﴿إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُنَادُونَكَ مِنْ وَرَاءِ الْحُجُرَاتِ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لا يَعْقِلُونَ.﴾
(As for) those who call out to you from behind the private chambers, surely most of them do not understand. (49:4)
The Almighty God recalls their incapability and says: Most of them have no sense. Sense means capability of understanding. They have no human intelligence. They have not become higher than animals in the matter of understanding whereby they could know things fully. So that they may know the full meaning, may recognize God and His Messenger, may appreciate the status of messengership and Prophethood. Of course, this requires that man himself should be great enough to comprehend that messengership has a very high status. It is the place where God’s revelations arrive. Here there is a connection with the unseen world. God selects the one who is superior to all others from the viewpoint of chastity, morality, purity and piety, personal hygiene etc. God selects only such person.
The next verse contains many important meanings. It should be remembered what this verse says:
﴿وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ صَبَرُوا حَتَّى تَخْرُجَ إِلَيْهِمْ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ.﴾
And if they wait patiently until you come out to them, it would certainly be better for them, and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (49:5)
These Bedouins are undisciplined and ignorant. Had they shown patience and self-control, had they not made haste in calling you from out of the room until you came out yourself, and then had they submitted their needs it would have been better for themselves. Honor of the Holy Prophet, maintaining the respect of the status of messengership, is for the benefit of Muslims themselves. One of the benefits is that they reach their goal in a better way. Also, as a result of the respect shown by them to the Holy Prophet, God makes their faith stronger and firmer, their hearty relation and their friendship closer and their reward higher. How many rewards are there for showing patience just for a little while! O ignorant people! There is much good, luck and reward for you in this.
Here, I want to show you the full meaning of…it would certainly be better for them…today, so that many misconceptions be removed.
One of the Christian writers has, with his sinister pen, made false allegations against Qur’an and the Prophet of Islam, by misrepresenting facts. Finally, a European also wrote a book titled An Apology to Muhammad and the Qur’an. Another fellow wrote a book, Muhammad, the Prophet who should be recognized a new.
These Christian clerics have hurled many false and baseless allegations against the Holy Prophet. They have drawn a distorted picture of the Prophet’s noble character. One of the mischievous allegations is that Muhammad was very much fond of fame, power, honor and respect; that he has extensively praised himself in Qur’an. What do these five verses of Qur’an from Surah Hujurat show?
﴿لا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ… ﴾
Be not forward in the presence of Allah and His Apostle…
Here He, puts himself first and also says thereafter that do not bring yourselves before Muhammad and do not raise your voice louder than the voice of Muhammad; that is, keep quiet; do not call him without his permission; maintain the greatness of Muhammad. This goes to show that (God forbid) Muhammad wanted that people should honor him, or for instance, he has commanded that whenever one takes or utters his name one must send Salawat on him and similar other allegations.
The reply to all these foolish words and idle talks, allegations and indecent utterances is in the verse itself:
﴿لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُمْ…﴾
…it would certainly be better for them…
That is: O Muslims! O believers in Qur’an! In all the commands of this Qur’an your own outward and inward benefit has been aimed at. Every address is in the interest of Muslims. Whatever brings good luck to them has been ordained and there is nothing like personal interest in them. Curse of God on the one who utters such blasphemic words and says that Muhammad had his own personal interest.
What is personal benefit? It is property and wealth, position and grandeur, fame and kingdom. But from the worldly viewpoint Muhammad never placed a brick over a clay brick, even though if he had wished he could have placed one sliver brick over one golden brick to build his palace. But when he left this world, what worldly wealth did this great Prophet leave behind? What moveable or immovable property did he ever have? It was these few rooms (Hujurat) made of clay bricks, mud and wood. What was the floor of the house of Muhammad made of? It was sand. Sometimes there was a piece of straw mat thereon. So this was his carpet.
And what kind of bed had he? Full details of the household materials of the Holy Prophet are written in books. The pillow of the Holy Prophet too was of palm fibers filled in a goatskin, which he placed under his holy head. The mattress and the quilt of the Holy Prophet was a combined cloth measuring fourteen meters. He placed half of it under his body and used the other half to cover himself from above.
There was nothing in between. In the last days of his holy life his wives said to one another: Since the bones of his body have begun to show up let us do one thing. Let us make his bed sheet four-fold so that it may become somewhat soft. So once they did so. That night the Holy Prophet rose from his bed a little later, that is, he took a more restful sleep. When he woke up he asked? Who did this? One of the wives replied, “O Messenger of Allah! We did it. Now your body has become very weak. We thought your bed should be a little soft.” He said, “You have done injustice to me. Tonight as my bed was softer, I woke later. It should be as before.”
The Holy Prophet had nothing like luxury. Even in hot season though he wore no shirt he used to sleep on the hard mat. Once one of his companions arrived and saw that the mat had left marks on the Holy body. He wept and asked, “O Messenger of God! You are the king of kings. What kind of life are you living?”
What I mean to say is that Muhammad was not as the liars have alleged. What is property and riches? What is rank or position? What is fame? (May God forgive), curse of God on the false defamers. Why do you not come and read the life history of Muhammad? When did Muhammad seek fame, power and kingdom?
Once the rich women of Medina passed by Muhammad and saw that he was sitting on the ground. He himself said, “I like to sit on the ground till the last day of my life.” This is spiritualism, which only the wise can understand.
At last it was seen that the Holy Prophet was about to have his meal. Now it was either dates or a piece of bread. The lady said, “O Master! You are sitting like a slave and you are also eating like a slave! If someone passes by you one will not recognize who you are!” The Prophet replied, “And who can be a better slave than me? I am the slave of the Lord of the lords and the King of the kings.” The lady said, “Please do me a favor.
Kindly give a little from this morsel that you eat.” The Prophet extended his hand to give a little from his food to the lady. But she said, “Please, for God’s sake, give me from your holy mouth.” The Holy Prophet gave her a little from his mouth, which she ate. As testified by Amirul Momineen that lady never fell ill since that day until she breathed her last. It was the grace of the morsel from Prophet’s mouth.
Was the Messenger of God a seeker of fame and name? Whenever he came to a gathering he never sat on a prominent place. In fact, the gatherings of the Holy Prophet did not have any such thing as high or low. People used to sit in a circle on the ground. Everyone sat where he was. Whenever foreigners arrived or whenever representatives of alien countries brought some communication or wanted to meet the Holy Prophet they had to ask, “Where is Muhammad?” They were told, “He is in the mosque.”
In the Mosque, they used to see that it was a round gathering. After seeing this they were compelled to ask, “Who among you is Muhammad?” They saw that there was no distinction at all; that here all were equal; there was nothing like protocol. All were sitting in a circle. Then the Holy Prophet used to say, “Yes, I am Muhammad, how may I help you?”1
Was Muhammad a seeker of fame and position? Did he ever want worldly greatness? Muhammad used to say, “I wish that I should not leave or give up some things until I live: One, sitting on the ground, another to be the first in saluting others.” He never sought the first Salam from others. Muhammad was the first in saluting even youngsters. If he saw someone from a distance, before that person said a word, Muhammad would exclaim first: Peace be upon you (As-alamu Alaikum).2
I have read in a narration that some Muslims who wanted to be the first in greeting the Holy Prophet, hid themselves so that he would salute him first. However, when the Holy Prophet reached that point, he used to say, “Salamun Alaikum, O the one, who is behind the wall! I do not want out be later in offering Salam until I breathe my last.”3
Hastening in offering Salam to others drives away ego. O sirs! Be the first in saying Salam to those who are younger than you. Whenever you enter your own house, say Salam to your wife and children. Never say: I am master and so they should salute me first. On entering your home, say Salam to your wife. When your wife comes to you say Salam, to her. When your child reaches you, say Salam to him or her also. The Holy Qur’an says:
﴿فَإِذَا دَخَلْتُمْ بُيُوتًا فَسَلِّمُوا عَلَى أَنفُسِكُمْ تَحِيَّةً مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ﴾
So when you enter houses, greet your people with a salutation from Allah…4
Hastening in Salam is the remedy of human ailments. It is very effective in gaining humility. They Holy Prophet followed this path as God ordained him: O Muhammad! Whenever the believers come to you, salute them.
After the virtue of sitting on the ground and being the first in offering Salam, is the matter of seating others on animals while riding.
The third thing which the Holy Prophet did not want to give until his last was making others sit behind him while riding. It is bad that one rides while others walk beside him. By God’s grace now there is no horse or ass riding. In earlier days, the master used to ride and his servant used to walk with him. Woe unto the one who rides while his companion continues to walk with him. The Holy Prophet never did this during his entire life. Firstly, there was no particular animal he rode. He rode whatever was available, be it a donkey or a mule, a camel, be there a saddle or not, be there stirrups or not, a bridle or not. He put a date leaf rope around the donkey, held the same in hand and went on.
Whenever he saw anyone walking with him the Holy Prophet used to ask him, “Come and sit behind me.” He used to make a child, a youth or an elder ride with him. Names of such persons mentioned in Hayatul Haiwan, who had this good fortune, numbers thirty-four, one of them being Fazal bin Abbas the Prophet’s cousin. The Holy Prophet was probably returning from Arafat and was proceeding to Mina riding on a camel. This youth came walking in the sun. The Holy Prophet made him sit behind him and also gave him admonitions during this ride.
By the way, it also is mentioned in a narration that at that time Fazal looked at an alien woman. The Holy Prophet turned his face as he wished that Fazal should not commit the sin of looking at an alien lady. Well, let us proceed. The Holy Prophet never left anyone walking when he himself was riding. He either made him ride with him or he used to say: Either you go first or let me go, and you may come later. Was the Prophet seeking glory and pomp? With such manners what more and how much more should we mention? While dining, the Holy Prophet never took any support for sitting.
He never wanted any particular food. Anas had served the Holy Prophet for nine years, that is, he used to prepare and serve food to him. He says that one day the Prophet was late in arriving home. “I thought he might have dined at someone’s house so I consumed a little milk which was kept for him. When he arrived, he sat for a while and then went to bed without telling anything to me. I went to the Mosque and asked one of the companions as to where and in whose house had the Holy Prophet been.
He replied: The Holy Prophet was in the mosque. I asked: Why so late? He replied: People had asked about a problem, which took time. I said: By God! Muhammad did not eat at all and went to bed without saying anything to me; I am so ashamed. What should I do? I wished I should go down into the earth. After the Holy Prophet went to sleep I told myself: What will happen at dawn? There was nothing to eat. The Holy Prophet woke up for the predawn prayer, kept quiet, said nothing and hearing the call for prayer, proceeded to the mosque for Morning prayers. He fasted the next day without having the dawn meal. Not only this, he never mentioned this ever.”5
Let those who malign the Holy Prophet by writing that Muhammad was fond of fame, name, dignity and power, tell us if this is the path leading to such worldly things? How was the life style of Muhammad? God’s cursed on every liar and on all those who make false allegations. Is this a luxurious life, which Muhammad led? His life was full of patience, forbearance and hard labor. He was acting against the demands and desires of the heart.
Anas had the honor of serving the Holy Prophet for nine years. The reason for it also was that at the time of the Holy Prophet’s arrival in Medina, every faithful believer had brought some gift for him. The mother of Anas held her child, Anas’ hand and came to the Holy Prophet. She said, “O Messenger of Allah! I am an old and weak poor woman. I have nothing to bring to you as a gift. I have brought this son of mine. Kindly accept him so that he may serve you.” The Prophet of God also accepted this offer. This boy was in the house of the Holy Prophet for nine years and, as I have said, he was so fortunate to have this honor.
As a result of his mother’s offer as well as his own wish, after nine years he sought permission to leave so that he may work somewhere for earning his own livelihood. The Prophet of God told him, “You have labored for nine years in our house. Now, ask for whatever you want so that I may give it to you. I will fulfill every need of yours.” By the way, this was the time when Islam had spread wide and gained wealth. If Anas wanted, the Holy Prophet might even have given him some land in the Islamic state.
He said clearly: Ask whatever you want. During these nine years, Anas also had become wise and clever under the training of the Messenger of God. He replied, “O Messenger of God! Kindly give 24 hours’ time so that I may think over it.” After all, it is not an ordinary thing to ask anything from the Prophet of God, who is the owner of both this world and the Hereafter. The Holy Prophet said, “Well, think for 24 hours as desired by you.” Anas thought during the night: What should I ask?
Sometimes his thoughts went after worldly things, like a herd of a hundred sheep or camels, or governorship. Such thoughts came to his mind but he pushed them all behind and pondered what was the benefit of all that? All were perishable. Even if I ask for a hundred sheep or camels, or land he would give but what is the gain in this bargain? A wooden chair or throne connected with the wooden plank, which makes a coffin is not really beneficial. What is better is that, which will last forever.
Then he began to think deeply: What should I ask for my hereafter? Salvation demands Paradise and companionship of Muhammad forever. Nothing else is better and higher than this. The company of Muhammad is the highest thing. This is what all of us seek through the supplication while reciting the Ziyarat Ashura earnestly. So this indeed is the last and the highest need of every faithful believer. The explanation of spiritual company has been mentioned in the book Qalbe Saleem. In the Ziarat’s conclusion is the phrase that mentions the wish for the Praised Position (Maqam-e-Mahmood). O reciters of the Ziyarat Ashura! Ask for every need, which must be for this aim and, Insha Allah (God willing) you will attain it. However, the Ziyarat Ashura is higher than such partial matters. Worldly needs have no value therein.
Is it perhaps impossible for me to speak about Maqam-e-Mahmood (the praised place) in this sitting? Where is Maqam-e-Mahmood? In Mahshar (The Grand gathering ground in the Hereafter) there is an area named Maqam-e-Mahmood. There is a pulpit having a thousand steps of light (Noor). At the top, above all others, is the station of the last Prophet Muhammad, thereafter is the Victorious Lion of Allah (Asadullah al Ghalib) Ali bin Abi Talib.
Other stairs belong to the Imams and Prophets in accordance with their status in the sight of God. Then those who left this world with Faith in and love for Allah in their hearts, those who made themselves reach and gain this company which we call and seek, that is the spiritual company, those who remained with the Progeny of Muhammad and so their holy souls joined with the holy souls and the pious ones.
Then, there, in this Maqam-e-Mahmood, their orator is the Holy Prophet, standing on the highest stair. He praises Allah and gives a sermon, wherein, according to narrations, he praises God in a way no one had ever praised earlier.6 What a pulpit on top of which is the Holy Prophet and below it are also the prophets, legatees, Imams and the best people. What other distinctions should I say? Just know that it is so great that in Ziyarat Ashura you seek it. You say: O Lord! Let me reach Maqam-e-Mahmood for the sake of the holy blood, which was spilled, the blood of Husain who is a divine sign. It is the place praised much, from where so much mercy and rewards rain. It is so high and glorious that the audience gets full reward of spirit.
It is said that if, in that gathering at Maqam-e-Mahmood, even the Houries of Paradise arrive and inform the Faithful: ‘We are your Lovers’ and ‘We are eagerly awaiting You’ the lucky audience will reply, ‘How can we leave this pulpit of Muhammad?’ Imam Sadiq is reported to have said that on the Day of Judgment, Husain will be under the shade of the Throne of God and God will be gathering those who had visited Husain’s grave and his Shias and they will get so much happiness, delight and mercy that it cannot be described except by God. So much so that from one side, fairies from Paradise will arrive with a message saying, “We are your lovers and we are eagerly waiting for you.” The people at the said Maqam-e-Mahmood will reply, “We will come to you afterwards, if Allah wills.” In other words, “We cannot leave the company of Husain; we prefer it over you.”7
Briefly speaking, these are the matters to be perceived, not described. Those who recite the Ziyarat Ashura hope to be with Husain, with Muhammad, with Ali. Anas asked for exactly this from the Holy Prophet after serving him for nine years. Next morning, he came to the assembly of the Holy prophet in the Mosque. The Prophet asked, “Did you think over it?” Anas replied, “O Messenger of Allah! My need and my desire is that I should be with you in the Hereafter.” The same what you recite in the Ziyarat Ashura. Anas told the truth. He earnestly desired and longed for remaining with Muhammad. He said, “I want only this.” What was the reply of the Prophet?
Is it an ordinary thing to be with Muhammad? It is not possible without qualification and capability. One who has no qualification does not benefit. If a donkey is dressed royally and its made to sit on the throne. Then even if saffron is put before it, it is of no use. A change is needed. Humanity and spiritualism must be created so as to be able to sit on a throne. This man desires to sit with the king of the universe. The Holy Prophet shows him the way, which if adopted, can enable him to be with Muhammad. He said: Make more and more prostrations. Because prostration is to push back everything except Only One God. It is to cut off the heart from everything else. The longer the prostration, the better it is. The servant is nearest to his Lord when he prostrates before Him.8
If one weeps in prostration it is still better. The nicest recitation too is: There is no god except You, the glorified. Indeed I was of the wrong doers (Laa Illaah illaa anta subhaanaka innee kuntu minaz zaalimeen) for twenty times, a hundred times, a thousand times. Imam Sajjad sometimes recited such utterances placing his head on stones in the valley of Medina. The narrator says, “When he prostrated, he did not lift his head until his entire body perspired.”9
One hour, two hours, only God knows how long in the hot air of summer. My aim is to show what a prostration is. If you want to attain spiritualism it requires some effort. You should be prepared to do deeds, which may disconnect you from the material world and take you towards spiritualism. Otherwise, supposing even if they bring you near the Prophet, you cannot benefit by his company, unless hard efforts are made. Its example is found wherein the Holy Prophet asked Anas to do thus.
It is narrated that Amirul Momineen said that once a man came to the Holy Prophet and said, “O Messenger of God! Kindly show me the way whereby God may love me and people also may love me and my possessions also may increase and my body may remain healthy and my life may be long and God may raise me up with you in the Hereafter.” The Holy Prophet replied, “These are six desires which require six virtues.
If you want that God should love you then fear Him and refrain from sinning and if you want that people may befriend you then do good to them and do not envy for what is in their possession and do not vie for it and if you wish that your property should increase then pay the poor tax (Zakat) and if you want that your body should remain healthy then give more charity and if you desire to live longer then take care of relatives and be kind to them and if you intend and hope that God may gather you with me on the Day of Judgment, then extend your prostrations for God Almighty.”10
Summarily, if one desires nearness to Muhammad while continuing to sin, it is merely wishful thinking because sin leads to the neighborhood of Satans and Pharaohs. So there is no alternative to walk on the path of obedience and worship which leads to Paradise and the neighborhood of the Holy Prophet and the more one worships and obeys, the nearer he gets to Paradise and the beloved ones of God. Among the kinds of worship, prostration is more effective in creating spiritual nearness. Qur’an and a number of narrations have emphatically mentioned that there are some specialties in the matter of prostration. What is shown by the Imams is briefly listed below:
1. Prostration (Sajdah) is the way of those who repent and turn towards God.
2. Prostration gives utmost trouble to Satan.
3. Prostration drops sins just as wind drops leaves of a tree.
4. Prostration is a position wherein the servant is nearest to God.
5. Prostration is a condition in which man is in utmost humility and slavery in front of the Lord creator.
In addition to extreme self-restraint, there are other worship and deeds, which strengthen the soul. Tonight, we shall explain this holy verse to you.
Each and every duty or responsibility, which Islam has established is mainly for the benefit of Muslims themselves. Nothing is meant for its founder or the Holy Prophet; so much so that even the Khums (one-fifth), which is made obligatory too is such. Curse of God on those who have thought that Muhammad has done so for the benefit of his progeny and has sought only their profit.
Actually Khums is prescribed with the aim that the hearts and wealth of Muslims should become pure and their connection or relation with Muhammad be stronger and closer, not that, through this God has provided sustenance for the progeny of Muhammad. O rich Muslims! What are you to give anything to them?
A Bahraini man once brought the Khums of his jewels to Medina and he sat in such a manner as if he had done something great by bringing something more for the Imam. The Imam signaled his servant to bring a vessel lying in a corner. When they brought the tray, Imam recited some prayer on it (perhaps there was sand in it). The Imam turned that dish upside down before the man from Bahrain. So many gold coins poured therefrom that it formed a heap between the slave and the Bahraini. Then the Imam said, “We are not in need of your Khums. You should not think in this way. You have not done anything great. What need do we have? It is our favor to you that we accept what you bring as Khums in order to make you clean and pure.”11
This is your Khums, O Man! Tomorrow on the Day of Judgment, a caller will call out on behalf of the Prophet of God: Anyone who has to collect from Muhammad anything may get up. On that Day, all will await such a call.
The Day of Judgment is an extremely hard day. Everyone will be burning and trembling hoping that an intercessor comes up to help him or her; that someone should arise to save him or her. It is very terrible. How nice when you will hear those words! The grand gathering will ask, “What does this mean?” Muhammad has right on everyone! The caller will explain, “Everyone who, during his worldly life, did good to the progeny of Muhammad, repaid their loans, gave respect to them, fulfilled their needs, helped them may arise to get his right from Muhammad.”12
On that Day, O Zakat-payer! What a delight and benefit you will taste! All these commands are for you, only for your own benefit. So much so that even the recommended deeds, like Ziyarat of Imam Husain are for the benefit of the Shias, both in the world and in the Hereafter. But, in the worldly life, the Ziyarat of the Imam results in a long life and expansion in sustenance and fulfillment of needs. It is mentioned in narrations and also experienced by many, and, in the Hereafter, it will result in the forgiveness of sins and getting intercession of the messenger of God and nearness to his Holy being.
They have quoted a tradition in Kamiluz Ziyarah according to which the Holy Prophet had foretold the martyrdom of all the Ahle Bait on several occasions. Imam Husain asked, “Our graves will be at different places on earth and also at a distance from one another. How one can make Ziyarat of our graves?” The Prophet replied, “Groups from my followers will come to your graves for my sake. Now, it is my responsibility that in exchange, I may hold their hands on the day of the Judgment, help them and protect them from the fears and fright of that Day so that God may admit them to Paradise.”
Again, in the same book, in the chapter of the merits of Kerbala there is a tradition through Umme Aiman from the Holy Prophet, that he said, “And they build, on the grave of Husain, a sign and symbol, that is a shrine, which will last and will not become old. In times leaders of disbelief and followers of deviation will try to obliterate the signs of Husain but they will not be able to do so. Rather its height and manifestation will increase day by day.” This tradition is one of the news from the unseen given by the Holy Prophet. Whatever efforts the Bani Abbas, especially Mutawakkil the cursed made, he could not succeed in demolishing the grave of Husain. The tomb of Husain ever since is a venue for many visitors.
Shaykh Shustari says in Khasais, “The beauty of this high and lofty dome will go on multiplying with the passage of time.” We see that the construction of Ka’ba and all the Holy structures do end but the construction and expansion of the shrine and courtyard of the mausoleum of Husain, the chief of martyrs does not stop. Rather, ever since the cursed Mutawakkil demolished it, every year the caliphs of Bani Abbas and kings following them have given importance to its reconstruction. Ever since I was five year old till today when I am above sixty, not a day has passed when I did not see addition or renovation of its design and beautification. It appears it will be so till the Judgment Day.
In the translation of Khasais, the late Shahristani says, “I have observed the construction and renovation of the new dome and the widening of the courtyard in the upward direction, the construction of the Nasiri courtyard and its basement, its stone floor and engraving on its walls. This work still continues.”
I had the honor to visit the Najaf-e-Ashraf in 1360 when I saw that they were expanding the shrine of Imam Husain and fixing marbles on its walls. Till last year (97) whenever I went there I did not see that such construction or renovation had ever ended. It is also mentioned in the same tradition of Umme Aiman that the Holy Prophet said, “Angels are writing in ink of Noor (Radiance), on the foreheads of the visitors to the tomb of Husain, ‘Haa Zaairal Husain’ (This person has visited Husain) and, on the Day of Gathering this will dazzle the eyes of all and they (the visitors of Husain) will be known to all by this radiance.”
- 1. Hulyatul Abrar, Bahraini, vol.1, pg. 117
- 2. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 4
- 3. Hulyatul Abrar, Bahraini, vol.1, pg. 131
- 4. Surah Nur 24:61
- 5. Safinatul Bihar, 1:415
- 6. Tawheed of Saduq
- 7. Biharul Anwar, vol. 11, pg. 263
- 8. Wasaelush Shia, Book of Prayers
- 9. Muntahiul A’maal, Qummi
- 10. Safinatul Bihar vol. 1, pg. 599
- 11. Madinatul Maajiz, Bahraini, pg.496
- 12. Fazailus Sadat