﴿يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ. يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَرْفَعُوا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ وَلَا تَجْهَرُوا لَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ كَجَهْرِ بَعْضِكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ أَنْ تَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ. إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَغُضُّونَ أَصْوَاتَهُمْ عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ امْتَحَنَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ لِلتَّقْوَى لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ.﴾
“O you who believe! Be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Apostle, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing. O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and do not speak loud to him as you speak loud to one another, lest your deeds became null while you do not perceive. Surely those who lower their voices before Allah’s Apostle are they whose hearts Allah has tested for guarding (against evil); they shall have forgiveness and a great reward. (49:1-3)”
Yesterday I told you that the Holy Prophet said: Pray with purity of intention and sincerity of your hearts to God so that He may give you wisdom to fast in this holy month of Ramadhan and to recite the Holy Qur’an. This should not be only verbal; your heart should really wish so. Truly, how greedy is your heart for wealth and passions. So you pray for these things. What should be the right thing is that you should pray with a pure heart: O Lord! Let me not be ill in the holy month so that I may fast for all the days of this month. O God! Make me recite the Holy Qur’an in this month. Some of our Imams used to recite Qur’an forty times during this holy month. All of you cannot do likewise. Recite and go on reciting Surah Tawheed and all those little Surahs, which you have learnt by heart. But, in any case, do not give up the recitation of Qur’an.
Surah Hujurat has eighteen verses. The first five are related with respect and discipline with regard to God and the Prophet. They mention the duties of the Faithful to Allah and His Messenger. Thereafter, are verses, which mention what people must do in their collective and social affairs with one another.
The third part of this Chapter deals with personal grace. Let us hope, by the Grace of God, during these few days, our talks will center around these topics with the blessings of Qur’an. May Allah give us wisdom to act accordingly? Now the first discussion is about manners of the Faithful in towards Allah and His Messenger.
God means the One Who is the Creator of you and of everything. He created the entire universe. Messenger means God’s representative. Undoubtedly all the dignity and rights of a representative or a delegate are subject to the dignity and rights of the one whom he represents. If one is an ambassador of an important government, all the dignity, respect and honor deserved by that government becomes due to their ambassador also. Messenger means the representative of God, Who is the Creator of all. So you have no right to go ahead of God and His Messenger. Just use your wisdom. Can a slave or servant ever have a right to go ahead of the Lord and His ambassador? O faithful ones! Do not push yourselves forward before God and His Messenger, Muhammad. Sometimes it so happens that a man takes himself ahead of God when he says (if he is told that this thing is prohibited): I know. I have the right. When he is told that God has prohibited it, he replies: Stop such talk. He tries to outpace God and imagines that he has a right to obedience. He says: Others should follow me. I should not obey God and His Messenger!
God forbid, sometimes it also so happens that man tries to take himself ahead, as was done by Umar. After the Holy Prophet, Umar said: Expediency demands that Ali should step aside and Abu Bakr must come up. Why? Because ‘Ali is young’. Many great people of Quraish have been killed by Ali. So they are infuriated with Ali. They would not submit to him. The Islamic government will not run properly. Abu Bakr is senior in age. In the past he has not killed any polytheist. In battlefields also, he did not perform any remarkable feat. As he did not kill the unbelievers, there is no enmity against him. Hence he should be the chief of this state. In other worlds: I know better than God and His Prophet what is better. God and the Prophet appointed Ali as the master (Maula) in Ghadeer-e-Khumm but I know better. No one should say: How could Umar do such a thing? Read what Sunnis have written and then you will not wonder.
Qaushchi, the great Mulla who is a defender of Umar, says in Sharhe Tajreed that one day Umar went up the pulpit and said, “There were three orders effective during the days of the Messenger of God. I have withdrawn them and made them illegal. I think it is expedient not to keep and continue with them. The first is Mutah of women, which was in vogue in the Prophet’s time.” This temporary marriage was permitted and was in practice in the Prophet’s time.
Now, I do not like that it should continue any more. It has come to my mind that Mutah is illegal. The second is also a Mutah, the Mutah of Hajj. The third thing is the pronouncement of ‘Hayya alaa khairil a’mal’ (rush to the best of deeds), which, with a unanimous agreement of all Muslims, was being recited in the call for Prayer during the days of Prophet. It continued for two years in the rule of Abu Bakr also. When Umar became the caliph he said, “If you say, ‘Hayya alaa khairil a’mal’ (rush to the best of deeds; which is Prayer) people will not hasten towards Jihad. Then what is the importance of Jihad? So, henceforth, do not recite ‘Hayya alaa khairil a’mal’ otherwise, it is likely that people will remain stuck to prayer and will not proceed for Jihad.”
More strange is that the Sunnis have written that once at the time of the Morning call for Prayer (Azan), Umar was fast asleep. He was late in coming to the congregation. So the Azan caller came to his bed and said, “As Salat khairum minan naum” meaning: Prayer is better than sleep. When he repeated these words once or twice, Umar got up. He became very pleased by these words. Instead of being harsh to him, he said: From this day onward, this must be recited in the Azan. (But they object to the Shias saying: I witness that Ali is the Wali of Allah [Aliyyun waliullaah]).
Therefore, till date the Sunni people recite: “As salaatu khairum minan naum” in the morning Azan instead of “Haiyya alaa Khairil Amal.” What has Umar done? This is going ahead of God and His Messenger. What right have you, to go ahead of God and the Messenger like this? It is putting oneself ahead of God and the Prophet. You say no to what they have ordered. You say: What I say is right. Just realize your limit. You are a slave. You must submit. To whom? To God and to His messenger, who is His representative.
We can speak a lot about similar actions of this man in Islamic history; and which are still being followed whereby their adverse effects are even today visible as Muslims are blindly following such unlawful orders. But the discussion is very lengthy. Therefore, this much suffices. In brief, going ahead of God and His Messenger is unlawful.
I am compelled to discuss this belief. Since the time of Ibn Taiymiyah till today, these Wahabis who are now following him in Hijaz, have brought several innovations in Islam. One of such innovations is their saying that visiting and touching the grave is unlawful. Weeping over the dead is unlawful and so on. From where did you bring in these orders? Its precedent reaches Umar. What makes Umar entitled to put himself forward against God and His Prophet? How is it that many obey him too?
A tradition was also concocted that Ayesha also did not accept (Weeping on him or her brings chastisement on the dead). They say: You Shias weep over Imam Husain. You beat your chests. All this is unlawful because the Prophet has said, “If someone weeps over a dead, the dead one is being punished.” The answer to this is that the Holy Prophet did never say so. According to the sources of the Sunnis, the man who was first to make this thought effective was Umar.
Al-Ghadeer, in its third volume give references from Sunni sources showing that one day, Ruqaiyaa, daughter of the Holy Prophet or Khadijah, expired in Medina. The young girl had suffered a lot in the house of Uthman, which culminated in her death. Finally they brought her body to the graveyard of Baqi. Fatima and other Hashemite women were weeping. Umar bin Khattab picked up a lash and began to whip the poor aggrieved women, one by one saying: Do not cry. The Sunnis also say that the Holy Prophet held the hand of Umar and said, “Leave them! Their hearts are aching. Let them weep.”
In fact Umar daringly stood up before the Holy Prophet. How strange! In the words of Amini (may God raise his status), “I do not know whether Fatima too was hit that day by that lash whereby it became a precedent for the latter hitting?” In brief, the trouble is not with only one or two or ten. These people who are not prepared to hear, flatly say: No. It is what you yourselves are saying. It is unlawful. Have you not seen that when someone tries to kiss the shrine of the Prophet of God, he is whipped? After all what is the source of such prohibition?
﴿يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ.﴾
O you who believe! Be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Apostle, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing. (49:1)
That is: O Muslims! Do not push yourselves forward. Here there is much to speak about. We are all affected by it. We say: Such pushing forward pertains, sometimes, to one’s opinion. A man imagines that his view or opinion is more sensible than what God and His messenger have said!
Sometimes the pushing forward is in the matter of one’s likes and dislikes. Man makes his desire outpace the wish of God and His Messenger. He gives more importance to his pleasure than to God’s pleasure and the pleasure of the Messenger. One pushes back what God likes. There are many examples. Everyone faces such situations. For instance, suppose it is the holy month of Ramadhan.
The climate is hot. One’s heart is not at all prepared to remain without food, cigarette and tea etc for sixteen hours. The heart says: Eat as a number of people who are healthier than you are not fasting. You are a weak fellow. There are other examples also. What is the God’s command? God’s pleasure is that you should observe fast; that you should nourish spiritualism; that you should adopt the road leading you to Him. A number of Muslims are there in every city that, without any genuine cause, put their desire forward and push back what God desires. They eat in Ramadhan and they are not afraid also!
It is time for prayer. He says: I have other work. Is the prayer not work? Put God’s work behind and the work of your desire and passion ahead!
﴿لا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ… ﴾
Be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Apostle…
If you make every desire of your heart outpace God’s wish, know for sure that you put your own self to loss. Be attentive to this point. If your desires conflict with what is desired by God, then it is indeed a very serious and dangerous situation. Who is the one who gives preference to God’s wish? For example, two persons are busy talking, in a dispute. What is God’s pleasure? It is Forgiveness. What is the inclination of the heart? If he has slapped you once, you slap him ten times. Now you obey God’s wish or your heart’s desire? Who do you put forward, God or your heart? It is of course difficult that man must be put to a test while being under the influence of greed, passion and anger. Do you obey God or do you obey your heart and the Satan? If you outpace God and His Prophet you are destroying yourself. You are destroying your Faith and Religion. You are removing them. After two or three verses, it is shown that man’s heart is hurt. In the matter of talking, God and His Prophet say: Do not speak. Your heart says: Do speak and insult him, as you know what he said to you. Now you also tell him and give him hard replies. You must give the first place to God and His Prophet and push the desires of your heart back.
One knows the secrets of another fellow. One preserves it. It must be preserved. His heart says: Speak out, whatever you know. But what do God and His Messenger say? They recommend patience, honesty and fulfillment of the covenant. You two were friends for quite a long time. You knew each other’s secrets also. The Holy Prophet says, “Assemblies are trusts.”1 You have no right to expose the secrets of your friend until you breathe your last; even if your friendships breaks down or companionship ends. At last, God and His Prophet say: Do not speak. Your heart says: Speak out! You hear a bad word. Your heart says: Why don’t you reply? Give him ten bad words. But what does Qur’an say? The righteous (Faithful) people keep away from nonsense. It is necessary that your desires, your demands, your opinions must be controlled. They should be pulled back. Muhammad should be on the lead. He should always be ahead of you. You have to be his followers. The community is behind their chief. Do not be the followers of the Satan. Do not be under the control of your own desires and passions. Do not push back God and Muhammad.
Fear God. Know that God is present, seeing everything. Beware in the matter of following others. If you go against God, the loss of both this world and the Hereafter is for you.
God is all hearing. You have ears. So you can hear. Then God Who created these ears does not hear? How strange! You, who are a creation made up of a little earth, can know. But the God Who created you and all does not know? He knows all the elements, which made you up. He knows what is in the depths of your heart. He is aware of what is going on in your mind.
Another law of discipline ordained for you:
﴿يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَرْفَعُوا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ… ﴾
O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet. (49:2)
Some of the uncouth Arabs used to call out loudly in the presence of the Holy Prophet. This action is against good manners. God teaches them courtesy. Appreciate the Great ones. O man! Know Muhammad. O man! Know that Muhammad is not a common man. His holy heart is the place where Divine Revelation pours. He is the light (Noor) of God. He is the Messenger of God. How great is God. Muhammad is His representative.
﴿وَلا تَجْهَرُوا لَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ كَجَهْرِ بَعْضِكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ… ﴾
And do not speak loud to him as you speak loud to one another… (49:2)
You are sitting near Muhammad. It is a spiritual gathering. Keep quiet. Your voice should be low. Do not talk loudly with him, just as you talk with one another.
﴿أَنْ تَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ﴾
…lest your deeds became null while you do not perceive. (49:2)
If you do so (speak loudly) your deeds will become void and you will not understand that your deeds have gone in vain. One who insults Muhammad, the one who harms Muhammad; all his deeds go fruitless while he does not even realize.
Therefore great persons have said that though this verse refers to an assembly wherein the Holy Prophet is present, it hints at every field and every aspect pertaining to Muhammad. It also includes his holy Shrine. Everyone who intends to approach the holy Shrine of the Holy Prophet must not raise his voice. It is undesirable to speak in a loud voice even in the mosque. It is the House of God. Does one who shouts in his house, shout in the house of God also? Do you not differentiate between your house and the House of God? You are allowing pollution in your house. Will it be allowed in the House of God also? Will you even spit therein?
Is there no difference? The one who shouts or speaks loudly in the House of God has not recognized God properly. His understanding is imperfect and faulty. It is very undesirable to raise one’s voice in a mosque. What to talk of making claims and demands! In brief there must be silence at the holy grave of the Prophet. There must not be any kind of loud voice as is being heard in usual talks and while calling one another.
Sometimes it distracts my attention and sometimes it even affects me. In the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza, it is noticed, and also at other Holy Shrines that discipline is not being maintained, as it should be. People talk and call loudly. Such disrespect should not be shown. They do not know that an all-encompassing spirit is at this Holy place. If one shows discipline here, it is a sign of his piety.
Then He says:
﴿إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَغُضُّونَ أَصْوَاتَهُمْ عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ امْتَحَنَ اللَّهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ لِلتَّقْوَى.﴾
Surely those who lower their voices before Allah’s Apostle are they whose hearts Allah has tested for guarding (against evil)… (49:3)
If piety is comprehended here, it is manifested through tongue and eye. It reaches the depths of the heart. One of the signs of this piety is discipline, respect, humanity and humility. Most of this piety is over flesh and skin. His tongue is pious and holy, and so also his eye, ear, hand, foot. This is physical piety. However, the piety in heart is its being empty of worldly love, passions, desires, lust and greed. If the heart is attentive, if there is fear of God in the heart, it creates respect and discipline.
Such a person humbles himself before the Imam, before God and His Prophet, while facing religion, on hearing the Command of God, while witnessing the Truth. One sits on the ground. Whenever he is told that this is God’s command, he bows down. Whenever he is told that this is what Qur’an orders or this is what the Holy Prophet has ordained, this is recommended by the Progeny of Muhammad he at once realizes their greatness and he bows down before such orders.
It is narrated that once Imam Reza said, “If one visits the Holy Shrine of Imam Husain knowing his right (having faith in his Imamate), he or she is like the one who visited God at His Throne (Arsh).”2 What is meant by true knowledge and recognition? Who is such an aware person? He says: He or she is one who knows that it is obligatory to obey the Imam as he is the argument (Hujjat) of God and also His representative. God Himself has ordained his obedience. How great is God? So His representative is also very great. He is alive. He does not die. The body of Imam Reza is beneath the ground but his spirit is all over the world. His spirit is everywhere. His soul has Divine attributes.
No one should say: If the spirit of Imam is everywhere then why go to his Shrine for visitation (Ziyarat)? I give you a little example so that doubt may be removed. The sun is shining. At some places on the earth there are stones and at others there is water. Some places are sandy. On the earth, tell me, where is it shining more brightly? Where there is sand, there is dust, there is marsh, there is water and there is rocky land. A part is white, another black.
The spirit of Imam is present everywhere. Even now it encompasses this very meeting of ours. If we salute him he replies. But the place where his Holy body is buried, is more bountiful. Imam Reza is everywhere. But at his grave in Mashad it is different. There the Imam’s charities are more. It is a place where God’s mercies continue to rain. It cannot be compared with any other place. Briefly speaking, you must not forget that respect must be kept in mind both at the Sanctuaries of the Holy Prophet and Shrines of the holy Imams. Do not make any noise there. Do not talk or call out loudly.
﴿لَهُمْ مَغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ﴾
…they shall have forgiveness and a great reward. (49:3)
Those who keep God and His Prophet above themselves and who do not raise their voice there, with full respect, discipline and humility; their hearts have fear of God. They are such that every business of theirs is kept behind. They always keep God’s Prophet ahead of all other things. Here I will mention an interesting story.
The following incident is mentioned in the Tazkirah of Ibn Jawzi and also quoted in Fazailus Sadat.
I saw a blacksmith in the market, whose furnace was ablaze. He inserted some iron in it and made it red-hot. Then for fetching that red-hot thing out, instead of using any means, he inserted his bare hand in the furnace and pulled out the iron. The narrator says: I stood there for a while in wonder. What kind of man is this? Fire does not affect his flesh and skin! Why does this man insert his bare hand in fire?
Finally, I asked him about it. He was rather reluctant to reply. But when I insisted he explained: It is as a result of an Alid3 woman. What happened was that there was a famine and people faced starvation. I had wheat and provision. One day a poor Alid lady came to me and said: I am an Alid and my child and I are hungry. Please lend me some food. I was infatuated by her beauty and wanted to commit fornication with her. She rejected my offer and went away. Thereafter she came again and I put forth my illegal proposal once more.
She again refused saying: Till this time I have never indulged in unlawful affair. On the third occasion she was very helpless due to hunger and said, “I will submit, but on a condition that there should be total privacy. I am a respectable lady and no once must know about this shameful affair.” I agreed and provided privacy and took her there. There the lady began to tremble severely. I asked, “What happened?” She said, “The place must be extremely private. None should be there.” I said, “It is so here. No one is there except you and me.” She replied, “God is present everywhere. Even if no one sees, God does see everything. My recording angels and yours too are also present.” Hearing all this, I said, “O Alid lady. Dust on my head. It should have been I to tremble, not you. I must be afraid. So I withdrew. I went back and gave first place to the command of God.”
﴿لا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ… ﴾
…be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Apostle…
Now see what God does to him. He says: I did not extend my hand towards the respectable and honorable Alid lady. I also gave her wheat and rice. She prayed in my favor to God: May God make fire unable to burn your hand just as you did not extend that hand to me. Ever since that day, fire has not burnt me.
Why? Because he placed God ahead and put his desires behind.
It also is quoted in Fazailus Sadat that Malik Dinar or someone else wanted to go for Hajj. He arrived in Kufa where he stayed for a day or two to join a caravan and to make provision for the Hajj journey. One day he passed by a slum. He saw a woman slowly and silently going towards the garbage lot and looking on all sides (to ensure that no one was seeing her). Then she picked up a dead hen, hid it under her arm and came out. This man also followed her until she reached her house and knocked at the door. Some children came out asking, “O mother! Have you brought chicken for us (to eat)?” The poor woman said, “Yes, I have brought chicken for you. I will cook it for you.”
This gentleman stands bewildered at the poor woman’s door. He wonders how this lady can cook carrion. At last, as he could not help remaining silent and he told the lady, “I have been following you for quite some time. I saw that you picked a dead hen, which is unlawful to eat. Why did you do this?” The lady replied, “The fact is that, for the last few days, we had nothing to eat. Our neighbors cooked meat and its smell reached us and made my children restless. So I thought that even if I bring a dead hen it would satisfy and silence my starving children.” When the gentleman learnt this, he brought the whole amount he had gathered for Hajj pilgrimage, which was nearly ten thousand dirhams. It was not a trivial thing. He must have toiled hard for the same.
Now he brought God and His Messenger forward and pushed back his intention to go for Hajj. He gave all these dirhams to the poor lady so as to make her and her children’s life somewhat comfortable. Now what about his own wish? What is interesting is that not only his expenses for Hajj were gone but also the money for his personal expenditure was also over. So he decided to do watering job in Kufa. When Hajis returned from Mecca and Medina, he went to greet them. The Hajis told him, “How have you arrived here earlier than us? We had seen you in Mina! We also had seen you in Arafat!” The gentleman replied, “No sir, I was here only.”
Then another Haji came forward saying, “O gentleman! Take this money for God’s sake only and go.” He said, “Which money, whose money?” That Haji replied, “That day, we were in a tent in Mina when a man arrived and asked, ‘Are you from Kufa?’ We replied, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘When you go back, kindly give this amount to Malik bin Dinar.’ He simply handed over this amount to us and went away swiftly. So these ten thousand dinars are your property. Take it.” The man said, “By God! It is not mine.” That man said, “I have to give it you.” Finally he took them. That night in his dream a voice from the unseen informed him that this was his reward in this world and that the reward in the Hereafter was still reserved for him.
The summary of my lecture is: O Muslims! As far as possible keep God and His Messenger ahead and keep yourselves behind them. You will succeed both this world and also after death eternally. Woe unto us if we do contrary to it; if we push God and His apostle behind our desires and personal interests in our deeds, our views, in our talks, in our dealings. It is the respect and honor for God and His Prophet that raise a man up from dust.
You know Abul Fadhl was the brother of Husain. How much he respected Husain? Allaho Akbar (God is Great). Though he is the brother of Husain, after all, Husain is the Imam. There is a lot of difference between an Imam and an ordinary person. It is written: When Abul Fadhl addressed Husain, he never said, “O Brother!” He always used to say, “My master! My master!” etc. For giving him due respect he never sat in the seat of Husain. During the eve of Ashura (10th Mohurrum), he moved around the tents of ladies in such a way that the honorable ladies would know that Master Husain had a devotee (one who would sacrifice himself for the master), so that the ladies might be at rest. All these ladies were afraid that tomorrow Husain would remain alone. Abbas (Moon of Bani Hashim) also wanted that the ladies should rest assured that Husain did have a devotee like the moon of the Hashimites.
O Muslims! You also should never fail to be respectful in front of God, His Prophet, Qur’an, Divine Commandments, the scholars and the Sayyids. The companions of Husain, with all this respect, still doubted whether Husain was pleased with them or not? So the Moon of Bani Hashim, Ali Akbar and all other people of Bani Hashim never took any step without the permission of Husain, the Imam. When they went to the field, they would ask, “O Master! Do you allow us to go forward or not? They have strength, they also have a sword in hand and yet they would not move unless permitted.”
O Shia Muslims! You should never do anything without the permission of your Imam. You must have certainty of the Imam’s pleasure and agreement. When the Moon of Bani Hashim came to his brother, he said, “O Brother! The clamor of the thirsty children has compelled me. Do you allow me to go and get some water for them?” The master gave the permission. He took up the water skin on his shoulders, went forward and stood before the army of Yazid and cried, “O people! I inform you that now no one has remained from the companions of Husain. In these tents are only women and children. I tell you that these women are burning due to thirst.”
There is no power or might except by Allah.