used to administer justice and perform governance matters and guide his followers.

Selection from Glimpses of the Nahj al-Balaghah Read this great writing of Ayatullah Murtadha Mutahhari to know how great scholars understand the greatness of Nahjul Balagha.

Lessons from the Nahjul Balaghah read this book by Ayatullah Sayyid Ali Khamenei which is “a precious book presented to the world of Islam as a brief introduction to the vast phenomenon of Prophethood as it appears in the Nahjul Balaghah of the Commander of the Faithful, ‘Ali, peace be upon him. ‘ ”

All of us desire success. The hope of success is driving force behind our actions. Read What is True Success? Excerpts from Peak of Eloquence (Nahjul Balagha) to understand success from Imam Ali (AS)’s viewpoint.

When the world has reached the conclusion that without justice there can be no durable governance, without justice there can be no peace, without justice there can be no prosperity, read Imam Ali(AS)’s sermons, statements, and letters on justice. Read how justice was identity of his rule as a caliph whose rule was stretched over a vast area from parts of India in East to the North Africa touching boundaries of Europe in West, The Emphasis on Justice in Nahjul Balaghah

We can read the following writings on specific topics from or about Nahjul Balagha:

A Perspective of Imamat in Nahjul Balaghah

Preface of Nahjul Balaghah by Allamah Ali Naqi Naqvi

The Commentaries on Nahjul Balaghah by Dr. Sayyid Wahid Akhtar

Commentary on Sermon 80 of Nahjul Balaghah by Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi

The Concept of Freedom in the Nahjul Balaghah by Dr. Sayyid Wahid Akhtar

Causes of Enmity with Imam Ali (as) in the Light of Nahjul Balaghah by Dr. Sayyid Wahid Akhtar

Misconceptions about Nahjul Balaghah by Dr. Sayyid Wahid Akhtar

Sources of Nahjul Balaghah by Dr. Sayyid Wahid Akhtar

The Authenticity of Nahjul Balaghah by Sayyid Fadhil Milani

and finally for kids Nahj al-Balaghah for Children

The post Do we know Ameerul Momeneen (AS) ? appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

7 Books to Deepen Your Knowledge on Fatimah al-Zahra (S) – The Role Model For All Women

Ven, 03/03/2017 - 23:01

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

The life of Lady Fatimah Zahra (S) is beyond comprehension for a common person. Islam has thirteen major role models for men, but she is alone as role model for all women.

The lofty status of the holy lady can not be fully understood. In such a short life she fulfilled the purpose and mission of her creation. She left behind a posterity of infallible Imams(AS). Her blessed existence is a source of light till the day of Judgment.

As Lady Fatimah Zahra(S) is our role model, therefore it is incumbent upon us to gather as much knowledge about different aspects of her life as possible. We must study all aspects of her life so that we can receive light and guidance from her pure and holy life, and so that we could be able to lead a successful life as desired by Allah(SWT) for His servants.

The book Fatima az-Zahra’, The World’s most outstanding Lady by Ayatullah Naser Makarem Shirazi discusses “the historical proceedings of the Prophet’s (s) daughter Fatima Az Zahra, from childhood until marriage. Then an account of the sufferings and hardships after the martyrdom of the Holy Prophet (s), till the moment of her martyrdom.” It’s a good beginner level introduction of holy lady’s life.

Another short write up entitled The Third Infallible, Hadhrat Fatimah al-Zahra on the biography of the august lady Fatimah al-Zahra(S) is a beneficial reading for a quick reader.

The most relevant and most important topics of study on the lady of Heavens comprise of her being role model for all Muslims. Fatimah al-Ma`sumah (as): a role model for men and women provides a good resource for study on different dimensions of life in which she is a great role model. The study of this book will result in increased knowledge on her life’s practical aspects and will , inshaAllah , guide the readers to adapt her way of life as the model.

Along with the above mentioned book The Nurturing Role of Lady Fatimah(S) is another good reading on the same topic. This article “addresses Lady Fatimah’s conduct and method of upbringing, seeks to present the life of Lady Fatimah as the applied form of Islam. She was an illustration of a perfect woman, or rather, a perfect human being within the Islamic faith”

Besides the above mentioned readings, The Life of Fatimah Az- Zahra’, The Principal of all Women: Study and Analysis  studies the life events of the glorious lady. The book discusses that how  “The messenger of Allah (S) put Fatimah (s.a.) in the highest place and most honorable position in Islam to be the highest example for the women of his nation, not in chastity and abstinence only, but to play her role in the inclusive reformation if his umma (nation) sould go astray.

And indeed, the principal of women (s.a.) undertook her positive role when the umma deviated from its spiritual and worldly leadership that the Prophet (S) had assigned to be in the people of his house who were the centers of knowledge and intellect in the world of Islam. She, peace be on her, set stably, bravely, and loftily against the rulers and invited them to straightness and to the very principles of Islam”

The Virtues of Sayyidah Fatimah (sa) which is a “a collection of hadith by a Sunni Scholar on the virtues and status of Sayyidah Fatimah (s), the blessed daughter of Prophet Muhammad (saw).”

And finally the House of Sorrows, The life of Sayyidah Fatimah al-Zahra and her grief sheds light on the last days of her life. It brings forth the pain and agony which the holy Lady had to suffer after the death of her blessed father holy prophet(S). It is the first ever book in English to detail the last six months of the life of the only daughter of Prophet Muhammad, Fatimah az-Zahra.

This book focuses on the status of Lady Fatimah from Qur’anic verses and traditions and delves into the events immediately preceding the death of Prophet Muhammad. There are a number of events discussed in this text such as saqifah, the taking of Fadak, and then, in vivid words, goes through the last months of her life. Be prepared to shed tears as you read the heart-wrenching events of what happened to az-Zahra as recounted and narrated in the major books of the Ahlul Sunnah and the Shi’a.

May Allah make us receive light and guidance from her pious and successful life so that we could also achieve success in the both worlds!

The post 7 Books to Deepen Your Knowledge on Fatimah al-Zahra (S) – The Role Model For All Women appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Discover the Meaning & Significance of Eid

Lun, 07/04/2016 - 08:57

The Arabic term Eid traces its etymology to the word ‘awd’ which actually means ‘to return’. Therefore  the day of Eid  is actually the day of ‘return’ towards the Beneficent Lord.

The man is created with a pure fitra which guides him always towards His Creator Sustainer Lord. But man covers his fitra on which he is created, with the dust of sins and heedlessness and thus becomes estranged with His most Loving Lord.

The month long worship and purification in the blessed month of Ramadan removes and clears the hardened layers of sins and reconnects the man with His Creator Lord. So on the day of Eid, that is the day of return, man returns towards His Lord with purified soul.

It’s a day of celebration because we receive the rewards after a month long worship and rigorous spiritual training, and it’s also the day of thankfulness to the Lord because He opened the doors of mercy and forgiveness through the blessed month of Ramadan.

The day of Eid is not a day when we return to our old life of thanklessness and heedlessness, but rather it’s a day when we go ahead in life with renewed spiritual energy and determination.

We should remember Allah this day more frequently and recite the supplication of Imam Sajjad(AS) in Sahifa Sajjadia on the day of Eid, and this dua from Mikyalul Makarim Fee Fawaaid ad-Duaa Lil Qai’m. We offer special prayers on the occasions of Eid to express our gratitude to Allah subhanhu wa taa’la, in this wake The book by Yasin al-Jibouri in this sake the is a useful one which discusses the details related to the special Eid prayers.

The day of Eid also mandates for us to pay zakat al Fitra. The FAQs on Zakat al-Fitra  answers different questions related to this issue. Reading the resource can be beneficial for those who have questions in their minds about the zakat al-fitra.

The book Fast by Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi explains different aspects of the Eid al Fitr. It can be an interesting reading for the uninitiated, and the thoughts on Eid delves a little deeper briefly into the question of why do we celebrate Eid.

I end my brief post with the humble request that when you stand to pray on the day of Eid , remember all believers including Ahlul Bayt DILP team in your prayers!

 

 

 

 

6 Resources to Help You Enjoy Spiritual Benefits in the Most Important Night of the Year (Laylatul Qadr)

Mer, 06/22/2016 - 09:44

The Laylatul Qadr is the most significant and glorious night of the year.

The night is replete with blessings and “rahmah”. Its brilliance and shine surpasses all other nights of the year. The night has got its high status confirmed by none less than holy Quran itself. In honor and glory it is weightier than a thousand months.

The acts of worship and good deeds performed in this blessed night with sincerity of intentions for the Allah subhanahu wa talaa are more rewarding than they are in any other night. The following tradition provided in the book “Adab as-Salat: The Disciplines of the Prayer ” by Ayatullah Sayyid Imam Ruhallah Musawi Khomeini,  from the holy Prophet(S) makes the significance of the night clear:

“Moses said: ‘O Allah! I desire your proximity.’ Allah said: ‘My proximity is for the one who keeps awake on ‘the night of Qadr.’ He said: ‘O Allah! I wish for your mercy.’ Allah said: ‘My mercy is for the one who shows mercy to the poor on `the night of Qadr.’ He said: ‘O Allah! I want to cross the sirāt [the (right) path]’. He said: ‘That is for the one who gives out a sadaqah (charity) on ‘the night of Qadr.’ He said: ‘O Allah.’ I want of the trees and fruits of Paradise.’ Allah said: ‘They are for the one who glorifies (Me) on ‘the night of Qadr.’ He said: ‘I want to be delivered.’ Allah said: ‘From the Fire?’ ‘Yes,’ he said. Allah said: ‘It is for the one who asks forgiveness on ‘the night of Qadr.’ He said: ‘O Allah! I ask for your pleasure.’ Allah said: ‘I would be pleased with the one who performs two rak’ahs (bow) of salāt (prayer) on ‘the night of Qadr.’”

The book “Spiritual Journey of the Mystics (Suluk al-Arifan)“  by Ayatullah Mirza Jawad Tabrizi, quotes the following tradition from the holy Prophet(S) on the rewards for acts of worship this night :

“On the night of power, the gates of heaven are opened. There is no servant who offers prayer in this night, but Allah (swt) for every prostration stores a tree in the Paradise–the tree whose branches and shade is so vast that if a rider travels for one hundred years through its shade, he would not be able to cross it; for every ra’kat (bow) would build a home for him in paradise–the home decorated and built by pearls, topaz, and rubies; for every verse recited, a crown from the crowns of paradise; for every praise (tasbeeh),a bird from the birds of paradise; for every sitting, a rank from the ranks of paradise. For every witnessing (tashahud), a chamber from the chambers of paradise, and for every salutation, a robe from the robes of paradise would be bestowed upon him by Allah. And at the breaking of the dawn, companions, youthful and sympathetic, houris of paradise–pure and decorated, obedient and well uniformed, horses–most obedient and swift, flowers, greenery, and good smells, running elegant fountain streams, and many other bounties which make the soul pleased and eyes to shine, would also be bestowed upon him by Allah.”

The blessed night is worth knowing more and more about it. The more we know about this gracious night , the more we can reap good results out of it. Fast of the Month of Ramadhan: Philosophy and Ahkam unravels the different details about  the blessed night.

As the dua is a weapon of a believer, the recommended supplications and acts of worship must be adhered to get maximum spiritual rewards. Finally the lecture by Dr. Murtadha Alidina takes us further into the depths of understanding the night’s glory.

Let’s pray to Al Mighty Allah that may in this night of power and glory and the night of determination of destinies , He makes us spend our time in supplications and prayers, and may He make us do the good deeds which cause the bestowal of His mercy and forgiveness and removal of His wrath and punishment!

Support Al-Islam.org through the Amazon Smile Program

Ven, 05/27/2016 - 03:42

We are pleased to announce that you can also support us financially through the Amazon Smile program, at no cost to you. Here are the details:

1. How do we do it ?

Through Amazon Smile program, a simple and automatic way for you to support Al-Islam.org every time you shop, at no cost to you.

When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

2. How do I register for the Smile Program ?

We refer you to https://smile.amazon.com/ch/41-1971730 to register

3. How much is my Contribution to Amazon Smile Al-Islam.org project ?

The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases

3. I have more questions related to the Program

Please refer to this Web page for more detailed information http://smile.amazon.com/gp/aw/ch/about

 

Ramadan Mubarak!

Mer, 06/17/2015 - 00:28

Dear Al-Islam.org readers,

Salaam Alaikum!

As we get closer to the holy month of Ramadan, we would like to encourage our visitors to explore our resources to prepare for this beautiful month and make the most of it! This blog post will share select resources you can glimpse through from our site:

Gaining closeness to the Quran

The Al-Quran Project is a beneficial tool to get a basic English translation and commentary on Quranic verses.

We also host volumes of one of the greatest commentaries of the time – Tafsir al-Mizan authored by Allama Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai as well as many other Quranic commentaries!

Increasing Spirituality

A contemporary scholar and expert in Irfan/spirituality, Ayatullah Hasanzadeh Amuli has said, “An Irfan-less community is tantamount to a lifeless corpse”.

This is a month is described as the ‘divine banquet’ – an important month to work on our spirituality. A book on spirituality related to fasting in particular is “Spiritual Journey of the Mystics (Suluk al-Arifan)“.

There are many supplications we read during this month; understanding the depth and meaning behind those supplications is a great tool to increase our spirituality. A book in this regard is one by Shaykh Muhammad Khalfan that focusses on the inner meanings behind the popular du’a of the holy Prophet (saw) that we read after every Salaat in the month of Ramadan: Manifestations of the All-Merciful.

The Month of the Ummah

Let’s strive to develop a greater understanding of the Ummah through studying the present situation as well as history. The last Friday of this month, also known as “Yawm al-Quds” is a day to work towards the cause of the oppressed and become their voice – let’s make sure to participate in it in best way possible.

May we acquire the best benefits possible from this spiritual month!

Aalim network archives and media files

Dom, 01/05/2014 - 10:04

Salam alaikum,

Some of you rightly noticed that when we moved over to the new site, the Aalim network archives (a series of question and answers and many lectures under the multimedia section went missing.

We have now brought back both of them.

The Aalim Network, can be accessed via this url http://www.al-islam.org/link/aalim-network-archives

 

As for the multimedia files, they are now accessible if you have a direct link to them. for eg. http://www.al-islam.org/gallery/audio/hawza/aqaid/babhadi/016.mp3 . However, we are still working on adding a section in the new portal that will allow easy browsing/searching for the multimedia files.

Keep looking at this space for more updates.

Search Experience

Mar, 12/31/2013 - 11:17

Salam alaikum,

We’ve recently made some efforts to improve the search experience on Al-Islam.org

This includes support for

  • Exact text matches
  • Fuzzy matches
  • Some UI improvements
  • Ability to search with Google
  • New ability to search for organizations

However, we realize that there is more work to be done to make the search better.

Any feedback/suggestions are welcome

Wassalaam

Mobile Compatibility

Dom, 12/29/2013 - 14:06

Salam alaikum,

We’ve noticed that some of our users are experiencing difficulties in viewing books/articles on their mobiles.Rest assured, we’ve taken notice and are working towards a solution at the earliest.

Meanwhile, it would be good if you can leave a comment letting us know which mobile browsers are facing this problem.

Thanks

Try out the Beta Version of the new Al-Islam.org site

Dom, 05/26/2013 - 11:03

During the last 2 years DILP team has been working hard on developing the new Al-Islam.org 2.0 website.

We’re excited to announce that the beta version of the new website has gone live. You can take it for a test drive by visiting http://beta.al-islam.org

Here are some features to look out for in the new version:

A New Interface

The new interface makes it easy to find the resources you’re looking for.

New Al-Islam.org Interface

Join & Collaborate

Register with the site and you can collaborate with the team in improving the text by correcting errors in spellings or references.

Join & Collaborate

Search the site with Auto Suggest

While searching, the search bar will suggest important phrases.

Search & Autosuggest feature

Export to Print or PDF format

Export any book or page in Print or PDF format to read offline

Print / PDF Export

Share your feedback on a resource

Share your comments

Browse resource by topic, author, translator or publisher

Browse resources by Author

Take the beta site for a test drive at http://beta.al-islam.org and share with us your feedback.

 

Featured Website: Duas.org

Mer, 11/09/2011 - 03:37

Remember Me, I will remember you [2:152]

Supplications in Islam while being a means of communication with our Creator are not only significant for fulfillment of needs and desires but also to enhance one’s spiritual nature towards Allah (SWT).

Inspired by Quran and hadith that lay great emphasis on integrating supplications to the Almighty in one’s life, the Duas.org team has made an earnest effort to provide easiest access to the enormous treasure of supplications from our holy infallibles (as)! The supplications are presented from very reliable sources such as books from great scholars as well as Sahifas of the infallibles (as) themselves; namely – Sahifa al-Alaviya, Sahifa al-Zahra, Sahifa al-Kamila, Sahifa al-Razaviya, Sahifa al-Mahdi and duas from our tenth and eleventh Imams (as).

Every supplication on the site is made available in Arabic language along with English transliteration and translation. Along with the basic html version for each dua, there are PowerPoint slides, PDF and MP3 versions made available for every supplication – thus making it very convenient for e-readers and Amazon Kindle users to recite supplications at their own ease.

Not only does the site provide access to supplications but also informs about recommended deeds (amaal) during important days of the Islamic year. Supplications for everyday life, after every prayer and specific purposes such as, marriage, studying, cure for health problems etc. are also available on the site.

Informative articles and books on various important subjects are also present for readers to improve their knowledge and understanding about a particular event or topic. For instance, if the supplications for seeking Istikhara are mentioned the reader is simultaneously suggested to read a book on the detailed concept of Istikhara and its relevance to one’s situation. Similarly there are several books related to the topics of marriage, death and various other issues.

The Duas.org apps for Android, iPhone/iPad and other smartphone users are free to download.

                              

One can merely thank the dedicated team at Duas.org for providing such wonderful and easy access to the precious gems from the holy infallibles (as)! As you enjoy reciting supplications from their site, please remember the team in your prayers so that Allah gives them best in this life and the next.

 

Featured Organization: Al-Itrah Foundation

Dom, 07/10/2011 - 01:37

The Ahlul Bayt DILP presents Islamic resources on Al-Islam.org in more than 25 languages. One of these languages is Kiswahili, which serves as a second language in several parts of East African countries. Al-Islam.org hosts more than 250 resources in Kiswahili, and this was largely made possible by the efforts of Al-Itrah foundation


Al-Itrah Foundation is an Islamic organization that was established in October of 2002. Although the organization is based in Dares-Salaam – Tanzania, its activities are definitely a great inspiration to Muslims worldwide. Below is a brief interview with the founder of Al-Itrah Foundation, Br. Mahboob Somji, who has enlightened us about Al-Itrah and its activities.

1) What primary goals does Al-Itrah seek to achieve?

Our primary goals are:

  • To promote divine values.
  • To spread awareness about the Holy Prophet (saw) and his progeny to Muslims as well as non Muslims.
  • To bridge the gap between Muslims and non Muslims.

2) Please enlighten us about Al-Itrah’s main activities that are currently running.

The main activities of Al-Itrah Foundation are:

  • Translating Arabic & English resources into Kiswahili language; we have so far translated more than 200 books into Kiswahili and recently translated the first Shia Tafsir of the holy Quran into Kiswahili.
  • Educating and promoting Islamic awareness through the media and specifically through Al-Itrah’s own TV channel: IBN Television
  • Spreading awareness through Maarifa Radio channel.
  • Running a full time library in the local area in the city which is known as Maktaba Mustaqeem.

3) Please tell us something about IBN television. What programs are broadcasted through it?

IBN television is the first Islamic channel in Tanzania that broadcasts in three different languages, mainly Kiswahili and English. Various kinds of programs are broadcasted through it, such as, talk shows, Islamic lectures from renowned scholars, highlights on the current political situation of the Ummah, interfaith programs and various other programs related to social life, health and general lifestyle.

4) Although Al-Itrah is based in Tanzania, does it also send out books throughout the world or does it only seek to serve specific areas/regions?

Yes we do ship out books that are ordered through our website (http://alitrah.info/) around the world, however it also depends on the number of orders.

In addition, we distribute free books in Kiswahili to more than 50 centers in East Africa. Only sample copies are sent to Qum for the authors to have copies for their archives. We do send copies of all our publications to National Libraries in Tanzania and Universities

5) What are some of Al-Itrah’s future plans?

Future plans are to expand the media resources (ie IBNTV and Maarifa Radio) to reach the entire country of Tanzania so that everyone has access to IBNTV. We also intend to start Kiswahili Newspaper known as Kipambanuzi which will be published on a regular basis once we have successfully stabilized the ongoing projects such as IBN television and Maarifa radio.

6) What obstacles or major challenging aspects (if any) does this work entail? Please feel free to share your experiences.

Major challenge for us is to find human resources in the field, but Alhamdulillah, whatever progress you see is due to Allah’s mercy, and we hope this to continue inshaAllah. Another setback is that we have not publicized this institution to outside world and due to this reason we lack financial support from the donors. InshaAllah as we grow further, and along with the help of our dedicated board members, we will start making improvements in these areas.

9) A message that you would like to share with the Ahlulbayt DILP team?

DILP team is doing wonderful job mashaAllah! I don’t have any words for their commitments and dedication, they are doing a superb job. My only wish is that if we can develop same Al-Islam.org with all the Swahili resources so that in the long run when internet is easily accessible to every individual in this part of the East African population, these will be very helpful and it will promote the True Faith in this area easily. Let’s hope this can be achieved.

10) A message that you would like to give to our readers at Al-Islam.org?

Our message is that all our resources globally should be working in developing the True Islamic System based on Wilayah in all the areas, be it political, social, economical, educational, cultural, spiritual etc. Allah (swt) has given us time, resources and opportunity and I feel we should take full advantage of such opportunities and continue developing ourselves and our communities in all areas.

My other humble advice is that all those working for Al-Islam.org take some time out to read the articles and resources available on the Mashrabe Naab website. I hope that we will continue education ourselves to learn about the true teachings of Islam as taught by the Holy Prophet (s) and his progeny (as).