Ask forgiveness from Allah - 18th Safar 1435/2013

Bismillahir rahmanir-rahim, Al-hamdulillah rabbil-'aalameen, baari' il-khala'iqi ajma'een, ba'ith il-anbiyaa'i wal mursaleen, was salaatu was salaam 'ala talib il haqq il haadi ileyh, al-basheer in nadheer, as siraj il muneer, sayiddina wa nabiyyina, Abal Qasimi Muhammad. Wa 'ala aale rasoolihil mukhtar al-abraari wal at haar siyyama 'alal-Hussayn il-madhloomil maqtool al-majrooh il atshaan al madhboohi minal qafa fi yowmi 'Ashura fi ardhi Karbala bila jurmin wa la khata', al-ladhi ghusluhu dammun wa kafanahu rimaalu Karbala. Sallallaahu 'alayka ya Aba Abdillah, Sallallaahu 'alayka yabna Rasool Allah, Ya laytana kunna ma'akum fa nafooza fawzan 'adheema.[Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

A'oodhu billahi minal shaytan ir-rajeem. Bismillahir rahmanir-rahim "Fa qultu staghfiru rabbakum innahu kana ghaffaara."(71:10) "Yursill il sama'a 'alaykum midraara"(71:11) "Wa yumdidkum bi amwal wa baneen wa yaj'al lakum jannat wa yaj'al lakum anhaara."(71:12) Sadaq Allah-ul 'aliyul 'adheem.

In relation to these three verses of Suratul Nuh, the book "Majma'ul Bayan", book of tafsir, mentions a very interesting hadith. And this hadith in actual fact is the center point of our discussion tonight insha'Allah.

This hadith mentioned in "Majma'ul Bayan" in relation to these three ayat of Suratul Nuh, Surah number 71, involve Imam al-Hassan, salam Allah 'alayh, in a period of his life. Because Imam al-Hassan al-Mujtaba, salam Allah 'alayh, is present when an individual comes to him. Our second holy Imam, Abu Muhammad, this person says "Ya Aba Muhammad. I have an issue or a query that I want you to deal with." He says yes. He says "Ya Imam, I am unable to have children. Can you give me a du'a so that I can have children." So the Imam says recite "Astaghfirullaha rabbi wa atoobu ilayh". Do Istighfar. He says Okay.

Second person comes, he says "Ya Aba Muhammad. I have a problem with regards to my rizq and sustenance." The Imam says, "Do Istighfar. Say Astaghfirullaha rabbi wa atoobu ilayh."

A third individual comes. He says, "I want to have a son. My wife is pregnant. What du'a can I do so that my wife can be given a son?" The Imam says, "Do Istighfar. Say Astaghfirullaha rabbi wa atoobu ilayh."

An individual or individuals that were there present with the Imam had an objection. Because usually when people ask their speakers or their scholars or their teachers or their khutaba' about certain du'a with certain problems that they have, people expect something very spectacular. They expect to have a du'a that no one has seen before in a very dusty book. And when this du'a is recited to them, it is a very difficult 'amal. For example, to take a goat on which one side has a black spot, the other side is completely white, then slaughter this goat and take the blood, recite this and put it on the right cheek of the child, then it will be okay.

If someone asked me a question and I said, recite Istighfar, they would laugh. He cannot be bothered to give a proper du'a. Imam Hassan, however, was asked three times. He did not give a very deep, complicated 'amal for that person to do. The Imam said do Istighfar. They said, "Ya Imam, we have a problem with your three answers that you gave to those three individuals." He said what?

During the life of the A'imma, aleyhum asalam, they were sometimes asked questions again and again and again. And they were asked the same question by, for example, five individuals. For example, Imam Ali, salam Allah 'alayh, [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] was asked the question many a time, "What is better, maal - wealth, or knowledge?" And as we know, he answered differently each time. And Amir ul-mu'mineen says, "If you were to ask me this question till the day of Qiyamah, I would answer in a different way each time until the day of Qiyamah"

So they said, "You are the son of Amir ul-mu'mineen, you yourself are an Imam. You are asked the same question three times, you were asked three different questions, you gave the same answer. Why?"

In response to those individuals, the Imam recites these three verses of Suratul Nuh. "Fa qultu staghfiru rabbakum innahu kana ghaffaara." (71:10)That Nabi Nuh, salam Allah 'alayh, had told his people, Ask forgiveness from Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala. Allah is the oft-forgiving. "Yursila as sama'a 'alaykum midraara"(71:11). The skies will pour down with rain for you. "Wa yumdidkum bi amwal wa baneen"(71:12). And AllahSubhana wa Ta'ala, will help you with regards to your amwal - your wealth, and your baneen - and your children. "Wa yaj'al lakum jannat", and Allah will give you gardens, "wa yaj'al lakum anhaara" and Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, will give you streams.

They had asked the question. According to the Qur'an, the best du'a an individual can do is ask Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, to forgive his or her sins. We understand that Istighfar as a concept is often spoken about. However, we want to look at this verse of the Holy Qur'an "Fa qultu staghfiru rabbakum innahu kana ghafaara"(71:10), and therefore tonight's discussion is entitled "And ask for forgiveness from Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala." This is the discussion title, "And ask for forgiveness from Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala."

Generally, when we look at the world and life in general, we have two types of existence, two types of things which exist - "mawjoodat". The first is that thing which exists and has no life. Inanimate. The second is that thing which exists and has a life. If you look at those existence, those "mawjoodat" which exist without life, are inanimate, you will notice that inanimate objects, objects without life are unable to move by themselves. For example, I have a book. This book is dead. This book does not have life. Can this book move itself, turn itself? No. This book will only move when someone else or something else moves it. This is a quality of things which are dead. We have a chair, the chair can only move when I pick it up and move it from one place to the other.

However, things that are living can move themselves and turn their direction. For example, you have a plant. This plant is living or dead? Living. This plant is able to move itself in the direction of the sun. Therefore, one of the signs of a certain thing having life is that it is able to move and revert its direction.

When we say tawba and istighfar and repentance and forgiveness, this is the same thing. This is the human being moving back to Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, and istighfar and repentance, therefore, is a sign of life within that individual. Because if there is someone who cannot turn away from his sins, this is like he is an inanimate object. He cannot turn away from these sins of his.

And we understand that istighfar as a concept, generally speaking about it, we have many ahadith and many narrations and many examples. As I highlighted to you a few nights ago, if there is a country which is battling an external country, an external enemy, this is easy for itself to do. If there is, however, an individual or a country or an organization which has to battle itself, this is the most difficult thing it can do. To battle yourself, to find flaws within yourself and then understand how to deal with them.

Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, rahmatullah 'alayh, was the companion of Rasool Allah, salla Allahu 'aleyhi wa aalihi wasalam[Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]. And Abu Dharr was the companion of Amir ul-mu'mineen, salam Allah 'alayh, as we know. Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, we are told about him that he was very outspoken. So when he was in Medina, he would speak out against Othman at the time and would say, these are your flaws, why are you doing this, why are you doing that? What did Othman do? Othman said, the easiest way I can get rid of him is I exile him to Sham, in Syria. So he sent from Medina to Syria.

When Abu Dharr is sent to Syria, who does he have to deal with? He has to deal with Mu'awiya. Now Mu'awiya again is very clever. Mu'awiya realises that this individual is outspoken, he will cause problems, Mu'awiya exiles him outside of Syria. Then Mu'awiya exiles him to South Lebanon. When we ask the question, why are there Shias today in Jabal Amil, South Lebanon, the answer is because Abu Dharr was sent there and he converted the people into the madhhab of Ahlul Bayt, which is why they are still there today.

It is mentioned that when this Abu Dharr al-Ghifari was exiled to Syria, one of his friends wrote him a letter. His friend says, "Ya Aba Dharr" - the individual knew that Abu Dharr is a companion of Ahlul Bayt so he is a clever individual. "Ya Aba Dharr, I ask you for pieces of advice. Give me one piece of advice that I can keep with me in my life." Abu Dharr replies by saying, "Okay, fine, one piece of advice. Make sure that you never oppress your best and closest friend. You are never the enemy of your best, closest friend. You have many friends, some are close, some are further away from you. Never oppress or hurt or be the enemy of your closest friend."

This person writes back "Ya Aba Dharr, I do not understand what you are trying to say." Abu Dharr says "Your closest, most intimate friend is yourself, your nafs. Do not be the enemy of your nafs." He said, "How can I be the enemy of my nafs?" The reply came "By committing sinful actions and acts of disobedience, you become the enemy of your nafs and you oppress this soul of yours."

Because sometimes I see and I look at this bank account that I have in my heart. When I look at this bank account, I think I have been living for 60 years and in 60 years, how much salaat have I recited? In 60 years, how many times did Ramadhan come and how many times did I fast? And then you build a picture in your mind that I must have such high level of good deeds within this bank account of mine.

One 'alim gives a very interesting example. He says there was a farmer. This farmer used to collect hay and put it in his storeroom overnight and then whatever, he would sell the hay or use the hay for whatever purposes. So every single day he would bring all the hay together, put it in his store cupboard in his warehouse, lock the warehouse and go to sleep.

He would see however, that he would fill this store cupboard right to the top with hay, full. When he would come the next day, it would be half empty or less than half. He was thinking when I came yesterday, it was right to the top. I am the only one who has the key, no one else has the key. Why is it then that when I put it and I fill the store cupboard right to the top, the next day I come it is empty. He tried the next day, filled it right to the top. Again next day, 20 percent left.

Third day, fourth day, fifth day until he realized, what I will do now, I will fill the store cupboard with hay. I will stay there overnight. I will stay in the store cupboard overnight to see what happens. So he fills the storeroom with hay, he gets a chair, he sits down and he closes the room from inside. He waits a while. After about midnight, he sees that there are big rats which are entering into the store cupboard from holes in the ground, and they are eating majority of the hay and then they are running away. So he realized that all of this hay that I worked hard to collect and accumulate is being eaten like in one second by these rats.

This scholar then said this is the example of the human situation. The human being, insaan, said, I worshipped Allah for 70 years. I did this many fasts in my life, I did this many salatul layl, I gave this much khums. My account, it must be very high and full. But when we open the books of deeds, we will see in the way that the rats ate away the hay of that individual, it was our sins and acts of disobedience which emptied the bank account of this heart of ours. This is what the sins do to us. They empty up this bank account of the heart, leaving nothing within it.

And when we look at istighfar and repentance, an example is given for us to understand what istighfar actually is. "Fa qultu staghfiru rabbakum innahu kana ghaffaara"(71:10). Nabi Nuh said, ask forgiveness from Allah, He will shower unto you rain. He will give you health and wealth and good family.

What is istighfar? They say the human body has a mouth and a stomach. Yes, you may in your life have had a dodgy kebab or something to eat like that. I know I have once or twice. So when you eat this dodgy kebab and it goes into your stomach, what happens? You have eaten this, you know the type of kebab you cannot tell, is it chicken or is it lamb, is it beef? You have no idea. So you ate this kebab. Once you ate it, it went into your stomach. You realize now for the next three or four hours it will be like hell for you. You have sweats and pain and cramp. You have no rest. You are restless. You have discomfort. There is only one option. You have eaten this foreign thing which has not been good for you, this thing which has been dangerous for you, it is gone into your stomach, it entered in through your mouth. Now you realize that you have pain and sweating and distress. There is only one thing that can happen. It has to come out from the mouth. You have to vomit it out.

Here we understand that there is a principle. When you have a mouth, if anything foreign, dangerous, unclean, impure enters into this mouth and goes into the stomach, there is only one way I can get rid of it. I have to vomit this out. If it stays within the body, it will cause me distress and pain.

The ulama and the scholars say, yes, you have this mouth, but you also have the mouth of desire and the mouth of enjoyment, and the mouth of social interaction. And you also have the stomach known as the soul. If I eat something with the mouth of desire that I should not have, there is only one thing I can do. Vomit it out from this soul of mine.

For example, we have the mouth of enjoyment.If I ate from this mouth of enjoyment something I should not have, something known as music, it will affect my soul. It will cause me difficulty in which the Kebab cause my body difficulty. The only way I can get rid of this and have a relaxation within this soul of mine, is to vomit this impure thing from my stomach out of my body.

And this is what we call Istighfar. I ate something I should not have from the mouth of desire. It has affected the stomach of mine, the soul of mine. The only way I can go back to a tranquil soul where my soul has rest, I have to get rid of this. And this is what we call Istighfar. Istighfar is this.

But then the question comes, an analysis of this verse, Ya Allah, why allow me to do sins in the first place? Because when an individual commits a sin, the first thing he does is what? Does he pointed to himself saying I committed a sin. He says, Ya Allah, why did You create shaytan? The first thing. Ya Allah, why did You create this devil, because this devil has caused me to commit these sins. Ya Allah, when You mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, do Istighfar. Why did you create shaytan in the first place to misguide me and to make me do these sins?

I ask you a question. You were coming here tonight. You sat in your car. Have you ever seen that you turned on your car engine, you were driving towards the Husayniya, shaytan takes you, puts you in the passenger seat, sits in your seat and turns the car to the direction of a club or a pub, nightclub, have you ever seen this? No. Has shaytan, for example, ever stopped someone from doing wudhoo'? No.

Shaytan can only do one thing and that thing is very weak. And if we understand what shaytan can do, how weak shaytan is, we will take shaytan and throw him into whatever pit he can be found to throw him in.

Because they give an example. There was a mother. Or a father, let's say, a father, with his very young daughter, two year old daughter. Now, the father has responsibilities with the daughter, to teach this daughter, educate this daughter. He is sitting with the daughter. He has a child's book. He opens this book. On one page there is a big yellow dot. He opens the book, yellow dot. At the bottom of this page is written Yellow, Red. Two words, yellow and red. So he shows it to his two year old daughter, he says, "Oh, my daughter, which color is this, yellow or red?" This will show us what shaytan is. "Which color is this, yellow or red?" She says, "My father, it is yellow." The father, just to make sure she is certain to test how sure she is about this being yellow, he asks her, "I think it is red. Do not you think it is red?" She said it is yellow, the father is saying, I think it is red, do not you think it is red as well? She says, "No, father, I know it is yellow".

And this is exactly what shaytan does. Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, says, I gave you salaat and khums and whatever. I gave you the Qur'an, I gave you Islam, but I also gave you shaytan. When, for example, you go to say Allahu Akbar, shaytan will say, "Are you sure you want to do Salaam?" But this "Are you sure you want to do Salaa", Allah has done for you so that you can say I am strong in my conviction. I know that salaat is correct. Go away oh shaytan.

Because when this child says "No father, I am sure it is yellow", the father is saying it is red, why? To test the yaqeen and the belief of this child. Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, says, I gave you shaytan for this reason. All he can do is that "I think it is yellow". All shaytan can do is "I think salaa is not correct for you to do." But if you have strong conviction and yaqeen and imaan, you can say "No shaytan, I know salaa is the correct thing to do."

After understanding this as the concept of Istighfar, the basic concept of Istighfar, we ask the question: why is it that there are barriers to my Istighfar? Why is it that there are barriers to me asking forgiveness to Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala? And this generally will have two areas of discussion.

The first, why is it that when I say "Astaghfirullah", Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, says, you say "Astaghfirullah", I will shower you with all your gifts. Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, says you have problems in your life and you want to do du'a to Me, do du'a to Me by doing Istighfar, I will answer your problem. Ya Allah I did du'a, for example, five years. My problem has still not been solved. And I did Istighfar, Ya Allah. What are the barriers to this Istighfar of mine? But before we go on to that, recite for me a loud salawaat. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]

Junaid Baghdadi, buried in Baghdad, was one of the greatest Sufi masters, Junaid Baghdadi, the greatest Sufi, one of the great Sufi masters. And this Junaid lived in Baghdad, would teach students. We understand that the Shia viewpoint on Sufism was answered by Ayatollah Baqir al-Sadr. Muhammad Tijani Samawi says, Muhammad Tijani Samawi, the great scholar, says that someone asked Ayatollah Baqir al-Sadr about Sufism. Ayatollah Baqir al-Sadr says there are some good things within Sufism, many negative things. So we do not accept Sufism within the school of the Shia madh'hab. If there are good things, we take those good things. But in actual fact, Ahlul Bayt, 'aleyhum assalam, have already told those good things that were within Sufism.

This Sufi individual, by the way, every Sufi master ever to have lived, takes his chain back to a certain individual. So in the way that we have genealogy, my father, his father, his father, his father, the Sufis have a chain of their 'ilm. My teacher, his teacher, his teacher, his teacher, every single Sufi chain, every single Sufi master goes back to one person. Do you know who that person is? Amir ul-Mu'mineen, salam Allah 'alayh. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] So why go to them when you can go to the source, Amir ul-Mu'mineen.

Junaid Baghdadi had many students, he was very famous within the city of Baghdad. Junaid says, I went to meet Bahlool. Buhlul is his actual name, but we will say Bahlool not to confuse you. I want to meet Bahlool. Because he had heard Bahlool was a servant of the Ahlul Bayt and he was a clever man.

They said "You Junaid Baghdadi are the head of the school. You Junaid are the, for example, dean of the main college within Baghdad. You want to see this insane person?" He said "It is nothing to do with you. I want to see Bahlool. I have certain things to ask Bahlool." They said fine, they found Bahlool wandering randomly in the desert. They said "We found Bahlool oh Junaid, come and meet with him." So Junaid goes to meet Bahlool.

He says "Salaam aleykum", Bahlool says "Wa alaykum assalam." Junaid says "My name is Junaid Baghdadi." Bahlool says "You mean Abul Qasim?" He says "Yes, Abul Qasim." His kunya was Abul Qasim. "Yes, Abul Qasim." Bahlool says "You are that individual that teaches spirituality to people?" He said, "Yes, I am that individual." Now this Junaid was a very pious individual. He did not have arrogance within him. Because sometimes we reach a certain level in 'ilm or wealth or whatever, and we do not go to anyone else for advice. Junaid was on the top of his field. He went to Bahlool for advice. Junaid says, "Yes, I am that Junaid Baghdadi, the teacher of many, the spiritual leader of Baghdad."

Bahlool says, "You are the spiritual leader? You do not even know how to eat." He says, "What do you mean?". He says, "Do you eat?" He says, "Yes, I eat." "How do you eat?" So then he started, "When I eat, I say Bismil-Lah and I eat with my right hand and I chew my food properly. And I do not look at others when I am eating. And after I finish eating, I say Al-hamdulil-Lah." Some people absorb their food. He was saying, no, I eat my food correctly.

Bahlool says, "What kind of stupid person is this, you do not know how to eat, get away from me." So Junaid goes away. And the people that were with him, the students of Junaid, "Junaid, why are you going to this lunatic Bahlool?" Junaid says "No, what he says is correct, find me him again."

When they find him again. Junaid comes, "Salamun Aleikum." "Wa alaykum asalam, who are you?" He says "I am Junaid who does not know how to eat." He says "Okay, you are that spiritual leader." He says "Yes." He says, "Do you even know how to talk properly? How do you teach your students? Do you know how to talk?" He says, "When I talk, I start with the Bismil-Lah. I do not talk too much or too little. I speak concisely. I speak like this, like that."

Bahlool says, "Get away. You do not even know how to speak properly. How are you going to be the head of the spiritual students within Baghdad? Go from me." He goes away. The students say, "Junaid, leave this lunatic, leave this nutter, as they say." So Junaid says, "No, he has hikma and wisdom. Bring him to me again."

Again. "Who are you?", "I am Junaid who does not know how to eat, who does not know how to talk." "Do you even know how to sleep?" He says, "Yes, after 'Isha salaah, I do wudhoo', I take off my normal clothing, I put on my nightwear and I recite certain supplications." He mentioned whatever "my right hand is under my head and I face the qiblah", etc. Bahlool says "You do not even know how to sleep, go away from me." So he goes away.

Then he comes back to Bahlool. He says this time he approaches Bahlool differently. He says, "Bahlool, I have understood you are more knowledgeable than me. I have no knowledge. Teach me." Bahlool says "Now that you have admitted you have no knowledge, I will give you knowledge, knowledge from the Ahlul Bayt, 'aleyhum asalam." He says "When I asked you, do you know how to eat? You started saying, I eat with my right hand and I say Bismil-Lah, you forgot the most important thing about eating. You should have said, 'Yes, I only eat halal food.' Because you may eat with your right hand 100 times, but if what you eat is haram, all of those practices are within the fire. They are rubbish."

He says "When I asked you, do you know how to talk? You started saying, yes, I speak like this. I speak like that. You forgot the most important thing. When you talk, you should talk with sincerity and from the heart."

"Third thing, when I told you, do you know how to sleep and you said I sleep on my right side, etc, etc., you forgot the most important thing. Before you go to sleep, you should have no jealousy for anyone within your heart."

This told us something very important about Istighfar. People who say Ya Allah, I ask you for forgiveness for my sins. They take out their tasbeeh, they ask, am I pronouncing it properly? A hundred times, 150 times, 200 times? Is my tasbeeh the right color? They do Istighfar in this way, but in the way that Junaid misunderstood what the essence of these things were, we misunderstood what the essence of Istighfar was. Never in the Qur'an did Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, say "Say Istighfar." He said, "do Istighfar". Never "say Istighfar", do "Istighfar."

Because the Qur'an says "Ma ja'ala Allahu li rajulin min qalbayni fi jawfih"(33:4). Never has AllahSubhana wa Ta'ala, given a man two hearts, He has given you one heart. So when you say "Astaghfirullah", you are saying, "Astaghfirullah, Ya Allah, there was music within my heart. I only have one heart. One heart can only have one thing, not two things." When I say "Astaghfirullah" and that music is still in the heart, Allah says take your Istighfar back. Istighfar, the essence of Istighfar is Ya Allah I only have one qalb, one heart. If there is zina in this qalb, alcohol in this qalb, gheeba in this qalb, whatever, I take it out. Only then will Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala,'s love enter into this heart of mine. When we said Istighfar, this was the first barrier.

The second barrier relates to this hadith of Rasool Allah, salla Allahu 'aleyhi wa aalihi wassalam. "Lam yashkurr il makhlooq,lam yashkurr il khaliq", ulam yashkurr il makhlooq,lam yashkurr illa."He who cannot thank the creation of Allah, how can he thank AllahSubhana wa Ta'ala? In the same way he who cannot forgive the creation of Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, how can Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, forgive him?

You are still fighting about someone who took your one samosa five years ago. How many samosa of other people did we take? Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, says, you want Me to forgive you, forgive other people first.

As I highlighted yesterday, gheeba and these type of issues are very abundant within societies, especially gheeba of religious people, of khutabaa' and orators and 'ulama. Ayatollah Murtadha Mutahhari, rahmatullah 'alayh, he mentions that he had a teacher by the name of Ayatollah Hujjat. If you look in the Islamic world today, we have seminaries all over the world. There is a practice that sometimes these seminaries, these hawzat, these madaris, these schools of learning, sometimes they are named after certain individuals. For example, in Lucknow we have Nadhimiyya, named under Nadhim. For example, in Qom itself very famous hawza by the name of Faydhiyya. Faydhiyyaa is named under Sheikh Muhsin Faydh Kashani, the author of the book "Tafsir Safi". In the same way we have a hawza till today, very big, very prominent, very popular, many students have studied there. Many 'ulama that live in this country and have studied in Qom, have been to this hawza by the name of Hujjatiyya.

Hujjatiyya was the hawza of this Ayatollah Hujjat, the teacher of Ayatollah Murtadaha Mutahhari. By the way, just for your information, the architect of this hawza was who? Our scholars are not just experts in fiqh, they are experts in various fields. The architect of Hawzatul 'Ilmiyya Hujjatiyya in Qom was none other than Allamah Tabataba'i. Because Allamah Tabataba'i was not just an expert in falsafa and fiqh and other disciplines, he was also an expert mathematician and an expert in these type of uloom.

Shaheed Mutahhari says I was sitting in a gathering. When we were sitting in this gathering, people randomly began speaking about my teacher Ayatollah Hujjat, rahmatullah 'alayh, and they began cursing him and slandering him and saying, you know, he talks like this, he walks like this, he does this, he does that, whatever.

Now, in Islam, the rights of the teacher are very highly stressed upon. For example, they say if you are sitting in a gathering and your teacher is being insulted, you have to stand up for your teacher. And if you know that your teacher has certain bad qualities, you should not expose those bad qualities of your teacher. The teacher is like the parent. Shaheed Mutahhari says, "My teacher Ayatullah Hujjat, rahmatullah 'alayh, was being cursed. There was gheeba being done about him. There was slander being done upon him in a gathering where I was present. But I did not say a word. I felt ashamed after that gathering. I did not say anything. They were cursing him. They were slandering, they were doing gheeba, they were back biting. I said nothing.

After this gathering finished, I went straight to the house of Ayatullah Hujjat. I came in, I sat down. I said, "You will have to forgive me." He says, "Why?" He says, "I was sitting in a gathering, there were certain people there, and those individuals, what were they doing? They were badmouthing you, they were doing gheeba."

Look at his reply. "They were badmouthing you, they were back biting you, they were slandering against you." His reply was, "This is very normal for people like me to be done gheeba about. Scholars, 'ulama, maraji', khutaba', dhakireen. He said "It is normal for people like us, rijal al-deen, the religious people, for people to backbite about us, slander when they sit to talk about us. I have one question. When they were backbiting, were they backbiting against me, my personality? Or were they backbiting and slandering and talking bad about Islam? Were they attacking Islam or were they attacking me?"

Shaheed Mutahhari says "They were attacking you." If someone had said that to us, never will I forgive that person. Ayatollah Hujjat said "If they had attacked Islam, who am I to forgive them? Allah will deal with them. But because they have attacked me, I forgive you and I forgive every single one of them." Why? Because if you cannot forgive each other, how will Allah,Subhana wa Ta'ala, forgive you?

When Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, quotes Nabi Nuh in the Holy Qur'an saying, "Fa qul tustaghfiru rabbakum innahu kana ghaffaara" (71:10), the main thing we understand - leave all your small grudges, Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, will forgive your sins.

But then, in relation to this same one verse, more importantly a question comes. Have I read Du'a ul Kumail? Yes. Where did Du'a ul Kumail come from? We say Kumail, Amir ul-mu'mineen, salawatullah wa salamahu 'aleyh [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] and Nabi Khidr. Nabi Khidr, Amir ul-mu'mineen, Kumail, and us. Nabi Khidr, is he infallible or not? He is infallible. Amir ul-mu'mineen, infallible or not? Are we even asking this question, he who touches the sweat of Amir ul-mu'mineen turns into an infallible.

Amir ul-mu'mineen is infallible, but I read in this Du'a ul Kumail, and I heard Amir ul-mu'mineen would say "Ya Allah, forgive my sins. Allahummagh firlee dhunoobal latee", for example, "tahbisuddu'a. Ya Allah, forgive those sins of mine which prevent my du'a from being accepted." But I thought Amir ul-mu'mineen was infallible.

Have you not seen that there are certain individuals - forget about Ahlul Bayt for now, we will get to them later - but have you not seen individuals who in their life, you can tell from their face and from their mannerism, never have they upset anyone, never have they committed a sin, never have they eaten someone else's wealth. But wherever they go, they are doing Istighfar. You may have seen this. We ask the question, why, when there is no sin lingering onto your heart, why are you doing Istighfar?

There was a mujtahid of Faizabad in India, someone who had come to him - this is very popular in India and Pakistan - "Janab Mawlana, we have clothing. Take it and sow for yourself 'abah, 'abah sherwani." So someone would just buy the clothing and say, "Mawlana look, make for yourself a good 'abah." About this scholar, this is how pious he was, he said if someone would come to him and say, "Agha, I have this clothing, make for yourself an 'abah." He would take it. If he did not know who that person was, he would not touch that clothing again, just because if that person has got this clothing from haram and I wear it, it will affect me. These type of individuals that were so careful with what they did, why were they doing Istighfar, "Astaghfirullaha rabbi wa atoobu ilayh"? Does it make sense?

'Ulama and scholars give a beautiful example. Have you seen a beautiful, clean, pure white piece of clothing? When that white piece of clothing even has a small speck of dust, you can notice it, but if you have a black piece of clothing or a dark piece of clothing or a dirty piece of clothing, no matter how many stains are on that piece of clothing, you do not notice it.

If you have a clean glass, sheet of glass, and there is one tiny, minuscule miniature speck of dust on that piece of glass, you can notice it from a very far distance. If there is a completely dirty black piece of glass and there are many stains on it, you cannot notice it. They say the reason why these awliya' and 'ullama and spiritually clean people are always doing istighfar is because their heart is like the clean, shining glass. Even when a speck of dust appears on this heart, they do istighfar.

There was a scholar, he recited poetry at night time, they had gone to a place, he recited poetry at night time, he was doing istighfar for a whole week. Why? Because it is makrooh to recite poetry at night time. But even a makrooh on that individual whose heart is pure and clean, for them, it feels like a big sin. But when your heart is dirty, like that dirty, dark piece of glass, no matter how many sins are on that heart never does the word "Astaghfirullah" come out from your mouth.

But when it came to Ahlul Bayt ,'aleyhum asalam, Ahlul Bayt, 'aleyhum asalam, do not do makrooh. They do not do tarkul awla. If someone thinks they do, they need to recheck their 'aqida. Anbiyya may be able to do tarkul awla. Ahlul Bayt, 'aleyhum asalam, never does even the thought of sin, or makrooh enter into their mind, never. So then why is Amir ul-mu'mineen saying "Astaghfirullah"? Why in Sahifa as-Sajjadiyya is Imam Zainul Abideen, salam Allah 'alayh, asking for forgiveness?

Because Amir ul-mu'mineen has a hadith. And I mentioned this hadith here before, but I will mention it again. Whenever this hadith is mentioned, it sounds like it is completely new. Amir ul-mu'mineen says, if there is a river and ocean flowing and one drop of alcohol is placed in that river, that river then is split into various tributaries and streams, one drop of alcohol in the river, it splits into various streams, one of those streams then goes and flows into an area of land and it hydrates that area of land. From that stream, it hydrates the land, grow crops. From the crops that grow on this land, there is a camel or a horse which eats those crops. Ali ibn Abi Talib says, "I Ali ibn Abi Talib will not even sit on that camel because of that one drop of alcohol at the beginning."

So then why is he saying "Astaghfirullaha rabbi wa atoobu ilayh". Why is he doing Istighfar? They give an example. You may have seen when the winter season comes and a mother has a very young child and that child is running out in the park, running out in the garden. That child is, for example, drinking something that is very cold. The mother is worried. The mother has fear for the child. Does she have fear for her own health? No, the mother is fine, but she has fear for her child and therefore she may begin lamenting. "Oh, my child. Make sure you are safe."

They say when Ahlul Bayt, 'aleyhum asalam, show that they have fear of Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, and fear of sins, these are not fear of their own sins. This is the fear of the sins of me and you. Because Ahlul Bayt, 'aleyhum asalam, are like that mother whose child goes out into the cold and the child, for example, has recently become unwell, Ahlul Bayt, 'aleyhum asalam, when they say, "Astaghfirullah" are saying, "Ya Allah, I ask You to forgive the sins of those individuals who sat in my majlis, for example." Ahlul Bayt, 'aleyhum asalam, ask forgiveness for me and you.

However, after all of these issues we have discussed, one issue is left. How did I begin this majlis? The hadith of Imam al-Hassan al-Mujataba, salam Allah 'aleyh. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad] When those three individuals came to Imam al-Hassan, and Imam al-Hassan says, do Istighfar, Allah will give you blessings.

Ya Allah, this does not make sense because when an individual does something he should not, he should be punished for that. He should not be rewarded. Why are You rewarding individuals when they have committed a sin? When someone does something they should not, Ya Allah, does it not make sense that You punish them? You, Ya Allah, are saying when they commit a sin and they say "Astaghfirullah", I gift them, this does not make sense. Someone may say, it does not make sense Ya Allah, that when they do a sin, You should reduce their rizq. Why do You increase the rizq? It is not logical.

Allah will say, look again, look again. I will give you one final example and then ikhtimam. One fine example. A mother has four children, everyone please listen to this carefully, a mother has four children, four boys, for example. All different ages, but four boys. Will that mother love them each equally or on different levels? Ask a mother. She will love them equally. Because she is a mother, even though one may be short, one may tall, one may be clever, one may be not so clever, one may be good at sports, the other may be good at something else. She will love them all equally.

One of those children was kidnapped by whoever. That child was away from the mother for two weeks. When that child returns back to her, she will give that child more love than the other three children. Yes or no? Yes. Why? Because he was kidnapped by some individuals, when he comes back, she will give him more love.

In the same way, Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, says, I had My servants and I loved all of My servants. When My servants were kidnapped by shaytn and they committed sins, when they returned back to Me from Istighfar, I showed My servants more love and affection and I gifted these servants of mine when they came back to Me. When a servant comes back to Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala,, when a teacher has many students, those students that are good, they are put to a side. Yes they are good, well done. Those students that are not performing well, that are not diligent in class, when they then change their attitude and they say, sorry, the teacher has love for that student.

Allah says, I am like that teacher. When My servant who has committed sins comes back to me with open arms, I gift him with rizq, I gift him with all types of things. This does does not mean I commit sins so that I can go to Allah and Allah can gift me. Does not mean that. Because if you have a piece of paper, clean sheet of paper and you draw a line, then you rub out that line, there will still be a mark of that line on that paper. This is the difference between someone who has never committed a sin in his life and someone who has. You have a lamp, you have broken the lamp, you glue that lamp together, but you can still see the line of the crack. This is the difference between the individual who has never committed a sin in his life and that individual who turns back.

Because the individual who never commits a sin in his life, just has to think of a du'a and Allah answers that du'a for him. Zaynab ul-Kubra would just have to think, "Ya Amir ul-mu'mineen, help me on this night", Imam Ali would he not come? Our sins stop our du'as from being accepted. How can an individual even think that Zaynab ul-Kubra had any type of sin? Of course not.

But this is Zaynab ul-Kubra says "Where were you, oh my father, on the night of Ashura?" They say in the history of Ahlul Bayt, 'aleyhum asalam, there were three houses in particular that were set on fire. Three houses, three individuals, who within their house and their house was set on fire. And the first, I am not going to look at it in chronological order. But the first we want to mention is that they say the house of Imam al-Sadiq, salam Allah 'alayh, was set on fire.

As the house of Imam al-Sadiq, salam Allah 'alayh, is set on fire by the enemies of Islam. When they set the house of Imam on fire, he sits down by one of the walls. The women and the children of his house begin running from right to left, the Imam does nothing to stop the fire, rather the Imam sits on one of the walls, and he begins to cry and he begins to lament. One individual says "Ya Aba Abdillah, your house is on fire. Why are you sitting here? Why are you crying?"

The Imam remembered, he says "I remembered when the women and the children of my house were running right to left, I remembered when Zaynab and Umm ul Kulthum were running on the night of Ashura. I remembered when they burned the tents on the night of Muharram."

The second individual whose house or whose tents were burned was none other than Zaynab ul-Kubra. They say on the tenth of Muharram, as the head of Husayn is severed from his body, and the head of Imam Husayn is on a spear, Zaynab looks at the head, she says "Allahuma taqabbal hadhal qurban", oh Allah, accept this sacrifice that we have given for you.

However, Zaynab is in the tents. Her brother has just been killed. Ibn Ziyad shouts out, "Go and loot the tents of Zaynab and Umm al-Kulthum." The horses run towards the tents of Zaynab and Umm al-Kulthum. They say as the horses run to the tents of Zaynab and Umm al-Kulthum, there are some young children whose bodies are trampled. As the horses run towards the tents of Zaynab and Umm al-Kulthum, they set fire to the first tent. The women run to the second tent. They set fire to the second tent. The women run to the third tent.

They say, as they saw women running to the other tent, they saw one small girl with her skirt set on fire. She is running to the battlefield and saying, "Wa Husaynah, wa Husaynah." The third and the fourth, the fifth and the sixth tent, all are set on fire. One tent is remaining, Zaynab has all of the women in this one tent. They begin to set this tent on fire. Zaynab says "Sayyid Sajjad, do we stay in the tent or do we leave tent?" Sajjad says, "Save your life, leave the tent." All of the women leave the tent. Sajjad is on his bed, he is unable to stand up. Zaynab picks up the body of Sajjad. Zaynab has to protect the Imam of the time. She takes Sajjad out of that tent.

When Zaynab looks around and the tents are looted, Zaynab sees that the small daughter of Husayn ibn Ali is nowhere to be found. Zaynab says, "Ayna Ayna Ruqaiyyah?" Ruqaiyyah, where are you, where have you gone? Zaynab runs to the battlefield, she sees there is a small girl lying on a chest, this chest is covered in arrows, and there is no head on this chest. Zaynab says, "Sakina, Ruqaiyyah, wake up. We have to go back to our caravan. It is not safe here."

They say as Zaynab returns, she gets all of the women together. As she gets all of the women together, she sees Rabab is sleeping. As Rabab is sleeping, Rabbab then wakes up. Rabab then falls to sleep, she then wakes up again from her sleep. Rabab then falls asleep the third time, she wakes up again from her sleep. Zaynab says, "I am the daughter of Ali ibn Abi Talib. I am protecting you, oh Rabab. You can sleep peacefully." Rabab says "It is not that. Whenever I go to sleep I can hear the voice of a small baby crying."

As all of the women are together, the time goes on. Zaynab al-Kubra can see there is an individual on a horse coming towards the caravan. Zaynab says, "Oh man, there is nothing left now to loot in this caravan, for they have even taken the earrings off this young daughter." This man keeps on coming forward. Zaynab says, "Oh man, stop. I tell you to stop." Zaynab then has a sword, a spear, half broken. She says, "Oh man, I am the daughter of Ali ibn Abi Talib. Stop where you are." That man comes forward. He shows his face, he says "Zaynab, you did not recognize your father? I am Ali ibn Abi Talib."

Zaynab says "Where were you, oh my father, when the hands of Abbas were cut. Where were you, oh my father, when Qasim's body was being trampled? Where were you, oh my father, when the head of my brother Husayn was being cut." This was the second time that was set on fire.

And the third house set on fire is none other than the house of Fatima-tuz Zahra. Imam al-Hassan was asked through a dream, the dream is of a khateeb of Imam Hassan. The khateeb says "Ya Aba Muhammad, I recite your masa'ib from the pulpit." Imam Hassan says, "You do not recite the true masa'ib of mine." The khateeb says, the orator says, "But I recite that your body was covered in arrows." Imam Hassan says "This is not the true masa'ib of mine." The khateeb says, "I recite that you were poisoned by your wife." Imam Hassan says "This is not the true masa'ib of mine." He says "I recite that your liver nearly came out of your mouth due to the poison." He replied "This is not the true masa'ib of mine." What is the true masa'ib of Imam Hassan ul-Mujtaba?

Imam Hassan says "The true masa'ib of me is that when they burned the house of Fatima-tuz Zahraa, I was watching as they pushed her between the door and the wall. And she called out saying, "Subbat 'alalaiya masa'ibbun law an ha subbat 'alal ayyam sirna layyaliya."

As they say, Zahraa is between the door and the wall. As they push the door on the body of Zahraa, there is the nail in the door. The nail falls on the stomach of Zahraa and Muhsin no longer is in this world. And she says, "Oh my husband, IAmir ul-mu'mineen when you bury me, bury me at night. When you give me ghusl, give me ghusl in the night time." One mujtahid says, why does Zahraa say give me ghusl in the night time? One reason is because she does not want certain individuals to come to her funeral. The other reason why she says give me my ghusl in the night time, is so that when Ali ibn Abi Talib gives her ghusl, he cannot see the broken ribs of Zahraa. He is unable to see the broken ribs of Zahraa.

As he is giving ghusl to Zahraa, he can feel that there are the marks of whips on the body of Zahraa. He cries out, Aah, aah. Zaynab says, "Oh my father, why are you crying?" He says, "I have seen the marks of whips on the body of Zahraa." But oh Zaynab, as you go through Kufa and Sham, Zahraa was only whipped once, but you will be whipped time and time again.

Ala la'natullahi 'alal qawmil dhalimeen, wa sa ya'lamul ladheena dhalamu ayya munqalabi yan qaliboon.

Allahuma ighfil lil mu'mineen wal mu'minaat wal muslimeena wal muslimat, al ahyaa'a minhum wal amwat, tabi'il Allahuma baynana wa baynahum bil kheyrat, innaka mujeebul da'awat, innaka rafi'ul darajat, innaka waliyul hasanat, innaka saami'ul aswaat, innaka qabilul tawbaat, innaka dafi'ul baliyaat. Rahim Allah Rahim Allah man yaqra'ul Fatiha ma'as salawat. [Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad]