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['Aalim Network QR] Portraits of Ma`sumeen (a)

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|       In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful       |\
|  Greeting of Allah be upon Muhammad and the pure members of his House |\

Salamun `Alaykum

The following question was kindly answered by Shaykh Hasnain.

Fee Amaanillah,

Akil Karim

---------- Forwarded message ----------


My mother came back from Ziyarat and she brought with her pictures of The
Ma'soomeen, actually portraits.  She says that these things are sold in
the Bazaars in Iran, Iraq and Syria.  Are these portraits ok to purchase
and considered authentic?  Are we to rever any respect for such pictures
like avoiding them from being desecrated? 


Al-Ustadh Ja`far al-Khalili writes in the Foreword of IMAM ALI: A BEACON
OF COURAGE regarding the love of Imam `Ali (a) in the following words:
"Perhaps the word 'Ali', which some write above their shops and stores or
hang on artistic boards engraved on their walls, or which they carve on
the doors of buildings, moques, institutes and foundations, perhaps this
word is a kind of eloquence and a well-known technical symbol in the art
of eloquence for self-sufficiency. It is pure in pronounciation and clear
in understanding. There is no need for anything to be added for people to
understand that `Ali conveys the perfect gathering in of the fine virtues
of the world." (p. 3)

The quote, amongst other things, indicates clearly the great admiration
people hold for Imam `Ali (a). The mention and thought of Imam `Ali
elicits a special reverance and a spark of faith in the hearts of
millions of the Shi`ahs. People have different ways of renewing their
pledges to the Holy Imams (a), especially to Imam `Ali (a). One of the
ways they seem to have found comfort with is hanging portraits of
Ma`sumeen (a). Moreover, there is a well known hadith attributed to the
Holy Prophet (s) that looking at the face of Ali b. Abi Talib is `ibadah
(an act of worship). However, it is difficult to belive that these
portraits portray true features of the faces of Imams (a). They seem to
be imaginative impressions of some artists and most probably unauthentic
representations of the Imams' features. 

In our humble opinion it is best NOT to hang such portraits. Firstly, we,
the educated partisans of Imam `Ali (a), have better things to admire. We
have Nahjul Balagha, for instance, amidst us. It is replete with eloquent
and profound teachings of the Imam. We can hang passages of his sermons
and sayings. Secondly, there is a trend of hero-worshipping in our part
of the world. It is common to see in the rooms of our brothers (and
sisters also) huge portraits of hockey and basketball players and movie
stars. Now if our elders were to hang imaginative portraits of the
Ma`sumeen (a) in their houses then how will they desist our youths from
hanging the real pictures of 'their heroes'. This is not to say that
admiration of the Holy Ma`sumeen (a) can be compared with the fascination
with players and movie stars. No, far from it. Love and admiration of the
Ma`sumeen (a) is clearly an act of faith as well as worship. It is a
source of inspiration for us and reminder of imitating their noble and
sublime morals.  This is not the case with the admiration for players and

God knows best
With Salaams and Du`as

Hasnain Kassamali
Humble servant of the Ahlul Bayt (a)

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