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The Rewards and Merits of Visiting the Grave of Imam Hussain (a)

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:36

By Syed Ahmed Raza Kazmi

As Arbaeen is just around the corner, millions of mourners from all around the world are heading towards Karbala to pay their tribute to the Sayyid al-Shohada, Imam Hussain (a), whereas, those who couldn’t make it to the holy land this time around are planning on visiting Karbala next year. Visiting the oppressed Imam (a) is an expression of one’s heartfelt affection with him and an explicit action signaling hostility and hatred towards his oppressors. Be it known that glorious merits and exalted station of the visitor of Imam’s (a) holy shrine are too innumerable to be counted.

Visiting the grave of Imam Hussain (a) is recommended, while emphasis upon visiting his grave is among the necessities of the Religion. The 11th Imam, Imam Hasan al-Askari (a) considered attending Arbaeen to be one of the clear and apparent signs of a true believer when he said, “the signs of a true believer are five.” [1]

It is related that the visitation to His (a) grave is essential upon every believer and is obligatory upon every man and woman. While one who abandons it, in fact has abandoned the rights of Allah and His Prophet, while abandoning it is ungratefulness with the Prophet of Allah (s) and is a result of a defect in his belief and Religion. And the one who deliberately avoids it, he shall be among the dwellers of hell.

It is advisable to visit Imam Hussain (a) with understanding of his holy station. This knowledge has different aspects. One of its aspects is for us to realize which path are we walking on. We should know what the “Friends of God” have said about a person who goes to Karbala and what prayers are made for such a person. Knowing these gives you an expanded existence, which is the necessary factor for attracting light, blessings, and grace on this path. It gives us the capacity to benefit from these blessings. [2]

As a matter of fact, it is impossible to contain all the narrations about the merits of pilgrimages to Imam al-Hussain’s tomb; yet, I will try to mention as many of them as possible.

1. RasoolAllah will take Zuwar by the hand and save them from the hardships of the Day of Judgment

Ali (a) ibn Abi Talib (as) narrates:

“RasoolAllah (s) visited Us one day. We offered Him a plate full of dates and a cup of milk and butter, which had been sent to Us from Um Ayman. After He ate, I rose and poured some water over His hands and I washed them. Then I wiped His face and beard with the water from His hands. Then He went to a corner of the house and began to pray. When He went into sajda, He began to weep. After weeping for a long time, He raised His head.

Then Hussain (a) went and climbed on the lap of RasoolAllah (s). Hussain (a) placed RasoolAllah (s)’s head on His chest and then laid His chin on top of the head of RasoolAllah (s). Then He said, “O Father (s)! What causes You to weep?”

RasoolAllah (s) replied, “O My Son (a)! When I s You, Ahlul Bayt (a), today I felt such a happiness that I had never felt before, but then Jibrael (as) came to Me and informed Me that each of You will be martyred and that Your graves will be far from each other. I praised Allah and asked Him to bless You all with the best.”

Hussain (a) asked, “O Father (s)! Who will perform the Ziyarat of Our graves and maintain their oaths with Them even though They are far from each other?”

RasoolAllah (s) replied, “Those from My ummah (nation) who seek My pleasure and seek nearness to Me by performing Ziyarat of Your graves. On the Day of Judgment, I will search for them and take them by the hand and save them from the hardships and tribulations of that day.” [3]

2. Blessings from Angels

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“There are four thousand disheveled angels covered with dust by the grave of Hussain (a). They weep over Him and will continue to do so until the Day of Judgment. Their leader is an angel named Mansoor.

These angels receive all who come for the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) and the angels accompany them when they bid farewell to Hussain (a). The angels visit them if they become ill and pray over them at their funerals and seek forgiveness for them after their death.” [4]

3. Ziyarat of Imam Hussain is Wajib

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) narrates:

“Order Our Shia to perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a). Performing His Ziyarat is wajib upon every momin who testifies that Hussain (a) is an Imam divinely appointed by Allah (swt).” [5]

4. Reward of Ziyarat of Imam Hussain

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

I heard My Father, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a), ask one of His servants who had just asked Him regarding the Ziyarat of Hussain (a), “To whose Ziyarat are you going and whom do you seek to please by going to this Ziyarat?”

The servant replied, “Allah swt.”

My Father, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) said:

“Those who establish one salat behind the grave of Hussain (a) seeking the nearness of Allah will meet Him on the Day of Judgment shining so brightly that the light emanating from them will cover everything that sees them.

Allah will honor those who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) and will prevent the hellfire from touching them. They will not be prevented from coming to the Pool of al Kauthar and none shall precede them.

Ameerul Momineen (a) will be standing by al Kauthar and He will shake their hands and quench their thirst with the water.

Then they will go to their abodes in Jannah accompanied by an angel appointed by Ameerul Momineen (a). This angle will order Sirat (bridge over hellfire) to humble itself before them and will order Hell not to touch them with its blazing fires. They will pass over Sirat accompanied by the angel sent by Ameerul Momineen (a).” [6]

5. Ziyarat during Times of Fear

Muawiyah ibn Wahab narrates:

Aba Abdullah (Imam Jafar Sadiq a) said:

“O’ Muawiyah! Do not neglect performing the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) due to fear. He who abandons the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) for any reason will regret it so much that he will wish that His grave was next to him. Do you not desire for Allah to see you amongst those whom RasoolAllah (s), Ameerul Momineen (a), Syeda Fatima (sa), and the Imams (a) pray for?

Do you not desire to be amongst those who return with forgiveness for their past sins and do you not desire to return from His Ziyarat with seventy years of sins forgiven for you? Do you not desire to be amongst those who will not have any sins about which they will be questioned when they leave this life? Do you not desire to be amongst those whose hands RasoolAllah (s) will shake tomorrow on the Day of Judgment?” [7]

6. Reward of Every Dirham spent for Ziyarat

It is related in numerous traditions that from Ahlulbayt (a) that,

“Visiting his grave is a meritorious deed and for every dirham spent upon it will be recompensed with one thousand dirhams”. [8]

7. Reward of performing Ziyarat on Foot

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“Those of Our Shia who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) will not return without all of their sins having been forgiven. Allah will record one thousand good deeds and erase one thousand bad deeds for every step they take or their mount takes. He will also raise their rank one thousand times for every step.” [9]

8. Reward of Allah, RasoolAllah (s), Ameerul Momineen (a) and Syeda Fatima (sa)

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (asws) narrates:

“Syeda Fatima (sa), the Daughter of RasoolAllah (s), visits those who perform the Ziarat of the grave of Her Son, Hussain (asws), and She seeks forgiveness for their sins.” [10]

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“On the Day of Judgment a crier will call out, “Where are the zuwar (visitors) of Hussain (a) ibn Ali (a)?”

A number of people so great it can only be counted by Allah will stand.  Allah will ask them, “What made you perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a)?”

They will reply, “O Lord! Our love for RasoolAllah (s), our love for Ameerul Momineen (a), and our love for Syeda Fatima (sa) made us go to Him.”

They will be told, “Here are Muhammad (s), Ali (a), Syeda Fatima (sa), Hasan (a), and Hussain (a). Join Them, for you will be with Them on Their station in Jannah. Now follow the flag of RasoolAllah (s).”

Then they (the zuwar) will go to the flag of RasoolAllah (s) which is carried by Ameerul Momineen (a), and there they shall remain—surrounding it on all sides, under its shade, in front of it, to the left of it, to the right and behind it—until all of them enter Jannah.” [11]

  1. Abu Baseer narrates:

I heard Aba Abdullah Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) say, “Those who wish for their final abode to be Jannah should not neglect performing the Ziyarat of the Oppressed One.”

I asked, “Who is the Oppressed One?”

Imam (a) replied, “Hussain (a) ibn Ali (a), the Man of Karbala. Allah will make those who perform His Ziyarat while longing for Him and with love for RasoolAllah (s), love for Syeda Fatima (sa), and love for Ameerul Momineen (a) to sit at the Ma’ida (table spread) of Jannah. They will be dining with them while others are facing the Hasab (accountability).” [12]

9. Time Spent whilst performing the Ziyarat

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“The days which one spends performing the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) are not counted as part of their lives; those days do not deduct from their appointed life span.” [13]

10. First to Enter Jannah

Abdullah ibn Zurarah narrates from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a):

“On the Day of Judgment those who have performed the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) ibn Ali (a) will be given preference over others.”

I asked, “What kind of preference?”

Imam (a) replied, “They will enter Jannah forty years before others do. They will enter Jannah whilst others will be waiting in the Desert of Judgment to face the Hasab (accountability).” [14]

11. While having his Marifat

Imam Musa Kazim (a) narrates:

“The least reward for those who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) by the shores of the River Furat whilst having His marifat and believing in His greatness and Wilayat is the forgiveness for all of their past and future sins.” [15]

12. With Intention of Receiving Sawab

  1.  Imam Jafar Sadiq ( narrates:

“Those who perform the Ziyarat of Hussain (a) with the niyyat of receiving sawab from Allah and without the intention of showing off or being seen by others will have their sins purified the way the water purifies the clothes.” [16]

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“Those who perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) for the sake of Allah and in the way of Allah will be free from the hellfire by Allah. They will be kept safe by Him on the Day of the Great Terror. They will not ask Allah for anything in this world or the hereafter that Allah will not grant for them.” [17]

13. Best of All Deeds

Salim ibn Mukram al Jamal narrates, I asked Aba Abdullah Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) regarding the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a).

Imam (a) replied: “It is the best of all deeds.” [18]

14. Equal to Ziyarat of Allah on His Arsh & RasoolAllah (s)

  1. Imam Ridha’ ( narrates:

“Those who perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Aba Abdullah Imam Hussain (a) by the shores of the River Furat are like those who have performed the Ziyarat of Allah on His Arsh.” [19]

  1. Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“Those who want their time of death to be easy, those who want their fear for that which will come on the Day of Judgment to be reduced, and those who want to be able to look upon Allah on the Day of Judgment should perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) as much as possible. The Ziyarat of Hussain (a) is the Ziyarat of RasoolAllah (s).” [20]

15. Prolongs One’s Life and Increases One’s Rizq

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) narrates:

“Inform Our Shia to perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a). Performing His Ziyarat increases rizq (sustenance), prolongs life, and keeps afflictions away. Performing His Ziyarat is wajib upon every momin who believes Hussain (a) has been divinely appointed by Allah as an Imam.” [21]

16. Equals to performing Hajj, Umrah & Freeing Slaves

It is related in numerous traditions that visiting grave of Imam Hussain (a) is equal to accepted Hajj and Umrah, and emancipation one thousand slaves, rather it is equal to twenty Hajj, and better than twenty Hajj, rather Allah will write down eighty Hajj in his account. While his pilgrimage is equal to the Hajj performed along with the Prophet of Allah (s), rather the one who goes for his pilgrimage, being cognizant of his rights, will be equal to the one who has performed Hajj hundred times accompanying the Prophet of Allah (s). [22]

17. Intercession for others on the Day of Judgment

Imam Jafar Sadiq (a) narrates:

“On the Day of Judgment, a crier will call out, “Where are the zuwar of the grave of Hussain (a)?”

A group of people will rise and they will be told, “Take the hand of whomsoever you wish and take them to Jannah with you.” [23]

18. Misfortune for those who Neglect it

Imam Muhammad Baqir (a) narrates:

“Those from amongst Our Shia who do not perform the Ziyarat of the grave of Hussain (a) are lacking in iman (faith) and their deen (religion) is incomplete. And even if they enter Jannah, their position will be lower than that of the momin (true believers).” [24]

19. Most Beloved Place for Dua

Abi Hashim al Jafari narrates:

Muhammad ibn Hamzah and I (Abi Hashim al Jafari) went to visit Imam Ali Naqi (a) during a time when the Imam (a) was ill. The Imam (a) said to us, “Take some of My money and send some people to the Ha’yr on My behalf.”

After we left the Imam (a), Muhammad ibn Hamzah said, “The Imam (a) wants us to send someone to the Ha’yr while He is as sacred as the One in the Ha’yr (Imam Hussain a).”

When I returned to the Imam (a), I (Abi Hashim al Jafari) mentioned to Him what Muhammad ibn Hamzah had said.

The Imam (a) replied, “There are certain places Allah loves to be worshipped at and the Ha’yr of Hussain (a) is one of those places.” [25]

20. Minimum Times Each Year a Person Should perform Ziyarat

Safwan al Jammal narrates from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a):

“Those who live near to His grave should perform His Ziyarat no less than once per month. Those who live at a great distance should perform His Ziyarat no less than once every three years.

If three years pass and they do not perform His Ziyarat, or do not have a valid excuse for not performing His Ziyarat, then they are considered amongst those who are selfish and unthankful to RasoolAllah (s).

If the zawir (visitor) of Hussain (a) knew how happy he made RasoolAllah (s), Ameerul Momineen (a), Syeda Fatima (sa), the Imams (a), and the martyrs from amongst Our Family, and how They prayed for him (the zawir) and the rewards which They prepared for the zawir in this life and the rewards which will be preserved for Him before Allah in the hereafter, then the zawir would have wished for his house to be next to the grave of Hussain (a) for as long as he lived.

When the zawir leaves Karbala to return to his home, his shadow does not fall upon anything without that thing praying for him. And when the sun shines down upon the zawir, it burns his sins like the fire burns the wood. The sun does not allow any of his sins to remain so he returns as a person without sin and his status will be elevated for him to a level that cannot be attained even by those who spilled all of their blood in the way of Allah. [26]

Now, to give a brief overview about the sourcebook of the aforementioned narrations, I would like to quote widely known Hadees e Saqalayn where RasoolAllah (s) said,

“Verily, I am leaving behind two precious things (Saqalayn) among you: The Book of God and my kindred (itrah), my household (Ahlulbayt), for indeed, the two will never separate until they come back to me by the Pond (of Al-Kawthar).”

During the era of occultation of Imam al-Asr al-Mahdi (atfs), the best possible way to recognize Saqalayn, the twofold legacy of the Prophet (s) in the form of the Qur’an and the Ahlul Bayt (a), is through the valuable books, which we have inherited and preserved over the years from our great scholars.

Soon after the Minor Occultation (260 AH – 329 AH) of Imam al-Mahdi (a) ended, eminent Shia scholars started documenting the hadiths to preserve the teachings of the Holy Prophet (s) and his Progeny (a). Following is a brief timeline of the foremost Shia hadith sourcebooks.

  1. Al-Kafi, Yaqub al-Kulayni, d. 329 AH
  2. Kamil al-Ziyarat, Ibn Qulawayh al-Qummi, d. 368 AH
  3. Man la Yahduruh al-Faqih, Al-Shaykh Saduq, d. 381 AH
  4. Nehjul Balagha, Syed al-Razi, d. 406 AH
  5. Al-Irshad, Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, d. 413 AH
  6. Tahdhib al-Ahkam, Al-Shaykh al-Toosi, d. 460 AH
  7. Al-Istibsar, Al-Shaykh al-Toosi, d. 460 AH
  8. Gurar al-Hikam, Abu Fateh al-Amadi, d. 510 AH
  9. Bihar al-Anwaar, Allama Majlisi, d. 726 AH

The book that we have mainly referred here is Kamil al-Ziyarat [27] authored by Abul Qasim Jafar bin Muhammad bin Jafar bin Musa bin Qulawayh al-Qummi famously known as Ibn Qūlawayh who is one the prominent shi’a hadith narrator hailed from a very knowledgeable and religious family. His father Abu Jafar Ibne Mohammad Ibne Jafar was a Muhaddith (narrator of traditions) and was well regarded in the field of jurisprudence (fiqh). His brother Abul Hussain Ali bin Mohammad bin Jafar bin Moosa bin Qulawayh was also a Muhaddith and one of the narrators of traditions in Kaamil-uz-Ziaraat. Ibn Qūlawayh al-Qummi was among the best students of Muhammad bin Ya’qub al-Kulayni (b. 255 – d. 329) and one of the most prominent teachers of Al-Shaykh al-Mufid (b. 336 – d. 413). He died in 368 AH and is buried next to al-Shaykh al-Mufid in the holy shrine of al-Kazimayn, Iraq. [28]

It is important to note that Ibn Qulawayh al-Qummi is among the earliest Muhadditheen (narrators of hadith) who was also alive during the era of minor occultation and most of his work is taken as Maakhaz (origin/source) by the great Shia scholars of every era. Some of the notable scholars who have paid tribute to his work are Shaykh al-Toosi, Ahmed Najashi, Shaykh al-Mufid, Ibn Tawus, Allama Hilli and Shaykh Abbas al-Qummi. [29] Ibn Qulawayh has written around 30 books, however, Kamil al-Ziyarat remains his most celebrated and notable accomplishment. This book is a collection of hadiths from Ahlulbayt (a) about how to pilgrimage the Prophet (s) and the other Imams and their children.

To conclude, there is no doubt that Imam Hussian (a) has not only awoken the human race by sacrificing everything that he had for the sake of Allah but also compelled its consciousness to ponder over the sanctity of his religion and the sublimity of the Allah Almighty before whom He (a) bowed. In the words of renowned subcontinental poet, Josh Malihabadi, [30]

The One, whose Sajood (bows), pulls towards the Masjood (whom one worships)

The One, who is a solitary indication towards the Ma’abood (the Creator)

Enormous rewards and merits for the pilgrims of Imam Hussain’s (a) holy shrine are the proof of Imam’s (a) extraordinary status and Allah’s love for Him (a) and his ardent zuwaar. We pray to Allah that He grants us taufeeq, resources and recognition of the highest order to perform the ziyarat of Imam Husain (a) on a regular basis.

O Allah! Bless Muhammad (s) and the progeny of Muhammad (s).

Notes:

[1] http://www.islamicinsights.com/religion/the-five-signs-of-a-believer.html

[2] https://www.instagram.com/p/B3CR7C0DKcI/

[3] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 16, h 3

[4] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 41, h 1

[5] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 43, h 1

[6] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 44, h 1

[7] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 45, h 3

[8] Kamil al-Ziyarat ch 46

[9] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 49, h 8

[10] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 40, h 4

[11] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 55, h 1

[12] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 52, h 2

[13] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 51, h 1

[14] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 53, h 1

[15] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 54, h 3

[16] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 57, h 1

[17] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 57, h 7

[18] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 58, h 1

[19] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 59, h 2

[20] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 60, h 1

[21] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 61, h 1

[22] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 63, 64, 65, 66, 67

[23] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 68, h 5

[24] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 78, h 1

[25] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 90, h 2

[26] Kamil al-Ziyarat, ch 98, h 17

[27] http://en.wikishia.net/view/Kamil_al-ziyarat_(book)

[28] http://en.wikishia.net/view/Ibn_Qulawayh_al-Qummi

[29] https://tinyurl.com/yxjuy568

[30] https://www.rekhta.org/marsiya/husain-aur-inqilaab-josh-malihabadi-marsiya?lang=ur

The post The Rewards and Merits of Visiting the Grave of Imam Hussain (a) appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

The Intellectual Aspects Of Imam Ali al-Ridha’s (a) Life

Thu, 10/10/2019 - 13:51

Imam Ali al-Ridha (a), the eighth Shi’ite Imam, a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad (s) was born on 11 Zeelqad 148 AH in Madina. He was martyred on 17 Safar 203 AH in Khurasan by Ma’mun.

For the first 33 years of his life, Imam al-Ridha (a) took his father’s place since his father, Imam al-Kadhim (a) was confined in prison by Haroun because he considered Imam al-Kadhim (a) a threat to his Caliphate. [1]

The followers of Ahlulbait (a) could not go to him so they came to his son, Imam al-Ridha (a).

After the martyrdom of Imam al-Kadhim (a), they came to Imam al-Ridha (a) for the next 20 years that he was their Imam. He lived in his homeland in Madina and preached Islam like Imam Zainul Abideen (a) did after the martyrdom of his father Imam Husayn (a). [2]

Although he never had a teacher who taught him, Imam al-Ridha (a) had immense knowledge and he trained several sincere scholars and students in his life who pursued Imam’s (a) purposes, defending the religion and publishing its sciences and teachings.

It was the most dreadful and unwelcome call when Ma’mum declared Imam al-Ridha (a) as his successor, heir-apparent, inviting him to live in Khurasan, Iran, at the age of 52 years. Caliph Ma’mun, who was conniving to hide his heinous crimes behind the most illustrious and godly person also had a great political advantage of winning over the Imam’s (a) great Shia following in Iran. When Imam al-Ridha (a) realized he had no choice but to become the Wali Ahad to Ma’mum, he accepted.

Ma’mun announced Imam al-Ridha (a) as his heir-apparent, gave his young daughter in marriage to him and even minted coins with his picture on them to eliminate all doubts from people’s minds that he planned to kill him to get him out of the way of caliphate just like his father Haroun had done to Imam al-Kadhim (a).

Ma’mun invited great philosophers and scholars from different countries and cities to Khurasan to test the knowledge of the Imam (a). They asked Imam al-Ridha (a) about the vaguest and most difficult matters.

Imam al-Ridha (a) was never unable to answer a question – no one was more scholarly than him. There are traditions from Imam al-Ridha (a) on religious issues, including monotheism, theology, Allah’s (swt) attributes, creation of the world and its philosophy, Allah’s (swt) justice, force and option, destiny, prophet hood and its philosophy, infallibility, Imam’s knowledge, Imam’s conditions, philosophy of Imamate, ethical virtues and vices, various sins and their punishment, and different jurisprudential issues.

Imam al-Ridha (a) was popular as he was the possessor of all human virtues being a noble character who was not only the best but also the wisest, greatest, and the most knowledgeable person of his time. He said reasoning is a man’s best friend protecting him from afflictions and misfortunes whereas ignorance is his greatest enemy pulling him into deep mazes of this world. While reasoning is a gift from Allah (swt) which together with politeness leads to wisdom, arrogance with reasoning leads to ignorance. All religious obligations depend on reasoning hence he who loses reason is not required to perform them and is not sinful when he commits sin because reason is the only condition in performing religious duties. The man with good reason is a man who knows his own soul and the one who knows his soul knows his Lord.

We learn from the teachings of our great Imam (a) that excellence of reason goes hand in hand with reflection, reckoning one’s own soul, clemency, silence, humbleness, concealing someone’s secret, forgiving others to enjoin good and being patient during prosperity and adversity. Imam (a) enlightened us with Allah’s (swt) commandments, conveyed outstanding wise things, taught good manners, gave good advice to lead a life style beneficial to us. [3]

Some books of Imam al-Ridha (a) are:

1) Tibb (Dissertation) of Imam al-Ridha (a):

This is a great medical dissertation also called Al-Risala al-Dhahabiya (The Golden Dissertation), that Imam al-Ridha (a) wrote upon Ma’mun’s request. It contains health programs on foods which improve health and protect from diseases. It also contains his general prescriptions like refraining from eating too much food which gives rise to high blood pressure, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, and other dangerous diseases. It is certain that if one puts into practice the Imam’s (a) prescriptions, he will need no medicine. This dissertation is of great importance even to this present day. People are implementing this in their lifestyle to combat diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity along with staying physically active.

2) Imam al-Ridha’s (a) Musnad:

Musnad Imam al-Ridha (a) contains some traditions which the Imam (a) has reported from his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (s). All the traditions from Imam al-Ridha (a) in various fields, as narrated by several hundred people, are recorded in this book.

3) Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha (a):

Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha (a) also known as ‘The Source Of Traditions On Imam al-Ridha (a)’, is a book written by Shaykh as-Saduq in two volumes. It contains a full account of the life of Imam al-Ridha (a) and gives an insight into his life. This book is a compilation of his narrations and ahadith which have gone down in history as Al-Silsilatul Dhahabiyyah (The Golden Chain).

These hadiths are considered authentic because they are said to be from Prophet Muhammad (s) and were transmitted from one Imam to the next. Of the two volumes, the first volume comprises the first 30 chapters and second volume starts from chapter 31 and ends at chapter 69.  Each chapter in both volumes addresses a certain topic related to the Imam (a). [5 & 6]

These traditions are like a treasure trove for those seeking knowledge and guidance through generations. Similarly, those who are seeking truth and real guidance in the present day don’t have to look far – for our living Imam (a) will guide them through the chaos of this world to the ultimate truth.

The scholars and sincere students trained by Imam al-Ridha (a) published his religious commandments. Narrators publicized his traditions, which are cited in tradition books. There are traditions reported from Imam al-Ridha (a) on various issues including monotheism, theology, attributes of Allah (swt), creation of the world and its philosophy, justice of Allah (swt), prophet hood and its philosophy, infallibility, Imam’s knowledge, Imam’s conditions, philosophy of Imamate, ethical virtues and vices, various sins and their punishment, different jurisprudential issues, force and option, and destiny.

Imam al-Ridha’s debates and scientific discussions with incumbent rulers, scholars, and priests of other religions are recorded in history and tradition books. An accurate study of Imam al-Ridha’s (a) traditions and debates shows his real scientific stance.

Because of his unique life, Imam al-Ridha (a) enjoys a great spiritual and scientific position in the view of scholars and has been called as God’s selected one. He has a very notable position in the viewpoints of scholars and like other members of the household of Prophet Muhammad (s) is the best of creation in this world.

With respect to the importance of debate and dialogue in interactions with the non-Muslims, Imam al-Ridha (a) had lots of debates with intellectuals of various religions.

These scientific encounters have been very influential in expanding Islam. Imam al-Ridha’s (a) character is so great and prominent that it makes salient and famous intellectuals, scientists and scholars from various religions admire him as their role model.

During his twenty years of Imamate, Imam al-Ridha’s (a) competent students wrote and narrated many traditions that were publicized and cited in tradition books.

The number of learned religious scholars at the time of Ma’mun was quite large, yet when a question over-taxed their mind they would send their queries to Imam al-Ridha (a) and he would answer them all.

Imam al-Ridha (a), the impeccably well mannered, the most intelligent and knowledgeable person of his time, the righteous heir of Prophet (s) is the ideal for every man with a reasoning.

By living a public life as heir-apparent to Ma’mun, Imam al-Ridha (a) taught people how to live openly under oppression and still maintain their dignity and belief.

*****

References:

[1] The Seventh Imam Musa Ibn Ja’far Al-Kazim (as):

https://www.al-islam.org/story-of-the-holy-kaaba-and-its-people-shabbar/seventh-imam-musa-ibn-jafar-al-kazim

[2] The Fourth Imam, ‘Ali Ibn Al Husayn, Zainul Abedeen (as), in Story of the Holy Ka’aba And its People by S.M.R. Shabbar:

https://www.al-islam.org/story-of-the-holy-kaaba-and-its-people-shabbar/fourth-imam-ali-ibn-al-husayn-zainul-abedeen

[3] The Eighth Imam, ‘Ali Ibn Musa, Al-Ridha’ (as):

https://www.al-islam.org/story-of-the-holy-kaaba-and-its-people-shabbar/eighth-imam-ali-ibn-musa-al-ridha

[4] The life of Imam ‘Ali Bin Musa al-Ridha’:

https://www.al-islam.org/life-imam-ali-bin-musa-al-ridha-baqir-shareef-al-qurashi

[5] Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha Volume 1:

https://www.al-islam.org/uyun-akhbar-ar-ridha-volume-1-shaykh-saduq

[6] Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha Volume 2:

https://www.al-islam.org/uyun-akhbar-ar-ridha-volume-2-shaykh-saduq

The post The Intellectual Aspects Of Imam Ali al-Ridha’s (a) Life appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Hasan Ibn Ali: The Chief of the Youth of Jannah

Thu, 10/03/2019 - 15:06

By Dr. Farhat Fatima

Imam Hasan Ibn Ali, also known as Hazrat Hasan Mujtaba (‘a) is bestowed with the honor of being among one of the fourteen infallibles by the grace of Allah (SwT). He is not only the eldest grandson of Prophet Muhammad (S) and Bibi Khadija (sa), He (‘a) is also the first child of Bibi Fatima Zahra (sa) and Hazrat Ali (‘a). He was born on 15th Ramadan 3 A. H. in Madina. His term of Imamat started from 40 A. H. till 50 A. H. and he was martyred on the 28th Safar 50 A. H. Imam Hasan’s place of burial is in Madina in Jannat ul Baqi.

It is mentioned in Bihar al-Anwar that after the birth of Imam Hasan (‘a) Angel Jibril came from Allah (SwT) to Prophet Muhammad (S) and congratulated him on the birth of his eldest grandson who was a living example of Surah al-Kauthar (108) and presented him a white silk handkerchief on which the name Hasan was engraved. This name was also preserved in Al-Lawh al-Mahfooz (the Preserved Tablet, the place where the decrees of Allah are kept.)[1]

He was called as Shabbar after the son of Prophet Haroon which means Hasan in Arabic. Thus he was named Hasan by Prophet Muhammad (S) The following year of his birth his younger brother Imam Hussain Ibn Ali (‘a) was born. The Holy Prophet (S) dearly loved his grandsons and considered them as the apple of his eyes. He called them as his scented blossoms from Heaven. Both Imam Hasan (‘a) and Imam Hussain (‘a) were known as Sibtain i.e., the sons of Prophet Muhammad.

Command of Allah in the Holy Quran

ذَٰلِكَ الَّذِي يُبَشِّرُ اللَّهُ عِبَادَهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ ۗ قُلْ لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا إِلَّا الْمَوَدَّةَ فِي الْقُرْبَىٰ ۗ وَمَنْ يَقْتَرِفْ حَسَنَةً نَزِدْ لَهُ فِيهَا حُسْنًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ

 “That is of which giveth God the glad tidings unto His servants who believe and do good deeds; Say thou (O’ Our Apostle Muhammad!): “I demand not of you” any recompense for it (the toils of the apostleship) save the love of (my) relatives; and whosoever earneth good, We increase for him good therein, verily God is Oft-Forgiving, the Most Grateful (One)” (42: 23) [2]

The above verse is clear in its meaning that the Holy Prophet (S) is being commanded to ask the believers to love his kith and kin, i.e., the Holy Ahlul Bayt and that would be the return for his apostolic services.

Sayings of the Holy Prophet (S) on numerous occasions as:

 “These two grandsons of mine will be the leaders of the youths entering Jannah.” (Askari 63)

 “He who loves them loves me. He who hurts them hurts me. He who hurts me hurts Allah (SwT) (Askari 63)3

“Hasan (‘a) and Hussain (‘a) are from me and I am from them.” (Askari 63)[3]

Prophet Muhammad (S) loved his grandsons and used to play with them and used to carry them both on his shoulders, one on each side and with affection used to kiss them. Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a)’s Kuniyat or Teknonym was Abu Muhammad. He had many Alquab or compellations such as Vazir, Taqi, Tayyab, Zaki, Sipar, Hujjat, Sibt and Wali. He was called by all his Alquab but the more popular among these was Taqi. But the Laquab or Appellation given to him by Prophet Muhammad as ‘Syed’ was the most popular. He (S) used to call his grandsons as ‘Syed ash-Shabab Ahlul Jannah’ that means ‘The masters of the youth of Paradise’. [4]

Once a man came to Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a) and requested him to describe Allah to him so that he can understand him well. Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a) described Allah to him as, “All praise is for Allah (SwT), who has no beginning, nor end. He neither has a face through which He may be perceived, nor a back that He may be restricted. He cannot be limited with (the word) ‘till what,’ nor with an appearance so that He may have parts. He cannot be described with variation so that He may have an extent. He can neither be perceived by intellects and imaginations, nor by thoughts and concepts…”[5]

The Holy Prophet (S) taught humanity principles of truth and justice and eradicated those wicked innovations which had crept in the world due to ignorance. He appointed Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) as his Vicegerent after the ‘Hajjatul Wida’ at Ghadeer Khumm, by Allah’s command. On the 28th of Safar, when the Holy Prophet (S) was in his death bed, he (S) called his grandsons Hasan (‘a) and Hussain (‘a) and hugged them and bade them farewell. He reminded them that they must do everything to save the message of Islam.

After the death of Holy Prophet (S), the atmosphere of Madina changed. The rights of Sayyida Fatima (Prophet’s only daughter) were usurped. Fire was brought to her door and she was crushed as she stood behind it, causing her unborn baby Mohsin (‘a) to die and causing the breaking of her ribs. Imam Hasan (‘a) who was then a child witnessed the torture inflicted on his mother and this pained him deeply throughout his life.

Imam Hasan (‘a) witnessed people forgetting the last words of Holy Prophet (S); he saw his father’s rights of successorship being usurped. He saw the hypocritical faces of people who professed to be the followers of Holy Prophet and his Ahlul Bayt. For twenty five years, the Ahlul Bayt (‘a) lived in isolation. Even when the Muslims accepted Hazrat Ali (‘a) as Caliph, there was resistance from many places.

Muawiya pursued for himself the position of Independent Ameer ash-Shaam (The ruler of Damascus) while Hazrat Ali (‘a) was the supposed Caliph. Imam Hasan (‘a) witnessed the fatal blow on his father’s head when he was rising from the Sajdah by the sword of Abdul Rahman Ibn Muljim[6]. His heart was filled with razor-sharp pain when his father Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a) finished his two Sajdah’s and reeled in his (‘a) and his brother Imam Hussain (‘a) hands.

The people came to Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a) after the death of Ali (‘a) to pay allegiance to him. So he (‘a) said: “…Fear Allah in privacy and in public. Verily, Ali (‘a) life, death and the rising lived with a measure and died with the time. Verily, I shall accept your allegiance on that you will make peace with whom I make peace with and fight with whom I fight with. Thus, they all paid allegiance to him on that basis”. [7]

Muawiya’s (The ruler of Damascus) burning ambition was to become Caliph of the whole Islamic Empire (Ummah). In his resentment towards Ahlul Bayt, he hired mercenaries to cause trouble in different parts of Islamic State. People were plundered and killed. There was no security or safety of people and property. Imam Hasan (‘a) was not fortunate enough as his younger brother Imam Hussain (‘a) to have loyal and courageous seventy two companions. Thus, as he was concerned with the welfare and safety of the people and did not need any formal throne to pursue his responsibilities of his designation, He (‘a) was forced to make peace with Muawiya[8]. Some of the conditions of the peace treaty are:

  • Hazrat Imam Hasan (‘a) would hand over the rule to Muawiya provided he acts according to the way laid down by the Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (S)
  • That Muawiya, at the end of his life has no right to nominate a successor to the Caliph.
  • That the life, honour of general public and Imam Hasan’s (‘a) supporters will be safe and secure in Hejaz, Iraq, and Yemen. Muawiya will allow them to live in peace.
  • The life, Property, and honour of Shia’s of Ali (‘a) and his companions wherever they are will be safe and secure. [9]

Muawiya did not keep the terms of the treaty. In 50 A.H. he decided that on his death his son Yazid Ibn Muawiya should succeed him. This was not possible if Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a) was still alive. Hence he conspired and bribed Ju’adaa bint al Ashash who was Imam Hasan’s wife, with hundred thousand dirhams and a promise that Yazid Ibn Muawiya will marry her. Thus on Muawiya’s instigation, the wicked woman administered poison to her husband and our gentle, handsome and generous Imam was martyred mercilessly.

Before dying, Imam Hasan (‘a) handed over the Imamat to Imam Hussain Ibn Ali. His wife and Qasims’s mother, Umm Farwa was deep in sorrow and in tears. Imam Hasan (‘a) said to her “Umm Farwa” I entrust you and my children to Allah (SwT) and Hussain. [10]

Conclusion

Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (‘a) proved to us that the Holy Quran is not just present to read, but to gain knowledge of from and to act upon its teachings. He also urged us to move on the path of piety with patience and to help the needy as he himself followed these virtues in his life.

Furthermore, He instructed us to think about our soul’s food and not fill up our heart’s with destructive subjects.

*****

To know more about Imam al-Hasan (‘a) Ibn Ali  Abu Talib (‘a) visit:

https://www.al-islam.org/imam-hasan-bin-ali-al-balagh

https://www.al-islam.org/fourteen-luminaries-islam-ahmad-ahmadi-birjandi/fourth-infallible-hadhrat-imam-al-hasan-al-mujtaba

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/imam-al-hasan-second-imam-brief-look-his-life

Notes:

[1] Hasan, Syed Najamul Chowdah Sitare Nizami Press Book Depot pg. 178 (2001) Print.

[2] 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. 42:23) Print

[3] Askari, Sakina Hasan Aza e Masoomeen, A Collection of Salams, Marsias, Hadees & Nohas Pg. 63 (2001), Liverpool U.K. Print.

[4] Trans Imdad, Maulana Syed Hasan Bihar al-Anwar Volume 10 by Mulla Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, Mahfoos Book Embassy pg.17 Print.

[5]Trans. Rizvi, Sayyid Ali Raza (2007) Kitab Al Tawhid (The Book of Divine Unity) by Al Shaykh Al Saduq(R) pg.36

http://jaffaribooks.com/books/Tawhid%20sadooq%20english%20final.pdf 04/05/2019 Web

[6] Hasan, Syed Najamul Chowdah Sitare Nizami Press Book Depot pg. 178 (2001) Print, op.cit.

[7]Trans. Rizvi, Sayyid Ali Raza (2007) Kitab Al Tawhid (The Book of Divine Unity) by Al Shaykh Al Saduq(R) pg.408

http://jaffaribooks.com/books/Tawhid%20sadooq%20english%20final.pdf 20/05/2019 Web

[8] Hasan, Syed Najamul Chowdah Sitare Nizami Press Book Depot pg. 178 (2001) Print, op.cit.

[9] https://www.al-islam.org/imam-hasan-and-caliphate-qurrat-ul-ain-abidiy/terms-peace-treaty  25/05/2019 Web

[10] Hasan, Syed Najamul Chowdah Sitare Nizami Press Book Depot pg. 178 (2001) Print, op.cit.

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A Summary of Lady Zaynab’s Sermon in the Court of Yazid

Fri, 09/27/2019 - 03:03

By Deeba Rizvi

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds

This article summarizes the thought provoking Sermon delivered by Lady Zaynab on reaching Shaam (today known as Syria) after the bloodshed that occurred in Karbala with the Household of Prophet Muhammad. To precede further let us start with first knowing who Lady Zaynab was!

Who was Lady Zaynab?

Lady Zaynab was the daughter of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib and Hadhrat Fatimah. Her name is the combination of two words, ‘Zain’ (Adornment) and ‘Ab’ (Father), which means father’s adornment. She was the true example of determination and patience. She was flag bearer of truth after all her family members were killed in front of her eyes on the land named “Karb-o-bala”. She is an evergreen and timeless role model for all the women of the world.

She made our faith increases on the words of Allah. As Almighty Allah says,

“The friends of Allah shall have no fear nor will they be in grief.” (Holy Qur’an, 10: 62)

Lady Zaynab indeed never feared anyone but Almighty Allah. She taught us that patience is the synonym of determination, not the opposite. Indeed we understand from her role that patience means standing firmly with determination on the command of Allah.

In the biggest event that took place in history, she was one of the strongest flag bearers of Islam. Lady Zaynab can actually be referred to as the back-bone of Islam. When the Household of Holy Prophet reached Shaam (today known as Syria) under the supervision of Mahaffar and Shimr along with the holy heads of martyrs, Yazid ordered his men to keep the head of Imam Husayn in front of him.

Thereafter, Yazid started to hit the lips and teeth of Imam Husayn. At this point Lady Zaynab started to deliver her speech like her father Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib.

One of the most famous sentences said by Lady Zaynab which actually described her character through the event of Karbala was her words:

“I see nothing but the beauty [of Allah]”

She started first with the remembrance of Almighty Allah,

Praise be to Allah who is the lord of the worlds and may Allah’s blessing be upon Prophet Muhammad and all the members of his family.

Then she said Almighty Allah’s words,

“Then the end of those who did evil was the worst [consequence] because they denied the signs of Allah and used to ridicule them. (Holy Qur’an, 30:10)”

It was indeed the biggest slap on the face of Yazid (Allah’s curse be on him).

She recited also another verse from Holy Qur’an:

“And let not those who disbelieve ever think that [because] We extend their time [of enjoyment] it is better for them. We only extend it for them so that they may increase in sin, and for them is a humiliating punishment. (Holy Qur’an 3:178)”

She was making it clear for Yazid that the liberty given to him by Allah was indeed a sign of excessive anger from Almighty Allah, who has only extent their period of enjoyment so that they may increase in sins and brutal punishment awaits them. As she also described the character of Yazid (Allah’s curse be on him) by mentioning that it was indeed expected from the descendent of the one who chewed on the liver of the pious and righteous people, the one who is the killer of Prophet Muhammad’s Household.

Lady Zaynab even mentioned that due to the demand of the hour and the will of Almighty Allah, she was forced to speak in front of Yazid (Allah’s curse be on him). She considered Yazid (Allah’s curse be on him) as a worthless, disgraceful and a wicked person to talk.

She further stated from the Holy Qur’an,

“You will reap what you have sown and will see that the almighty does not favor oppression and tyranny. (Holy Qur’an, 22:10)”

As most of the people present there were believers and were aware of the verses stated by Almighty Allah. Hence Lady Zaynab chooses to deliver most of the parts of her sermon to revolve around verses of Holy Qur’an. She started taking strength from the words of Almighty Allah. As Allah himself says in the Holy Qur’an,

Yes, whoever submits his face in Islam to Allah while being a doer of good will have his reward with his Lord. And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve. (Holy Qur’an, 2:112)”

Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured. (Holy Qur’an, 13:28)”

*****

References:

The post A Summary of Lady Zaynab’s Sermon in the Court of Yazid appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Is There an “Islamic Hijab” for Men?

Thu, 09/19/2019 - 13:42

By Daniel Amir Mundrawala

Along with the topic of “Hijab” for women, there is also another discussion which is hardly ever mentioned and that is about the “Hijab” for men.

Although the term Hijab is used for the clothing of a Muslim man it is not the same style compared to the type of ‘Hijab’ that women have been commanded to wear. For many reasons which Allah (SWT) in His infinite wisdom has laid out, women must cover their entire body, except her face and hands, from the eyes of those who are her non-Mahram.

For example, would you choose a candy with a wrapper or would you choose a candy without a wrapper? Men too, to an extent must also observe this rule, which we briefly mention here.However, the main question many people ask is “Is there an Islamic Hijab for men?”

Many people will believe you that is the case, but there will also be those who ask for proof that there is an Islamic Hijab for men. While most people might not know this, there is Verse in the Holy Quran:

قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنِيْنَ يَغُضُّوْا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَ يَحْفَظُوْا فُرُوْجَهُمْ, ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ.

 “Say to the believing men that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts (by being chaste). This is better for them.” (Surah an-Nur, 24:30).

Then in the next verse the hijab for women is presented.

قُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَ يَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوْجَهُنَّ

“Say to the believing women that: they should cast down their glances and guard their private parts (by being chaste) …” (Surah an-Nur, 24:31).

It must also be mentioned that the term Hijab, in relation to men, does not have the same technical meaning as it does in reference to women, since the human-nature of a man and woman are quite different, thus too are their ‘Hijab’.

What must be pointed out is that the word Hijab simply means ‘covering’ and thus, men too must cover their bodies from the view of non-Mahram women.

Basically, the hijab of men is they should cast down their glance and guard their private parts.

From the narrations of the Prophet (s) and the Holy Ahlul-Bayt (as), regarding the type of covering that men must observe including the impressibility of imitating the non-Muslims, and the various other conditions, we can draw this conclusion that men too, just like women must not wear clothing that is not appropriate, tight fitting, and shows the details of your body.

Keeping this in mind, a Muslim man must not let his ego and desires get the best of him and in all instances, must not wear clothing that is referred to as “Shuhrah” or clothing that is not commonly worn which would make him stand out in a crowd. This clothing will obviously differ according to where a Muslim is living, thus for a Muslim living in the “West”, wearing the long Arab shirt outside on the streets may be classified as Shuhrah, but wearing the same in a Muslim gathering will be permitted.

In that respect, we read the following rule in the Tawdhiul Masaa’il that; “It is haram for a woman to look at the body of a man, with the exception of his face and hands; and that it is haram for a woman to look at the body of a non-Mahram man – whether with the intention of lust or without it.

May Allah give us all tawfeeq to observe the Islamic Hijab as stated by Him. Ameen.

******

References:

1) https://www.al-islam.org/articles/islamic-hijab-men-shaykh-saleem-bhimji

2) https://www.al-islam.org/hijab-muslim-womens-dress-islamic-or-cultural-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi/quran-and-hijab#second-verse

The post Is There an “Islamic Hijab” for Men? appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Husayn, The Ark Of Survival

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 15:27

By Ruqaya Aghaie

*****

“Indeed, Husayn is the beacon of guidance and the ark of salvation.”

-Prophet Muhammad (S)[1]

*****

Imam Husayn (as) is a love regenerating, does not concern within a day or a month, nor a year, yet it will remain a heated candle in his beloveds’ heart to lighten his path. Love entered Karbala as an orphan, lonely, unique, confused, lost and dispersed. And he graduated from Karbala by Aba-Abdallah’s (as) hands, a master with the rank of divine love.

Imam Husayn (as) gave us lesson about love. But, are there lovers?

A question rises up to some fool minds that my hands feel ashamed to write. Is Imam Husayn (as) in need of us or in need of weeping over him? Is he in need of our visitation to his grave? No and a thousand no!

If we only reconsider the history and read about the reward and the wage of the lamenter over Imam Husayn (as), we will stand thankful to Allah for this grace. Yet alone we should be thankful to Allah for introducing this merciful Imam to us that taught us how to approach the true felicity and happiness throughout his love and satisfaction.

Imam Husayn (as) had shown by his acts as well as his various discourses during the seven days of Muharram at Karbala, that this conflict was much more universal in nature, and that he knew he was going to live forever through his martyrdom.

Yazid died as uselessly as he lived; only three years after the battle of Karbala took place. While trying to race a baboon, he fell from his horse and broke his neck. As history has recorded, those who were apparent victors at Karbala (as) have disappeared without trace.

If we widen the eye of our hearts, we slowly observe a tired caravan arriving. If you open the ear of your heart you hear them; they’ve come very near. They’re arriving to that land that had a secret for itself. All the angels, prophets, cried and wept over.

Since Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) the talk regarding Karbala began, the calamities of the `sibt` of the prophet peace and blessings upon him and his family was told. Now Imam Husayn (as) wants to arrive to that land and say to his Zainab, his Umm Kulthum, to his surroundings be prepared for the tragedy, for the warmth.

Sayyida Zainab did not witness her family be cut to pieces for us to follow Islam the way we choose. Sayyida Zainab did not witness her family be slaughtered like animals for us to take your religion lightly. This was a sacrifice for all of humanity and for the sake of Islam.

The path of guidance is a road full of thorns and ups & downs which requires a beacon for one to reach its destination. Imam al-Husayn (as) was sent as a blessing to perform this mission and become a light that leads us to the satisfaction of Allah and his messenger. The world is unable to present an example finer and brighter than the personality of imam Husayn (as). He was and will be the embodiment of love, valour and personification of sacrifice and devotion which every Muslim should seek guidance from.

I have left the entire world for the sake of you

And I have orphaned my children so that I see you

So, if I’m cut into pieces for your love

My heart would lean to none other than you”

Imam Husayn (as) expresses his sincere love for his creature throughout this heart touching poem. He submits the accurate definition of love by the steps he took to show us how absolutely wholeheartedly each individual must be towards his Lord.

Are we ready to leave the entire world for the sake of Allah?

Am I a true lover that even if cut into pieces my heart would lean to none other than my beloved?

Those words of wisdom and eloquence mirror the great personality of this virtues Imam. Imam Husayn gave his heart to Allah, so Allah gave millions of hearts back to Husayn (as).

Do not underestimate the worth of those tears which are shed in the remembrance of Aba Abdillah al Husayn (as), For those very tears can mend the hearts of every sorrowful men and women, and reunite even the most unworthy servant with his lord.

Look at the Seventy-two martyrs in Karbala.

What a regretful feeling they’ve left in the heart of the world and the believers?!

Still, there is a chance…

(Ḥayy-a ʿalā khayr alʿamal)

“Hurry toward the best of deeds”.

Three hundred and three humans will be like rose flowers

Strive to be among them,

Amongst the lonely imam, Al-Mahdi (aj).

Notes:

[1] Bihar al-Anwar, V.6, P.174

ان الحسین مصباح الهدی و سفینه النجاه

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Three Poems about Ashura’

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 16:21

By Ruqaya Aghaie

*****

Seek Patience

Patience, seek patience o’ death

Lengthen the time of her final breath

Approach not o moment of last sight

Hussain of Fatima will remain with no light

Shattered the clouds when carried his silenced scream

‘Oh, beloved mother’ it muttered in fright

Cried the sky as he continued… oh the rose of my life

Oh, the glowing moon at the darkest night

How can I forget the sign of the slap on my mother’s face?

How can I omit black hands that were in her chase?

What will you forget? And what will I remember?

When of torture leans on the wall my mother

Blood flowed down her chest as I witnessed in mourn

I portrait a kick, yearning… I endeavour

Beat not my rose o’ brutal evil

Her wounds and mine has become equal

Beat me, don’t beat my mother

A door and a flame aren’t to remember

Nor the laughter of the enemies

When Zainab searching for remedies

How do I neglect when on floor she fell in pain?

Wake up mother, he’s come to see you, your beloved Hussain…

I swear by the precious tears of Zainab

Harrowing is the nail on her broken rib

Her low whisper in a heart-breaking voice

Brought me in tears with no choice

Oh mother,

Oh, the rose of my life

Oh, the scent of perfection that towards I strive

Between your mutter I hear “Karbala… Ali Asghar”

And within my mutter you hear “where is Mohsen of Haidar?”

Oh, beloved mother

A desperate mourn is read through Hussain’s sight

I strike and wonder,

How would Ali bury his rose tonight?

*****

Words of Love

Just a every step towards him

Revives my soul, exhilarates my breath

To the beloved is the eternal aim

One sole wish; beside him death

I am predestined

Even if I relapse

my instinct brings me back to you

a homeland you

and a foreigner I am

looking toward your mercifulness

begging for your acceptance

Hussain…

My guilty soul

Stand ahead your compassionate one

Whispering my lips in words of a slave at his master’s door,

“accept me, oh the wide blessing

Oh, the bright sun”

*****

Ali Asghar

Tonight,

I stand and detect a radiant light

Shine at the entire universe

Delivering a delightful announcement;

To the master of the youth of paradise an angel is born.

Fulfilled is the desire of lady Rabab

Whilst Hussain is confused between laughter and mourn,

An arrow at Abdullah’s neck he imagines

Yet the bloody desert has come to warn

Prepare your youngest soldier oh Hussain for Karbala

He shall taste thirst, and the painful arrow of Harmala

–February 2019

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What are the Causes of Imam Husayn’s (a) Qiyam?

Thu, 09/05/2019 - 13:12

*****

Dedicated to my loving father Syed Mahdi Ali Razvi

*****

Of the numerous causes, the prime cause of Imam Husayn’s (a) Qiyam (Resistance) was the enforcement of bayat (oath of allegiance) upon him by Waleed bin Utbah, the then governor of Madinah upon the command of the Umayyad Caliph Yazid bin Muawiya and the reprehensible support of brute Marwan bin al Hakam [1].

Imam Husayn (a) refused to give bayat. He did not buckle under Yazid’s cruelty and took a stand by refusing to endorse Yazid saying he would never give Yazid his allegiance like a humiliated man, nor would he flee like a slave, rather, he would rise to snub the evil. For, giving his allegiance to oppression meant supporting despotism and agreeing to injustice which a righteous Imam, the flag bearer of Truth and Justice, appointed by Allah swt, could not accept.

In as little as 50 years after the Prophet’s (s) death, Islam was no longer the religion that the last Prophet (s) of Allah swt had delivered for the Ummah. Yazid was unjust and corrupt stealing money from Baitul Maal (public treasury) for personal use. Anyone opposing him was meted with severe punishment including death.

All Caliphs who sought power after Prophet Muhammad (s) and the rulers of Umayyad Caliphs suppressed the Ahlulbayt (a), the legal successors to the Caliphate, by keeping them in poverty and taking away all that belonged to them. However, they could not take away the respect and regard people had for the Ahlulbayt (a) for they were noble beings who possessed the gift of knowledge like the documented superior knowledge of Ameer ul Momineen Imam Ali (a) bin Abu Talib [2].

This was the reason the Umayyad Caliphs felt insecure and lived in constant fear that the godly qualities of the Ahlulbayt (a) projected them in poor light and highlighted all their weaknesses. It was not a comfortable situation to be in and they were always trying to find reasons to eliminate the family of Prophet Muhammad (s) who they considered a threat to their reign and even their survival.

In order to overcome this threat and establish his power tyrant Yazid wanted bayat from Imam Husayn (a). Imam Husayn’s (a) support would not only endorse his political power – because Imam Husayn (a) was the rightful successor to the Caliphate – but also give him religious power to legalize his crimes and illegal actions carried out in the name of Islam.

Imam Husayn’s (a) refusal terrified the intoxicated Yazid who was enjoying his newly inherited powers of Caliphate. He used brute force to subjugate Imam Husayn (a). Imam Husayn (a), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (s), was aware of what Yazid was trying to achieve.

By openly refusing Yazid’s bayat Imam Husayn (a) exposed to the Ummah that Yazid was corrupt, oppressive and intent upon destroying Islam to avenge his uncles and family members who had died in the early battles fought with Prophet Muhammad (s). Imam Husayn (a) was threatened that if he refused to give bayat to Yazid, he would be killed. Imam Husayn (a) replied that a man like him could not give bayat to a man like Yazid. By saying this, Imam Husayn (a) made it very clear that Yazid and he were completely opposite to one another in their belief.

Imam Husayn (a) knew from his grandfather Prophet Muhammad’s (s) premonition that he would be killed in Karbala along with his close friends and family. When people heard that Imam Husayn’s (a) life was in danger they wanted to join his army. However, Imam Husayn (a) made it clear that there was not going to be an army – only family and a few close companions. To accompany him one had to be a believer and not a soldier because he was not fighting for power but for Islam. This was a battle not for any worldly possession rather it was to secure and uphold core human values. It was a battle of good vs evil, right vs wrong and justice vs oppression.

Imam Husayn’s (a) companions came from all different cultures, mindsets and values: the noble (Burayr (a) bin Khuzayr, Sayeed (a) bin Abdullah), the rich (Zohair (a) bin Qain), the freed slaves (Rafe, Sa’d, Salim, Hars), the young (Aun (a) bin Abdullah, Muhammad (a) bin Abdullah, Qasim (a) bin Imam Hasan (a)), the old (Jundab (a) bin Hijr), the strong (Abbas (a) bin Imam Ali (a), Ali Akbar (a) bin Imam Husayn (a)), the feeble (Habib (a) bin Madhahir), the infant (Ali Asghar (a) bin Imam Husayn (a)), the wrongdoers who were spiritually awakened (Hurr (a) bin Yazid, Sa’d (a) bin Harse Ansari, Abul Hatoof (a) bin Harse Ansari, Jaun (a) ibn Malikee), the Muslims (his family) and non-Muslim (Wahab (a) bin Abu Wahab) even black (Jawn (a) bin Huwai).

Although they came from different backgrounds there was no distinction between one person and the other, all that mattered was their staunch belief in the mission of Imam Husayn (a).

This love for Imam Husayn (a) can be seen even now. Today millions of visitors pay their respects to Imam Husayn (a) for his Qiyam and annually mourn the tragic Battle of Karbala in which he, along with his family and loyal companions were singled out and brutally killed one by one. Pilgrims from diverse walks of life visit Imam Husayn’s (a) shrine to pay their homage in the city of Karbala, Iraq.

Imam Husayn (a) did not give his allegiance to Yazid because he wanted to protect the principles of Islam and retain its justice and character. To avoid all confrontation, Imam Husayn (a) left his home in Madinah along with handful family members that included women, children and infants. The plan was to go to Kufa and preach Islam in peace amongst the people who were inviting him in thousands.

Imam Husayn (a) was not allowed to proceed to Kufa. Neither was he allowed to go back home. So, Imam Husayn (a) headed towards Karbala [3].

After a few days in Karbala, Yazidi forces were commanded to attack and kill Imam Husayn (a) and his companions and Imam Husayn’s (a) tents were surrounded by an army of 30,000. On the night of Ashura Imam Husayn (a) lifted his bayat and asked his family and companions to leave with a clear conscience because anyone who stayed behind would face certain death. Imam Husayn’s (a) selflessness shone at every step. At a time when family and friends needed most, Imam Husayn (a) pleaded with his family and companions, all deprived of water for 3 days in the scorching desert of Karbala, to leave him alone and save themselves [4].

Imam Husayn (a) knew that he was facing thousands of greedy enemy soldiers who wanted to kill him to gain wealth and power. There was no question of expecting mercy from them. He knew that fighting with them would end in certain death.

As the battle commenced, Imam Husayn’s companions departed from their camp one after the other – all fighting valiantly before being killed. Eventually Imam Husayn (a) was alone with no one left to support him. Fatigued, thirsty, and heavily wounded, Imam Husayn (a) fell to the ground as the women and children looked on. He too was killed mercilessly, yet he died holding on firmly to his principles.

Imam Husayn (a) gave the sacrifice of his life with all his family. There is no example like his in the entire history of mankind. Imam Husayn (a) made an immense sacrifice and act in selfless ways in times of crisis. He sacrificed his own life and that of his companions. Those who act in selfless ways do so either to save someone or something. Since everyone in Imam Husayn’s (a) camp was promised death, they were not saving anyone’s life by their sacrifice, obviously they were saving something else. It does not require a complicated derivation to find out what Imam Husayn (a) was saving – he was saving the religion of Islam in all its purity and authenticity.

Imam Husayn (a) is the ambassador of peace. His actions were not altruistic. Rather, it was his love for Allah swt and his understanding of Islam that made him act in the way he did.

People do come under the influence of Shaitan and do wrong. But for those of us who are in need of finding true Islam, all we have to do is look at Imam Husayn (a) and what he stood for. Imam Husayn (a) is that beacon of light that is inviting us into the folds of Islam at any time the spirituality in us awakens.

Notes:

[1] The Third Imam, Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (as): https://www.al-islam.org/story-of-the-holy-kaaba-and-its-people-shabbar/third-imam-husayn-ibn-ali (

[2] 3. Hadith Al-Qadha, ‘Ali’s Superior Knowledge Of The Qur’an And Sunnah: https://www.al-islam.org/ali-best-sahabah-toyib-olawuyi/3-hadith-al-qadha-ali-s-superior-knowledge-quran-and-sunnah

[3] The Route of Imam Husayn from Makkah to Karbala: https://www.al-islam.org/articles/route-imam-husayn-makkah-karbala

[4] Why did Imam al-Husayn (as) give his Companions Permission to Leave? https://www.al-islam.org/uprising-ashura-and-responses-doubts-ali-asghar-ridwani/why-did-imam-al-husayn-give-his-companions

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Men Of Excuses

Thu, 08/29/2019 - 13:57

By Deeba Rizvi

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Muharram, the first month of an Islamic calendar, month of grief/sorrow.

A month based on remembrance of what transpired with Imam Hussein (ع) and his close family members and companions. We recite their tragedies, their pain/sorrow and betrayal of people of Kufa.

We read Ziarat Ashura to express our hate for the betrayers and this made me ponder over that what is the concept of لعن” /“Curse” in Islam.

Few years back I heard few lines, (translated version)

“We are not like people of Kufa”.

“That Hussain will be left alone.”

(Above lines, sounds best when spoken in Persian)

And I thought! Really??

We will not leave alone the Imam of our time! Curse has no meaning other than words of curse spoken! Does God need our words to punish bad people? Is the actual meaning to curse bad people is only to send them to Hell?

The people of “Kufa (Iraq)” or the people who did not support Imam were created bad?

A thought clicked my mind. As I can related with Qu’ran that narrations of so many stories from past were for iberat too. May be through curse, almighty wants to make our conscience alive to stop us from being one of them.

From there I started to think what made people of city named “Kufa” did not support our Imam. What made them betray the Imam of their own time? Why did “Ibn Muljim”, a close companion of Imam Ali, killed him? Why in spite of knowing the facts, only approximately 72 people came forward to support Imam Hussein ع?

Now let us relate the questions, incidents and stories with today’s time. A Hadeeth narrated by Imam al-Baqir (as) from Numani, Ghaybah, p. 315; Ithbat al-Hudah, vol. 3, p. 547; Bihar al-Anwar,vol. 52, p. 369.

“The supporters of Hadrat al-Qa’im (‘a) will be three hundred and thirteen persons who will be from the children of the a‘jam (non-Arabs).”

Why is that until today the 313 companions are not ready? If we look into past, we ponder why the maximum number of true and loyal companions available for any Imam were only 72? If seeing Imams is the best guidance then why many of those who saw Imams were not guided?

Aren’t so many questions misleading us? No. A famous book named “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinok is the first step towards excellence. Having questions does not mean having doubts but alive conscience.

For example, we all know food consists of a set of edibles together which are all separately needed by our body, but what if we limit our self to only one item? Similarly, what if we only focus on mourning and not the message? Mourning is “a part of Muharram” not “is Muharram”.

Mourning is a part of Muharram not complete Muharram. Can’t we think deeper into the fact that why a person will give up all his family just to make us all cry?

We all wish and pray to be with our 12th Imam and support him, however this requires effective thinking, a thought process that helps us in understanding the reasons that why people betrayed our Leaders/Imams in past and a heart to acknowledge our weakness and to work on them, so that we can make a difference in present and future.

We all have the urge to call out Labbayk to Imam but we must remember that Qur’an also tells us that “The Iblees, ابلیس”, “The Nafs e Ammara, نفس اماره” and our own sins are our open enemies to mislead us from Straight Path.

Surah Al-’Isra’says:

“…Verily the Satan is an open enemy to man.”(17:53)

Surah Yusuf says:

“…Indeed the nafs that overwhelmingly commands a person to do sin”(12:53)

Some of the reasons which lead to betrayal of people in the past who thought they were with Imam but indeed failed this trial were:

•           Love for this world

•           Excuse of Fear

•           Excuse of being needed by Islam

•           Excuse of being handicapped

•           Political Excuses

•           Excuse of Family

•           Excuse of not coming out of comfort zone.

•           Excuse of worship

And the list continues……

This can be explained through a big incident of Islamic history. For example,

“Umar ibn Sa’ad was a bad soul because he did not support Imam of his time due to his desire for earning the authority and ruler ship of the land of Ray. We all have something similar to the ruler ship of Ray in our lives which represents are peak of desire and that may be money, gold, self-importance or anything we can think off. In our daily life, we at some point ignore God’s words just to satisfy our own self i.e. our Nafs نفس.

Few other examples to understand better and deeper.

We all are aware of the fact that “Ibn Muljim” killed Imam Ali because the lady whom he loved asked him to do so. They were not born bad but they got astray because of wrong selections/decisions they took because of weakness of their own souls. God does not weaken our souls but we do it through our own sins. These are the diseases of soul which must be cured to answer the call of “Hal Min Nasirin Yansurna / Is there anyone to help?”

If we have any characteristics mentioned above then it’s high time to wake up because indeed the alarm of appearance will ring any moment, inshallah.

Let’s also study a positive example. We hold our own destiny and Hazrat Hurr proved it on the night of 9th Muharram by leaving the camp of Yazid and joining Imam Hussein (as). God guided him because he did not kill his conscience. Hence we understand that every second we need to remind our self that this world is an illusion and our aim is to prepare our self for the arrival of the Soul Savior (12th Imam, Imam Al- Mahdi, aj). Realization of the disease is half of the treatment.

Studying the characteristics of those who did and did not support Imams may help us in our approach to be among 313.

In conclusion, God does not create bad people.

The question is how much we are ready to be guided, preparing for the reappearance of the Living Imam and working to achieve our self-purification.

We can ask as many questions as possible not with an intention to argue but to understand. 

Intention cannot be judged by anyone but Allah.

Do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins, for He has said in the Holy Qur’an:

“Allah would not leave the believers in that [state] you are in [presently] until He separates the evil from the good. Nor would Allah reveal to you the unseen. But [instead], Allah chooses of His messengers whom He wills, so believe in Allah and His messengers. And if you believe and fear Him, then for you is a great reward.” (3:179)

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Monotheism for Young Adults

Thu, 08/22/2019 - 12:27

By Syeda Fizza Zahid

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

As Imam Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (a) said:

Verily the heart of a youngster is like an empty plot of land – it accepts whatever is planted therein.[1]

There are stages of human life i.e. childhood, youth, middle age and old age. Out of these the most significant stage is youth. Youth is most beautiful, energetic part of life which is full of opportunities as the choices that a person makes in his youth affects their future most. Therefore in Islam great emphasis has been given to youth, as Islam is a complete religion that excels not just in one phase but every phase of life.

The Holy Prophet (S) said:

Learning something during one’s youth is like engraving in stone, and learning something when one is old is like writing on the surface of water.[2]

No matter how strongly a person is brought up by his or her parents and how strong the religious concepts are transmitted, when a person reaches to his youth, questions about God and his existence generate in their mind naturally. They are more questioning and looking for satisfying answers.

Youth is a phase in which it is most difficult to restrain oneself from being distracted from right path, on other hand God loves the young soul who turns towards Him, leaving all the worldly desires.

Recognizing God is a natural instinct of human, thus it cannot be created artificially by some knowledge in fact, the soul of human beings demands to recognize God until and unless his soul is satisfied. This inborn nature of every human helps him to find answers about true existence of God.

How can one convince or satisfy the human intellect that, while there is an inventor of the computer but no inventor of human brain, similarly there is creator of home we live in, but no creator of this world and universe. In short, it arises in one’s intellect that there is the only Creator. It is He alone who manages the world. It is He alone who deserves worship and adoration.

The Qur’an says:

“Your Lord is One. There is no god but He, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Surely ire the creation of the heavens and the earth, the alternation of night and day, the ships which sail on the sea for the benefit of the people, the water that Allah sends down from heaven with which He revives the dead earth and replenishes it with all kinds of animals, ire the movements of the winds and in the clouds held between the sky and the earth, there are signs (of Allah’s Sovereignty) for the people who have sense”. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:163-164)

Monotheism explained by Imam

A ship is wrecked in the sea, A passenger is engulfed in the roaring waves; there is neither any other ship nor any skillful swimmer to save him. All his hopes disappear. He loses any hope in anybody or anything. In those critical moments he is floating in the waves.

In that time of danger and disappointment, he feels only one glimmer of inherent hope and a natural support. A light of hope glitters from the depths of his heart and from the recesses of his consciousness. His heart turns to an infinite and forceful power from which he asks for help. It is only that power which can save him from this horrible abyss. That truth, that power that supports hope, that thing at which heart looks beseechingly is ‘God’.

In a nutshell, the above passage is the meaning of Imam Sadiq’s (a) statement in answer to a man who had put this question to him.[3]

Debate with an Egyptian Atheist

One day an atheist from Egypt came to Imam (a) who asked his name. “Abdul Malik,” replied he. Imam (a) asked what his agnomen was. “Abu Abdullah,” he replied.

Imam: The kingdom whose slave you are, is it from the kingdom of the heavens or from the kingdoms of the earth?

Atheist: I have never reflected on it.

Imam: Have you ever gone below the earth’s surface?

Atheist: No.

Imam: Do you know what is below it?

Atheist: I have no knowledge of it.

Imam: Have you ever ascended to the sky?

Atheist: No.

Imam: Do you know what exists there?

Atheist: No.

Imam: Have you visited east and west? Do you know what lies beyond the limits?

Atheist: No.

Imam: It is surprising that when you do not have any knowledge about the earth or the sky, the east or west, how can you deny the existence of God? How can an ignorant man make such a great claim? Just ponder upon it; the moon, the sun, the night and the day, which all move in a particular way, are they not helpless and captive in their orbits? If they had not been so, they would not have returned after passing away once. If they are not helpless, why is it not that sometimes there is night instead of day? Don’t you ever reflect on the earth and the sky that why the sky does not crash on the earth? Why the earth does not sink below itself? Who has made them stable? One who has done this is our and their absolute powerful God.” Hearing these words, he was astonished and at that very moment recited the dual testimony of Islamic faith and became a Muslim.[4]

Hence, any human being who ponders upon His existence, will would finally reach to this conclusion that there is a God, Who is neither created, nor defeated. He is the One who is most Merciful, most Powerful, The Creator of each and every thing between sky and earth and beyond it. No one can ever see Him or reach Him, except the one with pure heart, and making ones heart pure is most fruitful in youth.

Notes:

[1] Tuhaf al-`Uqoul, no. 70; Mizan ul Hikmah, page No. 1028

[2] Bihar al-Anwar, v. 1, p. 222, no. 6; Mizan ul Hikmah, page No. 1029

[3] https://www.al-islam.org/monotheism-young-adults-nayerreh-tavassoli/monotheism-young-adults

[4] https://www.al-islam.org/akhlaq-al-aimma-morals-manners-holy-imams-maulana-sayyid-zafar-hasan-amrohi/knowledge-ahl-ul-bayt#debate-egyptian-atheist

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The Importance of Eid al-Ghadeer for the Ummah’s Guidance After the Holy Prophet (S)

Fri, 08/16/2019 - 06:54

In the name of Allah the most Merciful Beneficent

The guidance of Muslim Ummah is a continuous requirement. There can not be an era or age of time when guidance is not required. As the guidance is a constant need, so the availability of a guide who can provide the guidance to the Muslim Ummah is also a continuous indispensable need.

The history is full of anecdotes of nations and communities in the life periods of different prophets (‘a) that these nations were at a point in time well guided but after the death of their prophets (‘a) the nations gradually deviated from the guidance and got totally perverted.

In his life the Holy Prophet (S) was the greatest of all divine guides who provided direct guidance and leadership to the Ummah and led it with utmost and complete success to the triumph of Islam and victory of divine message of Tawheed and establishment of an Islamic state based upon divine laws in which justice and truth were among fundamental ruling principles.

However, after the death of Holy Prophet (S) the question poses itself who will carry forward the torch of divine guidance and provide leadership to the Ummah? Did the Holy Prophet (S) appoint a leader for the Muslims as his successor after him, or was the selection of the leader was left to the Ummah?

In this brief write up we will inshaAllah attempt to discuss these points with respect to the incident of Ghadeer and logical analysis of the question of successorship as done by Shaheed Ayatollah Sayyid Baqir al-Sadr in his work entitled: “A Study on the Question of Al-Wilaya” [1]

Shaheed al-Sadr has discussed three possibilities in his above mentioned essay. The first possibility being that the Prophet left the Ummah without any successor after him, the second one that he wanted the Muslims to choose their leader for themselves through Saqifa or consultation, and the last one being that the Prophet appointed Imam Ali (‘a) as his successor – the Imam of Ummah.

First Possibility

The Prophet (S) was assuming the leadership of a revolutionary faith, inducing radical transformations of the customs, structures, and concepts of society. The path for such transformation was long and the faith which the Prophet practiced was immaculate. He had to deal with people belonging to the Age of Ignorance and raise them to new institutions, thus converting them into believing men and women who could carry the new light and uproot the twisted tree of ignorance from hearts and minds.

The Prophet (S) made astonishing headway in the task of transformation in a very short time, but it was necessary for this task of transformation to continue on its way even after the death of the Prophet (S). So to believe that Prophet Muhammad (S) adopted a passive approach for leadership after him is to attribute a lack of insight to the Prophet (S).

To think that such a thing could happen is actually a sin – besides, all logic and reason with many evidences refute such an attribution. The Prophet (S) was well aware of the maturity of the faith of the Muslims who had just emerged from the dark alleys of pre-Islam ignorance, and they were certainly not in a condition to cope with the vacuum of leadership.

There were also many hypocrites present in the garb of Muslims, and the Prophet (S) knew it well. He (S) was well aware of the dangers to Islam after him, and hence, claims of any kind of passivity on his part for the future of Islam are not acceptable.

In fact, both Shi’a and Sunni narrators have this tradition recorded in their authentic works that Umar was with a group of men in the house when the Prophet (S), before his death, said: “Bring me parchment and pen so that I may write something for you after which you shall never go astray.”[2]

In fact, this act of the Prophet illustrates clearly that he was deeply concerned about the dangers which had to be faced in the future. It also shows that he recognized the need to plan ahead so as to protect the Ummah from deviation and save it from inattentiveness and disintegration. It is thus totally impossible to substantiate any claim of passivity leveled against the Prophet.

Second Possibility

The second possibility is that the Prophet (S) adopted a positive policy concerning the future of the Ummah and Islam, and he advocated the appointment of a Shura or counsel, which would be entitled to select a leader of the Muslims.

Had the Holy Prophet (S) adopted a positive attitude towards Shura after him, he would have found it absolutely necessary to educate the Ummah and the faithful concerning the principles of Shura with its rules and details, while also mentally and spiritually preparing the Islamic society to accept this system. But we can easily discover that the Holy Prophet never sought to educate the Ummah for any such plans for future.

We do not find any narrations attributed to the Prophet (S) giving details of principles, legal aspects or theoretical concepts of Shura. Therefore, we can conclude that Holy Prophet (S) did not advise Shura for the Ummah after his death.

The Shura, which was formed after the Prophet’s (S) death, could not survive for even a short time. The first Caliph neglected it and appointed the second Caliph himself, while the second one formed a six-member group enshrining the right to elect a leader amongst them. In this way, Saqifa collapsed immediately after it was formed. The first Caliph regretted the fact that he was elected too speedily, while the second one regretted the first one’s election saying that it was a slip, and on many occasions he himself confessed his inability in handling the affairs of Ummah.

Third Possibility

The third approach is the only possibility, which is consistent with the nature of facts and is logical in light of the circumstances surrounding Islam, Muslims and the Prophet (S). The Holy Prophet (S) adopted a positive stance towards the future of Islam after his death, and as per the orders of Allah he chose Imam Ali (‘a) who had a deep involvement in the formation of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (S) specifically prepared the Imam so that he could exemplify the intellectual authority and political leadership of the experience, and maintain the leadership of the Ummah and its ideological structure after the Holy Prophet’s (S) death.

Imam Ali (‘a) himself described his unique relationship with the Holy Prophet (S): “You know of my connection with the Messenger of Allah, my close kinship to him and my intimate position. He put me on his lap when I was a child, hugged me to his breast, embraced me in his bed, so that his body touched mine and so I smelled his scent, and would also chew things and give them to me to eat. But he did not find me lying in my speech or pompous in my act. I used to follow him as the small camel follows its mother and every day he showed me part of his moral acts and ordered me to do likewise. Every year he used to take me to Hira and only I could see him, for at that period of time of Islam there was only the Messenger of Allah, Khadija and myself as the third, as nobody else lived in the house. So I saw the light of revelation and the message and smelled the fragrance of prophecy.”[3]

There are a great many indications from the lifetime of Imam Ali (‘a) after the death of the Prophet (S) which reveal the Prophet’s private ideological training of Imam Ali (‘a) and reflect the effects and results of this private instruction.

The Imam (‘a) was the man to whom the ruling leadership resorted for consultation and authority when they wished to solve some difficult problems, which they could not solve themselves. But we cannot find a single instance in the history of the Islamic experience during the time of the four caliphs in which the Imam turned to someone else for an opinion as to the way in which a problem should be dealt with according to Islam. On the other hand, there were tens of instances in which the ruling Islamic leadership felt it necessary to consult the Imam in spite of their reservations towards him.

The above arguments along with the event of Ghadeer establish the fact that the successor of Prophet Muhammad was none other than Imam Ali (‘a). The Holy Prophet (S) himself, on the instructions of Almighty Allah, appointed him as his successor.

O Messenger! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.” (5:67)

The above verse speaks about a revelation that is of so much paramount significance and quintessential that if it were not delivered, it would nullify all other efforts of the Holy Prophet(S). The verse was revealed in the later period of prophetic mission. So the question arises what is the message which is so essential and indispensable that if that is not conveyed, it will be tantamount to not conveying anything at all? By this time, most of the beliefs and rules of Islamic sharia have already been revealed and conveyed. So this message must be something other than that.

The verse says that Allah will protect the holy Prophet(S) from the people, following with the lack of guidance for those who disbelieve.

The question regarding the importance of the order from Allah (swt) has been answered by Allamah Tabatabai:

 “Why was this order so important that if it was not conveyed then the message was not conveyed at all? It was because religion’s knowledge and commands are inter linked…The fact, that if this commandment was not conveyed, then no other order was conveyed, shows its utmost importance, and makes it crystal clear that this particular order occupies such a central position in the whole structure that if it was left unannounced, it would amount to leaving all other orders unannounced, because its relation to other items is like that of soul with body; if it is disconnected, there would remain only a dead body, devoid of feeling, movement (and perception, etc.)…there was a danger that the people would oppose it and strive hard to overturn it against the Prophet (S) aiming at demolishing the structure of religion he had built and disintegrating all its parts…Accordingly, he kept postponing its delivery from time to time, waiting for a suitable circumstances and peaceful atmosphere, in order that his mission might be successful and his endeavors fruitful. But Allah ordered him to make haste in conveying that message, showing to him its importance, and promising to protect him from the people.”[4]

The verse makes it clear that the Holy Prophet (S) was going to convey something on the order of Allah which might incite opposition. What was the message that Holy Prophet(S) was supposed to convey that would provoke the people, specifically, the disbelievers? As per numerous traditions from both Shia and Sunni sources, it was about guardianship of Imam Ali (‘a). It was about the issue of successorship after the death of Holy Prophet(S) and leadership and guardianship of the Islamic nation.

The issue of guardianship is so important that without it, not only religion would be in complete, but without it the non-believers would have been successful in their plots against the Divine Religion.

The Holy Prophet (S) conveyed this message after performing his last Hajj. He ordered Muslims to assemble at the pond of Ghadeer, it was there he announced the guardianship of Imam Ali (‘a):

It has been narrated from Abi Sa’id that: “When the day of Ghadeer Khumm came, the messenger of Allah (S) commanded the caller to call out, ‘Gather for the prayer. Then he took Ali (‘a) by the hand and said, ‘O’ Allah! Whomsoever I am his master, this Ali is also his master. O’ Allah! Be a friend to that person who is a friend to him, and be an enemy to that person who is an enemy to him.’” [5]

With the announcement of guardianship, the message of Islam was perfected and completed. The non-believers who have been hatching conspiracies to overturn Islam and revert the people to the polytheism became disappointed. Allah (swt) accepted the mission of Holy Prophet(S) and gave His seal of approval upon Prophet Muhammad’s (S) deliverance:

“This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion” (5:3)

**************

For more information about the event of Ghadir, read:

https://www.al-islam.org/ghadir/

https://www.al-islam.org/verses-ghadir-al-mustafa-center-islamic-researches/three-verses-ghadir

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/orientalists-and-the-event-of-ghadir-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/ghadir-tradition-expressive-evidence-guardianship

https://www.al-islam.org/ghadir-muhammad-baqir-al-sadr-sachedina-muhammad-rizvi-husein-khimjee

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/ghadir-khumm-one-islamic-historys-best-kept-secrets-yasin-t-al-jibouri

Notes:

[1] https://www.al-islam.org/ghadir-muhammad-baqir-al-sadr-sachedina-muhammad-rizvi-husein-khimjee/chapter-1-study-question-al

[2] Ref: Sahih, Bukhari, Chapter: About the saying of the sick, vol 2, Sahih, Muslim, End of the book of al Wasiyyah, vol 5 p 75, Musnad, Ahmed, vol 1 p 335, vol 5 p 116 Tarikh, Tabari, vol 3 p 193, Tarikh, Ibn al Athir, vol 2 p 320. For the whole story of the event, read:

https://www.al-islam.org/then-i-was-guided-muhammad-al-tijani-al-samawi/companions-and-raziyat-yawm-al-khamis-calamity

https://www.al-islam.org/black-thursday-muhammad-al-tijani-al-samawi

[3] Hadith cited in “A Study on the Question of Al-Wilaya”, by As-Shahid Ayatullah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr:  https://www.al-islam.org/ghadir-muhammad-baqir-al-sadr-sachedina-muhammad-rizvi-husein-khimjee/chapter-1-study-question-al

[4] Al Mizan, Exegesis of verse 67 of surah Maida

[4] Biharul Anwar, Volume 37, Hadith 4, as quoted in “Forty Ahadith on Ghadir” by Mahmud Sharifi https://www.al-islam.org/forty-ahadith-ghadir-mahmud-sharifi

The post The Importance of Eid al-Ghadeer for the Ummah’s Guidance After the Holy Prophet (S) appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Salient Points from the Supplication of A’rafah by Imam al-Husayn (‘a)

Thu, 08/08/2019 - 14:18

By Ailiya Haidri

The prayer of Imam Husayn (‘a) on the Day of A’rafah is one of the most famous supplications recited on the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah, by the name of Du’a al-‘Arafah.[1]

After counting and reflecting on the bounties of Allah (swt), Imam Husayn (‘a) expresses his thankfulness for the bounties which Allah (swt) has granted him personally. What is highly captivating about this expression of thankfulness is the thought of an infallible Imam thanking His Lord, whilst man on Earth is selfish enough to forget His bounties yet cry to Him in need. Imam Hussain’s gratitude truly serves as a guide.

He (‘a) divided these bounties into three categories. The first category are those bounties which he received before his birth, the second are those which are during the time of his birth and the third are those which were granted to him after his birth.[2]

First Category: Before Birth

You had begun bestowing on me

before I was anything worth mentioning,

and You created me from dust.

You then put me up in the loins,

 (making me) saved from vicissitudes of time,

and change of ages and years.

I was moving from a loin to a womb

throughout the passage of the past days

and the ancient ages;

Here Imam Husayn (‘a) eloquently engages the reader with the biological state of man, but before this, he mentions his creation from ‘dust’ not only indicating his humility such that he refers to himself as mere creation as opposed to his characteristics of piety for example.

Second Category: During The Time Of Birth

So you fashioned my creation from semen that gushed forth

and put me up in triple darkness

among flesh, blood, and skin.

You have not made me witness my creation,

and You have not referred any part of my creation to me.

You then took me out on account of the guidance that You have already known about me

to the world, perfect and in sound health.

Imam Husayn (‘a) transitions from describing his mere creation as a speck of dust to the miraculous nature of childbirth just as Quran 75:37-38 mentions.[3]

It is noticeable that Imam does not describe his birth as a miracle or chance, but rather as a destiny that was meant to be for he addresses Allah (swt) as the one who brought him into the world as He knew Imam Hussain’s role in the world.

Third Category: Post Birth

You have safeguarded me in the cradle as a small child

You have provided me with wholesome milk as food.

You have made the hearts of the nursemaids tender.

You have given me into the charge of merciful mothers.

You have saved me from the visits of the Jinn.

You have delivered me from increase and decrease.

So, Exalted be You, O All-merciful, O All-beneficent.

When I commenced (my life) by pronouncing words,

You perfected for me the affluent bestowals,

and brought me up with an increase every year.

Although Imam Husayn (‘a) could have simply thanked his guardians that nurtured him as a child, Imam Husayn (‘a) delves in deeper by thanking his Rabb for these very nurturers. Above all, the very possibility of him being safeguarded and his provision, he feels the real gratitude to His Lord.

This segment of Du’a ‘Arafah displays the depth of the relationship between man and God, rather than the surface worldview.

Now pay attention to the words that are in bold font…

And I bear witness, O my God, with my true belief,

and the fortitude of the determinations of my conviction

and the purity of my open belief in Your Oneness

and the essence of the secret of my conscience,

and the ties of the canals of the light of my sight,

and the lines of my forehead

and the hallows of the courses of my breath,

and the (nasal) cavities of my nose,

and the courses of the meatus of my hearing,

and whatever my two lips hide and cover up,

and the motions of the vocalization of my tongue,

and the socket of the palate of my mouth and jaw,

and the matrices of my dents,

and the tasting of my food and my drink,

and the carrier of my skull,

and the tube of the tissues of my neck

and what is included by the cloak of my chest,

and the carriers of the cord of my aorta,

and the cords of the pericardium of my heart,

and the pieces of the retinues of my liver,

and that which is included by the cartilages of my ribs,

and the cavities of my joints,

and the interactings of my organisms,

and the extremes of my fingertips,

and my flesh, and my blood,

and my hair, and my skin,

and my nerve, and my sinews,

and my bones, and my brain, and my veins,

and all of my organs,

and that which was pieced together during the days of my suckling,

and whatever of my body that the ground carries,

and my sleeping, and my wakefulness, and my motionlessness,

and the movements of my bowing and prostration;

 (by all that I bear witness) that if I try my best and strive throughout all ages

and all times, if I live them,

to thank properly only one of Your favors,

I will not be able to do that

Are these not the very sentences that have left you speechless? Do we really know ourselves? Surely had we known ourselves, we would have known our Lord, therefore I conclude with the famous saying

الإمامُ عليٌّ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ) : مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفْسَهُ عَرَفَ رَبَّهُ

Imam Ali (a) said, Whoever knows himself knows his Lord.

Ghurar Al-Hikam, The Soul And Holding It To Account النفس ومحاسبتها, Hadith #10031

Notes:

[1] To read the full Supplication of the Day of Arafah, please visit: https://www.al-islam.org/a-shiite-anthology-muhammad-husayn-tabatabai/spiritual-life-prayer-and-supplication#prayer-day-arafah

[2]https://www.al-islam.org/role-women-towards-system-wilayat-syed-jawad-naqvi

[3] Reference to the Holy Qur’an:

أَلَمْ يَكُ نُطْفَةً مِنْ مَنِيٍّ يُمْنَى ثُمَّ كَانَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقَ فَسَوَّىٰ

Was he not a small seed in the seminal elements? Then he was a clot of blood, so He created (him) then made (him) perfect. (75:37-38)

The post Salient Points from the Supplication of A’rafah by Imam al-Husayn (‘a) appeared first on Al-Islam.org Blog.

Hajj: Philosophy and Message

Thu, 08/01/2019 - 14:48

By Ailiya Haidri

As the month of Dhul Hijjah approaches, what is it about this month  and particularly the Hajj season that really encapsulates the hearts of – not just Muslims and non-Muslims – but the whole of mankind around the world?

Hajj is not just the circumambulating around the Holy Ka’ba, rather it is something much deeper. Take a minute and focus on what the pilgrims wear: an ihram. Is it not beautiful how Allah (swt) ingrains equality in the heart of Makkah, He makes sure you and I, and every single person that has ever, been and shall go to Hajj – would remember that we are equal, and that we are nothing.

We are nothing in front of Our Lord.

In wearing white, where is there prejudice? Where is the judgement of society? Where does secularization lie? There is not. Rather, the very people who are blessed enough to have received the invitation to Hajj, wear the very colour of their shroud.

The very colour, and that very material of their shroud that will be wrapped tightly around them. When will this day be? The very day in which our names, our identity, our fame disappears, and we are referred to as a body. This is what it means to be nothing, other than a pure wayfarer that came into this World, endured the trials and tribulations that were put across the way, and returns back to His Lord in pure white.

يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَرْضِيَّةً

‘O reassured soul, Return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him]’(Qur’an 89:27-28)

Iranian Revolutionist and Sociologist, Ali Shari’ati Mazinani (1933-1977) in his book Hajj (The Pilgrimage) describes Hajj as:

‘…the antithesis of aimlessness. It is the rebellion against a damned fate guided by evil forces. The fulfillment of Hajj will enable you to escape from the complex network of puzzles. This revolutionary act will reveal to you the clear horizon and free way to migration to eternity toward the Almighty Allah.’[1]

The people that Ali Shari’ati Mazinani addresses here are those that that have made the intention to perform Hajj and are anticipating their journey and thus have the fulfillment of Hajj which he speaks about. In turn, the reality of meeting One’s creator truly hits the core of any pilgrim for he realises that his low status as a mere selfish human being is worthless of such a visit yet Allah (swt)’s Mercy brings the believer here and therefore the believer makes revolutionary changes.

If you are amongst the Hujjaj (pilgrims) this year, keep your brothers and sisters in your prayers; if not, May Allah (swt) grant us the Holy visitation next year.

One of the wisdoms of Hajj, is the spiritual reformation that it brings to the believer such that ‘the light of God’s guidance illuminates susceptible hearts, making them detached from the earth and attached to God. By putting on Ihram, saying Labbayk, circumambulating the House, offering sacrifice, and doing other acts of worship, man’s heart goes through a spiritual stage.’

إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِلْعَالَمِينَ

Most surely the first house appointed for men is the one at Bekka, blessed and a guidance for the nations. (Qur’an 3:96)

In the current era, Muslims visit Makkah to perform their Hajj or Umrah and often this can be an annual visitation or every two years, yet the saddest and perhaps painfully despairing concern is that they return from Hajj, just as they departed.

No change, No reformation, No reflection.

And this is the very reason why the above verse fades away for a Muslim that has not changed, for Hajj is a guide to man, yet those that visit often seem to take advantage of its rewards and somehow become susceptible to the immense value of Hajj.

 

Notes:

[1] https://www.al-islam.org/hajj-pilgrimage-dr-ali-shariati/rejecting-empty-philosophy

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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

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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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