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The Lofty Station of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib

Sat, 05/25/2019 - 04:33

By Syed Mohsen Rizvi

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

And We inspired Moses and his brother, (saying): build houses for your people in Egypt and make your houses as QIBLA, and establish worship. And give good news to the believers. (Holy Qur’an, 10:87)

In this short write-up we will attempt to reflect on the station of Imam Ameer ul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a) to the best of our capacity and pray that we learn something new through this effort. The holy month of Ramadan takes the believers on a journey from corporeality (جسديّة) to spirituality (روحانية) where the believers are ordained to reject the necessities of the material world, and focus on the heart that connects to the metaphysical world.

The heart can either be adulterated by the invasion of the mundane needs, desires and vicious instincts. Or the heart can be purified if the material inhabitants are removed to allow the divine light to shine bright, and navigate us towards the higher realm. In essence, the heart is a nucleus to the components (مركبة) of the human reality, what dwells in the heart will determine the fate of the human being in this world and the hereafter. The inhabitant of the heart is either faith/Imaan, or unbelief/Kufr.

The meaning of unbelief/Kufr is to conceal or cover what is evident and clear. In other words, concealing or rejecting all the inarticulate proofs (آيَاتٌ)[1], and demonstrative proofs (بَيِّنَاتٌ)[2] that are bearing witness to the existence of Allah (swt) – constitutes unbelief.

The opposite of unbelief is faith, and faith means to believe in the unseen realities through reflection and contemplation on the inarticulate proofs with the knowledge in hand. However, if the intellect cripples due to lack of knowledge, then holding on to the rope of the demonstrative proofs and following their footsteps with absolute obedience – constitutes faith.

There are many definitions of faith and unbelief, but to make it easier for the human being, Allah (swt) condensed the idea of Faith and unbelief to a single criterion, and ordered the Prophet (saw) to declare;

Love for Ali is faith, and hate for him is unbelief.[3]

Allah (swt) made the love of Ameer ul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a) as the criteria of faith, and hate for him as the sign of unbelief. As there will be many who will claim to love Ali (a) for generations to come, the Prophet (saw) immediately explained the real meaning of faith by saying:

Looking at Ali ibn Abi Talib (a) is servitude (to Allah SWT), remembering Him is servitude (to Allah SWT), and Allah (swt) shall not accept the Faith of his servant unless it is coupled with the Wilayat of Ameer Ul-Momineen (a), and condemnation of His enemies.[4]

So, the broad definition of Faith is Love that is accompanied by the Wilayat of Imam Ali (a). When such love of Ameer ul momineen (a) enters the heart then foundation of faith begins to establish inside the heart, and as a result the heart is purified and that person reaches the rank of a believer/Mo’min, and such faith protects the believers from misguidance, ignorance and apostasy.

Like the heart, the Holy Kaaba on earth also plays a central role for the believers. The Qibla refers to the direction of guidance, while the Kaaba refers to destination of guidance. The square shape foundation existed much earlier than the advent of Islam, and later on by the command of Allah (swt) the walls of Kaaba were raised by Prophet Ibrahim (a). It is important to note that Prophet Ibrahim (a) was the first and only prophet who once shattered the idols of unbelief/Kufr and establish the foundation of Islam and declared the Tawheed of Allah (swt), as Quran says

He said: Nay! your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who brought them into existence, and I am of those who bear witness to this. (21:56)

And, by Allah! I will certainly do something against your idols after you go away, turning back. (21:57)

So he broke them into pieces, except the chief of them, that haply they may return to it. (32:21)

However, after Prophet Ibrahim (a) left the mortal world, for centuries the polytheists and the idolaters inhabited the Kaaba with their idols. The removal of idols by Prophet Ibrahim (a) was the first step towards rejection of falsehood and the implementation of truth, and the birth of Imam Ali (a) inside the Kaaba was the preparation of the end of the falsehood and perfection of truth. As history records the incident that Imam Ali (a) was born in the center of Kaaba:

Amir ul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Talib (a) was born in the center of Kaaba.[5]

The light of Ameer ul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a) entered the Kaaba like the spirit enters the body of a human being and brings the body to life. The one who will revive the practice of Prophet Ibrahim (a) was born, and Prophet Muhammed (saw) supplicated to Allah (swt) to change the direction of the prayers and make Kaaba as the new Qibla, as Qur’an revealed:

Indeed We see the turning of your face to heaven, so We shall surely turn you to a qiblah which you shall like; turn then your face towards the Sacred Mosque. (2:144)

After conquering the city of Mecca, Ameer ul Momineen (a) following the footsteps of his grandfather Prophet Ibrahim (a) stood on the shoulders of the Prophet (saw) and shattered the idols, as the Prophet (saw) said,

O Ali, the first who brought down the idols was your grandfather Ibrahim (a), then you O Ali is the last one. [6]

When the light/noor of Imam Ali (a) entered the empty cube-like structure, the structure was purified and came to life as a symbol of guidance and the sign of the absolute Wilayat of Allah (swt) towards which all believers fall in submission.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the house in which Imam Ali (a) was born became the Qibla of all the believers, it is not a novel idea, because Allah (swt) has made the house of Musa (a) and Haroun (a) as the Qibla, as Qur’an says:

And We inspired Moses and his brother, (saying): build houses for your people in Egypt and make your houses as QIBLA, and establish worship. And give good news to the believers.(10:87)

The obligation to establish worship was given after making the house of Musa (a) and Haroun (a) as direction of their worship. Thus, Musa (a) and Haroun (a) were not only the medium of guidance to their nation, but also Allah (swt) were the medium through which the faith and worship of their nation will be accepted.

The centrality of Kaaba is like the centrality of a metaphysical heart in the universe of a human being. As the heart receives guidance & purification with the Love of Ameer ul Momineen (a), the Kaaba becomes the symbol of guidance and purification with the manifestation of Ameer ul Momineen (a). Whether it is Kaaba or the heart of a human being, the ultimate message of the holy Qur’an, and the holy Bayan, and all the symbols and the act of worship is that Ameer ul Momineen (a) represents the Wilayat of Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw).Rejecting, ignoring or belittling Ali (a) is equivalent to rebellion against Allah (swt) and His messenger (saw). Hence, it is narrated by Abu Dhar ul Ghaffari (a) that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

The parable of Ali in my nation is the parable of Kaaba, looking at him is worship, and pilgrimage to him is obligatory. [7]

If anyone visits the Kaaba without understanding the spirit and essence of the Kaaba then they have only circled around a physical structure and ignored the purpose of the pilgrimage. Hence it is important to reflect on the similarities between the Kaaba and the heart of human being that is filled with the love of Imam Ali (a), the necessary conclusion of such reflection will help us understand why Imam Sadiq (a) said:

Honor of a believer is greater than that of the Holy Kaaba. [8]

The reason a believer is more honorable than Kaaba is because Ameer ul Momineen (a) came once inside Kaaba, but as for the heart of a believer, it is a permanent place for the love of Ameer ul Momineen (a).

 

References:

[1] Inarticulate proofs are un-intelligent creations like, animals, trees, mountains, oceans, earth moon, sun, solar system and so on as science progresses. These natural phenomena stand witness without speaking, that our Creator is no other than Allah (swt).

[2] Demonstrative proofs are the Prophets and their successors who demonstrated the evidence through knowledge and intellect for those who comprehend, and miracles and authority for those who were stubborn.

[3] Al-Khisaal by Sheikh al-Sudooq part-14, hadith 13-5

[4] Amali al-Sadouq by Ibn Babeveyah, Mohammad b. Ali, page 138, hadith#9

[5] Tasliyah al-Majalis wa Zaynah al-Majalis by Husaini Mousavi, Mohammad b. Abi Talib, page 256, volume1

[6] al-Rawdhah fi Fadha’il Amir al-Mu’minin Ali b. Abi Talib(a) by Shazan Qomi, Shazan b. Jibri’il  (single volume, page 31)

[7] al-Rawdhah fi Fadha’il Amir al-Mu’minin Ali b. Abi Talib(a) by Shazan Qomi, Shazan b. Jibri’il  (single volume, page 83)

[8] al-Khisaal, 1-96, p62

The post The Lofty Station of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Why Is Imam Ali (a) The Epitome Of Justice?

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 14:33

For Brother Bassim Alamiry, for his untiring contribution in starting and running AlRasool Islamic Center, Memphis Tennessee, USA and supporting all community members.

 

Imam Ali (a) is the greatest enigma of all time. His justice has baffled and mystified scholars and intellectuals alike. The power of Imam Ali’s (a) personality has stood the test of time and attracts our hearts and souls until today – even though centuries have passed. We can’t help but admire and hero worship him for he is the core of perfection and peak of virtues His knowledge, wisdom, eloquence, piety, bravery, justice, loyalty, humanity, empathy, honesty, truthfulness and numerous other qualities are beyond compare. His virtues reached a new standard of greatness and his wisdom-filled sayings became a guidance until eternity for people of all faiths and beliefs because they are relevant for everyone and for all times. His birth inside the Kaaba was peerless and a herald of his chosen status.

As a child he recognized injustice and protected the life of Prophet Mohammad (s) who had come under direct attack with a threat to his life. In his youth, his bravery a glorified legend, he continued his role as the protector, companion, Commander-in-chief of Prophet Mohammad (s) in the battles of Badr, Ohad, Khandaq, Khaybar, Hunayn, until the Prophet breathed his last. Even after the Prophet’s death, he remained by his side and performed the final rituals while others got involved in grabbing power.

Imam Ali (a), the unwavering pillar of support to Prophet Mohammad (s), husband to his only daughter Fatima (a) and the rightful successor to Caliphate was left to complete the last rites by the companions as his successorship was being nabbed by opportunists. They argued that there was no explicit appointment just some vague implicit direction expressed by the Prophet on several occasions including the one at Ghadir Khumm where he lifted Imam Ali’s (a) hand and publicly announced – “Everyone whose master I am also has Ali as his master’  [1]. The words of Prophet(S) spoken on every occasion from Dawat  Zul Asheera – “Ali is my brother, my successor and my Caliph” to Ghadir Khumm were intentionally forgotten. Caliphate was too tempting for those seeking wealth and power.

Profoundly wise and versatile with diversified values, people unanimously decided to elect him their Caliph after Usman and thronged around him in Masjid al-Nabawi after Imam Ali (a) refused to accept the Caliphate. He describes the incident in sermon 3 of Nahjul Balagha: “At that moment, nothing took me by surprise, but the crowd of people rushing to me. It advanced towards me from every side like the mane of the hyena so much so that Hasan and Husain were getting crushed and both the ends of my shoulder garment were torn. They collected around me like a herd of sheep and goats.”

As a Caliph, he lived in a simple home, only ate what the poorest in his Caliphate could afford, and displayed his justice, wisdom, and valor in every single act.

When Talha and Zubair approached him for a position, he did not favor them over others.

He bought better clothes for Qambar, his servant, than himself. He denied power to Muawiyah, the corrupt governor of Syria.

Prophet Mohammad (s) said about Imam Ali (a): “Ali stands with Truth and Truth stands with Ali.” History of Islam is full of the incidents of his chivalrous and merciful behavior towards his enemies.

As a Caliph, he implemented rigorous orders on his officers, administrators, and provincial governors to abide by justice. He punished and dismissed all corrupt administrators and governors. In a letter to Ziyad b. Abih, Imam Ali (a) warned against corruption: “I truthfully swear by Allah that if I come to know that you have misappropriated the funds of the Muslims, small or big, I shall inflict upon you such punishment which will leave you empty handed, heavy backed and humiliated…” (Nahjul Balagha, Letter 20).

He advised all his governors to establish justice and eradicate corruption. In advice to Malik al-Ashtar, the governor of Egypt, Imam Ali (a) wrote: “Do justice for Allah and do justice towards the people, as against yourself, your near ones and those of your subjects for whom you have a liking because if you do not do so you will be oppressive, and when a person oppresses the creatures of Allah then, instead of His creatures, Allah becomes his opponent, and when Allah is the opponent of a person He tramples his plea; and he will remain in the position of being at war with Allah until he gives it up and repents.”(Nahjul Balagha, Letter 53).

He strictly cautioned his governors and officers against accepting bribes and gifts: “Any ruler who hides himself from people’s needs, Allah will also hide Himself from him and his needs on the Judgment day; and if he accepts gifts, he would be a traitor; and if he accepts bribes, he would be a polytheist.”(Nahjul Balagha, Letter 53).

Imam Ali (a) rejected those who advised him to seek support by doing injustice and inequity to the Muslims over whom he was chosen as a guardian [ 2].

In response to those who objected to his just distribution and wanted more property referring to Umar’s favoritism of Arabs over non-Arabs he said: By Allah, even if it were my property, I would distribute it equally among them; how would it be when the property is theirs? He justified further by saying: To distribute wealth among those who do not deserve it amounts to squandering the wealth. The Holy Quran also says: Do not squander wealth wastefully. The squanderers are indeed Satan’s brothers and Satan is ungrateful to his Lord. (Surah Bani Isra’il, 17:26-27)

Staggering crowds had pleaded with him to accept the Caliphate but this overwhelming support was short lived because when Imam Ali (a) took reins and started ruling according to the rules dictated by the holy Quran and Sunnah of the holy Prophet many people sensed a lingering danger to their unjustly amassed wealth. Though the people did want a good and virtuous ruler, they did not want an absolute just one who will not show any leniency or favoritism in the matters of administering justice and fairness.

Alas, people who emphasize justice become a thorn in the flesh of those who want riches and power. So also was the case with Imam Ali (a).Under his rule, the corrupt were squirming with the imposition of truth and justice after being accustomed to having their way during the reign of the earlier three Caliphs who let on force and injustice because they were not strong enough to oppose the corrupt and powerful. His Caliphate was strewn with battles against corrupt and deviated Muslims: the battle of Jamal against Ayesha, Talha and Zubair who took up arms against Imam Ali (a) and declared war on him, the battle of Siffin against Muawiyyah who was seeking power, and the battle of Naharwan against the Kharijites who did not like the arbitration with the rebel Muawiyyah in the battle of Siffin.

It was the month of Ramadan, at the time of the morning prayers; in Masjid al-Kufa when Ibn Muljim, with his poisoned sword, struck a fatal blow on the head of the fasting Imam when Imam Ali (a) was in prostration. The deadly strike left a very deep wound. A commotion followed and Ibn Muljim was apprehended and brought before Imam Ali (a) bound in ropes. When the Imam saw the ropes cutting into his flesh, despite his own agony, he asked the people not to be cruel to his murderer and had the ropes loosened.

Imam Ali (a) was taken to his house and when milk was served he offered his glass to Ibn Muljim who drank it. In his will, Imam Ali (a) told his older son, Imam Hasan (a), that the killer had struck one blow with his sword, and should likewise be struck once only [3].

Imam Ali (a) was never lenient in the matters of justice be it his own life and death.

References:

[1] https://www.al-islam.org/ghadir/incident.htm

[2] https://www.al-islam.org/imam-ali-s-book-government-ayatullah-muhammadi-rayshahri/chapter-five-political-policies

[3] https://www.al-islam.org/articles/letter-father-son-last-will-ali-ibn-abi-talibhas

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How Fasting Helps in Achieving Better Neurological Health

Mon, 05/20/2019 - 14:51

How Fasting Helps in Achieving Better Neurological Health

In His name the most High

O you who believe! fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may guard (against evil).” (2:183)

Fasting in the blessed month of holy Ramadhan is obligatory for all Muslims who do not have any valid reasons to abstain from it. The primary objective of fasting is to acquire the quintessential quality of Taqwa, so that we “may guard (against evil)” [Shakir] or we may “(learn) self-restraint” [Abdullah Yusuf Ali]. Fasting holds a great primacy in acquiring the quality of Taqwa and proximity with Allah(SWT). The fasting has multiple levels and is experienced by different people at different levels: “The fasting of the ordinary man is to withhold only from food and drink. The fasting of the pious man is to curb sensory desires, to refrain from looking at the unlawful, hearing the harmful, and thinking about the distasteful, or about what stimulates the lower nature. The fasting of a true believer is to seal the heart from paying any attention to other-than-Allah (ghayrallah), and safeguard himself with thorough awareness of the divine laws.”[Pooya/Ali Commentary 2:183]

With all the spiritual and lofty goals of fasting there are equally powerful physical and neurological benefits as well. In this article we would discuss some of the indispensable neurological effects of fasting.

The fasting boosts neuronal autophagy. The autophagy is a natural generation process occurring at the cellular levels. The autophagy is “self-eating” of the cells which helps in recycling the waste material and controls wasteful processes and repair themselves resulting in controlling neurodegeneration. It has been recognised as the crucial defense mechanism against malignancy, infection and neurodegenerative diseases. The abrogation of autophagy in neurons can lead to neurodegenerative disease.

The importance of autophagy has been demonstrated in the research work of Yoshinori Ohsumi in the 1990s. It has been found that it protects against diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and certain forms of dementia.

The research of Dr Rubinsztein has shown that proteins form in clumps in the nerve cells of people with diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. He says “We discovered that if you switch on autophagy you remove these proteins rapidly and protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s and forms of dementia.”[1]

 A research study by Mehrdad Alirezaei, Christopher C. Kemball et al. shows that “short-term food restriction induces a dramatic upregulation of autophagy in cortical and Purkinje neurons” They say “Autophagy is sometimes referred to as cellular “cleansing”, and our observations provide an attractive neuronal parallel to the organismal benefits that, historically, are perceived to derive from fasting…..Our observation that a brief period of food restriction can induce widespread upregulation of autophagy in CNS neurons may have clinical relevance. As noted above, disruption of autophagy can cause neurodegenerative disease, and the converse also may hold true: upregulation of autophagy may have a neuroprotective effect. For example, in vitro models have shown that starvation in neuronal cell lines can remove toxic molecules and damaged mitochondria from neurons”[2]

A study conducted by Taufiqurrachman Nasihun links Ramadhan fasting with the onset of autophagy:

“..fast periods during Ramadan fasting, starvation is occurred and then autophagy is activated to remove protein aggregate and other cellular debris to recycled, resulting in health benefit. Autophagy during RF is induced by glycogen depletion, and switching metabolic condition into ketosis that may occur in day 3-5 of fasting. Since fasting also increase GH secretion in the same time, therefore synergistically action between autophagy and growth hormone is suggested able to replace the old and damage cells by the new one to prevent the pathological process (Klionsky DJ. 2008).” [3]

A pilot study “Fasting in Ramadan Affects Cognitive and Physiological Function in Normal Subjects” conducted by Abdulrahman M. Alsharidah et al has concluded that Ramadan had positive influence on performance in the domains of psychomotor function/processing speed and attention.[4]

Another important effect of Ramadhan fasting is reduction in impulsive actions. Impulsiveness causes one to indulge in any activity without forethought and consideration and so this behaviour trait may lead to wrong decisions and actions. A study conducted by Chamari K, Briki W et al “Impact of Ramadan intermittent fasting on cognitive function in trained cyclists: a pilot study” concluded “RVP (rapid visual information processing) performances suggest lower impulsivity of the cyclists during Ramadan, and even improved accuracy towards the end of Ramadan for the second measure of the day. Therefore, the effects of Ramadan intermittent fasting seem to depend on the type of assessed task, time of day of measurement, with no negative impact on the studied selected cognitive measures in the cyclists of the present study”[5]

A report in New Scientist by Clare Wilson on how “Hungry stomach hormone promotes growth of new brain cells” describes the critical effects of fasting on neurological health: “A stomach hormone that stimulates appetite seems to promote the growth of new brain cells and protect them from the effects of ageing – and may explain why some people say that fasting makes them feel mentally sharper.

When ghrelin was first discovered, it became known as the hunger hormone. It is made by the stomach when it gets empty, and whenever we go a few hours without food its levels rise in our blood.

But there is also evidence that ghrelin can enhance cognition. Animals that have reduced-calorie diets have better mental abilities, and ghrelin might be part of the reason why. Injecting the hormone into mice improves their performance in learning and memory tests, and seems to boost the number of neuron connections in their brains.

Now Jeffrey Davies at Swansea University, UK, and his team have found further evidence that ghrelin can stimulate brain cells to divide and multiply, a process called neurogenesis. When they added the hormone to mouse brain cells grown in a dish, it switched on a gene known to trigger neurogenesis, called fibroblast growth factor.”[6]

The famous neuroscientist Mark Mattson has conducted a lot of research into the relation of energy intake and brain health and has come to the conclusion that fasting wards off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and results in improving memory and mood.

The Brain-Derived NeuroTrophic Factor (BDNF) contributes in the formation of new neurons and the development of synapses and different pathways for communication in the brain. The higher levels of BDNF improve the health of neurons and positively affect the communication processes between the neurological cells. While the lower levels of BDNF cause diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory loss and other brain processing problems. Increased levels of BDNF are also associated with antidepressant effects in brain, so increase in BDNF cures depression also. Another important hormone is HGH: Human Growth Hormone. HGH causes physiological changes in metabolism to favor fat burning and protein sparing. The proteins and amino acids are utilized to improve brain and neuron processing. Fasting has shown to very significantly affecting HGH and BDNF levels in body which bring about great neurological benefits. [7]

A research investigation performed by Mo’ez Al-Islam, E.Faris, Safia Kacim et al on Ramadhan fasting’s effects on proinflammatory cytokines confirms that Ramadhan fasting attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects. Which means Ramadhan fasting is good in reducing brain trauma and other inflammation related health issues.[8]

Shaykh Mansour Leghaei in book entitled “Fasting – A Body/Mind/Spirit Healing” quotes significant observations of Dr. Joel Fuhrman: “Fasting has been repeatedly observed to alleviate neuroses, anxiety and depression” [9]. Therefore we can safely conclude that Ramadhan fasting improves brain health and lessens the risk of cognitive decline and brain disorders. But we must have in mind that all good effects of fasting are dependent upon our proper observance of Ramadhan according to Sunnah. We must understand that “the purpose of fasting is not just to avoid food and drink and hence this is the very lowest level of fasting for the very beginners to start their journey towards perfection and promotion. Thus, it is quoted from the Prophet of Islam (S) that: “Many people gain nothing from their fasting save hunger and thirst.”[ibid]. We must avoid gluttony and over eating at the times of Suhoor and Iftaar to reap and enjoy great neurological and spiritual benefits of this blessed month.

 References:

1. Can the science of autophagy boost your health? By Laurel Ives, Health reporter, BBC News

2. Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy by Mehrdad Alirezaei, Christopher C. Kemball et al.

3. Ramadan Fasting, Health, and Autophagy: Is There any Relationship?  By Taufiqurrachman Nasihun

4. Fasting in Ramadan Affects Cognitive and Physiological Function in Normal Subjects (Pilot Study) by Abdulrahman M. Alsharidah et al

5. Impact of Ramadan intermittent fasting on cognitive function in trained cyclists: a pilot study by Chamari K, Briki W et al

6. Hungry stomach hormone promotes growth of new brain cells by Clare Wilson

7. Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting: Two potential diets for successful brain aging by Bronwen Martin, Mark P. Mattson,and Stuart Maudsleya

8. Intermittent fasting during Ramadan attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects

9. Fasting – A Body/Mind/Spirit Healing by Shaykh Mansour Leghaei

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The Role Of Fasting In Cleansing Toxins From The Body

Sun, 05/12/2019 - 13:18

 

Sawm” or fasting is one of the most prominent pillars of Islam that needs to be followed by every practicing Muslim if there are no health restrictions or age matters that might affect the health of an individual. While it teaches us to endure “Sabr” (patience), it also elevates the level of “Taqwa”.

 

In order to bolster the spiritual connection with the Khaliqin, one must observe fast. This tradition has been followed by many Prophets (AS) in the past prior to the arrival of our beloved Prophet Muhammad(S).

 

“Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that you may gain self-restraint.” (Holy Quran, 2:183)

 

The month of fasting in Islam is known as Ramadan which happens to be the holiest and the blessed months. In this month, Quran was revealed.

 

While the spiritual levels have their own benefits in observing fasts, there are physical benefits too like fasts remove toxins from the body and help the body to rejuvenate. Let me discuss certain points related to the perks of this holy month in relation to our physical body:

 

Fasting helps to remove toxins from the body. As per Dr. Otto Buchinger; Germany’s great fasting therapist after more than 100,000 fasting cures says: “Fasting is, without doubt, the most effective biological method of treatment, it is the operation without surgery… it is a cure involving exudation, redirection, loosening up and purified relaxation.”

 

It helps to relieve the body from various diseases as well as allergies.

 

It helps you to get rid of certain habits for a while and may be that might become life-long too. Like one cannot smoke, this will signal the body to adjust without it and eventually you may one day get rid of it.

 

It helps to lower cholesterol which in turn increases cardiovascular health and thereby decreasing the risk of heart attack or a stroke.

 

It helps to eliminate toxins from the body. While the body is fasting, the stored fats and carbohydrates are used to generate energy and also burn any harmful toxins present in the body.

 

During this time, the organs start to repair themselves and the white blood cells of the body become more active for cleansing the body.

 

Body’s healing mechanism increases.

 

It helps to boost brain function and prevents degenerative disorders.

 

Shaykh Mansour Leghaei in his book “Fasting and the Holy month of Ramadhan”[1] writes on the healing effects of the fasting:

 

It is quoted from the Prophet of Islam to have said: “Fast, you’ll be healthy”. An Egyptian pyramid inscription in 3800B.C also reads: “Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the three-quarters live their doctor!”

 

The three fathers of Western Medicine; (Hippocrates, Galen & Paracelsus) prescribed fasting as the greatest remedy and the physician within. Life Magazine in its September 1996 issue considered fasting: the healing revolution. There are more than 500 medical journal articles available on therapeutic fasting on the internet.

 

The outstanding physicians named fasting as being; the medicine for the 21st century. They believe the human body is designed to heal itself, if only given the opportunity. Dr. Otto Buchinger; Germany’s great fasting therapist after more than 100,000 fasting cures says: “Fasting is, without doubt, the most effective biological method of treatment.. it is the operation without surgery… it is a cure involving exudation, redirection, loosening up and purified relaxation.”

 

He furthers therapeutically; fasting cures many of our modern illnesses, including the following: allergies, cardiovascular disease, chronic diseases of the digestive system, degenerative and painfully inflammatory illnesses of the joints, myriad disturbances in one’s eating behavior, glaucoma, initial malfunction of the kidneys, tension and migraine headaches, as well as skin diseases.

 

Preventively, it’s designed to cleanse, and to regenerate, rejuvenate and restore a person’s sense of well-being, in body, mind and soul. As Doctor Buchinger would conclude: “When the body fasts, the soul is hungry; when the body becomes lighter, the soul also craves relief.”

 

Dr. Joel Fuhrman in Fasting and Eating for Health notes: “Fasting has been repeatedly observed to alleviate neuroses, anxiety and depression.”

 

Fasting marvelously decomposes and burns all the cells and tissue that are aged, damaged, diseased, weakened or dead, a process called in medicine autolyze or self-digest or detoxification.”

 

The main purpose of fasting is to gain ‘self-restraint’ as stated in the holy Qur’an:

 

“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may observe self-restraint (al-Taqwa).” [2:183]

 

Thus it is also the spiritual cleansing because:

 

It brings one closer to Allah

It imbibes the habit of patience in an individual

The reward for the patient is stated in the holy Quran as:

 

“Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full without reckoning.” [39:10]

 

One must take this month seriously and commit themselves sincerely in order to enjoy the benefits of fasting that would aid to keep the body healthy.

 

Thus one must try to be punctual in fasting as it is important from the religious point of view as well as body’s health wise too. Let us pray to Allah to give us strength to fast in the holy month, to elevate our Taqwa and make us a better individual!

 

References:

 

1. https://www.al-islam.org/fasting-and-ramadhan-sheikh-mansour-leghaei/fasting-bodymindspirit-healing

 

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Prophet Muhammad (S) as a perfect human

Tue, 04/16/2019 - 08:55

Do we follow Islam perfunctory because we are born into the religion or do we follow it because we understand it? This is not a difficult question to answer because we appreciate being born Muslims and not having to go through the difficult transformation process of leaving one faith to accept another. We took Islam from our parents, built on it and in the course realized that Islam has answers to all our questions. Islam taught us that to continue to stay on the right path we should have knowledge of our religion with understanding, not get fearful of our circumstances remaining firm in our belief, avoiding bad company and influences that cause us to sin.

Our belief in Allah (SWT), purifies us from polytheism, prayers make us humble, charity purifies our soul and increases prosperity, fasting increases firmness in our devotion, Haj reinforces religion and justice bringing peace and harmony in hearts.

What would be the character of the person who brought a peaceful religion like Islam for the entire humanity in the Middle East in the era when fathers were killing their own daughters barbarically and there were no moral values or legal principles? He would have to be gentle in guiding them to adopt moral values so they did not get offended and reject him. He would definitely have to be kind, tolerant and understanding if he were expecting a behavioral change. He would have to be respectful no matter how bad the people he was dealing with – making them feel important and very special despite their faults. He should be able to gain their trust to be able to gently guide them and prevent them from doing wrong. He would have to be a good judge of character, more from a higher rank, to have a peer support system with reliable confidants who are firm so as not to be easily swayed. He should be able to connect with all different kinds of people.

He would have to be transparent, honest and trustworthy with no greed. He would have to be someone who would never hurt you nor cheat you, or betray your trust in him. He would have to be truthful at all times. He would have to be someone people would yearn for because they would feel a sense of comfort by being in his presence. More importantly, he should be able to set an example and invoke the desire in others to be ethical and excel in the good they are doing. He would have all these special traits and still be humble if he were to implement all the moral values to accomplish his mission. He would show respect to his followers, to his family members and even to his enemies. These qualities are so special that world leaders today, especially the pretentious ones, would be successful and more respected if they adopted a few of these characteristics.

Who in this whole wide world possessed qualities to implement such deep-rooted changes in human character? In the history of mankind, there is just one and only one person who qualifies(1). He did not have a trace of arrogance and was a symbol of simplicity and piety. He was the man who graced the world with his presence from 17 of Rabi’ al-awwal 53 BH to 28 Safar 11 AH. Allah(SWT)  described his personality to us in the Holy Quran: And it was by God’s grace that you [O Prophet] were lenient with your followers: for if you had been harsh and hard of heart, they would indeed have broken away from you. Pardon them, then, and pray that they be forgiven. And take counsel with them in all matters of public concern; then, when you have decided upon a course of action, place your trust in God: for, verily, God loves those who place their trust in Him. (Quran 3:159)

Allah (SWT)’s Prophet (S) had some unique characteristics. He was kind, soft-spoken with a gentle firmness yet a great leader. He gave advice to those who sought and always practiced himself before he preached. He had vast knowledge of this universe and the hereafter and he spoke to people at their level of understanding. He practiced what was mentioned in the Quran, conveying the message to the people by practicing and demonstrating. He spent much of his time in the company of others teaching them to learn from his life – a living example indeed. People were aware of the simple things he did in his day to day life like what he drank, how he drank, how much he drank, how he ate, what he ate, how much he ate, how he fasted, how he prayed, his mannerisms, his likes and dislikes, his role as a husband, a father, a grandfather, a role model. His piety, morality, dedication, charity, knowledge, wisdom, his simplicity, generosity, integrity, righteousness, patience, calmness, composure, honesty, truthfulness, leadership, friendliness, hospitality, helpful nature, problem-solving were simply exemplary. He taught people a new way of life – devotional, enlightened, disciplined, organized, compassionate, peaceful, just, empathetic, focused, responsible, as well as reflective.

Historians have documented that his practices were heart-winning. For instance, he always looked directly at the person and spontaneously smiled making them feel instantly joyful and lighting up their eyes and faces. He always laughed at things they laughed at – remained calm, composed and pleasant so people were always comfortable around him. “And indeed, you are of a great and powerful disposition, moral character and mannerism.” (Quran 68:4). Who is this noble soul that the Holy Quran speaks so highly of?

This noble person was our dear Prophet Mohammad (S) son of Abdullah ibn Abdul Muttalib. Prophet Muhammad (S) (may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him and his family) was a devoted soul who had dedicated his life for Allah (SWT) There was not one star like him that walked the surface of the earth. He was a treasure of all good qualities in one human being(2). His alluring qualities include mercy to all, forgiveness, kindness, absolute trust in Allah (SWT), practicing before preaching, leading them by setting an example.

With his pleasant personality he won the hearts of everyone around him. Renowned for his pleasantness in paying respect to others, genuinely interested in his followers when they involved him in their conversation, being attentive, actually listening to what they were conveying, showing empathy, helping them when needed, avoiding conflicts and arguments over trivial things, parting with pleasantries made him the most sought after person by all those who knew him.

Obeying Prophet Muhammad (S) is equivalent to obeying Allah (SWT): “Say, [O ], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Quran 3:31)

Such is Allah (SWT)’s love for his Prophet (S), His own creation, who is noor in a human form who did not have a shadow. Whatever Prophet Muhammad (S) says is based on a divine revelation: “Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed.” (Quran 53:3–4)

Prophet Muhammad (S) is the Prophet of Allah (SWT) at all times. He does not become like us and does not commit mistakes. He is the chosen one to be the guiding light for the entire humanity. Those who consider him as their own selves are mistaken because Prophet Muhammad (S) is a Prophet every second of his life. He is a human no doubt, he was born, was alive and died. He felt joy and sorrow, enjoyed good health and fell sick, felt pain, ate food, married women, left his legacy – his progeny behind(3).

 

1.https://www.al-islam.org/articles/prophet-muhammad-s-divine-mercy-worlds-shaykh-mansour-leghaei

2.https://www.al-islam.org/islamic-teachings-book-2/prophetic-mission-prophet-muhammad-s

3 https://www.al-islam.org/life-muhammad-prophet-sayyid-saeed-akhtar-rizvi/early-years

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The Fifth of the Scintillating Lights

Fri, 03/08/2019 - 13:14

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir is the fifth of the scintillating lights of the AhlulBayt (as). He was known as al-Baqir al-uloom, the one who splits knowledge, meaning to disperse and share the knowledge endowed from past Imams (as) and Prophets (as). He was the splitter of knowledge; unravelling the mysteries of deep oceans of knowledge and solving the riddles of science for the people. His love for knowledge is well known and documented among the historians.

He was born in Medina and lived until about 57 years of age, spending nineteen of those years in a state of Imamate. During his life, the Umayyads and Abbasids were occupied with fighting each other for power. Imam al-Baqir (as) made best use of this reprieve in spreading the divine knowledge and light of which he was the heir to the holy Prophet (s). Many great scholars have acknowledged and praised his great scientific knowledge. Abdullah Ibn ‘Atayi Makki says, “The scholars showed a kind of humility before Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayn that (they) showed for no one else. I saw Hakam ibn ‘Atibah, who was so learned and honorable, that behaved like a child before his teacher when facing Muhammad ibn Ali.” [1] Ibn Abil Hadid writes, “Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Husayn was the greatest in jurisprudence in Hijaz. The people learned jurisprudence from him and his son, Ja’far…” [ibid]

Shaykh Mufid writes, “Some traditions are narrated from Imam al-Baqir (as) about the beginning of creation of world, the history of Prophets (s), wars, conducts, traditions, and Hajj rituals from Prophet Muhammad (s), as well as exegesis of the Qu’ran by general and specific narrators…People have narrated various sciences from him…Imam al-Baqir (as) trained notable and knowledgeable students during his lifetime, who are narrators of his traditions…” [2] Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, a famous scholar belonging to the Sunni school of thought said: “Imam Muhammad al-Baqir has disclosed the secrets of knowledge and wisdom and unfolded the principles of spiritual and religious guidance. Nobody can deny his exalted character, his God-given knowledge, his divinely-gifted wisdom and his obligation and gratitude towards spreading of knowledge. He was a sacred and highly talented spiritual leader and for this reason he was popularly titled `al-Baqir’ which means `the expander of knowledge.’ Kind of heart, spotless in character, sacred by soul and noble by nature, the Imam devoted all his time in submission to Allah (and in advocating the teachings of the Holy Prophet and his descendants). It is beyond the power of a man to count the deep impression of knowledge and guidance left by the Imam on the hearts of the faithful. His sayings in devotion and abstinence, in knowledge and wisdom, and in religious exercise and submission to Allah are so great in number that the volume of this book is quite insufficient to cover them all.” [3]

According to a famous tradition, the holy Prophet (s) is said to have conveyed his greetings to Imam al-Baqir through his companion Jabir ibn Abd Allah Ansari. One day, while being in audience with Imam al-Sajjad (as), Jabir heard a child whom he asked ‘Who are you?’ The child answered: ‘I am Muhammad ibn Ali ibn al-Husayn.’ Jabir called him near, took hold of his hand, kissed it, and said: ‘One day, I had an audience with your grandfather, the Apostle of Allah (s). He told me: ‘You may live so long as to see Muhammad ibn Ali b. al-Husayn, one of my grandsons. Give my greetings to him and tell him: May Allah grant you the light of wisdom, (to) disseminate the faith and knowledge!’” [4]

The above mentioned details are just a small glimpse of the greatness of Imam al-Baqir (as). But what did he want from his Shia? The following tradition from him addressed to Jabir Ja’fari, who was one of his companions, notes one of his important commands for his true followers:

“O Jabir! I swear by God that our follower is one who submits to the command of God and is pious and God-fearing. God is not biased toward anyone and the dearest servants before God are those who are the most righteous and comply with divine edicts better and more often than others. By God, the only way to please God and get closer to Him, is through obedience and submission. We cannot save you from the flames of hell. Anyone who obeys God is our companion and friend and anyone who commits sins and wrongdoings and disobeys God is our enemy. O Jabir! One cannot attain our affection but through piety and good deeds.” [5]

1. As quoted in “Imamate and The Imams” by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
2. ibid
3. As quoted in “A Brief History of the Fourteen Infallibles” published by World Organization for Islamic Services
4. As quoted in “The Fourteen Luminaries of Islam” by Ahmad Ahmadi Birjandi
5. As quoted in “Principles of the Shi’ite Creed” by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini

Source : Islamic Insights

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The Keys of Salvation for a Believer: Piety, Patience and Truth

Sat, 01/26/2019 - 23:13

Author : Dr Farhat Fatima

Allah (s.w.t) has unlimited knowledge and is commanding. He is the Grand Architect of the Universe. The Primary step of religion is to understand Him (Allah s.w.t) as He is the Guardian of those who believe. And those who disbelieve in Allah (s.w.t) for them is the fire of Hell. God has sent down the Book (al-Quran) which has regulated laws to follow and practice. And the balance has to be done through following the divine prophet and his Ahl Al-Bayt(AS) and the Holy Quran. Imam Ali (a.s) is the Assistant of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.w) and He explains to us that the followers of Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.w) should follow piety so that they are free from evil desires. Through piousness, patience and truth a person can achieve positive aims of life.

Glory is for the Supreme Lord

Allah the Almighty, Omniscient and all-powerful Lord, has created this Universe with the marvelous earth which gives shelter to all species large and small, gigantic and minute. This earth is shaded with the wonderful sky. Allah has made beautiful flowers with bulbs and their flowery colorful petals. These florid petals open and close and sing the Praise and Resplendence of Allah, the Great and Omnipotent. He has created the oceans and rivers with beautiful plant life in it. The glorious sun greets the mountains and earth with its silvery rays. These beautiful creations of God do not ask for attention as they are busy admiring the brilliance of Allah (s.w.t). He is Almighty Lord who has created all the creatures starting from living things like energies, matter, compounds, different forms of life and the laws of nature. His artistic designs and wonderful creations of beauty and elegance has the most beautiful and brilliant characteristics and are unmistakable indications and evidences of His Supreme Knowledge and Might.

Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib says in Sermon 53 of Peak of Eloquence – Nahjul Balagha that “God be praised till nights keep on setting in and world keeps on rising and setting: Praised be God whose Bounties will never disappear, whose Favours are gratis and do not require returns.” (Jaffery 154) The primary step of religion is to accept, understand and realize Him (Allah s.w.t) as the Lord, the excellence of perception lies in certainty and authentication, and the true way of conviction is to honestly believe in Tawheed (oneness of Allah). The accurate form of belief in His Unity is to realize that He is so totally clean and beyond nature that nothing can be added to or subtracted from His being. (Jaffery 101)

Guidance is for the believers

God is the Guardian of those who believe; He taketh them out

of darkness into light; and those who disbelieve, the rebels

are their guardians they take them out from light to darkness;

They are the companions of the (Hell) fire, therein shall they

abide. [Chap. 2 Al-Baqarah 257]

The verse (Holy Quran 2: 257) illustrates the situation of believers and disbelievers from the point of leader and guardian. The leader and guardian, Allah (s.w.t) under his guardianship and leadership brings the believers out of darkness into light and those who disbelieve and reject faith, their guardians are the false-deities (taghoot) who bring them back from light into darkness. Those disbelievers will be the inhabitants of fire and they will abide forever. The traits of a believer are to spend in charity and believe in Unity of God. There shall be no compulsion in religion as the truth has been made clear. This verse (Holy Quran 2: 257) states the fact that any attitude of mind and heart towards any object held as sacred, cannot be obtained by force but by spontaneous conviction with a clear view of what is really sacred from what is otherwise. Allah created human beings and wants them to follow the straight path and do good deeds in this world. He has promised those who believe and do good that they will go to Jannah; while those disbelieve and do bad deeds will go to Jahannum.

God is He Who sent down the Book with truth

and the Balance, and what dost. Thou know?

Happly the Hour (of Reckoning) be nigh [Chap. 42 Surah Ash-Shura: 17]

God shall judge all differences. The true Religion which way revealed to the apostles in the past and the treasures of the heavens and the earth belong only to God. The verse [Chap. 42: 17] illustrates that, The Book (The Holy Quran) sent down to mankind from God does not contain mere philosophy or mere ideals of life but strictly regulated laws for men to practice and for the regulation of justice on earth. A Balance is the means through which the values are inquired and determined. It is said that here the Meezan or the Balance is the divine personality of the Holy Prophet(S) which manifested the various attributes of God and which presented the best model or the standard of faith and its practice and after him his kith and kin (the holy Ahl Al-Bayt) starting with Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s) until the Twelfth Imam (Mahdi a.t.f.s). The position of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib(AS) with the Holy Prophet(S) is as his deputy and Assistant. Thus, the believer should be in complete balanced mind with (a) the Holy Prophet(S) along with his Ahl Al-Bayt(AS) and (b) the revealed Holy Book, The Quran.

The last sentence of the verse (chap 42: 17) is apparently a presumptive one reminding the Noble Prophet (S) that although he is the Messenger of Allah (SWT) and aware of the mysteries of creation, but the Hour of Resurrection is solely known by God Almighty. In reply to disbelievers inquiring about the Hour of Resurrection, he is asked to say unto them that God Alone is aware of it and it may be close at hand.

The discourse of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib in Sermon 234 explains piety as the key to the doors of righteousness and virtue. It is a provision for the next world. It is a source of freedom from slavery of evil desires and a wall of protection from every ill-luck and misfortune. It is a refuge for those who try to run away from vice and wickedness. Through it a person can achieve his aims of life. (Jaffery 416)

Verily man is in loss! [Chap 103: 2]

The verse (103: 2) says that man’s lifespan of time is continuously squeezing, as the ice melts into water in the same way the life of man is melting. The man amidst innumerable temptations is always caught in the satisfaction of his lust and desires, thus under the risk of being easily beguiled by the innumerable and the most powerful and irresistible attractions. And if man, is not on his guard against all the formidable forces of Satan who is ever active to lead man astray, man suffers the loss, the loss of the pleasure of his Lord which is the loss of his salvation, the loss real.

We can conclude the discussion in following words : Man has to enjoin patience with truth and good deeds following the steps of the preachers, the Holy Ahlul Bayt(AS) as they themselves exercised more patience to the maximum degree possible. The Holy Ahlul Bayt(AS) has suffered untold miseries, tortures and a wholesale massacre of their dear ones in the battle of Karbala with patience. None of the eleven Imams left this world with a natural death and all of them suffered martyrdom and always preached goodness and advocated abstinence from evil. The Best of the people can be only those whom God has Himself Purified (The verse 33:33). The others, according to the degree of the purification they would have achieved. God assures the believers that even though he is Omnipotent and none can challenge His Authority, He deals with all the facts, truth, benevolence, justice, and the rights of none will be transgressed on the Day of Judgment.

Reference

  1. Section 34, Surah Al-Baqarah, Chapter 2, Verse 257
  2. Surah Al-‘Ahzab, Chapter 33 Verse 33 | An Enlightening Commentary
  3. The Holy Quran The Final Testament Trans. Agha Pooya Yazdi and S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 103. 2)
  4. The Holy Quran The Final Testament Trans. Agha Pooya Yazdi and S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 42. 17)
  5. Trans. Jafery, Askari Peak of Eloquence (‘Nahjul Balaqha) Sermons, Letters and Sayings of Imam Ali Sixth Edition (1979) Islamic Seminary pg. 101
  6. Peak of Eloquence (‘Nahjul Balaqha) Sermons, Letters and Sayings of Imam Ali Sixth Edition (1979) Islamic Seminary pg. 154
  7. Peak of Eloquence (‘Nahjul Balaqha) Sermons, Letters and Sayings of Imam Ali Sixth Edition (1979) Islamic Seminary pg. 416

 

 

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Muharram The Month Of Revolution

Sun, 10/21/2018 - 04:56

Although a revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structure that takes place in a relatively short period of time we are applying the term to an Islamic month that carries in its fold the immortal message of Imam Husain a.s. because of the great awareness it brings in our everyday life.  Every sip of water we drink brings to our mind the picture of our little prince, Ali Asghar a.s. who was the youngest soldier of Imam Husain’s a.s.’s mission and contributed to the event that culminated on the 10th of Muharram [1].

The revolution that took place in retaliation to duress and oppression in the month of Muharram, under the Imamate(divine leadership) of Imam Husain a.s. left the warm light of Islam turned on for everyone to accept, whenever they felt compelled to find the ultimate truth.  Imam Husain a.s. has burned a lamp that draws us to it and provides the feeling of connection with God in its engulfing warmth.  It is a revolution that gains more momentum with time.  As more and more people realize its significance and get drawn to it they experience the peace they were in search of and feel their quest for truth has been answered.  This emotional satisfaction is an outcome of the love they receive through the doors of Imam Husain a.s. which are forever open welcoming each one of us to connect to Allah swt just like he went to the side of every martyr of Karbala and held him close to his self during the last moments of their lives.

Imam Husain a.s. learned Islam from his grandfather – the one who received the Holy Quran on his heart, his father – the epitome of knowledge in the Prophet’s mission and his mother who was also called Zakiyah – the knowledgeable.  He represented the true living spirit of Islam.  When unnecessary and unwanted changes were being incorporated into Islam, Imam Husain a.s. was duty-bound to bring it back into its original form.  This called for a revolution because Imam Husain a.s. was conscious of the wrong and he knew that he was the only one who could correct the wrong because he was accurately aware of the extent to which the wrong had taken place [2].  When Imam Husain a.s. was given no choice but to give allegiance to a tyrant and an infidel enemy of Islam or face death, he took a few members of his family – including women and children and left Madinah towards Makkah.  While in respite, he aspired to perform Haj.  His peace did not last long and when the enemy plotted to kill him while performing Haj, Imam Husain a.s. performed Umrah instead of Haj to preserve the sanctity of the Holy Kaaba.  Since Makkah had also become unsafe for him, he accepted the invitation of Kufans and left Makkah for Kufah.  His family accepted Imam Husain a.s.’s divine decision with solidarity [3].  His brave and obedient brother Abbas a.s. suppressed his anguish and obeyed Imam Husain a.s.’s command to avoid bloodshed at the Holy Kaaba and give in to the compelling demand of the enemy to leave Makkah without performing Haj.

When Imam Husain a.s. learned that Yazid’s forces had assembled in Kufah and were waiting to assassinate him, he changed direction to go back towards Madinah.  Hurr a.s.’s army obstructed Imam Husain a.s. from returning to Madinah.  Not wanting to go to Kufah and unable to go to Madinah, Imam Husain a.s. moved in the direction towards Karbala.  There, he was besieged and the supply of food and water to his camps was cut off.  His family – consisting of infants, children, women and nursing mothers suffered hunger and thirst for three days in the extreme heat in the desert of Karbala.  Imam Husain a.s. requested everyone to leave him and save their lives for staying with him would mean certain death.  On the day of Ashura, he began to lose one companion after another.  After his small company of seventy two was killed in the matter of a few hours, and he had participated in the agony and death of every companion, he offered his thanks to Allah swt in prostration in complete submission and attained martyrdom [ 4].

In Muharram, our beloved Imam Husain a.s. set an example for us to conquer oppression in a way that weapons were not needed to be victorious.  He vanquished falsehood with truth creating history which only gets more relevant with passage of time because new depth is displayed in the character of Imam Husain a.s. each time it is closely examined.  The success of Imam Husain’s mission is manifold and multifaceted.

The humanitarian sacrifice of our Prophet’s beloved grandson is intense, immense, incomparable, invaluable and impassable to any event in the history of this world.  In a matter of few short months after he left his home in Madinah, Imam Husain a.s. contentedly offered all he had – including his family, his followers, his footing, in the way of Allah swt.  Imam Husain a.s. was a unique revolutionist.  The noteworthy revolutions include the revolution of colored people against whites in the 1790s and the Iranian revolution in the 1970s, which reformed the society, as well as all revolutions in between are a reawakening after Islam had prohibited slavery and set the standard for leading a blissful life centuries ago.  However, there was no reformer like Imam Husain a.s. who brought changes that will last until the very last day of the existence of this world.

The incarnate truth was revealed by the Holy Quran al Karim, brought to us by the message of our Holy Prophet sas who, by example, taught the believers how to live a truthful and sanctified life.  He invited the people to one God – Allah swt.  He explained the verses from the Holy Quran as they were brought to him by Gibrail a.s.  A lifetime’s dedication of Prophet Mohammad sas for the cause of Islam was being eliminated by the changes being brought to the religion by the rulers after the Prophet sas.  These changes hurt the soul of spiritual freedom which is the essence of Islam.  They worked against truth and the preaching and principles of the Prophet sas and favored the corrupt rulers.

When Islam was being modified from the inside to suit the political greed and shortcomings of the rulers, the true custodian of Islam set up his defense to protect Islam with the divine help and integrate the true spirit of Islam in such a way that no one would be able to change the essence of the religion till the very end.   Therefore Imam Husain a.s. is the protector of Islam.

In a revolution, there is a reversal of direction to revolve and go back into its original form leading to a radical and complete change.  Imam Husain a.s. unfolded a new era in Islam by his unique sacrifice and clearly distinguished the truth from falsehood in the shadow of the Karbala Revolution.

The battle of Karbala that took place in the month of Muharram and subsequent events exposed the tyrants whose roots can be traced back to the infidels who had joined Islam either to save their own skin or in greed of bounty they expected from a prosperous religion.  The two groups, truth and falsehood, were clearly separated – the first group restored the religion of Prophet Mohammad sas, and the second group fed their own greed without a clue or understanding of the true spirit of Islam.  The two groups diverged even further with time as the sacrifice of Imam Husain a.s. and his companions was revealed to the world and the tyrants continued their tyranny on Ahlul Bayt a.s.  Imam Husain a.s. became an iconic figure not only for the true Muslims but also for the justice seekers who were seeking a true humanitarian as a role model.  The severed head of Imam Husain a.s., the savior of Islam, on the spear inspires every oppressed individual to raise his head and fight for his dignity.

If the question still remains:  Who won the battle of Karbala?  The victory is Imam Husain a.s. ’s because this one man revolution in the month of Muharram revived and brought back to life the true spirit of Islam complete with humanity as illustrated in the Holy Quran.  Imam Husain a.s.’s mission, which was to reawaken the spirit of Islam and rekindle the Islamic conscience that was nearing extinction by the conduct of Muslim rulers of his time, was accomplished perfectly.  The blood of Imam Husain a.s. and his companions keeps the lamp of Islam lighted as a means of guidance to all humanity, till eternity, to keep the spirit of freedom and refrain from surrendering the liberty of mind to evil ways [5].

Muharram is the month of display of patience, bravery, loyalty, heroism, faith, belief, trust, humanity and sacrifice. It is the month of Husain a.s.  It is a month of Abbas a.s., Ali Akbar a.s., Hurr a.s., Habeeb a.s., Ali Asghar a.s.  It is a month wherein the tyrants who were in power lost to the powerless and uprooted family of Prophet sas and their small group of devoted friends.

The sacrifice of Imam Husain a.s. started a new trend, the ritual of Majlis in the month of Muharram in the Imambargahs(the places where commemorating mourning assemblies or majalis are held) and Mosques.  This provided a unique opportunity of learning Imam Husain a.s.’s martyrdom and sacrifice in Karbala.  The respected orators convey the message of Imam Husain a.s. from the pulpits.  This must be made full use of in understanding the true meaning of Islam and the victory of chests, hands and necks over spears, swords and arrows.  We, the followers of Imam Husain a.s., do not need artillery to remain truthful and fight the Satan.  Falsehood will eventually be defeated by the truth and vanish with time so long as we have the courage to rise against the tyrant even when we are weak.  Imam Husain a.s. taught us to make sacrifices and remain firm if we are with the truth and not to give in to the Satans in our life.

We commemorate Imam Husain a.s.’s martyrdom in the month of Muharram.  We mourn by wearing black as a symbol of sorrow.  We experience the pain that Imam Husain a.s. and his family went through in saving the prestige of Islam.  We remember the sacrifice made by him to save Islam when it was in peril of extinction only a few years after our Prophet sas passed away.

The revolution in the month of Muharram is the cause of many revolutions we bring in our lives by taking strength from the martyrdom of Imam Husain a.s. because we do not consider Muharram to be a ritual to follow each year.  Rather, Muharram is a month in which the less powerful become more determined and muster strength to overcome the more powerful miscreants in their lives.  The enemy need not be an outsider, it could be your own ego that you learn to tame and get rid of in Muharram.  It could be your impatience and loss of focus that you need to learn to conquer.  It could be your temper and destructive nature that is causing harm to others and destroying your own self – this needs to be eliminated.

To my father who is a wonderful father, an adorable grandfather, and a devoted husband to my mother.

 

References:

  1. https://www.al-islam.org/nafasul-mahmum-relating-heart-rending- tragedy-karbala-shaykh-abbas-qummi

  2. https://www.imamreza.net/old/eng/imamreza.php?id=10018

  3. https://www.al-islam.org/articles/divine-will-martyrdom-imam-husain-allamah-sayyid-saeed-akhtar-rizvi

  4. https://www.al-islam.org/lohoof-sighs-sorrow-sayyid-ibn-tawus

  5. http://english.khamenei.ir/news/4212/Imam-Hussain-s-Revolution-for-Humanity

 

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The Ultimate Beacon of Humanity and Sacrifice: Hussain Ibn Ali (A.S.)

Sun, 10/21/2018 - 03:38

Author: Dr Farhat Fatima

Abstract

Islam is a monotheistic religion taught by Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his progeny). The deep-seated decree of Islam is total submission to the will of Allah (S.W.T). When the immoral Yazid Ibn Mawviya unlawfully avowed himself as a leader of the Islamic state of Damascus, the throne of Damascus had become a tyrant’s worldly throne and the decomposition of ethics and principles of Islam spread among the people. There was only one man who could stop this viciousness and that was Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A.S.) – the youngest grandson of Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W.) and the rightful Imam/leader of the Muslims. Thus, on the day of Ashura, the tenth of Moharram 61 A.H. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) sacrificed his life along with seventy one of His companions in the way of Islam.

This paper aims to portray Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) by his colossal sacrifices against tyranny and oppression as ‘the ultimate beacon’ or guiding light for humanity till eternity. This beacon/guiding light kindled by Imam Hussain (A. S.) by giving his life, has been kept alive by his son Zain Al Abedien(A. S.), his sister Zainab Bint Ali (S.A), His family members (The Ahl Al-Bayt) and by his living son, Qaem (A.T.F.S) and the true followers of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.).

Keywords: Humanity, Sacrifice, Discipline, Restraint, Values

Rationalization of thoughts

Islam taught by Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his progeny) was a religion of restraint, discipline and a religion of setting aside of self-interest and helping others. When the devilish Yazid Ibn Mawviya affirmed himself as a leader of the Ummah/Islamic state of Damascus, the throne of Damascus had become a worldly throne and the decay of morals and values of Islam spread among the people. “In the fifty years of History from the death of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) to Kerbala. Islam had gone through a series of turmoil’s where its spiritual values were tarnished to an extent that Yazid publicly denounced the Prophet of Islam in his court and was drinking and making fun of the rules of Shariat.”(Khan 2)

There was only one man who could stop this viciousness and that was the youngest grandson of Prophet Mohammad (S.A.W.W), Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.). Yazid insisted oath of allegiance from Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.). Hussain’s piousness and righteousness and his high position as the chosen Imam of Allah (S.W.T) and a custodian of Ummah would not have allowed him to pay homage to anybody, let alone a tyrant like Yazid Ibn Mawviya. He (Imam Hussain Ibn Ali) was the inheritor of Prophets – The inheritor of Adam (A. S.), inheritor of Nooh (A. S.), The inheritor of Musa (A. S.), The inheritor of Esa (A. S.), The inheritor of Mohammad Mustafa, peace be upon him and his progeny (inheritor of prophethood) and the inheritor of Ali Ibn Abi Talib. (A. S.) (Inheritor of Imamah)

Yazid Ibn Mawviya was a drunkard, pervert and vile natured man and Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) knew very well that giving allegiance of loyalty to Yazid Ibn Mawviya would jeopardize the survival of Islam. To protect and defend Islam he had no alternative but to deal with and collide with Yazid’s rulership irrespective of the consequences.

Thus, on the day of Ashura, the tenth of Moharram 61 A.H. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) gave his life along with seventy one of His companions in the way of Islam to stir the glow of unparalleled love in the hearts of children, women and men for all seasons and years to come. Karbala is an unmatched sole instance of Humanity and truth. The martyrs of Karbala have shown that for defending the integrity of Islam and to guard its ideology you need to endure hardships and heartache and even your lives are worthy of sacrifice.

“Within the small band of followers who gave up their lives in Karbala, we find that it represented society from varied aspects. As such, it was a microcosm of the society for all time. There were companions of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W); companions of Imam Ali (A. S.) (Tabayeen) historically recognized Reciters of holy Quran, and Narrators of Hadiths  in Karbala.”(Askari 78) Among the martyrs of Banu Hashim, exclusively were the children of Abu Talib (A. S.) i.e., the children of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (A. S.), and the children of his brothers Hazrat Jaffer al Tayyar (A. S.) and Hazrat Aqeel (A. S.). Everyone near and dear to Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) was lying on the battlefield of Karbala drenched in their own blood. Maula Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) was alone. He whispered gently, ‘Abbas my dear brother, I am alone! So alone’

Slowly, he (AS) moved towards the tents and bade his last farewell and gave necessary instructions to Imam Zain Al Abedien (A. S.) and the ladies. There was heart rending wailing as the Imam walked towards his horse. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) moved towards the battlefield. Standing all alone He (AS) called out Halmin Nasirin Yansurana ‘Is there anyone to help me?’ When no one came to help and the soldiers of Yazid Ibn Mawviya started to attack him, Imam Hussain (A. S.) took out his sword and began to fight. Parched, weary, injured, brokenhearted, Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) fought as no one had seen anyone fight! All the best warriors of Umar Ibn Saad, The Commander of Ubayd Allah Ibn Ziad’s Army (Umayyad Governor of Basra, Kufa and Khurasan under the reign of Yazid Ibn Mawviya) perished. No one dared to come near the valiant Imam. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) stood on his stirrups and cast his eyes towards River Furaat, where his dearest brother Abbas Ibn Ali (A. S.) was lying, badly-wounded, hands severed, martyred and in the lap of death and said,

Abbas get up and see the battle of your brother, the hungry, the thirsty, the shattered, the broken-hearted brother?”

Then, Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) felt a slight shadow above his head and a breeze of moist air. He raised his head and saw Jibraiel his childhood caretaker standing above him in the air, sheltering him with his open wings. Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) told Jibraiel to move away as it was the time of examination. Jibraiel said ‘O Hussain! Allah (S.W.T) is pleased with your selflessness and valor. The moment has come to give your life in the way of Islam.’ Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) looked at the sky, yes; oh yes! It was the time of Asr (evening Prayer). He kept his sword in his sheath and raised his head towards the sky and said to Allah (S.W.T) in his consciousness:

“I have given up all without exception out of my love for Thee. I have abandoned my family and accepted the orphaning of my children in order to meet Thee. If out of love for Thee, my body was chopped in pieces even then my heart will not bend before anyone but Thee.”(Askari 82-82)

Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) was at this stage in complete command of mind; he was composed, serene and clear in his aim.

Allah commands in the Holy Quran:

To the righteous soul will be said “O (thou) soul, in (complete) rest and satisfaction! (Surah Al-Fajr 89: 27)

In Islamic theology, the human soul passes through states or stages. The state in which the soul seeks the fulfillment of his lower desire crossing the limits prescribed by God’s laws is called ‘Ammura’ in the Holy Quran (Surah Yusuf 12:53) and the soul which reproaches against the rebellious intentions is called ‘La Wama’ in the Holy Quran (Surah Al-Qiyaama75:2). And the soul which has conquered all desires and surrendered itself to the Lord is called ‘Mutmainnali’ in the Holy Quran (Surah Al-Fajr 89:27) the satisfied one, i.e., at rest in peace and perfect harmony with the divine will, triumphed over every kind of passion, desire, sorrow, pain, disappointment for the sake of any enjoyment of this life; getting totally mindful of pleasing the Lord and none else. This is the highest stage of spiritual progress; the human soul in this world can achieve and must strive for. Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) had achieved complete confidence in God by absolute submission to His (The supreme Lord’s) will.

Allah (S.W.T) was pleased with Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) and thus he calls him back to him through Jibraiel.

The Holy Quran says:

Return thou unto thy Lord! Well-pleased (with Him), (and) His being well-Pleased with thee” (Surah Al-Fajr 89: 28)

The verse (89: 28) of the Holy Quran illustrates that when one reaches the final stage of ‘Mutmainnali’ the satisfied one, he/she gets mindful only of the Lord and not of anybody else, and he does not aspire for any enjoyment even in heaven, except the pleasure of the Lord. This is the stage in which the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him and his progeny) and his Ahl Al-Bayt (A. S.) were. This was the stage where Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) was, hence he is called as Syeddash Shohada, the Prince of martyrs; he gave everything he had to save Islam.

When the vile soldiers’ of Yazid Ibn Mawviya(l)’s army who had fled earlier saw Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) still on his horse they started returning and attacking all-over again and the valiant Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) was besieged under the circle of tyrants. The unprincipled soldiers of Yazid Ibn Mawviya (l) were shouting we should not give respite to the pious member of Ahlul  Bait, thus throw him back by the sharp swords. For one life of the pious Imam, thousands of tormentors were standing in anticipation to kill him, for the life of one exceptional, thirsty noble, hundreds of arrows were rained; there was neither a friend nor a helper, oh Lord! Everywhere were blood-thirsty persecutors.

The Holy Quran says:

Let those fight In the cause of God Who sell the life of this world For the Hereafter. To him who fighteth In the cause of God, — Whether he is slain Or gets victory–Soon shall we give him A reward of great (value). (Surah An-Nisaa 4:74)

The verse (4:74) illustrates that the recompense for the Martyrs is a mighty or a grand reward. Thus the reward of Hussain Ibn Ali’s (A. S.) martyrdom is that he will be remembered eternally. His truth in the Battle of Karbala has succeeded irrespective of the constraints of time over the deceit of Yazid Ibn Mawviya. After the martyrdom of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) came the lonely and distressing night known. The unscrupulous men of Yazid’s army burnt the tents of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.). The belongings of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) and his family and friends were looted. The women folk and children were tortured and dishonored. And finally when the army left, Hussain Ibn Ali’s (A. S.) sister Zainab bint Ali (S. A.) took a broken spear in her hands and began going around the camp ensuring that the small group of aggrieved, weeping women and crying, weary children and the ailing son of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.), Zain Al Abedien (A. S.) were not further disturbed during the night by the devious and horrid forces of Yazid Ibn Mawviya. What a distressing night it was for Zainab Bint Ali (Peace be upon her). It was barely hours before she and her family lived under the banner of dignity and lofty eminence of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali(A. S.) and now the night was pitch dark, children and her family members groaning in pain and anguish with disturbed, fearful sleep. Anguish of losing their loved ones, anguish of being terrorized and tortured again. Next to them were bodies and corpses covered in blood and they were in an isolated desert. She could hear the vile soldiers of Umar Ibn Saad rejoicing. She did not want to think, what the morning would bring for them, will they be killed or taken as captives. Zainab wanted the women and children to rest for a few hours in the distressing night.

In the early hours of the morning, Zainab bint Ali (S. A.) had a vision. She saw a man on a horse, riding towards her (S. A.). She was worried that the weary children and women will wake up and she (S. A.) cried out, ‘O rider! For God’s sake, please do not come any nearer! We have just been looted and plundered. The traumatized children have just slept. We have nothing left. Please go away!’ But the rider kept on riding towards her and Zainab Bint Ali (S. A.) got angry. She lifted the broken spear and warned the rider; ‘I am the daughter of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (Son in Law of Prophet Mohammad). I am warning you to stop.’ The rider came near her and said ‘Don’t you recognize your father, Zainab?’ She rushed towards him and threw herself in his comforting embrace and cried out, ‘Oh father! Where were you, when my beloved brother and family members were martyred and when we were plundered and looted by the forces of Yazid Ibn Mawviya. Her father cried ‘Zainab take rest my dear child, you are very tired and from tomorrow you have a long journey of toil and stress, you have to uphold the message of your dear brother and disperse the qualms and misapprehensions sown into the public mind by the unscrupulous administration of Yazid Ibn Mawviya, hence go to sleep my daughter. I have come to guard your tents.’

Conclusion

Shaikh-e-Sadooq asserts in his ‘Khisaal’ through Jabir Ibn Abdullah-e-Ansari that the Holy Prophet said that on the Resurrection Day three entities would complain: i) The Quran ii) The Mosque and iii) The Itrat (The Ahl Al-Bayt)

The Quran would say:

“O’, My Lord! They distorted me and tore me into pieces”.

The Mosque would say:

“O’, My Lord! They kept me and spoiled me”.

The Itrat (The Ahl Al-Bayt) would say”

“O’, Our Lord! They killed us, drove us out of our homes and made us wander hither and thither.”(The Holy Quran Introduction pg.46a)

The next day after Ashura i.e., on eleventh of Moharram brought unthinkable afflictions for the bereaved family of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.), his womenfolk, orphans and eldest son Imam Ali Ibn Hussain Alias Zain Al Abedien (A. S.) were lashed, tied up and were made to walk on thorny deserts and bundled on unsaddled camels towards a destination of more grief, turmoil and heartache. The beacon of light, to save Islam started by the martyrdom of Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.) and by his colossal sacrifices has been kindled and kept alive by his son, Imam Zain Al Abedien (A. S.), his sisters  and family members {The Ahl Al-Bayt(A. S.)}, and for the coming generations will be kept alive by the Qaem(Imam Mahdi) (A.T.F.S) and by the true followers of Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (A. S.).

References

1. Askari, Sakina Hasan Aza E Masoomeen (A Collection of Salams, Marsias Hadees and Nohas) Liverpool, UK 2001 (78) Print.

2. – – – Aza E Masoomeen (A Collection of Salams, Marsias Hadees and Nohas) Liverpool, UK 2001 (81-82) Print.

3. Khan, M.M.Taqui KHUTBAT-UN-NISSA-The Contribution of the Ladies of Ahlbait to Islam Moula Ali Printing Works, Hyderabad 2003 (2) Print

4. The Holy Quran TEXT, TRANSLATION & COMMENTARY Vol. III Trans. Abdullah Yousuf Ali, Lahore, Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar Ripon Printing Press (Ch.89: 27) Print.

5. – – – Vol. III Trans. Abdullah Yousuf Ali, Lahore, Shaikh Muhammad

Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar Ripon Printing Press (Ch.12: 53) Print.

6. – – – Vol. III Trans. Abdullah Yousuf Ali, Lahore, Shaikh Muhammad

Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar Ripon Printing Press (Ch.75: 2) Print.

7. – – – Vol. III Trans. Abdullah Yousuf Ali, Lahore, Shaikh Muhammad Ashraf, Kashmiri Bazar Ripon Printing Press (Ch.4:74) Print.

8. The Holy Quran The Final Testament Trans. Agha Pooya Yazdi and

S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc.

U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 89: 28) Print.

9. – – – Trans. Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Introduction 46a) Print.

The post The Ultimate Beacon of Humanity and Sacrifice: Hussain Ibn Ali (A.S.) appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Islam As A Way Of Life

Sun, 09/30/2018 - 02:47

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

Life is a mystery. If we do not believe in religion we could easily get into despair because it becomes difficult to get satisfaction merely believing that we came into this world for a short time only to leave it without having a desire to do so. Then what is the purpose of life?
As believers, it makes sense to delve into Islam to find an answer to our question from the Holy Quran and the traditions (Hadith). Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Quran that every single individual is created with a unique purpose in life.
“Then did you think that We created you uselessly and that to Us you would not be returned?” Quran 23:115
What are our expectations from life – what do we want to achieve in this world? This is an interesting question that covers a vast area of topics which requires several articles to cover it to some degree. Since our focus is Islam, let us leave out the confusing philosophies of questionable moral values and focus on a noble life which provides us the ultimate happiness and peace.
In the chaos of our lives, we can rely only on a handful of things to bring us innermost peace and none of these are our own creation.  The serenity of the morning prayers, the brightness of the afternoon prayers and the calmness of the evening prayers are the practices that have been put in place for us by our beloved Prophet sas upon the command of the Almighty Allah(SWT).
Does Islam have the capacity to fulfill all the requirements of a religion in providing happiness and peace we crave? Islam is the magnet we place in ourselves to be drawn towards Allah (SWT). It is a practical religion that teaches us how to lead a life in this world to progress successfully into the next. Allah (SWT) sent the best of His creation, Prophet Mohammad(S) as our role model who showed us how to live. He brought for us a book of guidance, The Luminous Quran, with instructions that completed the religion and revealed to us how we should lead our lives in this world to attain the hereafter.
Through the Holy Quran, Allah (SWT) has conveyed to us the purpose of our lives and the more complex things were demonstrated and explained to us in the form of Hadith by Prophet Mohammad (S), our role model, who lived an exemplary life.
“Verily in the Apostle of God you have a good example for everyone who looks forward (with hope and awe) to God and the Last Day, and remembers God unceasingly.” Quran 33:21
Prophet Mohammad(S) evolved the society at all levels of the strata. He influenced the people from different social milieus – the individual, the family, the nation, the Ummah, the entire humanity, the educated and the uneducated, the rich and the poor, the needy and the wealthy, the weak and the strong, the victorious and the defeated, the ruler and the ruled, everyone in the entire universe had something to learn from the life of the best man who walked the surface of the earth, the chosen one of Allah(SWT). [1]
Role models in Islam are perfect individuals. Our fourteen Infallibles(AS) are exemplary in their integrity, modesty, generosity, honesty, frugality, wisdom, education, tolerance, compassion, eloquence, were down to earth, thinkers, believers, logical, not prodigal , inspirational, influential, altruistic, not materialistic, nurturing, understanding, sacrificing, forgiving, with impeccable manners, common sense and patience, who put Allah (SWT) first and above all.
The uniqueness of Islam, a truly beautiful religion, lies in its principles, which not only shows the way of leading a peaceful life, it places women in a respectable position. Women, so comfortable in their hijab, representing spiritual modesty set up a filter and a moral check on themselves, placing them in a separate category from regular women. Our role models – Bibi Asia a.s., Bibi Mariam a.s., Bibi Khadija a.s. or Bibi Fatima a.s. – have chiseled the status of women in rock that ladies in veils can accomplish commendable great feats, no less than any man. Men and women are created equal in their respective ways and differ from one another only in their taqwa. [2]
On the day of Judgment, everyone will be judged based on their taqwa through their jehad and struggles they had to endure. Islam promotes you for your hard work. If you are sincere and get closer to Allah (SWT) and start doing Ibadah(worship,servitude), Allah (SWT) raises your level and helps you do better. You get raised to such standards that you feel better and better and want to perform better and stay closer to Allah (SWT). People in Karbala who sacrificed their lives were ordinary people like us, but they described death to be sweeter than honey. They attain such standard by their closeness to Allah (SWT) and by understanding the truth.
We live in a diverse society. There are interactions of different types and functions between individuals and groups. These render us dependent on others as an individual or a group for social, economic, emotional or moral support. We need a balanced society that provides a safe haven for us to flourish. We are created as social beings and regardless of who we are or what our status in society is, relationships are foremost to our existence as human beings. Every one of us is remarkable and have special mission to accomplish.
Everything termed halal, not just confined to food, is beneficial to us. Halal is based on scientific benefits.  Halal food upholds the Islamic law, as defined in the Holy Quran:   “These things alone he has forbidden to you: What is already dead, blood, the flesh of swine, what has been offered up to other than Allah.” Quran 6:145.  So long as we eat halal, we will continue to keep ourselves healthy and pure.  This keeps us perceptive and open to the command of Allah (SWT).
Salat (ritual prayers), the action of prayers, in complete submission to Allah (SWT) is based on our nature.  It is the immersion of our self in the will of Allah (SWT).  It is the work we need to do to heal ourselves and attain salvation by submitting ourselves to our Creator and handing over ourselves to Him to take complete care of us for we are helpless beings with a multitude of weaknesses.  Total submission requires devotion because our ego and desire for separateness constantly wrestles with our need for oneness with Allah (SWT).  The search for peace is bigger, deeper and agonizing. [3]
Life is full of choices.  We become who we are from the choices we make.  The best choice to make is the one that places us closer to Allah (SWT) no matter how complicated the way.  Easy questions may have easy answers and harder questions harder answers.  When we seek an answer to the hardest of all questions we may find no answer.  It is at this junction that we have to move forward with faith.  There is no limit to how far we can go because we can forever move onward.
As we move forward with determination and will power seeking the blessings of Allah (SWT) we often need support from our intimate circle of friends.  If we surround ourselves with a strong group of individuals who have full faith and commitment to Allah (SWT) and our own conscience – so perfectly clean that it talks to us, we will always have guidance and keep trudging on the right path.  Islam answers the quest, the curiosity, the undying search we have and opens up the knot of jumbled up nerves at the base of our hearts.
Islam is a way of life.  If you’re searching for true meaning of life in this abstract world of confusion and experiencing its impact, it is an art to put these emotions into words.  It is possible to communicate easily to those who are listening open-mindedly and being perceptive.  It has to come from the inner core of the other person to be able to comprehend what you are trying to say.  You can use all vocabulary available to you in an effort to make the other individual understand you – yet you will never find the right words or do the right things to express what is in your heart.  The only One who can understand is the One who has created you.  He understands your every need and every emotion.  If you are truthful to yourself and to Him, you have attained your purpose in life and there is nothing in this life that will divert you from the path you have chosen to please Him with your actions.
For my son Syed Husain Abbas Razvi, the best son a mother can have.

References:

1.Prophethood and the Prophet of Islam by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini

2. Taqwa (Piety) Advice of Ahl al-Bayt by Sayyed Hussain Sheikh al-Islami

3. The Radiance of the Secrets of Prayer by Muhsin Qara’ati

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Karbala: The Living Tawheed

Fri, 09/21/2018 - 05:32

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

The AhlulBayt (s) have been living embodiment of tawheed (belief in the oneness of God). Their every moment of life has been in accordance to the will of Allah (swt). This fact is very much evident in the whole tragic event of Karbala. In Mecca while at Mount Arafat, Imam Husayn’s (as) love and servitude for Allah (swt) became apparent in the famed Dua of Arafat. This prayer our Imam recited on the day of Arafa and it is a lesson for all those who want to understand what tawheed is. Imam’s (as) statement in the prayer that “blind be the eye that cannot see You watching it” signifies his most elevated sense of Allah’s (swt) presence at every place and time.

One often wonders that how a man can bear so much suffering and hardships but he still does not deviate from his faith. How one can witness before his own eyes, his young son dying, small children of his household crying and dying due to thirst, yet remain steadfast? What was the power behind him which only increased as the day of tragedy was unraveling? What did Imam al-Husayn (as) have that was greater than all the sufferings he bore? The answer lies in the same prayer of the day of Arafa which he recited in Mecca: “What can one who misses You find any substitute? What can one who finds You miss anything else? Definitely, failing is he who has accepted anyone other than You as substitute. Definitely, loser is he who have desired for anyone other than You.” Here he proclaims the source of his patience and the source of his contented heart…”What can one who finds You miss anything else?” Imam al-Husayn (as) found His Lord, and so now even all is taken from him including his children, brothers and friends–that all is nothing in comparison to what he found. He found His Lord’s pleasure and that is the biggest substitute for the all loses.

In an age when the Muslim community was being ruled by a tyrant who neither believed in revelation nor in the Prophet (s), Imam’s (as) refusal to submit before the wicked usurping tyrant Yazid (la), saved the message of Islam and revived the spirit of tawheed. Because Imam al-Husayn (as) was the very embodiment of tawheed, the Khwajah Mu’in-al-Din Chishti, a great Indian Sufi of Iranian origin, said

“He gave his life but wouldn’t give his hand in the hand of Yazid (for allegiance)
Verily Husayn is the foundation of la ilaha illa Allah 9there is no God but God)”

On the morning of Ashura, the horsemen of the enemy launched an attack on the ranks of the Imam (as). The Imam raised his hands in prayer and said: “O Lord! I depend on you in every affliction and am hopeful of Your blessing in every hardship. In every difficulty with which I am faced, You are my only remedy and resort. There have been many embarrassments which weakened my heart and no remedy for it was available. The friends did not assist me and the enemies rejoiced at my misfortune. However, when I ceased to seek assistance from everyone except You and sought the remedy only from You, You provided me solace and relief and removed the difficulty. Every blessing and goodness reaches us from You and everything should be sought from You only,” further highlighting the spirit of belief in the oneness of God was alive and well amongst the Bani Hashem at Karbala. [1]

Some of the Imam’s (as) last words when he was submerged in his blood after being stricken with swords, arrows, spears, and stones, and when his whole body was badly wounded and bleeding, were: “I am pleased with Your decree, obedient to Your command. There is no one worthy of worship but You.”[2] There, Imam al-Husayn (as) in his last moments once more declared his faith in His lord, submitting before His command and will, and being pleased with His will. He became the living exegesis of the following verses of holy Qur’an:
“O soul that art at rest! Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with him), well-pleasing (Him), So enter among My servants, and enter into My garden.” (89:27-30)

After Imam al-Husayn’s martyrdom, members of AhlulBayt (s) were made captives and taken to Kufa in front of Ibn Ziyad (la). There, Ibn Ziyad asked Sayyida Zainab (as), “How have you seen what Allah has done to your AhlulBayt?” She responded, “I have seen Him treating them most beautifully.” [3] This is the reply from a woman who is in captivity, whose family has been killed. Shiekh Mufid also has mentioned the conversation between Sayyida Zainab (as) and the accursed ibn Ziyad. Ibn Ziyad (la) in his arrogance and wickedness said to Sayyida Zainab (as): “Praise be to God Who has disgraced you, killed you and revealed the false nature of your claims.” She replied to the wicked tyrant in his face as a brave and honored lady: “Praise be to God Who favored us with His Prophet, Muhammad (s), and He has purified us completely from sin. He only disgraces the great sinner and reveals the false nature of the profligate. Such men are not among us, praise be to God.” [4]
The whole story of AhlulBayt (s) is that of valor and majesty. The source of this lofty majesty and unwavering valor lies in their unwavering faith in Allah (swt). The tyrants committed all acts of aggression and oppression towards the holy AhlulBayt (s) but they could not made them bow and submit before their unholy wishes, because the AhlulBayt(AS) had submitted before the will of Allah, and Karbala was only one example of this embodiment of belief in the Almighty and Majestic.

Peace be upon you, O Aba Abdillah
Peace be upon you, O son of Allah’s Messenger.
Peace be upon you, O choicest of Allah and son of His choicest
O Allah, make me illustrious in Your sight in the name of al-Husayn, peace be upon him, in this world and in the Hereafter

– Ziyarat Ashura

References:
1. A Probe into the History of Ashura’ by Dr. Ibrahim Ayati
2. Islam and the Contemporary Man by Allamah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn at-Tabatabai
3. Maqtal al-Husayn by Abd al Razzaq al-Muqarram
4. Kitab al Irshad by Sheikh al Mufid

Source : Islamic Insights

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A Reading Source on Karbala

Sun, 09/16/2018 - 03:02

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

The great sacrifice of Imam al-Husain(AS) is one of the most significant event in Islamic history. Its significance lies in drawing clear line of demarcation between the Truth and Falsehood. For the seekers of guidance and truth, the sacrifice of Imam al-Husain(AS) beckons and guides as a manifest sign towards Allah(SWT). To receive more light and guidance from this divine torch, we are required to come nearer to it, and to comer nearer we must know it first. The greater is our understanding of this source of light and guidance, the greater benefit we can receive in terms of guidance and direction. But the nearness requires more recognition or marefah, and that can come from knowledge about it. The purpose of this write up is to present some of the books on martyrdom of Imam al-Husain(AS) so that we could increase our knowledge of Imam al-Husain(AS) and come nearer to him to receive more guidance and light. In this regard we can refer to the following books or articles which are available online on Al-Islam library.

Al-Lohoof ala Qatla al-Tofuf is a heart-rending but detailed and authentic account of the tragedy of Karbala and the sacrifice of Imam Husayn (a.s.), it was written by renowned Shia scholar, Sayyid Raziuddin Ali bin Musa Ibn Ja’far bin Muhammad Ibn Tawus al-Hilli (r.a.) better known as Sayyid Ibn Tawus, that died 664 hijri. Sayyid Ibn Tawus (r.a.) was a top Shia scholar and thinker of the seventh century, and he belonged to the family of learned who wielded tremendous influence in the scientific, religious and political circles.

Maqtal al-Husain by Abd al Razzaq al-Muqarram is a detailed and authentic account of the tragedy of Karbala and the sacrifice of Imam Husayn (as).

The Event of Taff, The Earliest Historical Account of the Tragedy of Karbala’ The researchers have written numerous books on the martyrdom (maqtal) of the lord of the martyrs (as). The first of these researchers is Lut bin Yahya bin Sa’id, [famously known as] Abu Mikhnaf. He compiled this book in this regard, recounting the events that occurred to al-Husayn, his children, brothers and companions (as). This is revised edition of the research and editing of Abu Mikhnaf’s work by Shaikh Muhammad Hadi al-Yusufi al-Gharawi.

Imam Husayn’s (as) is a hero and a historical personality. But unlike a historical personality who is forgotten, the struggle of the Imam (as) will never be forgotten. His actions and the events of his martyrdom have a profound impact upon society and the behaviour and the cultural aspects of someone’s life. The lessons learned from this episode of bravery are many and they can be applied now as they were applied then. The lessons are aimed not just at Muslims but at every human being and were we to follow his manner the society would be a peaceful and happy one Read more on this in the book The Life of Imam Husayn (‘a) Research and Analysis by Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi

Shaykh ‘Abbas Qummi has written Nafasul Mahmum, Relating to the heart rending tragedy of Karbala’ which is a historical account, using original sources, of the Tragedy of Karbala’, from the time of the birth of Imam Husayn (as) till the time of Mukhtar’s revolt.

The book Misbah-uz-Zulam, Roots of the Karbala’ Tragedy by Sayyid Imdad Imam , discusses the causes of the tragedy of Karbala’ and it will also throw light on numerous other matters, which are yet unknown to the vast majority of Muslims.

Karbala and Ashura by Ali Husayn Jalili is a brief yet documented narrative of events that took place in Medinah, Mecca, Karbāla’, Kufah, and Syria, and began in Rajab, 60 A.H. (680 CE) and ended in Muharram 61.

The Martyrdom of Banu Hashim in Karbala as described by Ibn Nama’ Al-Hilli by Morteza Karimi offers a description on the martyrdom of several members of the Banu Hashim.

A Probe into the History of Ashura’ by Dr. Ibrahim Ayati is a history of the events leading to and including the tragedy of Karbala, and its aftermath.

Karbala and Beyond by Yasin T. Al-Jibouri this book contains a brief yet documented narrative of the incident of Karbal

The Uprising of Ashura and Responses to Doubts by Ali Asghar Ridwani is a detailed account of the life of Imam Husayn (a) and his personality, the tragedy of Karbala and the sacrifice of the Imam (a) and his companions, and a detailed analysis of Shi’i behaviours, like mourning and crying to refute the doubts of being un-Islamic.

Our Husayn, Mourning him and his Karbala by al-‘Allama al-Sheikh al-Ameeni is a brief article on Imam al-Husain(AS), his martyrdom and mourning.

The Martyr of Karbala by Dr. Mahmoud Ayoub is a brief essay focusing on the elements of revolution and martyrdom of the tragedy of Karbala.

Analytical Studies on Karbala

The following books and articles are important from the point of view of in depth analysis and investigation into the tragedy of Karbala from different aspects and its impacts on Muslims society at large.

There have been many unauthentic interpolations into the history of Ashura. These unauthentic injections into the history of this great event have harmed the significance of revolutionary spirit associated with Ashura. To know some of these unauthentic interpolations we must study with great attention the book on this subject, which is a compilation of lectures delivered by Ayatullah Murtadha Mutahhari. The ‘Ashura – Misrepresentations and Distortions part 1 and ‘Ashura – Misrepresentations and Distortions part 2 must be attentively studied to get an understanding of the unauthentic stuff injected into the history of Karbala.

The Revolution of Imam al-Husayn (a) by Shaykh Muhammad Mahdi Shams ad-Din Al-Amili discusses the impact of Karbal on the consciousness of Muslim society.

Karbala an Enduring Paradigm of Islamic Revivalism by Dr. Sayyid Wahid Akhtar discusses impact of the mourning of Imam Husayn (a) in Islamic history.

The Revolution of Imam Husayn by Shaykh Mansour Leghaei is a historical analysis of the roots & the impacts of Karbala. It is a series of seven Lectures that analyse the roots & the impact of Imam Husayn’s (as) uprising against the caliph of his time, Yazid

Ashura by Shaykh Muhammad Mahdi Al-Asifi is a research and analysis on the Uprising of Imam Husayn (as) from Hijaz to Iraq.

Ashura Lectures 1990 by Dr. I. K. A. Howard is an analysis into the Martydom of Imam Hussain through looking into Yawm al-Tarwiya

The Role of Women in Karbala by Shaykh Mansour Leghaei is a lecture delivered at Hannans Rd Public School, on 1/6/1997 (25/1/1418) on the role of women in the Karbala.

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Imam Hussain(AS) Inspires….

Sun, 09/09/2018 - 13:01

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

“Hussain is light of guidance and ship of salvation” these words of holy Prophet(S) are always resonating in the hearts of guidance seekers in all ages. Imam Hussain(AS) made a clear distinction between truth and falsehood. The distinction is so manifest that it’s a clear signpost for all the people seeking the path of guidance and salvation. The statement of holy Prophet(S) made the issue of seeking guidance simplified. The glorious rise of Imam Hussain(AS) against the tyranny and rule of injustice captured the hearts of all revolutionaries till the day this earth subsides. Imam Hussain(AS) is a role model for all the lovers of truth who refuse to accept humiliation and refuse to bow before unjust powers. This eternal spirit of revolution in the incident of Karbala has been acknowledged in all ages. In the following paragraphs we are quoting some of the tributes made by non Muslim scholars about Imam Hussain(AS):

“A reminder of the blood-stained field of Karbala, where the grandson of the Apostle of God fell at length tortured by thirst and surrounded by the bodies of his murdered kinsmen, has been at anytime since then sufficient to evoke, even in the most lukewarm and heedless, the deepest emotions, the most frantic grief and an exaltation of spirit before which pain, danger and death shrink to unconsidered trifles.”

– E.G. Browne (A Literary History of Persia)

“In a distant age and clime the tragic scene of the death of Husayn will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.” “In the history of Islam, especially the life of Imam Husayn stand unique, unapproached and unapproachable by anyone. Without his martyrdom, Islam would have extinguished long ago. He was the saviour of Islam and it was due to his martyrdom that Islam took such a deep root, which it is neither possible nor even imaginable to destroy now.” – Edward Gibbon (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)

“The best lesson which we get from the tragedy of Karbala is that Husayn and his followers were the rigid believers of God, they illustrated that numerical superiority does not count when it comes to truth and falsehood. The victory of Husayn despite his minority marvels me.” – Thomas Carlyle (Hero and Hero-worship)

“If Husayn fought to quench his worldly desires, (as alleged by certain Christian critics) then I do not understand why his sisters, wives and children accompanied him. It stands to reason therefore that he sacrificed purely for Islam.” – Charles Dickens

“It was possible for Husayn to save his life by submitting himself to the will of Yazid. But his responsibility as a reformer did not allow him to accept Yazid’s Caliphate. He therefore prepared to embrace all sorts of discomfort and inconvenience in order to deliver Islam from the hands of the Omayyads. Under the blazing sun, on the parched land and against the stifling heat of Arabia, stood the immortal Husayn.” – Washington Irving

As Muslims and followers of Imam Hussain(AS) it’s incumbent upon us to emulate his lofty life and take forward our lives receiving light from the “Light of guidance” repelling darkness of injustice and misguidance.

References:

Opinions Expressed By Distinguished Non-Muslims on The Martyrdom of Husayn Ibn Ali (A.S)

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Righteousness is the Elixir of Eternal Happiness

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 14:10

Author :  Dr. Farhat Fatima

Abstract

Praise is only for Allah (s.w.t).  The beautiful flora and fauna has been made by Allah (s.w.t) but for a believer this beautiful world is of fleeting happiness.  Because he knows that this is a transient world and for a believer to attain real contentment he should walk on the path of righteousness.  He/she should serve only Allah (s.w.t) the provider.  Allah (s.w.t) has sent to us on earth messengers from time to time to guide us on the path of uprightness.  He has sent the last Prophet (s.a.w.w) who is a lamp of guidance for us.  Before leaving this world, Prophet Mohammed (s.a.w.w) left two things for us a) The Holy Quran and b) His Ahl Al-Bayt to guide us towards righteousness and to reach the path of Allah (s.w.t).  This paper attempts to interpret that the attractive world and its wonderful creations on earth created by Allah (s.w.t) will give temporary happiness to a believer unless he walks on the path of righteousness and serves God to attain perpetual happiness.

The Holy Quran a way of flourishing life

 

. . ., Allah is the best of providers [Holy Quran 62:11]

He has fashioned and spread this marvelous earth with vivid, beautiful effects and substance.  He has created attractive flora and fauna which vary from tiny to huge.  He has shaped incredible and bright matter like the petite flower that blooms its fragrant petals and all the fruits, and gardens of grapes, corn and palm.  The eye-catching birds that tweet and croon the hamd or praise of the Almighty Allah, these birds have beautiful beaks and wings.  The flowery, fragranced, vibrant textured petals of blossoms, that are of variant colors which grow on landscapes and on gray, blue and purple-headed mountains.  Along with these beautiful creations of Allah we also have the blazing sun that appears as a huge ball of fire and it blazes its sunlight in the morning with different shades that brighten the world and the sky and the lives of its inhabitants. It is He (Allah) who appointed the sun to give radiance, and the moon to give light.  The silvery rivulets and rivers running by and many more beautiful bounties of Allah we enjoy in this transient world.  Thus, we must always be grateful to Allah for all the bounties He has provided to us.

And nothing is this life of the world but a vain sport and a play; and verily the abode of the hereafter, is certainly the life; if they but know! [Holy Quran 29:64]

But for a believer all these beautiful boons give momentary happiness for his abode is not this transient world and his real destination is paradise which will give him/her eternal happiness.   The verse (Holy Quran 29:64) illustrates man’s awareness to the reality that the conception of the heavens, the earth and the other terrestrial and heavenly bodies including man himself, and their annihilation and demise, all are outside the human will and choices. We do not have any say in the working of Allah’s (s.w.t) Universe. There are certain conditions that apply to attain complete happiness in this journey of the transient world and the gist to attain this eternal happiness is to walk on the path of righteousness and on the will of Allah (s.w.t).

O my servants who believe! Surely My earth is vast, therefore Me alone should you serve. [Holy Quran 29:56]

One of the conditions to serve Allah by the righteous believers is to serve him always and whatever pressures come in their way of life, cruelty or harassment face them boldly and if the environment around is unfavorable then instead of bending down to the tyrannous people’s will move into the vast world of Allah (s.w.t) where you find peaceful and serene life.  The verse [Holy Quran 29:56] portrays that Allah (s.w.t) states to his believers never fritter your life in a miserable state of persecution.  If you are harassed in a place, then migrate to another place (as Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.w) did he migrated from Mecca to Madina) where you will be protected and free.  We should not make a pretext of our inability to be faithful and righteous towards our Lord, the Almighty Allah, owing to our adverse environment.  One must share danger and evil and seek safety and good.  Duty to God should be our utmost priority and we must be prepared even for an exile.  The instruction is clear that the attachment to a particular place should not make us yield to any authority other than Allah (s.w.t).

 And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them in our ways; and Allah is most surely with the doers of good. [Holy Quran 29:69]

The next condition to serve Allah (s.w.t) is to serve his creation and try to do good for others.  Help them out through charity.  The virtuous people who serve the Almighty, Omniscient and Omnipotent creator, Allah (s.w.t) sincerely and wholeheartedly for those people He (Allah) promises His guidance towards good.  The Verse [Holy Quran 29:69] states that the Divine Allah (s.w.t) is forever with those who do good to others.  This is the most promising assurance for those who sincerely strive in the Way of the Lord.

And when your Lord made it known: If you are grateful, I would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful, my chastisement is truly severe [Holy Quran 14:7]

The subsequent condition which we should pursue is to be thankful and grateful to Allah (s.w.t) in all circumstances for all the boons and banes of our lives. For when you thank Him and be grateful to Him he promises you more bounties. The verse [14:7] of Holy Quran, states that Gratitude increases the blessings and bounties and ingratitude takes them away and invites chastisement and calamities.

O Prophet (s.a.w.w), truly we have sent thee as a Witness, and a Bearer of glad tidings, and a Warner [Holy Quran 33:46]

Allah (s.w.t) from time to time (s.w.t) has sent prophets on this beautiful earth to guide us.  By the guidance of these prophets we should follow the path of truth and righteousness. These prophets were sent to all communities and nations, all the time and through ages starting from the first man on earth Hazrat Adam (a.s) till the last and final messenger, the seal of Prophets, Prophet Mohammad-e-Mustafa (s.a.w.w).  In Surah Al-Ahzab [33:46] of Holy Quran, Allah (s.w.t) commands his last Messenger (s.a.w.w) to show us the right path as  Allah (s.w.t) has sent Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.w) as a witness, Bearer of glad tidings and a Light giving Lamp, to invite mankind to God and to Glorify God each morning and evening.  The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w) is defined by the metaphor, the sun which will illuminate the earth as a whole, incessantly until the end of the planet earth.  The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w) is presented as the one who calls the people to the path of Allah(s.w.t), with His permission therefore, wherever He (s.a.w.w) has called any person to the Right Path, it was by Allah (s.w.t)’s command.  Whether it was taking along Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s) then a ten years old, in the beginning of this mission of invitation towards faith, or calling him at thirteen years of age to embark on the mission of His successorship at the ‘Dawate Zul-Asheera’, or taking along Hasan Ibn Ali (a.s) and Hussain Ibn Ali(a.s) in Mubahila when they were children of seven and eight years, will never be a comment against the order and the consent of Allah(s.w.t)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w) taught righteousness and being truthful in our dealings, He (s.a.w.w) was the founder of the teachings of Quran and before his departure from this transient world He (s.a.w.w) declared in Hadith-e-Saqalain to his Ummah: “I leave behind me amidst you, Two Weighty (very important) things, the Book of God (the Holy Quran) and my Ahl Al-Bayt.  Should ye be attached to these two, never, never shall ye get astray, and never shall these Two be separated from one another until they meet me at ‘the Spring of ‘Kauthar’ (i. e., Paradise) . . . [Holy Quran Introduction 67a]

The wisdom of Quran and Ahl Al-Bayt (a.s) are from the Almighty Allah and it is the command of His benevolence and clemency that He ought to give assistance to mankind through his teachings for it is He who has created us as reasonable and rational beings.  The whole organization of the cosmos is executed underneath Allah’s authority and the whole lot in the earth and heavens is subject to Allah’s power alone.

Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth; most surely there is a sign in this for the believers.” [Holy Quran 29:44]

But there were many heathens who used to scorn Allah’s parables from the Holy Quran like the ‘parable of the spider’s web’.  It is said in the verse [29:44] of the Holy Quran that the parables cannot be understood but by the learned ones endowed with understanding. The universe with its entire incredible and intriguing phenomenon shows the realities beyond the external senses. These people disbelieved the prophets though they were given clear proofs about the apostles. Everyone among them shall be made to see the actual consequence of his own evil which the individual could not visualize in this life. This proves that in the life hereafter the senses will be sharpened.   The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.w) says: “Men in the worldly life are in a dream, when they die then they are awake.” [Quran, Explanation pg.1196]

These are they who have bought the present life (of this world in exchange) for the life hereafter; so their punishment shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped [Holy Quran 2:86]

The verse [2:86] of Holy Quran is a reflection of the fate of those who forgot the hereafter and gave themselves up to earning their personal gains and the vain glory of this world and resorted even to usurping the rights of Ahl Al-Bayt (a.s.) i.e., Usurping the rights of Fatima Az-Zehra or inflicting heartless tyrannies and tortures upon Hussain Ibn Ali (a.s.), his family and his successive Imams, which when related even today move the world to tears.

Conclusion

Now surely the friends of Allah– they shall have no fear nor shall they grieve. [Holy Quran 10: 62-64]

The verse [10: 62-64] of the Holy Quran states that the friends of Allah will not have fear in this world and the hereafter.  They will not grieve and they will be guarded against evil because they have always served Allah and they were grateful, righteous and thankful to Allah.  For the friends of Allah will have glad tidings in the life in this world and in the hereafter; that is the word of Allah (s.w.t) that is a great achievement for them.  The virtuous i.e., those who love God always love death i.e., to get away from this life and to enter the blissful life awaiting them in the hereafter.  Everyone of the Holy Ahl Al Bayt (a.s) was ever prepared for death and loved it.  Ali (a.s) when he received the stroke from Ibn Muljim, on his head in the Mosque exclaimed ‘Fuztu-be-Rabbil’ Ka’ba.” By the Lord of Holy Ka’ba I have succeeded.

While travelling towards Karbala, Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (a.s) dreamt that a voice was saying this caravan is moving towards death.  When Ali Akber (a.s), his elder son asked Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (a.s) what had happened, Imam Hussain (a.s) told his son about the dream then Ali Akber (a.s) asked him, Are we on the path of righteousness? Imam Hussain (a.s) replied that, Yes my son we are on the path of righteousness.  Then Ali Akber said to him that if we are on the path of righteousness then what does it matter, father, if death approaches us or we approach death.

On the eve of the tenth of Moharram, Imam Hussain (a.s)’s nephew Qasim Ibn Hasan (a.s) came and asked Imam (a.s) whether his name was in the martyr’s list or not. Because Imam Hussain (a.s) had not read Qasim (a.s)’s name when reading out the martyr’s list.  Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (a.s) asked Qasim (a.s): How he viewed death. To which, Qasim (a.s) replied that death is as sweet as nectar to him.  These traditions of the Prophet (s.a.w.w) and his Ahl Al-Bayt (a.s) family define to us that death for a righteous person is as sweet as nectar and he/she is happy to embrace it.

References

  1. The Holy Quran The Final Testament Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 62: 11) Print.
  2.   Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 29: 64) Print.
  3.   Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 29: 56) Print.
  4.  Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 29: 69) Print.
  5.  Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 14: 7) Print.
  6.   Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 33: 46) Print.
  7.   Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Introduction 67a) Print.
  8.    Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 29: 44) Print.
  9.    Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 2: Explanation pg.1196) Print.
  10.   Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 2: 86) Print.
  11.  Agha Pooya Yazdi and S. V. Mir Ahmed Ali, Elmhurst, New York, Tahrike Tarsile Quran, Inc. U.S. Fifth Edition 2005 (Ch. 10: 62-64) Print.

 

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Hardened Hearts

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 11:45

In His name the most Merciful and Beneficent

Spiritually speaking, a hardened heart is one which shows no signs of softness for accepting good or listening to guidance. It is a state of the soul when one has become fully immune to guidance and reformative thoughts. A heart corrupted with perpetual sins, disobedience of divine guidance, and too much indulgence in the material pleasures, results in debilitation of reason and thus leads one to the bondage and slavery of  material desires and consequently to those who seek to dominate you. A person whose heart has become so hard that he cannot receive or tolerate any good guidance and advice, actually prepares himself for complete decline and demise.

History records that when the Christians of Spain plotted to overthrow the centuries’ old Muslim rule, they lead the Muslims to indulge in all kind of debauchery and licentious acts. This led to weakening of moral resolve and made Muslim rulers unmindful of conspiracies that eventually led to the complete annihilation and obliteration of Muslims in Spain.

The modern colonialists also adopt the same technique. When they want to dominate a nation and want to make it a client state serving to their orders, they corrupt the hearts of the its people. Thus Ayatullah Mutahari observes: “In our times, also, wherever the evil of colonialism exists, the same practices are vigorously adopted–a danger against which the Qur’an so emphatically warns us. The colonialists try to corrupt the hearts; when the heart is thus debilitated, reason, too, is not only lost and fails to function properly, but is itself turned into a terrible bondage.” The exploitative powers do not fear apparent popular education, what they fear is spiritual and moral strength. Because moral and spiritual weakness of a nation open the doors for exploitative powers to enter.

Ayatullah Mutahari elaborates further: “The colonialists and the exploitative powers are not afraid of establishing schools and universities: they even advocate popular education; but, on the other hand, they take good care to make arrangements to corrupt and destroy the spirit of students, and of the teachers as well. They are fully aware of the fact that an unhealthy mind and a sickly soul cannot make any decisive move, and readily yield to every type of exploitation and degradation.”

In the verse 74 of Surah Al-Baqara, the Holy Quran makes a mention of hardened hearts:

“Then your hearts hardened after that, so that they were like rocks, rather worse in hardness; and surely there are some rocks from which streams burst forth, and surely there are some of them which split asunder so water issues out of them, and surely there are some of them which fall down for fear of Allah, and Allah is not at all heedless of what you do.”

The incessant transgression and disobedience made the hearts of the Israelites referenced in the Holy Quran to be worse than rocks. The verse compares the stiffness of hearts to that of rocks and goes on to mention that some rocks despite their hardness demonstrate a great degree of flexibility that water comes out of them or they fall down due to fear of Allah (swt). But a human heart which has become dead may show utmost level of hardness. If this hardness is not treated, it can go to the extent of becoming incurable. When this stage arrives, then warning or admonishing does not have any effects.

Being away from the remembrance of Allah (swt) and transgressions have a hardening effect on hearts. A  deviated and hard heart is enamored with worldly temptations and is devoid of love or fear of its Creator. The deviated heart makes the eyes enjoy what is forbidden and dry and indifferent towards fear of Allah (swt). Imam Ali ibn al Husayn (as) supplicates about the treachery of a deceiving heart: “My God, to Thee I complain of a heart that is hard, turned this way and that by tempting thoughts, clothed in rust and the seal, and of an eye too indifferent to weep in fear of Thee and eagerly seeking that which gladdens it.” In another supplication the Imam says, “My God, offenses have clothed me in the garment of my lowliness, separation from Thee has wrapped me in the clothing of my misery! My dreadful crimes have deadened my heart.”

The Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (as) has said, “Every one who lacks self restraint and piety will have a dead heart; whoever have a dead heart will enter inside the Hell.” [1] He has also been quoting as saying: “The tears of eyes never get dried but for the sake of hardheartedness, the heart never acquires hardheartedness but for the sake of excess of sins.” [2]

So what can revive the heart after it has become hard and dead and unresponsive to guidance? The answer is purification of soul, remembrance of Allah (swt), avoidance of excessive indulgence and over eating, and avoidance of too much laughter, sport, and merry making.

Imam Ali (as) also advises us to think and ponder over the verses of Holy Quran. The Imam (as) says, “Ponder upon it (the Quran) since this is the spring of the hearts (it enlivens the hearts just as the spring season brings the trees to life),” [3]. In another speech, he has said, “(Wisdom and knowledge) are life for the dead heart.” [4]

[1] Nahjul Balagha, as quoted in “Self Building” chapter “The Heart in Quran” by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
[2] Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 73, as quoted in “Self Building” chapter “The Heart in Quran” by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini
[3] Nahjul Balagha ,speech 110, as quoted in “Ethical Discourses Vol 2, Discourse 36: The Spiritual Life and Death of The Heart” by Ayatullah Nasir Makarim Shirazi
[4] Nahjul Balagha ,speech 133,, as quoted in “Ethical Discourses Vol 2, Discourse 36: The Spiritual Life and Death of The Heart” by Ayatullah Nasir Makarim Shirazi

Source : Islamic Insights

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Vicious Circles in Human Life

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 21:42

There are many conditions which are abominable and must be avoided, but sometimes they get an independent existence of their own and feed on themselves. Under such conditions, a circle is formed which takes its victims down further into the deeper levels of that condition, day by day. There are so many examples of such vicious circles: ignorance feeds on ignorance, poverty is the cause of poverty, ill health leads to ill health, hatred increases hatred and so on.

A vicious circle is a closed loop. When used in the context of human conditions, it depicts a loop in which cause and effect continuously interchange their positions, resulting in more negative and unfavorable results. The World Bank, for instance, explains the vicious circle of poverty as low productivity leading to low income, which leads to low savings, which leads to low investment, which leads back to low productivity. In this way, the cycle of poverty goes on until broken by a force.

Here, we will mostly talk about the vicious circle of misguidance, though the nature of the basic problem and solution is generally the same for all others as well.

The Holy Qur’an talks of issues of guidance and misguidance among the different communities. We are told that because of some communities’ aversion for guidance, they were led to misguidance and left in their state of inordinacy for further deviation. This is a situation in which man rejects the guidance of Allah and because of this rejection he is left with Accursed Satan as his companion, and the Accursed Satan leads him to further misguidance: “O children of Adam! let not the Shaitan cause you to fall into affliction as he expelled your parents from the garden, pulling off from them both their clothing that he might show them their evil inclinations, he surely sees you, he as well as his host, from whence you cannot see them; surely We have made the Shaitans to be the guardians of those who do not believe.” (Holy Qur’an,7:27)

“Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light; and (as to) those who disbelieve, their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness; they are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide.” (2:257)

“A part has He guided aright and (as for another) part, error is justly their due, surely they took the Shaitans for guardians beside Allah, and they think that they are followers of the right.” (7:30)

When guidance is rejected, the Accursed Satan becomes the guardian who misleads to more misdeeds and deviation. Because the misled ones remain in illusion that they are on the right path, they do not seek true guidance and thus move further on the path of misguidance.

In sermon 17 in Nahj al-Balagha, Imam Ali (peace be upon him) describes the condition of the people who are ignorant and have shunned true knowledge and do not seek remedy: “Among all the people the most detested before Allah are two persons. One is he who is devoted to his self. So he is deviated from the true path and loves speaking about (foul) innovations and inviting towards wrong path. He is therefore a nuisance for those who are enamored of him, is himself misled from the guidance of those preceding him, misleads those who follow him in his life or after his death, carries the weight of others’ sins and is entangled in his own misdeeds.

“The other man is he who has picked up ignorance. He moves among the ignorant, is senseless in the thick of mischief and is blind to the advantages of peace. Those resembling like men have named him scholar but he is not so. He goes out early morning to collect things whose deficiency is better than plenty, till when he has quenched his thirst from polluted water and acquired meaningless things.

“He is ignorant, wandering astray in ignorance and riding on carriages aimlessly moving in darkness. He did not try to find reality of knowledge. He scatters the traditions as the wind scatters the dry leaves.”

The Way Out from Vicious Circles

The vicious circles can be broken by two kinds of forces: internal and external ones.

The internal factors lie within man himself. Misguidance, or any evil for that matter, is like a blind alley. After a certain level, one either perishes or returns back to the truth. The internal revolution is bound to happen. When one realizes his ailment and seeks medicine for it, the circle is broken. The change will happen only when man takes the initiative himself and seeks redressal for the evils he is suffering from: “…surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition…” (13:11)

In sermon 86, Imam Ali says: “O’ creatures of Allah! the most beloved of Allah is he whom Allah has given power (to act) against his passions, so that his inner side is (submerged in) grief and the outer side is covered with fear. The lamp of guidance is burning in his heart.” This requires a revolution of thoughts, a revolution of conscious, and a revolution of purity.

The external factors include the chain of Prophets (peace be upon them) and Imams (peace be upon them), and the prominent role of scholars. Allah established a system of guidance in addition to the internal one. This system is that of the Prophets and Imams: “He it is Who raised among the inhabitants of Mecca an Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His communications and purifies them, and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom, although they were before certainly in clear error.” (62:2)

“And certainly We raised in every nation a messenger saying: Serve Allah and shun the Shaitan. So there were some of them whom Allah guided and there were others against whom error was due; therefore travel in the land, then see what was the end of the rejecters.” (16:36)

The guides sent by Allah break the circles of evil in a nation afflicted with various evils, and they lead the people on the path of salvation. Keeping this in mind, the role of righteous scholars and leaders becomes very significant too. During the occultation of Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance), the leadership of the Ummah is supposed to be in the hands of scholars. At all levels, the righteous scholars work as caring and cautious parents for the community. They monitor the conditions of people carefully and take redressal actions wherever required. They help to break vicious circles.

Source : Islamic Insights

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Interview with Ahlul Bayt TV

Sat, 07/07/2018 - 14:10

The message of Muhammad (sawws) and his holy progeny (as) lives on, and it is with the help of the countless initiatives of partisans worldwide that the School of Ahlul Bayt (as) continues to thrive. I am joined with Brother Amir Taki, founder and director of Ahlulbayt TV, who will let us in on all the details of the making of this remarkable channel.

Sahar: How did you come up with the idea to create a  dedicated to Ahlul Bayt, and what inspiration/s did you draw from to make this a reality?

Amir: Ahlulbayt TV was established in August 2009 where a team of individuals from different cultures and backgrounds came together, with the like-minded goal of promoting the message of the Ahlulbayt (as) to a western, secular world. We found that within the societies we were living in, there was more than ever a demand for a pioneering source of Islamic media – one which could connect viewers to moral messages that the Ahlulbayt (as) taught us. 

 

With much of the 21st century challenges we face, it was more pressing than ever to offer something of benefit to the community – something which could be accessed by those even without a community. Being able to share Islamic values is critical, but the lack of English language Islamic media had inspired us to launch a channel which could also reach out to non-Muslim viewers. It is now approaching ten years on since inception, and we thank Allah (swt) for allowing this brand to flourish globally in service to the pure Masumeen (as). 

Sahar: What have generally been the challenges to keep Ahlulbayt TV running?

Amir: By the grace of Allah (swt), Ahlulbayt TV has been running for nearly a decade and has continually grown and progressed in its vision, content, and coverage. We are striving to consistently improve, and can only do this with the support of the community.

 

As an organic, people-orientated organisation, we work to represent the people. Ahlulbayt TV does not work under any funding body or enterprise, rather it sustains expenditure through the support of individuals within the community. One challenge in recent years has been financing the growth to meet our ambitions. We would like to provide relevant and gripping content, applicable to and accessible in every corner of the world. In order to do this, we encourage viewers globally to support us with a small charitable monthly donation through our website.

Sahar: What lessons have you derived from your experience as a director and producer?

Amir: Being the Director and Executive Producer of Ahlulbayt TV has allowed me to learn much which I am grateful for. In terms of professional skills, I have gathered a keen eye for captivating and gripping productions, understanding how to create content which looks visually appealing, whilst also discussing relevant matters affecting everyday lifestyle. 

 

Personally, I have built an array of inspiring networks, talented friends and contacts around the world. Beyond all, the greatest lesson I have learned is the one I am most indebted to Allah (swt) for. The opportunity to serve the Ahlulbayt (as) is a blessing that none should take granted for. It is never an easy task for any individual working to represent the Ahlulbayt (as), but with such great responsibility also brings abundant blessings. 

Sahar: In brief, what is your primary objective in the creation and advancement of Ahlulbayt TV?

Amir: Our objective is to create cutting-edge, relevant content which can be utilised and benefitted from by communities around the world. We want to present our school of thought in a manner which is appealing and understandable to those who may not have prior knowledge of the Ahlulbayt. Moreover, we want to touch on matters concerning our daily lives – education, social affairs, taboo discussions, health and wellbeing, politics and even humanitarianism.

Sahar: What inspires you to continue with this enterprise, and what do you think has been the most rewarding?

Amir: There have been many rewarding dynamics through my role in Ahlulbayt TV, far too many to list. Some which come to mind – working with servants of the Ahlulbayt (as) who are also great working professionals, meeting people around the world who have inspiring stories to share, being able to delve into new topics of interest and create productions, are all intriguing and rewarding elements of my daily life.

 

If I had to identify one, the most rewarding would be knowing that there are individuals in remote parts of the world who are gaining some benefit from our work. These are people who may not have any access to Islam or a Muslim community, or those who are facing severe challenges in their personal lives and seek inspiration from work we can provide.

Sahar: Discussing topics that is often brushed under the carpet, is an outstanding feature of your channel. How has the public responded to programs targeting these ‘taboos’?

Amir: As a western based channel who has sought to do sufficient groundwork and research, we are familiar with many of the societal issues and challenges faced by different demographics of our communities. As an example – domestic abuse, does it exist within Muslim communities? Is it a matter which is addressed in Islam? What do professionals have to say about this and how can we as a channel support those going through difficult times? Another example may be gender equality, patriarchy and the rise of western feminism. What does the Quran say about gender equality? Is western feminism compatible or contradictory to Islamic morals? Should there be a discussion amongst community leaders and scholars regarding these matters?

 

It is critical to address matters of controversy, as opposed to avoiding them. We believe that the answers in our faith are there for those who seek them. Of course, our producers must be responsible and well versed on an issue before producing anything on it, and so, such productions usually take months of thought, planning and research before filming and final release.

Sahar: Has Ahlulbayt TV had challenges for the exposure of contentious topics? If so, how are this been dealt with?

Amir: Generally, feedback has been positive for our productions. In a recent survey, 96% of respondents stated they would recommend and share our productions with a friend or colleague from a different religious/cultural background.

 

There are occasionally few who inquire into the purpose of discussing such issues, but we are firm in believing that it is critical to discuss such matters in a responsible, informed and rational manner. If we were to be challenged on such matters, we would address a concern with respect and approachable means of open dialogue, as taught to us by the Ahlulbayt (as).

Sahar: What are some of the valuable lessons you’ve learned throughout your journey with Ahlulbayt TV?

Amir: I have learned that there is much to learn for those who reflect. Ponderance upon matters of theology, philosophy, spirituality and jurisprudence are critical to understand our faith. Beyond this, delving into social dynamics and constructs will allow us to effectively understand the world we live in. Finally, there is much to learn from examples of unique individuals around the world. Each human embarks upon a unique journey and gives us all an opportunity to learn and grow.

Sahar: What is the process of introducing new programs on Ahlulbayt TV? How long does it generally take to negotiate with team members?

Amir: Many of the departments within Ahlulbayt TV are interlinked. When it comes to production, we have a team of documentary and TV show producers. We also have editors, filmographers, graphic designers, technicians and schedulers.

 

Our team of producers sit fortnightly to discuss new production ideas, or productions which are already in progress for updates and review. Documentaries vary on timescale, depending on whether they are large scale or international projects (6-12 months). Locally produced documentaries usually take between 3-6 months. Documentaries or shows are also occasionally sponsored by individuals or co-produced with any group we are working with, for example, a charity organisation we may be filming.

 

Once an idea is formalised, a producer will take on board the project as their own. They will research, find key questions to address, script, coordinate filming with the camera team, work with editors to finalise the first draft, and then present to myself and the other producers for final review. Once the production has the green light, we will schedule for TV release, and work with the digital marketing team for online release. 

Sahar: Since Ahlulbayt TV has a very broad appeal, has it been difficult to accommodate the interests of all viewers? If not, what have you done to ensure a satisfying viewing experience for all your audiences? 

Amir: Accumulating over 15 million online viewers worldwide every year has meant that we have concocted a formula which works to appeal to different demographics. It can be difficult to find the right balance, but having a team of 7-8 producers, each with a different focus and expertise has meant that we can touch on the right topics to address.

 

When engaging in matters of Islamic affairs, we work to produce and script in such a way that this can be digested by any viewer, from any background – presented in a formal and academic manner. This means that there is minimal confusion and terminology or religious themes which are used are always referenced.

 

When producing lifestyle shows, e.g. mental health awareness, cooking, or other shows, it becomes far easier, as these are topics which all can relate to. We always work to produce to the highest standard, within the capabilities of our resources.

Sahar: The programs on your channel range from historical accounts of holy personage within Islam, to providing guides to lead an Islamic life in this modern era. Has it been difficult to establish a link between history and today, and if so, how do you overcome this obstacle?

Amir: Islam itself is a timeless faith, and the core message presented by the Ahlulbayt (as) maintain a theme of contemporary significance. This means that naturally, when discussing historical accounts within an Islamic context, we work to bring relevance to a 21st century secularist society.

 

As we know, Allah (swt) says in Quran 59:21, “And these examples We present to the people that perhaps they will give thought.”, inferring that we must reflect upon history and bring about its relevance to a present day context. 

Sahar: What advice would you give to this generation’s youth wishing to serve Ahlul Bayt (as) through digital projects like Ahlulbayt TV?

Amir: We must equip ourselves with the knowledge taught to us by the Ahlulbayt (as). As we know, when an atheist asked Rassulallah (saw) what Islam actually means, he responded, “To serve the Creator and be of benefit to the creation – and the best of people are those who are the most beneficial to the creation.” This should be an intention of our youth – to be sincere in our worship to Allah (swt) whilst also being able to serve the wider community.

 

The world we reside in is globalising and advancing technologically. There is a rise in populism and sensationalisation, and is important, now more than ever, to be able to utilise means of digital media for the right purposes.

 

I would humbly advise the youth of the community to be honest in your intentions, be ambitious in achieving and spreading goodness, and finally, to contribute towards the growth of positive media – in any way, shape or form.

The post Interview with Ahlul Bayt TV appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

A Night Greater than One Thousand Months

Sat, 06/02/2018 - 07:51

Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Power, is the most blessed night of the entire year. Its significance and glory has been described and discussed in the Holy Qur’an itself, as well as in numerous traditions. Can we imagine its full import and can we comprehend its full glory? The Holy Qur’an asks, “And what will make you comprehend what the grand night is?” (97:2) The night is loftier in importance and weightier in blessings than one thousand months! It’s the night of determination of our destinies, and the night when the Holy Qur’an was revealed. It’s a night of power, of glory, and of blessings.

Some of the salient features of this great night are discussed as follows:

Revelation of Holy Qur’an

The verse from Sura Qadr, “Surely We revealed it on the grand night,” (97:1) and another from Sura Baqara, “The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was revealed, a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the distinction…” (2:185) together signify to us that the Qur’an was revealed on the Laylatul Qadr. Was the Qur’an revealed all at once on this night? Or it was revealed in gradual time periods extending over 23 years of the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him and his progeny) prophethood?

The scholars of Qur’anic exegesis tell us that the holy Qur’an was revealed in two ways: it was revealed on this great night upon the Holy Prophet’s sacred heart, and it was also gradually revealed over a period of 23 years during his prophethood.

The month of Ramadan makes the heart of believers pliant and conducive to accept any guidance. Fasting opens our hearts for acceptance of divine guidance, thus this month is like the spring season of the Qur’an. Just as barren land which is not capable of growing any vegetation becomes fertile in spring when life-giving rains fall on it, so is the effect of Ramadan on our hearts. The Night of Power is the epitome of guidance and blessings, as this night carries the significance of being bestowed with Holy Qur’an.

Determination of Destinies

This is the night when destinies are set, as stated in the Qur’an: “Surely We revealed it on a blessed night – surely We are ever warning – Therein every wise affair is made distinct”(44:3-4). There are many traditions which inform us that on this night, our affairs are set for the whole year.

It is worth noting here from the commentary of Aqa Mahdi Puya: “On the Night of Power, the divine wisdom determines the solution of all spiritual pursuits man decides to undertake; therefore the Holy Prophet has advised the believers to pray and seek Allah’s mercy throughout this night…Imam Ali (peace be upon him) said: ‘People wrongly imagine that destiny is abiding and fate is certain. If it were so, the idea of reward and penalty becomes meaningless, promise and threat a hoax. Allah, the most praised, has given man freedom of thought and action.’

The freedom of action is conditioned by the laws made by Allah to govern the universe. No one can break them. Imam Ali said: ‘While standing, if you want to lift one of your legs you can, and you are free to lift the second leg also – but as soon as your second leg leaves the ground you will fall down, because you have broken the law Allah has so precisely put in operation.”

 

Some Other Related Points About this Great Night

Which night is the Night of Power?


There are different views on which night of the month of Ramadan is the Night of Power. There have been supporters for the1st, 17th, 19th, 21st, 23rd, 27th, or 29th night of the month of Ramadan. There are traditions that Holy Prophet would stay busy with prayers and worship especially during the last ten nights, thus there is more emphasis on those nights. Most of the traditions from the Ahlul Bayt (peace be upon them) point out the 23rd night as the Night of Power, while most of the traditions in Ahlus Sunnah consider the 27th night as Laylatul Qadr.

 

Why is Laylatul Qadr hidden?


Scholars say that the philosophy behind hiding the Night is so that we pay importance to all the nights of Ramadan and thereby get the maximum spiritual benefit from them.

 

Is there only one Night of Power in all the regions of the world?


We are aware of the fact that the lunar calendar dates are different in different parts of the world. Taking that into consideration, will there be multiple Nights of Power in regions where the dates are different? The answer to this is that the night and day alternate with the revolution of the earth on its axis. So the Night of Power will start from one point and will continue to move over the regions where night is falling. In this way it would be a whole rotation of one night covering each region of the earth.

In conclusion is the following supplication from Sahifa Sajjadiyya:

 

And praise belongs to God who
showed favour to us through His religion,
singled us out for His creed,
and directed us onto the roads of His beneficence,
in order that through His kindness we might travel upon them
to His good pleasure,
a praise which He will accept from us
and through which He will be pleased with us!

And praise belongs to God who appointed among those roads His month,
the month of Ramadan,
the month of fasting,
the month of submission,
the month of purity,
the month of putting to test,
the month of standing in prayer,
in which the Qur’an was sent down as guidance to the people,
and as clear signs of the Guidance and the Separator!

Then He made one of its nights surpass the nights
of a thousand months
and named it the Night of Decree;
in it the angels and the Spirit descend
by the leave of their Lord upon every command,
a peace constant in blessings
until the rising of the dawn
upon whomsoever He will of His servants
according to the decision He has made firm.

O God,
bless Muhammad and his Household,
inspire us
with knowledge of its excellence,
veneration of its inviolability,
and caution against what Thou hast forbidden within it,
and help us to fast in it
by our restraining our limbs
from acts of disobedience toward Thee
and our employing them
in that which pleases Thee,
so that we lend not our ears to idle talk
and hurry not with our eyes to diversion,
we stretch not our hands toward the forbidden
and stride not with our feet toward the prohibited,
our bellies hold only what Thou hast made lawful
and our tongues speak only what Thou
hast exemplified,
we undertake nothing but what brings close to
Thy reward
and pursue nothing but what protects from
Thy punishment!
Then rid all of that from the false show of the false showers
and the fame seeking of the fame seekers,
lest we associate therein anything with Thee
or seek therein any object of desire but Thee!

source : Islamic Insights

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Night of Power

Sat, 06/02/2018 - 07:48

The blessed month of Ramadan is so abundant in the blessings that it is difficult, or impossible, to enumerate them. Among the many blessings in it is the night of power or glory, layltul Qadr. The night is the most important night of the year. This night’s significance lies in the fact that, besides it being the night of glorious Quran’s revelation, it is the night when, according to traditions from infallibles (as), the destiny of human beings is determined for the whole year. It is the night when all matters for the year are determined. And furthermore, the worship and supplications on this glorious night are greater than that of thousand months. It is the among the most special favors of Allah (swt) that this night of honor and glory is made available to His servants.

The blessed night is meant for supplication, seeking forgiveness for sins, giving charity, and good deeds. There is a tradition from holy Prophet (s) which states: “Moses said: ‘O Allah! I desire your proximity.’ Allah said: ‘My proximity is for the one who keeps awake on ‘the night of Qadr.’ He said: ‘O Allah! I wish for your mercy.’ Allah said: ‘My mercy is for the one who shows mercy to the poor on `the night of Qadr.’ He said: ‘O Allah! I want to cross the sirāt [the (right) path]’. He said: ‘That is for the one who gives out a sadaqah (charity) on ‘the night of Qadr.’ He said: ‘O Allah.’ I want of the trees and fruits of Paradise.’ Allah said: ‘They are for the one who glorifies (Me) on ‘the night of Qadr.’ He said: ‘I want to be delivered.’ Allah said: ‘From the Fire?’ ‘Yes,’ he said. Allah said: ‘It is for the one who asks forgiveness on ‘the night of Qadr.’ He said: ‘O Allah! I ask for your pleasure.’ Allah said: ‘I would be pleased with the one who performs two rak’ahs (bow) of salāt (prayer) on ‘the night of Qadr.’” [1]

In another tradition from holy Prophet (s), good tidings of great rewards for those who worship Allah on this blessed night are addressed: “On the night of power, the gates of heaven are opened. There is no servant who offers prayer in this night, but Allah (swt) for every prostration stores a tree in the Paradise–the tree whose branches and shade is so vast that if a rider travels for one hundred years through its shade, he would not be able to cross it; for every ra’kat (bow) would build a home for him in paradise–the home decorated and built by pearls, topaz, and rubies; for every verse recited, a crown from the crowns of paradise; for every praise (tasbeeh), a bird from the birds of paradise; for every sitting, a rank from the ranks of paradise. For every witnessing (tashahud), a chamber from the chambers of paradise, and for every salutation, a robe from the robes of paradise would be bestowed upon him by Allah. And at the breaking of the dawn, companions, youthful and sympathetic, houris of paradise–pure and decorated, obedient and well uniformed, horses–most obedient and swift, flowers, greenery, and good smells, running elegant fountain streams, and many other bounties which make the soul pleased and eyes to shine, would also be bestowed upon him by Allah.” [2]

This is the night when prayers are answered but with some conditions:
“It has been narrated that during this night the prayers of all are accepted, and the prayer of no one remains unanswered except the following:
The one who has displeased and angered his parent and was declared disinherited or rebellious by them.
The one who has cut off his relationship with his kith and kin.
The one who possesses animosity and vengeance of a believer in his heart.
The one who consumes alcoholic drinks.” [3]

This great night should be spent in awakened state, an awakening not of just eyes but of soul and heart as well. An awakening that makes us realize that we are guests of Allah in this month and this night is specially marked for gaining nearness to Allah and obtaining His mercy and favors. Blessed are those who obtain the purpose of this night and indeed wretched are the ones who are unmindful and unaware of its glory. When the divine mercy and forgiveness is raining upon us, let us make the most out of it. Let us strive the hardest we can. Let us beseech the meekest we should. Let us supplicate the most sincerely so that the divine mercy is invoked upon us and our sins are forgiven. Imam Baqir (as) has been quoted as saying: “Whoever remains in ‘the night of qadr’ awake, his sins will be forgiven, even if as many as the stars of the sky, and as heavy as the mountains or the weight of the seas.” [4]

May Allah the most Merciful and Beneficent Lord give us success in obtaining the purpose of this blessed month and the great night of power and let us attain nearness with Him.

[1] As quoted in “Adab as-Salat: The Disciplines of the Prayer “ by Ayatullah Sayyid Imam Ruhallah al-Musawi al-Khomeini
[2] As quoted in “Spiritual Journey of the Mystics” (Suluk al-Arifan) by Haj Mirza Javad Agha Maliki Tabrizi
[3] As quoted in “Spiritual Journey of the Mystics” (Suluk al-Arifan) by Haj Mirza Javad Agha Maliki Tabrizi
[4] Bihār al-Anwār, Volume 98 , as quoted in “Adab as-Salat: The Disciplines of the Prayer” by Ayatullah Sayyid Imam Ruhallah al-Musawi al-Khomeini

source : Islamic Insights

The post Night of Power appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Ramadan: A Social Equalizer

Sat, 06/02/2018 - 07:45

The world is full of miseries and pains. One of the greatest pains is the feeling of hunger. There are millions on the global level who suffer starvation and who do not have access to required quantity of food to lead a normal and healthy life. According to World Food Programme (WFP), there are 795 million undernourished people in the world today. That means one in nine people do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. Hunger and malnutrition are in fact the number one risk to health worldwide — greater than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five, 3.1 million children each year. One out of six children–roughly 100 million–in developing countries are underweight. [1]

Constant hunger, undernourishment, and malnutrition leads to poor prospects in life:

“Nutrition has profound effects on health throughout the human life course and is inextricably linked with cognitive and social development, especially in early childhood. In settings with insufficient material and social resources, children are not able to achieve their full growth and developmental potential. Consequences range broadly from raised rates of death from infectious diseases and decreased learning capacity in childhood to increased non-communicable diseases in adulthood….Stunted, underweight, and wasted children have an increased risk of death from diarrhea, pneumonia, measles, and other infectious diseases.” [2]

The blessed month of Ramadan has endless blessings in it. One of the blessings of this holy month is compassion towards the other fellow humans. Our emotions and feelings of sympathy are directly related to our actual experiences. We cannot feel the gnawing, agony and suffering of a sick person until we ourselves have undergone the same ailment. When we ourselves suffer a pain of sickness, we better understand and feel empathy of the other suffering ones. The rich or well fed cannot know what hunger is because they usually do not have to face it. Thus, poor people suffer with their poverty and compulsions of life but the others who are better off cannot even understand the physical and psychological pangs of the poor. The great month of Ramadan bridges these gaps which divide haves and have nots and makes the rich experience the pains of hunger. In one way, Ramadan works as equalizer and makes the rich have empathy with the poor.

A hadith narrated from Imam Sadiq (a) throws light on the role of the month of Ramadan in creating social equality:

“Allah has enjoined fasting in order to settle equivalence between the rich and the poor, and this is for the sake that the rich feel the taste of hunger and, consequently, be merciful toward the poor (by giving them their rights). And, since the things are usually available for the rich, then Allah, the Exalted, is pleased when equivalence is erected between His servants. So, He, thereby, has ordained that the rich feel the taste of hunger and pain so that they feel sympathy for the weak and be merciful toward the hungry.” [3]

A man wrote a letter to Imam Askari (a) asking him: “For what reason did Allah make fasting compulsory?”
The Imam (a) wrote in reply: “God has made fasting compulsory so that the rich shall find the pain of hunger so they have a mercy upon the poor.” [4]

Amongst many others, Ramadan is a month of charity. It is the month of sharing our blessings with other human beings. In this month we supplicate to Allah (swt) to bestow His mercy upon us, so let’s not forget to show mercy to those servants of Allah (swt) who do not have sufficient resources to meet essential needs of their life. When we want to evoke the divine blessings and mercy in our lives, then we should also spend on the poor and needy ones. The holy Prophet (s) asks believers to give alms to the poor and indigent in this blessed month:

“Let your hunger and thirst during it remind you of the hunger and the thirst of the Day of Judgement. Give alms to the poor and indigent among you, respect your elderly and be kind to your youngsters, and strengthen blood-kinship of yours.” [5]

We can conclude with Imam Sajjad’s (a) supplication to Allah for the month of Ramadan: “Give us success in this month to tighten our bonds of kin with devotion and gifts, attend to our neighbors with bestowal and giving, rid our possessions from claims, purify them through paying the alm …” [6]

1. World Food Programme, https://www.wfp.org
2. “Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries” The Lancet.
3. Wasa’il-ush-Shi’ah, Volume 7, fasting section. As quoted in “An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur’an,” Volume 2, commentary on verses 183-185
4. Bihar  al-Anwar Volume 96, as quoted in “Fasting and the Holy month of  Ramadhan” by Sheikh Mansour Leghaei
5. As quoted in “An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur’an,” Volume 2, commentary on verses 183-185
6.  As-Sahifatus Sajjadia, Supplication 44, His Supplication for the Coming of  the Month of Ramadan

Source : Islamic Insights

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